Facing Forty Upside Down

Where the Girls Are: At the Bike Shop! 0

Where the Girls Are: At the Bike Shop!

Posted by on May 6, 2016 in Bicycling, facing fears, Facing Forty Upside Down, Mother's Day

This is a sponsored post; all opinions are my own. Recently I attended a Women’s Basic Bike Maintenance class at Redbeard Bikes in Brooklyn, part of a series of events co-hosted by Liv, the only female-specific bike & apparel brand. Why do women need our own bike maintenance classes? Because we’re more comfortable talking bikes with each other! I honestly feel intimidated in many bike shops, and I know I’m not the only one (how many of you have gotten the patronizing sigh, the barely hidden eye roll at a question?) but Kasia Nikhamina, co-owner of Redbeard with her husband Ilya, and Liv Brand Ambassador Karla R.T. Miele put about a dozen women right at ease with wine and chips and friendly chatter. The group was as diverse as could be, in age, ethnicity, and geography – people traveled from Harlem, Queens, and Westchester to DUMBO to attend – but the common bond of liking to ride and wanting to learn more about bikes brought us together. When Ilya asked “How many of you maintain your bikes yourself?” a few tentative hands went up, and then one brave soul asked “What does that even mean? I mean, what is the maintenance my bike needs?” Many heads began bobbing up and down. Any...

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How to Bike in the Rain-With 32K Friends! TD Five Boro Bike Tour Team #SomeNerve 2016 Recap 6

How to Bike in the Rain-With 32K Friends! TD Five Boro Bike Tour Team #SomeNerve 2016 Recap

Posted by on May 2, 2016 in Bicycling, Events, exercise, facing fears, Facing Forty Upside Down, fitness, Some Nerve, Trying new things

When the weather report for the 42-mile TD Five Boro Bike Tour 2016 said “a total washout – rain all day and temperatures in the 40s” I was not happy. I have somehow, through training for 3 5-Boros and 3 triathlons since learning to bike 2 years ago with Bike New York Adult Beginner classes, managed to avoid cycling long distances in the rain. The thought of biking on wet and slippery roads while getting hypothermia made me want to fake a fever and call the whole thing off. But the 5 Boro is RAIN OR SHINE, my team is called Team #SomeNerve (WHY? WHY didn’t I call it Team #SOMEFAIRWEATHERNERVE?), and despite some cancellations a great number of BRAVE teammates checked in to say “I’M STILL IN!” So I went to work figuring out how best to weather the weather. I queried experts at Red Beard Bikes, Liv Cycling, Hastings Velo, and the fine athletes at the Women for Tri Facebook Group. Our hard earned advice: * Dress appropriately – Anti fog sunglasses and/or a visor under your helmet. WATERPROOF gloves, rain jacket, rain pants. In my case, “Water Resistant” Gloves = “Water Becomes Irresistible at about Mile 15” and Your Hands Will be Wet and Frozen. Wool (or...

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What Young Artists Need 7

What Young Artists Need

Posted by on Apr 13, 2016 in Facing Forty Upside Down, parenting

When we adopted G and R one of the most fun things to imagine was what innate talents they might have. Unbound by expectations based on DNA, we’ve had the fun of being surprised again and again: G’s love of martial arts and science, for example, or R’s mad parkour skills and her cool fashion sensibility. Kent and I aren’t naturally good at any of that – but look at them go! For every hit, of course there are lots of misses, hobbies tried and dropped soon after. So when we signed up spur of the moment for an open studio painting session with muralist Kim Ray at Mountain Painters and Artisans Gallery in Londonderry, VT we knew it could go any which way. Fifteen year old G hasn’t painted since she was a toddler, so No pressure, honey, just give it a try. She chose to paint our dog, Mochi. Two hours later, she’d created this: WHOA! AMAZING! THAT’S MOCHI! Friends cried. “Can she paint my tortoise Minnie?” bestselling novelist Caroline Leavitt asked via Facebook. “I’ll pay her.”  G’s second pet portrait would be her first commissioned piece! G went to work. She asked Caroline all about Minnie. She researched Vietnamese Jagged Shell Tortoises. She tried to channel...

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Spring = Bike Tune Up Time! 1

Spring = Bike Tune Up Time!

Posted by on Apr 6, 2016 in Bicycling, exercise, Facing Forty Upside Down

Spring is springing (which in NY apparently means blooming flowers, freezing temps, and snow!) and that means…bike tune up time! Yesterday, I brought my purple Giant back to the mother ship, Redbeard Bikes in Brooklyn, where I was told I wore my chain out and needed a new one – not bad for a 45 year old newbie!  After 2 Five Boro Bike Tours, the Discover Hudson Valley Ride, the Tour de Bronx, 3 triathlons and countless training miles – all within 2 years of learning to ride – I am proud to have broken my bike in.  “Did you ever imagine you’d be leading rides,” Kasia Nikhamina (co-owner of Redbeard, with her husband Ilya) asked, when I told her I needed the tune up in time for a Team #SomeNerve training ride this week. We both laughed, remembering how I couldn’t ride around the block when I bought this bike 2 years ago (See How to Buy a Bike & Survive Your First Test Ride). Kasia is warm and encouraging and makes everyone, and especially women, feel welcome in the store and capable on wheels. I will always be grateful to her for getting me up to speed (ha!). Redbeard is running some great events coming up, including “How to Fix...

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Fear of Writing: Family Memoir 0

Fear of Writing: Family Memoir

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Facing Forty Upside Down

I recently had the honor of being a guest author at Linda Lowen‘s non-fiction class at the Downtown Writers Center of the YMCA of Greater Syracuse (via FaceTime chat) and I enjoyed their questions so much I thought I’d share some of the discussion here with all of you. The class, “Why You Need Some Nerve to Write,” looked at Some Nerve and the fear of failure. The students’ pointed questions about the fear of exposure that comes with “going public” with oneself (and especially with family stories) is at the heart of what most of us are afraid of in life – being rejected, hurting our loved ones – and that writers feel on a sometimes seemingly unbearable scale. Telling our stories is always optional, so why risk it? And what is the cost of not telling our stories at all? I’ve paraphrased (i.e., shortened, made more coherent) my answers for this blog.  For a person who started out so very fearful, how did you get the nerve to put yourself out there in the public eye, or was that never a problem? Ha! I wrote an entire book about my countless fears, of course I was afraid of putting myself out there! I still am, and I suspect part...

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