Dec 03, 13
How were your holiday celebrations this year? I know mine was pretty normal and routine! We cooked a huge Thanksgiving dinner with tons of food, pies, and sweets and so on. As a cyclist, you are probably into being healthy but for many people, these couple of months at the end of the year is all about eating. We traditionally eat a big meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even Hanukkah has its elements on eating fried food. The end of the year is one big eating mess for most of us.
But do you stop to think about what all that scrumptious food is doing to your body? I’m not telling you to not continue the holiday celebrations of eating a lot – but I am giving you an idea on how to combat the holiday fat that comes with it.
Holiday fat, we never really truly think about holiday fat after celebrating these holidays, do we? Did you that an average Thanksgiving dinner equals up to about 7 cheeseburgers from a fast food joint? That is a lot of burgers and as a cyclist; you know that wouldn’t be such a good idea. So that holiday fat is really holiday fat after all!
Spin that Holiday Fat into Muscle
Spinning or indoor/stationary bicycling is a wonderful method of fighting off holiday fat. Bicycling burns a lot of calories! Cycling can burn triple the amount of calories that you burn on a normal walk through the park for exercise purposes. Cycling is fun, too! Since its most likely cold outside where you are, you can spin instead of riding outside with the uncomfortable elements of winter. A good high-intensity 20 minutes of spinning can allow you to burn something like 2,000 calories which equals to quite a bit of that Thanksgiving or holiday fat that you have taken in.
Put that bike on a trainer and burn that holidat fat away, FAST!
Different Holiday Fat gets different Spinning Sessions
If you ate a lot for the holidays, then you likely got a lot of holiday fat in return! So you are going to want to focus on longer spinning sessions and higher-intensity levels. Get on your trainer or stationary bike and cycle until your heart is pounding out of your chest and you are about to drown in your own sweat. Do this and you will have no trouble at all burning off that holiday fat. If you ate less, then you can spin less! But remember! Cycling is FUN so don’t turn it into some kind of punishment for eating too many slices of cherry pie. Spinning could always be desert for holiday fat!
Holiday Fat shouldn’t be a sin but be careful anyways
Now this article isn’t telling you to eat as much as you want during the holidays because that wouldn’t be a good thing at all! You want to always eat in moderation no matter what the celebration is for whatever day it is. If you eat until you are hurting, your body will start to be hurt in the process. So maybe just get a couple of things to munch on for the holidays so that you don’t earn too much holiday fat in the process. Maybe just take one slice of Grandma’s famous apple pie and enjoy every bite of it instead of scarfing it down like a hungry wolf. Use your brain and that bike as well!
Thanks for reading my article about burning off holiday fat with cycling and spinning. I hope it helps you burn off any holiday fat you earned so far this year! I know it has come in handy for me, lately! Please help support my writing by sharing this article with other cyclists and holiday fat victims that you know.
Your turn! What all do you eat for the holidays? Do you try to use your bike as a tool to cut out that holiday fat?
(Photo Credit: dot(q)man and miheco)
Nov 30, 13
When you first start out at doing something, you’re a newbie! Plain and simple, right? When I first started cycling again a few years ago – I was a mega-newbie by all means. I didn’t do anything right and pretty much continued that fashion until I started meeting others who knew a lot more about cycling than I did at the time. It’s okay to be a beginner at something because eventually you will get better at it if you keep of trying.
So how would you go from a newbie cyclist to a guru cyclist? I am sharing the tips that I did to make myself better at cycling – which I learned from others and on my own.
Ride a Century Ride
Bike 100 or more miles in one day! I failed the first time I tried this just as I failed my first student driving test when I was a teenager. I felt like crap on both occasions but especially failing the road bike ride. I did 70 miles out of 100 miles. A bit afterwards I realized how good I actually did in the first place…
- I rode 70 miles out of 100 – that is a big deal for a newbie cyclist
- I did this 2 weeks after getting my first road bike
- I did this weighing almost 300 pounds (I am around 200 pounds now, thank you cycling!)
