Trek Women
October 31, 2007


Sheryl2_2 A change will do you good... Every day is a winding road…All I want to do is have some fun…Are you strong enough to be my man? Strong women rock…literally. They are an inspiration to all women no matter what they do.

I have been in Vegas for a week now. For our final night gala we hired 5 aerialists and Sheryl Crow as the headliner. The aerialists were incredible. They hung from swings and ropes from the ceiling of the Grand Garden Arena in the MGM Grand. It was mesmerizing. After the aerialists finished their set we listened to an all female electric string quartet that was like nothing I had ever seen before. As soon as the quartet ended Sheryl Crow took the stage. WOW! I was lucky enough to see her back stage during the meet and greet. She is tiny, tiny, tiny (not to mention rich, rich, rich) but totally grounded and she exuded such a peaceful calming presence. You could just tell that she was a strong confident woman that was in a good place in her life.

The feeling of being on the road with Sweetness puts me in a great mental space. After a ride I am able to enter back into my world a groovier, calmer, healthier person. I feel centered and able to take on my crazy life without feeling too overwhelmed. I know I’ve said all these things before but repitition is good for the soul, right? At one point during the show Sheryl asked the audience what day it was. Someone yelled Monday and she replied, “I had no idea. Every day is Saturday to me. I guess I have a pretty good life.” What a great way to look at your life. First, recognize that you have a good life and second, live every day like it’s Saturday. That way you’ll always be in a good state of mind. Not bad advice. Come on, who doesn’t love the weekend? I dig the way she thinks. Oops, I almost forgot…she rides bikes too. Pretty cool.

October 30, 2007


A couple of weeks ago my son Liam asked me if he could ride his bike to school.  I was very excited by his request.  That’s a big deal for a second grader.  First we made a dry run to the school.  We scoped out the safest route and searched for a bike rack when we got there.  Much to our surprise the school did not have a bike rack.  Clearly riding bikes to and from school wasn’t a priority for his school but believe it or not, it is not a priority for too many schools. The percentage of U.S. students who bike or walk to school has declined from about 50% to 15% since 1969 while obesity among children has increased. More than 33% of American kids (about 25 million) are overweight or obese.  The days of kids riding their bikes to school are long gone…but hopefully not for long.  Maybe a 7 year old can make a difference. 

My son decided to write an email to the principal asking him if the school could get some bike racks so more kids could ride their bike to school.  He also suggested a “bike to school day.” He thought that is would be a good way for the kids to get exercise. The principal wrote him back the next day and even got him out of his class to discuss the issue with him.  He explained to him that he was very pleased that he rode his bike to school with his mother, but he couldn’t support kids riding their bikes to school because of the safety issues involved.  He said there were several buses and cars that drove in front of the school and it would not be a safe place for a cyclist. While he commended his ride to school he explained that the safety of his students was his number one priority.

Liam and I discussed options regarding how kids riding their bike to school could work in our community.   We came up with a few ideas.  For starters, the school needs painted crosswalks, better sidewalks, crossing guards (remember those?) and bike racks.  After doing some poking around we found an organization called America's Safe Routes to School National Partnership (SRTS).   SRTS is designed to help parents, schools, local and state governments and advocacy groups create programs that encourage more kids to bike and walk to school.  The $612 million federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program provides community funds for building sidewalks and bike paths.  Personally, I had no idea that an entire organization devoted to creating safe routes to schools even existed.  It looks like Liam and I have our work cut out for us. 

October 27, 2007


I have learned how to drive a man crazy thanks to my friend Constance.  Last week I was riding with a few guys and one of them angrily said to me (after 50 miles), “Do you have a bell on your bike?  I’ve been trying to figure out what the hell was making that noise on my bike!”  I had managed to drive him crazy.  Ah yes….finally the perfect weapon in putting a man over the edge!  Later that week I was riding with my friend Les (See Susan and the Seniors blog).  He rolled up next to me and said, “Oh my god, you have a freakin’ bell on your bike! I thought my ears were ringing!”  I replied, “I sure know how to drive the men crazy on the bike.”  Yes I do and I’m loving it!

My friend Constance gave me a Guardian Bell a few weeks ago as a gift.  When I showed it to my husband he said, “Are you actually going to put that on your bike?  It'll drive people nuts.”  I replied, “You’ve got to read the card that came with it.  It's so cool and yes, I’m totally putting it on my bike.”

