Monday, June 30, 2008

Biking Buddies from Bike Tours

One of the best things about our bike tours is the friends you make. This past Saturday, I biked 58 miles with Barb Kassel. She just finished our Underground Railroad tour and even though she's probably 15-20 years my senior, she had to do a lot of waiting up for me.

The weekend before, I biked with Elaine Miller. She was one of our SAG drivers on the same Underground Railroad tour. She's even a little older, and all I know is how tired my legs were the next morning when I tried to bike again.

Jennifer (from our office) biked with Lynore Del Sette a couple weeks ago. Lynore lives in Boston, but found herself in our area. She and Jennifer met on our Alaska tour last year. New York isn't Alaska, but the two of them biked over 150 miles in 2 days double-checking some of the routes from our Finger Lakes tour.

It isn't always about biking either. Michelle (from our office) had lunch with Melinda Hartman last week. They met on our Outer Banks tour this past spring.

I know there's a whole network of women out there who have met each other on our tours. A WomanTours network. If you have any ideas on how we can foster it and harness all that energy, let me know.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fixing a Flat on Father’s Day

I went to my sister’s house to celebrate Father’s Day. When I asked her about the boxed bicycle tube on the kitchen counter, she said my nephew had a flat tire on his bike and was working on fixing it. But he didn’t really know how.

Justin is 16. His answers to my questions are always one-word long and come with an attitude that tells me he wishes he were somewhere other than talking to his aunt. So when I offered to show him how to fix his flat after dinner, I was shocked when he readily went to get his bike before we had even finished dessert.

I showed him how to undo the quick release, look for the cause of the hole in his tire, replace the tube without pinching it, pump it up to the proper pressure, and put the back wheel on under the chain and derailleur. When the whole process was done in 7 minutes and our four hands were filthy, I think he was slightly impressed.

Then I noticed his rear brake was rubbing, so I grabbed a screwdriver and re-centered it. I saw his chain was dry and starting to rust, so I dripped some lube on it and showed him how to rub off the excess. I felt his seat slip down, so I explained the quick release wasn’t closed properly and showed him how to adjust it.

I’ve probably helped hundreds of women fix flat tires on their bikes, but I’ve never felt such satisfaction as I did when I helped my nephew. For about 12 minutes, we actually connected. I’ll never be a mother, but on Father’s Day, it felt wonderful to be an aunt.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Underground Railroad bike tour a Success!

Congratulations to all the women on our Underground Railroad bike tour. They rolled into Niagara Falls on Friday and crossed the border into Canada to successfully complete their 1900-mile journey.

It will be a couple years until we repeat the Underground Railroad tour, so keep an eye on our schedule if you want to do it with us next time. Many of these women have already signed up to do our Northwest Loop in 2009. There's no better compliment - thank you!

For 2010, we're considering doing one-half of the Northern Tier and the other half in 2011. Let me know if that appeals to you.