If you’re a loyal reader of A Dude Abikes, this may seem like a little deja vu. On October 24, 2019, I wrote Sophie Gets a New Drive Train, and She Rides Like Buttah. Many thousands of miles later (6,666.66 in 2020 alone), she was past due for another replacement of some very worn and pretty filthy parts. You could say that Sophie has been a dirty girl. Grit and grime attach themselves to the oil on the chain, chain ring and cassette. The teeth or cogs wear down, the chain stretches, and tends to slip off when changing gears — especially on hills or high pressure. So I took her to the friendly neighborhood shop that’s been serving the University of Texas for about 20 years, and let the pros at Clown Dog Bikes take care of bidness.Continue reading
I’m not retracting my recent rave review about my Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music smart watch. On tonight’s 26-mile ride, it told me how far away I was from home, mere seconds after I was asking myself that very question. How cool is that? Maybe a little spooky, too. However, Garmin.com and Garmin Connect, the app that syncs with your phone and uploads your activities to Strava the bike and fitness tracker, are down. The word is Garmin were the target of a ransomware attack on Thursday. It’s now early Saturday. If you’re like A Dude, whose goals are tied to tracking data points (especially miles), it’s a big deal. Assuming Garmin fixes things, those activities will be uploaded then. But if you don’t want to wait for Garmin to get its act together, Strava has come to the rescue with an easy way to get your data transferred. Courtesy of A Dude Abikes. You’re most welcome.Continue reading
In the last week or so, I’ve had a bunch of things go wrong with Sophie the Fairdale. Several flats required professional intervention. Now I’m having to get more puncture-resistant tires and they’er not cheap. Ka-ching. My trusty Garmin watch has finally begun to give out because I basically broke the walk and bike functions by using it so much. I’m able to upgrade it even though the warranty is out. More ka-ching. The bike also needed adjustment to the gearing and brakes needed new pads. The Sun & Ski Sports bike shop mechanics say I ride a lot. Apparently I’m in the 90th percentile of people biking. I suppose I do, but I always thought they were being nice, since I know there are plenty of people doing more. One of my mantras is “Comparison is the death of joy,” said the Buddha, but sometimes that’s hard to follow. Anyway, if you ride your bike, repairs and replacement of parts are inevitable.Continue reading
During my ongoing spins around town, at least my neck of the woods, I’ve passed by a few local bike shops (LBS). Given the government shut-down of all non-essential business, it seemed most of the LBS’s were forced to close. Many operate on thin margins, so it’s not good news. But I began thinking: If auto dealers, car repair and auto parts shops are open, isn’t it discriminatory against the car-less and poor to close down the LBS’s?
However, bicycling is an exempt activity from the health department order to stay home. And if you ride a bike, you know you will eventually need new tubes or a professional repair. A reputable source told me that LBS’s are now being considered as important enough to be allowed to stay open, thanks to some advocacy. So I was curious who was open. This is not an exhaustive or authoritative list, and it’s subject to frequent changes. Your mileage may vary — quite literally. Check their websites, social media or call first before biking there.Continue reading
After pedaling 6,860 miles on Sophie, my Fairdale Weekender Archer, she was due for an overhaul. Shifting gears wasn’t hard, but the teeth on the cog were beginning to look like shark teeth — a key indicator they were wearing out. So I took her by Sun and Ski Sports and got a new chain ring, cassette and chain. (A new derailleur is probably next.) This is that story.Continue reading
A friend who did me a big solid (aka favor) the other day has had a bike in a shed collecting cobwebs for a while. He’s been wanting to fix it up but was a little intimidated by going to the community shop, Austin’s own Yellow Bike Project. So I figured I’d help him out by assessing the situation and then get him going on repairs while I paid some attention to the neglected brakes of Sophie, my Fairdale. He’s shy and didn’t want his photograph or name mentioned, but I can still talk about the evening.Continue reading
This evening I headed over to the Austin Yellow Bike Project again. After all the pucking functures of innertubes on my bikes lately, and needing to be frugal, I decided to save money on buying new ones when the ones I had were perfectly good, except for the holes. Finally the weather has turned and we got back into the 60’s, which is really refreshing to we Texans used to 90 degree days and more. It was a delicious temperature to bike in, although only about 4 miles. And since the shop is a big warehouse, it’s good wrenchin’ weathah, to borrow a turn of phrase from my Vermonter friends. Continue reading
Lately I’ve had a string of bad luck with holes in my tires. It’s like Jack Alehurst of Life Behind Bars said, if he were Jerry Seinfeld: “Doncha hate it when you’ve been off your bike for a while and finally decide to go for a ride, only to find it has a flat tire?” Or maybe Robin would say to the caped crusader: “Holy holes, Batman!” Well that’s been a factor for me this last week. Some mysterious, one my fault, and well, it gets frustrating and expensive. So here’s a little recap and then a little advice.
Well, apparently the hordes have spoken, and there is support for me to ride this event, and then some! It will be my third Mamma Jamma Ride. n fact, two generous souls even put in for the whole minimum amount of $300. It’s all for a good cause, to help women in my area (Central Texas, USA), survive and thrive after a diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. I’ve also raised $100 for my registration and bike(s) repair and had help from friends and two bike shops. I say bikes, because I don’t even know which one I’ll ride yet! So there’s lots to do and not much time, but below are a few more details of what it’s like doing a charity ride. And a way for you to donate if you can.
For some time now, my left crank has not matched my right crank. It was making me a little cranky! So tonight I took a spin again to see my friends at the Austin Yellow Bike Project, www.AustinYellowBike.org. The free shop has evening hours and is staffed by helpful volunteers called Coordinators. Pete, Zack and Conti were there to offer pointers. But it’s very much a Do It Yourself affair. Come peek under the hood! Continue reading