I rode my bike for half a century (50 miles) on a recent sunny Sunday, the details of which you can see on Strava. Especially if you’re the sort who needs some proof. Or just don’t believe that guy who’s in the same decade of years as miles, with an extra amount of weight, can do that. Although it was challenging given my condition(s), it wasn’t so brutal that I was wrecked the next three days. It’s no work of art (well, the Strava map kinda is), but this snippet of dialog from Seinfeld sums it up well:
Lois: Have you designed any buildings in New York?
George Costanza: Have you seen the new addition to the Guggenheim?
Lois: You did that?
George Costanza: Yep. And it didn't take very long either.
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.)
So, this just happened. After reaching 16 months of consecutive bicycle riding couple of weeks ago, the blurb I put in my 500th bike ride in a row on Strava sums it up well:
I ain’t fast, suck at hills, don’t have a ton of followers, or a fancy bike, but I git ‘er done. Different parts hurt and I’m plum tuckered out most days. So mebbe a forced break’s a-comin’. Or mebbe not. I Just Keep Pedalin’.-moi
Thing is, I didn’t plan on this streak. I just one day realized that if I rode a little bit every day, it might be easier than a long ride every few days. And like my other streaks (yoga for 7+ years and walking, writing and virtually no flour each for 3+ years), at some point, a little voice started saying “Don’t Break The Chain.” It’s a little phrase attributed to Jerry Seinfeld writing jokes every day for a year, which he said wasn’t true. But it’s still a good handle for a challenge.
In a world where half a million Americans have now died of COVID-19, millions of Texans were without power for most of a week during the bitter cold snow and ice storm, and some still have no water or water damage. Plenty of other injustice continues: price gouging, racism, white supremacy, homophobia, sexism, unemployment, poverty, and climate change just to name a few. I know it really matters very little what one zaftig mid-aged bicycle dude in Austin did in his bike. Yet, life goes on. Content must be created, stories must be told, and horns must be tooted. So since you’re here, it’s like the Buddhist path: once started, may as well finish.
Sometimes no clear theme comes to mind, so I cobble together some random thoughts and hope they’re interesting. This is one of those times. Here are the previous similar entries to get you good and warmed up. Or to come back to after reading this one:
Interspersed are some photos from a 30-miler I did this weekend, most of it with good old pal Rhodney.
When milestones come and go, as they do for us all, they serve as signposts on the journey of life. Some, like birthdays, just happen. Others, we made happen through an action in the past, like the anniversary of college graduation. And still more are things we create every day with our efforts. Such is the case for this, my 500th blog post. That’s a ton of words in five years if I may say so. (532,738 to be exact, not including this post.) That’s an average of 1,068 words per post, and maybe somewhere around five or six novels. But this is not all about statistics, it’s about what it all means.
Yes, you read that right. I was biking, and
some poor, misguided soul, correction, a major assclown in a car slowed down to throw a firecracker at my head. But that wasn’t all. The firecracker throwing happened after a guy in a truck sped through the turn at a red light without yielding in front me, which could have resulted in major pain or death were I not such a defensive rider and excellent bike handler. But shortly thereafter I came upon his shop where his loose barking dogs came at me. Usually my evening bike rides aren’t as eventful. This one saved all the excitement until the last 20 minutes. Let’s go to my Strava description.
I got a notice about the new Austin Environmental Directory, and that got me to thinking. As I tend to think a lot while bicycling, this thought must have percolated in the back of my mind. When it was done reuminating, it spit this idea out. Of course, the AED is free, which would not be ideal for putting together a detailed account of all things cyclist in Austin. Although the eco book is free, A Dude would need to recoup the costs of his time and effort for creating it. So this is me thinking aloud about it. Come along for the ride!
Oops, I did it again. I rode my bike every day over the last month. That makes it 11, and as everyone who has ever seen This Is Spinal Tap knows, 11 is just louder than 10. One month from now, assuming I am able to complete this self-created challenge, I’ll have a full year of biking every day. My average has been around 17 miles or so. Some days was just a bit, but sometimes it was quite a bit more. No matter how you slice it, homey, it’s an accomplishment to be sure. What it means, if anything, is debatable these days. But the fact is I did it so it means something to me. So I blog about it. I know, some people are bored by stats. But they represent effort, will power, discipline, motivation — all the sports psychology that ideally should be motivating you to hop on your bike or take a walk or something. Right? So read on and get inspired already!
Regular readers know I’m kinda into numbers, mostly how many miles I’ve biked in a given day, week, month or year. For better or worse, it’s a cornerstone of my bicycling career, such as it is. Usually I look at what I’m doing as measured by Strava, the fitness tracking app. But occasionally I’ll go behind the scenes with WordPress (the program this site runs off of) to look under the hood of this blog, and today is one of those days. I learned some stuff that was kinda interesting. Maybe you’ll find it so as well…
An email from Bike Austin arrived in my in box recently. Forced to cancel events by the virus like many volunteer-run non-profits, they must do most of their work in cyber space. The email is about the take-over of certain streets by the Austin Transportation Department. Basically they set up plastic barrels and barriers that slow down cars and have signs instructing motor vehicles that the road is for local use only. The goal is to allow people to more easily walk, bike, skate, etc. with social distancing during pandemic times and maybe beyond. Is that such a bad thing? A Dude thinks not, I think.