Solo v. Group Cyclists: Sad and Lonely, or So Happy Together?

For some time even before the Great Plague of 2020-20??, I mostly rode my bicycle by myself. When Coronavirus hit, and health rules didn’t prevent bike riding but discouraged doing so with others, nothing much changed for me. Sure, I’d go to the occasional social cycling ride, or a friend might join me sometimes. But for the most part, I was Forrest Gump on a two-wheeler. I Just. Kept. Bicycling. Things sort of relaxed, with some people getting vaccines (including moi), then they got worse again with the Delta variant. Still, I have ridden every day of the pandemic and then some — 23 months straight as of 9/11/2021. But am I happy or sad about being on my own? As usual, it’s not a simple answer.

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A New Abode in Which to Abide for A Dude Abikes

A year ago today, on Cinco de Mayo, I wrote a post about having to move. I called it Moving A Dude’s Abode and Body: A Buddhist View. In it, I reflected on stuff, attachment, cravings, and even death. You might be expecting another installment, all kinds of new pearls of wisdom after a year of THE VIRUS!, but for the life of me, I can’t think of any at the moment. So I’m going to write about the things I will miss in this place. I know the title is about the new residence, and I can hear you saying, “That’s not what was advertised in the title.” To that I’d say, “Well, that’s just like, you know, your opinion, man!” But I’ll get to that, just cool your jets, pump your brakes, and slow your roll, OK? Good.

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16 Months of Consecutive Daily Bicyling

It’s that time of the month, again. The 11th, that is, which is when I began biking every single day back in October of 2019. For some reason, I cain’t quit you, bicycling. That streak will be tested Monday, when we might see the coldest temperatures in a decade and three to five inches of snow — in Austin, Texas. I may have to pull out the old metal home trainer stand and do my 14.3 miles* in the relative warmth of the inside. I say relative because this house leaks air like the White House press office, and the space heaters can’t keep up. Anyway, the miles add up, although at a slower pace than last year. That’s thanks to having a smaller goal, a niggling injury, and my old frequent friend, fatigue. Plus, the cold does slow one down. Don’t get me started on how my body seems unable to handle cold very well anymore, for whatever mysterious reason. Still, I bike, because, well, you know: a dude abikes.

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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.

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A Devil of a Year: 6,666.66 Miles Bicycled in 2020 (7,278 Total with Walking)!

6,666.66 miles:  That’s how far I bicycled in 2020. Add in about 611 miles of walking, and that’s 7,278 miles I traveled on my own power. (By the way, almost 4 miles were swimming, which I started right before, you know, IT.) By IT of course I mean the novel coronavirus pandemic, aka COVID-19, which might quite possibly be the work of Satan, if he exists (I’m not a believer). But the other Devil in my analogy is the person in charge of getting the United States of America through this mess, which instead he made worse. He dropped the ball big-time, and is about as far away from godliness as you can get. So he’s the other evil one: Future Ex-President Tinyhands Orangehead. Whether you’re a religious person or not, I think we can all agree that 2020 was a Devil of a year (or two Devils).

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Happy Native American Heritage Day, on Black Friday, After White(wash) Thursday

November is Native American Heritage Month in the US, and the fourth Friday in November is Native American Heritage Day. Unfortunately, it’s known more for being the biggest shopping day, aka Black Friday (which has nothing to do with African-Americans). And it comes on the heels of Thanksgiving, aka Un-Thanksgiving or National Day of Mourning. In the 2010 Census, almost 3 million Americans identified as indigenous, and another 2 million said they were indigenous and another race. I’m well aware I’m a white person writing about people of color, so before I go any further, here’s a good interview with Simon Moya-Smith, an Oglala Lakota journalist. Go give that a quick read and then come back. I’ll wait.

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The Coronacles of Blarneya, Part II

Back when the coronavirus which becomes the disease COVID-19 pandemic was just six weeks old (the length of the lockdown in Austin, Texas), I wrote Part I of this title. If you were here for that long, rambling and meandering post (or go read It now), you may recall a sense of aimless wandering. You might have been right about that. In many ways, we as a human race were doing that long before this outbreak. Now we are clearly fumbling our way through this waking nightmare, bad movie, or really, just stark reality. So as the band War sang,

Take a little trip, take a little trip
Take a little trip and see
Take a little trip, take a little trip
Take a little trip with me

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I Bicycled Every Day for an Entire Year: Lessons Learned

Here’s the thing:  I didn’t set out to bike 366 days in a row. If you had a crystal ball and told me my future a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. I just went on my birthday ride, a mile per year of life, as I have done the last several years. But instead of taking the next day or more off to rest like a normal person, I became more like Forrest Gump:  I just kept bike-ing and bike-ing and bike-ing… Except there was no Robin Wright as Jenny yelling, “Bike, A Dude, bike!”

The Energizer bunny I’m not. I’m just a middle-aged, slightly overweight (aka fathlete), regular guy who chose the bicycle as his vehicle for his mid-life crisis mobile. I can’t tell you why I did this, except at some point it was simply to see if I could do it. And now I have. Don’t believe me? Check my Strava activity log – it’s all there. But this isn’t really about me. Here’s the main thing I want to tell you: If I can do it, most of you can, too.

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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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