Bike Commuting and Proper Sleep

Updated 10/7/2014

Bike Commuting and Proper Sleep

More and more people are commuting to work by bicycle and other alternative methods. But we forget how important sleep really is to our daily lives and making sure that we get enough proper rest to support our efforts such as a commute with exercise.

Whether you are attempting to become more physically fit or simply looking for a fast and relatively cheap way to get to a destination, bike commuting can be a great way to accomplish your goal. With bike commuting, you use a bicycle to travel from your home to a place of study or work. (The use of a bike to reach a destination in this way differentiates bike commuting from sports and recreational activities that involve bicycles.) Some of the benefits that result from bike commuting include saving on gas money and getting the type of cardiovascular activity that can help you maintain your health. While bike commuting does have a variety of advantages, individuals who choose this method of travel must take into account the integral role that getting sufficient sleep can play in making the activity safe and fun. By learning more about the connection between sleep and bike commuting, you can ensure that you get the most out of all your biking endeavors.

Sleep And Health-The Basics

Sleep is a state of being in which we spend about one-third of our lives. Although scientists are still not certain about everything that transpires when we are asleep, the fact that it plays an integral role in facilitating wellness is understood. In addition to facilitating normal cognitive and motor function, sleeping prompts our endocrine systems to increase secretion of certain hormones like prolactin and growth hormone. The fact that sleep is an important activity to engage in becomes more plain when one considers that after awakening from sleep, we tend to feel more alert and aware of our surroundings. For these reasons and more, adequate sleep is a requirement if you want to become or remain healthy. Some of the adverse effects that can result from a lack of sleep include poor memory, increased risk of obesity, greater susceptibility to illness, and increased risk of cancer. A lack of sleep can also result in poor coordination which can endanger you and others when you attempt to ride your bike.

Sleep and Bike Commuting

You should always get enough well rested sleep so that you can perform normal daily routines as well as do things like cycling and ward off a host of effects that you don’t want. Experienced commuters show their cycling activity causes a need for more sleep. If you find that starting a commute causes you to need more, do not ignore signs your body is giving you for craving sleep. Figure out a way to accommodate your body’s request so that you can keep on going with your new activity. You will get more benefits long term by adjusting.

The Best Sleep

There are several things that commuters can do to ensure that they get the best sleep possible. One thing you should strongly consider is avoiding exercise at night and right before bedtime meaning 2 hours or less.  This is the case because the physical activity stimulates your heart, brains, and muscles. Ultimately, the workout will likely generate a feeling of restlessness and the need to engage in some form of activity if you try to go to sleep shortly thereafter. In addition to avoiding exercise at night, make a point to have a good pillow. This is important because good pillows can prevent neck and back pain as well as fatigue. When looking for the a site to research pillows, I recommend http://www.bestpillowguide.org to guide me when I want the best.

In addition to exercise, bike commuting is seen as a great way to get from one location to another. In order to make the most of your biking endeavors, be sure to get adequate amounts of sleep so that you have the energy and mental alertness necessary to cycle safely. Good luck!

 

Exercise And Your Shoes

The exercise you choose to enhance your healthy lifestyle is completely up to you. If you are choosing an exercise routine that is on land, then you will most likely be wearing some shoes. Your shoes should be able to handle what you are going to be doing and also support your feet and ankles so that you will be less likely to get hurt. Even if you have the best running shoes (See it on Amazon) on, they are not going to be as helpful to you as the right shoes for playing basketball. Here are a list of different exercises you might be considering and shoes that are made for them.

Walking:

It seems simple enough and you would think any shoes would be good for walking, but you would be wrong. Having a supportive shoe for your foot also is going to prevent shin splints, soreness is your feet, and blisters. You can use a running shoe for walking as long as the running shoe flexes at the sole of your foot. There should be enough cushion that your heels or soles of your feet will not hurt. Asics Gel Excell33 3’s are a shoe made for walking. They feature get inside the shoe to reduce the impact on your foot at the heel and sole.

