If It Isn’t On Strava, It Didn’t Happen

I messed up getting one of my 2 rides Saturday into Strava, it was only partial because I forgot to turn my Garmin computer-tracking thingy on. Then this ride doesn’t show up in the widget on the right column, because later that day I decided to jump on my fitness bike that’s now up on the trainer, and apparently it doesn’t get captured or something to WordPress.

It’s on Strava, it did happen. I rode for an entire hour, pretty hard. It went quickly because I had music going and ended up snagging some songs for iTunes to go in a “cycling” playlist. Thank God for KUNC’s all-music stream. Feel free to donate to them, too.

specialized hybrid bicycle on training stand

Fears, I Has Them (But I’m Working On It)

Lately, I haven’t been riding any of my bikes much. Over the summer, I went on a weekend trip with David and we had a terrific time, and I rode more than 30 miles, two days in a row. But I also fell over (again) at a crosswalk while clipped in, and although I wasn’t hurt, it reinforced the fear I’ve had of riding while clipped in that has been building since completing the Tour de Cure in June. It’s been holding me back, frankly, and I need to get over it, because on the other hand, riding while clipped in helps me go faster and more efficiently. I’ve also been avoiding road riding, although recently I’ve been riding the newer bike, The Hon. Geoffrey Beans, on neighborhood streets. Basically, I’ve been following some of the suggestions in this blogpost:

Somehow, I overcame my fears. It took a while and a little determination, but I can honestly say that even though I still have a healthy respect for riding on the road, I am confident and comfortable doing it. I own my piece of the road and I make drivers respect me. Who would have thought?So if you have wanted to get on a bike but have been held back by fear, almost everyone goes through it. But if I can overcome it, anybody can! I did a little research, called on a few riding friends, and here is a list of tips if you want to begin cycling for sport, commuting, or fun, but are afraid of riding in the city.WARNING: Cycling is highly addictive- once you start riding you’ll never stop!

Source: Biking for Beginners: 10 Ways to Overcome Fears of Cycling in the City | lasesana

On My Wish List: Liv Flourish 2 Available Soon in US

This bike, which was recently featured in Bicycling Magazine, is now on my wish list. And now, it’s finally been announced in the US, with prices that seem to be lower than the article predicted! The MSRP is 580.00 on the Liv/Giant website, and it’ll be available at my local bikeshop(s). I’d have to do less to set it up for what I want it for: utility errand rides and cafe runs during daylight or early evening hours. I’d probably ruin it by adding a rear rack and baskets or panniers, though.


The Flourish comes with more gearing options, with three rings up front and a 7-speed Shimano IGH rear derailleur. The Flourish 2 ($620) that Sherman showed us comes with an oversize wicker basket that’s big enough to hold a full daypack and a cushioned leather spring saddle that helps smooth the ride. The swept handlebar enables you to hold on while sitting up (though the steering takes a little getting used to, it’s quicker than a flat bar), and fenders shield you from road splash. And because sometimes you don’t always remember to bring a light for your commute, or you end up staying out later than you think (like we did yesterday), I was excited to find that the Flourish 2 has a built-in lighting system: There’s an integrated rear blinky light and a headlight powered by a dynamo hub that lit my way to the bar and then home. Pricing starts at $360 for the Flourish 4 (no lighting, fenders, or chain guard) and goes up to $620 for the Flourish 2. Several color options are available, too.

Via: 2016 Liv City Bikes are Cute, Comfy, and Fun

THANK YOU To All, From A Grateful Red Rider


Bike The Drive Chicago River

In just 1 week, I’m riding 40 miles on a bike named Veda to help raise funds for the American Diabetes Association’s ‘Tour de Cure’ cycling event.


Team Red at Bike The Drive Chicago

I’m ready; last week I rode a total of 53 miles on Saturday and Sunday (including 30 miles for Chicago’s Bike the Drive).

