The Journey Is the Destination: Meandering Thoughts from a Bike Dude

After many miles over the last four and a quarter years, I’d like to think I mostly know what I’m doing on a bicycle. There’s ways more to learn, of course. Still, it just takes one mistake and you could find yourself in a spot of bother, or should I say spot of splat. Today, I went on a ride with a friend that involved social distancing to avoid other riders, and there were many sidewalks. Towards the end, after about 20 miles at careful pace, a light turned green and I crossed a busy street — but it was the wrong light, not the crosswalk I was waiting for. Suddenly, I found myself in a lane where a car was coming by on either side. Fortunately there wasn’t a lot of traffic and my fellow rider told me I was wrong, so I quickly returned to the sidewalk. I was never in that much danger, as both cars slowed down. It wasn’t my best moment in what’s been a long journey, reminding me that being mindful in the present moment instead if the destination is one key to survival on the bike, as in life.

Continue reading

Je Suis Fatigué: When You’re Stuck in the Spin Cycle

Possible titles for this post included (the humorless should skip the intro):

  • Biking Is Good for Getting In Shape to Escape the Zombie Hordes
  • Coronavirus; Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Worse (Lily Tomlin)
  • Can My Bicycle Get Coronavirus?
  • Rome Is Burning — Like Literally, People Have Fevers
  • COVID-19 – The Movie: Will Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Finally Portray the President?
  • We’re All Gonna Die, So May As Well Ride Your Bike
  • Anyone Know How “The Walking Dead” Ends?
  • Coronavirus, Some Coronavirus, and Also More Coronavirus

I’ve decided to go in another direction, though, and write about something related, still health-related and less apocalyptic.

Continue reading

How Are Your Pool Workouts Going, Dude? Splendid, Sublime, and Swimmingly!

Thick white fog hung over the East Texas lake early that sultry, steamy summer morning. The ground clouds mirrored the layer of gauze of sleep over my still slumbering eyes. We’d been awakened at the butt crack of dawn a bit too gleefully by the Scoutmaster or one of his slightly sadistic and sycophantic Scout leaders. It was the Big Day. The one we’d been dreading, anticipating, and otherwise talking about all week. It was time for mission impossible: the Mile Swim.

Slowly our shivering selves made our way to the shore, shedding shirts, shoes, and sleepy heads. Safety spelled out in a speech, suddenly it was sink or swim and shut the hell up time. The rest is mostly a blur, but somehow I and most of my Scout siblings, suffering silently in solidarity, finished the damn thing. One thing is crystal clear though: there were some alligators in that water. I swear I shit you not… seriously!

Continue reading

124 Consecutive Days of Bicycling… and Counting

After a couple of days off the bicycle, I began riding daily on October 11, 2019. Every day since then, I’ve mounted my trusty steel steed Sophie, the Fairdale Weekender Archer to go places. Some days just a few miles were traversed; most days it’s closer to 20 miles, and a few even more. There have been no true rest days, as I am still walking and doing yoga daily, and now I’ve added an occasional lap swimming into the mix. It’s all rather exhausting, even if a particular ride isn’t taxing. The cumulative effect seems to be taking its toll. What’s A Dude with no car and #BikeGoals to do? Take the bus? Pshaw!

Continue reading

7 Reasons Why Joining a Gym Can Improve Your Bicycling

New Years resolutions have gone by the way side for plenty of folks a month later now that Punxsutawney Phil has (or hasn’t) seen his shadow on Groundhog Day. It seems like a good time for re-evaluating fitness goals. For me, after many, Many, MANY! thousands of miles on my bicycles – in the last four years especially – I’m still a fathlete (fat + athlete).  Well, I’m athletic-adjacent. I know I ain’t no Mahomes, holmes. Point is, adaptation is a real thing, so after many years of not being a member of the Y, I asked myself “Why not join back up?” I enjoyed it before, so maybe I would again.

At first, I could only list the usual downsides: the hassle of getting there and back, showering, wiping (the machines, not my ass, silly goose!), paying monthly, fighting other people for a spot, worry about athlete’s foot and so on. I consulted with gym members and sometime riders Rhodney and Saurabh. Then, on the day I used a guest pass to take the place for a test drive, all those excuses just kinda melted away. Especially when I got into that hot tub after a nice swim. Mmmmm… melty. 

Continue reading

15 YEARS NOT A SLAVE TO CARS!

This is my fifth annual post about being car-free since 1/25/2005. Technically I’m car-light, since I drove borrowed cars for a job for part of last summer also visited relatives over the holidays. On the other hand, I managed my best year ever combined and walking and biking – 5,633 miles.

I did that while on a bike that has 67% fewer gears and is 25% heavier steel (Sophie) than my old aluminum steed (Sookie). I’m no Greta Thunberg, but I do think reducing car use is a good thing. Not everyone can do it, but some people might be able to try it. That’s all I’m saying. Well, in this paragraph at least.

Continue reading

And Iran, Iran So Far Away: A Bicyclist’s View on Another Looming War About Energy

I will be the first to admit that this piece probably isn’t going to be re-published in the New York Times, The Economist, Mad Magazine or anything with that sort of stature. However, I just had to put that Flock of Seagulls lyric to some good use. Sometimes titles are used to pique interest and have little to do with the content. And that’s largely the case here. I’m no Middle East expert, but I’m sure that bombing people who bomb to prove that bombing is wrong is… wrong. I will state the obvious: the more people cycling, the less we need to rely on the infernal combustion engine or even hybrids and the less energy wars we’ll have with other nations.

I will go on the record as saying I think that the future ex-president #45 of the US was well out of line, his legal authority and his friggin’ mind by ordering the targeted assassination of Iran’s #2 man, as deadly as he was. Later that same day that news broke, as I returned a car borrowed for visiting family over the holidays. I was only slightly relieved to be less a part of the problem. We in the developed nations rely on oil in many forms like plastic, to deliver food and other products. There’s not much A Dude can do to influence foreign policy. So this weekend, I let my legs do the talking as usual.

Continue reading