Jogging/Running:

If you are already in decent shape and want to start jogging or running then you will need the right shoe for that. Unlike walking, you do not want to exchange out a running shoe for a walking shoe. They are just not made for running and could cause out more pain than help. A good running shoe should be light weight, supportive, flexible. You almost should feel like you are not wearing shoes. Brooks PURECADENCE 3 running shoes meet all of these criteria. They are super light weighing in at only 8.5 ounces. It is also made for stability and flexibility. This running shoe is made for people with normal arches; if you do not have a normal arch then you should consult a shoe fitting chart that will help you find the best running shoe for you.

Hiking:

Hiking is more than just walking some dirt trails and it requires a shoe that can handle more than just dirt trails. A hiking shoe needs to be able to hold up to a variety of terrains and perform well in all of them. A good pair of hiking shoes should be supportive and be able to grip the ground beneath it. Oboz Firebrand II Hiking shoes will hold up on a variety of terrains, even wet ones, and still provide traction. These shoes are waterproof and durable. They could be worn by a beginner hiker or an experienced long distance hiker and both would be happy with the performance.

Conclusion:

Finding the right pair of shoes for the exercise routine you want to take up does not have to hard. Just make sure the shoe you buy is going to be able to perform the functions you need it to so that you can perform your best. If you do that you will be happy with your choose and your feet will be happy too.

Cycling and Bird Watching

Cycling is a fantastic way to get to the best sites for a spot of bird watching because the very lack of noise a bike makes compared with a car is a benefit immediately. Not only that but most of the best spots tend to be a little of the main routes so a bike is an ideal way to get up close to the perfect sites. Here are a few ideas of where to go and what types of birds you might see.  For more information on bird type, see http://www.birdgalaxy.com/

“White-tailed Kite and Blue Jay” by Ralph X. Williams III – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Malibu

Malibu may be a great spot for a bit of surfing or sunbathing but it is also home to around 200 species of birds. Malibu Lagoon State Beach is the saltwater marsh next to where Malibu Creek joins the Pacific. From seagulls to brown pelicans, many different types of birds make use of the sands while cormorants stand watch on the sticks while snowy egrets ignore everyone in their quest for food. You can drive to the site along the Pacific Coast Highway then hike or bike from there.

LAX

Despite being one of the busiest airspace areas in the country, the land around LAX airport is host to a huge range of birds. There are around 300 recorded species in the Ballona Wetlands while the Del Rey Lagoon is home to greylag geese, mallard ducks and belted kingfishers as well as the American coot, easily identified with his red eyes and green and black feet. Both sites have a range of hawks in the trees as well as different types of hummingbirds amongst the flowers.

Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is the largest body of water in the state and is twice the size of Lake Tahoe. It is best to visit during the winter when around 400 species make it their home. The Rock Hill Trail is one particularly good way to take in the sites with birds such as Canada geese, snow geese and Ross’s geese as well as American white pelicans flying in their formations overhead. The shoreline is home to avocets, snowy plovers, marbled godwits and log-billed curlews.

Palo Alto

Palo Alto Baylands is a 1500 acres site containing salt marsh where the threatened California Black Rail and the endangered California Clapper Rail both make their home. There are also freshwater marsh, mudflats and grassy areas so a huge range of birds can be seen running from White-tailed Kite and Burrowing Owls to Western Meadowlark, Allen’s Hummingbird and the Tricoloured Blackbird. Different times of the year will yield different residents to check out when is best if you are seeking a special bird.

Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area

This wildlife area was completed in 1997 and was the largest wetlands restoration project in the western USA. It now has 3700 acres within the Yolo Bypass, a flood control project made by the Army Corps of Engineers. It is known for its waterfowl including significant numbers of some of the rarest in the country such as the Least Sandpipers and Northern Pintails. Other residents include the White-faced Ibis, Cinnamon Teal, Western Kingbird, Bullock’s Oriole and the Short-eared Owl. Again, residents can vary between seasons, so check if you want to see a certain type of bird.

Protect Yourself

To safely share the road with machinery that weighs a couple of tons, bicyclists must always be aware of their surroundings and prepared to react quickly.

