It is fascinating how many different kinds of bicycles there are! Just when I feel like I have a handle on how to repair a particular part of a bicycle, in rolls another bicycle to challenge my ability! But then again it is a reason for my continued interest in helping the GABA (Greater Arizona Bicycling Association) group repair bicycles at various Boys and Girls Clubs in the Tucson area. Besides the fact the young people do not have an air pump or do not know how to use it to care for flat tires, there are other needs such as new brake pads, inner tubes, chains, seats, and/or tires. In a 3 hour period of time, many bicycles get fixed and I learn something new each time too! It’s a great way to spend time with friends also! Good work all!!
Do you have a seizure-disorder or epilepsy? Have you wanted to go for a bicycle ride? Please be aware of a new group in Tucson, AZ supporting those individuals who may have a seizure-disorder or epilepsy AND do want to bicycle ride. Every other week the ride is listed with the GABA bicycling group in Tucson and called Carpe Diem. Any person 18 plus years of age and older…we have 70 year olds riding too….can ride with the group, along with support and family members. Anyone can go for a ride with the group!
A few of us, along with me, were trained to be an assistant ride leader for this group. We want to support interested bicycle riders and have them know we are aware of how to support them if a medical concern arises. The riders also learn more about bicycling etiquette, the fantastic bike loop in Tucson, and the delicious places to stop for coffee, snacks or lunch as we ride on neighborhood bike boulevards and visit areas of interest.
You’re in the Tucson area and just want to join, please do so. You know of someone who could benefit from this type of supported ride, send them this blog post or write back to me and I will help make it happen. Or, simply be aware of this bicycle ride and spread the word. I know people with seizure-disorders and epilepsy are out there…let’s help and encourage a supported bike ride for the person! Thanks!
We wear head protection in various places. For me, I wear a hard hat on location while volunteering at Habitat for Humanity and a bike helmet while riding my bicycle. Most times I am on my own riding or working with people who do not know me very well so it is important to have medical information easily available to them if I cannot provide it myself. Recently I became aware of the “Medical Information Carrier System”, MICS, available at www.idformyhelmet.com
You write your medical information on the data form they provide, fold it up and insert it in their carrier (a small neon plastic piece you attach inside your protective hat/helmet). For others to know you have this information available, in case of medical emergency, you apply a MICS reflective decal on the outside left rear of your protective hat/helmet.
Now you are ready to have help available for you, if needed. Also, it is good practice to look on the left rear outside of helmets now…encourage others to get the medical information carrier system and/or to begin creating for yourself a first aid responder’s habit. Be safe!
After a career of working with young people, it was with great satisfaction I could continue to do so while volunteering. Last week GABA members repaired at least 40 bicycles at a Tucson location. It was my first experience repairing bicycles for the young people who wheeled their bikes in with flat tires, broken shifters and/or worn brake pads into the gym where we hoped to solve their bike issues.
GABA members were organized in greeting the owner and recording the bike need, then they lined the numbered bikes up for the rest of us to work on as we were ready for the next bike. We knew we would work for 3 hours and during that time more and more bicycles kept arriving at the door; finally a sign had to be posted indicating no more bicycles could be considered on this day.
One young man walked around watching us complete various repairs. He was interested in learning as he watched. Some young girls hung around too so we had them pump up tires. It was great seeing them be involved!
Call me crazy?!? It’s been at least 19 years since I had ridden a bicycle 60 miles. When I noticed most multi-day rides are at least 60 miles per day, I wondered if I can do that distance? Along came a GABA ride, the Owls Head Butte Century with an option of 63 miles; so today I went for it!
About a half hour car drive north of where I live was the starting point. Early to rise, eat a good breakfast and drive to the start with my partner. It felt like 40 degrees while we unloaded the bicycles so I had pants, long sleeve shirts, helmet liner and gloves. I was cold as I bicycled down the road! (The always say to not overdress at the start of a running or bicycle race, so I thought I should be okay.) Finally, at five miles into the distance I felt my heart warm up; 10 miles my arms. This was not fun for a person with Raynaud’s (poor circulation), yet I kept cycling. Fortunately the road beckoned me; just keep pedaling and I told myself I will warm up.
The frontage road is not my first choice of where to ride but I heard once into the desert things will look better. Fortunately, not much car traffic, I did not get caught with the train going through, so I could ride along and just think about how wonderful ti was to be outdoors and active.
First SAG stop, approximately 18 miles, I looked back to see Picacho Peak (nice hike there!). I ate plenty of food: banana with Nutella, M&M’s with nuts, Gatorade and trail mix. I filled my water containers, used the port-a-john and was on my way once again. Unfortunately, I was still cold! At 18.01 miles it dawned on me that I am 63 years old and riding 63 miles today. Anything to keep me distracted from how cold my feet still felt, or actually had no feeling. Finally at about 22 miles, my feet warmed up! Now to enjoy the ride. Wow, there were people passing me and I think they were bicyclists on the 104 mile ride. They made it look so simple and don’t those people wear any clothing? I must have looked like the Pillsbury dough boy with all my clothing!
This road was more enjoyable to ride. At one point a plane was flying toward me. I thought it was going to land right on the road as I bicycled toward it, yet I guess that was just part of the pilot’s lift-off an airstrip…wherever it happened to be I do not know. Plenty of Saguaro cacti, and various varieties of other cacti. Birds flew and no other creatures obvious from my bike saddle.
Next SAG stop, approximately 31.5 miles, I finally pulled off my long pants, a layer of long sleeves, ate plenty of rice crackers, banana, M&M’s and drank more Gatorade. I was looking forward to this turn-around point because it was to be downhill for about 10 miles, I guessed, or maybe simply hoped for at least that distance. Whatever it was, it felt great to fly along at 24 mph, especially considering my slog up this slight uphill was about 10 mph! My body weight, weight of all my bicycle gear and water allowed me to enjoy this fast speed. I was grateful!
Back at the first/now my final SAG stop, approximately the 45 mile point, I was back to reality in realizing my downhill ride was done. Fueled up again with rice crackers, M&M’s, and Gatorade; and making sure my water was topped off on my bicycle, off I would go. But before doing so, I was talking with some people and mentioned this is my 63 mile goal, a distance not done in the last 19 years. The woman caring for this SAG stop said, “Great, you are stretching your legs!” Well that became my mantra as I bicycled down this road; a road that seemed to never end. The mistake I made was to look at my odometer to many times along the way. It just seemed to creep….ever slowly! Darn! Yet, I was stretching my legs…that’s good, right?
Well I made it! Sixty three miles accomplished; raw butt, tired arms, ready for another snack and beverage, but I did it… probably all thanks to the support of the people at the SAG stops, my persistence in wanting to meet this goal, good weather, and my partner at least a mile ahead of me to keep me motivated in meeting her at the end! Enjoyed food at the final point, yeah! We did the 63 miles….and now to get out of these clothes, shower, and watch the Super Bowl!
Thanks to a BICAS (Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage) “Build-a-Bike” class, one can be up close to all the parts of a bicycle and begin the learning curve on how to care for them. A 20 hour commitment to start the education, and a lifetime of riding a bicycle and learning how to fix it! All great fun!