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.
Saturday I got myself down to Bicycle Sport Shop on South Lamar for Bike Austin’s9th Annual Hottest Day of the Year Ride. About 40 folks from a young age to not so young arrived to sample the mocktails, peruse Bike Austin t-shirts and brave the heat. The good part was that the route was a short 10-miles and took us to two splash pads and two pools. While technically not the hottest day, it was warm enough, 99 F heat index. A Dude was serving as one of the ride leaders, and it was an eventful afternoon. The next night I put in the first longer ride in a while, 31 miles total. So let’s check them out. Continue reading →
Since I’ve been feeling a good deal of discomfort and sometimes pain in a certain area on and off, and I am sick of the heat and thus waiting til evenings to ride (not to mention still watching tons of World Cup football matches on delay as well as the Tour de France), I’ve been biking about 12 miles every night this week.
For last night’s ride, I had it in mind to ride downtown to Town Lake and maybe join up with yjr Thursday Night Social Ride (TNSR),the weekly main event of Social Cycling Austin (SCA). It’s a combination of anarchy / organized chaos, like a Critical Mass ride, and also in some ways it’s pretty relaxed if you just go with the flow. I got a late start so figured I’d miss it. I’m generally always happy to do my own ride, but wouldn’t you know it? I crossed paths with the 300-strong group, so naturally I decided to join in the scary fun.
After 1984’s Footloose, which your blogger certainly saw at the time but doesn’t recall his reaction to, Kevin Bacon was very popular. He chose to follow up a decent movie with one about a broker who loses his shirt in the stock market and becomes, quite logically, a bike messenger! There’s drama, action, love interests, an 80’s cheestastic soundtrack, and lots of bikes. The Alamo Drafthouse, which is known for showing all kinds of wacky movies, hosted, and Bike Austin Education Fund was the beneficiary. A Dude loves cheese a bit too much and also bacon, though I have mostly low-sodium turkey variety in my fruitless quest for health. (Well, I eat a lot of fruit, actually.) So bikes, cheese and a big helpin’ o’ Bacon (Kevin, that is)? Sign me up!
Today was one of those days that in retrospect was pretty fine. Not a totally perfect day by all means. Nor just one perfect moment like Anthony’s blog, Today’s Perfect Moment, which you could check out. It was a collection of moments, feelings, experiences, thoughts and more that together were really quite nice. Any day that includes a beautiful stranger rubbing oil on your sore muscles, a hilarious movie, and bikes, well, that’s one fine day. Do you want me to tell you about it? OK, since you insist.
Thursday evening I moseyed on down the Southern Walnut Creek Trail to a small racecar track in southeast Austin. It was bike night, and the races were on. I rolled up to a small sea of cyclists milling about, and a group of maybe 60 riding on the .62-mile track. Held from April to September each year, the Driveway Series (or just the Driveway, in Austin) was selected as the best races in the United States, according to a chat I had with the congenial and sometimes funny announcer Logan. A former racer, he’s very familar with the sport and most of the riders, and was happy to share details between laps.
Sanctioned by USA Racing, these are the real deal. There are different levels, 4/5 (beginners), 1/2/3, Masters (over 35), and Pro for men (which some women race in) as well as the same for women. But it’s also a festive atmosphere with beer and food trucks, repair vans, sponsor tents, and music playing on the loudspeakers. There were serious-looking cyclists from the not so fit to the super skinny lean young guys, and the super-strong beasts and some very nice and expensive bicycles. Come along for a short lap!
And I would walk five hundred miles And I would walk five hundred more Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles To fall down at your door
–The Proclaimers, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”
Occasionally I tend to geek out on what I’m doing number-wise with my bicycle. Today, it was passing 1,000 miles for 2018 thus far. Not too shabby, but not as much as in 2016 (where I rode 5,306 miles) or in 2017 (where I rode 4,714 miles). At this rate, by the end of 2018, I’ll end up just shy of riding 3,200 miles. With the weather warming up, I expect I will increase my weekly goal from 50 miles to 75 or even 100. But as my unemployment money dwindles, I will find myself scrambling for income, and that could diminish my activity level significantly. A Dude’s gotta eat and have a roof. But the numbers and what’s behind them are interesting, so click on to read the rest of this post. Continue reading →