@bikesnobnyc – hilariously quoting this guy.

Believe it or not, a fixed-gear with a brake or two is still a fixed-gear.  The awkward stopping isn ot a requirement.  Do you ride in crotchless pants?  Probably not.  Then why ride a brakeless bike?

It’s fun reading his book.  Useful, obvious, relative and true.  Easy quick read for sure.  Crotchless and brakeless.  Best analogy in life.

Social Rides

So I have frequented both bike social circles of Houston and Austin.  I love knowing that these exist in both cities in which I both claim as home now as well.  It’s pretty amazing what parts of the city you see that typically you would never notice in the car or would ever see on a usual basis unless you live in those neighborhoods.  What’s exciting about it is that there’s this synergy about it.  The common aspect of the city and the love of riding a bike.  Who knew that the social aspect would increase the excitement out of people.  

I ran late for the critical mass in Houston one time and tried catching up with some friends only to find a couple more stragglers that got caught back.  So we rode together to find the pack only to find it was his first time riding with the group.  He was pretty stoked about the ride because well, he didn’t know it existed.  So it was great hearing that for some reason.  Growing up in Houston, I can say I never really saw bikes around town except on a couple trails like along Braeswood Bayou but mainly it was just my dad and I going around the neighborhood.  When I look back at it now, my dad had some fun bikes.  They weren’t cream of the crop but they were some pretty cool looking ones that I wouldn’t have mind having now.  Especially this one yellow ten speed steel road bike frame with white dropbars.  I could have definitely revamped that thing.  Also, a couple banana seat cruisers and a brown steel framed bike.  Anyway, so back to social rides…

In Austin, they are a way of life.  You can tell that it’s their being and it’s how they live that put them on the bike.  A lot of the riders know their ins and outs through the streets if they want to detour from the congestion when we get caught at a light or a stopped intersection.  I give props to the tall bikes on the ride with the mess of traffic they have to deal with on the ride also.

File:Critical Mass Tall Bike.jpg

I guess I can say I’m taking a break from them now until the weather cools down a bit just so I don’t play out doing these rides.  They are fun rides and the routes vary almost every single ride as well as the destination point but sometimes I like to just ride.  The pit stops in between can be fun but they seem to drag out a little longer over the summers.  It seems to be more social, less riding.  

Anyway, I’ve got a ton of pictures and footage to go through and make some decent clips together.  Some pics I want to frame, some I want to post and some I want to find a way to put a book of them together.  Here are a couple clips I put together in the meantime:

Houston Critical Mass – Every last friday of the month, 7pm

Thursday Night Social Ride in Austin – Every thursday night, 8ish

April Base.

Awesome studio. Great story to it and glad to see someone take their craft and upgrade it without losing the integrity. Old gym basketball floor? dope.  All this from recording an (amazing) album by yourself out in the woods with next to nothing. That’s cool.

Open.

So I finally finished reading Andre Agassi’s autobiography, Open.  It’s a good casual read and you get to learn about someone in a sport that a lot people don’t realize is quite a different story from the player’s point-of-view.  Not only is he one the sport’s greatest in history, but the love for the sport isn’t exactly what you expect.  I think the ambition and the attitude he has in his life is almost like a lot of us.  Even when you think you have everything, there is a void that still needs to be filled.  And he has spent a lot of time trying to find it and shares the decisions he’s made along the way.  

What I admire is the competitive nature that he had for his matches.  Even though he had an aversion to his craft because of his up-bringing into the sport doesn’t mean he didn’t want to win, it’s just that he didn’t want it to be his life.  You keep doing it because it’s basically all that you know.

I guess what I take from his story is that you have choices in life.  Sure, you may have a certain path and it may be the best path for you but you can make choices within that to make life worthwhile and along the way may come some unfortunate surprises but also pleasant ones as well.  It’s an inspiration to hear what he says about his peers and who he favors and who he detests.  You try to think back to certain matches and see how he handled himself externally to the public and the media and then you see it “behind the scenes” and realize that a lot of people have different stories.

I just like the name of the book because it’s exactly what it is.  It’s Open.  A double entendre to the sport and his life.  But what’s great is the team he has had behind him his whole career, those are the kind of people you want in your life.  The ones that can handle the tough and the good and want to see you succeed in your path of life, whether it be professional or personal.  It’s just the kind of people they are and you come across those far and few, especially in high paced athletic career where people can pull you off tangent as quickly as it starts.  So in your life, pick the people who keep you humble but also push you to the limits to see how far and what you can achieve.  Anyway, there’s a lot of great quotes in the book that you can take away from it.  So if you have any care for the sport or know anything about Agassi, it’ll be fun to see if any opinions of the guy changes after reading it.  I give him a lot of respect because after reading just a little about his life, you can’t not admire how hard we worked to achieve everything.  It just…worked out.  Cheers to him.

Back on the saddle…

So I haven’t been on the old roadie saddle as much as I used to be mainly because of this unbearable “heat wave” that is basically the entire summer of 100+ degree weather in Austin and all over Texas, but I decided to today.  Hitting up the ~30 mile mark was nice but the last 7-8 miles just kicked my ass.  So 30 miles in rolling hills is not exactly the same as doing that in the flatlants of Houston.  It will definitely take some getting used to in the fact of knowing how to attack certain climbs and how to use the descents efficiently.  I hate when you feel like you’re not even moving much less pedaling.  It makes me think man, you’re better off walking.

I just think all things come into play.  Eating the right things.  Training your core properly.  Learning to be consistent.  My riding style is all over the place.  If you were to ask me where I’m best at, I would tell you that I have no idea.  It would be awesome to be a climber but I haven’t figured out my thresholds yet so I’ll usually “bonk out” and switch down to low gears.  Can I sprint?  Haha, I have no power.  I can get a good push off in the beginning but my finish is laughable.  On a descent, it’s just fun.  Hunker down and pretend you’re a flying squirrel.  Calculating how long you should pedal before cruising or if you should pick up the momentum again to ease up on the resistance up the hill again.  It’s all relative and just like any other sport, it’s a craft.  It’s what separates you from others, having that “it” factor to know what to do when.  You can just feel it.

So if you have a Garmin or an iPhone, get the Strava app and join the PedalHouston or PedalAustin club.  I understand that it limits you to 5 rides to upload a month on a free account but it’s a great way to share a favorite route of yours and share with others to try out if they do choose to do so.  Community, guys. Love the stats on attacking climbs and elevation change notes.  Not much use in Houston but elsewhere, it’s pretty cool.  Ridiculous seeing climbing ranges for the Leadville reaching around 8000 feet.  Killer.

  • Note to self: Buy gloves.  The same monster that lives in the dryer that steals socks apparently stole both pairs of my riding gloves.

Update: Whoa!!  New news from Strava

No More Ride Limit!
Free users can say goodbye to the monthly 5 ride upload limit — you can now upload your rides on Strava to your heart’s content. Keep riding and when you’re done, ride some more.  Analyze all your rides and monitor your progress and milestones.