Tag: Roscoe Village Bikes

Spidermonkey of the Week – Lindsey Fahey

 

Dock Party! (Lindsey on the left, Jenny on the right)

Dock Party! (Lindsey on the left, Julie in the middle and Jenny on the right)

by Lindsey Fahey

As a kid I grew up riding my bike all over my neighborhood and always remember how exciting it was when my mom would give me the ok to extend my ride (Ok, now you can go AROUND the block, you are 5 now!).  So I suppose generally I liked riding bikes since day 1.

Through high school and college I didn’t ride a bike at all since it never seemed particularly convenient or much of a workout, plus I was playing lacrosse at U of I, so usually got my workouts in that way.  When I moved to Chicago I thought people were crazy who rode their bikes on the streets.  Many of my coworkers at the design firm I used to work at rode their bikes to work.  All I could think was “stupid hipsters.”  I certainly would never be one of those bike people.  One day 2 years ago I was eating at a buffet with my friend Jenny (also now a Spidermonkey) and she mentioned she had a road bike that she sometimes rode on the trail with her mom.  I was like oh, huh, maybe I should get a bike.  I may have actually asked her how she got it to the trail; did she ride it on the STREET ALL THE WAY THERE??  I started toying with the idea of biking since I decided to retire myself from running after hurting my hip training for the ‘09 marathon.  Living in Roscoe Village, I wandered into Roscoe Village Bikes one day and started chatting with Paul.  After test driving a few bikes later that week I settled on a blue Jamis road bike.  My boss (who is super into cycling) asked me if my new bike was carbon and what components I selected……I stared back blankly and told him I don’t know and that I don’t need some fancy carbon bike.  I started riding around a little bit, taking only one way streets for the most part.  Jenny taught me how to ride on Addison WITH CARS to get to the trail in the mornings before work and I slowly became more comfortable on the roads.  I even started riding to work and by the end of the summer I was one of those hipsters riding to work, some weeks up to 3 days if I didn’t have meetings.  I was bummed when the weather changed and I couldn’t ride anymore, minus one misguided attempt to ride to work in January.

Fast forward to early spring this year, I was chomping at the bit to get out on my bike and was constantly bugging Jenny and my friend’s husband (the only 2 people I knew with road bikes) to go ride.  My roommate told me I was super annoying, and suggested I go “join a club or something” to make some friends who like bikes as much as I did.  That seemed like a good idea so I started googling bike clubs in Chicago.  I figured it was best to look at the pictures of the members to assess each club.  I don’t mean I just checked out the members…more like I wanted to be sure they weren’t only wearing spandex and super hard core or the other extreme of just touring around…fun but serious athletes was what I was looking for and the Spidermonkeys looked like normal people.  They seemed to actually have fun together in their pictures so I emailed Vanessa who suggested I come try out a girl’s ride.  I was terrified, I had never even ridden 30 miles, let alone with a group that had a rule list that was pages long.  I was so nervous I barely slept the night before, but finished the ride and was hooked.  I was so thankful Rebecca took the time to ride with me that first time and show me the ropes of the pace line (yes you get THAT close) and what all the signals meant.  As the summer wore on I went on as many girls rides as I could make with my work schedule and tried a few of the Saturday rides.  Every time I got my ass handed to me, but learned a lot on every ride.  I couldn’t believe how encouraging everyone was and how willing they were to share their experience.

Bike to Work Week!

Bike to Work Week with the Spidermonkeys!

By this time I had badgered Jenny into getting clipless pedals and join Spidermonkeys as well so we could train together for our rides we had registered for throughout the summer.  Our first MAJOR RACE EVENT was a 40 mile Chocolate City ride in Burlington, Wisconsin.  Maybe it is because we were in the same sorority at U of I, or maybe because we played college lacrosse together, but in our minds this was an epic sporting event and we absolutely needed matching jerseys.  I told her that for the Chicago marathon you always dressed like the person you were running with so you could keep track of them in the massive crowds of competitors.  (Did I mention this ride was in Burlington, WI??)  We would need to be brightly colored and matching so we didn’t lose each other in the packs of bike riders I imagined would be at this ride.  We rushed to the “start line” at 6 am in our sweet matching (hot pink!) jerseys and were met with a few locals from the Lions Club hanging out in a school gym handing out chocolate.  I was like oh did we miss the start??  They were like ummm, no you just ride the route, there isn’t a start, you can start from 6 am until 10 am.  Guess we missed the memo that bike rides were nothing like distance running races, no chips, no crowds and no gun at the start.  We rolled out and had a great day on our first ride…and didn’t see another soul for about 75% of it.  We actually got asked if we were a lady cycling team on the ride due to our matching pink jerseys.

Chocolate City "Race"

Chocolate City “Race”

Sailor Dan's rest stop at Chocolate City

Sailor Dan’s!  Team Hot Pink Jerseys!

We then did the Tour de Cure with my company team which was fun, (this time we had on matching jerseys but in different colors).  We realized we liked the small town somewhat disorganized rides better.  Plus they had much better food.  We followed those rides up with a ride in Chillicothe, IL, and the Apple Cider Century in Three Oaks, Michigan (highly recommended, although don’t make a U turn in the downtown unless you want to get pulled over and lectured by a cop on foot, ooops).

Tour de Cure!

Tour de Cure!

By the end of the season this year I had gone on countless SM rides, tried my hand at mountain biking and actually made it up a mountain in Colorado (sort of, I fell off the bike into some bushes), made those illusive bike friends I was looking for who are always willing to ride (even on Thanksgiving!), figured out how to change a flat tire, finished my first Century with some coworkers at the North Shore ride, crossed 2 state lines on my bike and just recently bought my first big kid full carbon bike and told my boss exactly what components it had.  I could not be happier with my decision to email Vanessa and go on that first ride.  I’m SO excited for the upcoming season!

