Betty Foy: the new lady in my life

Betty and I spent quality time together on the commute this week. The past three days Greg and I have been riding to and from work together. This gets me up and out the door earlier than I’m used to – 6:00 a.m. – but I’m going to try to stick with it. The streets are so peaceful at that hour and for the most part we can ride two abreast. Plus, we get to be there for the magical time when the sun rises, so that it’s almost dark when we leave and completely light when we arrive at our destinations.

Dottie, Betty, and the Sun

Dottie, Betty, and the Sun

I’m loving Betty. I’m not ready to give a full ride review because we’re still getting to know each other, but I can say a few things for sure.

She taunts the headwinds (and then says, “now leave or I will taunt you a second time”). She’s nimble among the thousands of Chicago potholes. She’s gorgeous. She does not sail nearly as smoothly as Oma, but then nothing does. She is much lighter and faster than Oma, although I still cycle with a laid back Oma style for the most part. When I want to lay into it, Betty responds and it’s fun going fast again. The leg muscles that I work pedaling her are different from Oma, so I’m getting used to that, but I use much less energy to go much faster than Oma.  (I still think a Dutch bike is the best choice for riding around Chicago’s city streets.)

4-9-dark-sun-small1 4-9-sunrise-small

The only issue is hand and wrist discomfort from the handlebar position. The first ride, my wrists and palms hurt a lot as soon as I started. I had the stem raised as high as it could go, which helped, but there was still a lot of discomfort. Then I had the handlebars titled down, which completely resolved the pain – until a mile or two into my ride. So yesterday I had the handlebars titled down a bit more and now the discomfort is dull background noise, but it’s still there. I’ll have to go back to Roscoe Village Bikes for some more experimentation tomorrow. Hopefully I won’t need any new parts.

Betty in Grant Park

Betty in Grant Park

Many more details to come once I spend more time in the saddle (which will be broken in soon, god willing).

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15 thoughts on “Betty Foy: the new lady in my life

  1. Carolyn says:

    You have an awesome bike! I look forward to your bike report.

    The sunrise ride must be incredible. I should bring my camera along when I got to bike before sunrise, as one never knows how beautiful the sunrise may be. I’ve seen some beautiful ones and wish I had my camera!

    Best time of day to bike (or even take a walk) is early in the morning, I like it outside when it’s light by 5 am, especially on a Sunday or weekend. It’s so calm, and the birds are singing away. Life is beautiful then and you can enjoy it’s calmness and tranquility without anyone else around.

  2. I love having more than one bike, because they each have a different feel. We don’t have any Dutch Bike dealers in town, so I can’t try one out. :( Maybe Chicago IS a more Burgeoning bike city than the Twin Towns. ;)

    I hope you get the wrist issue worked out. Are the handle bars that different from your other bikes? Comfort first.

  3. Trisha says:

    This post actually made me look forward to summer, when the high temps will prod me to get on the bike early like that…it is a very peaceful time of day. I can imagine it’s even more so in the big city! Pretty pictures.

  4. Erich says:

    awww, what a nice beginning to a beautiful relationship. If for some reason you want to get the bars higher yet, I am the unlucky owner of what looks to be the world’s longest Nitto Technomic stem, and I can’t use it on any of my bikes. Seriously, if you need more height, let me know, I’m sure we can work something out.

  5. dadabean says:

    I had no idea Betty was French ;)

  6. Charlotte says:

    Your saddle looks so tiny in that last photo! Gorgeous bike.

    I think the wrist issues are just something you fine-tune over time. It took me a while to get my handlebars adjusted, and I could probably tilt them a hair more. I do like my Nitto Technomic stem, but it looks like you’ve got plenty of height at this point.

  7. Mark Muller says:

    Compared with your Oma, it looks like the handlebars on your Betty Foy are a fair bit farther forward. So you might think about putting your handlebars farther back. Unfortunately the only way to really do this is to switch to a shorter (length, not height) stem. Something like a 50-60mm stem. Nitto makes technomics in this length. You could also try moving your saddle further forward, although that also changes your hip/crank relationship.

  8. sara says:

    So glad you are enjoying Betty. This makes me feel more & more comfortable with the idea of buying another bike. I love that you embrace both your bikes, recognize how their differences will work for you. The bug has bitten. I’m becoming an obsessive bike person….

  9. John says:

    RYN about my commute and the red lights. Taking that route after five years reminded me why I never go that way. Next time I want of change of scenery in Taunton, I’ll find another way.

    I like the Dutch style of bike you have and think it’s great when I see someone riding one. I rented a bike in Amsterdam when #1 son took me there for Fathers day in 06. It was ok, but it didn’t make me want to own one. Different strokes, as they say. But I’ll bet your a “hot tomato” when your riding one. 8>)

  10. E A says:

    Based on an earlier comment about the stem length — you did get the larger frame, right? So… there may be something to that reach ratio.

    Glad to see all the agonizing over bikes resulted in an enjoyable choice. She looks great, too! ;-)

  11. miss sarah says:

    Congrats on the new bike! I had the same ‘ouch’ factor when getting used to another one of my bikes. Part of it is just muscle memory, like I’ll lock up my elbows when I ride for no good reason. So you might have to be cognizant of your posture. Also, I changed my saddle tilt (turns out I was leaning on my handlebars weird in order to push my butt back on the saddle) and that has made a big difference. Happy riding!


  12. pretty bike, enjoy your spring rides!

  13. tsalyards says:

    Your spoiled by the Oma and its comfortable handlebar geometry! I recently tooled around on my mountain bike and my arms hurt like hell afterwards. I find it utterly bewildering as to why one would want to be all hunkered over for city riding. My guess is that you will end up “Oma-izing” Betty as time goes on :)

  14. Linda says:

    My Riv. mixte came with the long stem you have. The bars were to far forward so the stem was switched out to a shorter, narrower one which made the bike feel better and more stable. The latest change has been an entire new set of down bars, shifters, and brakes on couplers so that Glory can go for longer rides as a tourer. It’s great to own a stable of bikes to fit the day.

  15. […] tweeting our way across Europe–or at least, through  London and St. Petersburg. Betty Foy came home to Dottie. And, oh yeah–I finally got to ride my […]

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