611.8 Miles in November 2020. Oh Yeah: 5,999.9 Miles in 11 Months of 2020!

Penultimate. I used to think that meant a really great writing instrument. (Actually, I didn’t; I just made up that pun right now.) Anyway, November has ended, and December has begun. Eleven months down, one to go. I’ve already surpassed the number of miles from my second longest year, the first one I kept records. That was 5,306 miles in 2016, and now I’m on the cusp of 6,000 miles for 2020. Since I’ve already achieved my huge goal of the equivalent of once around the equator (24,901 miles), anything else is gravy. Yummmm…. gravy. Anyway, here’s a short review of my statistics from last month.

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Happy Native American Heritage Day, on Black Friday, After White(wash) Thursday

November is Native American Heritage Month in the US, and the fourth Friday in November is Native American Heritage Day. Unfortunately, it’s known more for being the biggest shopping day, aka Black Friday (which has nothing to do with African-Americans). And it comes on the heels of Thanksgiving, aka Un-Thanksgiving or National Day of Mourning. In the 2010 Census, almost 3 million Americans identified as indigenous, and another 2 million said they were indigenous and another race. I’m well aware I’m a white person writing about people of color, so before I go any further, here’s a good interview with Simon Moya-Smith, an Oglala Lakota journalist. Go give that a quick read and then come back. I’ll wait.

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Do Fitness Trackers Have a Dark Side? The Exercise Strikes Back

Unless you’ve been living under Iraq and haven’t read my stuff before, you know I got into using a fitness tracker at the same time I began this blog. A look at my list of post titles will show many with numbers of miles I’ve ridden the day before, that week, month or year. And while my Garmin vivoactive 3 music watch and the Strava application have certainly helped motivate me and keep me accountable, there are also some negatives. Aside from the data and privacy concerns, who’s the servant and who’s the master? Welcome to the Dark Side, Luke. And by Luke, I mean you.

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The Coronacles of Blarneya, Part II

Back when the coronavirus which becomes the disease COVID-19 pandemic was just six weeks old (the length of the lockdown in Austin, Texas), I wrote Part I of this title. If you were here for that long, rambling and meandering post (or go read It now), you may recall a sense of aimless wandering. You might have been right about that. In many ways, we as a human race were doing that long before this outbreak. Now we are clearly fumbling our way through this waking nightmare, bad movie, or really, just stark reality. So as the band War sang,

Take a little trip, take a little trip
Take a little trip and see
Take a little trip, take a little trip
Take a little trip with me

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Bicycle Night Ride with a Friend in Austin, Texas

Autumn in Austin has been pretty spectacular thus far. Little rain, warm temperatures, and sunny skies. While the dryness isn’t good for plants or the water supply, it is good for bicycling. As the coronavirus pandemic continues for the eighth month (stay at home shelter orders began here in March), getting outside for some fresh air and sunshine have been essential for staying healthy and sane. Most of my rides are solo, but I’ve had the good fortune of being joined by several friends. One such ride the other night was fairly routine for me but pretty good for one of my dudes.

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Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude

As mentioned recently, I moved nearer to the University of Texas, with which I have some history. In the last week I’ve come to appreciate some of the advantages of my new location. B.C. (Before Coronavirus), I didn’t have much of a travel budget. If I were a rich man… Since I’m not, I tend to move around Austin, Texas every time my renter’s lease expires. And while it’s not an exotic locale, every location brings with it differences, physical and otherwise. A new abode brings new opportunities to ride my bike in different places, and to explore and expand other horizons, external and internal.

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Slow Biking Is Beautiful

Fast is not something I’ve ever claimed I am on a bicycle, or in life in general. That comes with the territory, for me at least. Sure, there are times when I get up to some pretty fast speeds, all downhill, of course. I reached 50.5 miles per hour downhill at Bike Night at Circut of the Americas was my highest. That’s like, hit a pebble or mess up and go to the hospital fast. But most of the time I’m ambling along averaging 10 miles per hour. I’m fine with that. You ask me, overall, slow is the way to go. And here’s why.

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The University of Texas at Austin and Me: A Short Autobiography

Living in Austin, the Capital of Texas as A Dude does, I regularly pass through this leading educational institution on my bicycle. I also tend to take it for granted. Now that I’ll be living closer to it, I expect to be seeing more of the sprawling place, especially on my daily walks. But my ties to UT (you tee) go back many years, before I was even born. I’ve been musing about this and if you don’t mind, I’ll share some thoughts with you here. Or even if you do mind. Go Longhorns!

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Don’t Trust a President Who Said “I’ll Never Ride a Bicycle”

Today is November 3, 2020. In the United States, it’s Election Day. Either the country will re-elect the incumbent President or the former Vice President. (Or maybe the Russians will manipulate some people to do their bidding.) The point is, it’s a big deal. Why? Because of the scope of radical changes #45 has made, most of which most of the US is about to pass judgment on.

But this is a bike blog, and while the personal is political, I don’t like to irritate readers who may be from across the aisle. I also pull no punches if I do write about politics. In the end, it’s a choice each registered voter has to make for themselves, while hopefully considering the greater good. But only one of the two candidates rides a bike, so it’s a no-brainer.

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