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.Continue reading
Little Pleasures and Pains in the Life of a Bicyclist
If you ride your bicycle regularly, you may have noticed that lots of little stuff happens that probably doesn’t happen for people dependent on cars to get around. Sometimes it’s big stuff, like you: go on a long ride, compete in a race, get a new bike, set a personal best on that Strava segment. The little stuff that goes on, while not as headline-worthy, is just as interesting, to me at least. There is often more than meets the eye if one is willing to look deeper. Let’s take a look at four things that happened to A Dude and find out.
Recent Days Biking and Walking in Austin, Texas as Told Through Photos and Words
Lacking some inspiration I looked back at the last week in photos. They tell a tale of my ongoing journey cycling through Austin.
Tonight I went to Yellow Bike Project again to work on Sophie. For the first time, I left with something that wasn’t better than went I arrived. Disc brakes can be tricky and for some reason my rear one on the Fairdale isn’t working right. I’ll need to return Monday when a coordinator more familiar with the brakes is there, but more likely I’ll head by a bike shop. It’s it’s important to be able to stop!
I don’t mention my diet much these days, but below is one brunch I prepared. Also, I worked nine days of early voting and the final election day. Compared to the recent mid-terms with many questions on the ballot, only five races had runoffs, so turnout was very low. It gave me time to do some reading. A David Baldacci thriller The Fix, and parts of Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich. I also got more into Tim Ferris’s The Four-Hour Work Week and the Austin Chronicle. I do not fare well at crosswords.
A brunch of eggs, turkey sausage, avocado, red and sweet potato, cheese, onion, salsa, and blue Powerade Zero. Blue’s a flavor, but unnatural.
I’m still doing my daily walking. One way I make sure to get in my 30 minutes is to walk on my way somewhere and then bike the rest. Or if I’m in a hurry and it’s close by, I bike there and then walk home. It’s a handy trick and I often see something cool, like the above bike rack. I don’t always put all the pictures here, though. For that, you will need to follow me on Strava, the fitness app. That link will take you to my profile.
Chanukah at the house of two friends involved a number of brightly lit menorahs, a variety of foods, and hanging out and talking. I missed the candle lighting and if there were any prayers, but it was not an orthodox religious event. It’s nice to connect with that part of my heritage (which I wrote about in the post Bicyclists & Jews: Both Are Targets (But They Should Not Be) and hang out with others who may not be traditionally observant but who identify ethnically. As one comedian put it, “(he’s) not a Jew, he’s Jew-ish.” Joking aside, I think one can be both. But speaking of that uniquely Jewish sensibility of humor, one person punned, “Some people light a ninth candle on Chanukah, but they’re in the menorah-ty.” (For the goyem out there, there are only eight days of Chanukah.)
I snapped these two covers of books at Book People, the largest independent bookstore in Texas that’s in downtown Austin. One speaks to the hope of what bicycles could do, the other reflects my ambivalence about why I am riding my bicycle an average of over 80 miles per week so far this year. (See 4,000 Miles Biked This Year! + 3,000 Miles Total on Sophie the Fairdale.)
Nearby the book store is the international headquarters of a natural grocery chain. They don’t need any press from me but friends and I have long called it the “food hole” or “whole paycheck.” But they do have some cool stuff like an ice skating rink on the roof in the winter and this sign abbreviating Austin, Texas, which changes colors. I had never snapped any pictures, so for your edification, here is a nice series.
The awesome, fun and inspirational monthly gathering of authors of all kinds who read called One Page Salon, hosted by Owen Egerton, had a huge turnout this month. This was thanks to the Texas Writers League. Shown with Owen is director Michael Nowlin, a nice guy, author and nice guy who encouraged me not to give up on the possibility of getting published. It was cool to see a packed house although I only really talked to a few people I already knew. The TWL is an organization I need to get involved with as I get closer to finishing the first draft of my memoir of two years of cycling quite a few miles. (4,714 Miles Bicycled in 2017 = 10,000 in 2 Years! A Recap of My “Epic Velocimania” (Day 1)
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Some Thoughts on My Upcoming Interviews with Bicyclists in Austin, Texas
When Pam LeBlanc interviewed me for a profile in the Austin American-Statesman that was published on January 15, 2018, it set into motion a series of most fortunate events that are still bearing fruit. When I first suggested the idea to her by email in late 2016, it fell flat. I guess the 5,306 miles I bicycled in 2016 was not that impressive. But I kept riding, and I kept writing this blog, albeit irregularly. And I managed 4,714 miles in 2017. So riding 10,000 miles in two years did catch her attention.
Then Pam, who is a total badass herself I hope to interview one day, expressed interest in putting me in her Fit City blog. After that, her editor wanted to run the piece in the print edition of the newspaper with photos, I was happily surprised. My persistence of pedaling and pontificating had paid off. But the main thing I learned was that if my bicycling story was interesting to the mainstream newspaper of the 11th largest city in the United States (or at least the lifestyles editor), then other peoples’ stories would also have value.
Two Succinct Stories Famous News Anchor Dan Rather Told Me Today at SXSW EDU
When he was a young man of 18 in 1949, Dan Rather was an oil field worker in Texas for a summer. He was the only boy on the crew; the rest were men, he said. For digging ditches and other hard labor, he got paid a good wage. Payday was every Thursday, which was when the rest of his crew played poker. His first paycheck came and to fit in, he joined the poker game. But he wasn’t very good so he proceeded to lose his entire wages for the week in that game. His rent was due so he had no other choice but to ask his father for help. This experience taught him the value of not gambling and budgeting his money.
After he got married, he told his wife Jean that since he was the man of the house, he would be the one to manage the new couple’s money. A couple of weeks went by, and the checkbook was a mess. He had to admit that he wasn’t good at the task, and gratefully relinquished control to his wife, much to his relief. She’s been in charge of every dime they’ve made ever since. This taught him humility and trusting other people. Continue reading