Friday, March 24, 2017

Time to tweak my "Franken-bike" again! Where there's a will there's a way!!

   I hear the expression over and over "it's just like riding a bike", but for someone who has MS, it's not always as simple as it sounds.  The beginning of a ride and the end are two completely different rides, because my body has morphed into something unrecognizable from what I started with.

     When my right leg, which is the one that doesn't like to co operate on a good day, gets overworked, it wants to shut down all together.  This is a bit of a challenge when you have over 50 miles to fight with it.

     As I've been riding my bike indoors over the winter on a stationary trainer, by the end of my workout my right foot would begin to slip off of the pedal.  

    it was actually my fault for making my body work to the point of over heating.  As I've mentioned before, this is when my brain stops communicating with my nerves.  But I refuse to let that be my excuse for quitting. I started brain storming on how I could actually put my foot in a "time out" when it starts to misbehave. 

     Traditional bike clips would seem like the obvious solution.  But when my muscles stop working it would be impossible to snap my shoe off of the clip.  What if I had a pedal that stopped my foot from slipping forward but still allowed me to slip it off of the pedal in an emergency??
     I did some research and found these on line.  

     These make perfect sense.  They would stop my foot from slipping forward but I could slip them out in an emergency.

     Now I just had to remove my old pedals and replace them with the miracle pedals. Though this was a bigger challenge than I thought it would be.  The part that screwed into the arm of the pedal wouldn't come off...

     So I decided to approach it from another angle...
Maybe an allen wrench would do it...
It was practically cemented on but it eventually came off. 
Then I just had to screw the new ones on.  And as you can see, the strap was very flexible.  This should be perfect for getting my foot out.

          But that would have been too easy.  See these spikes on the pedals?  Every time I put my shoe up to slip it in the the strap it would catch on the spikes and push the pedal upside down.
     You know what they say about the best laid plans...  I guess it's back to the old drawing board for me.  But I'm not done yet!  Now my next mission is to find a way to make my shoe slide in freely... I'm not sure how just yet, but I promise you if there's a will there's a way!

     Stay tuned, and wish me luck:)

Have a great day!!


Friday, March 17, 2017

The snow may be back; but so are my sponsors

Well March sure seemed like a good time to start getting serious about the Bike to the Bay... Now what's up with this?!?
     I seriously thought we were home free.  The thought of taking my bike off of my indoor trainer and hitting the trails was now on my radar.  

     There was  no way I wanted to start recruiting my team jersey sponsors in the middle of a blizzard.  But I felt confident that we were done with snow when I went to Organic Bliss to ask Nazih, the owner, if he planned to sponsor us again and ride on team Leapfrog.  

     I was pleasantly surprised when he commented "as long as you have a team, I'll always sponsor you!"  That's huge! There are so many things in life that are uncertain, and it was nice to know I could always count on him to help our team.


     Then Three days later I see this... well not everything is for certain.

     With everything I've been through during my "roller coaster" life, it's good to know there are people riding next to me when I need help up the next hill.  And for that I consider myself the most fortunate person in the world!  Thanks for always being there:)

Have a great day!!


Friday, March 10, 2017

March is finally here! Time to get serious about the Bike to the Bay!!!

     As you know, the bike to the bay is always on my radar, but I have to wait for the perfect time to get serious about building my team and fundraising.  Well now that it's March I think the time is now!

     My bike is still on my trainer inside, but I'm ramping up my stationary riding so I'll be ready to go as soon as the nicer weather is here to stay.

     Any of you who are looking for a way to get your blood flowing before summer is here; join my team!  Not feeling in tip top shape is the perfect reason to ride!  It sure motivates me:)
     If you aren't able to ride but still want to help all of your loved ones battling this awful disease, please sponsor me and I'll ride for you.   
     I may be crawling in by the end of this ride,but it's knowing that there are some who can no longer ride that pushes me to my limit.  Please help, so together we can kick MS to the curb:)

Have a great day!!


Friday, March 3, 2017

Life's not always smooth sailing: but this day it sure was!

