She walked onto the patio like she was walking off her yacht. I was waiting for her at the back of a coffee house overlooking Lake Travis. It was a rainy, lazy day, and she had texted to tell me that she had just awakened from a nap and was running a little late. Dena was sporting a long mane of naturally curly hair (never combed except in the shower), brown with blond highlights), a plaid shirt with a few buttons undone, short shorts and canvas shoes. She gave a cute, shy little wave and then came around to the picnic table to give me a polite but gentle hug. Thus began a fascinating interview, series of calls, texts, emails and a photo shoot that would lead to this profile. Continue reading
It’s winter solstice here in Austin, Texas, United States of America, and I’m feeling nostalgic. Not only because of the holidays, or working in a place with a long history here in town and in the country that’s closing down, or because a year ago I had ridden my bike alot more, and the year before that, even more. It’s mostly because my maternal grandmother died 20 years ago on December 22, 1998. This post is dedicated to her memory. (Check back after the holidays for more photos.)
There’s always something going on in the world of bicycling in Austin.
- For example, a City Councilmember known for bicycling to work won the runoff I just worked (against his sister, no less!). I mentioned Pio Renteria in my post Presentation by Jim Sayer, Director of Adventure Cycling Association (Part 2).
- The City of Austin’s Active Transportation Department is often holding meetings about street improvements, like to Slaughter Lane or the Longhorn Dam even.
- Starting just a few days ago, Austin Parks and Recreation is now allowing electric bikes and scooters on certain trails. A pilot project will track speed, complaints, and the inevitable crashes.
- The upcoming Texas Legislature meets in downtown Austin in the state capitol building. Folks will be advocating for bills for Safe Passing, Safe Routes to School, Distracted Driving (a ban on cell-phone use while driving) and Slower Neighborhood Streets. (I wrote about the latter in 2018 World Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Traffic Violence: Texas Vision Zero Vigil.)
As a public service – a big part of what we’re about here at www.ADudeAbikes.com and on WordPress – I thought I’d touch on a few of these issues for your reading pleasure. A Dude ain’t nuthin’ if not educatin’ the masses ’bout bikes n’ stuff!
Lacking some inspiration I looked back at the last week in photos. They tell a tale of my ongoing journey cycling through Austin.
Tonight I went to Yellow Bike Project again to work on Sophie. For the first time, I left with something that wasn’t better than went I arrived. Disc brakes can be tricky and for some reason my rear one on the Fairdale isn’t working right. I’ll need to return Monday when a coordinator more familiar with the brakes is there, but more likely I’ll head by a bike shop. It’s it’s important to be able to stop!
I don’t mention my diet much these days, but below is one brunch I prepared. Also, I worked nine days of early voting and the final election day. Compared to the recent mid-terms with many questions on the ballot, only five races had runoffs, so turnout was very low. It gave me time to do some reading. A David Baldacci thriller The Fix, and parts of Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich. I also got more into Tim Ferris’s The Four-Hour Work Week and the Austin Chronicle. I do not fare well at crosswords.
A brunch of eggs, turkey sausage, avocado, red and sweet potato, cheese, onion, salsa, and blue Powerade Zero. Blue’s a flavor, but unnatural.
I’m still doing my daily walking. One way I make sure to get in my 30 minutes is to walk on my way somewhere and then bike the rest. Or if I’m in a hurry and it’s close by, I bike there and then walk home. It’s a handy trick and I often see something cool, like the above bike rack. I don’t always put all the pictures here, though. For that, you will need to follow me on Strava, the fitness app. That link will take you to my profile.
Chanukah at the house of two friends involved a number of brightly lit menorahs, a variety of foods, and hanging out and talking. I missed the candle lighting and if there were any prayers, but it was not an orthodox religious event. It’s nice to connect with that part of my heritage (which I wrote about in the post Bicyclists & Jews: Both Are Targets (But They Should Not Be) and hang out with others who may not be traditionally observant but who identify ethnically. As one comedian put it, “(he’s) not a Jew, he’s Jew-ish.” Joking aside, I think one can be both. But speaking of that uniquely Jewish sensibility of humor, one person punned, “Some people light a ninth candle on Chanukah, but they’re in the menorah-ty.” (For the goyem out there, there are only eight days of Chanukah.)
I snapped these two covers of books at Book People, the largest independent bookstore in Texas that’s in downtown Austin. One speaks to the hope of what bicycles could do, the other reflects my ambivalence about why I am riding my bicycle an average of over 80 miles per week so far this year. (See 4,000 Miles Biked This Year! + 3,000 Miles Total on Sophie the Fairdale.)
Nearby the book store is the international headquarters of a natural grocery chain. They don’t need any press from me but friends and I have long called it the “food hole” or “whole paycheck.” But they do have some cool stuff like an ice skating rink on the roof in the winter and this sign abbreviating Austin, Texas, which changes colors. I had never snapped any pictures, so for your edification, here is a nice series.
The awesome, fun and inspirational monthly gathering of authors of all kinds who read called One Page Salon, hosted by Owen Egerton, had a huge turnout this month. This was thanks to the Texas Writers League. Shown with Owen is director Michael Nowlin, a nice guy, author and nice guy who encouraged me not to give up on the possibility of getting published. It was cool to see a packed house although I only really talked to a few people I already knew. The TWL is an organization I need to get involved with as I get closer to finishing the first draft of my memoir of two years of cycling quite a few miles. (4,714 Miles Bicycled in 2017 = 10,000 in 2 Years! A Recap of My “Epic Velocimania” (Day 1)
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True story: Yesterday I was out for my morning walk near a downtown Austin, Texas cemetery, since I’m cat and housesitting. I had on my Elmer Fudd hat that covers my ears and neck, headphones tuned to the classical radio station. I was heading south and in the distance, I saw a flash of pink heading toward me. It got bigger, and I recognized after watching the Tour de France: it was Lawson Craddock. He became famous due to getting a broken scapula on Stage 1 and fundraising almost $200,000 for the Houston Alkek Velodrome, where he trained as a youth.
Lawdog, as he’s known, wasn’t going too fast, but I didn’t have time to get out my camera or think of anything brilliant to say. So I just said, “Hey, buddy! It’s A Dude Abikes!” Like a puppy dog quizzically cocking its head to the side when confused with something, he looked right at me. A flash of recognition may have been there, or maybe not, since I’ve been posting notes on his Strava page. The moment passed, and he kept on riding. How can I not blog about that? 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.
This post is about the statistics of my blog, mostly over the last half a year. Ironically, screen shots paint a better picture without too many words. It comes as promised before my little rant about the U.S not living up to its ideals as a government or nation regarding its horrible, immoral immigration policy of separating children from their parents at the Texas border. Agree or disagree, but I believe I’m on the right side of the law, history and human decency on this one.
While some may appreciate my view and others may not, fortunately we do still mostly have freedom of speech in the U.S. And this blog is primarily an attempt to document my bicycle journey and to inspire others to do the same. It’s also an experiment in writing that I started January of 2016 but have not worked on intensively until 2018. That said, let me show you a look under the hood of http://www.ADudeAbikes.com (aka http://ADudeAbikes.WordPress.com)!