Last night I attended my first Third Thursday free event held by the Texas Writers League. I’d heard of the League, but it took me hearing their director Michael Nolin speak and also met him at another event, the One Page Salon, to get me to a TWL event. After the panel, I went to a book release party for OPS host Owen Egerton, who has helped inspired me to keep on writing and to call myself a writer. At the latter event I met a couple involved in the Austin film industry, and had a good long conversation with them about their art. And then a fellow blogger made a really heartfelt comment about a recent post of mine. A day later I still find myself energized by this synchronicity. So I gotta write about it.
Tonight as I was out dutifully putting in some miles to finish up my yearly goal, I encountered a man stopped in East Austin, near downtown. He was working on his bicycle, and observing the unwritten code of bike riders, I stopped to ask if I might help. He had a screw driver and was adjusting his rear reflector while enjoying an adult beverage. He was also worried about his front light, which was red (illegal). There wasn’t much I could do, but we chatted a bit. He was friendly, perhaps due to the aforementioned drink. He introduced himself as Tommy, I replied with my name, and he proferred an ungloved hand for me to shake in the cool temperatures. He also said that he is homeless. It got me thinking about the large number of people who ride bikes as transportation, but are not connected with bicycle advocacy organizations. So here are a few thoughts. Continue reading
After riding my bicyle to three different locations over the last seven days in a row to work as a clerk for the county elections office during early voting, I have some observations. Chief among them is that having a job again is both gratifying and exhausting, kind of fun but kind of annoying. Another is that Austin is still a place that still has a whole lot of white people in it, especially due the high rents of downtown, which limits some people of color. But where there is diversity, it is quite varied. Third, for the most part Austinites are a very well-behaved, clever and mellow bunch.
Fourth, voting is one of few times where people of all political stripes come together to exercise their right to participate in democracy, and that’s a beautiful thing whether you agree with voting or not. And a fifth is that while voting is something that some people deride, some ignore, and others celebrate, it’s still a fascinating experience to be part of the process. There are more things you might learn as I did if you just click on that little Continue Reading button. It’s like voting! Please vote to read the rest of this blog! Vote for A Dude Abikes! Continue reading
Saturday it wasn’t raining for a change, and I was heading tired and home from some errands near the Peddler Bike Shop when I saw a group ride approaching. I inquired what it was about, and one woman said, “Join us!” Always looking for more miles to ride and new people to meet, I obliged. Turned out, it was a women’s group ride, but since it was a special occasion, they made it co-ed. And since most group rides tend to be other dudes, and while I enjoy hanging with other bros, I saw it as a rare opportunity to “ride like a girl.” By that I mean just as awesome as a guy but backwards in heels, like Ginger Rogers. Just kidding. Continue reading
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
He awoke early with the sun for a change. Groggily, from a late night when sleep did not come, as it often did not. He waited for slumber to arrive like a spouse waiting on the partner who had to work late: restlessly. To pass the time before her return, he watched a digital video recording of thin, super strong young men riding their bikes across Spain. A place he’d been many years ago and found himself pining for. He pined a fair bit these days, to anyone who would listen. About his underappreciated, unpaid blog and book writing. Or the aches and pains of an aging cyclist. And his unwillingness to settle for another low-paying job with a boss and all that jazz, while he struggled to start being an self-employed contractor. He couldn’t figure out how to do the job without a car but paradoxically he needed money from a job to get a car. After 13 years since his vehicle was smashed by a reckless driver, a car seemed like it would be nice. Yet it could also mean certain death to whatever modicum of fitness he had, he thought, because biking is sweaty, hard and uncomfortable, and driving a car is easy. And easy is boring. Which rhymes with snoring, which is what he should be doing, he mused.
This post was going to be about an open house held by the City of Austin Transportation Department which I attended. It was about the redesign of a nearby street to have bike lanes, sidewalks, trees and parking. Not terribly exciting, yet pretty interesting at the same time. But then this happened. So I’ll save that for another day (or not), and tell you about this crazy, wild-ass, scary, dangerous, and fun ride.