I’ll be able to complete the whole shebang, assuming I don’t crash too many times trying to learn to ride with my new clipless pedals that I bought last week from Larry Gross at Village Cycle. So far I’ve only fallen once. WOOHOO, go me.

I’m just a little short of making my goal of $2000.00, but I’m pretty confident; fundraising closes by about July 7 and I think I’ll be just over the top by the 14JUN ride date. Right now I’ve raised $1814.00. If you’re planning on sending a check, let me know by email that I should expect it; I haven’t received any checks by mail so far.

THANK YOU to the following wonderful friends and family members who’ve donated so far:

Sheldon Gibbs
Andrea Frabotta
David Brown
Valerie Gruenwald
Bill Barlow
Suzanna Wilson
Patricia Kalicki
Debra Wynn
Ray Malacek
Donna Lettow
Carolyn Nicholson
Sheryl Millman
Kevin Swan
Scott Eiler
Laura A Lampe
Linda Abelman
Marty Acks
Claudia Boyle
Ginny Gibbs
Julie Kinker
Jeffrey Syslo
Jennifer Brundage
Mary Fletcher-Gomez
Robert DeHaven
Kathy Brown
Jeff Westerheide
Michael Scafidi
Joanne Mangiaracina
Sherri Lambton
Jon Jerome

Your support means so much to me. I see comments on donations via the ADA’s Tour de Cure page, things like “GO GINNY” and “Thank you for riding for all the people with diabetes…”

You can see a map of all the donations so far http://www.ridewithginny.com/map/

You can visit my official Tour page at http://main.diabetes.org/site/TR?px=9445363&fr_id=10179&pg=personal

You can also visit http://www.ridewithginny.com and it redirects to the ADA page.


2016 Liv City Bikes are Cute, Comfy, and Fun | Bicycling

I may have found my n+1 bike, with short trips and street-clothes style in mind.

Liv Flourish 2

The Flourish comes with more gearing options, with three rings up front and a 7-speed Shimano IGH rear derailleur. The Flourish 2 ($620) that Sherman showed us comes with an oversize wicker basket that’s big enough to hold a full daypack and a cushioned leather spring saddle that helps smooth the ride. The swept handlebar enables you to hold on while sitting up (though the steering takes a little getting used to, it’s quicker than a flat bar), and fenders shield you from road splash. And because sometimes you don’t always remember to bring a light for your commute, or you end up staying out later than you think (like we did yesterday), I was excited to find that the Flourish 2 has a built-in lighting system: Theres an integrated rear blinky light and a headlight powered by a dynamo hub that lit my way to the bar and then home. Pricing starts at $360 for the Flourish 4 (no lighting, fenders, or chain guard) and goes up to $620 for the Flourish 2. Several color options are available, too.

via 2016 Liv City Bikes are Cute, Comfy, and Fun | Bicycling.

Diabetes Sucks, But My A1C Is 5.8

It’s a numbers game, and currently I’m on the winning side. My first A1C (long-term average blood glucose) came in at 5.8, down from 6.6 when I was diagnosed in December.

So that’s great, right? Yes, and despite the claims medical hucksters who’ll sell you a cure in a kit, I still have diabetes. It’s just well-controlled at the moment. I’m lucky that at this point it’s not advanced farther.

I’ve raised 1405.00 toward my goal of 2000.00 for the Tour de Cure charity ride, with just a month to go. 

You can help me achieve that goal by visiting http://www.ridewithginny.com (checks cheerfully accepted if you ask for my address).

My longest ride so far is about 20 miles but bad weather on the weekends has cut into my training, though I’ve gotten in evening rides during the week (10 miles last night, partly with Vince Patrizi). I should be able to finish on the day, but I’d still like to log a 30 or 35 mile ride first.

Still, it’s been a long process getting to this point. My numbers are good; do you know yours?


Re-Beginning: Buy A Decent Bike The First Time

Last year, I bought a perfectly adequate bike ahead of my first ride for the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure. Almost immediately, I realized I might have made a mistake, because the bike I picked was a bit of a duffer – fine for errands or city riding, but a bit heavy for getting up moderate grades.

