Betty Foy Lately

I’ve been riding my Rivendell Betty Foy almost exclusively all summer long.  She is so light and smooth and fast and happy.

One morning, an SUV slowed next to me and – just as I was giving it the side eye – a woman in the passenger seat called out the window, “I love your bike!”  Complimenting my bike is the quickest way to win me over and I called back with a big smile, “Thanks, it’s a Rivendell!”  Her response: “I know; I’ve never seen one in real life before.”  Viola! my arms motioned and then she was gone.

But not all has been rosy with Betty lately.  My fault, not hers!

Last week, I stopped at the grocery store on my way home to pick up a few things.  When I returned to the bike rack ten minutes later, I realized that Betty was not locked.  She was merely sitting next to the rack with the u-lock in her basket.  Yipes!  How horrible to think that she could have been swiped so easily.  (Please tell me I’m not the only one who has done this!)

The next morning, I set out on Betty only to realize quickly that her front tire was totally flat.  This was Betty’s very first flat tire ever, birth date April 2009, and also the first flat on any of my Schwalbe tires.  So sad.  :-(  I do not have a 650B tube and have been too lazy to buy one in the past week, so I have been riding Coco and Oma.  But I miss Betty, so I need to get my shit together.

Sometimes bicycling is so easy breezy and sometimes life throws hurdles in the way or you just do dumb stuff.  As with life in general, amirite?  It all evens out in the end.  :-)

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72 thoughts on “Betty Foy Lately

  1. guestymcspanky says:

    Re: forgetting to lock the bike. Yup, I’ve done it. Once with a brand new only owned for a couple of days ~$2Kish bike, I locked my bike frame, went grocery shopping, came out, and realized that I forgot to lock the bike to the sign post it was leaning against. I had locked the top tube to nothing. Der.

    • GiGi says:

      I did the same thing! I locked my bike but didn’t actually lock the frame TO anything. I came out of work (yep, it had been “unlocked”
      all day in a high bike theft area, no less) and went to unlock it from
      the bike rack only to find that it was just resting next to the rack with
      the appearance of being locked. Oops.

    • LGRAB says:

      Yikes! Scary with a new bike like that. But locking the frame is better than simply leaving the lock in the basket. :)

  2. AdamHerstein says:

    I’ve been meaning to learn how to fix a flat; I’ve gotten quite a few recently. Luckily, there are plenty of local bike shops nearby that will do it for cheap. One place even offers a free cup of coffee!

    • LGRAB says:

      That’s one reason I usually don’t bother to do my own bike maintenance – there are so many great bike shops around, including one that is walking distance from my home.

  3. Adam Herstein says:

    I’ve been meaning to learn how to fix a flat; I’ve gotten quite a few recently. Luckily, there are plenty of local bike shops nearby that will do it for cheap. One place even offers a free cup of coffee!

  4. Betty Foy looks so nice on the internet, I would yell out of a car window too if I saw one in real life. But then I do historically have a kind of compliments Tourette’s – If I see a great dress/scarf/bike/hair style/giant lollipop I am generally compelled to loudly mention it to the innocent owner of whatever, somewhat startling them. Usually with accompanying thumbs up. Come to think of it, I should probably put a lid on that.

    • LGRAB says:

      Giving and getting positive compliments about stuff is always fun. (Well, as long as it’s not a creepy guy complimenting my skirt or something!) No need to put a lid on it, I don’t think. :)

    • Jax+Puzzle says:

      I’m like this too – keep on spreading good cheer :-). You never know when you might make someone’s day!

    • Jax+Puzzle says:

      I’m like this too – keep on spreading good cheer :-). You never know when you might make someone’s day!

  5. Michael Wagner says:

    Don’t think I’m being a smart a**, but no reason for Betty to sit at home. Patch that tube and ride on.

    • LGRAB says:

      Alas, I am too lazy! Is patching a temporary solution or would it hold long-term?

      • G.E. says:

        I have personally had patched tubes last a very long time. My rule has been 3 patches, then it needs a new tube. I think it’s worth it (unless it’s just a huge gouge) to patch it and get her back in business. :O)

      • AKA60643 says:

        If it’s a patchable hole (not all are) and you get good coverage and adhesion, a patched tube can last a year or more (depending on mileage and riding conditions). That’s been my real life experience.

