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Bike Rides 129
A Community Bear Hug

Last weekend was one of the most memorable of my life in Austin. The Art Works Festival was remarkably successful and this special event, just in its sophomore year, is exactly the fresh breeze Austin needed.  I don’t mean to take anything away from Christmas in the City or the Fourth of July Celebration. I’ve participated in both at different levels over the years and enjoyed them very much. But let’s face it, these traditions are a little repetitious and have followed the same basic formula for years, barring some logistical and name changes.

I was invited to the author’s building  this year to present my books and address a small group of faithful readers who toughed out the heat at the end of the day, long enough to listen to my immature stories of fireworks shot from bicycles and hear my impassioned plea for the completion of the Shooting/Blazing Star Trails. I was humbled by your presence and thank you each very much.  

I’d like to express my apologies to the organizers of “Brush the (Volkswagen) Beetle,” a popular activity at the festival that offers attendees a chance to paint an old car. I assure you I didn’t know it was just for kids when I painted “Bike Rides,” in big yellow letters on the door. Or maybe the event made me feel so much like a child I simply forgot my age; that’s been known to happen but is also a true sign of a good time. Anyway, it was fun.

Friday night I attended the artist’s reception at The Hormel Home with my security guard (mother).  The meal was delicious and the entertainment delightful. I heard many of the artists express gratitude for how well they were treated throughout the event and certainly the dinner set the tone for the weekend.

Sena Erhardt played twice in town, one long and sultry blues show at the VFW Club Friday and another late Sunday afternoon to close the festival. Sunday the heat was certainly on and the stage was unfortunately facing the blazing sun but that didn’t stop her from giving us everything she had; Sena was “All In,” for sure.

The concert Saturday night wasn’t just festive, but almost surreal. Mother Nature provided the perfect temperature and summer breeze for an outdoor event. Martin Zellar and the Hardways were hitting on all cylinders as they randomly paged through the the impressive catalogue of Martin’s solo work, as well as treating the excited crowd to some classic Gear Daddies songs.

This past Friday Martin Zellar and Nick Ciola joined the Bike Rides Radio show on KMSK for the entire hour to discuss their musical careers and share a few amusing bike riding stories. It’s very refreshing to witness a friendship like theirs which has endured over so many years and so many shows.  If you’d like to hear the show unedited, go to dansbikerides.com and simply click on the radio tab. There are also some interesting pictures from their visit as well.

Cloud Cult followed with a spectacular sensory performance like Austin has never seen. The players delivered in such an uninhibited, impassioned manner it was mesmerizing, proving it’s not necessary to dress skanky and molest yourself with a prop on stage for attention as long as you have real talent.

The fireworks that followed the show provided the perfect bookend to the evening, with the egg-shaped moon smiling in the sky, behind spectacular eruptions of bright color and sound. There was a jaw dropping, goose bump inducing, exploding fireball at the end that initially left many concerned for the organizers’ well being but apparently it was part of the show.

The heat didn’t stop me from riding my bike to every single event.  Art Works made you feel like you’d gotten a big, cozy bear hug from the Austin community, and I’m hugging back. Don’t get any ideas about spooning though; I just don’t move that quickly, I guess.

Thanks for riding along Austin.

Traffic Tip: Watch for kids on bikes near schools!

See more “Bike Rides” at dansbikerides.com

Hear Bike Rides Fridays on KMSK, 91.3 FM at 1:00 pm

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