The Heat Is On, Again

Summer again approaches Austin, America and well the northern hemisphere. With a 100 degree day forecast, the heat is on, again. It’s been almost a year since my post Surviving the Summer Heat on a Bicycle. While full of useful advice about not just hydration but acclimation and other stuff, there’s no need to repeat it, but feel free check it out. Even knowing what to do to minimize the effects doesn’t change the fact that it’s just sweaty and uncomfortable. In addition, I’ve attended several protests and demonstrations for Black Lives Matter (see posts here and here). One involved a march that was in the hottest part of the day. People were ducking into the shade, and numerous volunteers were handing out water. Add into that the increasing temperatures from global warming, and it’s that least wonderful time of year: summer. How can we make it less of a bummer?

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Bike Ride for Black Lives Matter, Racial Equality, and Justice For All

Word arrived that this bike ride was happening Friday night. My social calendar being empty as always, and not sitting shiva either, it seemed like a good way to reduce some of my white privilege. I’ve been an ally in a variety of causes ever since I was a baby; my mom took me to civil rights protest in Little Rock, Arkansas and Dallas, Texas. I’ve wanted to be solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, but a small number of people hijacked protests with violence, and there has been a disproportionate police response that has put numerous protesters in the hospital. (See my recent post, Nonviolent Justice for George Floyd and Bronna Taylor.) I have not been on a group ride since mandatory stay home orders and social distancing were set up by the health department in mid-March. So while it was risky, I felt that with a mask, staying away six feet or more from others as possible (often not, but most people had masks), and being outdoors, it was worth it. I always am looking for my daily dose of miles and exercise, too. It turned out to be a peaceful and educational night.

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Hey Austinites! Advocate for Protected Bike Lanes on Burnet Road and Congress Avenue

The advocacy and education organization with which I’ve volunteered over the last four years, Bike Austin sent out two recent messages about protected lanes on two major streets. Regular bike lanes are just painted lines on the road. As such, they provide only some protection from cars only if the drivers respect them. (Many do, plenty don’t.) Lanes that use some sort of barrier to separate cars and bikes offer riders protection. For many riders, that is the difference between riding their bike on the street or letting it collect dust in the shed. Because car drivers cannot be trusted, I’m generally for protected lanes, even when they aren’t the most fun or convenient. While they may not be as urgent as other issues, bike lanes can also be a matter of life or death.

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Nonviolent Justice for George Floyd & Breonna Taylor et al. (P.S. I Bicycled 2,500 Miles in 5 Months)

For the record, I join the majority of sentient humans with brains, hearts and consciences — people who know the difference between right and wrong — and oppose the unnecessary and allegedly illegal police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Closer to home, police killed Botham Jean in Dallas and Mike Ramos right here in Austin, That’s just four among the many, Many, MANY more people of color abused and murdered by police brutality and institutional racism. I’m also opposed to violent protesters distracting from the message of nonviolent social justice.

There’s not much more to add that millions of others aren’t already saying. But I will try to speak my truth as a white ally. By the way, there’s a pandemic still going on. Meanwhile, far, Far, FAR lower on the spectrum of things that matter is this. I still rode my bicycle every day in May for a total of 488 miles, averaging 15.74 per day, totaling 2,501 for 2020 thus far. And my knees hurt. Probably from biking every day in May for … you get it. If I do not report this, the government-backed terrorists win. So report I shall. Bear with me as I write a post that may make no sense but has to be said.

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This Day in Cycling History #1

For some reason, I got curious about the history of bicycling and found this website, OnThisDay.com. As it turns out, there were two events important to cycling this weekend. I’m giving you double your pleasure, double your money. The founding of an American cycling association happened May 30, 1868 and the first bike race ever* happened May 31, 1880. So I figured why not delve into them a wee bit? No reason.

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Bicycle Bites, Motion Morsels and Transportation Tidbits

I must have been hungry when I wrote this post, going by the title. But this is not about food you eat while riding your bike. It’s one of those posts wherein I list various random bike stuff, thoughts and news. It’s usually a combination of stuff I did, saw or read about that isn’t enough for its own separate post. The blurbs can be educational, factual, just a slice of life, or even a rant. I bet you’ll find at least one of them interesting. I think I’ll go have a small snack while you keep reading. If you do, thanks!

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I’ll Tell Ya What I’m Watchin’ on My Telly (Part 2)

When I wrote Part 1, I was wondering in the back of my mind if I would ever get around to Part 2. After all, it took me almost a year to complete the profile of bad-ass cyclist Dena Kinate. It always bugged me a little that comic genius Mel Brooks never made a sequel to History of the World Part I. (It’s good to be da king!”) But in the postlude, there was a short snippet of a spaceships in the shape of Stars of David piloted by rabbis. The suggestion was maybe there’d be a movie called “Jews in Space”. But there wasn’t. However, there was Spaceballs, so we’ll settle for that. I digress. Read on.

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Austin Bike News Roundup for May 23, 2020

Despite dire and difficult times, bicycling is still happening. In so.emeays, things are looking up. My last roundup was April 16, 2020. While I don’t claim to know or represent the entire bike scene(s), of course there are still some things to repirt. Here are a few updates on what’s going on in the bike world of Austin, Texas as Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial launch of summer begins.

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What Should You Do When You Hit an Exercise Plateau?

You’ve heard the term. It’s when, despite your best efforts, to improve your [insert exercise – in my case, biking, walking and yoga], you don’t get any better. It’s frustrating. You may want to take an extended break, or even quit. No one would blame you if you did. All that effort seemingly gone up in smoke. I’m no sports psychologist, though I certainly touch on it since it is a big part of the point of this blog is to try to inspire other older, overweight or just less active folks to try doing more. So let’s examine this whole plateau notion, shall we? Well, not in whole, just a few parts. As always, consult a medical professional before doing anything risky for you.

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3 People I Saw Within 6 Miles on 1 Bike Ride

I ran into three people I know in the span of six miles while riding my bike last evening. What are the chances of that, especially with many people staying home because of you, know, the thing? Well, I’ve been in Austin, Texas for 20 years and 16 days. So I have met plenty of people in that time. These three encounters got me to thinking about acquaintances, friends, colleagues, bona fides – in short, the other humans who comprise my community. At a time when the fabric of society is being shredded, while some people sew face masks, what does it mean to be homo sapiens? As George Costanza put it in a Seinfeld episode, “We’re living in a society, here!”

The first in my trio of random encounters was with a fellow volunteer with Bike Austin, who lives around here somewhere. She was a follower of this blog and may still be. It was nice to see her out on a bike ride with a mask, which like mine was down since we were far enough apart. She asked how I was and I asked her the same; she’s well, doing her job, but from home. We parted and wished each other well.

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