However, vehicles aren’t the only danger you encounter when out on your bike. There’s another peril sitting high in the sky shining down on you. Every time you hop on the bike, you’re at risk for incurring sun-related skin damage. Regardless if you use sunscreen before every beach outing or you choose to apply the best sunless tanner instead of exposing yourself to the harmful effects produced by tanning beds, simply being outside pedaling away creates opportunity for skin damage to occur.

Woman in a Bicycle

Don’t Get Burned

The consequences of too much sun go much deeper than an occasional sunburn. Repeated exposure day after day, year after year has an accumulative effect, which continues to increase your chances for developing skin cancer.

The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that more than 3.5 million new cases are diagnosed in the United States every year. That’s more than the rate of incidence for breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined.

There are three main types of skin cancer: Basal cell carcinoma, the most common, characterized by sores that remain open for weeks; squamous cell carcinoma, signified by persistent scaly red patches with irregular borders; and melanoma appears as “ugly duckling” moles that do not resemble other “regular” moles, and has the highest fatality rate.

To guard against sun damage and lower your risk, it’s important to take a few precautions every time you go riding. Of course, sunscreen is an obvious choice.

Sunscreens work to either deflect the sun’s rays or absorb them before they make contact with the skin’s surface. The sun protection factor, or SPF, indicates how long it can postpone sunburn. For example, an SPF 15 should delay a sunburn 15 times longer than it takes for unprotected skin to burn. This measure only pertains to ultraviolet (UV) B waves, which are the shorter of the two types of UV rays that break through the ozone layer. For protection against UVA rays, you need a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which contains zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789), or ecamsule (Mexoryl).

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends everyone, regardless of natural skin color or tone, wear an SPF 15. If you have fair skin, freckles, or a family history of skin cancer, choose a higher SPF.

To get the best protection, apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before heading out the door—it’s better to overdo it than to under-apply and pay the price of damaged skin. Make sure to use it on all exposed skin, including face, neck and ears, and don’t forget your lips. Smooth on a lip balm with an SPF 15 or higher.

Also, don’t let the weather fool you. UV rays penetrate through clouds and windy conditions can be misleading because they keep you cooler so you might not recognize the symptoms of sunburn until it’s too late. And finally, if you bike year-round, then use sunscreen year round, too.

Top Biking Holidays

If you are a biking fanatic and are looking for an unusual holiday destination, why not combine the two and find someone to holiday with your bike and see some amazing sights? As well as all the well-advertised spots, there are some great hidden gems that aren’t for the faint hearted but will offer a great challenge for an experienced cyclist.

“Karakorum-carretera-d08″. Licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.5-es via Wikimedia Commons.

Asia

There are some amazing sights in Asia that you can get up and close to on your bike but with some areas of this amazing continent, you do need to be aware of political concerns. Keep an eye on Geo News Urdu or Chinese State News to get items about any potential problem spots as well as monitoring the State Department’s website for travel advice.

Once you have done your homework, one to consider if the Karakoram Highway. This is a route between China and Pakistan and, while development is scheduled, is relatively untouched at the moment. Due to the nature of the road, it isn’t accessible to heavy traffic so offers the peace and tranquility rarely found in the US.

Another spot worth considering is the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. This is a tea growing area so it tends to be fresh and cool at times, in comparison to other parts of the region and the area is known for relaxed traffic patterns, hotels that are easy to find and wonderful food.

The Silk Road is a route straight from history, used to bring silk from China to Europe in medieval times. It crosses Turkey and Iran through the cities of Bukhara and Samarkand then up the mountains. You can also travel through Tajikistan’s Pamir Highway, if you have 4-6 months to do the whole route.

Africa

Morocco is just a quick ferry ride from Europe and offers some amazing landscapes. One recommended route is the coastal one from Agadir to Essaouira as well as visiting Marrakech. You can also travel through the Draa Valley and glimpse the Sahara desert near Zagora.

South America

If you fancy something really strenuous, there is around 1000km of unpaved roads in the Patagonia region of Chile that has some of the most amazing terrain anywhere. Cycle between mountains, lakes and glaciers but save this one for the summer, it isn’t a winter route!

