Monthly Archives: April 2014


This startled me one morning when I rolled into the bike storage room at work. I don’t know who did this or if they did it on purpose, but it’s awesome.

DIY bike panniers

Odd, but ingenious. You can get 5 gallon food buckets for free from many restaurants, and they’re certainly sturdy and waterproof.


This poor thing has sat outside one of our buildings at work for a good six months. During this time, I’ve watched it lose all of its accessories, fork, handlebars, seatpost, saddle, and front wheel. I noticed something the other day that’s a bit astounding: it is locked to the rack only by the rear wheel, and no one has stolen the frame yet.

Don’t wear underwear with your bike shorts

“No one will tell you this, so I’m going to tell you. We don’t wear underwear under our bike shorts.”

It’s true. One of the ride leaders gave us this advice at one of the first training rides I did last summer.

Recently, I got to talking about bike riding at a doctor’s visit. As soon as the doctor was out of the room, the nurse turned to me and said, “I have to tell you this.” She’d signed up for the STP a few years ago, and was still traumatized at how she’d gotten so badly chafed that it hurt to sit for several days. “No one told me not to wear underwear!” she lamented. She hasn’t ridden her bike since.

So there you go. No underwear. Go forth and pedal.

A tribute to Cheater Bike

I grew up riding bikes, like most American kids did back in the 70s and 80s. My first ride was a sweet Strawberry Shortcake step-through, complete with pink streamers on the handlebars. I later progressed to riding my aunt’s ten speed, then to a mountain bike in college. I loved the freedom of being on a trail on the outskirts of campus or in the woods, all on my own. But, I eventually stopped riding.

When I moved to my current home, I wanted to start riding again but was very out of shape and intimidated by the steep hills and traffic. I knew myself well enough to know that I’d give up quickly and quit.

I made one of the best decisions of my life and bought Cheater Bike.

Cheater Bike is a beautiful blue, step-through Velocity 1.5 electric-assist bike. She’s a miracle. I could actually ride up the hills and keep up well enough in traffic. I commuted to work almost every day and ran errands on the weekends. Eventually, I started trying to ride with the motor off more and did two 30-mile rides that way—no mean feat considering she’s 45 lbs!

After a year and a half, I bought a Kona Dew Plus which became my primary ride. Biking and walking had increased my fitness level a lot, and I started commuting on my new hybrid bike. At the time, this was a total of 8 miles with 800 ft of elevation gain. It was hard at first but got easier over time, and I marveled at how much I improved.

I haven’t ridden Cheater Bike since then. She sits in my garage, lonely and neglected. I put an ad on the for-sale mailing list at work and on Craigslist for 1/3 the original price(see note below), and I got no takers. I’m actually pretty sad about this. I love that bike, and as much as I would like to keep it forever and ride it occasionally, I know that someone out there would love this awesome bike and ride it all the time.

It’s actually getting a bit urgent as I just bought a fancypants new road bike, and having three bikes is getting a little ridiculous. Now that it’s spring, I’ll try to sell Cheater Bike again.

So here’s to Cheater Bike, which enabled me to regain my confidence in my biking ability. I couldn’t have done it without you.


* Someone asked me about this recently, and the truth is that I didn’t really grok at the time that my bike really was worth far less due to depreciation, and that I had probably overpaid for it. I originally bought it for $1400 (minus REI bonus reimbursement and the member sale), but it was $700 on the manufacturer’s site a few years later. $600 was too high. I didn’t realize it until someone pointed it out to me, then felt like a bit of a rube. 😉 Lesson learned: bikes depreciate like cars.