Tidbits from the Life of a Cyclist in Austin

I got a flat tire last night, but not just any flat tire. The tube exploded with a loud BANG! and so did the tire. The thing is, I was at a well-known high-crime drug corner, and for a second I thought someone was shooting at me with a gun. Then I realized the air was gone from my rear tire and my pedaling was over for the night. The guys hanging out at the convenience store parking lot knew it wasn’t a gunshot, though. There was a police officer parked in the lot, and a bus came along pretty quickly. Even more fortunate was that I was near the house of a member of the North East Austin Texas Bike Group, and her husband kindly took me home in their mini-van. Thanks, Thomas! It’s good to know people.

From my Strava app. Follow me there!

As a result of the blowout, I got Sonnie the GT Arette back on the road. She’s the bike I rode my first 50-mile ride on. With 21-gears, flat pedals, regular grips, and even Schrader valves, it felt like old times. She flies pretty well, but the seat came loose so that was a real and literal pain. A stop by the shop, Sun and Ski, fixed that up as Mike the Mechanic loaned me an allen wrench. Sophie the Fairdale Weekender Archer will be back on the road soon. But for the moment, it’s fun to have 12 more gears to play with and a slightly lighter bike.

After an epic, second-best month ever in December at 712 miles, and a second-best ever year on the bike but best year ever combined biking and walking, I’ve dialed things back a bit. I only need to ride 110 miles for 50 weeks to reach my goal of 5,500 miles in 2020. I factored in two weeks off plus two days a week off, but that means I must do 22 miles five days a week. That takes time, so thus far I’m still doing daily rides totaling 15.5 miles. It’s doable, but if and when I start getting work, it might not happen. That’s OK. The real goal is to stay alive and keep moving while maintaining and hopefully improving my health. If that means less miles, since I gotta pay the bills, so be it. Sugar mama’s aren’t beating down my door yet. Someday I’ll be forced to take a break, but until then, I have places to go and things to do.

Two years ago as I write this, I was featured in the local newspaper. I won’t rehash that, but you can read the recap here and the original post here.

Back in December, my brother shared my blog link with someone who put it on their Twitter page. It landed me over 1,000 views in one day. Normally I’m lucky to get 50. So that was huge, but didn’t gain me any more subscribers, as far as I can tell. However, it may have nudged me closer to possibly considering getting on social media some day in the future.

I saw a primary care doctor today. She’s a little forgetful and started to listen to my lungs a second time, but I like her. She said I seemed better than the last visit. I pointed out that when I was there I had a very bad sinus infection and a very stressful roommate situation, and both of those are in the past. So she’ll do labs and that I should to take something for sleep which has no side effects (yeah, right!). Don’t eat sugar — because I don’t bike enough (what?). I should try to lose some weight, Captusn Obvious told me.

No shit, Sherlock! I’ve been a fathlete for a while now, not by choice. Despite giving up 99% of flour products (it’s been two years now), due to body type, age, diet, genes, etc., my body just refuses to give up any fat. If 5,006 miles in 2019 isn’t enough exercise, not to mention 600+ miles walking and daily yoga, I don’t know what is. Also, I should have less stress and don’t worry about aches and pains, she said. In other words, she did very little and was of almost no practical help whatsoever. If I want to actually feel better, I have to come up with the money for massage, herbs and acupuncture, and see a comedy act or funny move or TV show. Laughter is the best medicine, next to actual good medical care, which you have to be rich to get in America.

I’m toying with signing up for a gym at an affordable price to access the swimming pool, hot tub and exercise machines. Biking by itself isn’t enough to get into the shape I want. They say 80% of weight loss is dietary, but I could switch things up and probably burn more calories. That might cut into bike time, but it may be worth it. After all, no one really cares about my silly mileage goal except me. Then again, I could just take hot baths, do exercises at home and save the money and hassle of going back and forth to the gym.

Thursday, I’m signed up for a call about how to blog for others and get paid, and it’s also the Writers League of Texas monthly panel. Although it’s on fiction writing, I may go. It’s always good to be around other writers. Then again, I finally got access to Netflix again. So I have a lot of fiction writing to read. Does reading the subtitles on The Walking Dead and other shows I’ve been missing count as reading? I think so, because I read it somewhere. Oh yeah, right here, because I just wrote it. Reading rocks! But so does watching Michonne, Daryl, Carol and gang take on zombies.

Someone wrote this on a sign. It was I.

In more somber news, we’ll be having a ride of remembrance for Merry Kathryn (aka Cookie) Daye, who died last month after being hit in the bike lane. The driver is still on the loose, thought they found the truck. It won’t bring her back, but hopefully it will be a good turnout with some City Council members and media to draw attention to the lack of protected bike lanes. I’m proud of bringing some people together to make it happen. I should have a special report over the weekend. If you’re in Austin, please come to this ride Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 4:30-6:00 pm starting and ending at the Mueller Hangar. Here’s the link; please publicize it, especially if you can’t make it.

Stay frosty and alert!

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