In this installment I’ll try and fail again to summarize what I’ve been up to for the last month. There’s too much to pack into one post. It seems the more I work on my book, and read other books, the more I realize that the art of writing is as much about what gets left in as what gets taken out. In his intriguing novel John Woman, Walter Mosley touches on this idea by having his eponymous protagonist (a professor with a checkered past and a troubled present), explore the deconstruction of history. His professor believes many things about his field, the main one as I understand it so far, is that it is not absolute. We are constantly creating history, our own and the larger world’s, Professor Woman teaches his students.Continue reading
Two years ago almost at this time, a woman tragically was killed by a hit and run driver. He was never caught. Her mistake was having her bike trailer break down in the middle of the night and trying to fix it in the bike lane. She was a woman named Merry Daye who lived on the streets of Austin, Texas. Thousands of others still are without housing, thanks to the unaffordable rent and other reasons that cause this situation for so many worldwide. After her death, I organized a ghost bike and memorial ride. Her family came and spoke, and the TV news covered it. Recently, someone liberated the bike from the tree by the church. I live nearby and noticed. So this bike is back in the story of my bicycle journey, and with it, Merry.Continue reading
We’re deep in the heart of Texas and COVID-19’s fourth wave, with allegedly only two (2!) ICU beds available for an 11-county, 2.3 million person region. That news is real and dire, but somehow the beds seems to expand when more staff become available. But with the Governor Hey Abbott! getting infected with the virus himself this week, after his horribly out-of touch, anti-science, and anti-mask mandate law, it’s strange days indeed. Almost enough to write a follow-up to The Coronacles of Blarneya, Part II. Instead of that unpleasantness, it’s best to go outside and exercise those lungs in the fresh air and sunshine — the latter being the best disinfectant, after all. Anyway, it occurred to me to do a little update on a few of Austin’s community groups that help get butts on bikes.Continue reading
A friend who did me a big solid (aka favor) the other day has had a bike in a shed collecting cobwebs for a while. He’s been wanting to fix it up but was a little intimidated by going to the community shop, Austin’s own Yellow Bike Project. So I figured I’d help him out by assessing the situation and then get him going on repairs while I paid some attention to the neglected brakes of Sophie, my Fairdale. He’s shy and didn’t want his photograph or name mentioned, but I can still talk about the evening.Continue reading
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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This evening I headed over to the Austin Yellow Bike Project again. After all the pucking functures of innertubes on my bikes lately, and needing to be frugal, I decided to save money on buying new ones when the ones I had were perfectly good, except for the holes. Finally the weather has turned and we got back into the 60’s, which is really refreshing to we Texans used to 90 degree days and more. It was a delicious temperature to bike in, although only about 4 miles. And since the shop is a big warehouse, it’s good wrenchin’ weathah, to borrow a turn of phrase from my Vermonter friends. Continue reading
The other day I checked my Strava stats and found that I had biked 10,100.7 miles on my Fuji Silhouette since Janurary 1, 2016. I knew that I was honing in on this milestone but was surprised that it snuck up on me. It’s a pretty awesome achievement — another notch in the belt of my amateur bicycling story. Not too shabby! In fact, that’s awesome! So in this blog I’ll cover some of the thoughts I’ve had after reaching this pretty incredible achievement. Continue reading
For some time now, my left crank has not matched my right crank. It was making me a little cranky! So tonight I took a spin again to see my friends at the Austin Yellow Bike Project, www.AustinYellowBike.org. The free shop has evening hours and is staffed by helpful volunteers called Coordinators. Pete, Zack and Conti were there to offer pointers. But it’s very much a Do It Yourself affair. Come peek under the hood! Continue reading