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 →
It’s Independence Day, or July 4th, in the United States of America. A day when we are supposed to pause as a nation to reflect upon our history, throwing off our British oppressors, and founding a new nation that cherished the ideals of freedom, democracy, equality and much more. But usually people set off fireworks, cook alot of meat, drink alot of beer, and don’t think anything of it. And woe be to anyone like A Dude who declares himself a citizen of the world. After all, the location of my birthplace was a completely random event. I could be Swedish, Afghani, Congolese, Inuit, or even from New Jersey. The horror!
Today’s blog was going to be a review of my statistics about my blog. And that just seemed frivolous, as things do when you’re having deep thoughts. So as I went on my 25-mile ride, with people setting off fireworks all around me, I couldn’t help but think about the dichotomy, contradiction even, between those historic ideals and present, very ugly realities. With the backdrop of the World Cup on my mind, and given how few people still actually read my words, I decided to throw in my two cents about how wrong it is to treat immigrants like second-class citizens, and the dangerous path toward neo-fascism the U.S. appears to be on.
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.
It’s Black History Month in the United States of America, so it would be bad form for a progressive to not pay homage to that (which I did earlier when mentioning the impact of the Black Panther movie) Some people have the mistaken belief that only rich white men in Spandex ride bicycles. They are wrong.
Where I live, I frequently see people of color riding bicycles, usually at night, apparently commuting home from work. They usually don’t have lights or helmets or fancy bikes. But they are cyclists just the same, risking their lives to go about their lives, which includes transporting themselves with their own people power. Leonel Hernandez, who died last month, was one of them.
Today, within the space of 10 minutes, I met a black dude named Ivory and a couple from Thailand named Nukul and Rung, each on a bike. You really meet the coolest people on bikes — of whatever color, status or nationality. You never would probably barely even see them from your motorized steel pollution cage.