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!
Late autumn conditions have been dry, mostly sunny and not too cold here in Central Texas. Waking to some light rain and grey skies was a welcome change, just in time for winter which officially begins tomorrow. For a car-less dude like me, going places generally means getting on Sophie the Fairdale Weekender Archer bicycle and dealing with whatever Mother Nature throws at me. While I was prepared to ride in the rain, it turned out that I didn’t need to and so I chose not to take advantage and rest.
Crash, wreck, accident – these words all conjure up unpleasant images. That’s because falling off your bike can really, Really, REALLY hurt. A saying in bicycling goes “It’s not a matter of if you’re going to fall, it’s when.” I’ve had one fairly serious incident, and a few minor mishaps. I’m thinking about this topic because I experienced one of the latter the other night. It was a relatively minor scrape (yes, a pun) with a weird, free-standing curb the other night. Here’s what happened and what I did that might be entertaining, educational or both. Yes, definitely both.
The other day I wrote about the third bicyclist fatality in Austin, Texas this year. News reports finally shared his name, Anthony Wayne Williams.
I have been thinking that it is good news that no more bicyclists have been killed in Austin, Texas since Anthony John Diaz and Jessica Saathoff died earlier this year (which is two too many). Then I did a general search for bicyclist and Austin, and learned this sad news. A man died in the hospital after being hit at a busy intersection of the interstate highway and a regional highway service roads. There is very little information at this point, but it’s important to report and also remember that bicycling, when done carefully and legally, is usually quite safe. Unfortunately not for this victim.
From the things that make you go mmmmmm department:
Mishap #1: Trash Cans, Trash Talk
Riding down a sidewalk of a busy four-lane road without bike
lanes, I swerve to avoid recycling bins, miscalculate, and Sophie the Fairdale’s
very wide handlebars catch them. I go
down like a Christian thrown into the gladiator ring trying to save the lion
with talk of Jesus. (Translation: Quickly.)
But unlike those unlucky folks, I bounced right back up, apparently
The sad news hit the cycling world that Christopher Froome, British rider for professional bicycle racing Team Ineos (formerly Team Sky), has broken his hip, femur, elbow and ribs and is out of 2019 Tour de France. “It’s just a bike race” he said after the terrorist truck attack killed 86 people and injured over 400 in Nice, France on Bastille Day during the 2017 Tour. What can we mere mortals learn from his epic fail? I’m so glad you asked. I’ll tell you if you click on “Continue reading.”
I’ve titled this sad post the same as the ride for Anthony John Diaz, because it was very similar. A bunch of people show up at a pre-arranged place, they chat, there are some announcements, and the ride begins without people speaking unless needed for safety. The group rides around East Austin with leaders stopping car traffic or the riders as needed, and eventually it arrives at the scene of the victim’s death. There is a bike painted all white: a ghost bike. Somber words are spoken, people reflect, and the ride continues. It then ends at a park after about 10 miles, where people are thanked and more words are spoken. It’s sad, and it’s supposed to be, like a funeral procession. But now what?
Please see my post on 12/19/19 about Cyclist Death #4 at https://wp.me/p75hY4-2NT.
This sad news came across my screen, and I just sat and stared at it. She was 28 years old, hit by a car Thursday night. Now, gone. The details are scant and will trickle in. Here’s an updated story from the NBC affiliate, KXAN: “Cyclists push for change after fatal MLK Blvd crash.” The story says she wasn’t wearing a helmet and the car driver stayed on the scene. Despite this tragedy, riding a bike in Austin is still very safe compared to driving and walking. That won’t help Jessica, but maybe it will help others of us who do still bike.
There is always something happening related to bicycles in my little world, but there have been a number of bike-related headlines around the city in recent days. On this day of closed post offices due to the 40 or so men who have resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, here are the stories that caught A Dude’s eye:
- Keep Austin Weird: Man charged with assault after Sixth Street fight with pedicab driver, police say (February 17, Austin American-Statesman)
- Fortunately, he survived: Man injured in bicycle crash in downtown Austin (same as above)
- The investigation into the death of Anthony John Diaz, killed after apparently getting run over by a bus, continues: UT Austin police seeking Good Samaritan witness to fatal crash (February 13, 2019 KXAN News)
- Former resident, cancer patient, and guy who did some other bike-related stuff: Lance Armstrong becomes ‘charity chaser’ for Austin Marathon (February 14, KXAN News)
- For a bonus, although happening 11 days ago and is slightly out of town in Burnet, Texas: 2019 FIRST CHAIR ALERT: Spider Mountain Bike Park Opening Day (February 4)
Let’s dive into the details, shall we?