The Guardian Bell
Legend goes that by attaching a small bell onto your bike, the Evil Road Spirits will become trapped inside the bell where the constant ringing drives them insane, making them lose their grip until they fall to the ground.  (Ever wonder where pot-holes come from?)  Legend also has it that the mystery of the Guardian Bell carries twice as much power when it is purchased by a friend or a loved one and given as a gift.

So go out, get a bell and drive the boys crazy….oh yah, and you’ll be protected too!

October 25, 2007


It has been raining here for 3 days and I am about to take my life.  I love to ride my bike…you already know that.  So how does one ride their bike in the rain?  Very carefully.  Normally I would but the roads are extra slick and slippery from all the rain and the tons of leaves everywhere.  On Wednesday I had a great 35 mile hilly ride planned in Oregon Ridge with my friend Katie and some other riders.  I couldn’t go due to the weather.  Today I got up and was ready to ride but had to cancel again because of the pouring rain.  Doesn’t Mother Nature know that I may possibly hurt someone if I don’t get to ride my bike!?!?

The worst part of this has been my food intake.  Remember me telling you that if I ride I am able to eat because it counterbalances my weight gain?  Well this week that has not been good. If it wasn't moving I ate it.  My parents have been in town and we have pretty much eaten our way through the entire week.  We went out to eat about 5 times and had a couple of delicious home cooked meals.  Then there’s all the cake and cookies I have eaten in between.  I truly feel like a stuffed pig that has an inordinate amount of gas and indigestion. So here I am a stuffed pig who can’t ride her bike.  It’s very sad. 

Both today and yesterday I sucked it up and went to the gym.  I did the spinning classes and then some lifting.  It was fine but I’m sorry, it’s still not the same as riding your bike outside.  I also think that part of my crankiness is due to the fact that I am going to Las Vegas tomorrow for work and I may not have a lot of time to ride my bike.  I guess I’ll be stopping at the doctor’s on the way to the airport to get my jaws wired shut....the sacrifices we make. 

October 23, 2007


So you’ve figured out by now that I have a few favorite men in my life.  Yes, the Loveman is still #1 BUT….one of my favorite people is a guy that is turning 50 today and to celebrate he'll be running 50 miles.  No joke.  His name is Offie and I met him about 5 years ago while riding my bike (yes, making cool friends is another major benefit of riding a bike).Offie1   I love riding with him because he talks as much as a girl. 

Offie is kind of like a renaissance man.  He not only does everything, but he does it really well.  He was football player and a tennis player in his younger years and now he is a cyclist and a marathon runner.  He also sits on several boards and is currently the President of the board for One Less Car.  He rides his bike to work and clearly practices what he preaches.  Mayor_3 He makes me look like a slug.  He is very charismatic and lights up a room the second he enters it.  His laugh is infectious and he is an inspiration to everyone that knows him.  On top of all these other things, he lives for ham.  He likes baked ham, boiled ham, ham salad, ham sandwiches, ham omelets, ham soup or ham on a stick. 

When I am teasing Offie I like to call him “Mr. Mayor”.  He seems to know someone everywhere we go (you can only imagine how his girlfriend feels).  Two days ago when we attended Tour du Port I was talking to Offie when a car pulled up and someone said “Look it’s the mayor!”  Next thing you know Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon emerged from the vehicle and walked right up to Offie and greeted him.  They proceeded to take a walk (with her entourage) and then Offie gave a great speech with the mayor standing by his side.  Just another thing about Offie that I never knew...he really does know the mayor!  This guy is full of surprises.  Happy Birthday Offie!

October 21, 2007


Onelesscar3 Onelesscar
This past weekend the Loveman and I participated in Tour du Port, an organized bike ride sponsored by One Less Car.  One Less Car is an advocate for safe and effective transportation alternatives in Maryland.  The organization believes that through education, lobbying, and advising our government officials, we are lifting the barriers to realizing the power of having real transportation options for all Marylanders.  It is an incredible organization doing great things. 

