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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A Third Chat with Sophie the Fairdale Who Turned 15(,000 Miles) on Jan. 15th with a 15-Mile Ride

Back on April 14, 2020, I wrote a post I called “Another Chat with Sophie the Fairdale, Who Just Turned 10(,000 Miles).” Well, as you can see, we’ve just hit 15,000. So that’s worth a third chat, wouldn’t you agree? Good, I’m glad. Yes, I know you can’t really talk to bicycles. Well, you can, but they don’t answer. If they do, that would be news. Just play along, it’ll be fine, I promise. Jeez, so literal! By the way, Fairdale Bikes are an Austin company and I have to thank Fairdale Bikes, Bike Austin and Hill Abell with Bicycle Sport Shop for gifting me with Sophie in a raffle back in 2017. Be sure to check out my first post about Sophie: The Fairdale Weekender Archer: A Review of My New Bicycle I Won in a Raffle!

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15 Months of Consecutive Daily Bicycling

I considered not writing this blog. A month after writing 14 Months of Consecutive Daily Bicycling, what could there be for me to possibly add? Well, not much, to be honest. I rode my bike a lot, it was challenging, but somehow I survived and made my goal. Yay me. End of story, right? Well, one would think so, except that those pesky bike miles are more than just numbers on your screen. The represent calories burned, hours spent, and effort expended. I biked farther in December than any other month of 2020, so that’s why it becomes hard to just skip commemorating the occasion. Because while plenty of people bike every day, many faster and further (and none of them get a medal for it either), for me, 15 months certainly ain’t nothing to sneeze at. And these days, we do our best not to sneeze around others, amirite? Because, ‘rona.

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Un-Lazy Sunny Sunday 2: Anatomy of My 42-Mile Bike Ride

At 5:47 PM on Sunday, August 2, 2020, I headed out on Sophie my trusty Fairdale after an appointment I had ridden six miles to get to. I thought I’d put in another 14 miles to make it another 20 for the day. But in the back of my mind was the thought, “I’ve got several 150-mile weeks in a row under my belt. If I stop now, I’ll break that chain.” And if you know A Dude, you konw he likes to #DontBreakTheChain (first noted in Jerry Seinfeld & The Juiceman Can Teach Us About Making Healthy Choices (Day 2). There had been a little rain to cool things down, I was feeling a little better, and as the title says, I found my 40-miler legs. Sounds easy right? Maybe I make it seem that way, but nope, it’s never easy. Allow me to explain.

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Bike Brakes, Gears, Tires and Watch Problems – Ka-ching!

In the last week or so, I’ve had a bunch of things go wrong with Sophie the Fairdale. Several flats required professional intervention. Now I’m having to get more puncture-resistant tires and they’er not cheap. Ka-ching. My trusty Garmin watch has finally begun to give out because I basically broke the walk and bike functions by using it so much. I’m able to upgrade it even though the warranty is out. More ka-ching. The bike also needed adjustment to the gearing and brakes needed new pads. The Sun & Ski Sports bike shop mechanics say I ride a lot. Apparently I’m in the 90th percentile of people biking. I suppose I do, but I always thought they were being nice, since I know there are plenty of people doing more. One of my mantras is “Comparison is the death of joy,” said the Buddha, but sometimes that’s hard to follow. Anyway, if you ride your bike, repairs and replacement of parts are inevitable.

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Another Chat with Sophie the Fairdale, Who Just Turned 10,000 (Miles)

Back on June 18, 2018, I wrote a post I called “An Imagined Chat with Sophie, My Fairdale Weekender Archer Bicycle.” Over the last three years, she and I have traveled a fair piece — to put it mildly and modestly. Now that it’s reflected in the Strava statistics of 10,000 miles, though, it is official. To commemorate and celebrate this major milestone in our journey, I asked Ms. S. if she’d fancy another chat, and she said sure. Weird, right? Well, things are pretty strange, these days. But I think you’ll enjoy this (imaginary? real? does it matter?) chat with Sophie.

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15 YEARS NOT A SLAVE TO CARS!

This is my fifth annual post about being car-free since 1/25/2005. Technically I’m car-light, since I drove borrowed cars for a job for part of last summer also visited relatives over the holidays. On the other hand, I managed my best year ever combined and walking and biking – 5,633 miles.

I did that while on a bike that has 67% fewer gears and is 25% heavier steel (Sophie) than my old aluminum steed (Sookie). I’m no Greta Thunberg, but I do think reducing car use is a good thing. Not everyone can do it, but some people might be able to try it. That’s all I’m saying. Well, in this paragraph at least.

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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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