Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Old folks should buy bikes

I am very lucky to live in an area with relatively flat biking available. Chester County, PA is home to the Brandywine River Valley. We have many roads that hug the long and winding creek. There is a west branch and east branch and they meet up in a little place called Northbrook. So there are lots of nice tree covered basically flat or easy hill roads for me to ride on.

Today I did a very easy 24 miles with the biggest hills being my ascent back into the West Chester boro where I live. I ride a nice bike and I have great equipment as well. I hear so many folks complain to me, I cannot afford to buy a bike or I am afraid to ride on the roads with the cars.

Both of these issues are valid but let me try and convince you otherwise. I purchased my bike 5 years ago. It is a custom bike mainly because I am tall for a woman and not able to buy off the rack so to speak. I have a few good cycling clothes, a helmet and very good bike lights.

I have studied the maps of my area and have driven many of the roads scouting out a good ride. Lots of preparation goes into taking up the sport of biking but so worth it. I have learned how to change a tire and I have learned how to clean and maintain my bike. I make the time to learn these things. As an older female cyclist, I believe in being prepared and knowledgeable on the road.

my custom Spectrum, titanium frame, Shimano ultegra

Pictured above is my bike and below that is the mighty Brandywine with a home way in the background rumored to be home to an Andrew Wyeth relative. 

OK you are still asking why bike????

1. to see great scenery and your own area up close, until I got a bike I had no idea the roads I am now biking on even existed

2. I am 65 years old in a few weeks, the knees are going along with other things but I can still bike and enjoy life

3. I bike slow, real slow, no cars have any issues getting past me, I rarely run into the nasty drivers I hear others complain about but I make every effort to assist in helping cars pass me

4. Get off  your tuff and try a new hobby, I took up biking at age 55 and now 10 years later I am still doing it

5. And most important, getting a bike.................

Go to a good bike store. You have several options, do your homework before you go.

1. buy a good hybrid bike, if you cannot see yourself on a road bike, consider a good hybrid with a TRIPLE CRANK, the triple crank is often referred to as the granny gear!!! well we are grannies

2. if you can see yourself on a road bike you can spend from approximately $1000 to $3000 depending on equipment

3. there are several good brands - TREK, SPECIALIZED, CANNONDALE to name a few. You do not need top of the line components but I do recommend  you get a triple crank

4. Check out my past posts on the right side of this blog on buying a bike, I have done many

Overall I have invested  a lot in this hobby. My custom bike was pricy, $5000 but five years later it is still like new and rides like a dream. For my 60th birthday and all future birthdays, my bike is my gift. Don't need any fancy cruise or a big party. I will ride hopefully for at least another 5 -10 years. So over a 10 year period my investment is now $500 per year. Hardly a steep price for health and exercise. You probably waste $500 a year on eating out and driving your car way too much. 

Your bike will not cost $5000 and can be had for way less. I have biked with lots of ladies over the last 10 years and most have upgraded their bikes. They started with low priced road bikes and after a few years realized the waste of money it was and upgraded to a better road bike.

Nonetheless, I often hear folks say I will buy a cheap bike and see if I like it. Well I can guarantee you will hate biking on your heavy, difficult bike and after a few rides you will discard the bike and complain you wasted your money.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

we are all guests on the roads

My gorgeous view today on the bike!!!

I finally have what looks like a full summer ahead of me on my bike. After a broken ankle and two rotator cuff surgeries I am fully healed and raring to go on my bike. I am very fortunate to own a custom Spectrum Bike with a triple crank making my biking relatively easy even with the hills in Chester County, PA

Today was 78 degrees and spring is bursting out all over my county. Flowering trees and daffodils were everywhere. I am a Medicare card carrying woman and today I had no trouble peddling away for 30 miles. How fortunate I am to have the health to do this!

As I was climbing slowly up a hill, a huge group of cyclists sped past, heads down with speed as their only goal. How fast, what's my mph, am I leading the group and the list goes on and on. I wonder do they take the time to smell the roses.

I rode by myself today and like the blog title says, I consider myself a guest on the roads. If I was driving a car I would feel the same way. We are all guests on these roads. Sharing the pavement with each other is what we should all do. Just like if you were a guest in someone's home,  don't make a fool of yourself on the roads be it in on a bike or in a car. Don't fight with cars, don't fight with other cyclists or anyone on the roads. I often hear members of my bike club refer to drivers as "dickheads", 'fuckwads" etc. Why such crude and useless descriptions when confronted with a driver?? What purpose does it serve?

We are all guests on the roads and if you are on the road and on a good road bike consider yourself one lucky person!! You are healthy, you can afford a good bike and you are in good shape. So stop whining and spread a little cheer when out biking. Move over and help a car get by on a narrow road, avoid cycling in such large groups that no one could possibly pass.  Every car you let by is one less angry driver. I don't feel like I have a right to be on the roads but I do feel it a privilege to be on the roads.

Try adjusting your attitude next time when on the roads. In the Philadelphia area where I live, folks carry guns and will shoot. We just had a young girl get shot in her car on a highway by an angry motorist.

So be a good road guest and do your part to help make everyone safe. Some friends I met along my ride pictured below.