Solo v. Group Cyclists: Sad and Lonely, or So Happy Together?

For some time even before the Great Plague of 2020-20??, I mostly rode my bicycle by myself. When Coronavirus hit, and health rules didn’t prevent bike riding but discouraged doing so with others, nothing much changed for me. Sure, I’d go to the occasional social cycling ride, or a friend might join me sometimes. But for the most part, I was Forrest Gump on a two-wheeler. I Just. Kept. Bicycling. Things sort of relaxed, with some people getting vaccines (including moi), then they got worse again with the Delta variant. Still, I have ridden every day of the pandemic and then some — 23 months straight as of 9/11/2021. But am I happy or sad about being on my own? As usual, it’s not a simple answer.

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August 2021 Strava Stats – Still Summer

August is gone. Autumn’s approaching and with it pleasant weather conditions more favorable to bicycling and walking. Despite last month being wetter and cooler than usual, we only had three 100+ F days, one to end the month, and another two, two 99’s, and another 100 forecast to start September. So, it’s still summer in Central Texas. As I look back at my activity statistics, to the hottest month, I say this (quoting a former Texas governor who didn’t know the microphone was on): “Adios, mofo!” But hey, I’m not doing too poorly if you noticed I passed 30,000 lifetime miles the other day.

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Bicycling While Rome Is Burning

For a while now I’ve been sitting down at the computer on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings to write a blog post. Often I have a topic in mind, usually something that’s come to me from my daily bicycle ride, walk or yoga practice. Sometimes I think of it afterward. Then I publish it so that a few readers in Europe can see it first thing, and maybe some night owls in the US see it, too. I try to get it done quickly, in the 30-minute time-frame that I’ve come to break many things down into. But a decently written blog with photos and links can sometimes take me hours. Especially if I start late, and the later it gets, the fuzzier the brain. Clarity on a national scale seems a bit more hopeful. After the American horror story that was the last four years under the raging, narcissistic, assholian tyranny of POTUS #45, it seems like maybe things are sorta kinda starting to get back to normal. Except the problems #46, good ol’ Scranton Joe, has inherited are serious: the economy tanking due to the still raging coronavirus pandemic, with no quick end in sight to either. It feels to me as if I’m bicycling while Rome is burning.

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The Coronacles of Blarneya, Part II

Back when the coronavirus which becomes the disease COVID-19 pandemic was just six weeks old (the length of the lockdown in Austin, Texas), I wrote Part I of this title. If you were here for that long, rambling and meandering post (or go read It now), you may recall a sense of aimless wandering. You might have been right about that. In many ways, we as a human race were doing that long before this outbreak. Now we are clearly fumbling our way through this waking nightmare, bad movie, or really, just stark reality. So as the band War sang,

Take a little trip, take a little trip
Take a little trip and see
Take a little trip, take a little trip
Take a little trip with me

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I Bicycled Every Day for an Entire Year: Lessons Learned

Here’s the thing:  I didn’t set out to bike 366 days in a row. If you had a crystal ball and told me my future a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. I just went on my birthday ride, a mile per year of life, as I have done the last several years. But instead of taking the next day or more off to rest like a normal person, I became more like Forrest Gump:  I just kept bike-ing and bike-ing and bike-ing… Except there was no Robin Wright as Jenny yelling, “Bike, A Dude, bike!”

The Energizer bunny I’m not. I’m just a middle-aged, slightly overweight (aka fathlete), regular guy who chose the bicycle as his vehicle for his mid-life crisis mobile. I can’t tell you why I did this, except at some point it was simply to see if I could do it. And now I have. Don’t believe me? Check my Strava activity log – it’s all there. But this isn’t really about me. Here’s the main thing I want to tell you: If I can do it, most of you can, too.

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I’ll Tell Ya What I’m Watchin’ on My Telly (Part 3)

Because I’m riding 125-166 miles per week lately, I was thinking about sharing more of my stats cycling about town. Or some news about the City of Austin Healthy Streets program expanding and taking public comment. The St. John’s bike lane project and outer lane closures downtown on Congress Avenue making temporary bike lanes are noteworthy. There hasn’t been a bicyclist die in a car crash yet this year (that I know of), which is great. I could do something about saddle sores, how bike shops are still short on inventory, or a piece about another bicycle website here in A-town. There’s bicycle seat adjustment, more about my Garmin watch (their site crashed today), or any number of other bike-related news that you can use. But nah, I’m gonna write about TV. Because, coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. There are plenty of dystopian future movies and shows, but one in particular seems exactly right for this moment in history in which we find ourselves.

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Coronavirus Cycle Commuting: Survival Tips for Your Trips

For the last few weeks I’ve been biking to a job. This isn’t new, as I’ve been 15 years not a slave to cars. But recently I’ve not had work to go to, so a daily ride to a workplace, and then returning home during the still surreal situation we’re all in, is a bit odd. The global coronavirus pandemic is a huge tragedy that will be with us for a while until there’s a vaccine and maybe longer. One small consolation is that it has reduced traffic and pollution. This is good for bike riders, but there are still plenty of hazards so cyclists should remain vigilant. Here a few challenges I’ve noticed and tips for things you can do to make your ride to work as good and as safe as possible.

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I’ll Tell Ya What I’m Watchin’ on My Telly (Part 1)

Liike many people during this time of mandated respite I’ve found solace in a program of the filmed entertainments, or two (or ten). When I’m not biking, walking, writing, doing yoga, eating, sleeping, or reading, I enjoy some downtime streaming on the old boob tube, the small screen, the idiot box. I call it my digital storytelling portal. (Not really, I just made that up, but it’s not half bad.) Anyway, I’m appreciate the art — especially the writing — that goes into these shows. Herewith are some of what I’ve been enjoying (sans spoilers).

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The Coronacles of Blarneya, Part I

2020 was to be the year of plenty. For me, I was planning for better health, a tolerable job, and a decent and steady place to live. I hoped to create a stronger body, smarter mind, better relationships and improved community. Instead, I’m like everyone else — suffering and struggling through absurd days that seemed unimaginable two months ago (outside of the movies). Wearing masks, cowering in our houses, staying away from people, anxious about what’s next: that is how it is now. Life in the time of COVID-19 can be described by the lesser known, more derogatory use of the word for an Irish town with a famous castle and stone. Parts of me come from somewhere over there in Eire. Point is, it’s a bunch of blarney..

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10 Pros and 10 Cons of Coronavirus Bicycling

I cannot remember a lot about the time I think we’ll start calling B.C. — Before Coronavirus. It wasn’t that long ago in late February and early March when times were pretty good, if not care-free amazeballs with wonderment and splendor. We could shake hands, hug people, go to restaurants, and ride our bikes in gangs. Now we’re wearing masks, avoiding each other, eating canned food, growing our hair out and getting cabin fever. Be that as it may, life goes on, but it’s hardly recognizable in many ways. Bicycling is still allowed here in Austin, Texas, fortunately, so during my daily rides I’ve noticed a few things. Well, 20 things, to be exact. So I’ve compiled them into this handy list of the Pros and Cons of Bicycling Through the Pandemapocalypse.

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