Mamma Jamma Training Ride #1 of 2019 + Fairdale Bikes Party: My Social Saturday

Saturday was an eventful day for me on and relating to the bike. I somehow got my butt up early and the five miles down to the start of a training ride. Then later I attended a party for the bike manufacturer of my bike, Sophie the Weekender Archer. As usual, engaging with various people in different realms of the bicycle community was meaningful and fun. Seeing people you know and meeting ones you didn’t is always cool, right? Yes.

Breast Cancer Charity Ride

Mamma Jamma Ride to Beat Breast Cancer is September 21, 2019. Are YOU in?

I haven’t registered yet, but last year I missed all the training rides, so I figured I’d at least get myself to the first one in town. If I do join the main event, it will be the fourth time. The ride itself is September 21, 2019. Given that I’ve raised over $5,000 total over rides #1-#3 (2015 and 2017-18), my goal would be to meet or beat that. I think $3,000 is very doable.

The cool thing about the money raised for this ride is that it really is for a good cause — seven local groups that support women surviving the disease, and their families. It’s for services mostly, like wigs, or counseling — not all research, unlike some events. So whether I do it will depend on availability, health, and pledges from donors. Could you be one? We shall see.

Arriving at the cancer support headquarters of Livestrong, I found around 80 people waiting for the ride to start. I said hi to some folks I recognized and took Sophie right over to the Buda Bike Company tent. Her chain has been slipping ever since I regreased it at Yellow Bike Project. The nice mechanic took a look and must have tweaked it a little, because I didn’t have a problem all day. A nice perk of showing up, a free adjustment!

I signed in with my waiver, got a wrist band, and greeted the director, Marion, who seemed happy to see me. A few board members where there. And then it was time for the speeches and mentioning the Sustainable Food Center, the beneficiary of the day. They provide cooking classes for women with breast cancer, how cool is that?

We divided ourselves into fast, medium and relaxed groups. But by the time I got myself organized the medium group had left, and I saw the familiar freckled face of Marty at the rear, so joined her as sweeper. We were off and chatted about where she’d traveled, where I hadn’t (a quick conversation), and other things like how the office is moving.

The ride went east and north and then got on the Southern Walnut Creek Trail. It’s great for novices and not so great for conversation and group riding. The whole distance was only going to be 13 miles, but for some that’s a lot. We gathered at almost the halfway point, the bottom of the steep hill where a YMCA sits for a break. The leader and Marty let the mostly women riders know they could skip it if they wanted, but everyone was game. I reminded folks not to grind, but to spin in a lower gear.

Overall time included lots of stops at several bike shops and other stores. But I got it done.

I went up first to possibly inspire and also to avoid congestion, but then I quickly got smoked by two fast women eager to build up speed and get it over with. My fitness, energy and legs aren’t what they used to be, and good on them. At the top we cheered on everyone as they crested the hill.

After a stop at the urination station, some water and wi-fi, we were back down reversing our tracks. At the end I scooped out the sausage, cheese, egg or potato from several kolaches and had a couple of fruit popsicles, too. A pair of free bib shorts and some promo materials were also gifted to me, and I hung out to help put things up a bit and chat some more. It was a pleasant ride and I was happy to “support the girls.”

Jeb, a fellow rider I’ve met before, and I sport our Big Wig Top Fundraiser jerseys

I then went out and did another 15 miles for a total of 33 so far. I got a flat, even with a new back tire, which was super taut and took a long time to fix. I got caught in some heavy rain which I waited out at a bus stop. My speed had been averaging 11.5 but began to drop as I tired. By the time I returned home I was ready for a shower, some food, and a nap. It was good to put on the official Big Wig Fundraiser jersey and bib shorts and put in some mileage.

HEY YOU! PLEASE READ THIS! If you’d like to pledge to financially support me doing this ride on the first day of autumn, or you’re in Austin and want to get a jersey and be a member of Team T.ime I.n T.he S.addle, please contact me, my Gmail is ADudeAbikes.

