Welp, after almost two-thirds of 1,000 blog posts, it seems like a good time to take the pause that refreshes. Which the astute observer would have noticed that I’ve been sorta doing for the last couple of months already, anyway. Spring has sprung in Central Texas, so it’s a good time to examine where I’ve been, and where I’m going, not just with blogging, or biking, yoga-ing, walking, reading, fluting, etc., but life. A little metaphorical housecleaning, so to speak. (Actually clean house? Pshaw! That’s for suckers.) And who could begrudge a dude the chance to step back after six years and six hundreds of blogs? So forthwith, posthaste, and inmediatamente, let’s get skippy with it. (By the way, after this mention, this post will be Will Smith and slap-free. I’m Team Chris Rock all the way. Fuck you for ruining the Oscars, Little Willie. Get your face offa my TV and movie screens and go for some goddam anger management!)
Before going any further, I STRONGLY encourage you to check out my post from last year at this time: MEDIA ALERT: Introducing Strava S.O.F.T. And, to please think about making a donation (of any amount you can manage) to cover replacement costs my dear departed bicycle, as well as the costs of this blog. If you didn’t catch that post, it’s here: SOPHIE STOLEN! Beloved Bicycle Boosted By Brazen Burglar! (+ How You Can Help). Here’s the real live Donate button which will go through a trusted friend of mine who’ll get it to me. A hearty thanks to the half a dozen folks who’ve gotten me a bit closer to my goal!
Thanks to the forces of evil, whether it’s the dude affiliated with that triple six in my title or more likely his miserly millionaire minions — real estate developers and their ilk (including our allegedly liberal mayor) making Austin rent prices rocket sky-high — the time of being able to live as a slacker (see my recent FILM REVIEW: Slacker (1991, Austin, and I) in Austin, Texas, has pretty well gone the way of the Armadillo (World Headquarters.) AWH was one of many music venues lost to time due to the times, they are a-changing, though not lost to the memory of those who were there. It was before my time, so I was not. But it’s just become too damn expensive to live here without making a pot of money, or working all the time, or maybe both. So when I look around at things to cut back on time an effort, this blog is one. Writing be like, kinda hard n’ stuff, ya’ know? Three or sometimes two posts a week may not seem like much, but if you are also a blogger, you know that they can take a good bit of time and energy to conceive, create, edit, link to, etc. And time is money.
That brings up another cause for taking a step back: my powers on the bicycle have receded, as have they in general, for various reasons. Age, health challenges, and just doing A LOT of miles for over six years. (I just hurt my back moving scooters out of the bike lane — thanks, lazy ass University of Texas students!) Actually, I’ve Bicycled About 45,000 Miles in 17 Years, by one count from 2005-present. Not only did the thief who absconded with my trusty bicycle take my main gal pal, he burgled a good chunk of my enthusiasm for bicycling. At some subconscious level I’m still grieving the loss. No slight to Sonnie, the GT Arette, the first bike with whom I began this journey back in January of 2015 doing my first charity ride of 50 miles. Don’t get me wrong — I’m GRATEFUL (that’s for you, Linda, a nice new follower who has a neat new blog called ARTiculation).
Before her kidnapping, Sophie and I had just recently had a chat about just passing 20,000 miles. (It’s a fun imaginary convo I had with her you should really check out). If she were flesh and blood, not a machine, you might say we were a pretty bonded pair, a cute couple, two peas in a pod. I mean, 20,000 miles, are you kidding me? For a fat, middle-aged guy who never felt the need, the need for speed, that’s a ton of time spent on the bike. Even though Sonnie has more gears, she’s a less comfortable fit and fewer features, there’s just no comparison to Sophie; they’re different. Yet, I still ride, albeit slower due to thicker tires, heavier frame, and so on. I’m still aiming for about 15 miles a day. And we are getting better. Here are some shots of Sonnie. (I refer to my bikes as female because of the probably sexist tradition of naming ships that way; being a cis-gendered male-identified and currently un-partnered human, I do respect and like the ladies. No harm is intended.)
By the way, in case you were wondering what I’ve been doing, one thing should come as no surprise: I’ve been riding my bicycle every single damn day. I just passed 900 days in a row of bicycling. Don’t believe me? Check it out on my Strava, the fitness tracking app. (If you’re not already following me there, by all means feel free; that is one way to keep up with A Dude Abikes. Sometimes I post little mini-blogs as part of my activities or other short posts there.) I’m also still, every single day (or night): eating a salad, eschewing flour products, reading 30′, writing 30′ (in my journal, mostly), walking 30′, doing yoga 30′ (which I’m at over eight years now), and playing flute 15′. Plus, I’m working on some community bike projects and activism and advocacy. All of that takes time. A job will rob me of a lot of freedom.
Speaking of Strava, a cyclist in London named Leonard Lee, who’s a bigger fathlete than I, with a WAY bigger following than I, just completed biking 90 days in a row. Sure, it was often just 1 kilometer, but he was sick twice, and hey, one does what one can. In that regard, I’ve got him 10 times over. Comparisons are inevitable. But “Comparison is the death of joy,” said the Buddha. By the way, he makes some very nice videos, has a droll delivery that I think is funny, and has 45,800 followers on his YouTube channel, too. (I think I have one video and 0 followers. Maybe I’ll change that.) Anyway, big phat props to LL for being fat and all that. All bodies are good bodies to be bicycling, if able.
