On Wednesday, I formed a neighborhood bike gang. On Friday, one of my intrepid new bike friends said that she might want to join me on this training ride the next morning. Romy offered to pick me up in her bitchin’ mini-van. This was good news: The start time was an hour earlier due to the Austin, Texas heat, so I wouldn’t have to bike the extra six miles to the start.
A Dude is trying to become an early riser again, but it’s a struggle when people around you are so often making noise. But it’s always good to have new people to ride with, and maybe she’ll even join my official Team T.ime I.n T.he S.addle. She said she’d call me at 6 am to decide, so I was going to be kept in suspense. Just like you’ll be unless you click the Continue Reading thing-a-ma-jig!
Saturday was an eventful day for me on and relating to the bike. I somehow got my butt up early and the five miles down to the start of a training ride. Then later I attended a party for the bike manufacturer of my bike, Sophie the Weekender Archer. As usual, engaging with various people in different realms of the bicycle community was meaningful and fun. Seeing people you know and meeting ones you didn’t is always cool, right? Yes.
Breast Cancer Charity Ride
I haven’t registered yet, but last year I missed all the training rides, so I figured I’d at least get myself to the first one in town. If I do join the main event, it will be the fourth time. The ride itself is September 21, 2019. Given that I’ve raised over $5,000 total over rides #1-#3 (2015 and 2017-18), my goal would be to meet or beat that. I think $3,000 is very doable.
The cool thing about the money raised for this ride is that it really is for a good cause — seven local groups that support women surviving the disease, and their families. It’s for services mostly, like wigs, or counseling — not all research, unlike some events. So whether I do it will depend on availability, health, and pledges from donors. Could you be one? We shall see.
Arriving at the cancer support headquarters of Livestrong, I found around 80 people waiting for the ride to start. I said hi to some folks I recognized and took Sophie right over to the Buda Bike Company tent. Her chain has been slipping ever since I regreased it at Yellow Bike Project. The nice mechanic took a look and must have tweaked it a little, because I didn’t have a problem all day. A nice perk of showing up, a free adjustment!
I signed in with my waiver, got a wrist band, and greeted the director, Marion, who seemed happy to see me. A few board members where there. And then it was time for the speeches and mentioning the Sustainable Food Center, the beneficiary of the day. They provide cooking classes for women with breast cancer, how cool is that?
We divided ourselves into fast, medium and relaxed groups. But by the time I got myself organized the medium group had left, and I saw the familiar freckled face of Marty at the rear, so joined her as sweeper. We were off and chatted about where she’d traveled, where I hadn’t (a quick conversation), and other things like how the office is moving.
The ride went east and north and then got on the Southern Walnut Creek Trail. It’s great for novices and not so great for conversation and group riding. The whole distance was only going to be 13 miles, but for some that’s a lot. We gathered at almost the halfway point, the bottom of the steep hill where a YMCA sits for a break. The leader and Marty let the mostly women riders know they could skip it if they wanted, but everyone was game. I reminded folks not to grind, but to spin in a lower gear.
I went up first to possibly inspire and also to avoid congestion, but then I quickly got smoked by two fast women eager to build up speed and get it over with. My fitness, energy and legs aren’t what they used to be, and good on them. At the top we cheered on everyone as they crested the hill.
After a stop at the urination station, some water and wi-fi, we were back down reversing our tracks. At the end I scooped out the sausage, cheese, egg or potato from several kolaches and had a couple of fruit popsicles, too. A pair of free bib shorts and some promo materials were also gifted to me, and I hung out to help put things up a bit and chat some more. It was a pleasant ride and I was happy to “support the girls.”
I then went out and did another 15 miles for a total of 33 so far. I got a flat, even with a new back tire, which was super taut and took a long time to fix. I got caught in some heavy rain which I waited out at a bus stop. My speed had been averaging 11.5 but began to drop as I tired. By the time I returned home I was ready for a shower, some food, and a nap. It was good to put on the official Big Wig Fundraiser jersey and bib shorts and put in some mileage.
HEY YOU! PLEASE READ THIS! If you’d like to pledge to financially support me doing this ride on the first day of autumn, or you’re in Austin and want to get a jersey and be a member of Team T.ime I.n T.he S.addle, please contact me, my Gmail is ADudeAbikes.
Fairdale Bikes Party
I had heard about this shindig on the Mamma Jamma Ride, so I cancelled other plans and after recuperating, I headed back downtown. The gathering was in full swing by the time I got there, but mostly just people hanging outside behind this clothing shop and art space. They were talking and drinking free beer (which never motivates me – I prefer my carbs in solid, chocolate form). There was also a BMX / skateboard ramp, and dudes were throwing tricks on that. I met some Fairdale as well, including Mia, a brand ambassador and was just back from breaking her elbow in Germany.
The new line of bikes was available for viewing, but I didn’t pay much attention, not being in a position to buy one. I did buy a raffle ticket to win a new one. Since I won Sophie in a raffle, and Sookie the FujiSilhouette has been forcibly retired, I figured I’d try my luck again. It was looking up because not only was Katie, the manager of my nearest Bicycle Sport Shop there, but so was a former co-worker of mine who was also a bicyclist and former mechanic.
Meghan seemed happy to see me as I was her. Hugs were exchanged and I was reintroduced to Katie’s husband Reese and Meghan’s boyfriend Aaron. The women already knew each other from the shop world, which was pretty cool. Worlds collide, as it was said on Seinfeld. Aaron and I chatted about this blog, which he seemed genuinely interested in, having had some health challenges himself. We talked about the book I’m writing, his biking, health, art versus commerce, and a lot more. He’s a creative himself, doing art for a job.
