The Art of Taking the Lane on a Bicycle

“Get yo’ bitch ass offa the road!” yelled the guy in the truck at me. That’s because I was in the middle of the narrow car lane, since there was no room for cars to safely pass me a bike lane or alternative road, and the sidewalks suck. I was in Southeast Austin, Texas in a neighborhood called Govalle (a Swedish, not Spanish word). It’s a less wealthy part of town near the airport that billionaire Elon Musk is transforming with a huge Tesla manufacturing plant. (Teslas are still cars, and they still pollute, albeit less than a standard gas engine car. And those lithium batteries are hugely wasteful to make, even if recycled.) Anyway, it’s a car-centric neighborhood. Traffic wasn’t heavy, so I chose to take the lane — which is completely legal in Texas. Anyway, it was not a pleasant interaction and it got me thinking about how and when to take the lane.

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Staying Safe Cycling City Streets

A Dude hasn’t biked as far as he has, mostly here in Austin, Texas, and remained above ground without taking safe cycling seriously. Some people don’t do that, so they pay the price with injury or worse. Others do play by all the rules but drivers of cars don’t. The smart money is on doing everything you can to be “oh, oh, oh stayin’ alive” so you can “live to ride another day,” as Sam says. I know what I’m talking about because I am currently still alive after almost 30,000 verified Strava miles. I also took the League Cycling Instructors course (I’m short a few exercises of being a full-fledged LCI). Here are 10 tips off the top of my — what word for brain starts with t.

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A Fool, A Weirdo, and an Idiot on My Bike Ride: Really!?

“Keep It Weird” has been one of Austin’s slogans for a while now. I’d like to report to you that the tradition is alive and well. Except these three interactions weren’t with Leslie, the former bearded and homeless celebrity drag queen who was famous for wearing a g-string around town. Once I was behind him walking downtown on Sixth Street. Burned into my brain that I can’t ever unsee were his ass cheeks adorned with the words “APD (Austin Police Department) Kiss My Ass.” Pretty weird, but also pretty harmless.

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Why I Ride My Bike: 10 Reasons

Someone asked me this, and I think it’s a good question. I don’t think about it much, and the answer(s) aren’t necessarily earth-shattering. But I may as well give it a shot. I also want to try to write 500 words in 30 minutes again, so this will probably be a list article. I’m allowed a listicle once in a while, especially in winter, right? Yes. Read on, won’t you please?

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Don’t Trust a President Who Said “I’ll Never Ride a Bicycle”

Today is November 3, 2020. In the United States, it’s Election Day. Either the country will re-elect the incumbent President or the former Vice President. (Or maybe the Russians will manipulate some people to do their bidding.) The point is, it’s a big deal. Why? Because of the scope of radical changes #45 has made, most of which most of the US is about to pass judgment on.

But this is a bike blog, and while the personal is political, I don’t like to irritate readers who may be from across the aisle. I also pull no punches if I do write about politics. In the end, it’s a choice each registered voter has to make for themselves, while hopefully considering the greater good. But only one of the two candidates rides a bike, so it’s a no-brainer.

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Austin Bike News Roundup for October 29, 2020

The shortage of bicycles has been a sign of increased numbers of people riding during the pandemic. But it’s made it hard to find a new bike if you are in the market. Today though I noticed that Sun and Ski Sports has a bunch of Cannondale bikes for sale. The men’s is black, sleek and yet heavier than expected. (I didn’t see any women’s but they’re yellow.) With a 2 x 5 set-up, 10 gears will get you zipping around town on short jaunts at least. They’re a cool $725, but come with a service guarantee. The guys in the bike shop are great so if you’re in the market, get thee to their shop ASAP! These babies won’t last long. (I’m not paid for this mention.) Here’s a look.

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Coronavirus Cycle Commuting: Survival Tips for Your Trips

For the last few weeks I’ve been biking to a job. This isn’t new, as I’ve been 15 years not a slave to cars. But recently I’ve not had work to go to, so a daily ride to a workplace, and then returning home during the still surreal situation we’re all in, is a bit odd. The global coronavirus pandemic is a huge tragedy that will be with us for a while until there’s a vaccine and maybe longer. One small consolation is that it has reduced traffic and pollution. This is good for bike riders, but there are still plenty of hazards so cyclists should remain vigilant. Here a few challenges I’ve noticed and tips for things you can do to make your ride to work as good and as safe as possible.

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Hey Austinites! Advocate for Protected Bike Lanes on Burnet Road and Congress Avenue

The advocacy and education organization with which I’ve volunteered over the last four years, Bike Austin sent out two recent messages about protected lanes on two major streets. Regular bike lanes are just painted lines on the road. As such, they provide only some protection from cars only if the drivers respect them. (Many do, plenty don’t.) Lanes that use some sort of barrier to separate cars and bikes offer riders protection. For many riders, that is the difference between riding their bike on the street or letting it collect dust in the shed. Because car drivers cannot be trusted, I’m generally for protected lanes, even when they aren’t the most fun or convenient. While they may not be as urgent as other issues, bike lanes can also be a matter of life or death.

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Longhorn Strava Art / Shoal Creek Saturday with Saurabh

Today’s post was going to be about an article in Bicycling magazine. But it turns out it’s a re-run of something from September. Then I was going to re-visit my 2019 stats. But since that post went over like a lead balloon, I shelved that for another time (maybe). Then I figured I could provide reportage on the City of Austin opening a 2-mile stretch of Shoal Creek redesigned bike lanes. But I didn’t make it to the gathering, so what to write about? How about a bike ride I did with a cycling friend on Shoal Creek later in the day? Ya sure, ya betcha!

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Bike Lanes on Cameron & Dessau Roads – City of Austin Listening Session

This past Thursday the City of Austin (Texas) Active Transportation Department had a gathering for interested citizens to come give their input about bike lanes. These roads are really the same, they just change names. After passing one highway, it becomes a six-lane death trap from hell, if you’re on a bicycle. As a cyclist who volunteered numerous times on a committee for just this cause, I was keen to go and see this project finally start to come to life. It’s always interesting to participate in the process of something that could save your own life and that of friends and neighbors. Isn’t that something every bike rider should get behind?

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