Solo v. Group Cyclists: Sad and Lonely, or So Happy Together?

For some time even before the Great Plague of 2020-20??, I mostly rode my bicycle by myself. When Coronavirus hit, and health rules didn’t prevent bike riding but discouraged doing so with others, nothing much changed for me. Sure, I’d go to the occasional social cycling ride, or a friend might join me sometimes. But for the most part, I was Forrest Gump on a two-wheeler. I Just. Kept. Bicycling. Things sort of relaxed, with some people getting vaccines (including moi), then they got worse again with the Delta variant. Still, I have ridden every day of the pandemic and then some — 23 months straight as of 9/11/2021. But am I happy or sad about being on my own? As usual, it’s not a simple answer.

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August 2021 Strava Stats – Still Summer

August is gone. Autumn’s approaching and with it pleasant weather conditions more favorable to bicycling and walking. Despite last month being wetter and cooler than usual, we only had three 100+ F days, one to end the month, and another two, two 99’s, and another 100 forecast to start September. So, it’s still summer in Central Texas. As I look back at my activity statistics, to the hottest month, I say this (quoting a former Texas governor who didn’t know the microphone was on): “Adios, mofo!” But hey, I’m not doing too poorly if you noticed I passed 30,000 lifetime miles the other day.

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30,000 Lifetime Miles I Bicycled on Strava

Flavor Flav was and is the hype man for seminal rap group Public Enemy. Even if you don’t know their music or who Flav is, if you paid attention during the 80’s and 90’s or saw Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing with their hit, “Fight the Power,” there’s a good chance you heard of the guy wearing a big clock around his neck saying, “Yeah, boyeeeee!” and “Flav-or Flaaaaaav!” (By mentioning Flav, I’m pointing out an example of successful marketing; I’m definitely not condoning his run-ins with the law.) Chuck D was and still is the main voice of serious political rap, but FF keeps it fun. Professional athletes, celebrities, and politicians also have paid hype people — publicists to trumpet their successes and explain away their losses or mistakes. This dude just has this little blog, and Strava the fitness app, through which to toot my own horn. So, it’s tootin’ time. And yeah, I just reached 30,000 miles of bicycling in five years, eight months, and 10 days. Not too shabby for a dude who’s old and flabby. It brings up some questions: How did it begin? How did I get here? What does this milestone mean? And what’s for dinner?

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666 Consecutive Cycling Days: The Devil Is in the Details

Well, that just happened. Riding my bike for 666 days in a row is a benchmark I figured would eventually pass if I just kept going. As for those who think the number has some special significance, or to the members of the Church of Satan, who are skeptical atheists who do NOT worship Satan or believe the devil is a real entity but rather “…as an archetype of pride, individualism, and enlightenment”: no offense. I just like the symmetry of the number. That should be evident from my biking 6,666.66 miles in 2020. I called it the Double Devil, because of Coronavirus and POTUS #45. Read all about that at this link.) That’s a lot of days in a row to do anything. In my case, bicycling for almost two years is a fairly decent accomplishment.

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My Strava Stats for July 2021

This post looks at my monthly stats from all my activities in July 2021 courtesy of Strava. As you can see from the images below, I was active all 31 days of the month, for 93 hours total exercise. Of that, 37% was biking, 31% walking, 30% yoga, and 2% swimming. I had hoped to do a lot more of the latter, but there is limited access to the only outdoor pool my gym has in town. Also, I don’t like sharing a lane, since I’m a lousy swimmer I need a whole one to myself. That and my ongoing energy deficit made it too difficult to get in. At least I got in the water twice. I’ve realized they have water aerobics, so I might consider that. But the struggle is real, and it continues.

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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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Resistance Is Fertile: Body Building with Bands

The great debate between lifting weights and using resistance bands comes down to personal preference, and whether you’re training to compete as a weight lifter. Basically, you can get a good workout from both. You can read an article at Livestrong and another article at Fit Simplify. Both cite studies and mention the pro’s and con’s. I’m just going to tell you a little about my experience over the last six weeks using the bands.

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Cyclist with an Injury Problem, or Injured with a Cycling Problem?

The body is wise. It will tell you when it needs to eat, sleep, evacuate, and stream the latest cool show. The trouble is we — our brains, minds, egos — often ignore these signals. We’ll skip breakfast, or have second helpings when we’re really just thirsty. Instead of a nap, we’ll drink caffeine to power through the afternoon lull. We stay up late looking at our blue light screens, not go to bed early. The unhealthy, too early start to the school day, working late or the swing shift, fitful sleep nights with a new baby, hospital helicopters, asshole dogs — we’re constantly bombarded by noise during what should be our restful hours. We’ll push through a workout because of the intense societal pressure to be thin and stigma against fat people — even though we’re the majority! No wonder so many people, at least in urban areas, are out of rhythm. The world keeps spinning, as do I with my legs and wheels. Inertia is not a good option, injured or not.

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Major and Marginal Meliorations in My March Machinations

After bad ass and boss blogger Sorryless said he was starting his New Years resolutions on February 1, and with the spring equinox approaching, I decided to renew my vows so to speak and add more to some of my many healthy habits. I’m pleased to report, for those who care to read about and take whatever inspiration they may from them, that I succeeded by accomplishing all four objectives. That’s what’s up with what one person said was a lifestyle blog. Who me? An influencer? I hardly know her! (Ha! That’s an old Vaudevillian comedy trope.) Let’s get right to the details of what I did and some tips on how you too can add some healthy habits, if that’s your jam. Or preserves. Or other type of tasty fruity spread. Anyway, yeah, I did some stuff and it wasn’t that hard, either. Kind of like how George Costanza on Seinfeld claimed he was the architect who designed the addition to Guggenheim. Yes, exactly like that.

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