Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What's in a name? How's about a donation to LIVESTRONG?

I'm a sucker for naming things. Whether it's a cat to a child to a car, I name things. It's what I do. My Raleigh is affectionately known as my "Pink Cadillac". My Bianchi is "Eros" (I know, very original).

But, my newest addition to my stable has no name. I mean, sure, Trek gave it the eloquent name "3900", but you can't call that a name. That's merely a model number.

So let's give this a shot...

Here's a photo of the new bike:

Help me name this bike!

A few requirements:
  1. To be considered, I ask that you make a donation of at least $5 to my Austin LIVESTRONG Challenge account at: http://austin2010.livestrong.org/ricarockstheride828
  2. Once you have made your donation, leave a comment here along with your suggested name
  3. Because she's blue & white, and I lived in Israel, inclusion of something Israel-related would be much appreciated and likely for the highest consideration
That being said, I will MATCH - dollar for dollar - the winning name's contribution amount. (I will not choose the name based on how much you donated, but rather on how much I like the name.)

I know - it's nowhere near as exciting as Fat Cyclist's contests, but...

Oh. And I'll have a little something special to send the winning name's originator!

Monday, March 22, 2010

All in a day's work

For those of you who don't know, I've started to work at Trek of Fairfield in the Brick Walk complex of Fairfield, CT on weekends. (Yeah, yeah... like I don't have anything else to do... ) Why? Aside from the added income, I wanted to learn more about cycling, and, frankly, I needed to find a way to feed my new-found addiction in an affordable manner. This weekend was my first weekend working on the sales floor. (Well, technically, it was for training, but they were so busy, and, you know how shy I am... I couldn't stand it, so I ended up helping folks - trial by fire.)

And, I know it may sound strange - yes, I have an managerial position with a company where I have an office, a view, a new hire, etc, which I do appreciate and enjoy tremendously - but I think it was one of the most fulfilling weekends of "work" that I've experienced. Not only did I get to learn and share knowledge about something that I'm passionate about, but I ended up working mostly with parents getting their kids their first bikes. (I guess since I'm a mom, a woman, and not an obvious candidate as a "gearhead" - not that anyone else in the shop is really, but you know what I mean, it naturally happened that way.) And it was illuminating. Literally. Because, once I talked to the kids, and the parents, I saw the "sparks" light up in their eyes, and I knew there was a budding cyclist there.

What was great was, when speaking to these little 'uns, their parents were often steering them towards the "cute" bikes, but the kids, and mostly the girls, were shooting for the "real" bikes - not the cruisers, the mountain-style bikes - and it wasn't because they had the bells and whistles. I heard reasons like:
  • "No, I'm not just going to want to go up and down the street."
  • "Pink isn't a serious color for a serious bike. I want the blue one, Daddy!"
  • "I can ride a horse! Why can't I ride a bike just as hard!"
  • "I need gears, Mommy. Have you tried going up our hill?"
  • "Daddy, I want to ride with you! And I can't do that on a silly bike with ribbons!"
  • "Can I ride the bike to school instead of the bus?"
  • "If he gets front shocks, I get front shocks, too! Just because I'm a girl doesn't mean I don't want to get dirty!"
And there it was. I thought my kids were in the minority. But, no, they aren't. And I was so proud of these girls standing up to their moms, who had been complaining that the bikes weren't girly enough. One girl had her heart SET on a blue Trek with green and orange bubbles (the girl's Trek MT60). I pulled the mom aside and pointed out that we could "girlify" things up with the helmet and accessories, but that if her daughter didn't want an overly-girly bike, and she insisted on another model, which technically would have been fine, her daughter simply wouldn't ride it. Ultimately, she conceded to her rough-and-tumbly daughter. (I also reminded Mom that, if she liked girly bikes, there were plenty of adult bikes that fit the mold, so she could ride with her daughter. Not quite a spark in Mom, yet, but I did get a flicker when she saw the cool plum Trek Navigator... )