- I did the 70 miles on a windy day (gusts were around 20 MPH at times)
- I did the 70 miles on a hot day (temperature was at least 105-F with a lot of humidity)
- I did the 70 miles while not properly eating and hydrating myself
About a year after I failed at my first century ride, I tried it again! I made sure the weather was good, I had lost quite a bit of weight since my last attempt (thought that really doesn’t matter), I brought proper food and drinks and I paced myself which was something I didn’t do that last time. In 7 ½ hours (with an hour rest/lunch), I rode a total of 115 miles. The victorious feeling you get after riding 100 or more miles on a bicycle in one setting will make you feel like you are king (or queen) of the world! You also learn a lot about cycling in those 100+ miles, too!
Open a Bike Repair Shop
Working on your bike isn’t like making small repair around the house! Bicycles require special tools, work stands, truing stands, spoke wrenches and so on. I decided one day that I would learn how to repair bicycles for a potential business idea later on down the road. Someone gave me an old cheapo Wal-Mart bike and I took it completely apart, piece by piece and then put it back together… I did this several times until I realized what exactly I was doing in the process.
But I did learn some things when diving deeper into bicycle repair…
- Cheap tools are not good… I opted on buying a cheap chain breaker tool once instead of paying triple the price for one by Park Tools. The tool lasted about a week… Now my Park Tool one has lasted forever!
- Get a stand… Bikes don’t need to be scratched up, dented and drenched in grease because you work on them upside down. Buy a good bike stand and enjoy the comforts of not messing up the paint!
- Buy tubes in bulk – If you plan to be changing tubes a lot, don’t buy them one by one – buy them in bulk. I get my tubes from Price Point for about $2.50 each and then resell them for $4.50 earning a nice chunk of profit while still remaining cheaper than most in my area – even cheaper than Wal-Mart!!!
- A bike repair business is cheap – What I mean by this is you won’t make a lot of money! I usually charge less than $10 for every job I do and I don’t make a big profit.
I now own my own bicycle repair business. It’s what I call a profit-hobby… I don’t get a lot of customers but then again, I don’t really market the shop either. I mainly just do it for fun and rely on word of mouth for getting a new customer every now and then.
Thanks for reading my article about making yourself into a guru cyclist! If you can ride 100 miles and you can fix a bicycle, then you are no longer a cycling newbie my friend! Please share this post with other cyclists to help show me support for writing it.
Your turn! What else makes you graduate from cycling newbie to cycling guru?
Nov 27, 13
You might be avoiding cycling on the road at all costs because of the increased chance of getting hit by a car. Or you might be afraid of wrecking and eating the pavement. Maybe a fear of bicycle part failure is stopping you! Whatever it may be, the only way that you are going to overcome your fears is to face the fears and get out there and ride. It doesn’t just have to be about road biking… It could be riding down a more technical trail with your mountain bike as well.
Embrace Safety to Overcome Your Fear
Safety is a great element in terms of cycling! You should be as safe as you can while out on the road and the trails. You should always do a pre-check to ensure that your bicycle can handle the environments that it will be riding on. Your pre-check should consist of…
- Checking the tires and air pressure levels
- Checking the frame to ensure nothing is cracked or bent
- Checking the rims and spokes to ensure everything is straight
- Checking to make sure lights work and reflectors are present
- Checking to make sure the brake pads are good and the brakes work properly
- Checking to make sure the chain, derailleurs and components are good and secured properly
Checking yourself and what safety equipment you have is also important! You need to make sure you are just as ready for a ride as much as your bicycle is. Some things to consider are…
Do you have a proper helmet for your ride – helmets will act as a shield from your skull and brain and the pavement. Not wearing a helmet is complete ignorance in most cases – your hair style should not be more important than the health of your brain and skull.
Your clothing matters – You notice that hardcore cyclists like us wear that tight spandex compression clothing when we bike. Most of us wear bright colored ones, too! We don’t do this to make a fashion statement – we do it so clothing articles don’t get caught in the components of the bike and so drivers notice us quicker due to the bright colors that they normally are not seeing. You might be using your bike to go to work, therefore dressed for work – just make sure you ‘band’ any clothing portions that could get caught in the chain and so on. Wear a reflective vest even if its day time – be highly visible!