Europe

Europe is home to some of the most famous cycle races in the world: The Tour de France and Giro d’Italia to name a few. But there are also some more relaxing trails available to tour around some of the great cities of the continent. One is the Danube Bike Path that runs through Germany and Austria and ends in the Hungarian capital of Budapest – it is paved and accessible for families.
Similarly, the North Sea Cycle route is another well-paved route that comes from the UK and covers the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway so you can pick out sections and see a vast array of scenery. Much of the route uses dedicated cycle paths or small roads so there isn’t too much traffic to worry about if you take the kids.

Cycling and Hiking

The trails are there, and for many cyclists these spots beg to be slowly explored. Cycling to a hiking area is one thing, but the gear that’s needed for a nice hike is slightly different. It’s not usually necessary to change completely for a hike, but for safety and comfort sake taking along a few items along will be helpful. Shoes are naturally important, and on true nature trails clothing that covers the legs and arms is also important.

Selecting the SpotHiking and biking on your way to work

It’s possible to cycle to some great hiking spots in the U.S., and lock up your bike before hitting the trail. Places like McKinney Falls State Park near Austin, Texas allow for a safe place to lock up a bike in the parking area before hitting miles of scenic trail. It’s also possible to cycle through the park following the designated cycling lanes. Keeping a look out for this type of opportunity can pay off for a single rider, a family, or a cycling club.

Weather and Health Conditions are Critical

 

Weather impacts cycling, and the same is true when looking at hiking gear and clothing. Wet conditions, extreme cold or heat should be planned for ahead of time. Anyone going along for the ride and hike should be asked ahead of time about problems that might crop up on the trail that aren’t usually an issue when cycling. An allergy to certain insects or plants for example is frequently more a safety concerns when walking along a trail than when cycling.

Making sure that everyone is aware of basic trail safety, and what to do in an emergency can help in keeping a family or group of hikers safe. As many cyclists have already learned it’s never a good idea to take technology for granted and making a point to see if the area has cell phone coverage is also a critical part of safety planning.

Clothing should match weather, but still be lightweight, and designed to whisk moisture away from the body. Avoiding materials that take a long time to dry out such as cotton is best, in favor of fabrics resistant to resistant to moisture.

Hiking Shoes

Just as with cycling shoes are bigger consideration then most beginners realize. The best hiking boots are the ones that the person wearing them finds the most comfortable. If the shoe seems to feel awkward it’s a good idea to keep looking at another selection.

Those who will be carrying a moderate to heavy backpack will need stronger support in the arch. If minimal packing is the plan than a lighter weight shoe that still has firm arch support and cushioning for the heel.

There are many different kinds of hiking boots, but unless the plan is for steep climbing the best hiking boots will be those with a mid-to high-cut as these are great for day hikes, and weekend trips. Keep in mind gear should be as light as possible since it will be carried in a pack or cycling saddlebag on the way to the trail.

The Benefits of Riding A Bike To work

If you’re like most Californians, you’re always looking for ways to help the environment and keep yourself healthy at the same time. California is the mecca for environmentally conscious people, as well as health conscious people. We demand organic food options with our vegetables, and we demand humane treatment of the animals in which we buy for their meat. We try to recycle, go green as much as possible, and we love animals so we also love looking over bird house plans and building our local feathered friends a place to perch.

Riding Your Bicycle to work and planning for it

Courtesy of Kevin Jarrett

Being that we’re so health conscious, and environmentally and animal friendly, commuting to work on a bicycle is a great idea. There are a host of reasons to do so, let’s take a look at a few of them now.

Cost

When looking at riding a bike to work, the first thing that probably pops in your mind is cost. How much will this endeavor cost you up front, and in the long run. It’s true, you’ll have to pay a few hundred dollars to start for a good bike, and you’ll occasionally have to buy tires, but once the bike is bought, the costs are so minimal that it will pay for itself in the long run and you and the environment both will be healthier.

