Snowfall Running

roads are silent,

with snow smooth like skin.

soon, tires scar the surface

to reveal scabs of ice–

slush oozing near curbs.

but now, it’s quiet,

heavy wet flakes float

softly pressing fresh wounds

with gossamer gauze.

Truth Matters

Like many of you, I have been watching the news and tracking my average daily HR as it continued to rise from Wednesday to Friday last week. What I witnessed was the president of the United States inciting a mob to lay siege on Congress in an attempt to overthrow democracy. The traitors assembled before him already came prepared to do just that.

I am beyond outraged. I have only a few words to express this insurrection and assault on our nation.

The endless lies of how the election was fraudulent began before T**** was even elected. Republican members of Congress fueled these falsehoods and enabled this president. These are hollow people bent on amassing power and do not represent the constituents who elected them.

They are the basket of deplorables, quite literally. They need to be held accountable because words, actions, and truth matters. Write your representatives in Congress; write all of them and make your voice heard. And most of all, keep voting and advocating for voters’ rights. Because if you find yourself on the side of voter suppression, on the side of lies to get ahead, on the side of those who separate families at the border, on the side of rolling back environmental protections, on the side of less healthcare for all, on the side of misogyny, on the side where LGBTQ+ are denied equal rights, on the side of police brutality, on the side where Black people continue to die in the streets, and on the side of systemic racism because you perpetuate it, then you are on the WRONG side. And last of all, an “armed protest” is not a protest. It’s called an unregulated militia.

Vote. Advocate. And stand up when what’s wrong is right in front of your face. Educate yourself on the issues and where your representatives stand. Read the newspaper, online or in print. Complacency and silence is complicity. I know that most Americans are good people who lift each other up. United, we stand.

Here’s where you can write your senators: https://www.senate.gov/senators/index.htm

Here’s where you can write members of the House: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

~Laurie

What’s in Your Saddle Bag?

When I first started riding, I knew I needed a helmet and a bike pump, but other than filling up my tires, I literally carried nothing else with me. That has certainly changed with what I keep in my saddle and downtube bags.

Here are the basic things you should have in your saddle bag

The necessities for basic mechanicals are pictured above for a standard road bike or tri bike. A spare tube is crucial for when you get a flat, but take it out of the packaging, coat it in baby powder, and wrap it in plastic wrap to make it easy to stash in your bag. The powder keeps the spare tube from sticking together in the heat (make sure the tube is the correct size for your bike). I do carry two CO2 cartridges just to have a spare, and I also have a valve to control the flow of CO2 into the tube.

When changing a flat, use the punctured tube to wrap around the CO2 cartridge because it’s going to get cold. In addition, I carry handlebar caps, a multi-tool, tire boot, and quick links. The tire boot is for a large hole in your tire and prevents the tube from poking through, which can cause another flat, and the quick links can be used for a broken chain to get you home.

Tubeless and Disc Brake Extras

If you ride a tubeless set-up, I recommend gloves or a rag, for the sealant that will inevitably leak out, and bacon strips to plug a hole in your tire. The bacon strips can be used for small punctures, but if the damage is too big, you’ll have to take the tire off, add a tube, and patch the hole before riding. Most of the time, a bacon strip and refilling the tire will do the job–one of the advantages to riding tubeless. I cut the strips in half since I have road tires– bacon strips were originally designed for knobby mountain bike tires. If you have disc brakes, use the spacer when you remove the wheel to keep the brake pads separate in case you accidentally squeeze the brakes.

Close-up of Quick Links and Tire Boot

Always do a bike safety check before your ride, and if you really want bonus points, make sure your lights are charged the night before. For those of you with electronic shifting, check to see that your bike is all charged up too.

Saddle Bag and Downtube Bag all packed up!

For short rides, everything fits in my downtube bag, but for longer rides over two hours, I add another tube and carry a total of three CO2 cartridges along with plenty of snacks. Ride safely!

Comment below with your must-haves for your saddle bag.