Thursday, February 25, 2010

new bike store in WC

And the best part of this news, Bean's Bikes, (of Paoli) has a female manager at this 2nd store. So all of us ladies can go in and ask for Kim if we want special help buying a bike or gear. Since men outnumber the chicks in the biking market, Beans was smart to put as one of the managers, a woman.

Beans 2nd bike store will be located at the old Hot Foot Cycles bike store. Beans Bike Store in Paoli is one fine bike shop and we can only hope this West Chester store thrives and stays in business. We really need a good bike store in West Chester and I have to think having a chick in the store is a great first step.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WTF is this??

I was at my doctor's this morning, we got to talking about biking. Right away I can see he wants to say something. He tells me about 2 cyclists, riding abreast, going fast and refusing to single up that he was forced to follow for some time.

If I hear about this one more time I am going to scream. Why do elite riders think they can ride however they wish? Their selfish behavior affects my safety on the road. My life on the road is affected by this type of riding.

A few weeks ago I saw two riders from my own bike club biking side by side with cars behind them. As I stated below, the cycling hatred is never going to stop if the elite riders continue to feel somehow that they are privileged and can take up as much room as they want on the road.

At this point, I am beginning to think that club sponsored large group rides are doing more harm than good. These large groups are hard to pass. Cyclists seem to have an entitlement attitude. I have every right to be on the road they say.

My own club sends out huge groups of riders. Mostly the elite groups. Sometimes as many as 20 or so riders head out in the group.

Is this the best thing for the future of cycling? Not sure.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Make yourself as passable as possible

This is my motto, many cyclists tell me this is wrong. Keep biking they say, maintain your speed, don't pull over. Well, to me this just makes cars angry and I don't want to be hit by an angry driver. With the advent of cell phones and texting, we are at a great risk of getting hit.

Large pace lines, large groups and being totally unaware of the line of cars behind you to me is just plain stupid. Yeah, I know, I can hear the elite riders laughing and telling me they have every right to bike however they want. But putting yourself at risk is not smart. Yes we all have the right to be on the road but being courteous to the cars goes a long way to make cycling less hostile to the cars.

Today I was out doing a solo ride. Here in the Northeast we still have a boatload of snow. The road shoulders are just not there and there is a lot of water on the roads as well. If I had a car behind me today, I did all I could to make passing me easy. Even went so far as pulling into a driveway to let a line of cars go by.

To me this is the only way to bike. Passing a cyclist is not easy. It puts the car at risk. Passing a large group or a pace line has to be near impossible to pass especially if on a 2-lane road.

You can bike however you wish, but with today's distracted drivers, make yourself as passable as possible.

Make yourself as well as visible as possible,too. Lots of bright colors, dayglow yellow jackets and blinkie lights. Be seen be safe and be passable.

hey Lower Merion, you created this problem

Those of you who have heard about the Lower Merion School District case of wire tapping or spying or whatever it is being called let me enlighten you.

The LMSD gives all 2300 students an Apple laptop. Apparently the laptops are able to be remotely monitored. The school district says it is used to track lost or stolen computers.

Now when talking to my son this morning he took a different take of this issue and I have to agree wholeheartedly with him.

Lower Merion gets 2300 computers. LMSD then gives these computers to the students. LMSD assummes many will be lost or stolen and tells this to the kids. Tells them that they will track stolen or lost computers.

My son's take is do not give out computers and tell students you assume many will be lost and or stolen. Just hand out the computers. Tell the kids, bring them back at the end of the year. If the district cannot trust its students and tells them this, then they invited the mess.

Better idea, you hand out the computer, charge the kids for the insurance to cover loss or theft and then forgot about it.

Why have insurance if you are then going to use the spying equipment to track them? This whole case only illustrates the sick mentality of school administrators which assumes students are cheaters, thieves and to be mistrusted.

Why not change this paradigm and assume the kids will use the computers responsibly? If they use them irresponsibly, that is what the insurance is for. You lose your computer or break it, you do not get another one and the insurance reimburses the district for the loss. End of story.

No spying equipment needed. Get an insurance policy that will cover reimbursement. Charge each kid for this policy. Whatever the cost of insurance, surely it is not as high as the cost of the new computer. If students do not want to pay for the insurance, then no computer. If student says he cannot afford insurance, just ask him if he has an ipod or a cell phone. If he does, he can afford insurance.

Sorry for the rant, this case is beyond pathetic and points to all that is wrong in education. That awful "gotcha" mentality, no wonder kids get fed up with school. Schools constantly assume the worst of the kids.

