6/6/2022: What’s Been Going On, Dude?

I’m out of retirement, but I’m tired. Long story, but not time to tell it all. Let’s just say life has intervened and conspired to reduce my availability for kicking ass, taking names, and doing chores. So a short monthly post is all I can and care to must for now. A little dab o’ Dude’ll do ya, right?

I was going to call this the Bike Up, in response to Sorryless’s excellent Run Down. But it doesn’t work, so I’m just using what you see. Not sorry. But the concept is the same, if not achieving the quality take downs and inspirational stories that my East Coast blog brother does.

One thing that happened was Safe Streets Austin had it’s debutante ball, as it were. A merger of Bike Austin, Walk Austin, and Vision Zero, some politicos came out and made speeches, including Hizzoner himself and our one black City Council Member. (Thanks tothe racist “gentleman’s agreement” that’s still sort of in place, although Natasha Harper-Madison is a she [I’m supposing her pronouns, I know.]) Here are some photos.

The food was good, as was the fellowship with fellow active transportation activists, some of which I’d not seen since the Before Times. As for the words and all, well, they sounded nice. We need more bike lanes, better sidewalks, fewer traffic deaths. But Natasha, the black Council Member in the blue dress said it well, “Which of these things is not like the other?” referring to the sea of white people . And she’s right, the organization is mostly white. That has to change if it wants to be relevant to all communities who use the roads. By the way, why is the name about streets, not people, being safer? And why does the logo not even have cyclists or pedestrians, but no people at all? Weird is our middle name here, but still.

Trusted ride buddy Rhodney was back from his sabbatical and were were also joined Alan, former lord of the land for A Dude. The latter did errands and is camera shy anyway, but the Rhod-man isn’t. Food was eaten, convos were had, and plans made. Free food never hurts.

In other news, I’m still doing all my daily activities: biking, walking, yoga, flute practice, reading, writing (book is going, but slowly), eating a salad not eating bread products. Someday I hope swim and lift weights. But not until I can get my mojo back.

In other news, we had a bike rider with the last name Armstrong do something very bad and illegal. It’s a woman who allegedly murdered a pro bike rider Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson, who had dated her boyfriend, noted gravel racer Gavin Strickland, for like a week. Caitlin apparently flew into a jealous rage, killed Mo, was questioned by the Austin Keystone Cops, to whom she admitted it looked bad that her car rolled up at the murder scene 1 minute (!) after the victim arrived, then the AKC let her go on a technicality (wrong birthday on form), then she flew the coop to New York state, where she remains at large.

Anyhoo, life goes on a pace for the rest of us. Rents in Austin, Texas (and beyond) are skyrocketing due to demand, so the shortage of affordable housing is at a crisis level. Time to make some bank so I’m not one of the unlucky urban explorers, though it could happen. Time will tell.

Check back in a day or two, I bet I’ll think of something more to add.


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James Clear Is Killing Me With His Atomic Habits

At the end of last’s month’s post, Blog Post #666: The Blog In Which I Announce My Retirement from Blogging*, was a little-noticed * aka asterisk. Only one astute reader followed that to the denouement and figured out the meaning in these words, hidden in plain view: “Respectfully submitted on 01.04.22*, ADAB.” That’s European formatting, day first, month second. That reader was the ever-sharp Half Fast Cycling Club (say it out loud — it’s a fun pun) up in Wisconsin. Not only has he (I’m deducing that’s his pronoun) ridden his bicycle across most of the US (and he’ll correct me in the comments if I’m wrong about that), he’s fixin’ to do it again — at almost 70 years of age. Oh yeah, to do the trip, he’s resigning his hospital job as a literal lifesaver of COVID patients (mostly the ignorant “I did my own research on Facebook” variety). So kudos to Half Fast, and to the rest of you (except if you are in other countries where this peculiar American prank day is not celebrated), I say this: APRIL FOOLS, suckahs! Strap in, it’s going to be a long post.

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SOPHIE STOLEN! Beloved Bicycle Boosted by Brazen Burglar! (+ How You Can Help!)

The evening of Saturday, January 8, 2022, I was inside a big box store talking to a clerk about replacing my over four-year-old cell phone. I had parked Sophie, the Fairdale Weekender Archer, a bicycle who has been my trusty sidekick since I won her in a Bike Austin raffle in 2017, a mere 10 feet away in the small vestibule for shopping carts. Since I was so close and regularly looking right at her, I did not use my u-lock and cable lock — a fatal mistake I’ll never make again. At 6:30 pm, a brazen thief walked into the little lobby, stood there for 20 seconds, then walked out with my bicycle while I wasn’t looking. The next time I looked up, Sophie was gone, and with her, a piece of my soul.

