A Decade of Knowing My Bicycle Mechanic

Bike mechanics, like many essential workers, have long been unsung, but make no mistake, they are heroes. That’s a strong word, but to those of us too lazy to learn to fix our own bikes, or who don’t have the tools, we rely on them to keep us rolling. Tonight I was at a shop, participating in the usual back and forth. First, there is the friendly but slightly tired question, “What’s going on?” A description of the issue from me. That is followed by a brief technical educational seminar complete with repeating main points, checking for understanding, and a hand drawing. Then, investigation of the bike and either repair, ordering parts, or other appropriate result is. Some low-grade insults from both sides are scattered in, said with a laugh to soften the blow. And we realized we’d known each other 10 years. “And you still can’t get rid of me!” I lampooned myself. Of course he sees many other people, so it’s a lopsided arrangement. But for a decade this guy has been in my life and that’s a lot more than I can say for most “friends.” Excuse me while I get a little verklempt here.

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MEDIA ALERT: Introducing Strava S.O.F.T.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (1 April, 2021, San Francisco, CA): The leading fitness tracker for running, cycling and dozens of other sports, Strava, announces the next exciting step in their technology’s evolution. The global coronavirus pandemic that began in 2020 and continues into 2021 showed that exercise enthusiasts would not be deterred from achieving their fitness and sporting goals (to the extent allowed by local health code). More people got outside and got moving than in other any year since the product’s launch in 2009 for both their physical and mental health.

Obviously, the other major force that has reshaped society in the USA and abroad in the last year is the quest for racial justice and police accountability. In keeping with both these movements toward a healthier and more just society, Strava is releasing a parallel version of their software called Strava S.O.F.T. — Slow, Old, Fat, Tired. This change is a major step forward to make the fitness world more inclusive of our many speed-challenged, mature, differently-sized, and fatigued athletes. At Strava (which means strive in Swedish), we pride ourselves on meeting challenges just like our 70 million customers do in the app. Strava S.O.F.T. is the next wave of exercise and a key to the future of sport itself!

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What’s Up With the Global Bicycle Parts Problem? One Dude’s Story

It’s complicated. And not unlike many people’s relationship status, there’s a lot going on. I’m not a journalist and this isn’t an extensively researched analysis of the industry. From what I’ve gleaned, and experienced first-hand from contacting half a dozen Austin, Texas bicycle shops, the supply chain is busted thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s apparently a byzantine network of large and small shops, distributors, manufacturers, brokers and more behind the scenes. Normally, tons more people re/discovering bicycling for exercise, transportation, stress-relief, and other reasons would be a good thing. But it’s that same demand coupled with crippled supply chain that is making it a feast for some and a famine for others. You can read all about that later, but here’s the story of one dude just trying to fix his bike so he can Just Keep Pedalin’.

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Another Day in the Life of a Bike Dude

Something woke me up. Normally it’s construction, the hospital helicopter, highway traffic, barking dog, full bladder, or all of the above. Sometimes it’s a dream but they fade from memory quickly. Oh wait, I remember. It was pain in my hip from overdoing it with the resistance bands two days ago. I applied an ice pack and went back to sleep. Woke up, repeated. Felt better, but still sore. I resolved to take it easy today. Which if you know me I’m all about easy, but I also kick my own ass via exercise on the regular. Before getting out of making the bed, I remembered words Arianna Huffington told me (ok, it was a few thousand of us) on an Action for Happiness webinar the day before. When you wake up, don’t immediately turn on your phone, which should be charging and off in another room. Set your intention for the day, journal, think of some things you’re grateful for. So I did that. Take ‘er easy, thankful for ice and other things. More on that later in this post.