Over 1600 riders showed up for the event which had a few different routes that traveled through the Inner Harbor and historic waterfront neighborhoods and ports.  Onelesscar2 The Loveman and I decided to make it a social ride with a couple of friends.  We stopped and visited friends and family along the way and took advantage of every photo opportunity.  I even met some really cool chiclet riders!  It was a Sunday stroll on the bike. 

At one point Jim and I were stopped chatting with some people when one guy said to us “Ya, I saw a bunch of those people on bikes and I wanted to take out 5 of them.”  The Loveman and I stared in disbelief.  Onelesscar1_3 He was dead serious and actually proud of himself for saying that.  Clearly he needs some help.  At another point in the ride an angry motorist came up next to me and said, “You’re not a car!”  Once again, clearly missing the point of the ride…and yes, as far as he is concerned I am car.  I smiled and waved and told him to have a nice day.  I think he would have preferred a fist fight but I didn’t want to get Sweetness or my cycling clothes dirty.  Even though the organization is getting more and more recognition every day we still have a long way to go before we will have everyone in support of One Less Car.  Now get out there and do your part! 

October 19, 2007


The Loveman comes from a family of eight.  His parents were Irish case you couldn’t figure that out.  The Loveman is 40 years old and his oldest brother is 58 years old.  His parents were very busy people if you know what I mean.  About 6 years ago his oldest brother Tommy moved to Maryland.  Tommy is one of those super smart academic guys with too many degrees (like the Loveman) and moved here for a pretty impressive job in academia.  He is now chair of the history department at a major university in Maryland.

Soooooo…..Tommy meets this chiclet in Baltimore last year that is 15 years younger than him (go Tommy!) and totally fabulous.  She is a fireball of energy and easy to be around.  She loves kids and digs everything about our children.  She is generous, nice, sweet, fun and thoughtful.  My children love and adore her and always ask why we call her Melissa and not “Aunt Melissa”  if we call Tommy, Uncle Tommy.  It’s confusing to a kid.  Good question when you’re a kid and you have no idea what all the “stuff” is that goes along with having an official title.Melissa1

Since I’ve met Melissa we have clicked.  She has been a religious reader of my blog and currently has her entire office, her friends and any random people she meets reading it.  The other day I called her and she said I have to tell you something.  I immediately thought, “Oh no, did you and Tommy break up?”  She proceeds to say, “I don’t know how to ride a bike and I have been afraid to share that with you…but I think I want to learn.”  I said, “I don’t give a rat’s ass if you’ve never been on a bike and I am teaching you as soon as you’re ready.”  I promised her that her life was about to change in a really fabulous way.   She is an incredibly brave person that is about to become a Women Who Rides.  I am so proud of her and I can’t wait for our first lesson.    

October 17, 2007


Yes, I have acquired a new addiction.  It is biking. I used to make fun of the Loveman for his biking addiction.  You know, the way he’s always drooled over bikes, bike parts and cycling gear.  Well now I am eating my words as I am turning into the Loveman.  My name is Susan and I am a bike addict.

When I visited the Trek headquarters this past July I had the opportunity to meet the Lime bike. During our breaks I rode it around the parking lot and kind of fell in love with it.  Lime2_5 It has been three months and I have been unable to stop thinking about it since I left the Trek headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin.  I am always looking at the Lime online and telling people about how perfect the Lime would be for them when I find a good fit.  Lime3_2 I find myself fantasizing about riding the Lime around the yard with my big monkies while towing the little monkies around in a trailer.  Finally I decided to bite the bullet and get one.   I told the Loveman and he said, “Well, then I want one too.”  Of course he did because he’s a bike addict.  I’m convinced if I said I was going to get a unicycle that he would have wanted one as well.

Lime4_3 Within hours we purchased a white Lime with pink accents and a silver matted Lime with royal blue accents.  The Loveman had them assembled in no time and before we knew it we were chasing the kids around the yard and having a ton of fun.  After a while the Loveman and Liam came up with the game Lime limbo.  They were doing the limbo under the badminton net while riding their bikes.  It was hysterical…especially when I took the whole net down after catching my handlebars on it as I was doing the limbo.  Yes, I am a Lime limbo loser but at least I have something to aspire to.  I can’t wait to see what other fun family “Lime” adventures lie ahead!  Stay tuned.

