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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
It’s hard to not write about the elephant in the room when it’s far, Far FAR! bigger than that. Coronavirus is like sunlight, or water — except that it’s poisonous for many, and deadly for some. There are I’m sure much more eloquent attempts to explain and interpret what’s going on. After all, I’m just A Dude who rides a bicycle and blogs about it. My tiny corner of the internet is just one example of something a few humans think is kinda cool, or interesting, or important, but in reality is not. It’s frivolous, navel-gazing distraction.
And yet, we each do what we can to cope, to survive, and maybe again even to thrive. So I’m writing this blog. And it occurred to me that maybe I’ve learned a few lessons from biking 100-175 miles a week for 22 weeks in a row that might help me and you get through this. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. (I’m not really suggesting you do that; please don’t.)Continue reading
Back when the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Jr., was running for president, he gave a speech at the University of Texas at Austin. By the end, he had the crowd of 5,000 Longhorns and some townie interlopers like me all riled up. He said “Repeat after me: “I am somebody. I AM Somebody! I AM SOMEBODY!” In true call-and-response gospel fashion, we chanted in full voice back. I believe that most of the time. But other days I’m just some dude who rides a bike and stuff, edits my bike memoir, and writes this blog. Sometimes there is no one theme for a post, so only a hodgepodge will do. This is one of those days. To quote John Lennon, another American icon of peace and justice: “My momma never told me there’d be days like these.”Continue reading
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.Continue reading
One of the pleasures of being a car-free bicyclist in a bustling city like Austin is that there is never a shortage of cool things to photograph. When you’re stuck in a car, you can’t just pull over and take pictures. But see something interesting while cycling, pull over safely, and bam! You’re rewarded with plenty of images as you like. This is one of those posts where the words can’t paint the whole picture.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
Biking 25 miles in one day can be challenging or easy depending on your abilities and how you feel. Then there’s the weather like wind, rain, cold or heat to contend with. Traffic can be very scary even if you’re used to riding in it. Also important are the quintessential questions that come up riding a bike like: what to wear, what to eat, where to go? I must have figured all that out because I managed to make it another seven days in a row for the 10th week. This past week I totaled 175 miles, which is huge – 25 miles a day if you’re counting. Or a mile for every hour of the week (168) plus seven. So what follows are some thoughts on my pretty stupendous week (or stupid, depending how you look at it; maybe it’s a little of both.)Continue reading
Not that beast. I mean beast mode. I’m not a believer in magical numbers (unless my lottery tickets finally pay off). It was my second longest month ever, after the 731 I did in April 2017 including 202 Miles in 2 Days for the MS 150. Given my lack of a day job at the moment, I made it my bidness (as some people actually pronounce “business” in Texas) to bike my butt off (it’s still there, though). And bidness is goooood! That’s because I averaged 150 miles per week. Well, I guess it’s volunteering if I’m not getting paid.
It’s surprising that I accomplished this since it takes me longer than it used to. I could blame Sophie, the 28-pound steel bike with nine gears I’m riding, or the prematurely colder, windy and wet weather, but I’m just not moving very fast these days. Some people I know rode Das Hugel, an unsanctioned sufferfest that’s over a century and 10,000 feet elevation (I wrote about it last year.) A Dude doth not Das Hugel. However, compared to everyone who’s home sitting on the couch, I’m friggin’ Speed Racer. So perhaps my efforts are inspirational to somebody out there reading this. You don’t have to believe me, let’s look at the Strava stats.Continue reading
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!Continue reading