It was the end of a cool autumn day, and I was sitting on my yoga mat. I thought back to the morning (albeit late morning); my ablutions were complete and I got out on my daily constitutional. (That means walk for those not in the American South.) Walking is good for the heart, I thought, and then I remembered that I was supposed to have some heart tests this year. They were too expensive without insurance, so I didn’t have the tests. What with the pandemic and not getting younger, I’ve been wrestling with the beast that is U.S. health insurance (and losing). So after my walk, I read some stuff on the internet and called some people.
On one of those calls, I got some bad news from a friend, a colleague, really. They were pretty ill, but getting through it. Although I wasn’t raised to pray to a deity, this person was and has a good heart; I’ve always admired their sunny disposition. I’ve also known some Quakers and always appreciated their practice of sitting in silence, and their concept of “holding someone in the light.” So tonight after my bike ride and daily yoga, I flipped my Insight Meditation Timer app over to meditate and chose a five-minute one about compassion in honor of my friend. Usually I wait until I’m hitting the hay to meditate, so I tend to pass out before it’s done, or it doesn’t make much of an impact. Today, for some reason, it stuck with me.
Penultimate. I used to think that meant a really great writing instrument. (Actually, I didn’t; I just made up that pun right now.) Anyway, November has ended, and December has begun. Eleven months down, one to go. I’ve already surpassed the number of miles from my second longest year, the first one I kept records. That was 5,306 miles in 2016, and now I’m on the cusp of 6,000 miles for 2020. Since I’ve already achieved my huge goal of the equivalent of once around the equator (24,901 miles), anything else is gravy. Yummmm…. gravy. Anyway, here’s a short review of my statistics from last month.
I had a friend over tonight and we watched my deluxe collectors edition of the 1998 film The Big Lebowski. If you weren’t aware, a quote from the movie inspired the name of this blog and my nom de plum (and also my nom de velo – to be clear, it’s an homage).
The Dude: Yeah, well. The Dude abides. The Stranger: The Dude abides. I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ he’s out there. The Dude. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals.
I had only seen it a couple of other times, but it seemed to me just about as awesome as the first time I saw it. Almost, because come on, the first time is just pretty mind-blowing. So here are some of A Dude Abikes’ thoughts about this classic movie by Ethan and Joel Coen, starring Jeff Bridges as The Dude.
Being away from home and my bike for a day has put me in a contemplative mood. Mysterious recent health challenges have made bicycling harder than it should be. It’s already hard enough, in 100 degrees, being a fathlete, trying to not get dead by distracted drivers, not having a light bike with 27 gears anymore. For 19 months I’ve had the luxury to do daily walking, writing in my book or this blog, and doing yoga every day (the latter for much longer). And on most of the days of my life for the last 14+ years, but especially since 2015, I have ridden my bike. Over 20,000 miles since 2005, by my count. What if it all came to an end tomorrow?
Sometimes it happens that people do mean things. At a new temporary work gig, I met the new boss (same as the old boss). He had a hissy fit about something where he assumed one thing but reality was another, and then stormed off. Not my prob, so whatevs. Merry Fucking Christmas to you, too, Scrooge!
After a quick change of clothes (and attitude) at home, I was about 1/3 of the way into my bike ride when Sophie’s rear wheel punctured from a tiny piece of glass in the road somewhere. Probably from somebody who threw a beer bottle into the bike lane. It had worked it’s way deep into the rubber. Boo hoo for me! Just bad luck, or karma? Continue reading →
I AM A JEW. I’m out of practice, in that I haven’t been to shabbat services in many suns. It is more accurate to say that I’m Jew-ish. I was also simultaneously brought up in another faith tradition, Unitarian Universalism. As far as ethnicity and identity go, Judaism, being the parent of Christianity, is much more well known than UU’s. Jews are 1.5% of the US population; UU’s are far fewer. I’m also an atheist, or if you can’t handle that, an agnostic (which I wrote about here). But I’m also a bicyclist. And we are legion, but still a minority compared to car drivers.
After the heinous hate crime that murdered 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday, October 27, I realized two things. First, writing a blog about biking seemed, well, frivolous. It many ways, it is. But also, I noticed that there are parallels between Jews and bicyclists. Both groups are minorities. Both are hated irrationally. Both are targetted victims of violence. Vehicular violence isn’t as “sexy” (newsworthy) as gun violence, but it’s still violence that ruins and destroys lives. This post explores the intersections (pun intended) of this topic. Continue reading →
Although this is predominantly a blog about biking, it’s also about anything excellent (raves) as well as things I think suck (rants). Sometimes it’s chocolate, movies, or soccer. Sometimes it’s racism, jerks in cars, and politicians. Definitely in the rave column, a while ago, I went to see Paul Simon on his farewell tour, naturally called Homeward Bound, which I blogged about here. In thinking about what to write for this blog while on tonight’s 25-mile bike ride, I used title of a song from “Rhymin’ Simon’s” highly influential world music-infused album Graceland. If you guessed that this post is a rant, you win! (Your prize is continuing to read this post.) Let’s dig into the mind of A Dude, shall we?Continue reading →
Ramadan is the month-long holiday of day-time fasting, prayer and other practices observed by people of the Muslim faith. It ended yesterday, making today Eid al-Fitr. What does that have to do with me and bicycling? I’m glad you asked, so I’ll tell you. Recently I wrote about self-compassion. And then I met a man on a bike ride who was only riding at night. When asked why, he said it was because he was observing Ramadan. No water or food until nightfall, and then biking? To me that was impressive because it showed some serious dedication to both his religion and his sport. He’s a Nigerian living in Texas.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in Kenya, a fellow blogger posted a story about encountering a poor woman on the street. She too is an African Muslim who was observing Ramadan. But despite the blogger being charitable and giving away some of her money, the beggar still berated her, and told her it was not enough. One of the teachings of Islam is to be additionally generous during this month, and so she grappled with doing that but not receiving the gratitude she expected. The two encounters were too coincidental not to share.