600 Days in a Row of Bicycling

Back on February 23 I wrote 10 Techniques I Used to Bicycle 500 Days in a Row. With today’s ride I’ve added 100 more to that. Quite by accident, coincidence or kismet, the screen shot of the dates (below) was taken with 66% of my phone battery left at 6:00 pm. How cool is that? So yeah, every day for a whole year, seven months and 22 days, I’ve swung a leg over the top tube of Sophie the Fairdale Weekender Archer (and occasionally Sonnie the GT Arette) and pedaled away. But here’s the thing: I don’t recommend it, unless you enjoy a challenge like the one attributed to Jerry Seinfeld which he didn’t actually make up, called #DontBreakTheChain. It started on a lark accidentally, and I just kept going from there. Still a fathlete, so I’ve got to do something. And like George Costanza claiming to design the new addition to the Guggenheim, “Yeah, and It didn’t take that long, either.” Because as we all know, you can only live one day — and bike one pedal stroke — at a time.

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When Things Fall Apart: Fitness Goals and Life

Lately I’ve been slipping a bit with my exercise and health practices, and even writing this blog. It reminded me of When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, a book by American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron. I can’t recommend it because I’ve never read it; it’s sitting in a box in storage. At one point I may have even owned two copies. But the title speaks to me now after a mostly pretty shitty day and last few weeks. Even within the Tibetan Shambhala community, things fall apart. As with many religious, business, and entertainment leaders with unchecked power, last year their figurehead was accused of and apologized for sexual misconduct. It went on a while, but he’s still there.

However, reports suggest that Chodron as a senior leader and teacher may have enabled or ignored it. She even told a woman reporting abuse years ago that she didn’t believe her. So she’s not perfect, and she has resigned in protest but maybe also as an act of contrition although she wasn’t the abusive male with all the power. Point is, life doesn’t always or even often go the way we want it to. Defecation passes. We’re all humans here, right? Certainly there are more important things than fitness goals, but like the saying goes, “At least you have your health.” Well, what if you don’t, despite your best efforts? I guess you do your best.

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Another Day, Another Bike Ride

Here at A Dude Abikes, we (that is, the royal we) appreciate guts, intestinal fortitude, and chutzpah. That extends to anyone taking the chance, choice, and time to read. Though we know we’re no ex-Prince Harry, we do like to think of ourselves as having a quality that our former overlapping roommate said one day recently, i.e. intrepid. It’s been raining buckets here in Central Texas (a good thing because we’re behind for the year). I told the roomie, who’s quite a cyclist, that I was going for a walk, despite the chance of rain and not having slept a lot (partially because of his late and early packing racket). That’s when he said I was intrepid. I thought, “Hey, that’s pretty cool, like James Bond or something.” I’m not in possession of the sort of high-caliber intrepitude (if that wasn’t a word, it is now) that sprinters like Mark Cavendish do, I manage to climb the mountain of a number of good habits every day. Every day could be our last on the bike or other things, but I’m grateful that I was able and am glad to report that today was not the end. It was another day, another bike ride.

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Is It Possible to Ride Your Bicycle Too Much?

Back in November 2019 I wrote a post called The Bad Side of Good Habits. In it, I considered things that seemed good on the surface but looking deeper there were some negatives. Lately, I’ve been feeling pretty knackered (British English for tired) to the point where I can’t really ignore it. A quick search brings up the word “overtraining” and a host of replies with plenty of debate. As an amateur fathlete bicyclist, I’m not too worried about the semantics. You won’t see me entering any races, breaking any land speed records or running myself ragged biking up mountains. Yet my performance, such as it is, has been slipping downward in terms of average miles per hour and quantity of mileage. It’s not just on the bike where I’ve noticed changes, either. So maybe it’s time to consider a break. Or is it?

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Send In the Bicycle Cav(alry): Mark Cavendish Wins Thrice at Tour of Turkey

If you don’t know Mark Cavendish, aka Cav, aka the Manx Missile, allow me to make a brief introduction. One of the greatest sprinters of modern professional cycling, he has won A LOT of races. Cocky and full of confidence, with a sly English (from the Isle of Man) wit and a low-key, self-deprecating sense of humor in post-race interviews, he was pure lightning on the bike. But he got older, moved to different teams, got sick, then depressed, and has been trying to make a comeback for a while. After a three-year drought, he just got three wins in a row at the ripe old age (for pro cyclists) of 35. Everybody loves an underdog, and as a perpetually suffering, aging, and fathlete cyclist, I was thrilled for him at the news. Read on for more on MC putting the hammer down.

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10 Techniques I Used to Bicycle 500 Days in a Row

So, this just happened. After reaching 16 months of consecutive bicycle riding couple of weeks ago, the blurb I put in my 500th bike ride in a row on Strava sums it up well:

I ain’t fast, suck at hills, don’t have a ton of followers, or a fancy bike, but I git ‘er done. Different parts hurt and I’m plum tuckered out most days. So mebbe a forced break’s a-comin’. Or mebbe not. I Just Keep Pedalin’.

-moi

Thing is, I didn’t plan on this streak. I just one day realized that if I rode a little bit every day, it might be easier than a long ride every few days. And like my other streaks (yoga for 7+ years and walking, writing and virtually no flour each for 3+ years), at some point, a little voice started saying “Don’t Break The Chain.” It’s a little phrase attributed to Jerry Seinfeld writing jokes every day for a year, which he said wasn’t true. But it’s still a good handle for a challenge.

In a world where half a million Americans have now died of COVID-19, millions of Texans were without power for most of a week during the bitter cold snow and ice storm, and some still have no water or water damage. Plenty of other injustice continues: price gouging, racism, white supremacy, homophobia, sexism, unemployment, poverty, and climate change just to name a few. I know it really matters very little what one zaftig mid-aged bicycle dude in Austin did in his bike. Yet, life goes on. Content must be created, stories must be told, and horns must be tooted. So since you’re here, it’s like the Buddhist path: once started, may as well finish.

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There’s No Biking Like Snow Biking and Walking in a Winter Wonderland in Austin, Texas

Hot it’s not. Hotter than hell would be swell right about now. Because here in Central Texas the Valentine’s / Presidents Day cold front is a weeklong blast that has 2 million people statewide without electricity. Like much of the US, we’ve suffering through an Arctic weather pattern that is so cold (how cold IS it?) that temperatures are below what it normally is in Anchorage, Alaska. It was forecast to be 5 degrees F tonight, and we got our first ever Wind Chill Warning, meaning it could feel like under 0. This was the third heaviest snowfall ever and the most since 1949. Over 6 feet fell at the main weather station, though where I stay was not as much, but it was plenty. Except for my year in New England, this is the most snow I’ve ever seen. The roads are not safe, and most everything is shut down for several days. But today the sun came out, and I’m still A Dude Abikes, so I went out on a wobbly, wandering walk, and later a short, slushy, and slow bike ride.

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Why I Ride My Bike: 10 Reasons

Someone asked me this, and I think it’s a good question. I don’t think about it much, and the answer(s) aren’t necessarily earth-shattering. But I may as well give it a shot. I also want to try to write 500 words in 30 minutes again, so this will probably be a list article. I’m allowed a listicle once in a while, especially in winter, right? Yes. Read on, won’t you please?

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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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