Forget the carbon crankset – go for the safety gear! – You don’t need to waste a thousand dollars on carbon parts to make your bike lighter. Instead spend that money wisely and invest in some proper safety gear for your bike. Get a helmet or handlebar mirror so you can see behind you. Get a high end lighting system so others can see you coming miles away. Buy some chin pads for that upcoming downhiller mountain bike ride coming up. Worry about you before worrying about making your bike cooler.
When it comes to actually wrecking on your bicycle, chances are it will probably hurt. I want to get that into your head from the get go so you can expect what is coming. Luckily, all my crashes have resulted in very minor injuries. I could have used stitches after some of them but I survived with getting them. However, I don’t put off the possibility that one day I will have a bad wreck because it could happen sooner or later… Just like it could happen in my pickup truck!
Some tips to better prepare you for a wreck that may end up happening are…
Shave – It isn’t that embarrassing for men to shave their bodies anymore these days because most athletes and fitness buffs do it on a normal basis. See when you hit the pavements after wrecking on your bike, your leg and body hair acts like Velcro and rips from your skin especially when you slide across the pavement. That probably hurts a lot! And then all that hair in the way of bandages… Removing the bandages… Yes talk about cyclist hell in and hand basket! No hair! No ripping off the skin! Plus as you keep shaving and shaving, you toughen up the skin so when that bare skin actually does hit that pavement, it might not be as bad as it could have been.
Make yourself wreck – Really! Clip in to your pedal, ride out into a soft field and fall over on purpose. Now why in their right mind would anyone do such a thing, right? So you know what to expect, that’s why! If you know what a wreck feels like then you can relate your fear to something practical instead of dreading the worst until it actually happens. I’m not saying ride your bike into freeway traffic, just find a soft area and fall over to see how it is.
If all else fails and you’re too scared of wrecks and pain, then don’t ride a bicycle. Cycling isn’t for babies!
Thanks for reading my article about overcoming your fear of cycling and wrecks. Remember that when pro cyclists wreck during races, they will usually jump right back on the bike even if they are bleeding and their bike shorts are hanging on with one thread. Keep that in mind when the fear comes around and realize that you can do it, too! Please share this article with others to help show me support for writing it.
You turn! What was the worst bicycle wreck you have ever had?
Nov 18, 13
If you cycle regularly, you are probably already familiar with the heated debated surrounding whether or not it should be compulsory for cyclists to wear a helmet. However, with this week being Road Safety Week we decided to return to the debate and look at both sides of the argument. For many people, this argument may seem trivial and it’s certainly easy to bow to your emotions when hearing tragic stories such as that of Ryan Smith. After all, why would anybody argue against something that is designed to prevent harm? However, the debate is much more complex than it first seems and there are many that now argue compulsory helmets could have a negative effect on cycling as well as increase the risk of injury. So what does the evidence say?
Studies on the issue vary but it has been estimated that 74% of head injuries could be prevented by wearing a helmet. Similarly a study of road traffic data in the US has shown that fewer children die when helmet wearing is compulsory. Support from leading members of the cycling community such as Sir Bradley Wiggins and Laura Trott has propelled this argument into the mainstream and put pressure on the government to bring in new legislation. In theory, I don’t believe that you can dispute the fact that you are safer wearing a helmet than without.
However, just as is the case with many similar examples of government legislation for peoples own good, such as when seatbelts were made compulsory, there has been a great deal of objection. To begin with, many argue that it is an infringement of their civil liberties. This will always occur in cases such as this whether it’s compulsory helmets or the smoking ban but it is also often the case that when looking back on it, it’s seen as a good measure. For example, many lives have undoubtedly been saved by compulsory seat belts and a lot of smokers now prefer having to smoke outdoors. Despite this though, there are many that argue compulsory cycle helmets could have a detrimental effect on cycling and actually increase the risk posed to cyclists. By far the strongest proponent of this view is the national cycling charity, the CTC, which has long since argued against the introduction of a compulsory helmet law.
