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!

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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).

    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 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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