Sookie’s Last Ride (Ever!) & Sophie’s Last Ride of 2018 on New Year’s Eve in Austin

Today was my last chance to add to my mileage and extend my goal of bike-riding x number of miles for 2018.  So I took the opportunity of a decently mild Central Texas winter day and did just that.  First, I took Sookie to Performance Bikes, since they’re a Fuji dealer, to see if they could do anything about her cracked frame.  However, they couldn’t, because their parent company is going out of business.  But at least I got yet another confirmation (the fifth?) that she is no longer rideable.  While not unexpected, it reminded me of how much I’ll miss this bike.  After that… Continue reading

The Invisible or Utility Bicyclist: An Ignored Population

Tonight as I was out dutifully putting in some miles to finish up my yearly goal, I encountered a man stopped in East Austin, near downtown.  He was working on his bicycle, and observing the unwritten code of bike riders, I stopped to ask if I might help. He had a screw driver and was adjusting his rear reflector while enjoying an adult beverage.  He was also worried about his front light, which was red (illegal).  There wasn’t much I could do, but we chatted a bit.  He was friendly, perhaps due to the aforementioned drink.  He introduced himself as Tommy, I replied with my name, and he proferred an ungloved hand for me to shake in the cool temperatures.  He also said that he is homeless.  It got me thinking about the large number of people who ride bikes as transportation, but are not connected with bicycle advocacy organizations.  So here are a few thoughts. Continue reading

How I Bicycled 22 Miles in a Thunderstorm and Tornado Watch (Shark-Free)

After two days out of town and off the bike for the holidays with family, I returned to Austin ready to get back to bidness.  I needed to take my computer into the shop and to retrieve my mail, so I had two destinations.  There was some light rain but the temperature was in the high 60’s, not much wind.  A little rain never hurt anybody (except the Wicked Witch of the West), so I suited up and headed out.  So it was not all storm all the time.  But soon after errand number one, I had to put on my poncho and shoe covers.  For a while it was fine.  And then, it wasn’t.  I felt the wind pick up from the north and with it, the temperatures dropped and gusts increased.  There was also that part about a tornado watch.  Did I wisely throw in the towel and head straight home?  No.  Here’s why and how. Continue reading

The Rest of the Story About Rest Days for Cyclists

On May 4th (Star Wars day), I wrote a blog titled “Rainy Friday Blahg Post: The Value of Sleep and Rest Days for Cyclists“. While visiting relatives, I’m forced into at least two days off the bike, so I’m revisiting the topic. As it happens, my computer apparently needs a rest too, since it has just started shutting itself off. So this will be short post since it takes longer to write by phone and it’s a holiday.

It’s Still Important to Move On Rest Days

I traveled north to where the picture of me I use for this blog was taken. This afternoon I took the dogs for a walk. Nothing fancy, just 45 minutes and 1.83 miles on a neighborhood street then park trail. It was a three-bagger, if you know what I mean. The weather wasn’t too bad and we arrived alive.

It felt good knowing I didn’t have to suit up and pump the legs for however many miles. At the same time, the urge to ride my bicycle was still there. I felt almost guilty not doing it, especially with the extra calories I’ve been consuming. But I gave my self permission to not worry about it. Even with a revised goal hanging over my head, I’m pretty sure I’ll make it. But the point is to move the body a little so it doesn’t freeze up on you. Swim, yoga,.walk, do floor yoga — whatever you can do to move — it’s all helpful to prevent lactic acid build up. Which hurts if you don’t.

Sleepytime but Not a Sleepyhead

The challenge for me remains turning off my brain so the healing can begin. I was asked, “Why don’t you just go to bed?” Well, I can think of a number reasons, namely because: I’m on a later schedule, several health issues make it harder, because I’m not sleepy, I have things to do, and it’s quieter so I can think better (unless I’m really am too tired AND sleepy. A former female friend called it “sleepy tired”.

But to rebuild muscles that have been worked in bike riding, or any physical exercise, rest is key. Add to that attitude. The reason for this should be clear: It’s easy to burn out if youre not careful. If the whole body or even just the brain need rest, at some point you’re going to crash on your bed. Or on your bike, which would be, to quote Orwell, doubleplusungood.

Of course, I could have made myself go bike (if I had one to borrow), as I often have powered through fatigue, pain, discomfort, injury and more. In fact, right now I’m nursing a saddle sore, so not riding is a great idea. But to rest is the best so one can live to ride another day and enjoy it.

Returning from Time Off

After a day or two, I find I start jonesing for the bike. This is a key time to take it easy, however. That’s because you can injure yourself after having let your guard down. Hopefully I’ll have some really relaxed and well-rested muscles.

