Worlds Collide: A Midnight Rider Visits A Dude Abikes

OK, the truth is he didn’t come to Austin, Texas just to visit me, he came to see his son. But since he asked, I couldn’t get out of town in time, I couldn’t weasel out of it. Just kidding. A Midnight Rider hails from Southeastern Massachusetts, and from the moment he exclaimed “Dude!” I was taken back to my college days in Vermont. That New England accent ain’t heard too much around these parts, but it was welcome to my ears. If you’re not familiar with it, the letter “r” in certain words is a lot softer. So “Park the car in the yard” sounds like “Pahk the cah in the yahd.” Anyway, here’s a little recap of our get together.

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Q3 2021: Third Quarterly Report of My Bicycling and Other Habits

Now that we’re 90 days from the end of 2021, it’s time for my third quarterly report. July, August and September are the hottest months in Texas, and that heat and stupidity tend to slow most dudes and dudettes down. (I meant humidity, which with the heat tends to make one stupid.) But, I never claimed to be smart, so I have gone on a bicycle ride every single day of the pandemic (and for a while before that). Regular readers know I’m like only 50% of that Cake lyric: “He’s going for distance, he’s (not) going for speed.” On top of that, I take a walk, do yoga, and got myself into some other daily activities, practices aka habits. Sure, it was stupid hot (though not as bad as last year), and I do not bike fast. However, although I don’t get a cent from it, you could say I’m in the bicycle riding business. And business is good.

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Raining, Riding, Ruminating

The rain, absent for weeks, began slowly. Forecasts seemed unreal; the wishful thinking of bored meteorologists. Heat can be somewhat managed on a bicycle, but the rain is much trickier. I thought I could beat it before it began, but I couldn’t, so I joined it. With shoe covers, bib shorts, white t-shirt, dayglo orange safety vest I found under a cheap yellow poncho, my cell phone in a plastic bag ensconced in my hip pouch, and the willingness to get wet, I set out on my trusty Fairdale Weekender Archer. Just a short bike ride in the rain, not my first rodeo, y’all.

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Austin, Texas Bike Lanes and Sidewalks: A Few Updates

This makes my 10th post with a title including the words “bike lanes.” I’m generally a fan of anything that will separate cars from bikes and pedestrians, or in other words, will save my tuchus and that of other riders from being maimed or killed by cars. As a walker (not of The Walking Dead zombie variety — so far), I often use sidewalks when there are any. I also used them instead of biking on high traffic roads, so I don’t, you know, like, die. Several emails from the City about mobility improvement projects are clogging my email inbox, and with two personal examples, I figure it’s time for an update. Here are just a few of the many projects for intersections, bike lanes and sidewalks going on in Austin, Texas.

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Austin Bike News Roundup for June 8, 2021

It’s been a while since I did one of these round ups, mostly because of that pesky little virus doohickey. Meaning that things are happening, but one is less likely to hear about them since we’re living with that thingamabob. But bike life goes on despite the whatchamacallit. Also, here’s a shout out to my dad on his birthday. Sis-in-law too, though I got the date wrong, but it’s soon. It’s relevant because the cycle of life, you know? Anyway, here are a few items of note in the Austin, Texas bicycling scene.

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Another Day, Another Bike Ride

Here at A Dude Abikes, we (that is, the royal we) appreciate guts, intestinal fortitude, and chutzpah. That extends to anyone taking the chance, choice, and time to read. Though we know we’re no ex-Prince Harry, we do like to think of ourselves as having a quality that our former overlapping roommate said one day recently, i.e. intrepid. It’s been raining buckets here in Central Texas (a good thing because we’re behind for the year). I told the roomie, who’s quite a cyclist, that I was going for a walk, despite the chance of rain and not having slept a lot (partially because of his late and early packing racket). That’s when he said I was intrepid. I thought, “Hey, that’s pretty cool, like James Bond or something.” I’m not in possession of the sort of high-caliber intrepitude (if that wasn’t a word, it is now) that sprinters like Mark Cavendish do, I manage to climb the mountain of a number of good habits every day. Every day could be our last on the bike or other things, but I’m grateful that I was able and am glad to report that today was not the end. It was another day, another bike ride.

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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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