        My time saving alternative is to put in a spare tube at the time of the flat, and patch the punctured tube at home later, then keep it as a spare. Make sure to test it in your bathtub for any leaks. You know about the bubble test, right?

      • Anne A says:

        If it’s a patchable hole (not all are) and you get good coverage and adhesion, a patched tube can last a year or more (depending on mileage and riding conditions). That’s been my real life experience.

        My time saving alternative is to put in a spare tube at the time of the flat, and patch the punctured tube at home later, then keep it as a spare. Make sure to test it in your bathtub for any leaks. You know about the bubble test, right?

  6. Lauren says:

    Oh no, I’ve definitely left my bike unlocked before too – once at the downtown public library, in a super high-traffic area. I mean, I locked it – but the lock did not actually connect to the rack. Of course I didn’t notice it until I came back out an hour later and knocked my bike over haha.

  7. G.E. says:

    You are definitely not alone in the leaving the bike unlocked. I sometimes get so focused on what I need to pick up that I forget to lock it. While it’s probably a far bigger deal in a large city (where bikes are stolen more frequently), I have to admit, my heart skips a beat because I can’t imagine the pain I’d feel to come outside and not see my bike. I’ve also done the “locking my bike to nothing” trick as well. I’m not terribly bright some days. :O)

  8. G.E. says:

    You are definitely not alone in the leaving the bike unlocked. I sometimes get so focused on what I need to pick up that I forget to lock it. While it’s probably a far bigger deal in a large city (where bikes are stolen more frequently), I have to admit, my heart skips a beat because I can’t imagine the pain I’d feel to come outside and not see my bike. I’ve also done the “locking my bike to nothing” trick as well. I’m not terribly bright some days. :O)

  9. Mike J says:

    Patching is a very handy skill to have. If I can see the object that caused the flat from the outside of the tire, I don’t even remove the wheel from the bike. Very quick to do it this way. First saw it in a bike shop in the Netherlands.

    Patches are permanent if applied correctly. Probably more eco-friendly, too.

    Good luck!

  10. Dom says:

    Patching your tube will be done in seconds flat! hahaha
    no but really, even the patch kits at my dollar store are worth a whole lot more than a dollar. You just need a little kit (don’t use metal hooks to pry your tire off, get some plastic ones and save your rims) and a pump!
    The compound needs a few minutes to dry, but apparently patched areas are even stronger than regular tube!
    You can patch each tube up to 3 times before you need a replacement.
    I did it on my mixte after a date that ended with a flat; I followed a youtube video to do it!
    I feel like a macho woman lol

    • Dottie says:

      Thanks for the tips!

      • mk says:

        In my view, replacing the tube is much less work than patching. Since tubes only cost around $5.00, why bother finding the hole, patching, and taking the risk of doing it wrong. Alternatively, most bike stores only charge $10-$15 to change a tire, so depending on the monetary value of your time, you can just have someone else do it. I used to patch all my tubes. No I just pay for a new one and take that time to read a book!

    • Dottie says:

      Thanks for the tips!

      • mk says:

        In my view, replacing the tube is much less work than patching. Since tubes only cost around $5.00, why bother finding the hole, patching, and taking the risk of doing it wrong. Alternatively, most bike stores only charge $10-$15 to change a tire, so depending on the monetary value of your time, you can just have someone else do it. I used to patch all my tubes. No I just pay for a new one and take that time to read a book!

  11. Les Connally says:

    LOL! No, A LOT of us have spaced out & left our bikes unlocked! –shiver– But seriously, I do not expect you to learn to lap polish bearing races, but patching a flat??!! Every self-reliant woman of the new millennium needs to know how to do this.

    • LGRAB says:

      While I’m sure tire patching is a useful skill to have, I disagree with the message that every bicyclist must learn how to do it. I think this message discourages people from bicycling, because they feel pressured to learn all these maintenance skills and buy a tool kit before attempting to bike to work. I certainly felt that way when I started, but then I realized that if I got a flat in the city, I could simply put my bike on a bus or train (or even walk) to the nearest bike shop. Just like when I drove a car, I used car mechanics for any problem. I accept that I have my own set of skills and interests – like writing legal briefs and mixing a mean martini – and that’s okay.