Monday, February 15, 2010

get ready folks


Biking season is just around the corner. OK, I know that is wishful thinking with all this snow but a gal can dream! Let's make this year better than last year. Somethings I have planned for this year.

1. Opening bike clinic for newbies, and ride leaders and oldies, tentative date March 14, Sunday afternoon - agenda - recruit ride leaders, help newbies get started, tips on how to buy a bike and where to go, how not to get ripped off at the bike store and how to change a flat tire.

2. Bigger attendance at area sponsored rides, upcoming Icicle Metric, March 27, Girls with Gears April 18, Chester County Cancer Ride May 23, Pedal to Preserve June 5 PLAN NOW AND PLAN TO RIDE

3. NEW RIDE LEADERS who have already volunteered, Fran D - Level D, Ellen Z and Katherine L for C+, Eileen F for Level C, Tom D for Level C and Cassandra H is looking to do training rides on weeknights and I am looking for more folks to step forward. Email me if interested. ALL you have to do is one or two rides.

4. More ride events such as the Brunch Ride, Kennett Square Mushroom Festival, rides on the Perkiomen Trail for those with cross bikes, rides on the Schuylkill River Trail to the Art Museum and a food stop in Manyunk to name a few. Open to ideas from everyone.

5. Email me with ideas or bring them to the March 14 opening meeting where I hope to see lots of you step up with ideas on how to expand our bike riding.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bike Store Rant #2

bikes are way more complicated today than yesteryear

I was in Performance Bike Store today picking up some tires and tubes for my son. As I waited for the salesperson to bring my order up, I noticed a lady with her husband trying to buy a road bike.

I felt bad for both of them. Neither had a clue as to what to look for in a good road bike. The young man waiting on them, maybe 20 yrs old if he was lucky, looked bored out of his skull. He was no help to this woman. He had picked out a Fuji, probably last year's model I am guessing as the clerk was talking about discounting the bike.

He did put the lady on a trainer with the bike but past that, he did not do much. Told the lady he would move the seat up and put a shorter handlebar stem on the bike for her.

The bike had compact gearing and was priced at $1499 with the discount. I could not tell what brand the components were. But this is a lot of money and watching this couple spend this kind of money and not have a clue as to what they were buying broke my heart.

The clerk almost talked the woman into a cross bike. Luckily, she did not bite.

Bike stores want to sell bikes but do so little to make it a worthwhile experience for newbies looking to enter the sport of biking. No one gives them good information. The fit is hit or miss depending on who waits on you.

If I owned a bike store, I would set up a section just for bike buying. I would have displays about the components. Terry Cycles has many fabo videos talking about fit and how to buy a bike. These could be running for folks to view. There are many things that bike stores could do to lessen the fear and ignorance that most women have when they go into a bike store.

From what I can see, it is not a good experience if you do not know much about bikes. I wish bike stores would address this problem. Maybe more women would take up the sport if they got top flight help when they went into the store.

My town just had a bike store close up. Bike store owners think, just open up a store and put some bikes in it. They have no clue how intimidating it is for newbies to go into a bike store and try to buy a bike. Come on bike store owners, do something different and sell some road bikes to women.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

how to fix obesity

Make one rule, you can eat only food that you have cooked, even if it is just a hamburger on the grill or a grilled cheese sandwich, don't eat it unless you have cooked it. Make peanut butter sandwiches with whole wheat bread, and add milk and fruit. Nothing wrong with that meal, way better than Mickey Ds hamburgers.

Michelle Obama is now weighing in (no pun intended) on the nation's obesity. All I hear is how to teach kids to make healthy choices. I hear about some schools labeling food as good food and bad food.

To me this is all wrong and will only make the problem worse. Once food becomes forbidden, you are guaranteed kids will want it.

I know one mom, she would not let her kids have candy, years later when they could ride their bikes to stores, they were binging on candy. So telling kids not to eat some foods is NOT the way to go.

I see articles in the paper talking about 3 things to help control obesity in kids.

1. turn off the TV

2. eat dinner

3. get adequate sleep

I mean, do we really need a study to tell us these three things.

This is insanity.

I say bring back old-fashioned Home Ec classes, teach kids how to cook, not how to eat. Big difference. Once you start lecturing on do this and don't do that, you will have lost the kids. Make real food in home ec class. Start home ec in grade 5. Don't bring out a food pyramid, don't tell kids not to eat fat, don't tell kids not to eat cookies. Just teach them to cook all kinds of food.

Scrambled eggs, muffins, french toast, sandwiches, sandwich spreads, casseroles, meat loaf etc.

Just eat real food and cook real food. Once in high school, cooking classes can be more advanced. How to cook a dinner for 4 with $10 for example. How to buy and prepare vegetables? How to find cheap food such as using Sam's Club or Walmart? How to plan family meals for a week?? and then cook them.

