Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

22 September 2017

To Fall!

Today the autumnal equinox arrives at 4:02 pm EDT.

I'll be on my bike by then.  In fact, I might have even finished my ride.

I haven't decided where I'm riding.  Then again, apart from the usual changes (Is that phrase an oxymoron?)--you know, the shorter days and the changing colors of the leaves--we never really know what a new season will bring, do we?

From Treehugger

For that matter, you or I can take a ride we've taken dozens or even hundreds of times before.  We know the way; we know the terrain and the road conditions.  But we don't always know what lies ahead on any given day, on any given ride.

Out for a ride. On to a new season.

21 September 2017

Against The Wind, Into A Passion

In 1972 or thereabouts, he pedaled from Buffalo, New York to Erie, Pennsylvania.  "My butt has never been the same since then, honest to God," he says.

He doesn't mention what saddle he rode.  My guess is that it was broken-down, rather than broken-in.

More than likely, it's the saddle that came with the bike when he bought it. That is what most people ride, at least until they realize they can replace seats that are uncomfortable for them.  In this case, however, it may not have been possible for the Buffalo-to-Erie cyclist to swap out his bum-buster.

You see, that saddle came on a Columbia bicycle--but not one you might have ridden when you were a kid (or, perhaps, are still riding now!).  Rather, it's one of the Columbias made by Albert Pope's company in 1886.

Jim Sandoro bought that bike in 1970 at a flea market just outside of Cleveland.  A couple of years later, he took his fateful ride. "Like idiots, we didn't think about the wind," he recalls.  "In the old days, they used to pedal from Erie to Buffalo"--in the direction opposite from the one Sandoro rode--"because they knew better."  His ride into the wind, he says, took "16 grueling hours."

Jim Sandoro with a Maid of the Mist bicycle from his collection

Since I have never ridden a high-wheeler, I can only imagine what that ride was like.  The bike, however, helped to form a collection of vintage bicycles and rare bike memorabilia Sandoro and his wife, Mary Ann, have amassed over the past half-century.   They have concentrated their efforts on bikes and related items made from the 1860s through the 1920s, especially models related to their native Western New York State.

On Saturday, that collection will be displayed for the public for the first time in the Buffalo Transportation/ Pierce-Arrow Museum, which they founded and built.  The museum has been devoted mainly to automobiles and, more recently, the Frank Lloyd Wright Filling Station.  But now the Sandoro's collection, which has been augmented by bikes they purchased from the former Pealing History Museum in nearby Orchard Park, will take a prominent place in their museum.

And, if you plan to ride there, you might want to pay attention to the wind!

20 September 2017

A "Fancy Ladies" Bike Tour

Am I a "fancy lady"?

If I am, I can join others like me on a ride made for us.

Yes, it's called the "Fancy Ladies Bicycle Tour".  Best of all, it's being held in 50 different locations this Sunday.

There's just one problem, and it's a logistical one:  None of those locations are near me.  So it might be a bit difficult (not to mention expensive!) to book an airline ticket and hotel reservations.  Oh, and I have to be at work on Monday!

Oh, well.  The starting points for the "Fancy Ladies Bicycle Tour" are in a country I would gladly visit again:  Turkey.  I once spent nearly a month there.  Of all the countries I have visited, it's my favorite. (I don't count France as a country I've visited, as I've lived there.  So, for me, France is in a special category.)  It offers a great combination of artistic and cultural treasures with natural beauty.  The food is great. And the people are lovely:  I mean, they ones I met were warm and hospital and, very often, physically attractive!  My only regret was that I didn't get to do any bike riding when I was there.

The Tour has no admission fee.  The only requirements for the Fancy Ladies Bicycle Tour seem to be, in addition to being a woman, dressing up one's self and one's bike.  I think I can do those things.  

This is the Tour's fifth year.  The first version was held in 2013 in the coastal city of Izmir (formerly Smyrna) with the objective of promoting bike riding among women, while marking World Car-Free Day.  What's really interesting is that the Tour is not sponsored:  it formed and spread entirely by cyclists showing up for it.  Now, that's definitely my kind of ride!