A Day in the Life of a Bike Dude

Woke up late, still thinking about last night’s viewing of Lucy in the Sky, written by fellow Austinite Noah Hawley of the TV show Fargo. Based on true events, Natalie Portman returns from 10 days in space and finds that life on earth is just, well, meh. She has an affair with fellow astronaut Jon Hamm and things get a bit less boring. Inventive cinematography, beautifully filmed, interesting story, and well-acted, but not greatly reviewed. Who cares about what critics think? I liked it. That has nothing to do with biking, except A Dude likes movies after his bike rides.

Brushed the teeth, washed the face, drank some water. Threw on some clothes and zipped the third of a mile through the park, over the rough roads, to Clown Dog Bikes. The owner and only other worker of the tiny but might shop near the University of Texas were opening up and putting out Fairdales for sale. We had a quick chat with our masks on, and I left Sophie the Weekender Archer for some new brake pads which were long overdue. Walked home. Some people with their dogs, kids, or both. Other cyclists, the Eeyore statue, neighbors having autumn leaves blown about, delivery trucks, a few students. A fall Friday in Austin, Texas.

Had my usual banana then dark chocolate (good for binding with the virus proteins, I read somewhere). Logged onto the weekly job search club. A required activity to receive my dwindling dole from the gummint. Today was holiday gathering but on Zoom. Advice from a state guy about said dole. An ugly sweater contest, a festive dress contest, some readings, and gift cards. I snagged one, fortunately. Chatting about people’s searches. No answers to life’s big questions, but it was good to connect with people, even in two dimensions.

Texts came in: the bike needs a new front disc rotor. How much? Wow, $110, really? Well, hmm, I thought it was $20. No, that’s just one set of brakes. Called another shop. The answer was no, we don’t have any in. They’d have to order it and I would pay shipping. Called Clown Dog back. OK, go ahead. Alright, we’ll keep the price low. Another text says it’s ready. I retrace my steps. I pass a fraternity house and the boys are acting up, carrying on. One yells that it’s drinking time. The shop guys explain what they did. The rotor was a special order that was never picked up, so it was a freebie worth $50. I couldn’t believe it and asked several times if they were sure they were ok with that. Yes, no problem.

A couple bought an inner tube and the owner said they weren’t taking tips. People were having a hard time and they were there just to get people back on the road, he said. Blanche Dubois’s famous words from Streetcar came to mind, “Whoever you are — I’ve always always relied on the kindness of strangers.” I thanked him profusely and we chated a bit more. I made sure to ask what kind of wine he liked, thinking I would definitely be using some of the savings for some holiday cheer of the drinkable spoiled grape juice variety. (See 9 Tips Why You Should Buy Tip Beer for Your Bicycle Mechanic)

I completed the second part of my daily 36 minute, 1.5-mile walk. The grey skies were making me sleepy. Back at home, I realized I was very tired and fading fast. Maybe I ate something, and read some news, while I tried to psyche myself up for my daily ride. But I just couldn’t. No point in fighting the fatigue. I went to my twin mattress on the cold wooden floor and plopped down. Soon I was out for a tasty afternoon nap. It’s not like I had to be at work or anywhere else.

Waking, somewhat refreshed, I got my bib shorts, new to me Giro bike shoes with the orange laces, and other accoutrements on. Finally out the door around 5 pm, I headed east into the greying evening. At least it was in the 60’s, I thought. But not half a mile from home sprinkles started falling. I turned around and retrieved my rain pants and put on my shoe covers and jacket. Satisfied I would survive whatever light rain might fall, I continued on my way. Like the Terminator in the movies scanning for Sarah Conner, I searched my mental database for places to go. A route began to form in my mind, east toward the YMCA and the Southern Walnut Creek Trail.

The rest of the ride went uneventfully. I stamped out the miles on the pedals, not at a high speed, but it was a bit like being on auto-pilot. Stopping for a snack. Avoiding potholes, glass, cars and pedestrians. Passing through downtown, looking at the people brave or dumb enough to be out going to restaurants. Not really having to think about where I was going except to make my usual rectangular or boxy map in the Strava fitness app. As a part of my surroundings and simultaneously detached, I was always moving forward.

Eventually I arrived home. Another 20 miles in the books. Adding pictures and words to my activity. Giving thumbs up to others. Put on layers and turning on the space heater, I did my daily yoga. Made dinner — pork chops, quinoa and pinto beans with salsa and yogurt on corn cakes. Needed something green, I know. Read some fellow bloggers on WordPress Reader. Rootchopper made it his third year in a row achieving 10,000 miles. Wow, that’s impressive! I congratulated him but also noted for myself as much as the two other commenters that comparisons aren’t really useful. We all just do our best and whatever mileage that turns out to be is great for us.

Sat down to write this blog. THE END.

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