10 Techniques I Used to Bicycle 500 Days in a Row

So, this just happened. After reaching 16 months of consecutive bicycle riding couple of weeks ago, the blurb I put in my 500th bike ride in a row on Strava sums it up well:

I ain’t fast, suck at hills, don’t have a ton of followers, or a fancy bike, but I git ‘er done. Different parts hurt and I’m plum tuckered out most days. So mebbe a forced break’s a-comin’. Or mebbe not. I Just Keep Pedalin’.

-moi

Thing is, I didn’t plan on this streak. I just one day realized that if I rode a little bit every day, it might be easier than a long ride every few days. And like my other streaks (yoga for 7+ years and walking, writing and virtually no flour each for 3+ years), at some point, a little voice started saying “Don’t Break The Chain.” It’s a little phrase attributed to Jerry Seinfeld writing jokes every day for a year, which he said wasn’t true. But it’s still a good handle for a challenge.

In a world where half a million Americans have now died of COVID-19, millions of Texans were without power for most of a week during the bitter cold snow and ice storm, and some still have no water or water damage. Plenty of other injustice continues: price gouging, racism, white supremacy, homophobia, sexism, unemployment, poverty, and climate change just to name a few. I know it really matters very little what one zaftig mid-aged bicycle dude in Austin did in his bike. Yet, life goes on. Content must be created, stories must be told, and horns must be tooted. So since you’re here, it’s like the Buddhist path: once started, may as well finish.

Continue reading

There’s No Biking Like Snow Biking and Walking in a Winter Wonderland in Austin, Texas

Hot it’s not. Hotter than hell would be swell right about now. Because here in Central Texas the Valentine’s / Presidents Day cold front is a weeklong blast that has 2 million people statewide without electricity. Like much of the US, we’ve suffering through an Arctic weather pattern that is so cold (how cold IS it?) that temperatures are below what it normally is in Anchorage, Alaska. It was forecast to be 5 degrees F tonight, and we got our first ever Wind Chill Warning, meaning it could feel like under 0. This was the third heaviest snowfall ever and the most since 1949. Over 6 feet fell at the main weather station, though where I stay was not as much, but it was plenty. Except for my year in New England, this is the most snow I’ve ever seen. The roads are not safe, and most everything is shut down for several days. But today the sun came out, and I’m still A Dude Abikes, so I went out on a wobbly, wandering walk, and later a short, slushy, and slow bike ride.

Continue reading

Why I Ride My Bike: 10 Reasons

Someone asked me this, and I think it’s a good question. I don’t think about it much, and the answer(s) aren’t necessarily earth-shattering. But I may as well give it a shot. I also want to try to write 500 words in 30 minutes again, so this will probably be a list article. I’m allowed a listicle once in a while, especially in winter, right? Yes. Read on, won’t you please?

Continue reading

16 Months of Consecutive Daily Bicyling

It’s that time of the month, again. The 11th, that is, which is when I began biking every single day back in October of 2019. For some reason, I cain’t quit you, bicycling. That streak will be tested Monday, when we might see the coldest temperatures in a decade and three to five inches of snow — in Austin, Texas. I may have to pull out the old metal home trainer stand and do my 14.3 miles* in the relative warmth of the inside. I say relative because this house leaks air like the White House press office, and the space heaters can’t keep up. Anyway, the miles add up, although at a slower pace than last year. That’s thanks to having a smaller goal, a niggling injury, and my old frequent friend, fatigue. Plus, the cold does slow one down. Don’t get me started on how my body seems unable to handle cold very well anymore, for whatever mysterious reason. Still, I bike, because, well, you know: a dude abikes.

Continue reading

Tom Brady, Bicyclist: Lessons from the G.O.A.T. Quarterback

Super Bowl LV (55, which like singer Mr. Samuel Hagar, I cannot drive) happened, and I watched almost all of it. I missed some of the first quarter because I was out riding my bicycle. Usually I don’t bother to watch millionaires try to knock the tar and feathers out of each other, but since I’m biking less I had the time and heard it would be a good game, I tuned in. Love him or hate him (this article explains why), it seems pretty clear to me that with more Super Bowl wins than anyone else including his former team, Thomas “Tom” Edward Patrick Brady Jr. truly is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) quarterback of professional American footballer. It’s good to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan right now; not so much for the New England Patriots.

As it relates to this blog, it turns out he also rides a bike: He does a charity bike event every year for folks with disabilities, the Best Buddies Challenge. Also, he rides around town with his wife, a kid on the back, or his dog in a basket on the front.or alongside on a leash. He’s even taken teammates on mountain bike trips to Montana. So what can mere mortals like you and I learn from an elite athlete like him? Let’s see.

