Smart Cycling Complete Class in Austin, Texas

Early on Saturday I attended a 4-hour League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Complete Class.  Four other students and I assembled in a parking garage to learn how to teach people new to bicycling how to complete some standard drills.  But even an old dog like A Dude Abikes can learn new tricks.  And some of what we learned is stuff that we’d been doing unconsciously and, in some cases, incorrectly.  So here’s a little overview of the experience. Continue reading

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More Pucking Functures! Five Fixes for Frequent Flats Free From Frustration

Lately I’ve had a string of bad luck with holes in my tires. It’s like Jack Alehurst of Life Behind Bars said, if he were Jerry Seinfeld: “Doncha hate it when you’ve been off your bike for a while and finally decide to go for a ride, only to find it has a flat tire?” Or maybe Robin would say to the caped crusader: “Holy holes, Batman!” Well that’s been a factor for me this last week. Some mysterious, one my fault, and well, it gets frustrating and expensive. So here’s a little recap and then a little advice.

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How to Safely Ride Your Bike in the Rain

The Carolinas are getting pummeled with Hurricane Florence, and clearly no sane person is biking in that.  There’s not much to do from here about it except to watch the news and just hope that people, pets and stuff make it through.  Perhaps donate if you’re a person of means.  Meanwhile, although it’s nothing like Hurricane Harvey that hit Houston and the Gulf of Mexico coast last year, we’ve been having a wet September here in Central Texas.  I am grateful because of the lower temperatures and the relief to drought-stricken lakes, rivers, plants, pets and people.  Biking is delicious when it’s not 100 degrees!

But rain does make riding a bike tricky, if not actually more dangerous than it already is.  Some people won’t do it at all.  A Dude Abikes however loves to ride in the rain on his Fairdale Weekender Archer named Sophie, because she’s got wider wheels and a heavy steel frame that make her more stable.  I thought it might interest all tens of my readers to hear what I do to keep the rubber side down.  Hop on!  (Actually, don’t.  I have enough weight to carry already.) 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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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

Bicycle Sport Shop / Bike Austin Ride Leader Training (Part 1)

Tonight I jetted over to a nice but sorta weird place for a bike meeting — a neighborhood emergency center — to learn how to lead group and bike shop rides.  It was organized by the active transportation (bike and walking) advocacy and membership non-profit organization for which I occasionally pitch in to volunteer, Bike Austin, led by new director Katie.  The training was given by Bicycle Sport Shop Road Captains DanielLaura Jane (LJ), and Stephanie and with some of the dozen of attendees contributing some amusing stories of what people do on their bikes.  So listen up kids, class is in session!  Professor A Dude Abikes is on the mic, talkin’ trikes, and safety things he likes… Continue reading

The Horror! Dockless Scooters Dumped in Austin

Today’s University of Texas at Austin publication, The Daily Texan, has a front-page story about the scourge of rentable so-called “disruptive” technology being dumped on our streets and the campus. See “Dockless scooters temporarily removed: New city ordinance suspends dockless scooters until companies obtain proper permits.” Basically these companies came in like Uber and Lyft and started operating illegally (or quasi-legally at best), and then the City of Austin had to play catch up and regulate them. We the citizens of Austin chased the ride-share companies out of town after an election, even though they cynically spent over $8 million.

As for rent-a-bikes, I don’t have as many problems with them, because that’s a big part of the point of this blog: more people can and should use bikes. But when they or scooters are clogging up the place, people dump them, vandalize them, or they obstruct lawful bike commuters and pedestrians, they’re a safety hazard to the operators and to others. So I have a few words about this. I’m like an antibiotic ointment: I’m topical!

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