Not that beast. I mean beast mode. I’m not a believer in magical numbers (unless my lottery tickets finally pay off). It was my second longest month ever, after the 731 I did in April 2017 including 202 Miles in 2 Days for the MS 150. Given my lack of a day job at the moment, I made it my bidness (as some people actually pronounce “business” in Texas) to bike my butt off (it’s still there, though). And bidness is goooood! That’s because I averaged 150 miles per week. Well, I guess it’s volunteering if I’m not getting paid.
It’s surprising that I accomplished this since it takes me longer than it used to. I could blame Sophie, the 28-pound steel bike with nine gears I’m riding, or the prematurely colder, windy and wet weather, but I’m just not moving very fast these days. Some people I know rode Das Hugel, an unsanctioned sufferfest that’s over a century and 10,000 feet elevation (I wrote about it last year.) A Dude doth not Das Hugel. However, compared to everyone who’s home sitting on the couch, I’m friggin’ Speed Racer. So perhaps my efforts are inspirational to somebody out there reading this. You don’t have to believe me, let’s look at the Strava stats.Continue reading
She walked onto the patio like she was walking off her yacht. I was waiting for her at the back of a coffee house overlooking Lake Travis. It was a rainy, lazy day, and she had texted to tell me that she had just awakened from a nap and was running a little late. Dena was sporting a long mane of naturally curly hair (never combed except in the shower), brown with blond highlights), a plaid shirt with a few buttons undone, short shorts and canvas shoes. She gave a cute, shy little wave and then came around to the picnic table to give me a polite but gentle hug. Thus began a fascinating interview, series of calls, texts, emails and a photo shoot that would lead to this profile.Continue reading
The headline is this: I beat 2017 by 429 miles! (4,714 Miles Bicycled in 2017 = 10,000 in 2 Years! A Recap of My “Epic Velocimania” (Day 1)
Of course that’s not proof, for that, see below. But I can assure you it’s accurate. Except that maybe it’s not, because the annual strava video shows I rode an extra 100+ miles. The point is that I biked my butt off (well, it’s still there) and added the daily walking. So even though I biked 250 miles less, I walked 500+ miles more than last year, when I barely did any. In addition to my daily yoga practice of 5+ years now, and writing this blog or in my book-in-progress, I had a very busy year.
The effort took me 427 hours, which is about 18 full days of biking. The elevation was 122,700 feet, which is less than last year, but not by much. And I definitely didn’t seek out hills this year. I didn’t go on many group rides, either. But still, somehow I was able to GIT ‘ER DONE!
Keep reading for more…
After meeting Jim Sayer of Adventure Cycling Association on Monday (see my conversation with him), I cycled in the cold to attend his talk on Tuesday. So it was still a conversation, but with about 75 people, not just me. The evening was hosted at the in a big room at the offices of Bike Texas. As you might deduce from the name, it’s a group that works to make cycling safe and appealing in a variety of ways, from lobbying, pressing for infrastructure improvements, and education like Safe Routes to Schools. The evening began with schmoozing, beverages and snacks. I enjoyed the hot apple cider after my chilly ride. Some familiar faces were visible, including one rider I invited. Many were not, but were long-time supporters of the group. For Austin it’s colder than usual for this time of year, so before I continue I’m going to heat up some of that extra cider I brought home in my water bottle. Yum! Continue reading
It’s blog deadline time again. Usually I have no problem coming up with a topic. Tonight I kind of did. I notice my posts tend to fall in several categories: a status report on my biking / walking / yoga / dieting / blogging / book-writing; something educational, entertaining or informative about bicycling; something off-topic but tangentially related to riding a bike; and then the totally random rave, rant or other piece like a movie review. This one is kind of a mix of the first and last. I’m as curious to see where it goes as hopefully you are, and I hope you like the smell of potpourri! Continue reading
When Pam LeBlanc interviewed me for a profile in the Austin American-Statesman that was published on January 15, 2018, it set into motion a series of most fortunate events that are still bearing fruit. When I first suggested the idea to her by email in late 2016, it fell flat. I guess the 5,306 miles I bicycled in 2016 was not that impressive. But I kept riding, and I kept writing this blog, albeit irregularly. And I managed 4,714 miles in 2017. So riding 10,000 miles in two years did catch her attention.
Then Pam, who is a total badass herself I hope to interview one day, expressed interest in putting me in her Fit City blog. After that, her editor wanted to run the piece in the print edition of the newspaper with photos, I was happily surprised. My persistence of pedaling and pontificating had paid off. But the main thing I learned was that if my bicycling story was interesting to the mainstream newspaper of the 11th largest city in the United States (or at least the lifestyles editor), then other peoples’ stories would also have value.
To say that I rode my bike alot in May is an understatement. 543 miles is 125 miles per week and almost 18 miles per day. My activity app Strava, paired with my Garmin GPS watch, are fairly accurate. Believe me, I feel it in my bones. Also, this was the hottest documented month of May in Central Texas ever. So I’m feeling pretty happy about that accomplishment, seeing how my original goal for this year was 50 miles per week. It could all change in a moment, and there are some things on the horizon which may mean I’m spending less time on the bike. But that’s all fine. For now, I’m satisfied that I still have some legs. Oh, and I also walked 45 miles. Today is a well-deserved rest day, so let’s dig into the stats a bit, shall we?
Coincidence is a funny thing. When two disconnected but interrelated things happen for no clear reason, we search for answers. Religious people would say it’s the will of the one(s) they worship. Agnostic athiests and secular humanists like A Dude would chalk it up to chance. The spiritual might say it’s the butterfly effect, or intentions coming back to you. Scientists would say something… sciencey.
I don’t know what Walter Mosley would say about me writing a blog about one of his books just a few days ago, and then him coming to town from a reading and book signing. Well, I think he may have said thanks. I wasn’t starstruck as much as feeling like “Wow! That’s Walter Mosley! Did I somehow summon him to Austin?” I wish I had that superpower. But anyway, what I’d say about this coincidence, fate, destiny, kismet, stupid luck, good fortune, or whatever — it was freaking awesome! Thanks to my host for reading my review and cluing me in. Continue reading
Volunteering to Make Austin’s Streets Safer for All
Today A Dude visited the downtown Austin, Texas office of Central Texas’s leading bicycling and pedestrian advocacy and education non-profit organization, Bike Austin. My goal? To get trained by amazing Community Development Planner Shavone Otero on how to engage Austin businesses to become members to keep the group alive. That’s her pointing at me in the photograph. Together with the Bike Austin Education Fund, their mission is to:
“…improve quality of life for all of Austin and Central Texas by growing bicycling as a form of transportation, exercise, and recreation.”
Pretty simple, but not so easy to implement. Austin traffic continues to worsen, with projected population growth. Amazon is considering us for another headquarters, which would add 50,000 employees and their families to the roadways. According to the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, Austin ranked 42nd worst traffic in the world. Drivers spent almost two full days per year in their car. That’s up 24 slots from 66th worst in 2016. So bicycling is going to play a vital role in that whole… let’s just call it a mess. Continue reading