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.

Continue reading

6 Reasons Why You Should Use Bike Index (My 600th Blog Post!)

There’s a specific feeling that goes with being robbed that’s like a punch in the gut: it’s infuriating, nauseating, and saddening all at once. What’s worse is there’s little you can do about it. Sure, you can (and should) report it to the police (who frankly don’t care or have the resources to investigate), search online and at pawn shops, but more often than not once it’s gone, it’s gone. What’s a bicycle rider to do? Well, I’m here to tell ya’: BikeIndex.org to the rescue (sometimes literally)!

Continue reading

A Fool, A Weirdo, and an Idiot on My Bike Ride: Really!?

“Keep It Weird” has been one of Austin’s slogans for a while now. I’d like to report to you that the tradition is alive and well. Except these three interactions weren’t with Leslie, the former bearded and homeless celebrity drag queen who was famous for wearing a g-string around town. Once I was behind him walking downtown on Sixth Street. Burned into my brain that I can’t ever unsee were his ass cheeks adorned with the words “APD (Austin Police Department) Kiss My Ass.” Pretty weird, but also pretty harmless.

Continue reading

Juneteenth 2021 Black History Bike Ride

With President Joe Biden’s declaration of June 19 — Juneteenth, the day slaves in Galveston, Texas received the news two years AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation — as the newest United States federal holiday fresh on our minds, over 500 of Austin’s stalwart riders joined at the Texas State Capitol African American Historical Memorial for a Black history bike ride around north central Austin, Texas. Your reporter was there, braving the heat and sweatin’ to the oldies with everyone else. Compared to last year during the protests over the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, there were a few less people. But it was still a huge crowd, and it’s a real pleasure to take over many city blocks of streets, in a huge crowd of bicycles, as far as the eye can see. Here’s my report.

Continue reading

Austin, Texas Bike Lanes and Sidewalks: A Few Updates

This makes my 10th post with a title including the words “bike lanes.” I’m generally a fan of anything that will separate cars from bikes and pedestrians, or in other words, will save my tuchus and that of other riders from being maimed or killed by cars. As a walker (not of The Walking Dead zombie variety — so far), I often use sidewalks when there are any. I also used them instead of biking on high traffic roads, so I don’t, you know, like, die. Several emails from the City about mobility improvement projects are clogging my email inbox, and with two personal examples, I figure it’s time for an update. Here are just a few of the many projects for intersections, bike lanes and sidewalks going on in Austin, Texas.

Continue reading

Austin Bike News Roundup for June 8, 2021

It’s been a while since I did one of these round ups, mostly because of that pesky little virus doohickey. Meaning that things are happening, but one is less likely to hear about them since we’re living with that thingamabob. But bike life goes on despite the whatchamacallit. Also, here’s a shout out to my dad on his birthday. Sis-in-law too, though I got the date wrong, but it’s soon. It’s relevant because the cycle of life, you know? Anyway, here are a few items of note in the Austin, Texas bicycling scene.

Continue reading

Texas Mamma Jamma Ride Update: All Aboard the Big Pink Bus

Your bike dude here has participated in six charity rides, raising over $12,000. That’s my proudest accomplishment as a bike rider starting back in 2015 B.B. (Before Blog). Well, riding around the world in under five years probably ties that. Many of those miles came from TMJR and other training rides. Three of the charity rides were for the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride to raise funds for breast cancer treatment and services. Thanks to the coronavirus, the non-profit organization has had to adapt and reinvent itself to survive. And it’s done so quite smartly by becoming the fundraising arm for the Big Pink Bus, a project of the Lone Star Circle of Care (LSCC), which operates 24 health clinics in half a dozen Central Texas counties. This seems like important news and sharing is caring, so read on!

Continue reading

The Writers League of Texas: Membership Has Its Privileges

After a number of years of hearing about WLT, attending some of their pre-pandemic Third Thursday events at Book People (the largest independent book store in Texas), and meeting some folks at Owen Egerton’s One Page Salon, I finally joined up. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. I suppose it had to do a bit with the Wayne’s World motto: “We’re not worthy!” When actor-director Tate Donovan asked me at a OPS if I was a writer, I said yes for the first time. Hey, that makes me one degree of separation from Jennifer Aniston, whom he dated after playing her boyfriend on Friends. As we all know, she’s well known for her books. Strike that, reverse it. I mean looks! Humunuh humunuh! No, it’s her mad acting skillzl OK, that’s tangential, but it was diversionary. Mmm, more big wordz!

Continue reading

Three Decades Since A Dude First Landed, Bikeless, in Austin

March 3, 1991. The first Gulf War had just ended. I was out of college a few years and had been traveling and moving around a bit. I grew weary of that, so I did the logical thing and went home. After a year slinging Southern cooking and helping out dear ma a bit, I bought a lightly used car. I went to one last steak night with my dad and brother, and moved in with a friend in Austin, Texas. Today her eldest turned 22, so I stopped by for a COVID-safe outdoor birthday. People trickled by, and I told one about the mom,“She’s my oldest friend in Austin. Looks pretty good for 85, don’t she?” (She’s much less.) With that history and my anniversary percolating in my brain the last two weeks, I figured it’s time for a little trip down memory lane.

Continue reading

Bicycling While Rome Is Burning

For a while now I’ve been sitting down at the computer on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings to write a blog post. Often I have a topic in mind, usually something that’s come to me from my daily bicycle ride, walk or yoga practice. Sometimes I think of it afterward. Then I publish it so that a few readers in Europe can see it first thing, and maybe some night owls in the US see it, too. I try to get it done quickly, in the 30-minute time-frame that I’ve come to break many things down into. But a decently written blog with photos and links can sometimes take me hours. Especially if I start late, and the later it gets, the fuzzier the brain. Clarity on a national scale seems a bit more hopeful. After the American horror story that was the last four years under the raging, narcissistic, assholian tyranny of POTUS #45, it seems like maybe things are sorta kinda starting to get back to normal. Except the problems #46, good ol’ Scranton Joe, has inherited are serious: the economy tanking due to the still raging coronavirus pandemic, with no quick end in sight to either. It feels to me as if I’m bicycling while Rome is burning.

Continue reading