Nonviolent Justice for George Floyd & Breonna Taylor et al. (P.S. I Bicycled 2,500 Miles in 5 Months)

For the record, I join the majority of sentient humans with brains, hearts and consciences — people who know the difference between right and wrong — and oppose the unnecessary and allegedly illegal police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Closer to home, police killed Botham Jean in Dallas and Mike Ramos right here in Austin, That’s just four among the many, Many, MANY more people of color abused and murdered by police brutality and institutional racism. I’m also opposed to violent protesters distracting from the message of nonviolent social justice.

There’s not much more to add that millions of others aren’t already saying. But I will try to speak my truth as a white ally. By the way, there’s a pandemic still going on. Meanwhile, far, Far, FAR lower on the spectrum of things that matter is this. I still rode my bicycle every day in May for a total of 488 miles, averaging 15.74 per day, totaling 2,501 for 2020 thus far. And my knees hurt. Probably from biking every day in May for … you get it. If I do not report this, the government-backed terrorists win. So report I shall. Bear with me as I write a post that may make no sense but has to be said.

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3 People I Saw Within 6 Miles on 1 Bike Ride

I ran into three people I know in the span of six miles while riding my bike last evening. What are the chances of that, especially with many people staying home because of you, know, the thing? Well, I’ve been in Austin, Texas for 20 years and 16 days. So I have met plenty of people in that time. These three encounters got me to thinking about acquaintances, friends, colleagues, bona fides – in short, the other humans who comprise my community. At a time when the fabric of society is being shredded, while some people sew face masks, what does it mean to be homo sapiens? As George Costanza put it in a Seinfeld episode, “We’re living in a society, here!”

The first in my trio of random encounters was with a fellow volunteer with Bike Austin, who lives around here somewhere. She was a follower of this blog and may still be. It was nice to see her out on a bike ride with a mask, which like mine was down since we were far enough apart. She asked how I was and I asked her the same; she’s well, doing her job, but from home. We parted and wished each other well.

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Cyclist Concocts Clever Coronavirus Comedy

While we while away the days in semi-sheltered states during the worldwide whirlwind of a punishing pandemic, A Dude is still doing his daily walking, biking, yogaing, and writing, which take hours and are a lot of work that I’m not being compensated for. I’m waiting for work or illness to begin (hopefully not the latter). So while there’s not a lot going on regarding all my daily habits and activities, except that I keep doing them. they do all relate to the one topic at the top of everyone’s mind: health. “Laughter is the best medicine,” it’s said. To which I add, “…except for real medicine.”

I’m not a doctor, but some people have said that I’m funny. So here are some attempts at making you laugh, chuckle, guffaw, smile or yuk it up. You can read my previous attempts here, here and here, This is best read aloud in front of a crowd of semi-drunk people. If it’s just you, and you are allowed to have a few adult beverages, then you can read this in front of a mirror for a similar effect to a comedy club. I own my own comedy club, actually. It’s a bat with the words “Ha Ha Ha!” written on them. Just kidding. Let’s proceed.

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Moving A Dude’s Abode and Body: A Buddhist View

It was moving day. Again. Or days, rather, because who would I ask to help in these times? As a perpetually underpaid and underemployed renter in high-priced Austin, Texas, when my lease is up, it’s time to move on. And these days have been hot ones, too. On the thermometer it was 93 — tying the record. With high humidity it felt much hotter, 101, which is a lot for early May. The average high is 10 degrees cooler, at 89. I feel both the burns, from sun and in the muscles. But importantly, I still got some stuff moved. And moving my abode and my body as much as I do are worth some rumination.

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The Coronacles of Blarneya, Part I

2020 was to be the year of plenty. For me, I was planning for better health, a tolerable job, and a decent and steady place to live. I hoped to create a stronger body, smarter mind, better relationships and improved community. Instead, I’m like everyone else — suffering and struggling through absurd days that seemed unimaginable two months ago (outside of the movies). Wearing masks, cowering in our houses staying away from people, anxious about what’s next is how it is now. Life in the time of COVID-19 can be described by the lesser known, more derogatory use of the word for an Irish town with a famous castle and stone. Parts of me come from somewhere over there in Eire. Point is, it’s a bunch of blarney. Uh.

