Biking 68 miles — My inner Aspie weighs in | Organization for Autism Research

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Adult self-advocate Garret Mathews shares a humorous, if tense, conversation with his “Inner Aspie.”

It’s almost sundown. I hopped, well, stepped on my one-speed bicycle about 10 hours ago to log 68 miles because that’s how old I’ll be later this year and spokin’ that age-appropriate distance every spring is, well, how I roll.

Not all at once, mind you, as I am a Social Security recipient. I bike some, eat some, rest some, take ibuprofen, bike some, eat some, watch the Cubs some and then resume the trek to the finish line where a six-pack of Coors awaits. With every passing subdivision, my hind quarters ache more and more. Under the cover of a playground rock-climbing wall, I pull down my bike shorts and notice that butt-ugly red splotches have not only attacked both lobes, they have claimed victory. 

With only a couple miles to go, we join the conversation between Self and Inner Aspie:

SELF: Jeez, my ass is killing me.

INNER ASPIE: Who cares?

SELF: Would it destroy you to show some empathy? 

INNER ASPIE: I don’t have any, remember? 

SELF: Look, pal, it may only be a rear end that’s on fire, but it’s our rear end.

INNER ASPIE: You should have trained more. You haven’t ridden four dozen miles total the entire spring, and then take off on the big enchilada. Rear end is not at fault here. It’s you.


INNER ASPIE: Say what?

SELF: I promised I wasn’t going to use foul language in this blog, so that’s cuss-speak.

INNER ASPIE: Why do you need cuss-speak?

SELF: I just tried, ever so gently, to place my hind quarters on the bike seat, and the pain was two pulled teeth plus a compound fracture. 

INNER ASPIE: So? Cry me a river.

SELF: So I’m going to cut the ride short.

INNER ASPIE: You can’t do that.

SELF: Relax. Nobody will know.

INNER ASPIE: I’ll know. You said you were going to do 68 miles and it must be exactly that when you turn off the pedometer. Sixty-eight point-zero miles. Are you going to die from having tenderloin hind quarters?

SELF: Probably not.

INNER ASPIE: Then finish the course.

SELF: Look, if I stay on the trail, I’ll come up a half-mile short. To make up the distance, I’ll need to go a quarter-mile down 136th Street and then a quarter-mile back. I’ll feel like an idiot.

INNER ASPIE: That won’t be the first time.

SELF: We’ve talked about this before. Your inflexible adherence to ritual. Your obsessive preoccupation with detail.

INNER ASPIE: Look, pal. I’m with you for life. Deal with it. You set the mark at 68 miles. Anything less, even if it’s only 100 feet, is abject failure.

SELF: C’mon, just this one time. I’m begging you. My ass is begging you.

INNER ASPIE: Out of the question.


INNER ASPIE: More cuss-speak?

SELF: I just called you a filthy name.

INNER ASPIE: I don’t care.

SELF: I know.

INNER ASPIE: Get to the end of the ride. I’m letting you drink beer as a reward. I don’t have to do that.

SELF: Have I told you lately that I hate you?

INNER ASPIE: Just win, baby.

About the Author

Garret Mathews is retired from writing the metro column for the Evansville, Ind., Courier & Press. His legacy website — — contains links to four previous projects to include his columns and material on Appalachia and the civil rights movement. His blog about his Asperger’s can be found at He and his wife MaryAnne live in Carmel, Indiana.

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