7 Reasons Why Joining a Gym Can Improve Your Bicycling

New Years resolutions have gone by the way side for plenty of folks a month later now that Punxsutawney Phil has (or hasn’t) seen his shadow on Groundhog Day. It seems like a good time for re-evaluating fitness goals. For me, after many, Many, MANY! thousands of miles on my bicycles – in the last four years especially – I’m still a fathlete (fat + athlete).  Well, I’m athletic-adjacent. I know I ain’t no Mahomes, holmes. Point is, adaptation is a real thing, so after many years of not being a member of the Y, I asked myself “Why not join back up?” I enjoyed it before, so maybe I would again.

At first, I could only list the usual downsides: the hassle of getting there and back, showering, wiping (the machines, not my ass, silly goose!), paying monthly, fighting other people for a spot, worry about athlete’s foot and so on. I consulted with gym members and sometime riders Rhodney and Saurabh. Then, on the day I used a guest pass to take the place for a test drive, all those excuses just kinda melted away. Especially when I got into that hot tub after a nice swim. Mmmmm… melty. 

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Using Setbacks to Keep Moving Forward

Roadblocks happen and make you go in a different direction. Frequently, the efffing Force is just not with you, friend. Sometimes, schtuff simply happens. When life hands you lemonades, you’ve got two choices: Make lemonade or lie down in a corner drinking water. In other words, roll with the changes, or they’ll roll over you. You get the point. My thesis is that there’s only so much time and one person can only do so much, and doing your best sometimes mean stepping back.

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This Blog Post Is Tardy. Because, Fatigue.

I began writing this blog last night. But I just finished working a job that was thoroughly exhausting physically, mentally taxing, and emotionally stressful. I worked 400 hours in 11 weeks, driving over 2,700 miles in the process, enduring the hottest September on record, and numerous other challenges I won’t even get into. So yeah, I’m pretty bushed, and being late on a blog post is ok. Hopefully you’re not too tired to keep reading.

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Getting Back on the Bike After a Break: It’s Like Riding a You Know What

After the last month and more of too much work and especially of driving a car, I finally managed a day off. Fortunately, on Sunday nights there’s a group bike ride called Bike Curious, about which I’ve previously written. The ride itself is usually pretty mellow, but in this case we had a substitute leader who picked some roads that were a little dicey, hilly and sandy. Still, overall the streets flat and familiar and the pace was slow. It was a good way to ease back into biking. Today I’m a little sore and tired, but the hardest part was actually just getting myself out the door. If you’ve ever been in this situation you will relate to this post.

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Lazily Leaning Lightly Into the Low Lulls

As mentioned in the recent post Car-Free Dude Drives Borrowed Auto, Doesn’t Die, I’m working a lot and having to drive a car to do it. Since I’m in Austin, Texas (at least that’s where everyone keeps telling me I am), and it’s only mid-September, it’s still hitting 100 degrees many days. That’s true even if it’s not actual temperature because of the heat index (aka real feel) or humidity.

Point is, I ain’t biking much at all. It’s either miles or money, and since I’ve done plenty of the latter, it’s high time for the former. And that got me to thinking: What do you do when choice or circumstance keep you from your routine and goals? Come on inside this cozy post and A Dude’ll tell ya how he rolls. Or doesn’t.

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When Life Gets in the Way of What You Really Want to Do

As if exhaustion from being out in the Austin, Texas heat wasn’t enough of a sign that I should stay in this evening, I just dropped something heavy on my foot. Now I’m sitting here with ice on it. I was going to have to miss the only open shop night at Yellow Bike Project anyway because I thought it was yesterday and went there for nothing. So while I’ve been out walking a bit more, I’m also getting plenty of heat exposure. I call it sun poisoning, or Vitamin D overdose. So, my bicycling is sucking.

I am writing this post because that’s what I do every Wednesday, Monday and Friday night for over a year — for now). I’ll have a much-needed shower, do my half hour of gentle yoga (probably all on the floor) and hopefully collapse into bed for a full night of rest. But what do you do when life gets in the way of what you really want to do? Whether it’s ride your bike, write your book or blog, etc., how can we do it all? (Hint: You can’t.)

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The City Cyclist’s Friend: Convenience Store Clerks

After another convenience store stop to refill my water bottle with ice and water, have an indoor nature break, and to refuel, I began thinking about the modern day oasis. There’s many a night when I feel the need, the need for speed (or at least my slow version of it) and also get hungry, in other words, have a snack attack. Plus, I simply must get out of the Texas heat and humidity, and these little shops fit the bill. It occurred to me that these places and the people who run them are an important and overlooked part of the biking experience. The clerks, often young from India, Bangladesh, Mexico, and many other places play a crucial role for the bike casual rider and weekend warrior alike. So I thought it was high time to sing their praises.

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Random Thoughts from the Life of a Car-Free Bicyclist in Austin, Texas

Sometimes there’s no one unifying theme to a blog post, but even then, there is still a framework. Today, it’s that many factors affect my cycling, and also that there’s more to life than cycling. (Impossible, I can hear some of you saying!) Here are a few of those thoughts. As to whether they’re Deep Thoughts, you’d have to ask Jack Handy, which is an old Saturday Night Live skit. Basically he had short quotes that were inane, so I’m not claiming any wisdom. I am just sharing my experience in hopes it educates, inspires or at least amuses you as one of my millions of followers (any day now). Read on, it’ll be good, you’ll see. After all, I’m not The Dude, I’m just A Dude. And A Dude would never steer you wrong. That would be very un-Dude-like.

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Stillness

After Friday’s more reflective post about managing your energy (brahmacharya, in yogic terms), the long weekend in the US gave me the opportunity to retreat. Not the kind like giving up in a war. I hate war, but this is not a post about that. And I don’t mean a fancy spa (I wish!) or escaping to a meditation center, though I’ve done the latter. I mean I’m house and petsitting, which is a nice chance to do less outward activity and to do other things that have been neglected. Go within, reflect, journal, rest and read. To experience something many of us forget is there all around us and within us. Stillness.

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I Didn’t Ride My Bicycle Today, and I’m Okay With That

Returning readers recall relatively recent reflections recommending rest. After five days of riding my bike almost 90 miles, and knowing I would reach 100 miles last week, this weekend I did very little. My body, my left knee and quadricep muscle in particular, were very grateful. As usual I was having trouble getting myself going. So when a friend offered to come by and help with some errands in his car, I jumped, however gently, at the opportunity. Later, we went for a walk, and it got late. I could have forced myself to go put in some miles on the bicycle, but I did not. And it was glorious. Let me tell you.

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