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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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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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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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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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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Goodbye America, Nice Knowing You

Austin, Texas — The Mayor, in cahoots with the chief of Public Health (aka the SARS Czar is requiring residents to Shelter in Place starting today, but just for two weeks. (Yeah, right!) It’s also known as staying the fuck home, a curfew, being on lockdown with a few exceptions, and martial law lite (New! With scary virus features!) But because of a silent but deadly killer (no, not farts, it’s coronavirus), the land of the free and the home of the brave is having a major hissy fit. Some are asking what it all means to cancel everything including our Bill of Rights. Really, ‘merikuh? Suspend the US Constitution? WTF?

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On Resilience: Bicycling Through Life and the Pandemapocalypse

It’s hard to not write about the elephant in the room when it’s far, Far FAR! bigger than that. Coronavirus is like sunlight, or water — except that it’s poisonous for many, and deadly for some. There are I’m sure much more eloquent attempts to explain and interpret what’s going on. After all, I’m just A Dude who rides a bicycle and blogs about it. My tiny corner of the internet is just one example of something a few humans think is kinda cool, or interesting, or important, but in reality is not. It’s frivolous, navel-gazing distraction.

And yet, we each do what we can to cope, to survive, and maybe again even to thrive. So I’m writing this blog. And it occurred to me that maybe I’ve learned a few lessons from biking 100-175 miles a week for 22 weeks in a row that might help me and you get through this. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. (I’m not really suggesting you do that; please don’t.)

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