It’s that time of the month, again. The 11th, that is, which is when I began biking every single day back in October of 2019. For some reason, I cain’t quit you, bicycling. That streak will be tested Monday, when we might see the coldest temperatures in a decade and three to five inches of snow — in Austin, Texas. I may have to pull out the old metal home trainer stand and do my 14.3 miles* in the relative warmth of the inside. I say relative because this house leaks air like the White House press office, and the space heaters can’t keep up. Anyway, the miles add up, although at a slower pace than last year. That’s thanks to having a smaller goal, a niggling injury, and my old frequent friend, fatigue. Plus, the cold does slow one down. Don’t get me started on how my body seems unable to handle cold very well anymore, for whatever mysterious reason. Still, I bike, because, well, you know: a dude abikes.
*Why 14.3 miles a day? Well, seven of those makes 100 miles per week, and 50 of those weeks make 5,000 miles per year. While I have reduced my goal this year to have more time to do other stuff, I still have time to add on to my 10-mile rides. And old habits die hard. It’s easier to pedal than, say, organize my papers, or make a complicated recipe, or scrub the tub. I rationalize it that getting outside, even when the weather isn’t ideal, is important for health at all levels. I breathe the air, absorb what Vitamin D there may be, see other humans (sometimes I even exchange a few words with them!), purchase groceries, check my post box, visit a doctor, or just see the sights. There were four goal posts, if you will in my last post, Tom Brady, Bicyclist: Lessons from the G.O.A.T. Quarterback: 1) Focused Discipline, 2) Prioritize Health, 3) Teamwork, Teamwork, Teamwork, and 4) He’s Not Perfect, But He Keeps Bouncing Back. I ain’t no fortunate son, but I suppose I arrive to do enough of each of those things to be able to keep going, even if it’s just as a slow fathlete. I’m going way faster and farther than everyone just sitting on their recliner. I do that, too.
But you might well ask, “Dude, is biking every day really necessary?” Good question. I have other options for getting around, many days I don’t need to go anywhere, And other days I just don’t feel like it. There is still this pandemic thing you may have heard about, wherein we’re supposed to stay home. At my advancing age, staying home is way up there on my favorite things to do (except when it’s freaking freezing inside). But I put on the space heaters, do my yoga, cook my meals, read my book and the internet, have some tea or snacks, use this here computer machine to write, join a Zoom meeting, and hang out with my old friend the television. I can’t complain, but I do. And if you have something to say about all that, as one Jeffrey Lebowski famously said, “Well, that’s just, like, you know, your opinion, man.”
Why keep writing a blog about biking? Especially without a huge list of followers — and more importantly, readers — or any income? I wonder that myself. I could and probably should (a word I never cared for) be focusing on things like getting my book done and out there and a job to keep the wolves at bay (and they’re a howling, that’s for sure!). Blogging has become habit like my biking, walking, and yoga. I enjoy reading fellow bloggers when I can, and chatting with them, too. So for now, I just keep going. If one thing is clear to everyone by now, any day can be our last. That’s always been the case, but it seems a lot harder to ignore than during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. I’ll just continue for now, barring an unexpected case of rigor mortis. Like Monty Python said, “No one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition!” Or the plague. Well, President Obama and scientists did, bit nobody really listened.
I was asked if I still enjoy biking, and the answer is yes — and also, it’s work. It’s outdoors usually, that’s why they call it a work out. Also, because it’s a good time to work things out — in your mind. Biking requires balance, too. And since most people despise former Austinite and unlicensed pharmaceutical agent Lance Armstrong, it could be spelled bah-lance. Anyway, joking aside, biking daily is a balancing act. It takes time, preparation, and planning — and then the effort takes its toll. No one’s making me do it, so I don’t say that looking for sympathy. It’s just what is. It’s what I do, for now.
Finding motivation to keep going isn’t necessary once something becomes part of you. Take my friend who was slacking off for basically.a few years. One day he woke up fatter than he’s ever been, so he decided to not just take my advice but to follow my example. He started walking every day, usually 30 minutes, sometimes less, sometimes more. He built up his stamina and strength, and the other day he passed 100 days in a row of walking. In fact, he walked over seven miles. We like streaks aka #DontBreakTheChain here, and sometimes that’s what is necessary to really establish a practice so that it becomes second nature. I like to take all the credit for his win, save for the little teensy bit where he was the one who actually moved his legs. Just kidding; great job, dude!
In the end, what any of us choose to.do is mostly up to us. My particular regimen is mine, and yours is yours. Here and there I hear I’ve helped someone try to do more than they thought they could. That doesn’t pay the bills, but it warms the cockles of my cold, blue heart. But seriously, we’re all just doing time here on planet earth, and during these wacky days, some days, a short walk, a slow 10-mile bike ride, or a gentle yoga session are all we can do. Do your best, forget the rest. But do something, move your body, shake that booty, and you’ll usually feel better, and it’s good for you. You may surprise yourself and set some personal bests, go down a new street, or meet an interesting neighbor. Worst case, you might find a little bit of happiness in the process. It’s 2021, we’re still allowed to have some fun!
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