6/6/2022: What’s Been Going On, Dude?

I’m out of retirement, but I’m tired. Long story, but not time to tell it all. Let’s just say life has intervened and conspired to reduce my availability for kicking ass, taking names, and doing chores. So a short monthly post is all I can and care to must for now. A little dab o’ Dude’ll do ya, right?

I was going to call this the Bike Up, in response to Sorryless’s excellent Run Down. But it doesn’t work, so I’m just using what you see. Not sorry. But the concept is the same, if not achieving the quality take downs and inspirational stories that my East Coast blog brother does.

One thing that happened was Safe Streets Austin had it’s debutante ball, as it were. A merger of Bike Austin, Walk Austin, and Vision Zero, some politicos came out and made speeches, including Hizzoner himself and our one black City Council Member. (Thanks tothe racist “gentleman’s agreement” that’s still sort of in place, although Natasha Harper-Madison is a she [I’m supposing her pronouns, I know.]) Here are some photos.

The food was good, as was the fellowship with fellow active transportation activists, some of which I’d not seen since the Before Times. As for the words and all, well, they sounded nice. We need more bike lanes, better sidewalks, fewer traffic deaths. But Natasha, the black Council Member in the blue dress said it well, “Which of these things is not like the other?” referring to the sea of white people . And she’s right, the organization is mostly white. That has to change if it wants to be relevant to all communities who use the roads. By the way, why is the name about streets, not people, being safer? And why does the logo not even have cyclists or pedestrians, but no people at all? Weird is our middle name here, but still.

Trusted ride buddy Rhodney was back from his sabbatical and were were also joined Alan, former lord of the land for A Dude. The latter did errands and is camera shy anyway, but the Rhod-man isn’t. Food was eaten, convos were had, and plans made. Free food never hurts.

In other news, I’m still doing all my daily activities: biking, walking, yoga, flute practice, reading, writing (book is going, but slowly), eating a salad not eating bread products. Someday I hope swim and lift weights. But not until I can get my mojo back.

In other news, we had a bike rider with the last name Armstrong do something very bad and illegal. It’s a woman who allegedly murdered a pro bike rider Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson, who had dated her boyfriend, noted gravel racer Gavin Strickland, for like a week. Caitlin apparently flew into a jealous rage, killed Mo, was questioned by the Austin Keystone Cops, to whom she admitted it looked bad that her car rolled up at the murder scene 1 minute (!) after the victim arrived, then the AKC let her go on a technicality (wrong birthday on form), then she flew the coop to New York state, where she remains at large.

Anyhoo, life goes on a pace for the rest of us. Rents in Austin, Texas (and beyond) are skyrocketing due to demand, so the shortage of affordable housing is at a crisis level. Time to make some bank so I’m not one of the unlucky urban explorers, though it could happen. Time will tell.

Check back in a day or two, I bet I’ll think of something more to add.


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Austin, Texas Bike Lanes and Sidewalks: A Few Updates

This makes my 10th post with a title including the words “bike lanes.” I’m generally a fan of anything that will separate cars from bikes and pedestrians, or in other words, will save my tuchus and that of other riders from being maimed or killed by cars. As a walker (not of The Walking Dead zombie variety — so far), I often use sidewalks when there are any. I also used them instead of biking on high traffic roads, so I don’t, you know, like, die. Several emails from the City about mobility improvement projects are clogging my email inbox, and with two personal examples, I figure it’s time for an update. Here are just a few of the many projects for intersections, bike lanes and sidewalks going on in Austin, Texas.

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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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This Bicycle Rider Is Going Places

Literally and figuratively, I’m always going somewhere. Today was partly virtual, in that my blog post 15 YEARS NOT A SLAVE TO CARS! was shared by TexBiker.net. It is an excellent collection of you guessed it! Bike news from around Texas. Thanks to Rick in Houston for doing that and for all he does! Another step in my diabolical plan to become internet famous. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha! Yeah, sure Dude, whatever you say.

Vision Zero ATX held its first monthly meeting in a while at the Austin History Center. The small group is sponsored by a non-profit which has staff working on reducing all traffic deaths to zero whether they are people in cars, on bikes, by foot or even scooters. They are looking for volunteers to help rebuild their cause. Austin’s deaths increased last year, so there is work to be done to persuade city government to really allocate funds for better bike lanes and more. To learn more visit VisionZeroTexas.org.

