Tag Archives: Old Yeller

Picnic with Derek and Move Over Miss CatEye

 If your would like to donate to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS Fund, click here.

Dereks grave with me

I had lofty plans for an 80 mile ride Saturday July 5th, which was scheduled to start at 6 a.m. Having recently found an online map and pedal-by-pedal directions from Newton, MA to Greenwich, CT from the Ride to End ALS, I wanted to try out the directions and see whether I could make it to NYC with these directions and map alone. On Saturday I was planning on using my own bicycle maps to get from Quincy to Newton, and then using the ALS Ride directions to travel another 40 miles or so to see how I’d do following their directions. I figured if it worked out okay, this would allow me to save money and avoid buying a fancy shmancy Garmin GPS system. It would also give me the satisfaction of traveling to NYC the old-fashioned way…well sort of…that is, with the assistance of Google Maps when in pinch. Don’t get me wrong, I have applied for a Garmin Edge 1000 through the Garmin website, and am still hoping I can appeal to the sympathies of the corporate Garmin giants and get one donated.

Having checked the forecast numerous times the previous couple days knowing remnants of Hurricane Arthur were heading our way, it was expected that the clouds would clear shortly after sunrise,  just in time for me to hit the roads “OldYeller style.” Although I tucked in a wee bit late for a 5 a.m. rising, I dragged my soon-to-be spandex wearing behind out of bed and sleepily crawled to the front door to get a live weather update.  Much to my dismay, I saw that the clouds had not cleared, the temperature was in the high 50’s, and the rain was still coming down in drizzles. The ambitious part of my brain was urging me to suck it up, put on some warm clothes, bundle the speaker and cell phone up in a ziplock bag, and head out ASAP so I could still get the 80 miles in before I had to be back for my birthday date with my 15 year old niece Haley. The more rational and safety conscious part of my brain cautioned me to wait a couple of hours for the weather to clear because of the danger inherent in slick roads, overflowing street gutters, and big puddles. I’m not sure if it was the safety conscious part of me who won out or just the lazy part of me who wanted to sleep a couple more hours; but either way, I went back to bed for another hour or two. My final decision to go back and slumber was made once I remembered that Miss CatEye (my ailing odometer) still had not been fixed. Miss CatEye was an important part of Saturday’s ride because the directions I was experimenting with were laid out according to mileage, and it would be tough to follow along without Miss CatEye displaying my mileage.

Two hours later, I woke up feeling more refreshed, the clouds had parted ways enough to allow the sun to peak through, and Old Yeller’ and I set out on a 50 to 60 mile “Plan B ride” through lots of towns South of Boston. I didn’t need Miss CatEye because I used Google Maps to estimate how many miles away to my destination. I didn’t need a GPS or directions because I was quite familiar with the South Shore back roads and towns. My plan was to bike from Quincy to my brother Derek’s grave sight in Pembroke, and I did this by traveling through Quincy, Weymouth, Hingham, Norwell, Hanover, and Hanson before entering Pembroke. As I neared Mattakeesett Street in Pembroke, I turned my Spotify application to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Derek’s favorite band, and “Simple Man” began to pipe out of my back pocket through my JBL Wireless Speaker. The closer I got to the cemetery, the more tears started to fall, and the grief weighed me down like a heavy cloak. Although it has been more than 6 years and 7 months since my brother passed unexpectedly at age 37, the heart doesn’t always recognize time when it comes to healing from loss. When I reached my destination of Mount Pleasant Cemetery,  about 25 miles from home, I cycled across the lawn to my brother’s grave. I sat by his grave side, continued to play the songs he loved best, ate some lunch, and had myself a heart to heart with my big brother. I talked to him about all the changes that have taken place in my life since he left us; shared my longing to be able to turn to him with carpentry questions and also to talk with him about what I will learn in school; and I asked him for care, guidance and protection during my bike ride and during my studies at North Bennet Street School.  I left my picnic with Derek feeling grateful for the drizzling rain, the breakdown of Miss CatEye, and for Plan B rides because I was able to spend some quality time in reflection and connection.

After leaving Pembroke, I returned home a different route because I wanted to stop by and see my mom in Abington with some surprise Dairy Queen treats, cycling through Hanson, Whitman, Abington, Holbrook, and Braintree before reentering Quincy. The weather cooperated beautifully, as Arthur was dehydrated after the July 4th deluge.