The CTC argues that making people wear helmets would have a negative impact on the number of people cycling. This is supported by data from when Australia introduced compulsory helmet laws in the 90s. Initially, following the introduction of the law, the number of those admitted to hospital with head injuries declined. However, what was later found was that there had also been a drop in the number of cyclists. In fact, the Cycling Promotion Fund found that 16.5% of those interested in cycling were either riding less or not at all due to having to wear a helmet. This may be due to people not wanting to wear a helmet or maybe because it makes cycling look like a dangerous activity. Therefore, the CTC have long since argued that the introduction of compulsory cycling helmets could prevent people from cycling, which they feel would have much more negative effects than those that stem from people not wearing helmets.
In addition to this, there is also some evidence to suggest that wearing a helmet could lead to more cycling related injuries. In fact a study conducted by Dr Ian Walker from the University of Bath found that drivers passed closer to cyclists when they were wearing a helmet. This is because the driver subconsciously saw them as less vulnerable.
There’s no denying that we should continue to encourage people to wear a helmet when cycling. After all, it’s better to wear it every day and not need it than to need it one day and not have it. However, forcing people to wear a helmet when cycling gives the false impression that cycling is a dangerous activity when it’s not and we should be trying to encourage more people to ride a bike. What we need to do, is look at the deeper root of the problem, which is about our attitude to cycling in the UK and our car-dominated approach to UK roads. Safer speed limits in built up areas, proper infrastructure and compulsory cycle training will have a much more positive impact than simply forcing people to wear a helmet.
About Guest Blogger:
Mike Evans is a cycling enthusiast and freelance writer from Leeds, England. This article is part of a series of four posts he has written in relation to Road Safety Week, an initiative by the charity Brake, that aims to promote safer roads in the UK. With much attention being given to safer driving at this time, it’s an important time to also talk about cycling and cycle safety.
Nov 14, 13
If you’re shopping for presents for a die-hard cyclist, it’s highly likely that they’ll want to purchase their own wheels and other bike parts, so what can you get them instead?
Whether they’re into mountain biking or road racing, you can’t go wrong with the following gifts.
A Handy Hydration Pack
Anyone who is heading out on a long journey needs to think about how to stay hydrated. Hydration packs are worn like backpacks and allow several litres of water to be carried in a way that won’t unbalance a bike. A pack allows the cyclist to drink safely while on the move.
At the same time many hydration packs come with storage that will allow them to keep snacks and other essentials about their person. For any keen cyclist a hydration pack is a key item that will help them to go further when out on their bike.
A Smart Computer
A smart computer attached to a person’s bicycle is a great way to keep track of how fast and how far they’ve been cycling. The latest models can also perform a huge range of different functions that will help them to train and become a better cyclist.
These include keeping track of their heart rate, giving indications that they should have reached a certain point on their route at a certain time and the ability to transfer data to their home computer.
This latter function lets them download training programs and upload the results of their cycling sessions, helping them to keep track of their progress and fine tune their cycling.
A New Trainer
Anyone who wants to keep cycling when the weather isn’t suitable should invest in some kind of trainer. At their simplest trainers are basic mats with rollers that sit under the back wheels of a bicycle. The more advanced models come with frames to better support your bike and software to monitor heart rate and cadence.
If you’re purchasing for someone who is keeping to a training regime then a trainer is a cost effective way to help them stick to their plan during the winter months. In addition to buying the trainer it makes sense to invest in trainer tyres. These are much quieter than road tyres and are less prone to wear when used for this purpose.
The Bare Necessities
Looking for Christmas gifts for someone who has just taken up cycling or who you know needs some new equipment? If so then check out this list of the essential items that every cyclist should own:
Perfect for keeping warm when cycling over the festive period, there’s an incredibly wide selection of thermal clothing available for men, women and children when it comes to cycling. These items range from arm and leg warmers to base layers and tights.
Riders wear cycling gloves in order to keep their hands nice and warm and to protect them from being chafed by the grips. Many cycle stores stock gloves in a range of styles including protective fingerless mitts with gel padding and insulated gloves specifically designed to keep out the cold.
