Not The One

So, it’s another summer riding season upon us, and my stable of bikes is now 3. 

Veda, the sturdy hybrid. Not light but has lights.

Geoffrey, the sedate faux-vintage tourer. Also not light, but has lights.

Sara Maude, the step-through starter. Really not light, now chiefly on the training stand. I may keep her as an occasional Burley hauler and loaner for a friend.

Sometime soon, I’d like to have a lightweight road bike, as I’ve tried a couple on recent trips (most recently the unclogged Arizona trip in February, and the unblogged Honolulu Tour de Cure from last November). I liked the road bikes once I got used to the forward-rotated position. But the rentals were really high-end bikes, not in my price range.

My criteria: Lightweight, but aluminum, with a carbon fork. At least 20-22 gears (this means Shimano Tiagra or 105 to a gearhead). Women’s specific design, for narrower handlebars and other differences in geometry. Price range: south of $2000.00. Preferably well south. Brands: something well enough known that it’s not a dark horse.

This one, although the price is attractive, is probably not the one. 

It looks good, the price is good, it’s got 105 components, but it’s an REI house brand – and an unproven, brand new house brand at that. It’s the Co-Op Cycles ARD 1.2 Womens bike. On a whim, I went over to REI to check it out, because they had one in my size in stock. This is an important point, because most bike shops don’t typically have a lot of women’s bikes in stock, built up; you have to test ride the men’s version and order the women’s version “on spec.”

I rode around the lot, and to be fair, the seat was probably a little low, but I didn’t care for it. Shifting was fine, but the saddle was not my cuppa tea; it was slick and glossy, so I’d have to buy another one of my preferred saddles to go on there. 

It’s really a good deal, but it’s an unknown quantity; my husband David thinks I should pass on it because of this.

I’m also looking at the following, but have yet to test ride:

Fuji Finest 1.0 Women’s LE – Meh, the flat blue-grey color is ugh, but the price is good and it has other features. However, David thinks Fuji isn’t a well-known brand (although a friend rides a bike much like this one and loves it.

Specialized Dolce – one of various ones like this EVO, but they all have Tiagra gearing (meaning 20 gears), a bit less to work with on a hill but similar to Veda’s setup.  To get 105 22-speed gearing, I’d have to go up to the carbon-framed Ruby, which is a pretty big price increase, and I have to think whether I want to invest in carbon. I did enjoy the lightness of the carbon bikes I rode, especially the one in Phoenix, but really only rode that one a couple of times. HOWEVER, I’m interested in Specialized’s FutureShock stem technology, which MAY be added to next year’s Dolce Comp EVO. It’s on the Ruby (I think, possibly only selected models).

Trek Lexa 4 seems to be the best of their aluminum line for endurance/all around. Tiagra again. Readily available in several nearby shops.

There are other brands – Felt is locally available, and Liv by Giant is well regarded and carried by a local Giant “superstore.” Of the Liv line, it would be one of the Avail Discs endurance bikes (meaning set up for long rides, not racing).  The 2017 Avail SL 1 Disc has 105 gearing. But I don’t like the colors. The 2018 Avail SL Disc has great colors, but only Tiagra gearing.  It’s maddening.

This brings up a frustrating fact: bike shops generally carry just one or two brands, though there are exceptions, like Spokes Bikes and Kozy’s. Naturally, these Omni-bike dealers aren’t close by. When you’re bike shopping, you have to put some miles in, and a lot of shops don’t have searchable inventory on their websites. So not only do I have to “make do” with test riding men’s bikes before ordering a women’s frame bike, but I have to look around in about a 20-mile or more radius. David bought one of his bikes in Glenview; and he bought the latest one in Wheaton. I bought mine here in Hoffman, and one is from Elk Grove Village; I stuck pretty close to home.

Don’t get me started on the big, fancy bike shops in downtown Chicago. Even though one of them carries this gorgeous Bianchi Volpe, which is not all what I’m shopping for, but pleases my sense of bike aesthetics. Aside from that, BFF Bikes has a nice idea in offering bikes for a female clientele, but their road bikes are Liv. I don’t need to schlep downtown just to see what I can see right here.  

So from a price point-and-features standpoint, I’m stuck. I want what I want, but can’t test ride it and have to make do with trying the men’s version before ordering. Or, I can get something close to what I want, but the colors are garish.

Use this toolkit to contact senators, send tweets, and post to Facebook

G+: Use this toolkit to contact senators, send tweets, and post to Facebook

Use this toolkit to contact senators, send tweets, and post to Facebook. Call them to ask if they will vote to take aware your healthcare.

Trumpcare Toolkit
Use this toolkit to hold Congress accountable for putting Americans’ healthcare online.

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My 15 Pieces Of Flair

G+: My 15 Pieces Of Flair

… may not be enough avoid getting the lecture.

You Need 15 Pieces of Flair
Sometimes the movie is required to stop and have a plot, which is not its strongest feature, but mostly it’s a series of observations and scenes about the nature of corporate life at the fin de sickle, which is a French phrase meaning “the end of the scythe.” The corporate vice presidents are probably also treated like worms somewhere up the line, but “Office Space” is not fair-minded. Jennifer Aniston works at a theme restaurant called Chotchk…

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The Five Fillies Ride

G+: The Five Fillies Ride

My friend Julia Stace is an avid cyclist; she and her husband Roger are friends from local rides through some bike groups that my husband David and I ride with.