MTB'ing with Jenny

MTB’ing!

Spidermonkey of the Week – DJ Ryan

Yes, my name is DJ Ryan.

My very first bike was an iconic Schwinn Sting-Ray.  One of the many things I wish I could have preserved from my childhood, but back then to me, it was simply a refurbished hand-me down from my brother.  With a brand new sparkly yellow banana seat and training wheels I was ready to ride all up and down the block.  I don’t remember too much about the bike other than it weighed a ton and I was the last kid on the block to get rid of my training wheels.  By the time the 80’s rolled around I couldn’t wait to get rid of that thing.

By the time I got my next bike, around the sixth grade, I knew exactly what I wanted.  Nothing less than a Schwinn Predator Chromo would do.  After refusing a kickstand (opting to only rest it upside down), and removing the front brake, I was ready to rock.  I was the envy of the neighborhood, I truly loved that bike.  Riding less and less as I got older, one day in high school, my Dad came home with a pair of Schwinn Sprint 10-Speed’s (can you say brand loyalty?).  It was completely out of nowhere.  Preparing to get my driving license, I inquired why I was being giving a bike.  He replied “well your sister needed one and you need to stop riding that little dirt bike”… Other than the color (red) and the 80’s sponge-grip handlebar wrap, I didn’t care for that Sprint 10-Speed much.  I couldn’t go off-road with that thing, plus nothing could replace my Predator… that is until I could legally drive.

I’m on my red bike ..

Fast forward 20 years, I’m in a job that I cannot stand and realize that it may not last long.  I take a lunch with Dean, who’s got this shit-eating grin as if he’s received an invitation to the Playboy Mansion or something.  Without the slightest hesitation, he tells me about this cycling team he’s starting and that I should check out a bike across the street and think about joining.  Immediately, I can see the sales pitch is on (by Dean, Alex was just showing me the bike).  Yes, it’s red and pretty and all, but given my situation “I don’t know” …  Turns out there was a freak mild day that January in 2008 and I returned to Roscoe Village Bikes to claim my first real road bike.  As I figured, I soon was “let go” by that stupid company and now I had the time I wanted to figure some things out.

You looking at me

Fresh off a tough breakup and my firing, I was out riding long before the snow melted.  Which was a good thing, because I had never ridden a bike with clipless pedals and needed tons of practice.  So with time on my hands and a mission in mind, I headed up to the North Branch Trail and rode, and rode, and rode!!  Before I knew it I had essentially ruined the rear derailleur and shoe clips.  Between the snow, ice, and the learning how to clip-in and out the hard way, I would fall a couple of times per outing.  As dreadful as it may sound I was having a blast…

Spidermonkeys, past and present were so helpful:  little pointers here and there, gracious drafts/pulls, and loads of encourage.  It was nothing but positive energy.  So the 2009 season rolls around and I decide to test my abilities at the Trek 100.  I stayed awake through the night because I had to DJ the night before and the event was nearly 3 hours away… I thought a lot about backing out, because the weather was terrible for early June.  However, I thought about the money I had raised and figured I couldn’t let those that contributed down.  I had several flats (mainly because I was too impatient to do it right) and lost the group early on… but I’ll never forget the applauding children with cancer thanking me as I crossed the finish line.  Having completed a (metric) century, all I could think about was completing a full century.

Spidermonkeys = Awesome

I continued riding, enjoying every summer day to it’s fullest… until I woke up one Sunday morning in July with chest pains.  This didn’t make any sense, I was only 37 and in the best shape of my life… sure I smoked and partied too much, but I was working out and biking 100-200 miles a week.  I don’t remember ever being so scared.

I had suffered what is clinically known as a Spontaneous Pneumothorax (my right lung had collapsed).  They assured me I’d make a full recovery, but I was going to be out of commission for the foreseeable future.  After the first surgery in the ER, my lung re-inflated well enough, but the bleb that had burst causing the collapse wasn’t hailing.  So the surgeon informed me that I’d have have another surgery to fold over and stabilize the top of my lung.  Honestly, I didn’t care what they did, I just wanted to get back on the saddle again.

I spent two weeks in the hospital… I had lost 15 lbs, and my physical activity was limited to walking my dogs.   A few weeks later, I was given a clean bill of health, and I immediately went home and climbed back on my bike.   Six weeks after my lung collapse I rode that first century (North Shore Century).  It wasn’t too fast, and I was dropped several times, but I made it.

By the time the 2010 North Shore Century came around, I was determined to show myself that I could really do this with out being dropped.  I succeeded and followed several other Spidermonkeys on a burger run the following day.  Feeling quite proud of myself I took up a friend’s dare to run the Hot Chocolate 15K.  After completing that run in a very respectable time, I started to wonder what else I could accomplish…

2011 I turned 40 years old, and to celebrate I set out to do at least one event for each month of the year:  NYE 5K, Hustle Up the Hancock, Shamrock Shuffle, Cinco de Miler, MS Ride, Dash Peddle Dash, North Shore Half Marathon, North Shore Century, Chicago Half Marathon, Chicago Marathon… finishing nearly all of them amongst the top 20%, not bad for a kid who was once scared to get rid of his training wheels.

I can run too.

I tell this long winded story not to brag (well, maybe a little), but to show others that with a little encouragement and hard work anyone can do anything.  That’s what Spidermonkey Cycling has taught me.  Spidermonkey Cycling has been a life altering experience for me, the cycling and life lessons learned and/or reinforced are too many to count.  I literally owe at least a part my life to Spidermonkey Cycling.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
DJ Ryan

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