Tag Archives: bicycling

Tour de Farms – Another Year in the Bag

The mighty Power Pedallers: Dave, Kevin, Cookie, Beth, Danielle, me and David.
MIA: Randy, Natalie, and Sandy. But they biked that day, honest!

Bike MS has come and gone, and it was an adventure! While we didn’t miss dinner (the greatest fear of Bilbo Baggins), we did bike many miles (50 for Beth and me) in 90-degree heat, with 67% humidity, uphill, into a 15 mph wind.

Okay that last two claims were, of course, a slight exaggeration. I’ve yet to do any bike course that was uphill the entire way. And if you have a 15 mph headwind when you’re going south, it stands to reason that when you’re going north, it’s a tailwind. However…at one point, there’s a 17-mile stretch (mostly south, into the wind) with no scheduled rest stops. In the past, we’ve been able to get through it without needing to stop in between, but this year a lot of people sought out shade so they could gather strength to carry on. Several of us were sitting around under a tree in front of a farm house (this was Tour de Farms, after all) and we began to complain of this year’s challenges, each person seeking to top the person who spoke before. When we got to the point that someone said, “in the snow”, the next person said, “barefoot,” and I said, “and we liked it!” we figured we were done.

A blurry picture of me, grasping the medal I got for finishing

Here’s a shout out to BK, Sis, my cousin Steve, and friend Alan, for making the most awesome cheering section ever, and to all the generous people who sponsored me and thus, have contributed to MS research and support to those who are dealing with this disease. This has been my best year yet, in terms of fundraising. As of this writing, I’ve made 95% of my (admittedly ambitious) goal of $2500. I have until July 30 to meet it, so if you wanted to donate but haven’t yet, it’s not too late. Tour de Farms donations are being accepted until July 30. The link to my donation page is here.

Thanks so much to donors Lorie & Steve, Eileen (with Pat & Kat), Randy, Cecelia & Brian, Mickey, Danny & Lori, Rita & Kishin, Praful, the Ratay family, Rocky, Katie, Jay & Elizabeth, Ann, and Beth. I hope I haven’t missed anyone; please let me know if I have.

Skippy and the Skateboards

My Giro helmet, post-accident

This blog post is a day late; you’re about to find out why.

While training for the big Bike MS ride in DeKalb this weekend, I got in an accident. There were these girls on skateboards. I thought I could get past them before we got to a horrible curve in the trail that happens behind the DuPage River Sports Complex. I was wrong. The girl’s skateboard kept picking up speed. Before I could slam on my brakes, she jumped off the skateboard, sending it right under my bike.

My bike (aka Skippy)  went sideways and horizontal. I landed first on my butt and then on my head, or to be more precise, on my helmet. Thank all the good spirits (and BK) for the Giro helmet, which now sports a large crack in the middle of its back and some smaller ones to either side. The visor snapped off and the helmet mirror went flying. Skippy’s back wheel twisted and her rear brakes got more or less mangled.

Skippy on a good day

Skateboard girl apologized. A lot of people stopped to ask if I needed help. I felt shook up and sore, but I wasn’t going to call anyone until I got home and got myself sorted. Unfortunately I couldn’t even roll Skippy, her back wheel was so mashed up against her brakes. So I called BK to tell him there were going to be cab and bike shop and possibly medical expenses, but that I was doing all right.

While BK and I were on the phone, another cyclist stopped to help. He disengaged the back brakes so at least I could roll Skippy. I had been half-carrying her, holding up the back end. He told me it would be safe to ride home, as long as I went slowly and realized I only had front brakes, but then I should take the bike into my shop.

I initially thought about going home and calling my doctor once I got there, but the hospital was closer so I decided to go there. BK and Cookie have both been concussed, and I didn’t want to take any chances. Besides, by the time the hospital people could see me, BK would be able to get off work and come get me and Skippy. And so it proved.

