This Is Not My Beautiful House:  A Meditation on Home

Wales. Besides the large sea mammals, what comes to mind when I hear the word Wales are three things:  Welsh rarebit, Welsh cyclist and one-time Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, and Welsh Corgi dogs. I’ve never had the first one, I’ve never met the second, but I’m looking at one of the third. I’m pet and housesitting while the owner is away. And what comes to mind from that is the Talking Heads song, “Once in a Lifetime”:  “This is not my beautiful house.” Maybe you know the song, which was a big hit on the radio, and it was on first day MTV appeared on the airwaves back in 1981. It makes me think of that time, Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, Wall Street excess (“greed is good”), the American Dream of owning a home, among other things. So, behold a brief blog ’bout… all that jazz.

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A Year Since Sophie Was Stolen, Meet My Sexy Cycle Sommar (Fuji Finest)

A year and a day ago, on January 8, 2021, Sophie the Fairdale Weekender Archer was shockingly stolen. Sad times for sure. Read that sob story here… (and weep.) After a few months of test cycling, some adjustments with seats and stems and such, hemming and hawing, and typical Libran weighing of the pros and cons, I have a new (to me) bicycle, a Fuji Finest. I’m calling her Sommar (some MAHR), which is Swedish for “summer’. That’s because she’s a lightweight cro-moly steel vintage racing bike with skinny tires that just feels like you must go riding on a warm day, wind in your face, sun on your skin… Toes in the sand, drink in your hand. All you need… is the woman,” as Van Halen sang. But it’s a bike.

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5,008 Bicycled + 536 Walked = 5,544 Miles in 2022

Well, another year is in the books; 2022 is history (or herstory), and here it is 2023. The changing of the calendar is always a shock to the system, but also has the hope of doing better. Before we can move forward with resolutions, goals, and the like, it’s helpful to look back. While in many ways it was not a good year for A Dude Abikes due to illness, work, and life conspiring against me, I still managed to get out there* every single day, still streaking, and string together some solid Strava stats. Let’s go to the numbers.

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12/12/2022: Slow, but Still I Go — Biking, Walking, Etc.

Another month has gone by since my last post, and just a few weeks are left in the year. As the weather cools and holidays and a new year approach, thoughts turn inward, toward retrospection, and to the future. There’ll be time for a review of the year come January, though. For now, what has gone on since 11/11? Work, for one. It has involved a lot of walking, which has been surprisingly exhausting. Seven or eight miles when you’re used to the equivalent steps of three miles, and standing for long hours in between, is a change. Other things like rain, health stuff, and perhaps some existential ennui have slowed me down, too. In the past month, I’ve alternated between 80-110 miles per week riding my bicycle. Not great, but not horrible.

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11/11/2022: 4,000 Miles + Longest Ride of the Year = Tired, But Still Pedaling

As silly season, aka the US election drama (or trauma, depending on your point of view) continues, I vote for something all Americans can get behind: a nap. That’s because I’m bushed from bicycling a lot. (Insert a joke about everyone in the US being tired after George Sr. was elected and then his son the Shrub also became president, tired, aka bushed.) Read on, it gets better.

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10/10/2022: Sonnie Has a Surprising Adventure; 3 Years of Daily Cycling

“Live and learn,” said Frederick Douglass. I say, “Live, learn, forget, and have to learn again.” As you may recall, Sophie the Fairdale, who was 10 feet away from me but not locked, was stolen out from under my nose back on January 8th. That’s what happened again late last month with Sonnie the GT bicycle when I entered a convenience store for a drink, came out, and re-entered to fill my water bottle. When I was done, I came out to find Sonnie was gone. But, wait for it… I got her back! A story with a mostly happy ending is better than the alternative. Read on for the details of this strange adventure.

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9/9/2022: Sookie Shares with Sonnie; Autumn Approacheth; Failing Fast Forward

In this installment I’ll try and fail again to summarize what I’ve been up to for the last month. There’s too much to pack into one post. It seems the more I work on my book, and read other books, the more I realize that the art of writing is as much about what gets left in as what gets taken out. In his intriguing novel John Woman, Walter Mosley touches on this idea by having his eponymous protagonist (a professor with a checkered past and a troubled present), explore the deconstruction of history. His professor believes many things about his field, the main one as I understand it so far, is that it is not absolute. We are constantly creating history, our own and the larger world’s, Professor Woman teaches his students.

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8/8/2022: Biking While the Heat Is On in Austin

We’re on track to have the hottest summer EVER in Austin, Texas. (Climate science deniers ought to move along right now.) Texans are accustomed to the heat, but not like this. In 2011 we had 90 days over 100 F. So far in 2022, we’ve had 58 of those 100+ days. May, June, and July were record breaking hot. August is the worst month. Also, it’s barely rained, so we’re in an extreme drought. Many places from France and the UK to California are experiencing extra high temperatures. The hotness makes bicycling, as well as other important activities like standing up, breathing, and putting on pants a bit challenging.

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