More than a week ago, it was my birthday, so once again, what is it to me?
25 years ago, at a very advanced and nearly-spinsterly age, I married the love of my life, David. We met in Colorado, and a little more than a year later, we got married in Colorado, at a B&B that’s now closed and for sale. Much has changed since this photo was taken – my mom on the left died in 2006, and my mother-in-law Leah died in 2012. The Alps closed a few years ago; we stopped by on our June road trip to Colorado and spent a rather sad hour walking around seeing if the owners were there to condole with. We had stayed there a half-dozen times over the years and in its prime, it was the nicest B&B on the Western Slope, IMNSHO.
So it was my birthday, and I’m not having it. Meaning, I didn’t want to make plans, or be the center of attention. And yet attention is insisting on being paid, as my in-laws dropped by with a card and their cat in a carrier (their house is on the market and was being shown).
This is Linda, my step-MIL, and me looking about how you do on 20 minutes’ notice that company is coming and maybe one might want to brush hair and put something on other than pajamas. So I chose my “unicorn travel consultant” T-shirt because I’m all about formality and shit. Gracie the cat stayed in her carrier, she’s somewhat grouchy on decanting and would deffo be disenchanted to be encanted after only about an hour.
I was all set to have a nice lazy Saturday morning, bloggity blathering about my natal day indifference, when we got the call. WBEZ was comfortably into Saturday Edition, we had coffee, I had my lap desk and iPad and wireless keyboard set, WordPress set, and… “ring ring, can we drop something off for the birthday person in about half an hour?”
There was consternation, vigorous miming of reluctance, eventual acceptance, and then David leapt heroically into the shower while I bustled around finding something to wear and tidying the living room.
I’ve been very, very anti-social this year, some of which I detailed in a recent blogpost, but when they arrived, they had Gracie in a carrier and just wanted to hug, hand off the card, and go sit in their car at Dunkin and wait while the realtor showed a prospective buyer around their house. I came out to see Gracie, barefoot on a cool, autumnal day, and thought “Oh, for hell’s sake, why not just make coffee?” They brandished Dunkin Donuts gift cards and said they weren’t planning on staying. I suggested that I could make a pot of coffee, they could go get donuts, and come back to hang out in comfort, with Gracie in the carrier.
It worked out fine. By the time they got back I had a coffee tray all set up with creamer and mugs and a carafe, and even a bottle of Bailey’s that I usually set out on Christmas brunch. What the hell, socializing isn’t so bad even for a near-recluse. So they came, and we had a pleasant time discussing the sale of houses and the renovation of houses, and now they’re off home to wait to hear if there will be an offer or not.
Today’s plan: have to get some stuff together to go down to Aurora for the Tour de Cure, which I’ve been very quiet about this year, too. I spent the last 5 years begging for donations to my fundraiser for TdC and this year…. I just didn’t want to keep begging on Facebook or at church, didn’t want to go to church at all, didn’t want to post anything on Facebook at all, and so on. I do have some gift checks to log. The ride is tomorrow and I haven’t ridden more than a few miles this year, because Reasons.
UPDATE, a week later, because I had some important reclusing to do.
Tour de Cure was Sunday, September 25th, but the night before, we went down to Aurora to stay overnight because David was riding the metric century and had an early start. He ended up riding 67.49 miles – he said “bonus miles” which usually means a) he made a wrong turn or b) the official route had “mileage creep” once they finally positioned the rest stops and finalized the route
We had dinner at Two Brothers Roundhouse with Rita Barksdale, who came in from Virginia to ride with us. David leant her one of his spare steeds, and she also had bonus miles because she couldn’t decide which route to ride and freelanced her way to the shorter route after deciding the metric century was biting off more than she could chew on a borrowed bike.
I came in earlier than the others so I had the fun of cheering for people crossing the line and dancing by myself to the musical stylings of an okay Heart/Styx/Cheap Trick cover band. I ached the next day more from all the gyrating on a hard surface than a piddly little 14 mile ride. I’m way out of training, and also I stubbed my toe badly on Saturday so I didn’t want to risk losing the toenail. Ugh.
It was good to see friends that we hadn’t been with in years; I spent a lot of time jabbering with Eric Christy, who used to be a chairperson of the planning committee. We groused quite a bit about how things were organized for this first year back post-Covid, but we weren’t involved in planning (in previous years David was on the planning committee and headed Team Red Chicago). We’ve all drawn back the last few years.
Attendance was down; the event was moved to September from June during Covid when they thought there was still a chance of putting on an in-person event the first year. In 2019 we had a rainout due to a severe thunderstorm that forced a cancellation as we were all ready to start; it’s severely impacted the Tour de Cure ever since.
You can still donate to my fundraiser for a month, here’s the link if interested.
Anyway, I wore my Red Rider jersey and yelled “Go Red Rider” every time I saw someone else wearing one, but it was so cold and windy that I had my windbreaker on for the first half of the ride. So I didn’t hear any callouts in kind.
I have to get serious about riding and nutrition again, because for the last few years I’ve been really slack on doing regular blood glucose tests and my weight has crept up. So after my experience last week, feeling sort of let down, I decided to start testing consistently again.
And it’s clear my numbers have crept up again along with my weight. I seem to go into remission when I’m fitter, so it’s time to get my indoor trainer tidied up and figure out how to get Zwift started again.
I prefer indoor riding to outdoor, anyway; I get more consistent results and I completely avoid issues with road-riding nerves.
I do want to continue having birthdays as it’s kind of a requirement for living. As I’ve reached the advanced age that confers Medicare coverage (yes, I signed up) and I see and hear my friends’ stories of various health problems, it seems like a dumb idea to ride the couch instead of my bike.
Also, in November we’re going to Shit Lake Salty to help my niece Holly celebrate a big birthday and her retirement (she’s a VA nurse-practitioner muckety-muck of some kind, goes to international conferences sometimes). My whole family will be there so I’d like to be looking and feeling fitter. Need to get a few things done before then, too
I may not like celebrating my own birthday, but it’ll be fun helping Holly celebrate hers. Many happy returns!
This is an interactive bike-ped infrastructure map. I need to add some comments but can’t do it on the iPad or iPhone.
There is a special place in hell for suburban planners who create closed-loop developments and cross-streets that don’t line up for safe crossings. And an even more special place in hell for golf courses that block all access.
These look a little more epic than I’m capable of handling, but they still look like a dream. But there must be a typo in the England to Rome one – 2 days to go a thousand miles is pretty ambitious in a CAR, let alone on a bike.
June 2017 marked 200 years since German inventor Karl Von Drais first rode his two-wheeled Laufmaschine, or â€œrunning machine.â€ These trips celebrate the bike.
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.
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.
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 youâ€™ll never stop!
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 thatâ€™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, itâ€™s quicker than a flat bar), and fenders shield you from road splash. And because sometimes you donâ€™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.