I got some water and talked with some BMX dudes. One owned a bike company, another took photographs, and there was Carlye, who is Jared’s girlfriend. They were a cute young couple but I didn’t feel up to asking people to pose for a picture. We talked for a while about animals and her writing and photography and not being ready to share it on her blog. Jared came over and I told him I was interested in profiling more types of cyclists and that I was fascinated by the risk-taking of BMX’rs. He said his big toe was injured and showed me a video of the two-story jump he did when he injured it.
Everyone I met were nice people. Jarred ran off to do some jumps, and I went back to the group. Katie had to leave by bike with her co-workers, so she rushed over and gave me her three raffle tickets. I was taken aback and didn’t know what to say except thank you and gave her a hug of gratitude. I had just been speaking to Meghan and Aaron about how unfailingly nice she was. She said I deserved them and she could get an employee discount anytime, which was sweet.
Finally it was raffle time, and several smaller prizes were awarded. Then the bike was awarded, and several people had left so missed out. The winning number was six digits away from mine. So it was not A Dude Abike’s karma to win a second Fairdale. That’s ok, it was only seven-speed, two less than Sophie. The highlight of the evening had passed, so the energy petered out pretty quickly. Goodbyes were said, and Jim with Fairdale nicely gave me a branded water bottle with some grape juice in it. So I didn’t leave empty handed. I got another 11 miles for my efforts, too.
Heading home, I was aware of an insight that you might even say is a theme of this blog. Once again, even though I’m so often a solitary rider, and a writer in solitude, that there’s a world of other people around who ride, love and live bikes. Because no matter what kind of bike you ride (even a stationery one) or what kind of shape you’re in, if you ride a bike, you’re a winner in my book.
If you don’t bike yet and are able to, maybe I’ll inspire you to get on a bike someday. There are always going to be plenty of faster, fitter folks out there (and if you’re one of them, good on you!). But if you’re like me, a middle-aged fathlete who struggles with knee and other aches and pains, lack of sleep, etc. can do 44 miles in a day, I bet many of you can, too. So, pedal on, people! And if you can’t do that, cheering is good, too.
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On September 22nd, I biked 40 miles for a good cause. (40-Mile Charity Ride for Breast Cancer: No Need to SAG). Tonight, I cycled down to the Livestrong building. Yep, it’s the one named for the cancer foundation started by an Austin cyclist and former seven-time winner* of the Tour de France. That group still exists, a shadow of its former self, and does good work for all canver survivors. Relevant to A Dude, it’s where the Mamma Jamma Ride to Beat Breast Cancer rents office space. This year, it hosted the Bucks to Beneficiaries — the annual awarding of the monies raised for the bike ride held back on September 22nd. A few dozen riders, sponsors, board members and supporters were in attendance. Over $300,000 was given to the seven non-profits helping women and their families with breast cancer. A Dude Abikes was part of that, coming in 9th place as individual fundraiser at $2,502. So this blog post is to wrap it all up, and to especially thank everyone who donated.
I found a picture of both Sookie and Sophie, my two bikes. (A third bike is elsewhere; that one was ridden pre-blog/Strava.) The photograph was taken at a community event sponsored by Bike Austin that I helped with. It was attended by several dozen people concerned about bike lanes and sidewalks on two busy and dangerous roads and Austin City Councilmember Greg Casar in April of 2017. Why on earth did I have two bikes at the same event? Well, former BA Campaigns Manager Miller Nuttle forgot his bike, so needed to borrow mine. Something inspired me to snap this shot, and I really like it alot. With the recent news about Sookie, the Fuji Silhouette (left) having a fatal crack in her frame, causing me to have to ride Sophie, the Fairdale Weekender Archer all the time, it got me thinking more about my journey. Keep reading to hear more about this passing of the torch.
Last night I biked out to one of Austin, Texas’s brew pubs, where they make their own beer. Cold but dry after rain early in the day, it was not long but I had the bike rack all to myself. Riders from the recent Mamma Jamma Ride which I was part of on September 22, 2018 were invited to have a free cold one, socialize with others, and pick up their gift bags or some extra goodies. I decided to ride over and join in. And you can join me for this little night cap. I mean recap. Tee many martoonis, sorry! Just kidding.
Oops! I did it again. Rode my bike for charity. The 10th Annual Texas Mamma Jamma Ride to Beat Breast Cancer, to be precise; my third participation. While the ride was many things, the most important thing is that I have so far raised $1,554 for the seven area non-profits benefiting from this event. The money will go to provide services to women living with the disease. And, I’m still hoping to raise more. You can help at this link:
Before anyone gets up in arms about the title, SAG stands for Support and Gear. (I almost said panties in a wad, but decided it was in poor taste.) SAG is the vehicle that roams around the course in a bike ride with extra tubes, tires, food, water and first aid. And while the day featured rain, wind, sun, loose dogs, crashes, tutus, and longhorn cattle (not the miraculously currently 3-1 winning University of Texas football team), and even a flat tire that the SAG car did help out with a little (so I wouldn’t get my hands oily), A Dude Abikes has a clean sheet so far of never having to SAG out.
So here’s the low down on the non-SAGging breast cancer charity ride.
Well, apparently the hordes have spoken, and there is support for me to ride this event, and then some! It will be my thirdMamma 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.