December 24, 2011

My Bike Makeover

This week my bike underwent two big transformations: new PINK handlebar tape and clipless pedals! I am excited about the former, and very nervous about the latter. Both are influenced by my friend, Angi.

I've mentioned Angi before. I met her this past year on dailymile, and she has since become my biking partner. Over the summer, most of my long weekend rides were done with her. She motivated me to go longer, and helped me get up big hills I never thought I could do. She helped train me for my first Olympic-distance triathlon, which I did in September....and in fact came to cheer me on for the entire 4 hours I was racing.

For months she, and her husband, Steve (who taught me how to change a bike tire!) have been urging me to trade in my clunky pedals with toe cages for clipless pedals. Clipless scares me. The idea of being CLIPPED IN while I'm riding, and having to quick-release before I stop, is terrifying. I have to quickly get out of my toe cages, too, and remember falling a few times when I first got them. I hate falling.

But they have been pushing me to try them, even giving me Angi's old pedals and shoes (we are the same shoe size). Apparently, using clipless pedals will give me more power when I ride, which I can definitely use when climbing hills (ok, who am I kidding...I am so slow on the bike that I can use the extra power even on flat rides!) So this week I took my bike into the shop made the change. Yesterday I took my bike to a local park where I practiced riding while clipping and unclipping, clipping and unclipping. Right now, I feel moderately comfortable unclipping on the right side; I can't stop on a dime, but I think I can unclip given warning. I can't unclip as easily on the left side, but that's ok...even with my toe cages I always, always undid my right foot to stop.

So all that is well and good...but here's the thing: Angi is now battling breast cancer. She found a lump about a year ago, but didn't think anything of it. However, during a routine mammogram in October, she found out it was cancerous. She had a mastecomy in November and while the doctors are optimistic that they got it all, she is facing a few months of chemotherapy.

Her husband wrote on his blog that he changed his handlebar tape to pink to show his support for Angi, and that he is not changing it back until she is cancer-free. I am joining him. I can't wait to be able to change it back to blue. Angi will beat this---she's a tough athlete, and has an unstoppable determination and optimism. I have already promised her that when she's ready, I am doing a 5k with her; her first race post-treatment.

Please, please....if you're a woman, get your breasts checked. Check them monthly, get a mammogram yearly, and if you feel a lump, please consult your doctor immediately. And please, please...send positive thoughts, energy and prayer to my dear friend Angi!


  1. You're going to LOVE the clipless pedals - Angi and Steve aren't exaggerating: you'll definitely feel stronger on the bike once you get used to them. And if it makes you feel any better, I can only unclip with one foot too! I always take my left foot out first, but always clip my right in first. I think it's because I tend to "go" towards my left, so I always want my left food to be "in charge" whenever I'm getting on or off the bike.

    Here's to a speedy recovery for Angi - we're all sending positive thoughts her way!

  2. Also unclip the L foot first, because, being R handed, in an emergency, my R comes out quicker.

    I think you'll find if you hold your L leg in a trailing position a foot out to the side while rolling to a full stop, it will help your balance if the surface gets a little bumpy

    Rooting for Angi too. Took my mom when she was only a yr older than I am now.

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  4. PS: A real confidence, and skill builder, is to find a shallow downgrade, unclip your L side, and roll down the hill unclipped while braking and steering.

  5. Good luck with getting used to your new pedals!

    I also wish the best of luck to your friend and her battle with cancer. I just had my first mammogram and felt so much relief after it came back clear. It's so important to keep up with our own health care.

    From your last post, good job advocating for your daughter. It's good that the IEP team agreed with you about the special class. One thing our school did for Gracie that helped, was to give her a break after she got some work done. She could take a walk up and down the hallway, and got one on one time from a para during that time. Maybe this would help A?

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday! Thank you for caring about my family and for all of your support!

  6. Good luck with the clips! And love the pink tape for angi. :)

  7. Do well on those pedals! And kudos to a well-written post!


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