Friday, March 25, 2016

I'm ready for spring; but is my bike??

     I told you I was beyond ready for spring; I even got out on my bike for the first time about a week ago.  But I remembered that last fall I was starting to struggle a bit when I would put air in my tires.  The nozzles of the inner-tubes were dangerously loose, and I found myself crossing my fingers every time I pumped up my tires, in the hopes one of them didn't break off.  You can't inflate a tire with out them.

     One of the first things I learned when I got my new road bike was how to change a flat.

     This was just a mock-up; but if I got a flat you better believe I was ready.
          This past weekend we had a bit of a cold snap and I figured it would be the perfect time to take my bike to the bike co-op in downtown Toledo, where I always go to repair my bike.  my plan was to simply switch out the old inner-tubes for some new ones.
     Of course, it was a heck of a lot easier working on my bike when it was up on a vise.

        And being I had to get the old inner tubes off, then the first thing I had to do was take the tires off of the bike. 
     The next thing would be to deflate the tires. I had two little yellow levers to pry the tires out from under the rims; but once it was started, it became a battle of the wills to get these monsters off.  Of course you know I won:)
     Once I got the old tubes out and the new ones in place, I had to make sure there were no kinks before I inflated them again, or I could be looking at July 4th fireworks when I started pumping.
     But the hardest part was using every bit of muscle power I could muster up to put a hundred and twenty pounds of air into these skinny little tires; Yes, I know it was just 
"air pressure", but I could certainly never fit one of me inside them:D
     Once they were fully inflated, all I had left to do was put the tires back on my bike; and I would be all set for the next time I needed to fill them.  Incidentally, I was told that should be before every ride; but I think air can be over rated... :)

     This tiny little bike is a lot more complex than I ever used to think; but I'm always happy to learn something new.  Of course, the first time I get an actual flat tire you better believe there will be that little voice in my head that says "ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!? NOW WHAT DO I DO?!?"

          But isn't that what riding buddies are for?:)

Have a great day!!


Friday, March 18, 2016

Intangibles aren't usually an easy sell; unless we're talking about my life.

     As you know, after my car bit the dust last fall I replaced it with a shinny new red one.  The only prerequisite was that my bike fit in the back; and it did.  It fit like a glove...

     So this spring I planned to cart it to every park and bike trail I could find.

     One thing they mentioned at the car dealership was that I could bring my car in to get it washed anytime I want.  I think they may be regretting they mentioned it, but my car has never looked cleaner.  They see me coming and hold their hand out for the keys:)

     Last Saturday I planned on getting it washed as usual and ironically, Friday, I got a recall notice for my car in the mail.  I'm not sure how serious it was but they said something about a possible fuel line leak... Now, I'm no rocket scientist, but that along with a smoking hot engine sounded like an explosion waiting to happen.  So I made sure to ask them about scheduling an appointment while I was there.  

     Surprisingly, the service department had time to work me in right then and there if I could wait 30 minutes while they did it.  I love multi tasking, so I told them to go ahead and fix it. 

     Of course, as I waited I had to find some way to entertain myself...
     I've already encouraged several of the employees to ride on my team in the bike to the bay over the past few months; but I'm sure I haven't hit everyone.

     As I was sitting in the service waiting area I decided to go take a  walk and maybe strike up a conversation with someone new.  Because... that's what I do...:)
      We all know on any given Saturday afternoon you can  find the salespeople out side milling around; looking for their next prospect.

     But I was inside watching for my next prospect as well:)

          Ironically, his name happened to be Chris so the name similarity alone was enough to hook him:)  I started a random conversation about the weather (isn't that how they always start...) and finally having my bike out on the trails.  Then I asked him if he's ever heard of the bike to the bay.  He said his parents were talking about riding in it this year.  I told him I have a team and I'm trying to build it up right now.  Of course I had to play the old "MS card" and knew he would be an easy sell. Sometimes I just look down at my brace and say "I ride" and no further selling is required.

     So as I had hoped, Chris told me he wants to ride as well, and he would ask his parents to join Team Leapfrog over the weekend.

     I asked him if I could take his picture for my blog to announce I had an interested new rider, and he was more than happy to oblige.  I've found two things to be true... people are almost always happy to let me put their picture in my blog and write about them, and people also become more committed to joining my team once I have it:)
          And to seal the deal I told Chris I would see him in a few days when I come back to get my car washed again and we can get him signed up then:)  How can he turn me down now?!
    I've never had a problem selling something tangible that I truly believe in; I've always been a salesperson by nature.  But when the thing I'm trying to sell is not tangible, but simply the hopes of a future free from MS it's very humbling to see how many amazing people go out of their way to help me:)

Have a great day!!


Friday, March 11, 2016

All I need is my bike; and the will to ride it!

