Bicycling 448 miles in a day seems not just insane, but impossible. But according to a post in today’s Austin American-Statesman by Pam LeBlanc of FitCity, some dude did exactly that. Pam’s a fitness addict/badass herself, doing biking, swimming, paddling, throwing axes, hiking, zip-lining, heavy metal goat yoga and who knows what else. And not all for her day job. She was also the author of the January 15 profile about A Dude, a far less proficient but definitely way more sane cyclist. But all kudos go to Andrew Willis for his accomplishment. (He is the co-owner of Holland Racing who put on the Driveway Series Thursday night bike races I wrote about back in April and also runs Bike Night at COTA (Circuit of the Americas), something else I’ve done.) It’s awesome, but so what, right? The right question is “What can we learn from him?”
Today in Austin, Texas, there was some rain, so it was a good day to relax and reflect. This blog post is one of my occasional round-ups of thoughts and things about your sometimes somewhat humble blogger. Although in 10 days we’ll be at the mid-point of 2018, and I’ll be taking a closer look at my data from the walking, writing (blog and book), yoga and of course, bicycling, I wanted to update faithful readers, family and friends of just what is up with A Dude Abikes. Continue reading
Back on February 5, I wrote a post titled “What the Super Bowl Can Teach Us About Sports Cycle-ology”. The quadrennial soccer / football spectacle that is the month-long World Cup began June 14th, which very many people who are not living in a cave know. After watching all 14 games over the last five days, I’ve been thinking about the lessons soccer aka football can teach bicyclists. (I’m from the US, so I’ll call it soccer.)
THIS POST IS SPOILER FREE IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN ALL THE FIRST 15 GAMES!
Ramadan is the month-long holiday of day-time fasting, prayer and other practices observed by people of the Muslim faith. It ended yesterday, making today Eid al-Fitr. What does that have to do with me and bicycling? I’m glad you asked, so I’ll tell you. Recently I wrote about self-compassion. And then I met a man on a bike ride who was only riding at night. When asked why, he said it was because he was observing Ramadan. No water or food until nightfall, and then biking? To me that was impressive because it showed some serious dedication to both his religion and his sport. He’s a Nigerian living in Texas.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in Kenya, a fellow blogger posted a story about encountering a poor woman on the street. She too is an African Muslim who was observing Ramadan. But despite the blogger being charitable and giving away some of her money, the beggar still berated her, and told her it was not enough. One of the teachings of Islam is to be additionally generous during this month, and so she grappled with doing that but not receiving the gratitude she expected. The two encounters were too coincidental not to share.
As temperatures in Texas and around the world are heating up — Central Texas had the hottest May on record — dealing with it becomes even more important. For cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts, there are precautions that can be taken and practices implemented to mitigate the effects. But as global warming increases (and I side with the 97% of scientists who use, well, SCIENCE, to prove that it’s real), there may come a day where cycling at any time of day and season will no longer be possible. We have plenty of blistering hot days as it is that make biking untenable for many people. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are real risks, and you should learn the difference and seek help if you are suffering from either. This is not an exhaustive scientific post, but below I will share a few of my approaches that may be good reminders or news to you. Continue reading
The other day I was gifted the use of a car by a super nice friend during their extended summer vacation. It’s promising to be a hotter-than-usual summer here in Central Texas, USA (oh wait, it’s still only spring), so this is a real nice luxury for A Dude. Compared to me on my bike, cars are efficient, fast and comfortable. I can arrive places without being sweaty, tired and gross. Or transport stuff. Take Sunday drives. Drive getaway in exciting capers. (Just kidding!)
The down sides are, as most people know, that cars pollute, lots of other people have them and get in the way, and they cost a lot of money. A problem specific to less gifted bicyclists who gut out the miles anyway (like moi) is that getting out of an air-conditioned vehicle that takes little energy to operate and then onto a bike which takes alot of energy is quite difficult, psychologically speaking. Especially when you’re tired, which I seem to be most of the time these days. A First World dilemma for sure, but it’s real to me who put in seven 100+ mile weeks in a row. So what’s A Dude to do?
The other day I had a rare headache, and someone near me said, “Why not try some alternate nostril breathing?” I did, and it helped. Then the little voice in my head kicked in, and I started kicking myself. “Why didn’t you think of that before?” it mocked. “Why don’t you do more pranayam every day?” it jeered. And so on. If you’re at all like me, the inner critic is never far from bursting through the front door of our conscious mind and raining on our parade, to mix metaphors.
Have you ever noticed that we don’t have a name for the inner compassionate person? But we should. Our inner Dalai Lama, perhaps, or whatever spiritual teacher may appeal to you. But after my last post about yoga, I’ve been thinking about the other limbs and self-compassion is a big one. So here are some thoughts that might help you, whether it’s starting or maintaining a regular practice of writing, walking, yoga, cycling or whatever, just being better with your self, or maybe becoming the next President of the United States, a job which should be coming open pretty soon, from the looks of it. Continue reading