This year, I bought a bike that was better suited to how I’m riding now, and how I hope to be riding for the next couple of years – smooth street riding, quick multi-use path riding, and a much more efficient fit for going up hills.

I wish I’d done more homework last year, and seen articles like this one, before I bought the first bike. I had this idea that I wanted a step-through frame, but it took me a few rides to realize that it handled kind of oddly at low speeds.

My new bike is a much better fit, bought at the same local bike shop but by a much more experienced fitter. I’ll be getting a “pro fit” in a week or two. It took me a season’s worth of riding last year and over the winter on the trainer to figure out what it was I wanted from my old bike that it couldn’t give me. I may sell it; I may give in to its essential city-errand bike nature and put fenders, a basket, and a cargo rack on the back. You can never have too many bikes, if you have more than one reason for needing one.

If you’re thinking of getting back into cycling – do yourself a favor and do some research. Take a look at some of the tips in this article, and consider that some good deals are out there if you ask about previous year’s models at your local bike shop.

The most important thing is to visit at least a couple of honest-to-God cycle shops, and take several test rides after consulting with the shop’s resident fit guru. Be sure to check your expectations – what you think you want may not necessarily be what is right for you.

Get the best bike you can afford – and if you buy used, see if the seller can meet you at your local bike shop to have it checked out.

Bike shopping should be an exciting experience; you’re making a purchase that could potentially be life-changing. However, it’s not something to be taken lightly as buying your first bike in a speedy process and selecting the wrong one for you can limit your enjoyment of cycling, making you less inclined to ride.

Ultimately, a great local bike store is an invaluable resource for all of your cycling needs. They are experts in the field of matching bike to rider. That is, assuming you find one that makes it easy, and provides you with a good shopping experience.

In short, one of the first tips here is from the moment you set foot in a bike store, if you aren’t acknowledged within the first thirty seconds, even if it’s just to say that someone will help you as soon as they can, go elsewhere.

Acknowledgement and approach are two of the most basic tenets of good customer service. If these don’t happen in a timely fashion, it’s unlikely that the rest of your shopping experience will be any better.

via Buying your First Bike for Beginngers | Total Women’s Cycling.

Training With Veda

specialized hybrid bicycle on training stand


We’ve both been on vacation this week and instead of making firm plans to go anywhere, we stayed around home and got some things done. Unfortunately, the weather has not been cooperating, and the previous week’s mild temperatures were replaced by cold, high winds, and even a 5″ snowfall. We only went riding once, and the old bike was off the training stand because I was riding it before we purchased Veda, my new bike (a Specialized Vita Elite).

Veda’s up on the training stand because vacation’s over, the weather isn’t good for riding the rest of the weekend, and it’s been too long since I got any appreciable exercise, and my blood glucose numbers tell the story.

The week of St Patrick’s day, I didn’t have a single reading over 100, and most of them are in the 85-95 range, with one morning as low as 81, the day after an eight-mile ride in Elk Grove Village. There were other rides in the same week – I rode daily after buying Veda until midweek and the BG numbers follow right along.

This week, with almost no riding except for a cold and frustrating ride around the Paul Douglas forest preserve  bike path loop,  and not much walking counted by my Vivofit fitness tracker gadget, the numbers have been troubling. They went right back over 100 with only one day under that number all week, although I’ve been carefully counting carbs and calories (and losing weight) through the week “off.”

Not exercising means not controlling my numbers well. That’s all there is to it.

I’m looking forward to going to the Chicagoland Diabetes Expo in April and hoping that my brother-in-law Dan and his girlfriend Tami can go along with us, it’s going to be fun.

You can follow my progress at Strava.com – I’m GinnyRED57 there, or at MyFitnessPal.com (I’m GinnyRED57 there too).

Check out http://www.ridewithginny.com for my Tour de Cure fundraising – please donate any amount!

The Fitness Bug

Something interesting seems to have happened.