      Sorry, this is one of my soapbox issues. Basically, I’m lazy and don’t like getting my hands greasy but consider myself a strong woman nevertheless. :)

      And now that I googled polish bearing races, I am very diappointed. I had an image of some Polish bears running laps on a racetrack. Now* that* is something I’d like to learn more about. ;)

  12. Ash L says:

    Don’t fret about not fixing the flat when you have two other perfectly cromulent bikes for riding. If you make it to Critical Lass tonight you’ll see me on the red Raleigh I haven’t ridden since April because the “hub was broken”. I didn’t feel like rebuilding it so I left it to languish only to check it out today and realize the shifter cable was just busted. D’oh. I’ve missed my bike.

    • LGRAB says:

      Ha, nice. :) That makes me feel better.

      I did not realize that Critical Lass is tonight. I’m not good at keeping up with Facebook. I have an elaborate plan for the evening that includes nerding out over the DNC while drinking vodka. So many potential drinking games…

    • LGRAB says:

      Seriously. If I didn’t have four bikes, I’d ride a bike less often. That’s how lazy I am. Even when the obstacle is something like topping up the tires or adding lights! ~T

  13. Cecily Walker says:

    I’m finding that even though I love my Batavus bike, I’m craving something lighter and faster. I’ve been thinking about building a Betty Foy with drop bars and fatter tires that I can ride anywhere and everywhere. If only I could find the $!

    • Dottie says:

      I loooove my Betty Foy so much! I bought her when I was making more money at my previous job and had just sold my car, so getting over the price tag was easier than it would be now, but I can safely say that she was worth it.

      • Jennifer in Scotland says:

        Cecily – I also love my Betty Foy and adore her fatter tires. I got Grand Bois Hetres in cream and they are wonderful.

        • Cecily Walker says:

          Jennifer, that sounds lovely! Do you have any photos of your bike online that you can share?

          • Nicola Beech says:

            My awesome bike-related super power is locking my bike, then leaving the keys in the basket. Doh!

            When I fixed my first flat I was so proud of myself, I was giddy. I don’t always patch my tyre myself (I have a lovely local shop), but if I do afterwards I have a righteous high, like I do after going to the gym. You should try it just for that!

        • Cecily Walker says:

          Jennifer, that sounds lovely! Do you have any photos of your bike online that you can share?

      • Cecily Walker says:

        I hear rumors that Rivendell may be introducing lower priced complete bikes, but can’t seem to find any confirmation of those rumors. That said, I’m saving my pennies! I just hope it isn’t discontinued before I can make one my own.

    • Jamie says:

      DROP BAR BETTY

      My drop bar, fat tire Betty. I love this bike. Goes anyway and such a smooth ride.

  14. Jores Juarez says:

    I understand the reluctance to say that every bicyclist should learn to replace (and/or patch) their own tubes, and I respect that. However, of all the bicycle maintenance activities, learning to replace an inner tube is the best one to learn. Why? (1) Because it is a low-cost maintenance; (2) because it is low risk (you can’t really damage the bike in any significant way); and (3), most importantly, because it has a super-high return on investment.

    Consider other maintenance tasks: wrapping handlebar tape, lubing a chain, adjusting brake or derailleur cables, installing fenders, replacing brake pads… All of these activities will improve the performance of a bike. But none, except for replacing a tube, will change the state of a bicycle from _unrideable_ to _rideable_, from being a burden to being able to haul a burden.

    My recommendation for my friends who take up cycling is to learn to replace a tube, and to carry a spare tube and tire levers. Learning to patch the tube is a separate skill, also recommended, but not as important.

  15. Laura Findley says:

    I was sitting here reading all the responses about locking bikes bikes to nothing, and congratulating myself on never having done that. But as I was doing this, I reached out to set my mostly beer bottle on a side table, and set it down on… air instead. *Sigh. So yes, I have entirely different issues. Glad nothing happened to your bike!

  16. David P. says:

    If you can’t find a 650b tube, a 26 x 1.5 – 1.75 tube works well enough (two of my bikes are 650b.) You’ll have to pull it around the rim a little bit, but it’s perfectly good enough. Comrade Cycles on Chicago at about Leavitt is the only place I’ve been in recently that actually has 650b tubes in stock – most places don’t have them. Always good to have a spare or two, but as other suggested, you can also patch it, and there isn’t really a practical limit to how many times a tube can be patched unless a new hole is almost on top of an old patch.