The average commute to work can be anywhere from a couple of miles to up to 50 miles. Now, we wouldn’t suggest the 50 mile commute to be practical on a bike for a myriad of reasons, safety and time being two of them, but if you have a 10 mile or shorter commute it is a very good idea to consider riding a bike to work. The cost savings alone is worth it. If you were to do that every day for an entire year, that’s 20 miles a day you’re saving, or 100 miles a week. If the average car gets 25 miles per gallon and gas is in the neighborhood of $3.75 a gallon, that’s a savings of $15 per week. Do that over the course of a year and you’ve saved $780. Enough to pay for the bike, and new tires, and have half left over, and you’ve got your exercise for the day in already.

Time

You might be instantly thinking: “20 miles a day? That would take forever!” but it’s simply not the case. Traveling by bike is much quicker than people realize. Plus, with traffic in most cities, you can actually save time by riding your bike to work. You can easily get a bike up to 15 miles per hour on average as long as you’re not all hills or stopping constantly. If you could ride 15 miles per hour to and from work every day, you get there and home in 45 minutes. How many times have you spent that long stuck in your car in traffic?

 

Health

Not only is it a lot less of a time commitment than you think, but in the long run it will also save you time as you will not only be cutting into the commute to work, but you’ll be cutting out the need to go to the gym. This will be your gym workout for the day, so once you get home from work, there’s no need to change your clothes, get back in the car, drive to the gym, and do 45 minutes on the elliptical machine like you do 5 days a week anyway. This process kills two birds with one stone, and will save you more money as you don’t need a gym membership in the first place.

 

In the end riding a bike to work has a host of positives, and you’ll have more time to watch your favorite hummingbird fly around its new home.

 

Bike Trails In The East Bay Park District

East Bay Area Bike trails

Enjoy Alameda Creek

California has a wealth of beauty and scenery and a lot of these spots are accessible by bike.  Here we are looking at the East Bay Regional Park District, which was founded in 1934 and is the largest local park agency in the country.  It has over 113,000 acres of public land and is available to 2.4 million residents in the Alameda and Contra Costa Counties alone.

The good thing about some of the trails are they are paved so if your kids are try to persuade you to get one of those longboards for sale for them, you can take them along on their boards while you bike.  The paved trails are also ideal for youngsters learning their ride, be it a board or a bike, because there is no traffic to contend with in a lot of places and only when they cross residential streets does extra attention need to be paid.

Paved trails

Here is a selection of the trails which will serve for a variety of different tastes and abilities.

Alameda Creek Regional Trail – this is a flat, double trail which runs along Alameda Creek to the bay from Niles Canyon.  The southern bank trail is 11 miles long and is good for bikes but horses aren’t allowed.  The northern bank trail is slightly longer at 12.4 miles and can be used by horses as well as mountain bikers who want a greater challenge.

Contra Costa Canal Regional Trail – this is a 135 miles paved trail which is relatively flat and connects Martinez, Pleasant Hill with Walnut Creek and Concord.  It follows the Contra Costa Canal for its entire route and intersects with another trail, the Iron Horse Trail, at Walnut Creek as well as providing access to Heather Farm and other municipal parks.

Delta de Anza Regional Trail – this trail is through East Contra County and runs for 19 miles, connecting Concord, Bay Point, Antioch and Oakley.  It starts at the Antoch Community Park and ends at the Marsh Creek Trail in Oakley.

Iron Horse Regiment Trail – this is a 26 miles paved trail with some mild, rolling hills in some areas.  It connects Pleasanton, Dublin, Danville, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill and Concord as well as passing over several creeks and bridges.  It can also be used to access the Danville Railroad Museum.

Smaller trails

There are also a range of smaller, shorter trails in the area.  These include Alamo Canal Regional Trail which is around one mile around Dublin; the Big Break Regional Trail in Oakley which is 2.75miles and incorporates the Big Break visitor centre and the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail which is 7.7 miles long and runs parallel to St Mary’s Road from Moraga to Lafayette.