Continue reading

We Don’t Need No Resolutions: My January 2021 Bicycling, Etc. Stats

January 2021 was a challenging month for the USA. After the worst attack on democracy since the war of 1812, we finally got rid of the old neo-fascist, proto-racist, fake billionaire POTUS #45. And the social media companies finally grew a pair and de-platformed him. At least that part of our long national nightmare is over. POTUS #46 was inaugurated — a new (and real) president who actually cares about other people and wants to and knows how to govern. Whether the crazies on the red team will let him do so is unlikely, but many of them are going to prison for the attempted insurrection on the Capitol on January 6th. Also in the win column is people have been getting vaccinated for the coronavirus, though not nearly as many that could or should be by now. As for lil’ ol’ A Dude Abikes, I did what I could to keep my health and sanity to the extent possible by biking and doing some new or different things. Not resolutions exactly, because who needs that pressure? Let’s go to the stats, stat!

Continue reading

Come to the Dark Side, Dude: Where’s My Car?

Sixteen years ago, on January 25, 2005, the car I was driving was hit by a truck and was damaged beyond reasonable repair. In the ensuing years, I made do with taking the bus, walking, and bicycling. In fact, I had lived without a car on and off for many years. A whole decade passed before I got serious about cycling; in January of 2015, I began riding longer distances, charity rides, and the like. A year later I had a smart phone, Strava, and a better bicycle. That journey led me to travel the equivalent of around the equator, plus another 1,790 miles as of today (26,691 total). Normally in the space you would find a blog post about my 16th year being car-free, or at least car-light (because I borrowed them). For two reasons, you won’t read that post.

Continue reading

Book Review: HEFT ON WHEELS by Mike Magnuson

Courage is a word you could use to describe bicycling, especially the urban kind I do wherein one risks one’s life while several-ton killing machines blow by at high speeds mere inches away. Or bike racing, BMX riding with the ramps and jumps and tricks, or screaming down a mountain on a bike: all take some degree of courage. But writing? It doesn’t take any courage at all to sit down at a laptop and start hammering away, right? Well, that’s easy to say if you haven’t tried to write a book. And when it comes to memoir, laying your soul bare to people you never have, and never will meet, takes a big chunk of gumption.

I should know, because I’ve been writing this blog for over five years, albeit with far less courage since I use a nom de plume / velo. I have also written a book — a memoir. I have yet to find the courage to even show it to others to read. (I’m getting close to sharing with beta readers, once I figure out the details, having finally just found two awesome volunteers.) But in Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180, his 2005 memoir (I know, I’m very late to the party), author, creative writing professor, magazine article writer, and cyclist Mike Magnuson has courage in spades. (Heft is a follow-up to his previous memoir, Lummox.) As quoted in a speech he gave, I’d even go so far as to say he has “sixteen suitcases full of courage.”

Continue reading

46 > 45: President Biden Bicycles and Has a Peloton; That’s Good for U.S.

January 20, 2021 was historic for several reasons. The biggest was was that only two weeks ago democracy itself was under attack. Throngs of right-wingers, egged on by the now-ex-resident of the White House, Tinyhands Orangehead, stormed the US Capitol and five people died. So having the traditional peaceful transfer of administrations was a big deal this time. Now that our long national nightmare is over (well, at least one of them), we can hopefully get back to politics as boring. But also, the highest ranking woman ever ascended to become Vice President. Kamala Harris happens to be Black and of South Asian descent, and representation matters. Whether or not one agrees with their policies, relevant to this blog’s main theme is that we can hope that 46th President Joe Biden will be good for American bicyclists… not to mention, the planet.

Continue reading

New Year, New Dude, New US?

Since it’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I’ll also remind folks of an older post with a photo of The Rev. Dr. King on a bicycle. Thanks to the pandemic, there was no rally with speakers and then march. I’ve attended them on an off over the years here in Austin and was at a huge gathering and march after the police killings of George Floyd, Breona Taylor and other Black people. I was fortunate to be able to participate in some Black Lives Matter protests last summer and a pair of Black History Bicycle Rides.

Even though this blog is mostly about biking and my other fitness pursuits, I feel strongly about the evils of racism and have written about them before. It must really piss off the white supremacists that it’s a federal holiday. King was assassinated by one of their ilk on April 4, 1968. As they say, SAY HIS NAME! and, Presente! It boggles the mind that almost 53 years later the US (if not the world) is having a resurgence of racial hatred. Education is key and perhaps with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, we will have better role models than the outgoing asterisk president. Adios, Tinyhands Orangehead, ya big loser!

With no rally and march, I continued my daily activities. Biking less has allowed me more time for other things. It’s as good a time as any to do a quick check-in about what I’m up to both on and off the bike.

Continue reading