I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that riding a bicycle on urban streets is a risky proposition in most cities in America. In my city, Austin, Texas, we have a decent amount of bicycle infrastructure. Better than some, worse than others. Amsterdam it’s not, and we still have to contend with all manner of things that could drive one to drink. Number one is drunk or otherwise distracted drivers. And a lot of those people aren’t swigging booze, they’re guzzling down the rage-ahol. And sometimes when things go badly, we cyclists get plenty angry, too. To quote the original Dr. Bruce Banner to the reporter Jack: “Mr. McGee, don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”Continue reading
For a while now I’ve been sitting down at the computer on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings to write a blog post. Often I have a topic in mind, usually something that’s come to me from my daily bicycle ride, walk or yoga practice. Sometimes I think of it afterward. Then I publish it so that a few readers in Europe can see it first thing, and maybe some night owls in the US see it, too. I try to get it done quickly, in the 30-minute time-frame that I’ve come to break many things down into. But a decently written blog with photos and links can sometimes take me hours. Especially if I start late, and the later it gets, the fuzzier the brain. Clarity on a national scale seems a bit more hopeful. After the American horror story that was the last four years under the raging, narcissistic, assholian tyranny of POTUS #45, it seems like maybe things are sorta kinda starting to get back to normal. Except the problems #46, good ol’ Scranton Joe, has inherited are serious: the economy tanking due to the still raging coronavirus pandemic, with no quick end in sight to either. It feels to me as if I’m bicycling while Rome is burning.Continue reading
Sometimes there’s not much on the main topic of this blog — bicycling — to write about. Fortunately, there’s no law requiring that. I’ve diverged into all kinds of posts: book, TV and movie reviews; a few original poems and puns; political rants; spiritual topics; imaginary interviews with my bike Sophie the Fairdale; profiles of other bike riders; conversations with writers; posts with mostly photographs; nutrition; walking; yoga; and writing itself. Probably a few other things, too.
Now I’m trying something new, a bit stream of consciousness. Trigger alert: I used a bad word in the title, but you already know that. I’ll repeat it for shits and giggles. Because somewhere, if someone giggles too hard, they also have the shits. Anyway, it’s about some interesting and cool shit I saw or learned today. I hope you enjoy it. We’ll start with a bicycle fact anyway.Continue reading
Returning readers will recognize that from time to time, A Dude is called upon to care take some animals. There has been Buddy Willis, Juniper and now Missy. When a friend offered me the opportunity to get away from the near-nightly next-door neighbors unsanctioned cantina. They serve beer and play loud northern music from south of the border (yes, that border, I’m in Texas), I jumped. There was also a house, seven chickens (all you can eat eggs!), and plenty of tell-oh-viz-yun. As for the dog, she was a handful, a piece of work, and a real character. So let me tell you a few things and show you some pictures of Missy, the Cattle Dog.Continue reading
It’s been eight days since I’ve ridden a bicycle. Why? Heat. Illness. Lastimas. Life. (Lastimas is wounds or injuries in Spanish. So that spells H.I.L.L, doesn’t it? I meant to.) When thought of in this way, it’s another set of obstacles, another rise in the road to climb, something that tests you but also makes you stronger. Part of me is relieved, and lucky to have use of a car. Another part of me is pissed off that I’m losing whatever fitness and form I had. Another is panicking that I may not get it back, or get back to it, or even be able bike at all without more injury or at least pain. Breathing in deeply, I notice I am not riding my bicycle. Breathing out, I notice that I am writing a blog post about not riding my bicycle. Continue reading
A Dude Abikes is off his bike for almost a week now, due to an ailment, malady, infirmity, affliction, disorder, sickness, condition or attack. It doesn’t seem to be life-threatening, but it can be a real pain in the tuchis. (That’s Yiddish for backside, butt, nalgas, derrier, etc.) It’s getting treated, but taking alot longer to heal than expected. So I ain’t gettin’ on that bike, as much as I want to, because that would make it worse. Then there’s another matter also more troublesome, and I’m looking into that as well. Let’s hope I’ll be able to remount the trusty old steed soon. Meanwhile, I’m walking a dog for a friend of a friend. Since I’ve adopted a new habit of walking daily, and missed walking Buddy Willis twice daily back in the winter out in the holler, it’s fun to have a new buddy. Her name is…
After a few weeks in the country, today it was time to head back to the city. I’m still unpacking and will be for some time, but I really enjoyed the experience of living in a cabin in the woods with peace, quiet and a dog named Buddy. It was generally a great time and no coyotes or bobcats ate us, so that was great. While the reason for being there was not great at all, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to have the time to write this blog and interacting with other bloggers. Thanks to everyone who has been liking, commenting and following, but more importantly, actually reading what I write. Continue reading
In a week’s time I’ll be back in my room in the busy, noisy, stinking city. The car will be returned to its owners and the process of “re-dogging” will take place. Over four long days I’ll be volunteering for the very large South by Southwest convention (SXSW). That will allow me to see most of the shows except sold-out headliners for free and hopefully do some networking, learning and basically being a tourist in my own town. A luxury of which being employed full-time has deprived me for almost two decades. I’m due for a little fun, especially in the “Live Music Capital of the World.” My search for relevant, rewarding and non-boring work will continue. As will this blog, I hope, but in reduced form while I also hope to re-start working on my book of biking 10,000 miles in 2 years. With these changes on the horizon, it seemed like a good day to reflect.