I also enjoy doing things off the bike, so I have more time time to explore them. I do feel a bit traitorous, but exercise is good for the mood. And you can’t bike without energy, physical and mental. In the end we all need sleep to live as healthy as possible. For me I’ll have. To keep trying to make sleep a priority and make.better choices and take sleep aids if necessary, especially an Epsom salt bath.

But now it’s Christmas, and my favorite part aside from not working and hanging with family is that we have Jewish delicatessen food. No bagels for me this year, though.  May whatever traditions you celebrate bring you comfort and joy. And oh yeah, a little peace on Earth would be great. When it’s over, rest well. Then, get back on that steel horse and ride!

Thank you for visiting me on WordPress or www.ADudeAbikes.com.  Feel free to add your Likes and Comments and Follow the blog through WordPress if you have it or by email.  Contact me with any questions.  Please feel free to Reblog and share as long as you give credit and the permalink to this post.


© 2015-18 A Dude Abikes. All rights reserved.

 

Nostalgia for My Grandmother on Winter Solstice, the Longest Night of the Year

It’s winter solstice here in Austin, Texas, United States of America, and I’m feeling nostalgic. Not only because of the holidays, or working in a place with a long history here in town and in the country that’s closing down, or because a year ago I had ridden my bike alot more, and the year before that, even more. It’s mostly because my maternal grandmother died 20 years ago on December 22, 1998. This post is dedicated to her memory. (Check back after the holidays for more photos.)

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Buddhism & Bicycling: An Asshole, a Glasshole, a Good Samaritan, and a Randy Fellow

Sometimes it happens that people do mean things.  At a new temporary work gig, I met the new boss (same as the old boss). He had a hissy fit about something where he assumed one thing but reality was another, and then stormed off. Not my prob, so whatevs.  Merry Fucking Christmas to you, too, Scrooge!

After a quick change of clothes (and attitude) at home, I was about 1/3 of the way into my bike ride when Sophie’s rear wheel punctured from a tiny piece of glass in the road somewhere. Probably from somebody who threw a beer bottle into the bike lane. It had worked it’s way deep into the rubber.  Boo hoo for me!  Just bad luck, or karma? Continue reading

The Politics of Biking: News About Bicycling in Austin, Texas

There’s always something going on in the world of bicycling in Austin.

  • For example, a City Councilmember known for bicycling to work won the runoff I just worked (against his sister, no less!).  I mentioned Pio Renteria in my post Presentation by Jim Sayer, Director of Adventure Cycling Association (Part 2).

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    City Councilmember Pio Renteria e-bikes to work.
  • The City of Austin’s Active Transportation Department is often holding meetings about street improvements, like to Slaughter Lane or the Longhorn Dam even.
  • Starting just a few days ago, Austin Parks and Recreation is now allowing electric bikes and scooters on certain trails.  A pilot project will track speed, complaints, and the inevitable crashes.
  • The upcoming Texas Legislature meets in downtown Austin in the state capitol building.  Folks will be advocating for bills for Safe Passing, Safe Routes to School, Distracted Driving (a ban on cell-phone use while driving) and Slower Neighborhood Streets.  (I wrote about the latter in 2018 World Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Traffic Violence: Texas Vision Zero Vigil.)

As a public service – a big part of what we’re about here at www.ADudeAbikes.com and on WordPress – I thought I’d touch on a few of these issues for your reading pleasure.  A Dude ain’t nuthin’ if not educatin’ the masses ’bout bikes n’ stuff!

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Friday Night Fights: Fatigue v. A Dude Abikes + Winter Trail of Lights in Austin, Texas

Maybe biking 102 miles in 5 days in cold, grey and at times very windy conditions with my, Sophie’s and backpack weights combined, not lubricating the chain since the rain until Wednesday at Yellow Bike Project, a rear disc brake caliper that was rubbing on the rotor and slowing me down til Brandon figured it out at Sun & Ski Sports last night, plus being low on sleep and other stuff has something to do with being very tired. Nah, those are excuses. I think the reason is alien abductions. All their probing, er, I mean, questions are exhausting!  Point being, I’m biking alot to make my upwardly revised goal, and I’m tired.  But not too tired to complain — I mean write about it in my blog — and share some more photos and statistics. Continue reading

Recent Days Biking and Walking in Austin, Texas as Told Through Photos and Words

Lacking some inspiration I looked back at the last week in photos.  They tell a tale of my ongoing journey cycling through Austin.

Yellow Bike Project chalkboard.

Tonight I went to Yellow Bike Project again to work on Sophie.  For the first time, I left with something that wasn’t better than went I arrived.  Disc brakes can be tricky and for some reason my rear one on the Fairdale isn’t working right.  I’ll need to return Monday when a coordinator more familiar with the brakes is there, but more likely I’ll head by a bike shop.  It’s it’s important to be able to stop!

