Blog Post #666:  The Blog in Which I Announce My Retirement from Blogging*

Welp, after almost two-thirds of 1,000 blog posts, it seems like a good time to take the pause that refreshes. Which the astute observer would have noticed that I’ve been sorta doing for the last couple of months already, anyway. Spring has sprung in Central Texas, so it’s a good time to examine where I’ve been, and where I’m going, not just with blogging, or biking, yoga-ing, walking, reading, fluting, etc., but life. A little metaphorical housecleaning, so to speak. (Actually clean house? Pshaw! That’s for suckers.) And who could begrudge a dude the chance to step back after six years and six hundreds of blogs? So forthwith, posthaste, and inmediatamente, let’s get skippy with it. (By the way, after this mention, this post will be Will Smith and slap-free. I’m Team Chris Rock all the way. Fuck you for ruining the Oscars, Little Willie. Get your face offa my TV and movie screens and go for some goddam anger management!)

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SOPHIE STOLEN! Beloved Bicycle Boosted by Brazen Burglar! (+ How You Can Help!)

The evening of Saturday, January 8, 2022, I was inside a big box store talking to a clerk about replacing my over four-year-old cell phone. I had parked Sophie, the Fairdale Weekender Archer, a bicycle who has been my trusty sidekick since I won her in a Bike Austin raffle in 2017, a mere 10 feet away in the small vestibule for shopping carts. Since I was so close and regularly looking right at her, I did not use my u-lock and cable lock — a fatal mistake I’ll never make again. At 6:30 pm, a brazen thief walked into the little lobby, stood there for 20 seconds, then walked out with my bicycle while I wasn’t looking. The next time I looked up, Sophie was gone, and with her, a piece of my soul.

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I Can’t Drive 5,555.55 Miles, but I Bicycled Them! (6,056 Total with Walking in 2021)

It’s year six in the books, for those keeping count of both blog and bodacious bike riding (and four years of basically daily bipedaling, i.e., walking). As you know, 2020 was remarkable globally because of THE KILLER VIRUS, but it was memorable for me personally. I really got after it and as a result last year’s review post was titled A Devil of a Year: 6,666.66 Miles Bicycled in 2020 (7,278 Total with Walking)! So yes, I biked every day all year (one less due to leap year) — again — but for 1,111.11 miles less. That was intentional, since 18.21 miles a day was too much to repeat. But it was also necessary to do less, because, life. And I’m not a machine; I’m a dude. However, 15.22 miles a day is still pretty, pretty, pretty good, so Sophie the Fairdale and I are quite satisfied with it. Let’s get to the Strava images which best sum things up with aplomb. (Yum, a plum sounds delicious, but out of season.) After all, one must have a hint of color!

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A Chat with Sophie the Fairdale at 20,000 Miles + 800 Consecutive Days of Bicycling

It’s a pair of milestones this time for A Dude Abikes and his trusty steed, Sophie, the Fairdale Weekender Archer. I won her in a raffle from Bike Austin back in 2017, though I didn’t start riding her exclusively until January of 2018. On Sunday, we passed 20,000 miles, according to the Gear setting on Strava, the fitness app (which means “to strive” in Swedish.) As it turned out, it happened the day after 800 days I bicycled in a row. Two years, two months and 10 days if you’re wondering.

There was some major effort involved, and with that some pain and suffering, that’s for sure. They’re all part of attaining these big numbers and worth commemorating. I’m not really tooting my horn here as much as I’m just reporting the facts. It’s another step on my journeys both on the bike and here in the pages of this blog.

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Raining, Riding, Ruminating

The rain, absent for weeks, began slowly. Forecasts seemed unreal; the wishful thinking of bored meteorologists. Heat can be somewhat managed on a bicycle, but the rain is much trickier. I thought I could beat it before it began, but I couldn’t, so I joined it. With shoe covers, bib shorts, white t-shirt, dayglo orange safety vest I found under a cheap yellow poncho, my cell phone in a plastic bag ensconced in my hip pouch, and the willingness to get wet, I set out on my trusty Fairdale Weekender Archer. Just a short bike ride in the rain, not my first rodeo, y’all.

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3,002 Miles Bicycled in 2021… So Far!

Tonight’s ride was a modest 10 miles, but it pushed me over 3,000. Round numbers make nice milestones — in my case, literally. Normally I do statistics at the beginning of a new month for the one proceeding. But this marker seemed worthy of a post. For one thing, it is a number that tells me I will have probably ridden my bike more than driven the car I was given in the last year. There’s something to be said for doing what one can to reduce one’s carbon footprint, given the very real and scientific consensus that climate change is killing the planet. (Naysayers can go put on their tin foil hats elsewhere like with the flat earthers.) Of course 15+ years with no car was better. But I digress. I may be slowing but I still manage to ride my bike. If you also bike, you know it’s fun. If you don’t, you should try it! Do you konw what’s also fun? Looking at my biking numbers.

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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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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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