Building New Habits, 15 Minutes at a Time

If you’re new here, I’m a dude who has been working on some habits, with some pretty good results. If you’re old, well, me, too, and thanks for sticking around. If you read my previous post you’ll see I covered 3,002 miles in seven and a half months. I accomplished this by riding my bicycle every day this year. But I didn’t just start and get to that point this year; I’ve been doing it a while before that, and I built up to it. A major reason I was able to do this was that I was introduced by my brother to James Clear who writes about habits. His book Atomic Habits has sold 4 million copies. So he knows a few things.

© James Clear
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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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Juneteenth 2021 Black History Bike Ride

With President Joe Biden’s declaration of June 19 — Juneteenth, the day slaves in Galveston, Texas received the news two years AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation — as the newest United States federal holiday fresh on our minds, over 500 of Austin’s stalwart riders joined at the Texas State Capitol African American Historical Memorial for a Black history bike ride around north central Austin, Texas. Your reporter was there, braving the heat and sweatin’ to the oldies with everyone else. Compared to last year during the protests over the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, there were a few less people. But it was still a huge crowd, and it’s a real pleasure to take over many city blocks of streets, in a huge crowd of bicycles, as far as the eye can see. Here’s my report.

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Austin Bike News Roundup for June 8, 2021

It’s been a while since I did one of these round ups, mostly because of that pesky little virus doohickey. Meaning that things are happening, but one is less likely to hear about them since we’re living with that thingamabob. But bike life goes on despite the whatchamacallit. Also, here’s a shout out to my dad on his birthday. Sis-in-law too, though I got the date wrong, but it’s soon. It’s relevant because the cycle of life, you know? Anyway, here are a few items of note in the Austin, Texas bicycling scene.

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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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When Things Fall Apart: Fitness Goals and Life

Lately I’ve been slipping a bit with my exercise and health practices, and even writing this blog. It reminded me of When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, a book by American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron. I can’t recommend it because I’ve never read it; it’s sitting in a box in storage. At one point I may have even owned two copies. But the title speaks to me now after a mostly pretty shitty day and last few weeks. Even within the Tibetan Shambhala community, things fall apart. As with many religious, business, and entertainment leaders with unchecked power, last year their figurehead was accused of and apologized for sexual misconduct. It went on a while, but he’s still there.

However, reports suggest that Chodron as a senior leader and teacher may have enabled or ignored it. She even told a woman reporting abuse years ago that she didn’t believe her. So she’s not perfect, and she has resigned in protest but maybe also as an act of contrition although she wasn’t the abusive male with all the power. Point is, life doesn’t always or even often go the way we want it to. Defecation passes. We’re all humans here, right? Certainly there are more important things than fitness goals, but like the saying goes, “At least you have your health.” Well, what if you don’t, despite your best efforts? I guess you do your best.

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Another Day, Another Bike Ride

Here at A Dude Abikes, we (that is, the royal we) appreciate guts, intestinal fortitude, and chutzpah. That extends to anyone taking the chance, choice, and time to read. Though we know we’re no ex-Prince Harry, we do like to think of ourselves as having a quality that our former overlapping roommate said one day recently, i.e. intrepid. It’s been raining buckets here in Central Texas (a good thing because we’re behind for the year). I told the roomie, who’s quite a cyclist, that I was going for a walk, despite the chance of rain and not having slept a lot (partially because of his late and early packing racket). That’s when he said I was intrepid. I thought, “Hey, that’s pretty cool, like James Bond or something.” I’m not in possession of the sort of high-caliber intrepitude (if that wasn’t a word, it is now) that sprinters like Mark Cavendish do, I manage to climb the mountain of a number of good habits every day. Every day could be our last on the bike or other things, but I’m grateful that I was able and am glad to report that today was not the end. It was another day, another bike ride.

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Is It Possible to Ride Your Bicycle Too Much?

Back in November 2019 I wrote a post called The Bad Side of Good Habits. In it, I considered things that seemed good on the surface but looking deeper there were some negatives. Lately, I’ve been feeling pretty knackered (British English for tired) to the point where I can’t really ignore it. A quick search brings up the word “overtraining” and a host of replies with plenty of debate. As an amateur fathlete bicyclist, I’m not too worried about the semantics. You won’t see me entering any races, breaking any land speed records or running myself ragged biking up mountains. Yet my performance, such as it is, has been slipping downward in terms of average miles per hour and quantity of mileage. It’s not just on the bike where I’ve noticed changes, either. So maybe it’s time to consider a break. Or is it?

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Rents and Temperatures: Things That Are Rising in Austin

Spring in Austin, Texas is usually a short-lived affair. Now, after a week of rain, the heat is on, and the humidity is high. Or as I call it, the stupidity. If all the rich idiots from California moving here with their First World dollars did their research, they would not come here. It’s very hot (and not ofttimes, not a dry heat), there’s bad traffic, cedar fever, other rich Californian idiots, and oh yeah, the homeless. Our so-called liberal city chose on Saturday to ban camping, sitting, or even lying down in public again after 23 years. Hypocrites. It does nothing to house the houseless, which I’m always on the verge of becoming, as I recently detailed in my post Homelessness Has Him House Hunting; Hounds of Hell at Heels. With tempers flaring from that political battle and the rising thermometer, plus ample reasons for my own head to get hot, I figured I would blow off a little steam. Trigger warning: “Bad words” ahead!

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