Wandering and Wondering Through a Winter… Whateverland

The fourth season is upon us, and my mind and mood have turned pensive and inward upon themselves. Navigating the chilling winds of winter by bicycle, or metaphorically, each have their challenges. Even though it’s still near record temperatures and shorts weather, the university students have decamped to their hometowns, lending a quiet to the city. Yet there is all the busy-ness of the haul-idays, people be shopping like fiends. People will tell you this season is about one particularly religious holiday. Others will says it’s just winter, and still more think it’s about being neighborly. But really, let’s be honest here. Isn’t supporting the American economy — particularly it’s multinational corporations — what Christmastime is really about?

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A Chat with Sophie the Fairdale at 20,000 Miles + 800 Consecutive Days of Bicycling

It’s a pair of milestones this time for A Dude Abikes and his trusty steed, Sophie, the Fairdale Weekender Archer. I won her in a raffle from Bike Austin back in 2017, though I didn’t start riding her exclusively until January of 2018. On Sunday, we passed 20,000 miles, according to the Gear setting on Strava, the fitness app (which means “to strive” in Swedish.) As it turned out, it happened the day after 800 days I bicycled in a row. Two years, two months and 10 days if you’re wondering.

There was some major effort involved, and with that some pain and suffering, that’s for sure. They’re all part of attaining these big numbers and worth commemorating. I’m not really tooting my horn here as much as I’m just reporting the facts. It’s another step on my journeys both on the bike and here in the pages of this blog.

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Days of A Dude: Doldrums and Dissatisfaction

Oh, hello there. It’s A Dude here. Not THE Dude. Just A Dude. Obviously I’m not Jeff Bridges, the star of The Big Lebowski. I don’t bowl, drink White Russians, wear a robe with Jellies sandals, smoke herbal cigarettes, or say “man” all the time. So on this point we must be clear. At least that’s what the lawyers tell me, in order to keep a certain pair of famous movie mogul brothers off my kiester. or Tuchus. Buttocks. Ass. Back (as in “baby got…”). Behind. Bottom. Butt. Backside. Derriere. Fanny. Fundament. Pooter. OK, there sure are a lot of synonyms for the Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus aren’t there? Actually, I’d love it if they read my blog and hired me to be a screenwriter, to star in their films, or to work for them in some other capacity. Well, I guess it’s not clear where this post is going. You might say I’m dude-ling. (Get it? Like doodling?) I digress.

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Resuscitation of an Austin Ghost Bike, Part 2

Part 1 is at this link if you missed it. The short version is I and a few folks are reinstalling a bicycle that’s a memorial for a woman killed while working on her bike in the bike lane in December 2019. Her name was Merry “Cookie” Daye. This is the rest of the story.

Previous posts are linked here (Austin Bicyclist Death #4…) and here (Silent Ride of Remembrance).

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Most of the Movies I’ve Seen in 2021

One can easily find lists of movies about bicycles; I don’t have much to add to that. That wacky coronavirus pandemic stage went down to 3 but is really 2, I’ve been vaccinated and wear a mask (except on the occasion I get popcorn), and theaters have large seats spaced far apart, and attendance has been low. So I’ve ventured out to a number of movies that aren’t about bikes. I watch plenty of shows and the occasional movie at home, but there’s nothing like seeing a flick on the big screen, especially with a friend. We’ll be living with this stupid virus for probably a long time (for reasons we all know about), so it becomes endemic. We can cower in fear or live our lives and trust science and take reasonable precautions. Because like the Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Our Man in Chicago) posits in the independent film I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, a life without cheese, or movies, is not worth living. So here are a few thoughts about most of the talkies I’ve seen this year.

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What I’m Reading in Autumn 2021, by A Dude Abooks

It’s been a minute, or actually a season, since I checked about what I’m reading. That’s for two reasons. One is that it’s not a list of which I’m terribly proud. The other being, well, I start these sort of series posts and lose steam or in this case, just hadn’t thought about it lately. But now I have so just try to stop me. This year I made reading books 30 minutes or more a day a goal, and as far as I know I’ve got a perfect record. (Daily to me means before going to bed.) So let’s look at the list.

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Resuscitation of an Austin Ghost Bike, Part 1

Two years ago almost at this time, a woman tragically was killed by a hit and run driver. He was never caught. Her mistake was having her bike trailer break down in the middle of the night and trying to fix it in the bike lane. She was a woman named Merry Daye who lived on the streets of Austin, Texas. Thousands of others still are without housing, thanks to the unaffordable rent and other reasons that cause this situation for so many worldwide. After her death, I organized a ghost bike and memorial ride. Her family came and spoke, and the TV news covered it. Recently, someone liberated the bike from the tree by the church. I live nearby and noticed. So this bike is back in the story of my bicycle journey, and with it, Merry.

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November 2021 Strava Stats; One Month to Go

December is here in all its tawdry commercial tinsel and glitter, saying “Hey everybody, look at me, I’ve got Bodhi Day, Chanukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve!” To that I say, Curb your enthusiasm, December.” But for this dude, it’s just that same time of month, i.e., the first, in which I sometimes recount what I did the previous month on bike, foot, and yoga mat. So let’s see how I did.

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National Native American Heritage Day and Month… and Bicycles

My last post was a mashup: a rant about commercialism and the whitewashing of the true history of Thanksgiving but also the good part of the holiday (gratitude). In keeping with that (Great) spirit and my belief that racism is you know, like, bad (der), it’s time to celebrate the next in a series mentioning the obvious but overlooked fact. That is, that people of color ride bikes just like this and many other white dudes and dudettes. We’ve taken a look at cycling in the Asian, Latino/a, and African American cultures, now it’s time for Americas First Peoples. Disclaimer: I’m a white person, and I’m not attempting to speak for anyone except myself. But I learned a lot researching this, and hopefully you will, too.

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A Dude Is In the Mood for Some Gratitude

What better time to count our blessings but the national orgy of food, booze, and sloth? One that’s based on a false history involving dining peacefully while in reality White settlers were oppressing the indigenous Native Americans known as Thanksgiving. Don’t forget watching overpaid millionaires beat the hell out of each other on television, also while insulting Natives. (You finally ditched your racist mascot, Washington Football Team, but I’m looking at you, Kansas City Chiefs). Turkey Day proceeds our other orgy of consumption: buying stuff on Black Friday. But for many, it’s Buy Nothing Day. Also in protest, you can commemorate the National Day of Mourning. (Watch the Livestream at 1 pm Eastern.)

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