Sophie the Fairdale Gets a New Drive Train from Clown Dog Bikes (Again)!

If you’re a loyal reader of A Dude Abikes, this may seem like a little deja vu. On October 24, 2019, I wrote Sophie Gets a New Drive Train, and She Rides Like Buttah. Many thousands of miles later (6,666.66 in 2020 alone), she was past due for another replacement of some very worn and pretty filthy parts. You could say that Sophie has been a dirty girl. Grit and grime attach themselves to the oil on the chain, chain ring and cassette. The teeth or cogs wear down, the chain stretches, and tends to slip off when changing gears — especially on hills or high pressure. So I took her to the friendly neighborhood shop that’s been serving the University of Texas for about 20 years, and let the pros at Clown Dog Bikes take care of bidness.

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What’s Up With the Global Bicycle Parts Problem? One Dude’s Story

It’s complicated. And not unlike many people’s relationship status, there’s a lot going on. I’m not a journalist and this isn’t an extensively researched analysis of the industry. From what I’ve gleaned, and experienced first-hand from contacting half a dozen Austin, Texas bicycle shops, the supply chain is busted thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s apparently a byzantine network of large and small shops, distributors, manufacturers, brokers and more behind the scenes. Normally, tons more people re/discovering bicycling for exercise, transportation, stress-relief, and other reasons would be a good thing. But it’s that same demand coupled with crippled supply chain that is making it a feast for some and a famine for others. You can read all about that later, but here’s the story of one dude just trying to fix his bike so he can Just Keep Pedalin’.

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A Third Chat with Sophie the Fairdale Who Turned 15(,000 Miles) on Jan. 15th with a 15-Mile Ride

Back on April 14, 2020, I wrote a post I called “Another Chat with Sophie the Fairdale, Who Just Turned 10(,000 Miles).” Well, as you can see, we’ve just hit 15,000. So that’s worth a third chat, wouldn’t you agree? Good, I’m glad. Yes, I know you can’t really talk to bicycles. Well, you can, but they don’t answer. If they do, that would be news. Just play along, it’ll be fine, I promise. Jeez, so literal! By the way, Fairdale Bikes are an Austin company and I have to thank Fairdale Bikes, Bike Austin and Hill Abell with Bicycle Sport Shop for gifting me with Sophie in a raffle back in 2017. Be sure to check out my first post about Sophie: The Fairdale Weekender Archer: A Review of My New Bicycle I Won in a Raffle!

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Austin’s Bicycle Sport Shop Sells to Trek Bikes

I read the news today, oh boy. Actually, I learned about Bicycle Sport Shop and its, um, transition, a while ago, but I just hadn’t got around to sharing it here. As it turned out, I stopped by the Lamar flagship store and they were having their going out of business clearance sale. While there, I picked up two items and had a chance to chat with a few mechanics, including one from the Guadalupe service-only location. (It shut down temporarily after my post Which Austin, Texas Bike Shops Are Open During the COVID-19 Shelter in Place?.) Here’s a short post about the news.

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15 Months of Consecutive Daily Bicycling

I considered not writing this blog. A month after writing 14 Months of Consecutive Daily Bicycling, what could there be for me to possibly add? Well, not much, to be honest. I rode my bike a lot, it was challenging, but somehow I survived and made my goal. Yay me. End of story, right? Well, one would think so, except that those pesky bike miles are more than just numbers on your screen. The represent calories burned, hours spent, and effort expended. I biked farther in December than any other month of 2020, so that’s why it becomes hard to just skip commemorating the occasion. Because while plenty of people bike every day, many faster and further (and none of them get a medal for it either), for me, 15 months certainly ain’t nothing to sneeze at. And these days, we do our best not to sneeze around others, amirite? Because, ‘rona.

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A Devil of a Year: 6,666.66 Miles Bicycled in 2020 (7,278 Total with Walking)!

6,666.66 miles:  That’s how far I bicycled in 2020. Add in about 611 miles of walking, and that’s 7,278 miles I traveled on my own power. (By the way, almost 4 miles were swimming, which I started right before, you know, IT.) By IT of course I mean the novel coronavirus pandemic, aka COVID-19, which might quite possibly be the work of Satan, if he exists (I’m not a believer). But the other Devil in my analogy is the person in charge of getting the United States of America through this mess, which instead he made worse. He dropped the ball big-time, and is about as far away from godliness as you can get. So he’s the other evil one: Future Ex-President Tinyhands Orangehead. Whether you’re a religious person or not, I think we can all agree that 2020 was a Devil of a year (or two Devils).

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It’s Tapering Time: Biking Less Means Health Gains

Tapering means resting and recovering by biking less often, less distance, or less intensity. Usually the term is reserved for people are resting up before a big race, and if you’re a purist well, thanks for stopping by to point this out. As Kate McKinnon as Dr. Weknowdis said recently on Saturday Night Live, “We know dis.” I’m claiming the word because I’ve been riding my bike every damn day since October 11, 2019. (Only one of those rides to date was indoors on a trainer, during the pandemic by the way, to which fortunately I have not as yet succumbed.) If you want to read an article with technical information, this is not it. But if you do want something a bit more science-y, go look at Bike Radar for one that is. Anyway, I’m tired. While I’ll never truly get tired of riding a bicycle, there is a time to taper. Call it reducing, resting or whatever you want, but as 2020 ends, that time for me is now. Maybe you too?

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611.8 Miles in November 2020. Oh Yeah: 5,999.9 Miles in 11 Months of 2020!

Penultimate. I used to think that meant a really great writing instrument. (Actually, I didn’t; I just made up that pun right now.) Anyway, November has ended, and December has begun. Eleven months down, one to go. I’ve already surpassed the number of miles from my second longest year, the first one I kept records. That was 5,306 miles in 2016, and now I’m on the cusp of 6,000 miles for 2020. Since I’ve already achieved my huge goal of the equivalent of once around the equator (24,901 miles), anything else is gravy. Yummmm…. gravy. Anyway, here’s a short review of my statistics from last month.

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Bicycle Night Ride with a Friend in Austin, Texas

Autumn in Austin has been pretty spectacular thus far. Little rain, warm temperatures, and sunny skies. While the dryness isn’t good for plants or the water supply, it is good for bicycling. As the coronavirus pandemic continues for the eighth month (stay at home shelter orders began here in March), getting outside for some fresh air and sunshine have been essential for staying healthy and sane. Most of my rides are solo, but I’ve had the good fortune of being joined by several friends. One such ride the other night was fairly routine for me but pretty good for one of my dudes.

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The University of Texas at Austin and Me: A Short Autobiography

Living in Austin, the Capital of Texas as A Dude does, I regularly pass through this leading educational institution on my bicycle. I also tend to take it for granted. Now that I’ll be living closer to it, I expect to be seeing more of the sprawling place, especially on my daily walks. But my ties to UT (you tee) go back many years, before I was even born. I’ve been musing about this and if you don’t mind, I’ll share some thoughts with you here. Or even if you do mind. Go Longhorns!

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