October 15, 2007


About a week ago Jill from Trek with WSD demo trailer asked if I would be attending the Mountain Bike Festival in Maryland, sponsored by the Delaware Trailspinners, about 45 minutes from my house.  The Loveman and I have mountain biked and done races in Fairhill where the ride is being held.  (FYI - Race for me does not mean that I am a rock star mountain bike rider.  It just means I signed up and completed the course and had a blast.)  I told Jill I would be attending and riding on November 4, 2007 with the whole family.  I also asked if she would put aside one of the WSD mountain bikes for me to ride.

I absolutely love to mountain bike but I never seem to have the time for it.   It is so much quicker to roll out of the driveway on your road bike than it is to pack up your bike and head to the trails for a ride.  Yesterday the Loveman insisted that I pass on the club ride and go mountain biking with him and his mountain biking buddies.  He pointed out to me that I needed to go at least once before the festival.  Good point.  Now these guys go about twice a week and they’re pretty darn good.  One of the guys in particular, Rick, is really amazing and fun to watch.  He was hopping on and off of logs (one wheel at a time) while he was waiting for the group.  Not too intimidating before going on a ride for the first time in 2 years.  Yes, that’s 2 years…talk about cobwebs on a bike! 

Shorts Ok, so I was having a little anxiety for the first ten minutes.  I was actually stopping and walking my bike over log piles.  That is so not me.  Then I got behind Rick and every time he did a trick over a log pile he inspired me to do something also.  Next thing you know my skills kicked back in and I was riding over everything and doing pretty well.  Then we were on a crazy fast single track with switchbacks that went down a hill, over a steep mini cliff and then you had to pull a hard left.  I was in the zone and going wild.  I came down the hill so fast that I lost control, missed the left turn and had a major crash.  Loveman was behind and came running to my side.  He immediately asked if I was ok and then said, “As I watched my wife careening down the hill I thought to myself, that would really suck if she died.”   I said, “No I didn’t die but I peed in my pants.”  I was so scared when I lost control that I really lost control.  He got hysterical and said, “Oh we’ve got to tell the guys.”   Everyone had a good laugh and I continued riding in my wet pants.  What was I going to do…ride naked?  I had no choice.  Now I know how my kids do it and I proudly told them about it when I got home.  But I must say that my Trek WSD shorts worked very well as a super absorbent pad.  Out of all the shorts I have ever worn the Trek WSD shorts have the largest most comfortable pad I have ever seen.  So now I know that the shorts are not only used for comfort but also for those moments when you get the pee scared out of you.   

October 14, 2007


This weekend our club was doing their first ever luncheon ride, i.e. ride and then go to lunch at Enotria after the ride.  We always go to coffee shops after we ride but never to an actual eating establishment.  I was so excited.  The Loveman knows how I feel about eating and insisted that I do the ride.  Forget about the riding, it’s all about the food.

I showed up promptly at 9am only to be welcomed by 5 of my favorite riders in the club, John, Ed, Dave, Bob and Les (also known as the seniors).  Let me tell you a little bit about the “Boys of Bel Air.”

1.     John – 66 years old – He just did the Chicago Marathon last week and completed 18 miles after one month of training because he is so strong from the bike. He climbs mountains on a daily basis.  No joke.
2.    Ed – 67 years old and has legs like a 25 year old.  Soft-spoken, great sense of humor, and dynamite on the bike. 
3.    Dave – 57 years old (a senior wannabe) – Just started riding a year ago and he is like the new LanceSenior1_2 Armstrong.  He is also the guy that had a million flats on the covered bridge ride (he will never live it down).  See the 8/28/07 blog.
4.    Bob – 61  years old – He’s a sailor, a rider, a winemaker and someone that genuinely cares about making the world a better place for riders.  Oh ya, and he also looks a bit like Santa.
5.    Les – 67 years old - Luckily he’s married or I would marry him.  He has one kidney, celiac’s disease and is a killer skier...a freak of nature.  He uses riding as his training for ski season.  He could also drop pretty much anybody on the bike.

The thing I like about riding with these guys is that they are far less competitive then the 30 and 40 year old riders because they don’t have anything to prove.  They are incredible riders but don’t feel the need to rub it in anyone’s face.  They always provide me with lots of material and many laughs.  I am thinking about starting a band called “Susan and the Seniors”…at least I know I would be able to find an audience.