I was talking with a young woman today who told me she was going to Austin’s Yellow Bike Project to work on her bike. She would be taking it to Mexico in May as part of Bikes Across Borders. A couple of dozen anarchists ride for a couple of weeks to a town where they have relationships with people there, donate the bike, and take the bus home. Sounds fun, scary, dangerous, hard, and maybe a bit crazy. Oh yeah, inefficient. Why not just send the bikes by truck? Well, that would be boring and harder to raise money for. Continue reading →
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.
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?
In the April 8th edition of the local paper, there was an article about JoJo McKibben, who had a traumatic accident after being hit by an SUV while biking last summer. In fact, the cyclist became trapped under the SUV, and seven people actually had to lift the car off of her! The first driver was drunk and indicted but is free on bond and has yet to go to trial.
Earlier this month she was hit again, but fortunately was not hurt as badly. The second driver is in jail on a lesser charge. Both accidents show that while Austin has the image of being a bike-friendly city, and in some ways it is better than others (Dallas, Houston, San Antonio — I’m talking to you). But the reality is much different. I know, I bike most days and fear for my life multiple times because of distracted, bad or mean drivers.
On a Saturday in 2002, Al Bastidas was on his way to join an Austin Tri-Cyclists group bicycle ride. A car hit him, knocking him off his bike into the air. The wreck put him in the hospital where he was in a coma. It changed his life forever. Al, who is from the great cycling nation of Colombia but has lived in Austin, Texas for many years, had to go through surgeries and a very difficult rehabilitation. You can learn more about Al’s story here. But out of his tragedy, he created an Austin-based non-profit organization, Please Be Kind to Cyclists. Today I had a conversation with PBKTC board chair Garret. Click to read more! Continue reading →
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
– The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A Dude attended a presentation sponsored by his weekly job search group today. It was about how to make brain science work for, not against us. The presenter asked an attender if she had faith. She paused and said, “Well, if you mean like in organized religion, no.” The presenter said something like, “Well, do you have faith the sun is going to come up tomorrow?” “Of course,” she answered. And that got me thinking. (I have a thinking problem, actually. I’m trying to cut back. Ha ha!) Thinking usually leads to writing, and lately not journaling as much as weblogging. So in what do I have faith? Continue reading →
NOTE: Many folks may not have seen my Sunday, February 18th post, which I had inexcplicably moved to the trash and didn’t notice all day. I restored it and would love for you to read it, so here is the link for “27-Mile Brushy Creek Trail Ride + Peddler Bike Shop Stop.” After all, a blog mostly about bikes needs some ride reports sometimes!
Andrew Tilin: Rest In Peace
Today’s post is more bad news, I’m very sorry to report. Yet another Austin cyclist, Andrew Tilin, was killed on Saturday, February 17, the same day I wrote about Leonel Hernandez, who was killed under mysterious circumstances back on January 29. There isn’t even a picture of Hernandez available yet that I can find. There are photos of Tilin, still young and in the prime of his life in his 40’s. I didn’t know him but I’m heartbroken for those who did. Continue reading →