Relaxed Ride with Rhodney: Shoal Creek and Town Lake

Sunday. A day associated in America with religious services, football, laundry, getting ready for the dreaded return to work on Monday, and driving. The Sunday drive is a relic of days of old, when people would drive about aimlessly while sightseeing and not paying much attention. For many cyclists, a Sunday bike ride is de rigeur. Temperatures in Austin, Texas were forecast to be in the high 70’s. For February, that’s warm. Old friend Rhodney invited me to join him for a laid back ride, and I was happy to oblige.

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Tidbits from the Life of a Cyclist in Austin

I got a flat tire last night, but not just any flat tire. The tube exploded with a loud BANG! and so did the tire. The thing is, I was at a well-known high-crime drug corner, and for a second I thought someone was shooting at me with a gun. Then I realized the air was gone from my rear tire and my pedaling was over for the night. The guys hanging out at the convenience store parking lot knew it wasn’t a gunshot, though. There was a police officer parked in the lot, and a bus came along pretty quickly. Even more fortunate was that I was near the house of a member of the North East Austin Texas Bike Group, and her husband kindly took me home in their mini-van. Thanks, Thomas! It’s good to know people.

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And Iran, Iran So Far Away: A Bicyclist’s View on Another Looming War About Energy

I will be the first to admit that this piece probably isn’t going to be re-published in the New York Times, The Economist, Mad Magazine or anything with that sort of stature. However, I just had to put that Flock of Seagulls lyric to some good use. Sometimes titles are used to pique interest and have little to do with the content. And that’s largely the case here. I’m no Middle East expert, but I’m sure that bombing people who bomb to prove that bombing is wrong is… wrong. I will state the obvious: the more people cycling, the less we need to rely on the infernal combustion engine or even hybrids and the less energy wars we’ll have with other nations.

I will go on the record as saying I think that the future ex-president #45 of the US was well out of line, his legal authority and his friggin’ mind by ordering the targeted assassination of Iran’s #2 man, as deadly as he was. Later that same day that news broke, as I returned a car borrowed for visiting family over the holidays. I was only slightly relieved to be less a part of the problem. We in the developed nations rely on oil in many forms like plastic, to deliver food and other products. There’s not much A Dude can do to influence foreign policy. So this weekend, I let my legs do the talking as usual.

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Bike Therapy: Casual Friday Group Ride of Two

There aren’t a lot of evening social rides in my part of town, and I’d been noticing this new one for a while. Today after heading out late in the afternoon of a chilly, windy day, I decided to join the ride. It’s a good thing I did, too, since the few regulars chose to skip it. I arrived right on time at the meeting spot — a parking lot next to a deli near where I used to live, and was greeted by Dave, the organizer. After waiting a bit in case of stragglers, we headed out on a relatively relaxed ride.

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54.89-Mile (86.90 Km) Belated Birthday Ride. Boom! Still Got It.

No clip in shoes. No shorts (well, no padded shorts; I may do my small part to Keep Austin Weird, but my mother didn’t raise no idiot). Just started doing errands and since conditions were perfect I Just. Kept. Pedaling. I had several extended stops as is obvious from the elapsed time, including getting refreshments, soaking up the sun (sitting on a park bench) sending emails, two short meetings plus a stop at home to recharge my lights and Garmin vivoactiv hr watch.

Still, I was pretty happy to meet my goal, even if I was a week late due to the rain, wind and cold on my actual birthday. And it was pretty good for a 9-speed heavy steel bike with non-skinny tires. I didn’t even have to get out of the saddle and stand up on the pedals on the very steep Highland Hills Drive, either. I probably could have kept going, but as the farmer said to the pig in the movie Babe, “That’ll do. That’ll do.”

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Birthday Bike Ride 2019 – 36.64 Mi / 58.97 Km

Birthday. The word strikes joy in a child’s heart but apathy or fear in adults. As we age, it seems more and more people care less and less about celebrating birthdays, either theirs or others’. Presents, gifts and cards dwindle. After just ending a very tiring job earlier in the week, and with rain and wind arriving as part of a cold front the morning of my special day, I had not made many plans.

But I still wanted to set out on my now fourth annual quest to bike my age in miles while collecting freebies. While I didn’t hit my goal, I did manage to complete my longest day in the saddle since August 15th (about when the job really kicked off) and my longest ride since June 30th. What follows are some images and info about my day.

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Greeting an Austin City Councilmember and Smart Trips Austin Bike Ride

Saturday brought me several opportunities as a bicyclist and advocate.  First up was the appearance at the neighborhood association by one of the 10 City Council members of Austin, Texas.  His name is Gregorio Casar, the son of Mexican immigrants, but he goes by Greg.  He really knows his stuff, is genuine, friendly, and not pretentious at all.  I believe he is the youngest Council member ever.  Second was a Smart Trips Austin ride.  It’s a City program to encourage people to use alternative modes of transportation including walking, the bus, and of course bikes.  It was super hot, so it was sparsely attended, but I wanted to check it out and meet the two young staff people just the same.  Third was I added 27 miles for a 30-mile ride. ‘Twas a pretty good day, if you ask me. Oh, you’re asking me? OK, I’ll tell you about it, then!

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