These are just a tiny amount of the trails which are dotted across the area but are the ones which can be utilized for beginners or those who enjoy a gentle bike ride.  They are paved and relatively flat so are accessible for the majority of riders as well as those on skateboards or longboards and even roller skates.

Keto & Cycling

Ketogenics for a cyclist as a diet

Courtesy of hegyessy

Spring is here, and the cabin fever we’ve all felt for the last four to six months is finally coming to an end. You’ve no doubt been reading up on http://www.grillreviewguide.com/ in anticipation of your back deck being the place you spend most of your time this summer. Cookouts, parties, bonfires, etc, will all be in your near future.

If you’re anything like me, riding your bike will also be in your near future. Taking those long distance rides where it’s just you, your favorite tunes, and miles of road won’t be a winter dream any longer. But to do that, you’ve got to eat right to have the physical energy for those rides. Paleo is a new word that gets thrown around a lot in nutrition circles, and has become the go to diet for Americans, but another way of eating is making headway into the news, and it’s the perfect diet for a cyclist.

Ketogenics

A ketogenic diet – or keto for short – is a diet that’s high in fat, moderate on protein, and very low in carbohydrates. It may sound a lot like the low carb Atkins diet that was popular in the 90s, and it is at its core, but it is much more than just a low carb diet. The high fat and moderate protein are the key to making your body use its fat stores as energy rather than the carbs you eat.

The premise of keto is simple: By using fat as your main source of calories, there is no insulin response in your body. In almost every circumstance, insulin is needed to store fat. Without the insulin around, your body uses the food you eat for energy, then goes to your fat stores once that runs out. Carbohydrates cause an immediate insulin spike, and protein can cause one as well if you eat too much of it.

How It Helps Cyclists

So, now that you know the basics of how the keto diet works, how does it help with those long, grueling rides with hills and the sun beating down on you? Well, the good thing about getting your body keto adapted so it uses its own fat stores for energy is the sustained energy it gives you. After a transition of anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, your body will be trained to go to its fat stores for energy the instant it needs something. Unlike when we eat carbs and get an instant spike in energy that does us good for a short period of time then we come crashing down, burning your fat stores (and ketones, which the body creates for fuel when eating this way) is a very steady state of energy without the highs and lows that simple carbs like what you get in Gatorade, gels, or even some fruits.

The best part about the ketogenic diet is the weight loss. You don’t ever feel hungry, your body uses it’s own fat stores for energy, and you lose weight and mass in the process.

 

Do some research and see if keto is right for you. It could make those long rides even more enjoyable when you know you’re losing fat in the process.

Cycling, Running, & Juicing

People from across the globe have heard it for years now: eat better and get more exercise. The eating better part is getting much easier these days. Grocery stores are carrying more organics than ever before, and people are wising up to the benefits of things like juicing fruits and vegetables. In fact, a lot of people start their day off with a healthy homemade shake or juice. You’ve probably seen folks carrying them around your office. It’s an easy way to get the vital nutrients you need while living a busy life. If you’re not on the juicing wagon, check out ninja blender reviews. Having a good blenders makes eating healthy simple.

ninja blender reviewsWhile the eating better part is improving quickly, the exercising better part is, well…we’re getting there. Everyone’s go to exercise seems to be running. We’ve all seen the fit person running down the street making us feel guilty and motivated at the same time. You may have even taken that motivation and started running yourself. You hear runners say: “Oh my goodness, the runners high feels so good – you’ll love it!” Well, if you’re anything like me, the runners high was a tall tale similar to Sasquatch and the Lock Ness Monster. I just never felt anything but pain, boredom, and dread. So, what can people like myself do when running either hurts, is too boring, or just not feasible? Ride a bike.

 

Most folks have an old exercise bike in the attic they don’t use, or a real bike hanging in the garage collecting dust. That’s too bad, because the truth of the matter is, cycling is an excellent exercise that can be even better for you than running. Let’s look at why.