Fairdale Bikes Party

I had heard about this shindig on the Mamma Jamma Ride, so I cancelled other plans and after recuperating, I headed back downtown. The gathering was in full swing by the time I got there, but mostly just people hanging outside behind this clothing shop and art space. They were talking and drinking free beer (which never motivates me – I prefer my carbs in solid, chocolate form). There was also a BMX / skateboard ramp, and dudes were throwing tricks on that. I met some Fairdale as well, including Mia, a brand ambassador and was just back from breaking her elbow in Germany.

The new line of bikes was available for viewing, but I didn’t pay much attention, not being in a position to buy one. I did buy a raffle ticket to win a new one. Since I won Sophie in a raffle, and Sookie the Fuji Silhouette has been forcibly retired, I figured I’d try my luck again. It was looking up because not only was Katie, the manager of my nearest Bicycle Sport Shop there, but so was a former co-worker of mine who was also a bicyclist and former mechanic.

Meghan seemed happy to see me as I was her. Hugs were exchanged and I was reintroduced to Katie’s husband Reese and Meghan’s boyfriend Aaron. The women already knew each other from the shop world, which was pretty cool. Worlds collide, as it was said on Seinfeld. Aaron and I chatted about this blog, which he seemed genuinely interested in, having had some health challenges himself. We talked about the book I’m writing, his biking, health, art versus commerce, and a lot more. He’s a creative himself, doing art for a job.

I got some water and talked with some BMX dudes. One owned a bike company, another took photographs, and there was Carlye, who is Jared’s girlfriend. They were a cute young couple but I didn’t feel up to asking people to pose for a picture. We talked for a while about animals and her writing and photography and not being ready to share it on her blog. Jared came over and I told him I was interested in profiling more types of cyclists and that I was fascinated by the risk-taking of BMX’rs. He said his big toe was injured and showed me a video of the two-story jump he did when he injured it.

Everyone I met were nice people. Jarred ran off to do some jumps, and I went back to the group. Katie had to leave by bike with her co-workers, so she rushed over and gave me her three raffle tickets. I was taken aback and didn’t know what to say except thank you and gave her a hug of gratitude. I had just been speaking to Meghan and Aaron about how unfailingly nice she was. She said I deserved them and she could get an employee discount anytime, which was sweet.

Finally it was raffle time, and several smaller prizes were awarded. Then the bike was awarded, and several people had left so missed out. The winning number was six digits away from mine. So it was not A Dude Abike’s karma to win a second Fairdale. That’s ok, it was only seven-speed, two less than Sophie. The highlight of the evening had passed, so the energy petered out pretty quickly. Goodbyes were said, and Jim with Fairdale nicely gave me a branded water bottle with some grape juice in it. So I didn’t leave empty handed. I got another 11 miles for my efforts, too.

Parting Thoughts

Heading home, I was aware of an insight that you might even say is a theme of this blog. Once again, even though I’m so often a solitary rider, and a writer in solitude, that there’s a world of other people around who ride, love and live bikes. Because no matter what kind of bike you ride (even a stationery one) or what kind of shape you’re in, if you ride a bike, you’re a winner in my book.

If you don’t bike yet and are able to, maybe I’ll inspire you to get on a bike someday. There are always going to be plenty of faster, fitter folks out there (and if you’re one of them, good on you!). But if you’re like me, a middle-aged fathlete who struggles with knee and other aches and pains, lack of sleep, etc. can do 44 miles in a day, I bet many of you can, too. So, pedal on, people! And if you can’t do that, cheering is good, too.

Oh yeah, I got a 100+ mile week for the first time in a while.: 100.9 miles biking, 11.4 walking.

