Blog Post #666:  The Blog in Which I Announce My Retirement from Blogging*

Welp, after almost two-thirds of 1,000 blog posts, it seems like a good time to take the pause that refreshes. Which the astute observer would have noticed that I’ve been sorta doing for the last couple of months already, anyway. Spring has sprung in Central Texas, so it’s a good time to examine where I’ve been, and where I’m going, not just with blogging, or biking, yoga-ing, walking, reading, fluting, etc., but life. A little metaphorical housecleaning, so to speak. (Actually clean house? Pshaw! That’s for suckers.) And who could begrudge a dude the chance to step back after six years and six hundreds of blogs? So forthwith, posthaste, and inmediatamente, let’s get skippy with it. (By the way, after this mention, this post will be Will Smith and slap-free. I’m Team Chris Rock all the way. Fuck you for ruining the Oscars, Little Willie. Get your face offa my TV and movie screens and go for some goddam anger management!)

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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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Resuscitation of an Austin Ghost Bike, Part 2

Part 1 is at this link if you missed it. The short version is I and a few folks are reinstalling a bicycle that’s a memorial for a woman killed while working on her bike in the bike lane in December 2019. Her name was Merry “Cookie” Daye. This is the rest of the story.

Previous posts are linked here (Austin Bicyclist Death #4…) and here (Silent Ride of Remembrance).

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Resuscitation of an Austin Ghost Bike, Part 1

Two years ago almost at this time, a woman tragically was killed by a hit and run driver. He was never caught. Her mistake was having her bike trailer break down in the middle of the night and trying to fix it in the bike lane. She was a woman named Merry Daye who lived on the streets of Austin, Texas. Thousands of others still are without housing, thanks to the unaffordable rent and other reasons that cause this situation for so many worldwide. After her death, I organized a ghost bike and memorial ride. Her family came and spoke, and the TV news covered it. Recently, someone liberated the bike from the tree by the church. I live nearby and noticed. So this bike is back in the story of my bicycle journey, and with it, Merry.

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Writers League of Texas Agents & Editors Conference 2021 Wrap-Up

For those new here or who’ve forgotten, this blog is an outgrowth of all my bicycling. In turn, that has spawned a manuscript. Books don’t just publish themselves, and it’s an epic battle to get it done and revised, and like a war to get it published. So I spent most of the past weekend at a nice hotel in downtown Austin on the south shore of Town Lake at the Writers League of Texas conference. This is my summation.

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Si, Se Bici: Yes, Latinx People Ride Bicycles

Texas used to be part of Mexico, and 40% of its inhabitants are Hispanic. for our neighbor to the immediate south, Mexico, which celebrated its independence from Spain on September 16. The day before was Independence Day in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month in the US. Since I’ve written about Asian Americans, African Americans, Native Americans in relation to cycling, it’s high time I highlighted Hispanics who bike.

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Austin Bike News Roundup for September 7, 2021

These Austin Bike News Roundups appear sporadically, usually when I grow bored of writing about myself and notice enough newsworthy items to share. If I were a more organized writer (a planner, not a panstser) and a more energetic dude in general, I might solicit entries from local bike shops and groups and publish them on a regular basis. If I had more actual readers living in Austin, and some income from doing them (like sponsorships), then it would make more sense. And, if I were a rich man ya ba dibba dibba dibba dibba dibba dibba dum… Of course I’m not rich, yet still I write this blog. Why? I cannot say. Oy vey.

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Going Postal: Apparently We All Can’t Get Along

Half-descended from a nomadic people, and with the high, High, HIGH cost of rent in Austin(tatious), Texas, I tend to move around a lot. Realizing that would be my lot when I first returned here after surviving Y2K, I rented a mail box at the downtown post office. No matter where I was living (always within a five mile radius north or east), I figured it would also force me to hop on my bicycle and ride down to El Centro at least once a week. (“It’s ALL downtown, George,” said Jerry on Seinfeld.) It was on Guadalupe Street for many years, but a while back it moved to Congress Avenue. And anything named after that junction of dysfunction — Congress being the opposite of Progress — is bound to have problems. I saw one tonight.

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What’s Up With Austin Bicycle Community Groups?

We’re deep in the heart of Texas and COVID-19’s fourth wave, with allegedly only two (2!) ICU beds available for an 11-county, 2.3 million person region. That news is real and dire, but somehow the beds seems to expand when more staff become available. But with the Governor Hey Abbott! getting infected with the virus himself this week, after his horribly out-of touch, anti-science, and anti-mask mandate law, it’s strange days indeed. Almost enough to write a follow-up to The Coronacles of Blarneya, Part II. Instead of that unpleasantness, it’s best to go outside and exercise those lungs in the fresh air and sunshine — the latter being the best disinfectant, after all. Anyway, it occurred to me to do a little update on a few of Austin’s community groups that help get butts on bikes.

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The Art of Taking the Lane on a Bicycle

“Get yo’ bitch ass offa the road!” yelled the guy in the truck at me. That’s because I was in the middle of the narrow car lane, since there was no room for cars to safely pass me a bike lane or alternative road, and the sidewalks suck. I was in Southeast Austin, Texas in a neighborhood called Govalle (a Swedish, not Spanish word). It’s a less wealthy part of town near the airport that billionaire Elon Musk is transforming with a huge Tesla manufacturing plant. (Teslas are still cars, and they still pollute, albeit less than a standard gas engine car. And those lithium batteries are hugely wasteful to make, even if recycled.) Anyway, it’s a car-centric neighborhood. Traffic wasn’t heavy, so I chose to take the lane — which is completely legal in Texas. Anyway, it was not a pleasant interaction and it got me thinking about how and when to take the lane.

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