Despite trying not to, we constantly consume the mostly bad news, like massive unemployment and poverty raising its ugly head to bite more people every day. Most of all, there’s the very palpable and justifiable fear of painful death that might be lurking in the shadows, possibly coming for people we care about and even ourselves. Over 2.6 million people have become infected and 183,000 have died, all in less than a sporting season. All this from a tiny microscopic virus that’s invisible to the naked eye. We know this is happening and try as we might to look away, we have yet to fully comprehend and make sense of it. Every day, Dorothy Parker’s question is worth asking: “What fresh hell is this?” There is no manual, but there is blog.

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10 Pros and 10 Cons of Coronavirus Bicycling

I cannot remember a lot about the time I think we’ll start calling B.C. — Before Coronavirus. It wasn’t that long ago in late February and early March when times were pretty good, if not care-free amazeballs with wonderment and splendor. We could shake hands, hug people, go to restaurants, and ride our bikes in gangs. Now we’re wearing masks, avoiding each other, eating canned food, growing our hair out and getting cabin fever. Be that as it may, life goes on, but it’s hardly recognizable in many ways. Bicycling is still allowed here in Austin, Texas, fortunately, so during my daily rides I’ve noticed a few things. Well, 20 things, to be exact. So I’ve compiled them into this handy list of the Pros and Cons of Bicycling Through the Pandemapocalypse.

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Frederic Chopin’s Classical Music: The Soundtrack to My Bike Ride

Before you read this, if you can, put on your favorite streaming service, CD or album (or imagine) something by Frédéric Chopin. Something like Nocturne No.2 In E Flat, Op. 9 No. 2 performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy from Chopin: Favourite Piano Works. Because that’s what I’m listening to as I write this, and the music seems perfectly suited to my ride and state of mind. Given that it was a grey Friday evening in Austin, Texas after some light rain had fallen, and the pandemic stay at home order, traffic was extremely light.

The surreal experience of biking down Austin’s main street, Congress Avenue, with hardly any traffic put me in a reflective mood. Cue Chopin, that master of the melancholy from France by way of Poland. His quieter works may not get your RPM up very high, but they put your mind in a calm and meditative place. And that’s not a bad head space to be in these days, biking or otherwise.

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BE HERE NOW, Because Time Is Not on Our Side

For a professional cyclist, one hundredth of a second can mean winning or losing a race. For a jobless commuter / weekend warrior / fathlete such as myself, I really could not care less about speed. Which is good because I’m not fast. As in, lately most of my rides are around 10 miles per hour. However, the first quarter of the year went by and I rode 1,501 miles. But with the world having a prettay, prettay, prettay bad year, who cares about bicycling goals, right? We are all having to consider (or try to avoid) facing the one thing that truly unifies us: our finite existence. I know I have thought about it, because if there’s one thing I have in spades while biking, it’s time.

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Which Austin, Texas Bike Shops Are Open During the COVID-19 Shelter in Place?

During my ongoing spins around town, at least my neck of the woods, I’ve passed by a few local bike shops (LBS). Given the government shut-down of all non-essential business, it seemed most of the LBS’s were forced to close. Many operate on thin margins, so it’s not good news. But I began thinking: If auto dealers, car repair and auto parts shops are open, isn’t it discriminatory against the car-less and poor to close down the LBS’s?

However, bicycling is an exempt activity from the health department order to stay home. And if you ride a bike, you know you will eventually need new tubes or a professional repair. A reputable source told me that LBS’s are now being considered as important enough to be allowed to stay open, thanks to some advocacy. So I was curious who was open. This is not an exhaustive or authoritative list, and it’s subject to frequent changes. Your mileage may vary — quite literally. Check their websites, social media or call first before biking there.

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