A Devil of a Year: 6,666.66 Miles Bicycled in 2020 (7,278 Total with Walking)!

6,666.66 miles:  That’s how far I bicycled in 2020. Add in about 611 miles of walking, and that’s 7,278 miles I traveled on my own power. (By the way, almost 4 miles were swimming, which I started right before, you know, IT.) By IT of course I mean the novel coronavirus pandemic, aka COVID-19, which might quite possibly be the work of Satan, if he exists (I’m not a believer). But the other Devil in my analogy is the person in charge of getting the United States of America through this mess, which instead he made worse. He dropped the ball big-time, and is about as far away from godliness as you can get. So he’s the other evil one: Future Ex-President Tinyhands Orangehead. Whether you’re a religious person or not, I think we can all agree that 2020 was a Devil of a year (or two Devils).

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14 Months of Consecutive Daily Bicycling

For 426 days beginning October 11, 2019, I have swung a leg over the top tube, fired up the Garmin watch, and pedaled my bike around Austin, Texas. Starting and maintaining several other daily habits like walking and writing back on January 1, 2018 eventually led me to do the obvious one for a bike rider and blogger. Although I’ve traveled the equivalent of around the equator, and surpassed this year’s bike goal (and several other goals since), for some reason I keep at it. Why, you might ask? Well, stopping a streak would be very easy, but getting here was extremely hard. So I just keep on keeping on, so far, for now. Doing my small part to help Keep Austin Weird.

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Do Fitness Trackers Have a Dark Side? The Exercise Strikes Back

Unless you’ve been living under Iraq and haven’t read my stuff before, you know I got into using a fitness tracker at the same time I began this blog. A look at my list of post titles will show many with numbers of miles I’ve ridden the day before, that week, month or year. And while my Garmin vivoactive 3 music watch and the Strava application have certainly helped motivate me and keep me accountable, there are also some negatives. Aside from the data and privacy concerns, who’s the servant and who’s the master? Welcome to the Dark Side, Luke. And by Luke, I mean you.

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AROUND THE WORLD IN 1,770 DAYS (24,901 MILES): 5-YEAR GOAL ACCOMPLISHED !!!

*NEWER POSTS ARE BELOW.* Yes. I did it. I finally finished the equivalent of bicycling one lap of Planet Earth at the equator. Pretty awesome, if you ask me. Or even if you didn’t ask. Let me tell you about it. You’re already here, right? May as well keep reading. It’s a lot easier than biking around the world, I can assure you of that!

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I Bicycled Every Day for an Entire Year: Lessons Learned

Here’s the thing:  I didn’t set out to bike 366 days in a row. If you had a crystal ball and told me my future a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. I just went on my birthday ride, a mile per year of life, as I have done the last several years. But instead of taking the next day or more off to rest like a normal person, I became more like Forrest Gump:  I just kept bike-ing and bike-ing and bike-ing… Except there was no Robin Wright as Jenny yelling, “Bike, A Dude, bike!”

The Energizer bunny I’m not. I’m just a middle-aged, slightly overweight (aka fathlete), regular guy who chose the bicycle as his vehicle for his mid-life crisis mobile. I can’t tell you why I did this, except at some point it was simply to see if I could do it. And now I have. Don’t believe me? Check my Strava activity log – it’s all there. But this isn’t really about me. Here’s the main thing I want to tell you: If I can do it, most of you can, too.

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Commerce and Creativity: The Struggle is Real

Arriving home, I caught a new article on Wired, “Jack Conte, Patreon, and the Plight of the Creative Class.” Earlier this year, I heard Jack’s talk at South by Southwest, a sort of origin story cum sales pitch. Many of us would love to get paid for blogging, and I’d love to get paid for editing and publishing my book in progress. Yet the struggle between having to work a job and pay the bills is one that’s been going on for a long time. Ever since the first caveperson started drawing on the walls instead of hunting, I would imagine. How to be creative in whatever your endeavor(s) may be keep a roof over your head and food on the table is an ongoing issue. Spoiler alert: I won’t solve it here today. But maybe you’ll relate to some of my thoughts and have some comments.

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I Didn’t Ride My Bicycle Today, and I’m Okay With That

Returning readers recall relatively recent reflections recommending rest. After five days of riding my bike almost 90 miles, and knowing I would reach 100 miles last week, this weekend I did very little. My body, my left knee and quadricep muscle in particular, were very grateful. As usual I was having trouble getting myself going. So when a friend offered to come by and help with some errands in his car, I jumped, however gently, at the opportunity. Later, we went for a walk, and it got late. I could have forced myself to go put in some miles on the bicycle, but I did not. And it was glorious. Let me tell you.

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Thoughts on Melissa McCarthy’s Movie About a Writer’s Struggle to Succeed

It’s the opposite of my last post about being inspired by creative people. The recent Melissa McCarthy movie Can You Ever Forgive Me?” paints a bleak picture of a lonely, struggling writer who turns to forgery to pay her bills.  McCarthy was nominated for a Golden Globe for her moving portrayal of one author’s quest for respect and success.  It’s difficult to write about a movie without spoilers, but I’ll try.  This isn’t a review so much as some thoughts about the difficulties for writers to be creative and stay true to their vision while dealing with the realities of commerce.  This is a theme I often struggle with as I continue to blog and write my book without any compensation in sight.  A review in Town and Country was titled Can You Ever Forgive Me Is the Funny-Smart-Sad Crime Caper You’ve Been Waiting For”  .  By the way, it’s based on a true story.

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Sookie’s Last Ride (Ever!) & Sophie’s Last Ride of 2018 on New Year’s Eve in Austin

Today was my last chance to add to my mileage and extend my goal of bike-riding x number of miles for 2018.  So I took the opportunity of a decently mild Central Texas winter day and did just that.  First, I took Sookie to Performance Bikes, since they’re a Fuji dealer, to see if they could do anything about her cracked frame.  However, they couldn’t, because their parent company is going out of business.  But at least I got yet another confirmation (the fifth?) that she is no longer rideable.  While not unexpected, it reminded me of how much I’ll miss this bike.  After that… Continue reading

4,000 Miles Biked This Year! + 3,000 Miles Total on Sophie the Fairdale

Well, I did it!  I met my revised goal of 4,000 miles, and I did it 28 days early.  I went into statistics a good bit in my recent post, My November Strava Stats; One Month to Go on My 2018 Goals.  But this number is icing on the cake.  (Which I stopped eating this year along with all kinds of processed grains, and it hasn’t mattered one lick for my weight.  That’s for another post.)  Anyway, as a fellow rider who is much stronger (and younger) than A Dude commented that he “loves milestone days.”  They are pretty special.  If the goal involves a number, and you hit or pass it, it’s sort of like a big weight has been lifted off your shoulders.  And if you’re wondering, 4,000 miles is like riding from Austin, Texas to La Paz, Bolivia and then a bit.  Or, from West Glacier, Montana (a place I’ve been), to the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border.  It’s ok, you may allow yourself to be impressed.  I know I am, and I’m the one who did it!  So let’s explore this YOOGE accomplishment a bit.

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