I have a mild neck sprain and some soft tissue damage, as well as a few scrapes, but nothing was broken and I didn’t have a concussion. Skippy fared worse; she needs a new wheel and alignment, and some work on her brakes. But Mike at Bicycles Etc. said he thought he could get a new one and get her all fixed up in time for Bike MS this weekend. I’m feeling very guilty about what happened to Skippy. If there was anything or anyone blameless in this scenario, it would be the inanimate vehicles. Skippy and the Skateboards. Great band name, right? Only question remaining: can Skippy and the Skateboards learn to play nicely together? I’m guessing that as long as I am able to spot the skateboards in time, there will be peace in our time, at least as far as the skateboards and bicycles are concerned.

Get-well flowers from Sis and Seamus

Happy Tour de Farms Season!

A past team picture – the Power Pedallers

June 27 and 28, 2015—I can hardly wait for this year’s Tour de Farms ride in DeKalb!

The lovely people in various chapters of the MS Society run terrific bike rides all over the country, and in order to ride in one of them, you need to do a little fundraising to help people with MS.

The MS Society has helped our family a lot. BK has MS. He was diagnosed with it in the mid 1980s. He’s doing pretty well, considering. He sometimes has issues with discomfort, lack of coordination and fatigue, but he’s able to get around, work, and even have some fun occasionally. Usually it’s guitar-playing fun rather than bike-riding fun, but it all counts, right?

We have other friends with MS, too. It’s not that uncommon. Anyway, multiply our family by thousands and you have an idea how much good the MS Society does. The Greater Illinois Chapter says this about their work:

Our staff and volunteers are dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. Through our chapter’s support services and educational programs for people living with MS and their families and friends, we help connect people in our local communities who want to do something about MS now.

We offer many programs — including professional counseling and peer facilitated support groups, educational programs and seminars, referrals to neurologists and healthcare professionals, national teleconferences and internet programs, services for the homebound, and social and recreational programs to assist people with MS and their families in leading productive and fulfilling lives.

And that’s just my local chapter. The national society does all that and more, driving research to help end MS.

I’m still short of my goal. About $420 short, as of the day I’m posting this.  If anyone reading this wants to support the MS Society (either through a donation or by joining the ride), I’d love if you could do it by visiting the link to my personal fundraising page.

If you’d rather contribute a different way, please comment below or message me separately. Thanks so much for your support!

Bart and I (and the MS Society!)  appreciate the people who have already contributed to make my ride possible. Many, many thanks to:

  • Sara G.
  • my cousin Steve
  • my cousin Ann
  • Praful P.
  • Kurt L.
  • Tim and Nan
  • Katherine L.
  • the Tom M. family
  • Katie W.
  • Steve and Lorie R.
  • Mickey and Janet
  • Lori

Tour de Farms – June 21 & 22, 2014

My Bike MS event packet

I’m too excited and preoccupied to write about anything else, so today’s post is about Tour de Farms, a Bike MS event in Dekalb, Illinois. Cookie and I are leaving this afternoon to ride in it.

A number of people have contributed to the National MS Society and to sponsor my ride. Many, many thanks to: Lorie & Steve, Bart, Kurt, Cousin Steve, Mickey & Janet, Katherine, Tom, Praful, Sara, and Quentin & Family for your generous donations this year.

If anyone still wishes to donate to the National MS Society, you can do it at any time by searching on National MS Society. On behalf of BK, as well as other friends we know with MS—and people we don’t know—I really appreciate it. If you want your donation to count towards the Bike MS 2014 total, you can donate (by July 31, 2014) to anyone on our team, the Power Pedallers, at this link, or to sponsor my ride directly at this link.

Finally, if you’ve ever wanted to do something like this, I can unreservedly recommend the Bike MS Tour de Farms event for your future planning. The atmosphere is great, the people are wonderful, and you have many ride choice lengths, from 15 to 125 miles. Maybe Cookie and I will see you next year!

Blog Hooky


One of my bikes, named Skippy

 It was too nice outside to write a post today. I went for a bike ride because I want to be ready to do 50 miles on June 21 for Bike MS Tour de Farms. Managed 20 miles, which I feel okay about, considering how hard it’s been to work in training time so far this year.

So… I’m putting up my favorite links of the day.

Writing Stuff

5 writing tips by Dinaw Mengestu, courtesy of Publishers Weekly

A writing challenge from the cheerfully profane Chuck Wendig

And the link that made me smile reeeeeally big but if I tell you why ahead of time, I’ll ruin it

Camp Tokar