I also nearly shot myself in the foot. I've also been vying to get a mountain bike, which I finally did, as well. I'm hitting trails nearby with the hope to race this summer and run a LIVESTRONG MTB event later this year. I had brought my bike downstairs (the Trek 3900 Disc LE) to mount SPD pedals on and to take it home. Just as things were shutting down, a couple comes in and asks about a good, entry-level, hardtail MTB that was around $500 and had disc brakes. My colleague couldn't think of a model, so I sheepishly suggested the 3900. They asked if there was one to see, and the woman was about my height. Knowing that the bike that would suit her best was downstairs, with my name on it, I couldn't hoard it and not let her try it out. So, I told her we happened to have one Limited Edition version on hand for her to look at and I'd bring it up.

I did, and she fell in love with it. As we talked, she asked why it was downstairs. I told her it was actually mine, but, if she wanted it, I'd order another for myself. She felt so badly, because, I guess, I spoke so passionately about it, she refused and said she'd want to order a bike for the man she came in with, too, so she'd go with the ordered bike. So, it was win-win for both of us - another is coming into the shop for her to test ride and, hopefully, take home, and I got to bring my new toy home, too.

Now, bearing in mind I'd be representing LIVESTRONG as well as the shop when I do these MTB races, I had to modify the bike a little...

LIVESTRONG, everyone!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thus I digress

I want to keep this blog positive. However, a recent radio broadcaster (and I use that term lightly) chose to rant against cycling lanes being put into his home town. Rather than complain about logistical issues, town ordinances, etc, he chose to aim his wrath at the cyclists themselves, calling for them to be run down.

I was appalled. So, I sent the management team at ESPN the following letter:

Dear Bruce Gilbert, et al:

Why is Mr. Kornheiser still on the air after encouraging his listeners to run down cyclists? He wrongly stated that roads aren't made for cyclists (unfortunately, the government disagrees, and, in fact, cyclists have the right to ride FULLY in the lane, not only in shoulders, and are NOT ALLOWED to ride on the curbs), and, again, encourages violence against cyclists! What's next, run down the pedestrians pushing the baby strollers because they take too long crossing the street? Shoot down the elderly while they cross at a crosswalk because they move too slowly with their walkers?

I exaggerate, but I, personally, am an incredibly car-conscience cyclist. I ride 12-15 miles to and from work every day. And I've been hit 3 times in the past year - once by a driver who ran a stop sign, once by a driver who decided that I "didn't belong on the road" and didn't care to signal, and dragged me almost 10 yards around a corner, totalling my bike, and once by a driver who decided he didn't like me on his street, stopped short and backed into me - on purpose. All the while, I signaled properly, had plenty of reflective and lighting gear, allowed drivers who signaled or indicated they needed/wanted to pass or turn in front of me to do so, etc. I'm hardly the picture of the renegade bike messenger.

Bob Roll states the situation beautifully here: http://www.versus.com/cycling/videos/bobs-beef-with-espns-tony-kornheiser/in-stream/sports/cycling/sort/most-recent/i/1/

But I am going to take it one step further.

Suspension, at the very least, is reasonable. Termination is requested.

And, no, an apology is not appreciated or acceptable. It's beasts like Mr. Kornheiser that gives people like the 2 men that purposely hit me with their vehicles, and nearly killed me, a mom of 2 and sole breadwinner for my children, justification for assault simply because they don't like the fact that I commute on 2 wheels and not 4.

- Rica Mendes

If you would like to read a transcript of the original broadcast, you can find it here: http://www.thewashcycle.com/2010/03/tony-kornheiser-allegedly-condones-running-down-cyclists.html

If you would also like to make a complaint to ESPN, you may do so here: http://www.espn980.com/info/contact_us.php

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Making progress...

Well, the $750 from the Dave Wiens Leadville 100 belt buckle auction has now been deposited, as have all the funds from LOVESTRONG for LIVESTRONG... still pending are the funds from the first WITH THE BAND auction, but those should be deposited soon.

So, here are the links to see where that money is going:

So... the big total to date in the accounts: $2,475.00!

Which means we "only" have $22,525.00 to go... we can do this!