As far as Miss CatEye, this story may be all too familiar for mature women. Unfortunately when I went to a local Quincy bike shop to assess the problem with Miss CatEye, I was told that her sensors seem to be working okay but the wiring is probably worn out because of age, loosened, and no longer functioning up to par. As a result, she will have to be replaced by a newer, slimmer, and more technologically savvy version of herself…and she will be discarded with no severance, alimony,nor even a warranty. Thank you for helping me through all those miles Miss CatEye. You’ll be missed!

Dereks grave

If your would like to donate to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS Fund, click here.




If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund, click here :

Sitting on my couch on the last day of May 2014, I am looking at my monthly workout calendar and reflecting back on how much things have progressed in terms of my fundraiser in the last 31 days. Here is a peek at the monthly totals as I can recall and itemize them:

  • 23 individual bike rides totaling 340.7 miles (averaging 14.8 miles per ride), which will be increasing considerably over the next 11 weeks until my ride to NYC
  • Walked Hope 860 minutes, or 14.3 hours
  • Biceps: Lifted 992 repetitions, Back: Lifted 945 repetitions, Legs: Lifted 1,212 repetitions, and Chest/Shoulders/Triceps: Lifted 1,318 repetitions
  • Drank 560 ounces of G2 Gatorade and a lot more ounces of H2O
  • One GREAT tune-up of Old Yeller at The Bicycle Link
  • 59 plus hours of grooving to Spotify tunes
  • $2145.00 Raised ($400.00 which went to South Shore Habitat for Humanity) from 30 separate donors, averaging $71.50 per donation. LOTS  MORE TO RAISE, so feel free to donate here.
  • 20 thank you notes written with 10 more to do…and I’m happy to do plenty more, so keep it coming :)
  • 15 Facebook status updates and 22 emails sent on fundraising, bicycling, and training
  • Registered for one 50 mile Ride for Habitat to benefit South Shore Habitat for Humanity on June 21, 2014
  • Countless hours of brainstorming, writing, and drawing up ideas of how I can raise the money to get to North Bennet Street School.

Thanks to all the people who have helped me with ideas, support, encourage, and donations this last month! BRING ON JUNE BABY!

If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund, click here :


Hingham through the spokes

If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund, click here.

It was love at first sight when I met Old Yeller’, which I affectionately named my Cannondale, at Bike Barn in Whitman, MA (which I don’t believe is still in business). I bought her after pulling in money all summer painting fences and cleaning my dad’s bar every morning. I was so excited and proud to have bought my first road bike, and I couldn’t wait to take it on the New York to Boston AIDS Ride, which I was scheduled to do a couple of months later.

As it turns out, the bike ride from Bear Mountain, New York to Boston wasn’t the biggest test Old Yeller’ would face that year. Before my friends and I had pulled out of the driveway to head to Bear Mountain, Old Yeller’ and a couple bicycle friends were seriously injured by a giant oak tree, which was shielded by the driver’s blind spot.  Three bikes were on a rear-mounted bike rack and Old Yeller’ was the last to board…but unfortunately, the first to greet the tree. Less than a month old, my yellow aluminum beauty didn’t have a scratch on it until then. So we got segued in Rhode Island and headed straight to a bike infirmary for some much needed intensive care. Old Yeller’ got two new wheels and some other minor adjustments, and the rest of the bikes were checked out and repaired…and alas, we were off to New York.

I am not sure exactly the time frame of that accident, but I would guess it was at least 15 years ago. Since then, Old Yeller’ has journeyed through many states for lots of different causes, and has never failed me. She has provided me comfort and familiarity, as my home away from home during work trips to Vermont and West Virginia where she brought me much needed mountain solace and incredible exercise. She has been my traveling companion, helping me to navigate my way through unknown streets while on vacation. She has earned me some dough and helped keep me safe when I dodged more than one crazy cab driver while working as a NYC bike messenger.  Most of all, she has been a constant therapeutic companion when I needed to thrash out some frustration or calmly cruise down a country road.

Old yellow checking out the Boston skyline

I would love to upgrade to a titanium Cannondale one day, but like my incredibly loving and loyal dog Hope (who is my “first” dog), there will never be another “first” like Old Yeller.’

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If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund, click here.