Raining, Riding, Ruminating

The rain, absent for weeks, began slowly. Forecasts seemed unreal; the wishful thinking of bored meteorologists. Heat can be somewhat managed on a bicycle, but the rain is much trickier. I thought I could beat it before it began, but I couldn’t, so I joined it. With shoe covers, bib shorts, white t-shirt, dayglo orange safety vest I found under a cheap yellow poncho, my cell phone in a plastic bag ensconced in my hip pouch, and the willingness to get wet, I set out on my trusty Fairdale Weekender Archer. Just a short bike ride in the rain, not my first rodeo, y’all.

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Sophie the Fairdale Gets a New Drive Train from Clown Dog Bikes (Again)!

If you’re a loyal reader of A Dude Abikes, this may seem like a little deja vu. On October 24, 2019, I wrote Sophie Gets a New Drive Train, and She Rides Like Buttah. Many thousands of miles later (6,666.66 in 2020 alone), she was past due for another replacement of some very worn and pretty filthy parts. You could say that Sophie has been a dirty girl. Grit and grime attach themselves to the oil on the chain, chain ring and cassette. The teeth or cogs wear down, the chain stretches, and tends to slip off when changing gears — especially on hills or high pressure. So I took her to the friendly neighborhood shop that’s been serving the University of Texas for about 20 years, and let the pros at Clown Dog Bikes take care of bidness.

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A Third Chat with Sophie the Fairdale Who Turned 15(,000 Miles) on Jan. 15th with a 15-Mile Ride

Back on April 14, 2020, I wrote a post I called “Another Chat with Sophie the Fairdale, Who Just Turned 10(,000 Miles).” Well, as you can see, we’ve just hit 15,000. So that’s worth a third chat, wouldn’t you agree? Good, I’m glad. Yes, I know you can’t really talk to bicycles. Well, you can, but they don’t answer. If they do, that would be news. Just play along, it’ll be fine, I promise. Jeez, so literal! By the way, Fairdale Bikes are an Austin company and I have to thank Fairdale Bikes, Bike Austin and Hill Abell with Bicycle Sport Shop for gifting me with Sophie in a raffle back in 2017. Be sure to check out my first post about Sophie: The Fairdale Weekender Archer: A Review of My New Bicycle I Won in a Raffle!

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Austin’s Bicycle Sport Shop Sells to Trek Bikes

I read the news today, oh boy. Actually, I learned about Bicycle Sport Shop and its, um, transition, a while ago, but I just hadn’t got around to sharing it here. As it turned out, I stopped by the Lamar flagship store and they were having their going out of business clearance sale. While there, I picked up two items and had a chance to chat with a few mechanics, including one from the Guadalupe service-only location. (It shut down temporarily after my post Which Austin, Texas Bike Shops Are Open During the COVID-19 Shelter in Place?.) Here’s a short post about the news.

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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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It’s Tapering Time: Biking Less Means Health Gains

Tapering means resting and recovering by biking less often, less distance, or less intensity. Usually the term is reserved for people are resting up before a big race, and if you’re a purist well, thanks for stopping by to point this out. As Kate McKinnon as Dr. Weknowdis said recently on Saturday Night Live, “We know dis.” I’m claiming the word because I’ve been riding my bike every damn day since October 11, 2019. (Only one of those rides to date was indoors on a trainer, during the pandemic by the way, to which fortunately I have not as yet succumbed.) If you want to read an article with technical information, this is not it. But if you do want something a bit more science-y, go look at Bike Radar for one that is. Anyway, I’m tired. While I’ll never truly get tired of riding a bicycle, there is a time to taper. Call it reducing, resting or whatever you want, but as 2020 ends, that time for me is now. Maybe you too?

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Bicycle Night Ride with a Friend in Austin, Texas

Autumn in Austin has been pretty spectacular thus far. Little rain, warm temperatures, and sunny skies. While the dryness isn’t good for plants or the water supply, it is good for bicycling. As the coronavirus pandemic continues for the eighth month (stay at home shelter orders began here in March), getting outside for some fresh air and sunshine have been essential for staying healthy and sane. Most of my rides are solo, but I’ve had the good fortune of being joined by several friends. One such ride the other night was fairly routine for me but pretty good for one of my dudes.

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30 Thoughts I Thunk on My Bicycle Ride, I Think

Biking is a great way to clear your mind, focus on solving a problem, just allow it to wander, or as a kind of moving meditation. Of course you need to concentrate on the task at hand, especially with road hazards and when interacting with other traffic. But if you’re like me, biking is a time to ruminate. The thoughts one thinks can be serious and sometimes, they can be a little silly. Herewith are some that I had this evening.

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On Resilience: Bicycling Through Life and the Pandemapocalypse

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.)

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175 Miles: Reflections About Another Strong Week in My Cycling Journey

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.)

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