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FILM REVIEW: Slacker (1991, Austin, and I)

Did you miss me? Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all. After writing over 660 blog posts in six years, it was time for a break, so I took it. I’m not sorry I did. Some might say that makes me a slacker, defined in the pejorative sense: “A person regarded as one of a large group or generation of young people (especially in the early to mid 1990s) characterized by apathy, aimlessness, and lack of ambition” (Wikipedia). I may be guilty as charged, or at least I resemble that remark. But director Richard Linklater had a more positive meaning in mind when he made his influential, independent, experimental yet really interesting and fun film, Slacker:

“Slackers might look like the left-behinds of society, but they are actually one step ahead, rejecting most of society and the social hierarchy before it rejects them. The dictionary defines slackers as people who evade duties and responsibilities. A more modern notion would be people who are ultimately being responsible to themselves and not wasting their time in a realm of activity that has nothing to do with who they are or what they might be ultimately striving for.”[24]

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Fighting Fat Phobia in the Cycling Community

Readers of this blog know that I use the word fathlete frequently. I didn’t invent it, but it’s one small way I resist the outdated, discriminatory, and just plain wrong notion that one cannot be overweight and still exercise. I’m not promoting anyone should try to be overweight. But I am saying that there is plenty of weight stigma in the world, and that includes people who ride bicycles, and I’m also saying it should stop. While that’s unlikely anytime soon, I believe it is worth saying again. Because there are already plenty of obstacles to bicycling (horrible car drivers, unsafe or missing bike lanes, new bikes that are unaffordably priced for many). We don’t need any less reasons for people to bike, we need more. Let’s explore this problem and what can be done about it.

[My previous posts Some Surprising Ways Weight Supports Sports and Un-Fat Is Not All That: Being Overweight May Have Some Health Benefits contain some of my thoughts on this subject.]

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Actually, I’ve Bicycled About 45,000 Miles in 17 Years

The week began slowly. I only managed to average about 12 miles a day when I’m meant to do 15. For 2022, I haven’t set any new goals or made any New Years resolutions. I’m just sort of coasting on auto-pilot from last year. After 5,555.55 miles in 2021, and 6,666.66 in 2020, and riding every day for over 800 days in a row, I have now passed 32,000 miles in just over six years on Strava*. (I started in very late December 2015 and it took five days of 2022 to hit that number, so call it six years and two weeks). That got me to thinking about what I did pre-Strava. The actual total mileage I estimate is much higher. Actually, I’ve bicycled about 45,000 miles in 17 years. (As for whatever I did in childhood and adolescence, into college and young adulthood, I’ve no clue. I could guess 5,000, but it would be a total guess.)

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I Can’t Drive 5,555.55 Miles, but I Bicycled Them! (6,056 Total with Walking in 2021)

It’s year six in the books, for those keeping count of both blog and bodacious bike riding (and four years of basically daily bipedaling, i.e., walking). As you know, 2020 was remarkable globally because of THE KILLER VIRUS, but it was memorable for me personally. I really got after it and as a result last year’s review post was titled A Devil of a Year: 6,666.66 Miles Bicycled in 2020 (7,278 Total with Walking)! So yes, I biked every day all year (one less due to leap year) — again — but for 1,111.11 miles less. That was intentional, since 18.21 miles a day was too much to repeat. But it was also necessary to do less, because, life. And I’m not a machine; I’m a dude. However, 15.22 miles a day is still pretty, pretty, pretty good, so Sophie the Fairdale and I are quite satisfied with it. Let’s get to the Strava images which best sum things up with aplomb. (Yum, a plum sounds delicious, but out of season.) After all, one must have a hint of color!

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The Last Bike Ride (of 2021): Rolling with Rhodney

The year began like it ended, with your humble correspondent throwing a leg over the top tube and pedaling. Neither far nor fast, but flat. Nothing remarkable, save for the fact that I have this platform from which to remark about it. After all, bicycling is a relatively simple act that hundreds of millions of people around the world do. Many much “better” than I. But as someone reminded me, everyone has their story, and here I’ve tried to tell mine, for what it’s worth. Everyone also has obstacles in their life, be they genetic, disability or health-related, environmental, social, economic, or political, and there are many other things that make it “hard”. I try not to focus on these challenges, although I do grouse at times. (It’s my blog and I’ll whinge if I want to.) In the end, one hopes that something good comes out of their efforts, or at least nothing too bad. Just a simple bike ride is its own reward, though.

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8 Years of Consecutive Daily Yoga Practice

This past Saturday was a cause for celebration. Not because of that Jewish carpenter who, if he ever really lived at all, died over 20 centuries ago. It’s something else, of far less momentous import, than those old stories, if they are to be believed. This thing I’m talking about I did — every day, for eight years. That’s 2,922 days including two leap years, if you’re counting, as I obviously have been. This thing lasted for 30 minutes or more. More math:  that’s 87,660 minutes. Or the equivalent of 60.875 days. But while the numbers and math have surely have strong significance, what’s as if not more important is something Yoga with Adriene says: “Keep showing up for yourself on the mat.”

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