I love my granny gear. Maybe I’m stronger than that, and I guess I’ll never know, because as soon as I see a nasty hill I whimper and call for granny.

Road bikers scoff at my triple ring. They tell me that the quickest way to lose strength is to use a triple. On one ride it was announced to all riders that I had a triple ring so that we would keep “that kind” of a ride in mind.

Bettina’s wearing diapers, nanny-nanny-boo-boo…

I slayed that guy on that ride. Granny and I spun quickly past him on particularly killer hill as he grinded slowly up, paper-boy-style, tacking across the road like a sailboat. As soon as I passed him, I shifted a few down in the back, and just before the crest I had enough in my legs to put the hammer down.

Don’t talk about my granny like that.

Have a triple-ring or have a singlespeed. If that’s what you’re after, then you ought to really not give yourself any choices for the sake of stronger legs. I can’t deny that it’s a mental game. If the ring isn’t there, you don’t use it, and you get stronger pushing bigger gears. It’s not like you’re going to get off and push…or would you? Oh, I’ve wanted to. I’ve been so tired by the end of a big ride that just looking at the grade going back up Beaucatcher Mountain makes me want to lie down in the ditch – or sneak through the tunnel like a coward. But push? No way.

I accidentally climbed Cherokee from Charlotte Street one day, looking for an easier way up Town Mountain. That was downright sick, but what made it worse is that I was pulling the baby in the trailer. I wanted to pull over, but I was so shattered that if I had gotten off of the bike, I wouldn’t have had the strength to hold it in place, risking it and the baby rolling back down without me. Besides, there was no way to turn the whole contraption around on that narrow street, especially with a couple hiking in front of me, and a Landrover trolling me from behind. The hikers seemed impressed by the blood trickling from my ears.

I borrowed a carbon fiber “Look” road bike from the sales rep, who also happens to be my boyfriend (who rides bikes again for those of you who were wondering). Being that it weighs about 16 pounds, I let it slide that it had a double-ring. Not only that, but the big ring in front was about as big round as a dinner plate, which I found suitable, since I think a lot about dinner while I’m riding. For those of you who know, it’s a 53-23 ratio, also known as “pushing the big dick.” All I was thinking about was how the weight might compensate for the chub in the trailer. So I pulled the trailer on the Fletcher Flyer metric century. People were more impressed with the gear ratio than the trailer. Although that bike is so sleek it nearly rides itself, so what hurt most was where the saddle touched.

I’m not the only one who feels this way about gears, I’m just one of the few who admits it. I say that because of what’s called a compact double ring. It has so many teeth that the gearing is just shy of a triple ring without the embarrassment from gawking passersby. So go ahead and push those gears, I’m going back to my triple until I’m strong enough to push ONLY the big ring.

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Despite all of the trouble Bettina got into for using an article to publicly humiliate her boyfriend for not riding anymore, he is back in the saddle. Yessss…
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