I’ve caught the fitness bug. Either that, or Bug has gotten into fitness (my dad’s nickname for me was either Bugginia or Bug).

I spent all of last spring and part of the summer not riding the bike I bought, which was a fairly decent women’s step-through that wasn’t quite the right fit or size for me. I went for a few rides, and made it around the 20 mile course for Tour de Cure last year, and I liked it all right, but never felt very comfortable on it. Also, I wished I had bought something lighter and had spent more time test riding and trying different things – I had this thought in my head that I didn’t want to awkwardly lay the bike halfway over to get my leg over the seat (never having been graceful) on my previous bike, which was a mountain bike with nobbly tires.

Unlike David, I didn’t go out of my way to ride my bike, and I didn’t plan travel around it (on vacation in Maui last year, he rented a very nice road bike for the 2 weeks and raved about it, but I’m not ready to be a road cyclist).

So then in December when I was diagnosed with diabetes, it was like running into an ice-cold wall of wake-up call. Although I was eating fairly well (following David’s low-carb diet), I was overweight, out of shape, and having to deal with a chronic disease that I was supposed to regulate with diet and exercise.

I still haven’t been to the nutritional class for newly-hatched diabetics, but I attended a 4 or 6 week seminar with David when he was diagnosed that was run by the local hospital, and I’ve been through my own very quick rundown with the nurse-nutritionist at my doctor’s office. The whole thing was a blur, but I came away from my “Congratulations, you’re diabetic” consult feeling slightly underwhelmed by the information I was getting.

Fortunately, with David being so involved with Tour de Cure Chicago (team captain of Team Red, is a member of at least one committee and is well-known in the offices of the American Diabetes Association in Chicago), I pretty much had the gist of what it means to to have diabetes, and have it be “well-controlled.” We’re lucky, neither of us currently have to take medication for it, although many, many of the people we know through the various ADA fundraiser and educational events deal with insulin, oral medication, insulin pumps,and more.

As far as being “well-controlled,” which is keeping one’s daily blood glucose readings within a healthy range, I’m doing all right. I had already decided to do the Tour de Cure and ride 40 miles, and had David set me up with a custom web page that re-directs to my Tour de Cure fundraising page (which has an impossible URL as far as remembering it, reposting it, etc.).

During most of the long, cold, dark winter, I was riding my old bike, set up on a training rig in the spare bedroom. David hooked sensors up and set me up with fitness apps and other gadgets (such as a Vivofit that’s linked to Garmin and also My Fitness Pal). I rode for about 20-30 minutes at a time, every few days. It was boring, uncomfortable, and not that pleasant. But I was getting some benefit and my weight dropped, and my blood glucose kept dropping from the rather high 140s-160s to a more reasonable 110-115. And then it kept on dropping.

So then David started talking about getting me a new bike; lighter, better fit, and so on. I came around to the idea of lifting my leg up and back to get it over the seat again. We talked to a guy David trusts at our local bike shop, Brad at Bike Connection. I looked at a few bikes, but one Brad sized me on had felt right. We made plans to go back and do some real test rides at a couple of places.

Meanwhile, I’d been out on the old bike on a few rides around the neighborhood, and hey, my blood glucose really started to drop. It was good to get the old bike off the trainer, and it wasn’t as uncomfortable as it was on the rig, but it still wasn’t what I needed.

So last Saturday we rode around, and the bike that still felt best AND rode best was Veda.

Since then I’ve ridden every day, even today, a mid-week day (there was a regular Meetup ride at Busse Woods). David got me a refurbished Garmin bike computer, because using my iPhone and some apps with an ANT adapter wasn’t cutting it. And my blood glucose, weirdly, has stabilized in the 80’s-90s. I know, WEIRD, right?

Here’s my Strava route from today – it was oddly cool and warm at the same time. There’s a big booming wind coming from the west tonight and although the temperature read 73 degrees, it felt a lot cooler than that, especially when the wind came over the still-slushy lakes.

