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’.
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.
For 426 days beginning October 11, 2019, I have swung a leg over the top tube, fired up the Garmin watch, and pedaled my bike around Austin, Texas. Starting and maintaining several other daily habits like walking and writing back on January 1, 2018 eventually led me to do the obvious one for a bike rider and blogger. Although I’ve traveled the equivalent of around the equator, and surpassed this year’s bike goal (and several other goals since), for some reason I keep at it. Why, you might ask? Well, stopping a streak would be very easy, but getting here was extremely hard. So I just keep on keeping on, so far, for now. Doing my small part to help Keep Austin Weird.
Bicycling is a violent sport. I don’t mean falling off, crashing into trees or getting hit by cars. (That stuff also happens.) I mean in the sense that, depending on how you ride, you are punishing your body in some form or fashion. This is true of most physical activities and sports. But when you go that extra mile, and push yourself beyond your comfort level, you are into suffering, pain and yes, violence. The human body is quite resilient and can usually handle what an athlete (in my case, fathlete) throws at it, and it will eventually recover. Tonight was one of those times where I was challenged quite a lot, and on a bad road, I was eventually dropped. But the greater the challenge, the more one learns about oneself. Tonight’s unexpected group ride (my third in about as many weeks!) was a prime example. Come with me on this hairy, scary ride! Continue reading at: https://wp.me/p75hY4-1JT
Previous readers (but old and new are all welcome) know that in 2016 I biked5,306 miles, which was nothing short of incredible, especially to me. That’s because I’m not a young, thin, professional cyclist. (Or use PED’s [performance enhancing drugs], although I do take my share of vitamins and supplements to get me through the rides.) But more than a few people say I’ve inspired them. Like my good buddy from high school Jeff, who’s no slouch and climbs rocks, plus donates money. There’s a guy on Strava in Florida I’ve never met. My dear lunkhead brother said he began walking more on account of all my bicycling. Co-workers, friends, family, and strangers on line in the grocery store have in various ways said my efforts were, well, to paraphrase my fellow Jewish brohim Adam Sandler’sThe Hanukah Song — “not too shabby”. So when I decided to retire from long-distance cycling, especially the charity fundraising rides, I thought I would go back to my car-free life and do more walking, swimming and weight-lifting. No more 10 hours a week getting my 100 miles. Not having to ask for money.
But then Bill (there’s always a Bill in these sort of stories, isn’t there?), an inline skate marathoner (!), fellow bike rider and nice guy who helped me get through a tough patch in the Mamma Jamma Breast Cancer Ride in 2015 and then donated to both my AIDS rides, said he couldn’t do the MS 150, but if I did, he would donate. Then I won the new bike (see my previous blog post), the weather got warmer, I found myself riding more, so I said yes: I would bike from Houston to Austin April 29th and 30th to inspire people to donate to help sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) with treatment and research for a cure.