Should I Go to Ol’ Mexico? I Dunno
I was talking with a young woman today who told me she was going to Austin’s Yellow Bike Project to work on her bike. She would be taking it to Mexico in May as part of Bikes Across Borders. A couple of dozen anarchists ride for a couple of weeks to a town where they have relationships with people there, donate the bike, and take the bus home. Sounds fun, scary, dangerous, hard, and maybe a bit crazy. Oh yeah, inefficient. Why not just send the bikes by truck? Well, that would be boring and harder to raise money for.
Will I do it? I don’t know. I have heard about it before but never in time to sign up. But I’m intrigued. The young woman told me the biking wasn’t that hard, and she felt sure I could do it. I don’t, given my speed these days has withered to even under 10 mph on many rides. And I understand the riders take turns hauling a trailer with food and supplies. Hauling my fathlete self is more than enough. And there’s the bike I’d have to build. Still, maybe it’s doable. So I’m going to think about it and see where the fates take me. I did meet and chat with Jim Sayer, the head of the Adventure Cycling Association and have a conversation with him and then follow that up with a post about his talk at Bike Texas. We shall see.
Here’s an old and fuzzy but good 10 minute documentary from East Side Stories about it.
I Chase Down a Woman Who Nearly Hit Me
Almost home on a fast four-lane road, I see the light is green, signal, and start to turn right into the bike lane. But then the car that was approaching without a signal veered into the right turn lane and directly into my path. I had some speed going but not so much that I couldn’t stop. She looked around and apparently right through me like I was visible, and slowly made the turn, partially driving in the bike lane and blocking my way. I slowed to yield, and saw her windows were down. So I yelled something like “Hey lady, what the f#$&!” Another inattentive driver, but another disaster averted, I thought.
Until I saw that she was going to make the turn to get onto the service road of the highway, and made the foolish but anger-infused decision to chase after her. I assumed she’d eventually speed up and leave me behind. But instead she turned into a parking lot of a shopping center. I stealthily approached and pulled up to her window. It was an elderly African-American woman with disabled license plates. I decided to be assertive but not a complete asshole. I could tell that the adrenalin of nearly getting hit was talking. Here’s how our conversation went:
“Hey, did you not see me back there?” I ask.
“No, oh, I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you because my windows were fogging up” is her lame but possibly true reply.
“Is my light not bright enough for you?” I say, as I point to it and it’s aiming right in her direction.
Another excuse: “Well, I have these five dollar glasses and I don’t see too good, so I’m sorry, I just didn’t see you.”
“Well, I just wanted to make sure that you know that was wrong because I had the right of way, or at least I think I did,” I reply, less adamantly, the adrenalin wearing off, and second-guessing myself.
“I understand. Can I buy you a drink or somethin’?” my new friend asked.
“No thanks,” I reply, “We just need to share the road, OK? You be safe and have a good night, alright?”
“I will, ok, thanks.”
Don’t try this at home, kids. Especially in Texas, even if it is so-called “liberal” Austin. People have long guns and short tempers. But it worked out for me this time to do some level-headed bike education, and make the world slighty less bikes v. cars and more into a line from the documentary of the same name: “It’s not a war, it’s a city.”
Old New-trition From Sun & Ski
I’m in one of my go-to bike shops, Sun & Ski Sports, swapping out a bright rear light for an even brighter one today, courtesy of the maternal unit’s holiday generosity. (Thanks, Mom, for probably saving the life you gave birth to!) I say hi to Mike in the Bike Shop who says my disc brake pads for Sophie the Fairdale came in – but it was only one set. So he’ll order the other and we’ll put them on next week. I meet Byron, former manager of the Performance Bikes that just closed. He’s taking a test on the computer and not too chatty, but that’s cool.
And lo and behold at the check-out, the kindly shopkeepers Keisha and Trent are offering me expired bike nutrional wares. Some boxes of Gu and such had just passed their “best by” date, while others had passed that point a few months ago. Hey, I’ve eaten from food trucks in Guatemala and lived to tell the tale, so I figured some gel packs couldn’t hurt.
Pictured here is the mother lode I acquired for the right price of zero. Some of the gel has caffeine, of which I’m not a big fan, but maybe it’ll help me out. The Clif (as in Clif Bar) Recovery powder is chocolate, so you can’t go wrong there. Some Blocks (chewables) and hydration tabs round out the collection. Quite a haul. It’s good to be a regular. Assuming the expired producs don’t kill me.
Well, that’s an eventual day on the bike. All in a day of A Dude Abikes. Come back Friday for more education, inspiration or commiseration.
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