The Downsides of Country Livin’
- Solitude is nice — unless you’ve caught the cabin on fire, a coyote is making a meal of your leg, or you’re out of salsa.
- Well water, especially the hot stuff, literally smells like rotten eggs, because it has sulfur in it.
- You can’t find your own ass after dark without a flashlight. Some scenes from the classic 1974 horror movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre were filmed not 10 miles from here. See the dark picture up there? Spooky. ‘Nuff said!
- Save for that one time the neighbors showed up on their daily walk and I was dead asleep in a nap, the roar of airplanes, the howling of coyotes, the very loud rain on the tin roof, and even louder electric or fire hazard gas heaters, it’s really mellow and safe out here.
- Speaking of heaters, it’s cold or hot until you turn something on. So peeing in a bucket at night is what you do to avoid a chilly trip to the bathroom.
- Tonight I couldn’t find a plug for a light in the dark, and hit my forehead on a shelf I forgot was there. Then I tepped off the raised floor in the living room and nearly fell over. Still couldn’t find a light. Stumbled into the bedroom. Cabins!
- The road is gravel, dirt, clay and mud — bad for cars and horrible for bikes. It’s getting really boring walking back and forth.
- You can literally be up the creek. Because of the steep incline, you could be trapped here in a gullywasher. (That’s the scientific term in Texan for flash flood.)
- The paved road to get in has no shoulder but does have hairpin turns, crazy hills, and speeders, drunks, or speeding drunks. Not fun for cycling although people do it. You gotta have a car out here and once you’re on the highway, it’s always a drive and rush hour is a big hot mess.
- The neighbors are all polite so far, and a few are model citizens who help with the dog or house, or give a city boy advice. But some are pretty private or their dogs don’t play well with others. I’m also still waiting on that first home-made pie. Like Waiting for Godot, I imagine.
- Coyotes, bobcats and snakes, oh my! Haven’t seen any of them, have heard the wild dogs, but I did see a mouse in the house.
The Upsides of Livin’ in the Country
- Things and time do move more slowly. I’m good with that!
- Peeing outside is pretty cool, especially if you’re a dude.
- Nobody cares if you’re nekkid. Elaine on Seinfeld is still right though, “Naked is not a good look for a man.”
- Peace and quiet, very little traffic noise. Nothing compared to where I stay in the city with its garbage trucks waking you up at 7 am, cop/fire/EMS sirens and Jehovah’s witness.
- All the comforts of home, heat, wi-fi, running water, electricity, but none of the pollution.
You don’t need to lock the doors; if there’s crime I haven’t heard about it.
- Being surrounded by the natural world of trees, dirt, birds, and wildlife is how we’re supposed to live.
- “The stars at night / are big and bright / [clap clap clap clap] / deep in the heart of Texas.” (It’s the fight song of the University of Texas Longhorn sports teams.)
- Compost right in the garden, or anywhere.
- There’s a lot less to distract you so you tend to do more walking, thinking, resting and reading, and a lot less stress eating, tv-watching, or going on wasted trips to fast food or convenience stores.
- Buddy the dog may be the happiest dog around and he’s what his owner called strong medicine. I need my Buddy prescription refilled please, doctor!
I could go on but I think you get the point: I really like the number 11. (Well, it’s true, I do! Because one plus one makes two!) But seriously, it’s different, but it’s still life.
- No biking, still too cold and wet, and I wimped out on a trainer ride, using how it bothers the dog as a reason/excuse. That means tomorrow I’ll have to do SOMETHING.
- Mosley’s book is really good; I feel like I know the characters and they have something to say about the time and place — black people in Los Angeles in the late 1950’s. I didn’t consciously check this book out of the library because he’s an African-American author and it’s Black History Month (yes, the shortest one, but perhaps the most powerful becauese of that!), but it’s interesting timing along with just seeing the reception of the movie Black Panther.
- There has been conversation about it serving as a real role model for young kids of color who usually don’t have a super hero who looks like them on the big silver screen. I’m also in touch with a Kenyan blogger, Twalha Fakhi, who lives in Kenya. I’ve really enjoyed a few of her posts and her nice comments about mine. Go check out her blog, Cafe ave Twali!
- Speaking of Kenya, the movie, and Africans and African-Americans, here’s a link to an interesting Washington Post interview with Larry Madowo by Karen Attiah, Global Opinions Editor. He’s a Kenyan journalist and broadcaster.
- Cleaner diet, higher energy and better sleep, plus catching some TV shows and movies, and of course bicycling are things still not happening as much as I’d like.
- Walking, yoga, work searching and networking, reading, blogging and engaging with other bloggers, plus typing for a friend — all these things are happening. As a Libra, I’m always searching for balance. Soon, having to work will probably wipe out alot of my extracurricular activities. Such is life. C’est la vie. Asi es la vida.
- Or, to quote Austin-area resident, Lincoln talks-to-himself spokesmodel and Oscar-winner Matthew McConaghey: “Just keep livin’.”
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Sunday Started Without Any Sun
On a balmy, grey, at first foggy, then later somewhat sunny Sunday, A Dude rousted himself from his slumber and busted out a decent distance of a bicycle ride. It was the first longer ride in a while, and it was done because that’s what he does, for fitness, fun and so on. But also it was in order to make his 50-mile goal for the week and to have something to blog about. So in a way, if you’re reading this, you’re partially responsible for making it happen! How is that for participation? And you didn’t even have to get up off your couch and bike 27 miles. Here’s the quick map / video from Relive. Continue reading