But whatever we do, DON'T tell kids that they cannot eat something. Once they know how to cook and prepare food, good choices will follow. Let's not assume people and kids are idiots.

Friday, February 5, 2010

gonna miss it

hope that is not my husband up there!!

Oh joy, 24 inches of snow coming to the Philadelphia area, what fun, well, maybe if you are a 10 year old. The Mid-Atlantic has been hit hard this winter. Snow fall seems to have switched this year. Instead of the north getting hard with snow, it seems to be pelting the states that do not normally get so hard. The Jersey shore has been hammered this winter.

The sand looks funny with snow on it. The big famous Atlantic City Boardwalk looks downright sad with all that snow.

I have managed to tally up over 300 miles so far this new year. Biking in sub freezing temps has become fun. Once you do it enough, it stops feeling cold. But snow changes everything. Roads are wet and with 24 inches coming, blacktop is going to be something we do not see for sometime.

But winter biking is something more should consider. It is quite comfortable as long as it is above 27. With good tights and leg warmers and a nice balaclava, and your Windstopper jacket, you are set to ride in comfort. I have found that I am improving more during the winter than in the summer. You do less miles but riding in the cold with snow scattered on the ground is really fun.

Today we saw a grey heron amongst the Canadian geese. A nice sight. My son continued on this morning and did 47 miles. We both knew this was our last ride for sometime.

Too bad, as winter biking has proven to be very fun. Gonna miss it :(

Monday, February 1, 2010

why don't women bike more

I have been wrestling with this question now for over 3 years. Ever since I started the Biker Chicks. When I first started this blog, I thought, oh goodie, lots of ladies will see the group and join it. Lots of ladies will bike with me.

This issue is discussed on other blogs as well, an excellent blog post, gives much insight into the problem.

I was out today on my bike. I bike on rather busy roads, lots of cars and awful road shoulders filled with litter and tons of stones from the winter snow crews. But I WAS OUT!! Yes, it can be intimidating, I almost got hit today, my error, not the car. But I managed to get out the way of the car and I survived.

We have no infrastructure either here in the West Chester, PA area. No place to park our bikes safely, no bike lanes, poor road shoulders and our fair share of hostile drivers. My son biked to our local health club. The club had no idea where he could lock his bike. They finally let him lock it inside to a bench. Apparently though, no one else has asked, if more folks asked, then maybe there would be a good safe place to lock a bike.

I will be 60 years old this June. So just seeing me on a bike is gonna be an odd sight. Not only am I old but female too.

I am a member of bike club. It has lots of members who are female but it is still predominately a male bike club. The good riders, the A and B groups have posted rides all winter long. These men get out and bike and bike a lot. They bundle up and they ride. Man do they ride!

For all the crying women have done about equality, all that falls apart when it comes to biking. I hear:

1. the roads are too scary
2. the cars are too scary
3. i'm scared
4. i can't
5. i won't
6. i hate cold weather
7. i hate hot weather
8. i look stupid on a bike
9. i hate the clothes
10.i cannot afford a good bike (somehow men can)
11. i'm out of shape
12. i like my health club better
13. i like spinning class better
14. i don't have the time

The men in my bike club have never uttered one of the complaints above. But when it comes to excuse making, women win the contest hands down.

Just because the infrastructure does not exist to support biking, does not mean you cannot bike. If you sit around hoping for it, you are going to spend a lot of time sitting. Come on ladies, get off of your butts and come out and bike.

spread your legs

chrissie wellington
OK, now I have your attention! I have been trying for the last 3 years to learn how to stand up on my bike when climbing hills. So far I have been a complete failure, and as my faithful readers know, I have fallen several times when climbing steep hills. Not a pretty picture.

So my success rate thus far is about a zero. The other day I was out with my son. He watched me struggling and attempting my very clumsy stand. He said nothing, but was glad I was attempting to stand.

He went out the other day solo and spent some time trying to stand the way I was standing. He immediately saw my error.

He said I was trying to stand and pedal in the exact same position as when I am sitting. Only difference being I have left my seat.

He said in the most undelicate manner, "mom, spread your legs, get your knees slightly fanned out and spread the hips!"

Yeah,yeah, sounds gross. But today I was out solo riding again and took his advice. MAGIC, I am instantly better at standing up. The improvement was dramatic.

Now I am no Chrissie Wellington (wins the Hawaiian Iron Man) in form, age or abilities, but heck, I got better!

SO give it a try next time out on your bike. For most good cyclists, the ability to stand up is not an issue, but for an oldie like me, it is hard.