Back on June 18, 2018, I wrote a post I called “An Imagined Chat with Sophie, My Fairdale Weekender Archer Bicycle.” Over the last three years, she and I have traveled a fair piece — to put it mildly and modestly. Now that it’s reflected in the Strava statistics of 10,000 miles, though, it is official. To commemorate and celebrate this major milestone in our journey, I asked Ms. S. if she’d fancy another chat, and she said sure. Weird, right? Well, things are pretty strange, these days. But I think you’ll enjoy this (imaginary? real? does it matter?) chat with Sophie.Continue reading
Saturday brought me several opportunities as a bicyclist and advocate. First up was the appearance at the neighborhood association by one of the 10 City Council members of Austin, Texas. His name is Gregorio Casar, the son of Mexican immigrants, but he goes by Greg. He really knows his stuff, is genuine, friendly, and not pretentious at all. I believe he is the youngest Council member ever. Second was a Smart Trips Austin ride. It’s a City program to encourage people to use alternative modes of transportation including walking, the bus, and of course bikes. It was super hot, so it was sparsely attended, but I wanted to check it out and meet the two young staff people just the same. Third was I added 27 miles for a 30-mile ride. ‘Twas a pretty good day, if you ask me. Oh, you’re asking me? OK, I’ll tell you about it, then!Continue reading
Before this blog began on January 1, 2016, before Sophie the Fairdale, before Sookie the Fuji, there was Sonnie the GT Arette. She’s come back into the stable because Sookie is retired due to her fatal frame crack. Today I rode her to a meeting, barbecue joint, bike shop, shoe store and then home for a total of just 12 miles. Here’s what I noticed about my new/old bike.Read more
It’s hard to follow up my profile of the amazing Dena Kinate. If you missed it, you should go read it right now then come back. But I’m going to try. What comes to mind are miscellaneous bits of information about biking news. I’ll try to make it interesting for those who aren’t in Austin, but no guarantees. (That’s not an invitation to move here like 150 people do a day — or some crazy number like that.)
The Aftermath of Bike Fatality #1 of 2019
I hoped there might be more of an update about the cyclist killed last week. He was identified as Anthony “Tony” John Diaz, a nice guy who worked at a TV station. The only other update is news reports from witnesses that the bus driver was said to be speeding up and slowing down and generally acting erratically. Drug tests and more information will take a while. There’s also a petition to put a white ghost bike white ghost bike where he died, but the University of Texas threatens to enforce their policy to remove abandoned bikes. And amazingly, his aunt was quoted as saying she forgave the bus driver.
Another Bike Shop Bites the Dust
I was planning on a story about Performance Bicycles which closed its North Austin store due to bankruptcy of its parent company, Advanced Sports Enterprises. That link says 40 of the 104 stores would be closing. The south store appears to be open still, for the moment.
However, that happened two days earlier than advertised, so I missed the chance to go take pictures and talk to staff. Anyway, hopefully brands like Fuji will survive. That’s the maker of my now reitred Silhouette named Sookie. We traveled together about 13,000 miles since summer of 2015. Here is where you can (and must!) read my “interview” with Sookie. Austin is lousy with bike shops, though. Fortunately, the head of the Performance repair department has been swept up by one of my favorite stores, Sun & Ski Sports,
Bike Austin: Rising from the Ashes
I’m not at liberty to say much about what Bike Austin is up to, mostly because it’s not much, and I wasn’t at the last meeting. But I was at a previous one, at which two dozen of notable Austin cycling advocates got together. The call was for an initial group of volunteers to join the four remaining board members to try to reinvigorate the organization. After a number of setbacks and the departure of all its staff, the decision needed to be made: Do we continue the organization? And if so, how?
Fortunately, enough people feel strongly that Austin deserves and needs a strong organization to advocate for safety for cyclists. The plan is to do it as volunteers for now. I hope to be involved as time allows. But it’s encouraging to see that while the website is out of date, the Facebook page is advertising Bike to Work Day.