     My Florida trip was sure packed full of adventure, and though I had a great time, it definitely felt like a workout now and then.  But the day our friend, Steve, took us out on his boat almost felt like we were having our cake and eating it too.
     It was an adventure exploring the open water, but I never had to lift a finger.  Innocently, this would have been a great place for me to lose these funky one buck sun glasses. But no, they planned to stay around and haunt me for the duration.
     I didn't bring my note pad, so I cant tell you a whole lot about the sights we saw...  
But I can't imagine this road way was easy to build.
     And I just had to wonder if these birds were as fascinated watching us as we were them...

        This big guy below made certain the rest of the world would leave his family alone. I know I wasn't climbing up there.
        Once again, I have no idea where we were here, but it was absolutely worth getting the camera out for... (yes, I don't see a career of being a tour guide in my future...)

     I've heard boats are a big hole in the water to dump your money... and this hole must be huge...
     They also say bigger is better, but can you imagine how much it would cost to gas up this monster??

        I can't imagine the people in these houses have a hard time finding a reason to get up in the morning...
     I have to say, this day couldn't have gotten much better.  They always talk about a perfect day being "nary a cloud in the sky", but with white fluffy clouds, great company and a vivid imagination, I'd say that's about as good as it gets:)

Have a great day!!


Friday, February 24, 2017

My first out door bike ride of the year and it's only February!

     So my bike has been on a trainer since October, and though I ride it often, indoors, I have been longing for an outdoor bike ride.

    Of course that wasn't going to happen up here in T town, so I had to follow the sun to do it.  Just one more of the many exciting things I did while I was visiting my cousin in Florida was to go on a critical mass bike ride in down town Fort Myers.

     I did it last year and we rented a tandem bike to make it a little easier on me.  After all, Keith made sure to give me plenty challenges so I could check off my bucket list, and this year would be no different.

     In Florida the bike rides seem to be late in the evening.  I'm guessing because mid day is just too scorching hot so close to the equator. That, and I'm sure they wanted it to be dark so they could show off their funky Christmas lights strung all over their bikes. I guess they didn't know Christmas was over...

      As you can see, there were a ton of people, and this ride was very well organized, unlike the critical mass ride I did in downtown Detroit last summer.  Those Michiganders were more interested in making a statement than enjoying the ride.
     And downtown Fort Myers looks a heck of a lot different than Downtown Detroit as well.  No graffiti on this bike ride. 
     Though there were no casualties on this ride, at one point I did think our tandem bike was going down.  But thanks to Keith's quick reaction to an out of control bike on our left, we got through unscathed.  Which was a good thing because I'm not a fan of road rash.

     You won't see any palm trees where I come from, and it was definitely a sight to see.
     So this was just one more of the fun filled activities I did while down in good ol Sunny Florida, and it's true, it wasn't a first for me; But one thing I will tell you is, it doesn't matter where you are in this world, It's always just like riding a bike:)

Have a great Day!!


Friday, February 17, 2017

Ever ride a giant sling shot?? try it; you just might like it!!

          So I told you my trip to Florida was filled with many exciting events.  Well swimming with the Manatees was hard to top, but it was surely never a dull moment.

     When my cousin, Keith, picked me up at the airport, the first thing I did was pull out my sunglasses case.  I can't believe I almost forgot to grab that case, but the night before I was reminded that I would certainly need them, more so down in Florida than I've needed up in gloomy Ohio over the past few months.  Good thing I was prepared...

     Or was I... I had my case, but when I opened it I found it to be empty.  Then I remembered, they were resting comfortably in the over head compartment of my car back home.  UGG!!  No worries though.  We would simply zip into Walmart and buy another pair.

     I really hate wasting money, especially when I had two perfectly fine pairs of sunglasses back home.  So we headed over to the clearance rack to find some cheapies.   Besides, I would probably just end up loosing them any way.  Of course, the cheaper the glasses, the less likly you are to loose them.

     But check this out... I actually found a pair marked all the way down to one buck!  You know that old saying "things go on clearance for a reason".  Well I don't think I have to wonder why these things were marked down.  I actually was surprised that they didn't pay me to remove them from their inventory.

