Fighting Fat Phobia in the Cycling Community

Readers of this blog know that I use the word fathlete frequently. I didn’t invent it, but it’s one small way I resist the outdated, discriminatory, and just plain wrong notion that one cannot be overweight and still exercise. I’m not promoting anyone should try to be overweight. But I am saying that there is plenty of weight stigma in the world, and that includes people who ride bicycles, and I’m also saying it should stop. While that’s unlikely anytime soon, I believe it is worth saying again. Because there are already plenty of obstacles to bicycling (horrible car drivers, unsafe or missing bike lanes, new bikes that are unaffordably priced for many). We don’t need any less reasons for people to bike, we need more. Let’s explore this problem and what can be done about it.

[My previous posts Some Surprising Ways Weight Supports Sports and Un-Fat Is Not All That: Being Overweight May Have Some Health Benefits contain some of my thoughts on this subject.]

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Actually, I’ve Bicycled About 45,000 Miles in 17 Years

The week began slowly. I only managed to average about 12 miles a day when I’m meant to do 15. For 2022, I haven’t set any new goals or made any New Years resolutions. I’m just sort of coasting on auto-pilot from last year. After 5,555.55 miles in 2021, and 6,666.66 in 2020, and riding every day for over 800 days in a row, I have now passed 32,000 miles in just over six years on Strava*. (I started in very late December 2015 and it took five days of 2022 to hit that number, so call it six years and two weeks). That got me to thinking about what I did pre-Strava. The actual total mileage I estimate is much higher. Actually, I’ve bicycled about 45,000 miles in 17 years. (As for whatever I did in childhood and adolescence, into college and young adulthood, I’ve no clue. I could guess 5,000, but it would be a total guess.)

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I Can’t Drive 5,555.55 Miles, but I Bicycled Them! (6,056 Total with Walking in 2021)

It’s year six in the books, for those keeping count of both blog and bodacious bike riding (and four years of basically daily bipedaling, i.e., walking). As you know, 2020 was remarkable globally because of THE KILLER VIRUS, but it was memorable for me personally. I really got after it and as a result last year’s review post was titled A Devil of a Year: 6,666.66 Miles Bicycled in 2020 (7,278 Total with Walking)! So yes, I biked every day all year (one less due to leap year) — again — but for 1,111.11 miles less. That was intentional, since 18.21 miles a day was too much to repeat. But it was also necessary to do less, because, life. And I’m not a machine; I’m a dude. However, 15.22 miles a day is still pretty, pretty, pretty good, so Sophie the Fairdale and I are quite satisfied with it. Let’s get to the Strava images which best sum things up with aplomb. (Yum, a plum sounds delicious, but out of season.) After all, one must have a hint of color!

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The Last Bike Ride (of 2021): Rolling with Rhodney

The year began like it ended, with your humble correspondent throwing a leg over the top tube and pedaling. Neither far nor fast, but flat. Nothing remarkable, save for the fact that I have this platform from which to remark about it. After all, bicycling is a relatively simple act that hundreds of millions of people around the world do. Many much “better” than I. But as someone reminded me, everyone has their story, and here I’ve tried to tell mine, for what it’s worth. Everyone also has obstacles in their life, be they genetic, disability or health-related, environmental, social, economic, or political, and there are many other things that make it “hard”. I try not to focus on these challenges, although I do grouse at times. (It’s my blog and I’ll whinge if I want to.) In the end, one hopes that something good comes out of their efforts, or at least nothing too bad. Just a simple bike ride is its own reward, though.

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A Chat with Sophie the Fairdale at 20,000 Miles + 800 Consecutive Days of Bicycling

It’s a pair of milestones this time for A Dude Abikes and his trusty steed, Sophie, the Fairdale Weekender Archer. I won her in a raffle from Bike Austin back in 2017, though I didn’t start riding her exclusively until January of 2018. On Sunday, we passed 20,000 miles, according to the Gear setting on Strava, the fitness app (which means “to strive” in Swedish.) As it turned out, it happened the day after 800 days I bicycled in a row. Two years, two months and 10 days if you’re wondering.

There was some major effort involved, and with that some pain and suffering, that’s for sure. They’re all part of attaining these big numbers and worth commemorating. I’m not really tooting my horn here as much as I’m just reporting the facts. It’s another step on my journeys both on the bike and here in the pages of this blog.

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Days of A Dude: Doldrums and Dissatisfaction

Oh, hello there. It’s A Dude here. Not THE Dude. Just A Dude. Obviously I’m not Jeff Bridges, the star of The Big Lebowski. I don’t bowl, drink White Russians, wear a robe with Jellies sandals, smoke herbal cigarettes, or say “man” all the time. So on this point we must be clear. At least that’s what the lawyers tell me, in order to keep a certain pair of famous movie mogul brothers off my kiester. or Tuchus. Buttocks. Ass. Back (as in “baby got…”). Behind. Bottom. Butt. Backside. Derriere. Fanny. Fundament. Pooter. OK, there sure are a lot of synonyms for the Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus aren’t there? Actually, I’d love it if they read my blog and hired me to be a screenwriter, to star in their films, or to work for them in some other capacity. Well, I guess it’s not clear where this post is going. You might say I’m dude-ling. (Get it? Like doodling?) I digress.

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Resuscitation of an Austin Ghost Bike, Part 2

Part 1 is at this link if you missed it. The short version is I and a few folks are reinstalling a bicycle that’s a memorial for a woman killed while working on her bike in the bike lane in December 2019. Her name was Merry “Cookie” Daye. This is the rest of the story.

Previous posts are linked here (Austin Bicyclist Death #4…) and here (Silent Ride of Remembrance).

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Most of the Movies I’ve Seen in 2021

One can easily find lists of movies about bicycles; I don’t have much to add to that. That wacky coronavirus pandemic stage went down to 3 but is really 2, I’ve been vaccinated and wear a mask (except on the occasion I get popcorn), and theaters have large seats spaced far apart, and attendance has been low. So I’ve ventured out to a number of movies that aren’t about bikes. I watch plenty of shows and the occasional movie at home, but there’s nothing like seeing a flick on the big screen, especially with a friend. We’ll be living with this stupid virus for probably a long time (for reasons we all know about), so it becomes endemic. We can cower in fear or live our lives and trust science and take reasonable precautions. Because like the Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Our Man in Chicago) posits in the independent film I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, a life without cheese, or movies, is not worth living. So here are a few thoughts about most of the talkies I’ve seen this year.

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Resuscitation of an Austin Ghost Bike, Part 1

Two years ago almost at this time, a woman tragically was killed by a hit and run driver. He was never caught. Her mistake was having her bike trailer break down in the middle of the night and trying to fix it in the bike lane. She was a woman named Merry Daye who lived on the streets of Austin, Texas. Thousands of others still are without housing, thanks to the unaffordable rent and other reasons that cause this situation for so many worldwide. After her death, I organized a ghost bike and memorial ride. Her family came and spoke, and the TV news covered it. Recently, someone liberated the bike from the tree by the church. I live nearby and noticed. So this bike is back in the story of my bicycle journey, and with it, Merry.

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November 2021 Strava Stats; One Month to Go

December is here in all its tawdry commercial tinsel and glitter, saying “Hey everybody, look at me, I’ve got Bodhi Day, Chanukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve!” To that I say, Curb your enthusiasm, December.” But for this dude, it’s just that same time of month, i.e., the first, in which I sometimes recount what I did the previous month on bike, foot, and yoga mat. So let’s see how I did.

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