I don’t mention my diet much these days, but below is one brunch I prepared.  Also, I worked nine days of early voting and the final election day.  Compared to the recent mid-terms with many questions on the ballot, only five races had runoffs, so turnout was very low.  It gave me time to do some reading.  A David Baldacci thriller The Fix, and parts of Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich.  I also got more into Tim Ferris’s The Four-Hour Work Week and the Austin Chronicle.  I do not fare well at crosswords.

It’s nice the word for “go vote” is spelled the same in Spanish and  English.

A brunch of eggs, turkey sausage, avocado, red and sweet potato, cheese, onion, salsa, and blue Powerade Zero. Blue’s a flavor, but unnatural.

On a walk before biking, I found this cool blue bike rack made to look like a bike.

I’m still doing my daily walking.  One way I make sure to get in my 30 minutes is to walk on my way somewhere and then bike the rest.  Or if I’m in a hurry and it’s close by, I bike there and then walk home.  It’s a handy trick and I often see something cool, like the above bike rack.  I don’t always put all the pictures here, though.  For that, you will need to follow me on Strava, the fitness app. That link will take you to my profile.

 

Chanukah at the house of two friends involved a number of brightly lit menorahs, a variety of foods, and hanging out and talking.  I missed the candle lighting and if there were any prayers, but it was not an orthodox religious event.  It’s nice to connect with that part of my heritage (which I wrote about in the post Bicyclists & Jews: Both Are Targets (But They Should Not Be) and hang out with others who may not be traditionally observant but who identify ethnically.  As one comedian put it, “(he’s) not a Jew, he’s Jew-ish.”  Joking aside, I think one can be both.  But speaking of that uniquely Jewish sensibility of humor, one person punned, “Some people light a ninth candle on Chanukah, but they’re in the menorah-ty.”  (For the goyem out there, there are only eight days of Chanukah.)

 

I snapped these two covers of books at Book People, the largest independent bookstore in Texas that’s in downtown Austin.  One speaks to the hope of what bicycles could do, the other reflects my ambivalence about why I am riding my bicycle an average of over 80 miles per week so far this year.  (See 4,000 Miles Biked This Year! + 3,000 Miles Total on Sophie the Fairdale.)

 

Nearby the book store is the international headquarters of a natural grocery chain.  They don’t need any press from me but friends and I have long called it the “food hole” or “whole paycheck.”  But they do have some cool stuff like an ice skating rink on the roof in the winter and this sign abbreviating Austin, Texas, which changes colors.  I had never snapped any pictures, so for your edification, here is a nice series.

The awesome, fun and inspirational monthly gathering of authors of all kinds who read called One Page Salon, hosted by Owen Egerton, had a huge turnout this month.  This was thanks to the Texas Writers League.  Shown with Owen is director Michael Nowlin, a nice guy, author and nice guy who encouraged me not to give up on the possibility of getting published.  It was cool to see a packed house although I only really talked to a few people I already knew.  The TWL is an organization I need to get involved with as I get closer to finishing the first draft of my memoir of two years of cycling quite a few miles.  (4,714 Miles Bicycled in 2017 = 10,000 in 2 Years! A Recap of My “Epic Velocimania” (Day 1)

 

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A jalopy bike I saw in East Austin after One Page Salon.  Notice the seat has no post and the wheel sizes are different. reminds me of the book title It’s Not About the Bike.

Thank you for visiting me on WordPress or www.ADudeAbikes.com.  Feel free to add your Likes and Comments and to Follow the blog through WordPress if you have it or by email.  You may contact me directly via the About page with any questions.  Please Reblog and share this on social media as long as you give credit and include the permalink to this post.

© 2015-18 A Dude Abikes. All rights reserved.

Mamma Jamma Ride Wrap-up and Huge Thanks to My Donors of $2,502!

On September 22nd, I biked 40 miles for a good cause. (40-Mile Charity Ride for Breast Cancer: No Need to SAG). Tonight, I cycled down to the Livestrong building. Yep, it’s the one named for the cancer foundation started by an Austin cyclist and former seven-time winner* of the Tour de France. That group still exists, a shadow of its former self, and does good work for all canver survivors. Relevant to A Dude, it’s where the Mamma Jamma Ride to Beat Breast Cancer rents office space. This year, it hosted the Bucks to Beneficiaries — the annual awarding of the monies raised for the bike ride held back on September 22nd. A few dozen riders, sponsors, board members and supporters were in attendance. Over $300,000 was given to the seven non-profits helping women and their families with breast cancer. A Dude Abikes was part of that, coming in 9th place as individual fundraiser at $2,502. So this blog post is to wrap it all up, and to especially thank everyone who donated.

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