Wheely Small Bike

Check this beauty out. All metal frame with brazed lugs and rubber tires. The steering works and so does the chain. Turn the pedals and the back wheel spins. Wheely Cool! Interesting frame geometry has modern compact frame design but old school brake levers. Functional fender keeps that rooster tail off your backside. This is the ultimate “party” prize.

Tour de Cure 2006

Willis showing some spin and lots of flair

On May 5th, 2006 we put another Tour de Cure in the Wheely Cool bag. With eleven riders on our team, we were able to raise over $6,000 towards fighting Diabetes. That’s no small change! Plus, we had a great time and an excellent ride, due to the organization of the American Diabetes Association, and pleasant spring weather. And also of important note, the 2006 Napa ride raised a total of over 1 Million dollars. The highest amount of all Tour de Cure events across the nation.

I raised over $2400, thanks so much to my sponsors! This put me in the small group of “Champion for Diabetes” that the event recognizes as the top fundsraisers.
To pay tribute to my sponsors during the ride, I went with some serious flair, and wrote their names on long ribbons tied to my camelbak. I was going for wow factor, and got some good attention. What can I say, I like showing my support for my supporters.

For the ride, I mixed things up a little bit and rode the 50 miles on a fixed gear bicycle, which was converted from an old geared bike I found at a thrift store. There is a new trend in riding fixed gear bicycles lately, maybe because of eBay and Craigslist making available a lot of old, classic bikes for cheap. From a riding perspective, it’s a more “connected” experience, to have your legs feel every change in momentum of the bicycle, whether it’s speeding up, or slowing down. It feels like a closer workout to running, without the benefit of coasting. The elegant simplicity of not worrying about what gear I’m in, is quite a refreshing change in riding style. Hills, however are not the best terrain to be riding with one one gear choice. Fortunately for me, Napa valley only has small, rolling hills, if that. So in deciding to ride this route with only one gear, I had to choose wisely what gear ratio to set the bike for the task.

I wasn’t the only one riding fixed, though. As if by unspoken pact, Jeff C and Steve S. both chose to ride fixie with me, and we kept things in order at the pack of the pack. Unable to really keep pace with the group due to the frequent rolling hills. But we had a great time, bonding with nature and the road, as only a direct link can provide.

The temperatures rose throughout the day, and a few people on our team were “jonesing for some Cytomax”. I had brought a baggie of the stuff, to keep anyone from dehydrating or cramping. Unfortunately, this prophecy came true and both Kevin and Steve were needing the ‘max. It may have helped Kevin, but Steve would later hit the leg cramps at mile 45, forcing him to ride the sag wagon.

There was a lot of road construction, in the form of large concrete barriers along the side of the road, forcing us to ride in the traffic lanes. Normally this doesn’t bug me, but on a big organized ride, it didn’t seem the safest thing. Luckily there were no mishaps as I was to later learn.

We managed to stay together mostly, except getting ahead of Dorothy and Eleanor. Taking our time at rest stops is always Wheely Cool tradition!

Action shot:

Cyclists stop for peanut butter and bananas.

A few shots of the scenery along the way…

I was glad to finish this ride without problems. That was the farthest I had ridden on a fixed gear bike. Without gears, I really felt the miles on my legs, every turn of the crank translated into movement forward, and without wasted effort (or freedom to coast) and it was a very rewarding finsih.

The rest of the pictures can be found here.

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