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Some Surprising Ways Weight Supports Sports

Normally on or about the 11th of the month, I write about how I’ve bicycled another month every single day in a row. You can read the latest big milestone in 10 Techniques I Used to Bicycle 500 Days in a Row. But this post seemed more interesting. Millions of people struggle with overweight, obesity, fatness, or as I like to call it: being undertall. But being fat ain’t all that. In many, if not most ways, it is not good for you. When it comes to sports, though, there are some notable exceptions. I don’t encourage myself or anyone to be overweight, but if you are, you can probably do more than you realize (which is the central thesis of this blog in one sentence). Let’s dig right in! (Puns happen.)

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Chats with Strangers Whilst Bicycling in Austin, Texas

A guy driving a truck is about to turn into the bike lane. ADAB stops to avoid getting hit.

ADAB: (Yelling.) “Hey, I’m right here in front of you!”
Guy:  (Looks left and right, doesn’t see me.)
ADAB:  (Slaps hood hard; yells louder.) “I’m right fucking here, asshole!”
Guy:  (Surprised. Says nothing.)
ADAB:  (Leaves in disgust, hoping he doesn’t follow, veer into him or shoot.)
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Trek Bicycle Austin: An Update

The sale, transfer, rebranding and re-opening of Bicycle Sports Shops to Trek Bicycle Austin is complete. (Although as I cycled by the Lamar Main Store yesterday, and Guadalupe the other day, the old signage is still there.) They sent a message saying:

The beginning of a beautiful friendship. Hey, Austin! We’re Trek Bicycle, and we’re so excited to join your community. Your local Bicycle Sport Shops are now Trek Bicycle stores, and we’re dedicated to carrying on their legacy of incredible customer service, community involvement, and—of course—awesome bikes and gear. We welcome you to drop by one of our five locations to see what’s new. We can’t wait to ride with you!

Here are some more details about the cha-cha-changes.

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We Don’t Need No Resolutions: My January 2021 Bicycling, Etc. Stats

January 2021 was a challenging month for the USA. After the worst attack on democracy since the war of 1812, we finally got rid of the old neo-fascist, proto-racist, fake billionaire POTUS #45. And the social media companies finally grew a pair and de-platformed him. At least that part of our long national nightmare is over. POTUS #46 was inaugurated — a new (and real) president who actually cares about other people and wants to and knows how to govern. Whether the crazies on the red team will let him do so is unlikely, but many of them are going to prison for the attempted insurrection on the Capitol on January 6th. Also in the win column is people have been getting vaccinated for the coronavirus, though not nearly as many that could or should be by now. As for lil’ ol’ A Dude Abikes, I did what I could to keep my health and sanity to the extent possible by biking and doing some new or different things. Not resolutions exactly, because who needs that pressure? Let’s go to the stats, stat!

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Come to the Dark Side, Dude: Where’s My Car?

Sixteen years ago, on January 25, 2005, the car I was driving was hit by a truck and was damaged beyond reasonable repair. In the ensuing years, I made do with taking the bus, walking, and bicycling. In fact, I had lived without a car on and off for many years. A whole decade passed before I got serious about cycling; in January of 2015, I began riding longer distances, charity rides, and the like. A year later I had a smart phone, Strava, and a better bicycle. That journey led me to travel the equivalent of around the equator, plus another 1,790 miles as of today (26,691 total). Normally in the space you would find a blog post about my 16th year being car-free, or at least car-light (because I borrowed them). For two reasons, you won’t read that post.

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46 > 45: President Biden Bicycles and Has a Peloton; That’s Good for U.S.

January 20, 2021 was historic for several reasons. The biggest was was that only two weeks ago democracy itself was under attack. Throngs of right-wingers, egged on by the now-ex-resident of the White House, Tinyhands Orangehead, stormed the US Capitol and five people died. So having the traditional peaceful transfer of administrations was a big deal this time. Now that our long national nightmare is over (well, at least one of them), we can hopefully get back to politics as boring. But also, the highest ranking woman ever ascended to become Vice President. Kamala Harris happens to be Black and of South Asian descent, and representation matters. Whether or not one agrees with their policies, relevant to this blog’s main theme is that we can hope that 46th President Joe Biden will be good for American bicyclists… not to mention, the planet.

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