Today is November 3, 2020. In the United States, it’s Election Day. Either the country will re-elect the incumbent President or the former Vice President. (Or maybe the Russians will manipulate some people to do their bidding.) The point is, it’s a big deal. Why? Because of the scope of radical changes #45 has made, most of which most of the US is about to pass judgment on.
But this is a bike blog, and while the personal is political, I don’t like to irritate readers who may be from across the aisle. I also pull no punches if I do write about politics. In the end, it’s a choice each registered voter has to make for themselves, while hopefully considering the greater good. But only one of the two candidates rides a bike, so it’s a no-brainer.
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?
After riding my bicyle to three different locations over the last seven days in a row to work as a clerk for the county elections office during early voting, I have some observations. Chief among them is that having a job again is both gratifying and exhausting, kind of fun but kind of annoying. Another is that Austin is still a place that still has a whole lot of white people in it, especially due the high rents of downtown, which limits some people of color. But where there is diversity, it is quite varied. Third, for the most part Austinites are a very well-behaved, clever and mellow bunch.
Fourth, voting is one of few times where people of all political stripes come together to exercise their right to participate in democracy, and that’s a beautiful thing whether you agree with voting or not. And a fifth is that while voting is something that some people deride, some ignore, and others celebrate, it’s still a fascinating experience to be part of the process. There are more things you might learn as I did if you just click on that little Continue Reading button. It’s like voting! Please vote to read the rest of this blog! Vote for A Dude Abikes! Continue reading →
What does any of that have to do with bicycles? Well, everything and nothing. Readers of this blog know that I can and have linked a bicycle to Mohandas Gandhi,Martin Luther King, Jr., and actor/director Tate Donovan, to chocolate, and to racism. (I’m still not sure but I’m really, REALLY hoping that it’s not racist to use the words chocolate and racism in the same sentence.)
The fact is, that work is for most people not in the 1% (like future ex-US President Tinyhands Orangehead), an inevitable part of life. A Dude is no exception. For almost a year, his work has been this blog and a book in progress, biking his ass off (though it’s still there), daily walking and yoga-ing, volunteering, among other things. But today, he rinally had to join the working class again and get the dreaded J-O-B. He rode there on his bike, of course.
Today’s University of Texasat Austin publication, The Daily Texan, has a front-page story about the scourge of rentable so-called “disruptive” technology being dumped on our streets and the campus. See “Dockless scooters temporarily removed: New city ordinance suspends dockless scooters until companies obtain proper permits.” Basically these companies came in like Uber and Lyft and started operating illegally (or quasi-legally at best), and then the City of Austin had to play catch up and regulate them. We the citizens of Austin chased the ride-share companies out of town after an election, even though they cynically spent over $8 million.
As for rent-a-bikes, I don’t have as many problems with them, because that’s a big part of the point of this blog: more people can and should use bikes. But when they or scooters are clogging up the place, people dump them, vandalize them, or they obstruct lawful bike commuters and pedestrians, they’re a safety hazard to the operators and to others. So I have a few words about this. I’m like an antibiotic ointment: I’m topical!