    I suppose I’m a partisan for knowing how to fix a flat, even if you virtually never have to do it. One day a while back my girlfriend was riding from my house on the northwest side to Northwestern when she got a flat and called me. I was leaving to go mountain biking in WI and fortunately had only just left, so I was very close by and could easily stop by and fix it for her. But absent that, the time needed to take a bus to Andersonville and take a train to NWU, etc. would have thrown out her whole morning. So that’s when she became interested in knowing how to do it herself :) But the nice thing about Chicago is that if you live on the north side, a bike shop probably isn’t too far away and it’s easy to just hop on the bus.

    • LGRAB says:

      Thanks for the info! I may patch it for now and then plan a trip to Comrad sometime in the future. I’ve heard good things about the shop and have been wanting to check it out. Riding around Chicgo, I pretty much stick to downtown, the north side, and Logan. Once I finally go on my epic bike tour with Betty Foy (so maybe never), I’ll have to take a crash course in all this maintenance stuff. Or rely on my riding partners, whatever. :)

      • David P. says:

        Comrade is not far if you’re in Logan. And no need to wait for epic, start small – ride up to the botanic gardens for a picnic if you haven’t done that – it’s great! The North Branch Trail from Milwaukee/Devon is definitely the nicer of the two ways to go. If you ever do decide to learn some maintenance tasks, I believe West Town Bikes has a (weekly?) class that is for, and led by, women. (If you’re into that kind of pedagogy.)

    • DawnT says:

      Someone at Rivendell told me you could use a 700c tube as well in a pinch.

  17. David P. says:

    If you can’t find a 650b tube, a 26 x 1.5 – 1.75 tube works well enough (two of my bikes are 650b.) You’ll have to pull it around the rim a little bit, but it’s perfectly good enough. Comrade Cycles on Chicago at about Leavitt is the only place I’ve been in recently that actually has 650b tubes in stock – most places don’t have them. Always good to have a spare or two, but as other suggested, you can also patch it, and there isn’t really a practical limit to how many times a tube can be patched unless a new hole is almost on top of an old patch.

    I suppose I’m a partisan for knowing how to fix a flat, even if you virtually never have to do it. One day a while back my girlfriend was riding from my house on the northwest side to Northwestern when she got a flat and called me. I was leaving to go mountain biking in WI and fortunately had only just left, so I was very close by and could easily stop by and fix it for her. But absent that, the time needed to take a bus to Andersonville and take a train to NWU, etc. would have thrown out her whole morning. So that’s when she became interested in knowing how to do it herself :) But the nice thing about Chicago is that if you live on the north side, a bike shop probably isn’t too far away and it’s easy to just hop on the bus.

  18. Marc says:

    You are not the only one to leave a bike unlocked, but I am worse. I use a Kryptonite cable for my Hillborne and at least once a week I will return to it and find I left the key in the lock.

    Marc

    • LGRAB says:

      The fact that you still have your Hillborne should restore some faith in humanity. :) I left the keys in my car door once in college in a parking lot…for two days.

  19. Marc says:

    You are not the only one to leave a bike unlocked, but I am worse. I use a Kryptonite cable for my Hillborne and at least once a week I will return to it and find I left the key in the lock.

    Marc

  20. only rarely a nag says:

    The art of the nag.
    What are you going to do when you get a flat some place away from home? Flats aren’t alway so nice. (I decide if I would mind walking from my destination, and if the answer is yes, I take the pump, etc.) Can you take the bike on the train in Chicago? Don’t be smug. Flats are part of the game, and with preparation, and practice, you can be back underway in less than five minutes, including the first minute of swearing.A bike that you love and can’t replace should not be left on the street even with a lock. Time for street bike. You are lucky.

    • LGRAB says:

      Bikes are allowed on trains and buses just about everywhere. To me, one flat in three years is not worth carrying special equipment on a daily basis, but both Dottie and I are aware others’ mileage may vary on this issue. Congratulations on living in a place where you have an option to store your bicycle off the street at every destination — you’ll have to let us know where that paradise is so that all of us can move there!

      • nagger says:

        How do you know you she gets three years between flats? What if the next one is at one of the evening events she has posted about? Does she have an idea?
        I would be annoyed, but then I would either try pumping the tire to see if the leak was slow enough that I could get home, or put in a spare tube and ride home.
        i own an old banged up looking bike, that I bought used, that gets locked places. We do live where it is less likely to be bothered than I would guess is true in Chicago. i have other bikes that would scream steal me if I left them locked. I think Betty Foy would attract attention and Dottie would be greatly upset, if she were stolen. It is regrettable that bikes are such targets for theft.

