55-Mile 2020 Birthday Bike Ride with Friends; 5,009 Miles for the Year

To commemorate my birthday I’ve gone on longer bike rides for the last few years. Last year it was cold and rainy, so I only got in part of it, and went for the full distance a week later. But I still managed to git ‘er done. This year, the weather was dry and hot with a high of 99 F. Despite the heat, I wore a mask the entire time I was near friends or other riders. It’s a bloody pandemic that’s killed a million people, people! Here’s a short report with photos for your enjoyment, edification, education, etc.

See this ride on Strava. Copyright Strava

Traditions can be negative things that have too much baggage, nostalgia or other obsolete trappings of the past. They can also be positive. While it’s always a lot of effort, for me the last four years of bday bike rides have been a good thing. Of course the dry weather helped, as did the joining of friends.

First up was Bruce, who’s a bit older but far fitter than I. A former runner, he walks, hikes and swims a lot. After making sure I was out of bed, he biked over on his nice Trek mountain bike. He had no padded shorts or bike jersey, and no clips on his shoes – – an you imagine? we got on the road. A potential other rider was going to join us but had two broken bikes and was going out of town, so he passed.

A big part of the ride has been going around to get free stuff, mostly food. I was going to stop at Denny’s to get my free breakfast, but they required you to eat inside and my friend isn’t a Denny’s guy, so I figured I could go back later. I never did but no big loss. Alas, a lot of places that normally I’d go to are now sadly closed: Capitol City Comedy Club, I Luv Video, Vulcan Video and others. I hadn’t really planned out a route and since giving up flour many of the food options are off-limits. So it wasn’t as big a quest as usual.

Bruce and I headed south and east toward the Southern Walnut Creek Trail. We had to get there on time to meet the next rider, who is a bit of a stickler with time although he was late on this day. Anyway, shortly before that, Bruce noticed he had a somewhat flat tire. We couldn’t find an obvious leak, so concluded it was a slow leak. He decided to head home, and about 25 miles was plenty for him.

Arriving at the park, I found Rhodney, who has now joined me on three successive birthday rides. His wife had made me a smoothie again, which I was happy to receive after missing breakfast. Setting off at an easy pace, since R is an older dude who is not in a hurry, we traveled up the trail for a while. It was a pretty busy day but we managed to have a chat for much of the ride. Returning after our mid-way point, we arrived at the house of the next riders.

Rafael had accepted the invitation thinking he’d be riding his tandem bike with his partner Jenni, but she wasn’t feeling great so it was just him. He also informed me that he had a strained muscle and I noticed he was riding his fixed wheel (only one gear) bike. In a way, that was a relief, because it made it more of a fair fight. You see, I once joined a ride he led which was above my security clearance and pay grade. Eventually I got dropped. Ever the encourager, he said on this ride he doesn’t think I give myself enough credit. Even though he knows my average speed is around 10 mph, while his is around 15. Anyway, we had a nice time pedaling around East Austin, downtown and then Town Lake.

Before that, we stopped at Amy’s Ice Cream. In years past they would throw you the ice cream with the toppings they had mixed in. Catch it in a bowl, and it’s yours free (they gave me another batch the one time I dropped it). This year they said they weren’t doing it, because of the stupid coronavirus. But we went to a different shop, where the server said it would be criminal for me not to have free ice cream on my birthday. So I had the Zilker Mint Chip with Hot Fudge that had large chunks of dark chocolate was delicious. Yum.

After parting ways I headed home, first stopping at Toy Joy for a free stress ball with the map of the world on it. It seemed fitting for the times we’re in. Arriving home I greeted the final rider of the day, Saurabh. While he got ready, I charged my Garmin watch and refilled my water bottles. To his great relief, since he hasn’t been riding, I had only 10 miles remaining to go. Going around the surrounding neighborhoods at a leisurely pace, it was a good cool down for the day. I got a free water bottle someone had left out after a yard sale, too. It’s really about attracting abundance for fun.

There were no crashes, falls, flats, bonking, sunburn, dog bites, and I made the miles I intended while riding with friends, so it was a successful day. I ended it with a free mango lime frozen margarita on the patio at Trudy’s with Bruce, who kindly treated me to Tex Mex dinner. No one else could make it but it was a good winding down before my walk, yoga and writing.

I was plum tuckered out but pleasantly so. More free stuff is out there like a movie, so I’ll claim that later this month. Maybe next weekend I’ll have a potluck party on the patio with the hot tub for those not into biking. Why not celebrate your birtdhay on just one day? If I last another year on Planet Earth, I hope to be able to do it again next year.

Do you do a bike ride or other special activity on your birthday?

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