Julia organizes a Ladies' Ride on the first Friday of the month, at a forest preserve called Herrick Lake/Danada. It's scheduled after work for most people and May is about as early as we can schedule it for daylight hours and average temperature. Last night was the first one of the season, and what a fun ride it was!

5 women showed up; Julia's husband Roger comes along to act as "sweep" and bring up the rear. They both ride fat bikes with gigantic tires; most of the rest of us ride hybrids, mountain bikes, or road bikes with treaded tires. It was cool, breezy, but lovely and clear. The trail conditions were good – Herrick Lakes has a well-maintained 10 foot wide shared-use trail thats got a crushed stone base. We usually ride both sides of the preserve but after 8 1/2 miles of riding, the loop on the other half would have added an extra 20-30 minutes of riding, and the sun was low. So we opted to end back at the starting point rather than continuing to the Danada side via the underpass. The Equestrian Centre is on that side, we'll visit it next month. Last night it was Julia, Andreia, BL, Lisa, and me (plus Roger).

Herrick Lakes/Danada is on the site of an old estate that was famous for raising racehorses. On the Herrick side, there's an old oval track for training, and a set of starting gates. So we had fun posing for pictures before we set off.

After the ride, we couldn't get into our usual spot Cozymel's because it was Cinco de Mayo, so we ended up at Houlihan's restaurant, laughing and talking for a good couple of hours. We didn't get out of there until almost 10pm, we were having such a good time.

I can't explain why it was so funny, but at one point after a particularly raucous comment by BL, Roger commented that "this is why I probably shouldn't come along on women's rides." He's a big, strong ex-Marine, and we howled at his pretense at embarrassment. Despite that, a good time was had by all.

It's not just for fun, I'm in training for Tour De Cure Chicagoland again, planning to ride 65 miles while raising funds to help fight diabetes. If you'd like to support my TdC ride, please visit, which re-directs to my official American Diabetes Association/Tour de Cure fundraising page.

If you'd like to join me on Team Red Chicago, the ride is June 11 2017 from Riverside Park in Aurora IL. Visit to sign up!

Five Fillies – Red Gibbs’s 9.0 mi bike ride
Julia’s first Ladies Ride of of season, with Lisa, BL, Andreia, Julia (and Roger riding sweep). We meet at Herrick Lake/Danada and ride a nice evening route around the forest preserve.

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Look Who's Talking (About Impeaching or Removing Trump)

G+: Look Who's Talking (About Impeaching or Removing Trump)

I hope they're serious, and dug in for a long hard fight. But Pence must go too.

Trump’s Fitness To Serve Is ‘Officially Part Of The Discussion In Congress’
New Yorker writer Evan Osnos discusses the likelihood that impeachment or the 25th Amendment will be used to remove Donald Trump from office.

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The #MARALAGOACT is a real thing. Let's have some bipartisan fun supporting this bill, because we all deserve to know who has access to the man in the Oval Office.

G+: The #MARALAGOACT is a real thing. Let's have some bipartisan fun supporting this bill, because we all deserve to know who has access to the man in the Oval Office.

Text your zip code to +1 (520) 200-7940 to contact your federal and state lawmakers. Then you'll have their main office numbers, but you may want to look up their district and local office numbers on their own webpages, too.

Dems introduce MAR-A-LAGO Act to publish visitor logs
But the legislation likely faces an uphill battle in Congress.

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#AltHousekeeping: My List Of Chores

G+: #AltHousekeeping: My List Of Chores

The Good Housekeeping Institute has a list of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly chores. It's pretty comprehensive and for someone who's challenged in the organizational department, pretty unrealistic.

Here's my list of achievable daily chores:

Get up and have a bowl of Cracklin' Oat Bran
Leave bowl in sink for later
Straighten out bedclothes
Ermagerd WERK
Lunch, etc. leave dish in sink for later
Quite often, a nap is needed
Dinner, etc. clean up dishes, wipe counter
(I'm supposed to sweep kitchen daily, apparently. Aspirational)

Weekends involves more napping and possibly cycling and laundry.

Some of the other household chores are handled by a cleaning service that keeps us honest, as we have to tidy and declutter to get ready for them. Daily decluttering? People do this? Wow.

Good Housekeeping Institute’s chores list is absurd – try this instead | Life and style | The Guardian

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What Trump Needs Now Is A Short, Victorious War (with BBQ)

G+: What Trump Needs Now Is A Short, Victorious War (with BBQ)

After a tumultuous few days of insulting the heads of state of various countries by phone (or threatening them via the Tweeter), Trump may think he's on a roll. Except for that embarrassing Yemeni excursion that ended so tragically, of course, but he won't spend much time brooding on that. He won't accept any blame, it'll all be dumped on the military that went in on his poorly informed say-so.

Frankly, I shudder to think what platitudes he will trot out to grieving families in the future.

The best he could hope for right now to stiffen the spines and nether parts of his staff, generals, and the Christofascists in Congress is a short, victorious war.

Instead of beating up on Iran and risking something really awful, may I suggest a warm-up exercise? How about Pig War II, with our erstwhile Canadian friends?

This time, instead of a shooting war, it would be a good old fashioned pig roast after some joint maneuvers (not those kinds of joints) in the San Juan Islands of the Pacfic Northwest.

Great idea, except that Canada is in mourning over some awful things that happened to Canadians who are Muslim, and Trump neglected to send his condolences for so long that it was pretty insulting

Maybe we could have Cow War instead, or Brat War up in Wisconsin? Paul Ryan loves him a good wienie roast.

The Pig War
The Pig War

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