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2019 World Day of Remembrance for Victims of Traffic Violence

This somber event first was commemorated in the United Kingdom in 1995, later expanding to other countries. Here in Austin, Texas, USA, those who died in the past year in cars, on bikes, or on foot, are remembered with speeches, flowers, a silent walk and exhortations to stop the epidemic of car-nage. Despite a very sore knee, I made my way downtown to join the 50 or so participants, pay my respects to the 70+ people who died since last November, and hope that I’m not on the list next year. While “only” three bicyclists died, that’s still three too many. Read their stories here: Anothony Diaz, Jessica Saathoff and Anthony Williams.

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The Next Door App Bike Haters Are at It Again

Every so often someone — always a car driver — gets on the neighborhood app called Next Door to bitch about bicyclists or biking infrastructure the City of Austin has installed. The latest is about some plastic bollards that make a semi-protected bike lane, narrower car lanes and additional concrete that is meant to be traffic-calming. It’s in what was designed to be a high-density, pedestrian and bike-friendly neighborhood. Named Mueller, after the former airport upon which it sits, it’s generally a safe area to bike. Except when you read what the aggressively bike-hating people are posting in Next Door. I wrote a previous post on this in January 2018. Now the haters are back, so of course I have a few choice words. (Of love – tough love.)

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2018 World Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Traffic Violence: Texas Vision Zero Vigil

This gathering happened Sunday to commemorate an international day organized by the United Nations.  It was a somber reminder that cars can and do kill.  Not just people in other cars, but also people using bicycles and who are walking.  Sponsored by Vision Zero Texas and a number of local organizations promoting traffic safety, the goal is to eliminate deaths from traffic.  How to do that is the million dollar question.  But the gathering gave a forum and a face to supporters of safer roads, and recieved some media attention as well.  As a cyclist whose life is at risk on a daily basis, I have an enlightened self-interest in seeing this law pass.  Here’s a short review of the second half of the event I attended at the Texas State Capitol.

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Vision Zero ATX Wants to Stop Traffic Violence — But How?

Vision Zero ATX (www.VisionZeroATX.org) is based on an idea that came from Sweden:

Vision zero is the simple idea that every death and serious injury in traffic is preventable. People will make mistakes, but those mistakes should not lead to anyone losing their life or being severely hurt.

Simple, but not easy.  So far this year (as of August 1st), 40 people have died on roads in Austin, Texas — the US’s 11th biggest city.  Most are vehicles versus other vehicles.  More than a few involve pedestrians.  Just a few involve bicyclists.  Compared to many cities, that’s not alot, but according to Vision Zero ATX, we can do better.

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Bikeable + Walkable Cities = Cool! Bike Austin & Center for New Urbanism Happy Hour

One of the themes of this blog is that bicycling is both a solo sport and then again, it’s not.  You pedal your own bike, unless you’re chilling out on the back of a tandem.  But from the people that made your bike, all the gear and accessories, the roads, the food, the beer… it’s all connected into part of what we tend to call “the bike community.”  And by “we” I mean people, usually white ones, with the privilege to go to happy hours.  (You could say opposing racism and xenophobia are also one of my sub-themes.)

But hey, don’t even white people who happen to bike deserve to live in a bikeable, walkable city that works well, and not get killed in the process?  Yes! So when I heard that the advocacy and membership group A Dude is part of, Bike Austin, partnered with the Congress for the New Urbanism Central Texas Chapter (CNU-CTX) for their monthly gathering, I got myself down there to check it out.  What follows is my short report, with plenty of pictures. Continue reading

The Next Door App: Lost Pets, Stuff for Sale and Hatred of People on Bikes

People on Bikes and Lanes for Them Are Here to Stay

Today I was going to post about a Safe City Cycling Class, but due to cedar fever, my body was devoid of most energy.  So I posted up in my bed to take an extended siesta.  I’m still feeling as if I were run over by a truck, so bear with me.  I hope to attend the next class on Saturday and report on that then.  Looking around for a topic, I realized the Next Door War on Cyclists going on today would be a “fun” one.  Not being sure about permissions and copyrights, I will just quote from there instead of put whole posts.  When someone brings out the word “douche” and they’re not French or talking about a shower or feminine hygiene, let’s just say it gets pretty heated.

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