        • LGRAB says:

          I think what Trisha was saying is that this is the first flat I have gotten in the past 3 years. Judging from this past history, I probably will not suddenly start getting flats all the time.

          • AKA60643 says:

            I also ride with Schwalbe Marathons, and 1 flat every 3 years or so sounds about right – if you’re careful about keeping the tires pumped up. I often have to ride in areas with lots of broken glass and railroad tracks, so having so few flats says a lot about the puncture resistance and durability of these tires.

      • nagger says:

        How do you know you she gets three years between flats? What if the next one is at one of the evening events she has posted about? Does she have an idea?
        I would be annoyed, but then I would either try pumping the tire to see if the leak was slow enough that I could get home, or put in a spare tube and ride home.
        i own an old banged up looking bike, that I bought used, that gets locked places. We do live where it is less likely to be bothered than I would guess is true in Chicago. i have other bikes that would scream steal me if I left them locked. I think Betty Foy would attract attention and Dottie would be greatly upset, if she were stolen. It is regrettable that bikes are such targets for theft.

  21. donna says:

    Hi, is that a Pocampo pannier? Do you know if it fits 15″ laptops?

    • LGRAB says:

      Yes, it is! I need to post about it soon. I love it and have been using it every day. I’m not sure if a 15″ laptop would fit. My 13″ MacBook Pro fits fine.

  22. Christina says:

    I love your Betty. I was thisclose to kitting one out, but the price tag was just too steep and I went with a Civia Twin City step-through instead (which I ADORE and do not regret at all). But, I still have dreams of a Rivendell some day. Regarding patching and tubes- I didn’t know how to do it when I started cycling, but when I decided to ride my bike to work, learning how to fix a flat was extremely important. I bike in an area with few commuter cyclists (outer suburbia) and no convenient public transit. There’s not even a bike rack in the city where I work. I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not. The prospect of being alone on the side of a busy suburban road where I’m usually the only cyclist out on any given day with no option other than to hitchhike or call someone (likely in the rain, knowing Murphy’s Law) scares the bejeesers out of me. I don’t carry extra tubes, but I carry a patch kit, multitool, small pump, and tire levers and taught myself basic Bike Emergency Maintenance so if the worst does happen, I can at least get my bike to the point where I can limp home. I will say the first time I successfully patched a rear tire on my Civia without removing the wheel, I felt like a tiny god. Then I invested in Schwalbes, as my new goal is to get as few flats as humanly possible! :)

    • AKA60643 says:

      I’m bike shopping now, and the Civia Twin City is one of the bikes on my short list. Glad to hear that you’re enjoying it. I’m also considering the Heritage Daisy. I’d still like to get an up-close look at Betty before I make up my mind.

  23. Becca says:

    Last weekend I went garage saleing on my bike, followed by a stop at the grocery store. I spent so much time making sure to lock my new treasures to my bike (studded tires, pedals, etc.) that I forgot to actually lock the bike itself to something. I would have been devastated had something happened to it. Luckily I returned from my grocery stop to my bike still in place. Phew. Kinda glad I’m not the only one guilty of this.

  24. k says:

    Left my lovely old 1960s Raleigh outside Old Town Tavern one summer night – meticulously turned off the lights but forgot to lock it. Horrified and relieved to find it unlocked (and untouched) upon my return. Whew! (I feel your fear…)

  25. k says:

    Left my lovely old 1960s Raleigh outside Old Town Tavern one summer night – meticulously turned off the lights but forgot to lock it. Horrified and relieved to find it unlocked (and untouched) upon my return. Whew! (I feel your fear…)

  26. Nicola Beech says:

    My awesome bike-related super power is locking my bike, then leaving the keys in the basket. Doh!

    When I fixed my first flat I was so proud of myself, I was giddy. I don’t always patch my tyre myself (I have a lovely local shop), but if I do afterwards I have a righteous high, like I do after going to the gym. You should try it just for that!

  27. mk says:

    Ha! I was at the bar a few weeks ago and when I came outside there were two people admiring my Old Dutch Batavus bicycle. Then I looked down and said “well, you could have just taken it, b/c I didn’t bother to lock it!” Oh Geesh!

    So, no, you are not the only one who has absent-mindedly left your bike unlocked.

  28. [...] I plan to get back on the bike for the first time.  Circumstances forced me finally to change Betty Foy’s flat tire, so I’ll be riding her. [...]

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