          I really can't complain about this winter, after the past few arctic blasts we've had.  But that doesn't stop me from going stir crazy on my indoor trainer.  When I heard the weather forecast for this week I knew this was finally the time to get my bike off that stationary platform and hit the trails again.

     I really love my bike, and if I turn on my favorite music I can manage to force myself to ride on this thing and stare at a boring wall for the good of training.  After all, they call this a "trainer"; not a "riding on a beautiful"...
          Yes, that treadmill in the background is my alternate form of cardio, but I am sick to death of getting up every single day only to have these guys staring me in the face!  So why do I do it, you ask... because I can!!

      Monday morning was the day I planned to put an end to the craziness, and with any luck the warmer weather would be here to stay, and I would be back to my outdoor riding again.  

     However, it was too soon to start begging my riding buddies to get out side, so that would mean I would have to visit my trusty old "safe place", Olander Park.  But I don't mind; I love that place!

     Monday was the first nice day but My bike was still immobile but I just had to go see what I was dealing with; so It was off to check out my favorite park; Olander...

     As you can see; this park had no signs of winter whatsoever!

        Granted, it had taken a beating from all of the snow, but the snow was gone so I didn't care how it looked.  After all, beauty is only grass deep:)

           I think the ducks were in agreement!

     Now I just had to get my bike off the trainer and pack it in my car.  Wednesday was the soonest I could get out so my fingers were crossed that the weather held out until then...

     So that part was taken care of; this is where my bike used to be...
     I packed it in my car and Wednesday afternoon I headed back to Olander Park.
     Luck was really on my side this day because it was a perfect day for a bike ride!   The sun was shining as brightly as I've seen all season.

    As I took my bike out of my car I knew I had to get my trusty camera/phone out, because... well, you should know the routine by now:)

     When choosing a photographer I always make sure not to ask anyone who appears to be trying to get their workout in for the day, because I wouldn't want to feel guilty for causing them to slack off.  But then I noticed a young man sitting by himself on a park bench fishing.  I really hated to disturb him, but I looked at it as giving those poor fish a break,ha,ha.

        He was more than happy to take a picture.  He told me he wasn't having any luck with the fish that day anyway.  After a few minutes of idle chit chat it appeared that I must have been slightly more interesting than staring at a pole in the water, so I didn't feel too guilty:)

     of course it had been several months since I had been on this contraption with out the trainer (or more or less, training wheels that go nowhere...), now I just had to see if it was like the old saying... it's just like riding a bike:)

     And low and behold it felt like I hadn't missed a day.  And I think the geese had found their land legs too, because we were soon playing a game of chicken on the trail (or is that "geese"...?)

          So after a few laps around the lake, I was able to chalk this first ride up as a success.  And now I was on a mission to get back to all those serious trails again!!  Trust me... I will, real soon!!

 Have a great day!


Friday, March 4, 2016

The month of March is MS awareness; but I'm fully aware of it year round.

     With some of the everyday challenges I face, it's impossible for me to lose sight of my good old "sidekick"; MS.  I spend so many of my days blogging about and talking about things like the bike to the bay, in order to raise awareness about this not so kind disease,  but I have to make sure not to make it who I am.

     But since March is MS awareness Month, I figured this would be the perfect time to get super serious about my team Leapfrog and the Bike To The Bay.

          My Leapfrog shirts are coming out of hibernation, and to all of my teammates who have a hard time thinking about riding in this cold weather, I say "It's only four months until the BTTB!!" I can't believe how quickly it's approaching us again!  My frogs and I are ready to leap back into it, and I really need all of your help:).

        Below you can see the photo with some of the 40 Leapfrog members from last year.  Like typical frogs, this was all I could gather in a bucket at one time for the photo... This year I'll try a little harder...

          In the next week or so I hope to get my bike off of my indoor trainer and back out on the trails...  and I hope to get a lot of others to join me!

     So If you're waiting for the perfect time to register for the Bike To The Bay, March is the perfect time to do it.  Remember, you can click on the Bike To The Bay tab at the top of this blog to register:) 

     If you aren't ready to start thinking about how cute those padded bike shorts will make you look this spring, but still want to help me kick this disease in the pants, you can still help me by donating to my team as well.  Click on that same tab and find Team Leapfrog:)  Oh, don't worry; I have four months to keep bugging you, but the sooner you help me, the sooner I stop bugging:)

     Thank you in advance to all of my friends who help me every year with my passion to put an end to MS.  I'm happy to say that because of the money raised we now have twelve therapies to slow down progression; which is twelve more than they had when I was diagnosed thirty one years ago!  There is no way I could ever give up hope for a cure.


          And as long as I'm able; you better believe this frog will ride!!

Have a great day!!