Snow fell from the cold, dark skies on my bike ride home from the gym. The frozen precipitation is rare in Central Texas, especially in relatively mild winters like we’ve been having. So it’s a wondrous sight when it does snow. I felt lucky to have been outside riding when it came down. Light, white, wet kisses on my face melted quickly. Some accumulated on car hoods and lawn chairs, and the roommates and dogs were happy to see and feel it, too.
Of course in other places, there are no romantic notions about snow, because they’re drowning in it and shoveling it by metric ton. Another substance is also being shoveled in similar quantities, but it’s brown, smelly, and comes out of the back end of a cow. And by that of course, I can only be referring to the State of the Union, which was by some accounts a total snow job. Winter isn’t coming, Jon Snow, it’s already here. The revolution will not be televised. It’s winter in America.
While I am off the bike for a few days, not really by choice, I’m searching for something to blog about. At least I’m getting some rest. Maybe I’ll try a stationary bike or try to ride anyway. I’m tempted to take a rest day from blogging, too, but obviously I’m not. What follows is a rather random brain dump of bike stuff. Just one by itself isn’t enough for a single blog, but together they add up to one. I think it’s interesting, so maybe you will too.
Not since Navin Johnson (played by Steve Martin) got overly jazzed about the arrival of the new phone books in The Jerk (a film I’ve referenced as recently as my post Jerks in Cars Messing Up My Bike Rides) has a printed and bound document been quite so anticipated and well-received. Well, maybe that’s kind of a little bit of a possible smidgen or a skosh of hyperbole. Sure, when I became a member of the League of American Bicyclists, and Bicycling was was offered as a perq, I was glad to hear it. Just not jumping around shouting it to the whole street glad — only to my blog readers. Anyway, after four long months of anticipation, the last four weeks or so have brought incessant emails from the publisher but not actual magazine, it finally arrived. Let’s take a look under the hood.
Tonight as I was out dutifully putting in some miles to finish up my yearly goal, I encountered a man stopped in East Austin, near downtown. He was working on his bicycle, and observing the unwritten code of bike riders, I stopped to ask if I might help. He had a screw driver and was adjusting his rear reflector while enjoying an adult beverage. He was also worried about his front light, which was red (illegal). There wasn’t much I could do, but we chatted a bit. He was friendly, perhaps due to the aforementioned drink. He introduced himself as Tommy, I replied with my name, and he proferred an ungloved hand for me to shake in the cool temperatures. He also said that he is homeless. It got me thinking about the large number of people who ride bikes as transportation, but are not connected with bicycle advocacy organizations. So here are a few thoughts. Continue reading
April 4, 2018 marks 50 years from when The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior was assassinated by a racist. Imagine how different the world might be if he were allowed to live. The movement to end the US war on Vietnam, the Poor People’s Campaign, the overall condition of African-Americans in the US, and many more were issues he advanced, making life better for all of us; they all could have progressed further much had he not been killed.
How much more could he have accomplished? Lives saved? Dignity restored? Barriers broken down? It breaks my heart to think these thoughts and to write these words. As well it should. We lost a true American hero that day. But to cheer us up, here is a picture of him on a bicycle a year before his death, yes, riding a bicycle on Fire Island. A Dude can link ANYTHING to bicycling.
The idea of reviewing books about bicycling has been in the back of my brain for a bunch of blogs. But I have Milly Schmidt from Australia (The Cat’s Write) and Shalini from India (Books, Reviews et al. by Shalini) to thank for reminding me that writing in different genres is perfectly acceptable (despite what some pro bloggers may say) and that reviewing books is a good thing to do for aspiring writers. I’ve just finished award-winning Walter’s Mosley’s Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery, so don’t be blue. Without further ado, here is A Dude Abikes’ review. For you. It’s true! And brand new. Continue reading
Bikes Are Colorblind, They Just Want to Be Ridden
It’s Black History Month in the United States of America, so it would be bad form for a progressive to not pay homage to that (which I did earlier when mentioning the impact of the Black Panther movie) Some people have the mistaken belief that only rich white men in Spandex ride bicycles. They are wrong.
Where I live, I frequently see people of color riding bicycles, usually at night, apparently commuting home from work. They usually don’t have lights or helmets or fancy bikes. But they are cyclists just the same, risking their lives to go about their lives, which includes transporting themselves with their own people power. Leonel Hernandez, who died last month, was one of them.
Today, within the space of 10 minutes, I met a black dude named Ivory and a couple from Thailand named Nukul and Rung, each on a bike. You really meet the coolest people on bikes — of whatever color, status or nationality. You never would probably barely even see them from your motorized steel pollution cage.