Another Chat with Sophie the Fairdale, Who Just Turned 10,000 (Miles)

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.

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15 YEARS NOT A SLAVE TO CARS!

This is my fifth annual post about being car-free since 1/25/2005. Technically I’m car-light, since I drove borrowed cars for a job for part of last summer also visited relatives over the holidays. On the other hand, I managed my best year ever combined and walking and biking – 5,633 miles.

I did that while on a bike that has 67% fewer gears and is 25% heavier steel (Sophie) than my old aluminum steed (Sookie). I’m no Greta Thunberg, but I do think reducing car use is a good thing. Not everyone can do it, but some people might be able to try it. That’s all I’m saying. Well, in this paragraph at least.

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And Iran, Iran So Far Away: A Bicyclist’s View on Another Looming War About Energy

I will be the first to admit that this piece probably isn’t going to be re-published in the New York Times, The Economist, Mad Magazine or anything with that sort of stature. However, I just had to put that Flock of Seagulls lyric to some good use. Sometimes titles are used to pique interest and have little to do with the content. And that’s largely the case here. I’m no Middle East expert, but I’m sure that bombing people who bomb to prove that bombing is wrong is… wrong. I will state the obvious: the more people cycling, the less we need to rely on the infernal combustion engine or even hybrids and the less energy wars we’ll have with other nations.

I will go on the record as saying I think that the future ex-president #45 of the US was well out of line, his legal authority and his friggin’ mind by ordering the targeted assassination of Iran’s #2 man, as deadly as he was. Later that same day that news broke, as I returned a car borrowed for visiting family over the holidays. I was only slightly relieved to be less a part of the problem. We in the developed nations rely on oil in many forms like plastic, to deliver food and other products. There’s not much A Dude can do to influence foreign policy. So this weekend, I let my legs do the talking as usual.

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Photographs and Memories: A Weekend in the Biking Life in Austin, Texas

Like many people in the modern era who are privileged enough to have a smart phone, electricity and mobility, I take a lot of pictures. Some good, some not, a few great. Who’s to say, though? If you like them, great. If not, move along. Trouble is, I don’t use that photo platform named after your grandmother, so when I’m riding my bicycle and take a pic, it goes either here, on my Strava fitness app (follow me there if you’re a bikester) or doesn’t see the light of day. Occasionally I post a blog with a lot of photos and some words to explain them. This is one of those times. Enjoy the whole “picture paints a thousand words” thing, yada yada.

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Birthday Bike Ride 2019 – 36.64 Mi / 58.97 Km

Birthday. The word strikes joy in a child’s heart but apathy or fear in adults. As we age, it seems more and more people care less and less about celebrating birthdays, either theirs or others’. Presents, gifts and cards dwindle. After just ending a very tiring job earlier in the week, and with rain and wind arriving as part of a cold front the morning of my special day, I had not made many plans.

But I still wanted to set out on my now fourth annual quest to bike my age in miles while collecting freebies. While I didn’t hit my goal, I did manage to complete my longest day in the saddle since August 15th (about when the job really kicked off) and my longest ride since June 30th. What follows are some images and info about my day.

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North East Austin Texas Bike Group (NEATXBG) Potluck and Night Ride #2

A few weeks ago, I accidentally (on purpose) may have started a bike gang. After some scheduling difficulties, a handful of us gathered for a potluck and another night time bike ride. Although small in number, each person brought an interesting perspective and passion to some aspect of bicycling as transportation, recreation and fun. So here are a few thoughts and images about this interesting experiment in neighborhood and community organizing for better and safer biking and walking in yes, Austin, Texas.

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Dribs and Drabs About My Biking and Blogging

After the positive reception to my last post, The Bike Rider and the Farmer, it’s a little bit of a let-down to return to form. Little things, like that story inspired them to try a short story. Or by inviting someone to the Bike Curious social ride (in which I participated once again), they had to get their bike rack and bike in shape. Organizing a new bike gang is bringing in new people, too. But, writing about my biking, blogging, and book-writing, plus other random stuff, is mostly what I do (well, there’s a fair bit of complaining, too). So this is another brief collection of what’s up with A Dude Abikes (cue that SNL song “What Up With That?”)

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Bike Curious? Here’s the Perfect Pedal for a Slow Sunday Cycle in Austin

Years ago, I was pedaling past the World War II era airplane hanger at Austin’s former Robert Mueller airport, which I recall flying into right over where I lived. (Not the recent special investigator.) Now, Mueller is the one-word name (like Bono, Prince, or Sting) for the new urban, high-density (and high-cost) neighborhood that now sits on the former airport. Back then, somehow I’d been able to rent a room in pretty new row house owned by a nice gentleman from Ethiopia. That’s another story.

I biked but not much. On that night, I found the ride quite by accident and joined in. It was fun and easy, but soon I went on my way and didn’t go back. Skip ahead many years in time to a couple of weeks ago, and I ran into a fellow rider at the grocery store, Jason. He reminded me about the ride, and since I was on a bike and curious about Bike Curious, I showed up. Needing a recovery ride from Saturday’s hot and tiring 45-mile Mamma Jamma training ride, I went again a second time. Lemme tell ya’ all about it.

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The Kids Bikes in Stranger Things: Fighting Monsters, Freedom and Fun

I’ve just begun watching Stranger Things, the moody, spooky Netflix sci-fi series about a group of kids searching for one of their own who goes missing. And then the weird stuff transpires. Set in the 80’s, when I was a teen, the show has a very Stephen King vibe to it (there’s even a direct shout out to him). Season 3 is being released on July 4th, Independence Day, fittingly enough. Because like on the show, when you’re a kid, bikes mean the ability to feel free. The wind in your face and hair, and that feeling of almost flying, or floating. Luckily, grown-up kids get to recapture that sensation, too.

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Summer Is Coming: Surviving Cycling in Sunny Central Texas

If I had seen a second of that program about dragons and stuff on the Home Box Office channel, I could continue the allusion. But I haven’t so I can’t. But I can however tell you that the hotter-than-hell-fire breathing dragon that is summer in Central Texas is starting her terrifying approach. Temps are already topping out at the low 90’s in Austin, Texas. People, get ready, a lack of rain is comin’. I share my tips on how to deal. Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor in real life or TV. I’m just telling you how I deal with the heat. If you have or may have a medical condition that makes being outside dangerous, ask a real doctor, not a dude. This goes for everything on my blog. If my experience helps, great. But always use common sense, take responsibility, and you do you.

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