     I didn't care if they looked like clown glasses.  I was clear across the country and no one would even know me.  Now, Keith might have some explaining to do:)
     Do these look like one buck sunglasses to you!?!?  Uh... I'm told they do:)  Hey, one thing I can promise you is if I drop them out of a boat they will surely find their way back to me:)

     Once we had that minor dilemma solved we were off to the shell factory for some zip lining.
     When I think of zip lining, I think of hiking to the top of a mountain and then zipping back down on a cable.  But this was actually like having your cake and eating it too.  There was no mountain to climb, yet we still got the thrill of the sport.

          Is this perfect or what?!  we simply climbed into this ski lift type chair and it slowly moved us backwards, across this pond.

        The first half of the ride was kind of like a sky ride at an amusement park...
          Slow and steady...


     Then all of a sudden you become the rock inside a giant sling shot.  Once we reached the other side we were catapulted back, faster than the speed of light.
     Now, this was my idea of fun!  No hiking, but a definite rush non the less.
        Incidentally, this was the first adventure Keith took me on while I was down there.  I think he wanted to give me a false sense of security, because this was by far, the least amount of effort I would be exerting for the rest of my stay.  Lets just say I got my daily work outs in with out coming near a gym.

     Oh, by the way, those one dollar cheapy glasses... I conveniently left them behind, just in case some poor soul visiting Keith forgets their own pair and doesn't want to invest in more.  But Keith assured me he would make sure they made their way back to me, whether it was UPS or he had to drive them up to me himself.  

     What did I tell you... When all is said and done, it doesn't matter how much you invest in something... if it's meant to be, some how it will eventually find it's way back to you:)

Have a great day!!


Friday, February 10, 2017

          Last week I mentioned I was going to hop on a plane and head down to the good ol' sunny state of Florida, and I certainly did!  

     And I also mentioned swimming with the manatees, and while I did a lot of other cool things while I was down there, today I'll start by telling you about my new half ton friends.

     I know Spanx are the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I'll admit wearing them on the outside isn't the best idea they could have come up with.  It practically takes a crowbar, a stick of butter and three linebackers to get into one of these things.  And then getting out of it is another story...
         After our half hour lecture of all of the do s and don't s we were finally off to find the home of these sweet gentle giants.  

     We were told we weren't allowed to startle them by sneaking up on them, so using our legs to swim was forbidden. this was quite exhausting, I'm not gonna lie.

     Then we found out that in most of the country it's against the law to interact with manatees, let alone touch them.  However, this was the only place in the country where it was actually legal.  Of course, it was very highly supervised, so these rare animals weren't harmed in any way.

     I had a million rules going through my head about not swimming towards them from behind and where not to touch them. You can't approach them; you have to wait for them to approach you before petting them.  By the time the first two gigantic creatures approached me I was almost paralyzed from the fear of doing something that would land me in the state pen.  And believe you me, I don't do stripes well...

     Don't let the date on this photo confuse you... it really was last week...:) tell the camera that...

     You can see by this picture that these big lugs are very friendly.  In fact, maybe too friendly at times... I felt like I should have gotten them a room...

     When they managed to pry themselves away from each other we were eventually able to get up close and personal.
     Being submerged under water, using only my arms to get around and a snorkel as the only way to breath, and knowing these things were ten times my size, I'll admit caused a bit of a panic attack at first. If you're at all claustrophobic, this would surely do it.  I would have almost rather been jumping out of that plane right now. But this was a once in a lifetime event, so I knew if I didn't take this opportunity to actually pet this guy I might live to regret it.  And I know my cuz would never let me live it down...

     Then there was the question... if I touched him was I approaching him or was he approaching me to let me touch him...??

     So I finally did it! I actually petted a Manatee!  And it was an amazing experience!  Now I can store those "bragging rights" next to my sky diving and hang gliding certificates!! One day I may actually have my bucket list crossed off.  Of course, then I'll just need to start a new one:)
     If there's one thing I've learned, it's that while there may be some things in life that aren't actually worth the effort, somethings are totally worth jumping on a plane and flying across the country for:) And I would do it a million times over!

Have a great day!!