My Salad Days: Streakus Interruptus

Two weeks shy of 180 days, almost six months after I began a daily habit aka streak, something completely shocking happened: I forgot to eat a salad. At first I was incredulous, like “How the hell did I let that happen?” But it realitiy, it is not that big a deal. I mean, the country of Afghanistan just lost its government and is now being taken over by an army of pissed off religious zealots with some beliefs that are culturally very different to mine, like girls shouldn’t go to school. I’m among the majority of people in the US who are for getting out of that fruitless $85 billion, 20-year old war i.e. quagmire. It’s not our country to run. So yeah, there are more important things than some dude’s salad streak. But this is a lifestyle blog of a fathlete, so I’m going to get back to my lane and stay in it. And if you don’t like it [insert a salad-centric insult popularized by comedian Chris Rock here].

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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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Foods Fueling a Fathlete’s Fitness Frenzy

Fat — the word — makes a lot of people uncomfortable. If it’s in your food, it’s delicious. But too much of it on a human body is not cool. It’s stigmatized by many, from celebrities to cyclists, and even in the nutrition field, even though it’s one of the three macronutrients along with protein and carbohydrates, and our bodies need it to survive. (Don’t EVEN get me started on carbs. I’m a carbon and water-based life form; how about you?) But back to fat. (Made you think of back fat there, didn’t I?) So we use euphemisms like overweight, heavy, chunky, plus-sized, big, cuddly, and my favorite because it’s Yiddish: zaftig. I like fathlete (fat + athlete), even though I didn’t coin it. And as Strava told us in my post before last in their MEDIA ALERT: Announcing Strava S.O.F.T., “If you sweat, you’re an athlete.” If I may paraphrase Kermit the Frog, my point is this: It ain’t easy bein’ lean.

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A Walking Dude: The World Outside

Walking is to exercise what the insurance is to business: pretty damn boring, but it’s actually pretty beneficial. I’ve been at it 30 minutes every day since 1/1/2018 (minus a couple days, which I more than made up for). It turns out that walking doesn’t have to be, um, lame. Because there’s usually one or more of the following: something new to see, errands to run, people to chat up, music to listen to, or thoughts to think. You don’t need a gym membership, a swimming pool, a tennis/basketball court or soccer/baseball/football field, or a bicycle. Except for some good shoes, which can cost a bundle, there’s little money involved. For those of us fortunate to still be mostly able-bodied, it’s the easiest, most accessible, and reliable health habit we can do. So why don’t more people do it?

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Some Surprising Ways Weight Supports Sports

Normally on or about the 11th of the month, I write about how I’ve bicycled another month every single day in a row. You can read the latest big milestone in 10 Techniques I Used to Bicycle 500 Days in a Row. But this post seemed more interesting. Millions of people struggle with overweight, obesity, fatness, or as I like to call it: being undertall. But being fat ain’t all that. In many, if not most ways, it is not good for you. When it comes to sports, though, there are some notable exceptions. I don’t encourage myself or anyone to be overweight, but if you are, you can probably do more than you realize (which is the central thesis of this blog in one sentence). Let’s dig right in! (Puns happen.)

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Practices & Products for Painful Pedaling

I’ve been grousing about a body part that’s been plaguing me for a while. It was an issue in the past, but cropped up recently again toward the end of bicycling 500 days in a row (which I’ve pushed past — for now). Also, I’m no spring chicken anymore, although I often think I am. Most of the points I wanted to mention were already included in my post After the Fall: What to Do When You Come Off Your Bicycle, But that was November of 2019, so some updates are worth noting. Let’s dive right in. There’s water in the pool, so it’ll be painless, I promise!

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Why I Ride My Bike: 10 Reasons

Someone asked me this, and I think it’s a good question. I don’t think about it much, and the answer(s) aren’t necessarily earth-shattering. But I may as well give it a shot. I also want to try to write 500 words in 30 minutes again, so this will probably be a list article. I’m allowed a listicle once in a while, especially in winter, right? Yes. Read on, won’t you please?

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Tom Brady, Bicyclist: Lessons from the G.O.A.T. Quarterback

Super Bowl LV (55, which like singer Mr. Samuel Hagar, I cannot drive) happened, and I watched almost all of it. I missed some of the first quarter because I was out riding my bicycle. Usually I don’t bother to watch millionaires try to knock the tar and feathers out of each other, but since I’m biking less I had the time and heard it would be a good game, I tuned in. Love him or hate him (this article explains why), it seems pretty clear to me that with more Super Bowl wins than anyone else including his former team, Thomas “Tom” Edward Patrick Brady Jr. truly is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) quarterback of professional American footballer. It’s good to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan right now; not so much for the New England Patriots.

As it relates to this blog, it turns out he also rides a bike: He does a charity bike event every year for folks with disabilities, the Best Buddies Challenge. Also, he rides around town with his wife, a kid on the back, or his dog in a basket on the front.or alongside on a leash. He’s even taken teammates on mountain bike trips to Montana. So what can mere mortals like you and I learn from an elite athlete like him? Let’s see.

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Book Review: HEFT ON WHEELS by Mike Magnuson

Courage is a word you could use to describe bicycling, especially the urban kind I do wherein one risks one’s life while several-ton killing machines blow by at high speeds mere inches away. Or bike racing, BMX riding with the ramps and jumps and tricks, or screaming down a mountain on a bike: all take some degree of courage. But writing? It doesn’t take any courage at all to sit down at a laptop and start hammering away, right? Well, that’s easy to say if you haven’t tried to write a book. And when it comes to memoir, laying your soul bare to people you never have, and never will meet, takes a big chunk of gumption.

I should know, because I’ve been writing this blog for over five years, albeit with far less courage since I use a nom de plume / velo. I have also written a book — a memoir. I have yet to find the courage to even show it to others to read. (I’m getting close to sharing with beta readers, once I figure out the details, having finally just found two awesome volunteers.) But in Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180, his 2005 memoir (I know, I’m very late to the party), author, creative writing professor, magazine article writer, and cyclist Mike Magnuson has courage in spades. (Heft is a follow-up to his previous memoir, Lummox.) As quoted in a speech he gave, I’d even go so far as to say he has “sixteen suitcases full of courage.”

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