What I’m Reading in Summer 2021, by A Dude Abooks

People ask me what kind of business I’m in, and I say books… and business is good. OK, not really. I’m just an amateur still working on mine. Well, maybe I’m an unreliable narrator because here I am yet again, writing another blog post instead of doing revisions. A new writer friend who’s also working on a memoir whom I met online first at a Writers League of Texas event invited me to a coffee shop. He asked me why not pause the blog to focus on the manuscript? I said that wasn’t a bad idea but that I can’t seem to quit blogging. Maybe he’s right. Or not. Because any guy who suggests meeting in a suburb called Pflugerville (the p is silent), but who doesn’t drink coffee and knows I don’t either, must be a little touched in the head. Just kidding, it was a pferectly pfine pflace to pfontificate about the pfiner pfoints of pfublishing and such.

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666 Consecutive Cycling Days: The Devil Is in the Details

Well, that just happened. Riding my bike for 666 days in a row is a benchmark I figured would eventually pass if I just kept going. As for those who think the number has some special significance, or to the members of the Church of Satan, who are skeptical atheists who do NOT worship Satan or believe the devil is a real entity but rather “…as an archetype of pride, individualism, and enlightenment”: no offense. I just like the symmetry of the number. That should be evident from my biking 6,666.66 miles in 2020. I called it the Double Devil, because of Coronavirus and POTUS #45. Read all about that at this link.) That’s a lot of days in a row to do anything. In my case, bicycling for almost two years is a fairly decent accomplishment.

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My Strava Stats for July 2021

This post looks at my monthly stats from all my activities in July 2021 courtesy of Strava. As you can see from the images below, I was active all 31 days of the month, for 93 hours total exercise. Of that, 37% was biking, 31% walking, 30% yoga, and 2% swimming. I had hoped to do a lot more of the latter, but there is limited access to the only outdoor pool my gym has in town. Also, I don’t like sharing a lane, since I’m a lousy swimmer I need a whole one to myself. That and my ongoing energy deficit made it too difficult to get in. At least I got in the water twice. I’ve realized they have water aerobics, so I might consider that. But the struggle is real, and it continues.

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How Did Lawson Craddock and Team USA Do at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?

Texan professional racer Lawson Craddock rode in the Olympic road race and time trial in Japan. In my previous post about Lawdog, I got the date and time for the first event correct but not which one. The very long 146-mile road race came first. I missed the time trial, which isn’t as fun to watch. In both cases the Houston native acquitted himself well. I answer the question below, and there are spoilers including one about the Tour de France.

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The Art of Taking the Lane on a Bicycle

“Get yo’ bitch ass offa the road!” yelled the guy in the truck at me. That’s because I was in the middle of the narrow car lane, since there was no room for cars to safely pass me a bike lane or alternative road, and the sidewalks suck. I was in Southeast Austin, Texas in a neighborhood called Govalle (a Swedish, not Spanish word). It’s a less wealthy part of town near the airport that billionaire Elon Musk is transforming with a huge Tesla manufacturing plant. (Teslas are still cars, and they still pollute, albeit less than a standard gas engine car. And those lithium batteries are hugely wasteful to make, even if recycled.) Anyway, it’s a car-centric neighborhood. Traffic wasn’t heavy, so I chose to take the lane — which is completely legal in Texas. Anyway, it was not a pleasant interaction and it got me thinking about how and when to take the lane.

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Building New Habits, 15 Minutes at a Time

If you’re new here, I’m a dude who has been working on some habits, with some pretty good results. If you’re old, well, me, too, and thanks for sticking around. If you read my previous post you’ll see I covered 3,002 miles in seven and a half months. I accomplished this by riding my bicycle every day this year. But I didn’t just start and get to that point this year; I’ve been doing it a while before that, and I built up to it. A major reason I was able to do this was that I was introduced by my brother to James Clear who writes about habits. His book Atomic Habits has sold 4 million copies. So he knows a few things.

© James Clear
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3,002 Miles Bicycled in 2021… So Far!

Tonight’s ride was a modest 10 miles, but it pushed me over 3,000. Round numbers make nice milestones — in my case, literally. Normally I do statistics at the beginning of a new month for the one proceeding. But this marker seemed worthy of a post. For one thing, it is a number that tells me I will have probably ridden my bike more than driven the car I was given in the last year. There’s something to be said for doing what one can to reduce one’s carbon footprint, given the very real and scientific consensus that climate change is killing the planet. (Naysayers can go put on their tin foil hats elsewhere like with the flat earthers.) Of course 15+ years with no car was better. But I digress. I may be slowing but I still manage to ride my bike. If you also bike, you know it’s fun. If you don’t, you should try it! Do you konw what’s also fun? Looking at my biking numbers.

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Lawson Craddock in Time Trial and Road Race at Tokyo Olympics

Houston, Texas native and Austin transplant pro cyclist Lawson Craddock (who lives nearby me in Austin when he’s here but mostly in Girona, Spain) is headed for Japan. After winning the US men’s time trial with others on Team EF Education Nippo in third and fifth places) in Knoxville, Tennessee in June, and coming in fifth in the road race, he’ll feature in both disciplines in Tokyo next week. You can see my previous blogs about him by typing Lawson into the Search box on my home page.

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Staying Safe Cycling City Streets

A Dude hasn’t biked as far as he has, mostly here in Austin, Texas, and remained above ground without taking safe cycling seriously. Some people don’t do that, so they pay the price with injury or worse. Others do play by all the rules but drivers of cars don’t. The smart money is on doing everything you can to be “oh, oh, oh stayin’ alive” so you can “live to ride another day,” as Sam says. I know what I’m talking about because I am currently still alive after almost 30,000 verified Strava miles. I also took the League Cycling Instructors course (I’m short a few exercises of being a full-fledged LCI). Here are 10 tips off the top of my — what word for brain starts with t.

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Thieves Drive Truck Through Front Door of The Peddler Bike Shop in Austin, Texas

There’s been a lot of bicycle theft showing up in my Next Door feed over the last year. Global pandemics with their concomitant economic hardships have put all kinds of strain on people. But this brazen act takes the cake. Robbers literally broke through the front door of The Peddler Bike Shop in Hyde Park area of Austin, Texas with a probably stolen truck. I happened to see it on the website for the news station where I get my weather, and I was aghast. It is the closet shop to me, and I’ve been going there longer than any shops here. I also know the owner a bit. (Ironically, my first real bike that I ever bought myself I got from here, was stolen on Xmas Eve maybe 10 years ago.) This was very sad news so on my daily ride I stopped by to pay my condolences.

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