Conversation with Jim Sayer, Director of Adventure Cycling Association (Part 1)

When I got wind Jim Sayer was in town, I jumped onto my computer machine and using electronic correspondence, I requested a meeting.  Since I missed him on my trip to Missoula, Montana where ACA is headquartered on my epic trip there in 2016, and have been curious about bikepacking/touring ever since, I was keen to learn more about ACA.  He was kind enough to meet me at a coffee shop and chat.  He’ll be doing a talk Tuesday, November 13 at 6-8 pm at Bike Texas, so if you’re in Austin, come on down!  I’ll post a follow-up after that event to share more.  But let’s dive into what the ACA is about! Continue reading

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Bicyclists & Jews: Both Are Targets (But They Should Not Be)

I AM A JEW.  I’m out of practice, in that I haven’t been to shabbat services in many suns.  It is more accurate to say that I’m Jew-ish. I was also simultaneously brought up in another faith tradition, Unitarian Universalism.  As far as ethnicity and identity go, Judaism, being the parent of Christianity, is much more well known than UU’s.  Jews are 1.5% of the US population; UU’s are far fewer.  I’m also an atheist, or if you can’t handle that, an agnostic (which I wrote about here).  But I’m also a bicyclist.  And we are legion, but still a minority compared to car drivers.

After the heinous hate crime that murdered 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday, October 27, I  realized two things.  First, writing a blog about biking seemed, well, frivolous.  It many ways, it is.  But also, I noticed that there are parallels between Jews and bicyclists.  Both groups are minorities.  Both are hated irrationally.  Both are targetted victims of violence.  Vehicular violence isn’t as “sexy” (newsworthy) as gun violence, but it’s still violence that ruins and destroys lives.  This post explores the intersections (pun intended) of this topic. Continue reading

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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Eight Days a Week… Off the Bicycle: Viewing Setbacks Through a Buddhist Lens

It’s been eight days since I’ve ridden a bicycle.  Why?  Heat.  Illness.  Lastimas. Life.  (Lastimas is wounds or injuries in Spanish. So that spells H.I.L.L, doesn’t it?  I meant to.)  When thought of in this way, it’s another set of obstacles, another rise in the road to climb, something that tests you but also makes you stronger.  Part of me is relieved, and lucky to have use of a car.  Another part of me is pissed off that I’m losing whatever fitness and form I had.  Another is panicking that I may not get it back, or get back to it, or even be able bike at all without more injury or at least pain.  Breathing in deeply, I notice I am not riding my bicycle.  Breathing out, I notice that I am writing a blog post about not riding my bicycle. Continue reading

Houston Bike-By Shooter Kills Another Cyclist, but Houston’s Lawson Craddock Still in Tour & Has Raised $114,000+

I was going to write about how I’m unable to bike for a while, or the heat wave (109 F forecast for Monday!), or possibly put up pictures of my collection of bike t-shirts.  Then I saw this sad news that made me do a double-take because it’s just crazy.  There’s not much to know at this point until they catch the guy who did it.  And what’s making this more news than it might be otherwise is that the victim was Dr. Mark Hausknecht, a cardiologist to former US President George H.W. Bush. Houston, we have a problem.  It’s you.  Quelle bizarre!

AlkekLogoSmallOrgMeanwhile, in the crazy-good Houston bike news department, Lawson Craddock, whom I wrote about recently (Texan Lawson Craddock Breaks Scapula on Day 1 of Tour de France, Just Keeps Riding. Quelle Courage!), is still riding in the Tour de France and donating $100 for every stae.  His GoFundMe page, which you should definitely contribute to, has now brought in over $114,000 for the Alkek Velodrome damaged in Hurricane Harvey.  Since it’s used to train the next generation of cyclists, it’s a good cause.  Read more about both these crazy stories below!

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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

ADAB Interview #1:  David Walker: If I Can Do It, So Can You! (Part 2)

If you haven’t already, please read Part 1 first. It is at this link: Engineering a Comeback from a Life-Altering Event.

“David Knows”

Lying on his back in Brackenridge Hospital in Austin, Texas in October 1981 after losing most of his right leg in a railroad accident, David Crittenden Walker was scared. Of dying. Of never walking again. Of the pain. About the look of worry on the faces of his family and friends. They were staying overnight with him for the first week. He was getting Demerol shots every four hours, and they were “wonderful,” he said, because it blocked the pain. But that last hour before the next shot was excruciating. He would get loopy, then pass out. Because it’s so addictive (think opioid crisis), he had to be weaned off it as soon as possible. He also started having some hallucinations which freaked him out. His brain had to make sense of his new reality. David was 17 years old, and all of a sudden, he only had one leg. How the fuck does anyone live with that? Continue reading