Since it’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I’ll also remind folks of an older post with a photo of The Rev. Dr. King on a bicycle. Thanks to the pandemic, there was no rally with speakers and then march. I’ve attended them on an off over the years here in Austin and was at a huge gathering and march after the police killings of George Floyd, Breona Taylor and other Black people. I was fortunate to be able to participate in some Black Lives Matter protests last summer and a pair of Black History Bicycle Rides.
Even though this blog is mostly about biking and my other fitness pursuits, I feel strongly about the evils of racism and have written about them before. It must really piss off the white supremacists that it’s a federal holiday. King was assassinated by one of their ilk on April 4, 1968. As they say, SAY HIS NAME! and, Presente! It boggles the mind that almost 53 years later the US (if not the world) is having a resurgence of racial hatred. Education is key and perhaps with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, we will have better role models than the outgoing asterisk president. Adios, Tinyhands Orangehead, ya big loser!
With no rally and march, I continued my daily activities. Biking less has allowed me more time for other things. It’s as good a time as any to do a quick check-in about what I’m up to both on and off the bike.
When milestones come and go, as they do for us all, they serve as signposts on the journey of life. Some, like birthdays, just happen. Others, we made happen through an action in the past, like the anniversary of college graduation. And still more are things we create every day with our efforts. Such is the case for this, my 500th blog post. That’s a ton of words in five years if I may say so. (532,738 to be exact, not including this post.) That’s an average of 1,068 words per post, and maybe somewhere around five or six novels. But this is not all about statistics, it’s about what it all means.
Regular readers know I’m kinda into numbers, mostly how many miles I’ve biked in a given day, week, month or year. For better or worse, it’s a cornerstone of my bicycling career, such as it is. Usually I look at what I’m doing as measured by Strava, the fitness tracking app. But occasionally I’ll go behind the scenes with WordPress (the program this site runs off of) to look under the hood of this blog, and today is one of those days. I learned some stuff that was kinda interesting. Maybe you’ll find it so as well…
Catching up with some of my bike blog buddies, I dipped into the Reader function on WordPress. I see they are doing their thing, each in their own way, as they should. That by itself is inspiring, because it reminds me that I’m not really alone out there on the road pedaling away or in cyberspace writing about it. The words “bicycle community” are bandied about as if it’s a monolithic, coordinated effort, but it’s not either of those things.
Still, I believe there is a siblinghood (new word I just thought of — you read it here first!) of cyclists in the sense that if you ride a bike, you know the feeling of fun it can bring. So tonight instead of writing about myself again, of which I often grow weary, I’ll highlight a few of my fellow travelers. Check them out! I’m sure they won’t mind. And if you’re one of them I didn’t include, I hope to in a future edition.
Well, that depends what you mean by blog post. Are there like, you know, letters, words, sentences, paragraphs strung together in some sort of understandable fashion? Perhaps some photos? I suppose that with that definition, this is a definite maybe. It’s too soon to tell, really. If you’re still here and reading this, maybe the chances are improving that yes, in fact, this might resemble an actual blog post. It could be a drill, a test, an experiment. Maybe a computer (ro)bot has composed this? It’s hard to tell these days who and what’s real, or not. And what of this A Dude Abikes character? Is he real, does he exist In Real Life? Just who the hell does he think he is to write three blogs a week for going on 30 months? So many questions, we might have to go to another paragraph.
Every blogger, poet, journalist, novelist, copywriter, song writer, short story writer, screenplay writer, textbook writer, memoirist, novelist or author of any kind knows and fears it. Those with computers, at least. It flashes on and off the screen, steadily. Hide and seek. Come find me! He/She/It/They says, taunting, daring, challenging the would-be composer of word art. I dare you! Just do it! Write something, already, you hack! When the muse visits and the words come, the cursor dances across the screen, doing your bidding. But sometimes you’re stuck, sitting there at your desk, on your couch or bed or deck chair, at the school library or maybe your favorite coffeehouse. Waiting for inspiration. That blinking cursor, it mocks you, makes you question your abilities and perhaps, on a bad day, your entire existence. What is one to do? Well, writers write. So even if it’s crap (perhaps like this paragraph, you may be thinking), you plow through it. Like I just did.
Since starting ADudeAbikes.com on WordPress January 1, 2016, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. At the end of 2015 I had just obtained a cell phone and biked about 3,000 miles. It began as a way to document my journey — both figurative and literal. And I suppose I’ve accomplished a few things. Sometimes I like to look at those statistics and reflect upon it all.
Sitting at my keyboard
wondering what to type
college friend emails from India
she ain't got no Skype
Once did yoga on her lawn
sun-drenched shorts of orange
light dappled her auburn hair
nothing rhymes with orange
I've no right to write poetry
just a simple bike ridin' dude
but who says I can't rhyme
and speak of verisimilitude?
Barely rode my bike this week
cuz of my damn temp job
gotta pay the man rent, man
or land on the street, a slob
Have you heard the news today?
oh boy, every day a new doozy
while the tyrant rants and sycophants blather
I'd really rather just take another snooze, see?
It's sunny out there but pitch dark inside
seconds, minutes, hours pass relentlessly
time's on no one's side but its own
never ever can shake this baby called ennui
Can't get no satisfaction, though I try sometimes
through time and space I move this body of girth
endless campaign, killer virus, stock market crash
Antarctica's melting; not to worry, people of Earth!
Don't worry, be happy, this too shall pass
worst form of government, 'cept all the rest - democracy
real Americans do retail therapy, Netflix and chill
problem is telling truth from lies, what's real from hypocrisy
Honesty is hardly ever heard, word to your muthah
zone out to your jams, take your medicine and sleep
put on a happy face, fear not, and be of good cheer
might as well jump to conclusions and take a faithful leap
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It’s taken me a lot of time. effort and an indescribable amount of will power and discipline to establish and maintain the good habits which are the four main pillars of this blog, and in some ways a good chunk of my life: Biking, Walking, Writing and Yoga. I am approaching six years of daily yoga (yes, you read that correctly), four years of bicycling an average of 13 miles per day, two years of daily walking, and two years of daily writing, Let’s not forget two years of eliminating almost all processed grains. As 2019 winds down, the pressure to come up with New Years resolutions for 2020 looms large. So I’m reflecting on the nature of habits because sometimes, what seems good may sometimes also have a bad side.
Sometimes there’s no one unifying theme to a blog post, but even then, there is still a framework. Today, it’s that many factors affect my cycling, and also that there’s more to life than cycling. (Impossible, I can hear some of you saying!) Here are a few of those thoughts. As to whether they’re Deep Thoughts, you’d have to ask Jack Handy, which is an old Saturday Night Live skit. Basically he had short quotes that were inane, so I’m not claiming any wisdom. I am just sharing my experience in hopes it educates, inspires or at least amuses you as one of my millions of followers (any day now). Read on, it’ll be good, you’ll see. After all, I’m not The Dude, I’m just A Dude. And A Dude would never steer you wrong. That would be very un-Dude-like.