This ride from the day before, my first long ride on Veda, ended abruptly when the battery in the iPhone died. I kept riding and went back to Holy Moly, where I’d left the car park (it was a post-church ride).

My mileage is NOT impressive compared to some of David’s friends whose Strava postings are pretty intense, but it’s good to get outside and do something and I’m seeing so much benefit from it already.

Still have to tweak some things as far as the bike is concerned (sometimes called “dialing it in” ) but I’m happy to have caught the fitness bug while it can still do me a lot of good.

My new BIKE and other updates

So yesterday after a really rough day at work (my main reservation system was down all day, ALL DAY, and I had to stick around waiting until a tech IMed me at the end of the day) David took me to our local bike shop.

And look what followed us home! We’re keepin’ em!

My Specialized Crossroads

My bike is a Specialized Crossroads Sport Step-thru (that’s what they call women’s bikes now) and David’s is a Specialized Allez Elite. He’s serious about road riding, I’m just getting back in the saddle (heh).

I still have a mountain bike that I haven’t ridden in at least a year or two; chiefly because when I did ride, I felt like I was putting a lot of stress on my arms and wrists and my hands would start to go numb and feel like I was wearing softball mitts or cartoon hands. With all the riding David’s been doing, I’m interested in riding too – but I’m realistic in not thinking I’m going to be much more than a recreational rider. Also, I decided on the step-through frame because I’ve found it awkward to mount a bike when I’m in good shape, and I’m not in very good shape now (all that hard work at the gym 2 years ago wasted).

I test-rode several bikes at Bike Connection, starting from the lower end, and worked my way up to this one. Decided I didn’t even want to try a full-on mountain bike; I wanted something that was suited to bike routes, paved paths, and crushed gravel that was lighter and had less rolling resistance. With this bike, I can jump on and ride over to Poplar Creek (or down to Busse Woods) easily. I’m planning on riding the Tour de Cure next year (probably the 20 mile, may up that to the 35 mile if I stick with a riding routine through the summer (and figure something out for the winter, maybe).

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to riding around the village. There are bike paths and routes under construction or being planned. Some of the maps are out of date; there’s a brand new bike path coming up Higgins that’s gotten as far as Roselle, and David says they’re building a bridge between the sections of Busse Woods Forest Preserve that’s presently served by a very, very busy crosswalk.

I may be taking a friend over to look at bikes tomorrow after church .

Other Stuffs

We had a nice Fourth of July with my bro-in-law Dan; bison burgers out on the patio. We haven’t used the patio much in the last few years, it was a nice time. There was a nice bookend the last couple of weekends; a memorial dedication and a family get-together, and the next week a surprise birthday party with a family get-together.

There’s a lot to look forward to in the family now, as we’re doing a shared vacation in August (WOOOO, VACATION). More on that later, but the tentative plans are to fly into Seattle August 18, do touristy stuff and see friends for a few days, go to Victoria, possibly stop off at Olympic National Park, then head to Idaho to see more family. Kind of epic, and I may have to sit down with a map and my husband and father-in-law and show them just how much driving they’re enthusiastically building into this vacation! However, I’m thinking we might need to do Victoria on the high-speed passenger ferry from Seattle and a package deal from there, and may have to skip the Olympic Peninsula… otherwise, it’s a marathon of driving, unpacking, and driving. However, there are passenger ferries and so on, though no longer a car ferry between Seattle and Victoria any more, it seems.

I’ve spotted a couple of interesting places to stay but will probably have to confirm places by working backwards; I haven’t decided yet which direction we’ll do a big loop that might get us from Seattle to Victoria to Port Angeles and back to Seattle, before taking off east toward Ho-De-Ay. For various reasons I’d like to have a Saturday night in Victoria, which would probably mean doing the loop in counter-clockwise fashion. Or it could be Seattle-Port Angeles-Seattle with a ferry excursion from there, aughghghgh but the ferry from Anacortes is so much more scenic. See what I mean? Augh.