Friday, August 26, 2011

Ghost Bikes

Ghost bikes are a memorial for cyclist who were injured or killed on a street. They are located in more than 150 locations all over the world. You have probably seen the white bikes chained to a post near an accident site. See

My ghost bikes are not white, they are pink. A 1970's rusty, pink Columbia bike parked in the bike room at work, a shiny pink cruiser on the street, little blond girl on a little pink bike with training wheels. They are a somber reminder of our beloved daughter who passed 2 years ago. She loved her pink bikes. Each time I see a pink bike, it is a reminder of a lost little girl. I just say hey and send a kiss.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Riding Attire

Cycling downtown has its own sense of fashion. It's not unusual to see women on bikes wearing high heels and dresses looking quite chic. No heels for me but thought it would be fun to ride in a skirt. I picked a full skirt that modestly covered my knees.
Lesson 3: Do not ride a bike wearing a full skirt into the wind without artfully tucking in the skirt. I learned about the Marilyn Monroe effect on a bike. Back to black spandex shorts.

Asking directions and passing.

Monday Aug 16
I'm feeling quite confident on the bike right about now. No longer does my bike have to reside under my desk at work, it has an official home in the bike room. The bike room accomodates 80 bikes in racks and assorted others around the edges room. I know how to check the brakes, seat is no longer slipping, gears are a ok.
Ride 4 Whipped along T street and a young man passed me on a road bike. About a block later he circle around and asked me if I knew how to get to Freeport.
Not sure exactly what he means. There is a Pedal Hard bike shop half a block up so I direct him there for his answer.
Ladies, men on bikes actually ask for directions!
A couple of blocks later, I spy a bike going slower that I am. I pass him.
Then I pass another lady. These are two big wheel bikes getting passed on the left by little wheels. Yippee yo yo.
Men asking directions and passing big wheel bikes. What a day.

Monday August 8 Nirvana

Finally, I didn't have to stop on the way home for technical difficulties. Beautiful cruise home along T street and then S St. I am riding on the sidewalk because no one is on it and I can avoid a major intersection. As I approach 65th St, I see a man pushing a wheelchair full of possessions across the middle of the street. I pushes it up curb and onto the sidewalk and stops right in front of me. My brakes worked perfectly and I stopped and swerved around him.

Question: Is a homelessman pushing a wheelchair a designated driver?

Bicycle parts 1 1/2 and 2

The rest of the story for part 1 for the pointy up seat story is that when a cyclist cannot sit on the seat, it is almost impossible to change gears. In addition to avoiding the bike seat, my legs were spinning at a rate that seemed impossibly fast.
No more bike riding the first week due to collateral damage from bike seat problems.

Monday August 1. Ride home 2 Brakes. The brakes on the bike were adjusted by a pro. Unbeknownst to me, brakes are easily unadjusted when folding and unfolding a bike. It seemed to me that my back brakes were rubbing. Each time I stopped, I adjusted the brakes, trying to pull the pads away from the wheel. I just kept going slower and slower. Again, my first words when I got home were Todd, help me with my brakes, my back brakes are sticking.
He fiddled with the back brakes, told me they were fine but that the front brakes had been sticking all the way home. Apparently the cable between the brakes pads that had been fine the day before, crimped during the folding process causing the brake pads to become permenately affixed to the front wheel.
No additional riding that week due to collateral leg pain from sticking brakes.
Lesson learned: Always check the brake cables before starting a ride.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Monday July 25, 2011 Part 1

Monday July 18. My internet-ordered fold-up bike arrived. It's zippy little 20" rim 7-speed model.
We had just returned from a whirlwind trip to Oregon for a 2 day wining and dining wedding/reunion in the Rainsong Vineyard outside Eugene. While we were gone, we had hardwood floors in our house refinished. All our furniture was moved into two rooms, there was floor dust that needed to be cleaned up, our bed needed to be in the bedroom. The bike came
A bit of dust cleaned and the bed in our bedroom. I could not resist. The box was opened. Front and back of bike secure, handle bars up, seat up, pedals down. I was off.
The brakes and gears needed some adjusting so I prevaled upon my oh so patient husband who is a skinny-tire, owns three bikes and all the tools kind-of-a guy, to do some adjustments. Two nights later mission sort of accomplished. He was gracious enough to take the bike to a pro for final adjustments.

Monday July 25

My employment is at 4th and Q in downtown Sacramento. I have been street walking to find the best route home. That is, the one with the least cars. I decided upon T Street. It is a classic Sacramento tree-lined street that takes a rider past the Victorians downtown, the 30th's and 40 cottages mid-town, past the post war homes built in the late 40's to early 50's. Most importantly, cars going my direction are not looking into the sun.
Ride home approximately 7-8 miles.
About mile 6, the seat started tipping back, just slightly. About mile 7, the seat was at about a 50 degree angle up in the front and down in the back. It doesn't stay down.
As I transistion from the coolness of downtown to suburbs past Sac State, I notice myself passing other low rider bikes with kids and assorted meth looking addicts on the same sized bikes. My fanny is slipping more and more backward. When I manage to pedal, the seat is shifting right then left. I was not sure the seat was going to stay on the bike.
I ride the last mile home standing on the pedals, hoping my foot doesn't slip because if it does, I will impale myself on the sticking up seat.

Lesson learned. Always adjust the seat on a new bike.
No further riding week one due to collateral damage from the bike seat.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, July 13

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 is the day I decided to finally purchase my red  fold-up bike. My employment is in downtown Sacramento, home of a bicycling renaissance. I really wanted a new bike. Yes, there is perfectly good red bike hanging in my garage. It was last ridden about a year ago.  It's just not an exciting bike. I wanted a new fun bike. Now to figure out what it was going to be.
I found my dream bike in Monterey in front of the Convention Center. A man came out of the Center holding a small bicycle, set it down, unfolded it, hopped on and away he went. I just stood there staring.  I had to have one. A fold up red bike in my future.
I  cancelled my convenient parking space across the street from work,  informed my husband we needed to start carpooling in our Prius  and that I was going to start riding home from work.  It took a couple of weeks to find the bike of my dreams. I purchased the value edition at because I wasn't sure if I would love this bike as much as I thought I would.  I do.
After sharing my fits and starts on the bike with friends and Tom, I was encouraged to start a blog.  Either they were tired of the emails and wanted me to stop sending or actually enjoyed the content. Either way, I thank them for their indulgence.
Let the blog begin.