So, mark your calendars for Friday, May 17, 2019. The day is usually observed by having numerous stations around town with donated drinks and snacks for bike commuters. There’s also a contest for those who can visit the most stations, collecting stamps, with a party and prizes afterward. I volunteered with the afterparty last year and had alot of fun. Let’s hope it happens this year, too.
Biking Slower, but I’m Still Going
The massses aren’t exactly clamoring for my own personal news, but I’m including my training log for the last 35 days just for fun. I had a slowdown this week. Tomorrow I see a doctor and maybe he’ll have some idea why this seems to have been going on for some time now. Sure, I’m averaging 105.5 miles/week, but it’s been taking me a longer period of time for a while. Some of that is due to the winter cold, wind and rain. Part of it was a pretty strong cedar fever reaction that turned into a chest cold and sinus congestion if not infection, the last vestiges of which (I hope) I’m still fighting off. There’s also that big-boned bike gal named Sophie who is er, slower than the more svelt Sookie who as mentioned is now retired due to a crack. Saturday, I slept for over 10 hours, but last night I was back to my old tricks of burning the candle at both ends Maybe there’s just a sleep deficit that will take time to correct. And with no rest days off the bike since December 25th, I am due for some serious rest and relaxation. But I have places to go and things to do, and so there’s no rest for the wicked. Speaking of sleep, good night!
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The eleventh month of 2018 is in the bag, and I thought I’d do a little recap for loyal readers and newcomers alike. It wasn’t the best or worst month ever. It’s a bit better when compared to last November, the first month after I was laid off my job (that ironically I had for 11 years). There have been four elements challenging my progress: 1) the loss of Sookie the Fuji; 2) what feels like less sleep and more fatigue than usual; 3) cooler temperatures coupled with sometimes intense cold intolerance for some reason; and 4) going back to work part-time has shrunk the available hours to be out there doing activities. Even with these things slowing me down, I still put in a pretty respectable month on bike and foot. For the number nerds, the data dweebs, git ‘er done geeks and so on, click on through to learn more of what A Dude Abikes has been up to.
Hi Sookie, are you there?
Yes, Dude, I am.
Good! Well, Sookie, we need to talk.
Oh, that doesn’t sound good.
I’m afraid I have some news that you probably aren’t going to like.
I’m a big girl, lay it on me.
Do you remember when we were at the Sun & Ski Sports bike shop the other day?
Yes, I remember! I always enjoy seeing Mike in the bike shop and the other guys. And all those cool new bikes, including some of my decendants.
Thursday was my birthday, and for the fourth year in a row, I pulled off a bike ride (one year was on the weekend instead of the actual day). It was a nice, cool day, and I was joined by one friend in the morning and another in the afternoon. Since it was a workday others were busy (or just not into it). Dinner and dessert happened with the first rider and some other friends. And along the way I picked up some freebies. Some of them are good for a few weeks, so the celebration continues. Traditions are nice.
April 4, 2018 marks 50 years from when The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior was assassinated by a racist. Imagine how different the world might be if he were allowed to live. The movement to end the US war on Vietnam, the Poor People’s Campaign, the overall condition of African-Americans in the US, and many more were issues he advanced, making life better for all of us; they all could have progressed further much had he not been killed.
How much more could he have accomplished? Lives saved? Dignity restored? Barriers broken down? It breaks my heart to think these thoughts and to write these words. As well it should. We lost a true American hero that day. But to cheer us up, here is a picture of him on a bicycle a year before his death, yes, riding a bicycle on Fire Island. A Dude can link ANYTHING to bicycling.Continue reading
Today’s blog is a writing exercise. A Dude wants to see if he can write 500 words in 30 minutes. He can tend to be long-winded, and while that may appeal to some readers, it may dissuade others. Since I intend to write daily for some period, perhaps even the whole of January, it behooves me to be brief.
It’s refreshing to hear from people who read my blog recently. One is a fellow cyclist who bikes in the winter — in Finland! Thank you all! This blog was intended to be an experiment, and I have a lot to learn about doing it well. New Year resolutions being what they are – much sound and fury signifying nothing – I’m not making many hard and fast rules for myself right now. Continue reading