As for me, in addition to the requirement to raise more revenue and the lowered levels of physical, emotional, and mental energy, the other main reason to step back from blogging is that I want and need to finish my damn book, a bicycle memoir. Writing a blog, a journal, posts on places like Strava, Next Door, or LinkedIn, not to mention texts and emails, is a lot. It’s been keeping me from re-revising my manuscript. And that is really the key point of this “retirement.” (And, because I want you to go read this post, and this paragraph had no link in it, here’s a post I like, called My Morning Chocolate: The Dark Master). Speaking of sweet treats…
Over the last few months I’ve been fortunate to make two acquaintances in the writing community. We meet most Saturdays at coffee shops to write, occasionally interrupting with a thought, question, comment, or joke. (I get tea or hot chocolate.) At the end, we may read a page aloud, like Owen Egerton’s One Page Salon. These are two great, smart, nice guys who’ve helped me a lot, because I basically have not been working on revising the book outside of the confines of our trio. Reviser’s block, I call it. The senior of the two asked me why I didn’t quit the blog to finish the book. I said because I like blogging, which is true. But, somewhat unbeknownst to me, that idea took root in the root cellar of my addled brain. So I’m going to doing just that. To work on the book daily, as well as journal, or at least to alternate the two.
By the way, I could really use an agent, an editor, and a publisher — and a hefty book advance, to boot. If you’re such a unicorn who is out there reading this, let me hear from you!
What else? Well, the blog itself is accomplishing only part of what it was intended to do. First and foremost, it was a way to tell the stories and explore the thoughts that came out of my bicycling practice. That expanded to be more about the lifestyle of other practices, and the Austin bike community, sometimes racism, films, books, and whatever. Also, it was a good way to get in my daily writing practice. The book came out of the blog. Nowadays, you can’t have a successful book be published by a major industry player without having social media followers. Or so one is told.
However, because I don’t use the traditional socials (I rather despise Facey Spacey, Twit-er, and Instagorge, for their vapid, hate-filled, privacy-violating, data-harvesting, crapfest they often are) to promote this blog, it has stayed relatively small. To date there are only 660 or so followers, and most never read actually it. Plenty just like the posts without reading. I didn’t know I was expected to do a lot of engagement with readers and writers of other blogs (which I really do enjoy when I can find the time). But this is required to generate legions of rabid fans waiting with bated breath for my next words of wisdom.
But again, back to the filthy lucre: not having enough eyeballs means no ad revenue, sponsors, or the like means that monetizing this blog was never going to be likely without much more popular content and promotion. And landlords and grocery stores and doctors won’t take payment in words. Would that I could get an intern like Kramer in Seinfeld. They could do all my SM. (A Steve Martin reference: “Sure, I love Spaniards and Mexicans!”) I once saw a show by the real guy, Kenny Kramer, and he was, well, to quote Regis Philbin in the coffee table book that turns into a coffee table episode, “Bonkos!”)
In that vein, the recent request for donations for Sophie and to help with the cost of this blog only resulted in half a dozen gifts. While much appreciated, they do not approach what is necessary for a new bike, nor do they cover the annual WordPress membership, different cost for site hosting, and chiefly, my time and effort. That’s ok, I’m no Fat Cyclist. But donations are still accepted and needed, so down below again is that button for you to smash if you’re able. And again, thanks to you half dozen who already did – you know who you are. (If you’d like to be publicly thanked, please let me know and I’ll update that information here.)
Another way to follow me is at Goodreads, where you can track what you have read and want to read, write reviews, recommend books to your friends, and more. (That link expires in 30 days, which I may refresh.) Another thing you could do to stay in touch is to send me a Gmail to the name of this blog. I don’t want spam or spiders, so I’ve spelled it out on my About page. Maybe I’ll start a newsletter for people to not read. I get a ton. But who knows? Maybe Yoga With Adriene levels of followers are out there waiting for A Dude to get on YouTube. I’m cute, but I’m no Adriene.
There’s much more to say, but that’s the problem. TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) is a real thing with short attention spans these days. My think pieces may amuse a few folks, and that’s not nuthin’. But to get the… Rest of the Story… you’ll have to wait to buy the book someday, with any luck.
I’ll also say THANK YOU to every one of you who has ever read, commented on, liked, or shared a post. Without you I would have been truly shouting into the wind. I appreciate you. Please peruse my catalog of 666 blog posts going back to January 2016. And although as I wrote in In Bike I Trust: the Faith of An Agnostic Atheist Cyclist (hopefully that’s not threatening to your belief system), I do feel WordPress brings people together in virtual community to share and learn from different perspectives. If you’re a blogger, best wishes in your ongoing writing. Maybe I’ll pop in from time to time to see what you’re doing. Be good to yourself and those around you, alright?
And like my inspiration, just remember the words of the Narrator in The Big Lebowski (like its star Jeff “THE Dude” Bridges, who is thankfully in remission from cancer), which I paraphrase:
“It’s good to know A Dude Abikes is out there. A dude abides.”–Ethan and Joel Cohen
Respectfully submitted on 01.04.22*,
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