Charity Cycling and Coronavirus: The Mamma Jamma Challenge 9/12-9/19/20

With the global pandemic of the coronavirus showing no signs of ending anytime soon, those with other illnesses like HIV/AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis still need support perhaps more than ever. One way this is achieved is through fundraising bike rides. A Dude was privileged to ride in half a dozen charity rides, raising $12,000 total over the six events. But nowadays getting people together to breathe hard, even outside, is problematic — especially for the immuno-compromised. Most charity rides have had to go virtual. This week, September 12-19, the good folks at the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride are having people ride bikes and do other activities and record them on Strava, the fitness app, while still raising funds for the one in eight women who get diagnosed with breast cancer.

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The Tour de France Departs in 10 Days from Nice. Nice! 10 Changes in 2020

Professional cycling’s biggest event was rescheduled from July to begin August 29, thanks to you know what. A few other pro racers have happened, and so there is hope Le Tour will start, and end, without problems. Of course there are always problems; it’s the nature of sport. Last year’s edition saw a huge storm blow up the last few stages with a landslide and flooding caused by snow and rain. This year is no different, except it’s completely different, again, thanks to coronavirus. Here are 10 changes and what to expect in 2020 with some of my commentary.

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Do You Have Fitness Goals? Or Do They Have You?

First time readers, welcome. Repeat offenders, thanks. Today’s blawg is about overdoing it, aka overexercising. Which is a bizarre concept in today’s world, populated as it is with overweight people. I’m a member of that tribe, the people of girth. Or as I call it, fathlete. So when the idea of doing less exercise pops into my head, usually because some body part, brain or the whole thing protests, I tend to ignore it and push through. The result of that and all the biking, walking and yoga I do every day gets to be exhausting, especially if it’s a day without enough sleep. So as I sit here eating a bowl of kale, squash, other mystery vegetables to which I added ground beef, brown rice and quinoa, I’m pondering if it’s time to revise the plans. Maybe my questioning my fitness goals will shed some light on the subject for you. And as always, I enjoy reading comments.

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Austin Bike News Roundup for August 6, 2020

I haven’t done one of these roundups in a while. Because, coronavirus. My last one was in May. Inspired somewhat by BikingInLA and TexBiker.net, a roundup hopes to serve up some useful tidbits of happenings around town in the bicycling world here in Austin. Sometimes, it’s news about infrastructure, not so sexy, but important. And other times it’s even sobering and sad, like the senseless suffering and death of a cyclist who was hit by a car (the first of 2020).

I suppose that last one is fitting, given that it’s the 75th anniversary of Hiroshima Day and Nagasaki Day on the 9th. These tragic attacks remind us that the United States is the other country to ever use nuclear weapons, at great human cost. A Dude says nukes must be abolished before we can ever have peace. There’s a treaty that only 40 countries have signed and shamefully, the US in not one of them. Alright, sermon concluded. On with the way more fun and much less important Austin bike news!

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I’ll Tell Ya What I’m Watchin’ on My Telly (Part 3)

Because I’m riding 125-166 miles per week lately, I was thinking about sharing more of my stats cycling about town. Or some news about the City of Austin Healthy Streets program expanding and taking public comment. The St. John’s bike lane project and outer lane closures downtown on Congress Avenue making temporary bike lanes are noteworthy. There hasn’t been a bicyclist die in a car crash yet this year (that I know of), which is great. I could do something about saddle sores, how bike shops are still short on inventory, or a piece about another bicycle website here in A-town. There’s bicycle seat adjustment, more about my Garmin watch (their site crashed today), or any number of other bike-related news that you can use. But nah, I’m gonna write about TV. Because, coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. There are plenty of dystopian future movies and shows, but one in particular seems exactly right for this moment in history in which we find ourselves.

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“Wassup, Killah?” and Other Random $hit People Say to Me on My Bicycle

Last night I was putting in some late night miles — 16.5 to be exact — to beat the heat and keep my stats up, you know, like I do. I approached a red light and came to a stop. Here’s what I wrote in my Strava ride summary: “Wassup, Killah?” Said the man at the bus stop, a descendant of Africa, pleasantly and with no malice, to the dude on the bicycle who is of the Caucasian persuasion. “I’m good, thanks. How ’bout you?” Also good. They then discussed how the weather wasn’t as hot as last night. The light changed, adieus were bid, and the dude rode on, an otherwise lackluster day made. “Huh, I guess I am kinda a killah on a bike!” He pedaled a little harder, his mph a bit faster. So yeah, that happened.

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C’est le 14 juillet, où est le Tour de France?

Bastille Day, France’s independence celebrated July 14th, is a day when a French cyclist turns himself inside out to win this day’s stage in the Tour de France. But not this year. Due to you-know-what, it’s been postponed. How, and whether, it happens at all is a big question. Sites like Cycling News explain how testing, keeping team staff and riders away from fans, podium protocol to a minimum and so on will perhaps make it as safe as possible. But it’s up to the microscopic coronavirus and local health officials what happens. Let’ s hope Mother Nature and the government will, as the Cajuns in Lousiana say: Laissez les bons temps rouler.

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Coronavirus Cycle Commuting: Survival Tips for Your Trips

For the last few weeks I’ve been biking to a job. This isn’t new, as I’ve been 15 years not a slave to cars. But recently I’ve not had work to go to, so a daily ride to a workplace, and then returning home during the still surreal situation we’re all in, is a bit odd. The global coronavirus pandemic is a huge tragedy that will be with us for a while until there’s a vaccine and maybe longer. One small consolation is that it has reduced traffic and pollution. This is good for bike riders, but there are still plenty of hazards so cyclists should remain vigilant. Here a few challenges I’ve noticed and tips for things you can do to make your ride to work as good and as safe as possible.

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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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