After the previous Sunday’s smaller ride, Bike Ride for Black Lives Matter… I somehow heard about another one even though it was organized on Facey Spacey. I happened to be awake and I’m always in need of more miles. Rather than stand around looking at the police station or state police, I decided to join in and try to learn something. The organizers expected 50 people, and they got at least 500. It was a huge event and lasted four hours in the hot Texas sun, but it was a cool thing that is hoped will catch on in other cities.Continue reading
Word arrived that this bike ride was happening Friday night. My social calendar being empty as always, and not sitting shiva either, it seemed like a good way to reduce some of my white privilege. I’ve been an ally in a variety of causes ever since I was a baby; my mom took me to civil rights protest in Little Rock, Arkansas and Dallas, Texas. I’ve wanted to be solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, but a small number of people hijacked protests with violence, and there has been a disproportionate police response that has put numerous protesters in the hospital. (See my recent post, Nonviolent Justice for George Floyd and Bronna Taylor.) I have not been on a group ride since mandatory stay home orders and social distancing were set up by the health department in mid-March. So while it was risky, I felt that with a mask, staying away six feet or more from others as possible (often not, but most people had masks), and being outdoors, it was worth it. I always am looking for my daily dose of miles and exercise, too. It turned out to be a peaceful and educational night.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.
NOTE: Many folks may not have seen my Sunday, February 18th post, which I had inexcplicably moved to the trash and didn’t notice all day. I restored it and would love for you to read it, so here is the link for “27-Mile Brushy Creek Trail Ride + Peddler Bike Shop Stop.” After all, a blog mostly about bikes needs some ride reports sometimes!
Andrew Tilin: Rest In Peace
Today’s post is more bad news, I’m very sorry to report. Yet another Austin cyclist, Andrew Tilin, was killed on Saturday, February 17, the same day I wrote about Leonel Hernandez, who was killed under mysterious circumstances back on January 29. There isn’t even a picture of Hernandez available yet that I can find. There are photos of Tilin, still young and in the prime of his life in his 40’s. I didn’t know him but I’m heartbroken for those who did. Continue reading