Friday, August 13, 2010

our vulnerability and helping each other

This blog has detailed my many biking adventures and the joys of doing this activity as we age. I am accustomed to asking folks who are off their bikes along the sides of the roads if they are OK?? Most time they are fine. Today I was not on my bike but coming home in my car from picking berries and nectarines from my local "u-pic-um" farm. I see a neighbor sitting on the grass at the side of the road with a dog who appears to be down as well.

Lo and behold my neighbor was indeed in need of help. The dog was merely comforting her as she lay in pain. She had fallen and had either broken her ankle or sprained it badly. The dog was not her dog. She was walking a neighbor's dog and slipped on the wet grass. She was as pale as a sheet and desperately needing help. My son and I got her and the dog into the car, we took the dog home and retrieved my neighbor's purse and took her to the ER.

I left all my phone numbers with her in case she needs a ride home. Not sure if she has other folks she can call. This lady is a loner. She lives alone and I never see anyone at her home. I know her as we both have lived here forever. My heart ached for her when I saw her stranded on the side of road.

Like me, she is getting older. She and I are now the resident old farts in the neighborhood. The older folks have died off and young families have moved into their homes. My greatest strength is that I am a nosy neighbor. I do notice folks. I know everyone's pets and cars and whatnot. I would recognize anyone even if I did not know their names.

Lesson to be learned is that as we age, carry your cell phone, even when walking a dog. You never know when you might go down. I wear ROAD ID as well when biking but I am thinking maybe it is not a bad idea to wear it all the time. Lucky for my neighbor I know her. I could help. I am heading back to the hospital to see what is up. I have called several times and she was still in the ER.

Bike more and get better

I bike with many different folks; ladies, men and newbies and experts as well. At one point I was a newbie. I was afraid on the road and I could not do many things on my bike except fall over when put into a difficult spot. I fell going up steep hills, and I fell at intersections when I could not unclip fast enough.

I have had my fair share of close calls. I could not even stand up on my bike when riding. Last year my total miles was 2400. Sounds like a lot but even that high number was not enough to make me much better on the roads.

This year I am already at 3000 miles. And this year I am improving. I can now stand. I can now avoid the falls, and I can now bike on busy roads. Have I done anything extraordinary on the bike?? No. I simply went out and biked. Some days I went fast and some days I went slow.

I had no plan. I went to no training clinics. I do not wear a heart rate monitor. I have no idea what cadence means. I have no plan except to get out more and bike.

I have found as well that many ladies want to bike and do it sometimes but not enough to improve. As a result, they give up. They make excuses as to why they cannot bike. I have had little success in getting women to bike regularly. Since I have been leading bike rides for my club I can count on one hand the number of ladies over the last 4 years that have really taken to biking. My hat is off to these ladies. It is fun to see them improve and ride. One lady recently rode across Iowa and one lady is doing her 2nd 100 mile ride this weekend. If these ladies and myself can do this, why can't you? None of us is under the age of 50 and yet we found a way to bike. One of us is retired, one works full time and one works parttime. So we come from all walks of life.

So tell me, just what is your excuse??

Sunday, August 8, 2010

thanks frey

Frey (free) and a friend

Yesterday I did a 54 mile bike ride, the Dog Daze Ride sponsored by the Brandywine Bike Club of Chester County, PA. It was a long fairly hilly ride but the weather had finally cooled and it was quite nice for a change, no sweat stinging my eyes. Most sponsored rides attract folks ranging from expert to novice. My son , Frey, accompanied me.

I am a good rider but I cannot do the speeds of the faster folks on these rides. Pace lines flew by, old men passed me on the hills and younger women also passed me. We had men go flying by pumping away up the long climbs.

My son can easily out bike anyone on this ride. He is large and strong and one awesome cyclist. He has the stamina of a work horse when he is on a bicycle. But not once in this ride did he ever feel the urge to take off and try and pass anyone. Never once even when the old gray haired guys went by and said, "hey, how ya doing?"

Took me over 4 hours to complete the 54 miles. My son could have done it in half the time. But he choose to ride with me, lucky me:)