A wide range of different socks are worn by riders based on their personal preferences and the time of the year. They come in all sorts of styles, including short, long, thick and thin. Special reflective sock are also available to enhance a cyclist’s visibility whilst keeping their feet toasty.
Safety is paramount when it comes to cycling, especially as the weather gets worse and the roads get icier. No matter whether you need a standard road bike helmet to keep you safe when you’re out and about, or a more substantial helmet to protect you when mountain biking, you’ll be able to find exactly what you’re looking for at your local sports store.
Help someone look after their bike this year by giving them a variety of handy multi-tools, including spanners, Allen keys and everything else they might need to keep their bicycle in tip top condition.
As we progress through winter the nights will continue to grow longer, meaning it’s usually dark by the time most people finish work. Any cyclist who knows they might end up riding when the sun is setting would appreciate front and rear LED lights for their bicycle. Headlamps are also available for bike helmets, which is particularly useful for mountain bikers.
Of course if you still don’t have a clue what to get your bike-fanatic, you could always choose the safe option and purchase gift card. Different stores will allow for various amounts of money on the card, from £5 to £100, simply shop around and found a store that you think has the best offers.
That’s our selection, but we’d love to hear your ideas. What are you buying the cyclist in your life this Christmas? Let us know in the comments section below.
About Guest Blogger:
This article was written on behalf of Merlin Cycles, one of the UK’s longest established online bike shops and mail order cycling specialists in operation today.
Nov 11, 13
Happy Veterans Day Everyone!
Cyclist Ville would like to send out a big thank you and shout out to all the military service people and especially the veterans of the United States of America! Thank you for defending this great nation and protecting our freedoms!
While you are out celebrating Veterans Day by thanking every Vet you come across, let me share this inspiring article with you about a wounded warrior doing the almost impossible on a bicycle for other wounded veterans!
Nov 06, 13
So I got to thinking the other day, why are fewer people on bicycles in these modern times when cycling is so great! Instead of asking that question, I felt it would be better to actually answer it. So below, I have listed quite a few reasons why you should ride a bicycle. I hope you enjoy this article and I hope I get to answer that question for you!
Why should I ride a bicycle?
- Riding a bicycle will save you money! You are not wasting hard earned income on gas for your car instead…
- Riding a bicycle will help to keep you in good health! It’s a great way to lose weight and exercise your legs, heart and lungs…
- Riding a bicycle is good for your nerves! You practice balance control, your moving most of your need muscles and your keeping joints from getting stiff…
- Riding a bicycle is good for the family! You and your family (including children) can have a fun full day of riding bikes while being healthy about it…
- Riding a bicycle will make you a better cyclist! If you want to get involved in racing, triathlons and organized rides, simply ride to practice and train…
- Riding a bicycle will make you a better blogger! Look at me, I write two different blogs about the cycling niche and when I ride I get more ideas for them…
- Riding a bicycle is good for the mind! Riding your bike will help you defeat stress, remember different tactics and what not and keep your mind happy…
- Riding a bicycle will cure insomnia! Go out and ride 60-100 miles in one day and see if you sleep like a little baby later on that night…
- Riding a bicycle makes you an athlete! They have worldwide sporting events for cycling, your apparel could have sponsor names all over it, and yes cycling is very much a sport…
- Riding a bicycle makes you a better driver! Ride your bike on the road and you will soon realize how you have to constantly look out for your own safety; you remember that when driving a car…
- Riding a bicycle is social! I’ve met all sort of different local cyclists that I constantly enjoy being around. Some of my better friends were established through cycling…
- Riding a bicycle is greener! It is really good on the environment to ride your bike. No pollution is being emitted and your conserving energy sources…
- Riding a bicycle is FUN!
Thanks for checking out my reasons why you should be riding your bicycle! Please share this post with other cyclists that you know to help show me support for writing it.
What do you think? What other answers do you have to the question of why one should ride a bicycle?
(Photo Credit: danhuxley)