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My Meh May 2019 Strava Statistics: Slowing, Not Stopping

May is the fifth month, the last one until October when we Texans can hope for a few cool, low humidity days. Melinda May – she goes by just May – is the name of kick-butt ABC television show MARVEL’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. played by Ming-Na Wen. I didn’t know it had come back on so I got caught up on the first four episodes. Silly, outlandish, preposterous, and not exactly the height of the performing arts, I enjoy it because of all that — it’s fun. And may also means you might. So I might have kicked butt on the bike-book-blog-walking-yoga this month, or maybe it all kicked mine. Let’s look at the numbers to see. But here at A Dude Abikes, having the dedication to keep on showing up is half the game.

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4,000 Miles Bicycled on Sophie, My Fairdale Weekender Archer

For some riders, 4,000 miles is not alot. For me, it’s no joke, and a milestone worth noting. I’ve had Sophie the Fairdale Weekender Archer bicycle for two years this month, actually. But to reach 10,000 miles on my lighter Fuji Silhouette bike named Sookie (on whom I finally pedaled almost 13,000 miles before she developed a fatal crack in her fragile aluminum frame), I gave the steel commuter and light touring bike a rest for seven months. The other day I was asking about getting new disc brake pads, and it turns out that after a while of frequent braking, they wear out. Well, that’s because I’m riding her all the time now that Sookie has been forced into retirement.  Nothing lasts forever.  But while the ride still lasts, it’s important to acknowledge the accomplishments and share them with you.

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5,143 Miles in 2018: 4,554 Biking + 589 Walking. Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good for A Dude!

The headline is this:  I beat 2017 by 429 miles!  (4,714 Miles Bicycled in 2017 = 10,000 in 2 Years! A Recap of My “Epic Velocimania” (Day 1) 

Of course that’s not proof, for that, see below.  But I can assure you it’s accurate.  Except that maybe it’s not, because the annual strava video shows I rode an extra 100+ miles.  The point is that I biked my butt off (well, it’s still there) and added the daily walking.  So even though I biked 250 miles less, I walked 500+ miles more than last year, when I barely did any.  In addition to my daily yoga practice of 5+ years now, and writing this blog or in my book-in-progress, I had a very busy year.

The effort took me 427 hours, which is about 18 full days of biking.  The elevation was 122,700 feet, which is less than last year, but not by much.  And I definitely didn’t seek out hills this year.  I didn’t go on many group rides, either.  But still, somehow I was able to GIT ‘ER DONE!

Keep reading for more…

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Cycling with Sookie and Sophie: The Saga Segues

I found a picture of both Sookie and Sophie, my two bikes. (A third bike is elsewhere; that one was ridden pre-blog/Strava.) The photograph was taken at a community event sponsored by Bike Austin that I helped with. It was attended by several dozen people concerned about bike lanes and sidewalks on two busy and dangerous roads and Austin City Councilmember Greg Casar in April of 2017. Why on earth did I have two bikes at the same event? Well, former BA Campaigns Manager Miller Nuttle forgot his bike, so needed to borrow mine. Something inspired me to snap this shot, and I really like it alot. With the recent news about Sookie, the Fuji Silhouette (left) having a fatal crack in her frame, causing me to have to ride Sophie, the Fairdale Weekender Archer all the time, it got me thinking more about my journey. Keep reading to hear more about this passing of the torch.

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An Imagined Chat with Sookie, My Fuji Silhouette Bicycle, Upon Her Forced Retirement

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.

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3,000 Miles Biked in 3 Quarters of 2018: Pain & Rain, But I Did Not Train in Vain

October is the time when my birthday arrives, and I got myself an early present:  I met my (original) bicycling mileage goal for the year!  Actually, it was 2,600, for 50 miles per week, so I could cut my riding time in half and devote those hours to writing this blog and the book that is in progress.  As for the rather long and unwieldy title, it got longer when the Clash song came to mind (Annie Lennox version).  Alliteration appeals, apparently.  Despite a decent bit of discomfort and alot of precipitation, the work paid off.  I did the Mamma Jamma breast cancer ride, which was rewarding, and that might not have been possible without doing putting in more time.  So it’s been a good month, and year so far.  I delve a little into the statistics for those into such things. That’s you!

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