Word is that the bridge construction may start next year, complete the year after. This will make Tour de Cure routing interesting!
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 “running machine.” 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 you’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 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.
LET’S DO THIS.
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.
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:
Laura A Lampe
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.
THANK YOU EVERYONE!
I may have found my n+1 bike, with short trips and street-clothes style in mind.
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.
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?
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.