 

Cycling Is Easier On Your Body

Running is great for your heart and weight, but in reality it can be hell on your body. Every step you take creates a pounding on your joints. Your knees and ankles get the brunt of this pounding, and after a while things start to wear out. There are even ailments named for it like runners knee because knee injuries happen so often (40% of all running injuries are involve the knee). Conversely, cycling gives little to no pounding on your knees and ankles, and it can be done with relative ease on your joints.

 

Cycling Doesn’t Hurt (As Much) 

As with just about any exercise there will be pain involved, but much less in cycling compared to running. Cycling’s low impact means you can go for much longer periods of time. It’s what’s called sustained stamina training. Running, however, takes a long time to build up because it just plain hurts, and is hard for the body to adapt to – especially for beginners. It leads to muscle soreness and breakdown, and it’s also much more dangerous. In fact, it’s nearly twice as likely you’ll have an injury from running as opposed to cycling. For every 1,000 hours of cycling there are an average of just six injuries; with running that number is 11. Marathoners also lose a centimeter of height during a run because of the vertebrae compression. There are no two ways about it: running is hard on you.

 

Science Agrees

A recent study at Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Laboratory showed that long-distance runners (i.e. not sprinters like the ones you see in the Olympics) had more muscle damage, muscle soreness, and overall inflammation than cyclists who completed a similarly intense workout. The researchers took blood samples of subjects after one, 14, and 38 hours and found that the runners were in a much worse state than the cyclists.

 

Not Perfect 

While cycling does have many benefits, it’s by no means a perfect exercise. Depending on your goals, bike, and body length, it can cause back and neck soreness from being hunched over for long periods of time. Also, because you are traveling at very high rates of speed, the chance of an accident involving vehicles goes up, as well as the chance at road burn.

Conclusion

Whatever exercise you end up doing, be sure to do what’s best for you. Just because the fit guy/girl running down your street looks happy and healthy, doesn’t necessarily mean you will be. Just think of what life would have been like for a young Arnold Schwarzenegger if he looked out his Austrian window and decided that running was the best exercise for him? Then who would have our backs when people from the future come to terrorize us? We’re all different, and that’s a good thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Hair Styles for Bike Riding

When it comes to bike riding, hair can be a messy or distracting factor, having a few hairstyles to fit your preference can be helpful. We all know of the classic ponytail work-up, but what if you want to venture beyond the common?

Hair for bike ridingHair Braid Headband -

Hair will not behave for a variety of reasons, from moisture to pressure, your hair will suffer in some way, unless your hair style helps prevent these disasters. Manipulate your hair into a headband and braid from one ear to the other, tucking any excess behind the ear. This easy up-do will keep the most important part of your hair style protected. Bangs can even be saved with this style by giving them a good dose of hair spray, gel, or other natural hair products like those seen here.

Two Front Braids -

This one will be great for helmet time as well, and the amount of time required to master this style is minimal. If you know how to braid, you can do this one without a mirror! Separate your hair into two sections, left and right. Divide each individual section into three parts and start your braid either over the ear or behind it, whatever is most comfortable for you. Bangs can be braided as well and pulled back over the sides and pinned in the back, creating a nice halo. If you are feeling adventurous, take out the lower braids and you will have beautiful curls to match your bangs.

Straight Hair -

Even this style can be placed under your helmet in just a way as to not mess it up, letting you arrive at your destination with the hair you left with. Comb you hair backwards, using bobby pins to keep pieces in place. A loose ponytail will keep the back safe, with another tie in the middle and end of your hair. When all is removed, you hair should still be tangle, frizz, and curl free!

Head Scarves -

Beautiful and great addition to any outfit, a good scarf tied just right can be the ultimate bike hair-do. They will not only keep your hair from blowing in the wind, but they also reduce friction under your helmet. This wonderful feature will prevent hair style damage and hair loss! This quick fix can get you out the door faster than spending time on your hair, even cover up a bad do. A finger combing will restore your hairstyle in a jiffy.

Side Braid -

One braid will be sitting on top on another, and you can change the placement to have it under your helmet or just below. Starting on one side at the crown, you decide where exactly, braid down and around the head until you reach the other ear. Now starting at the crown again, right next to the previous braid start a new one, ending up at the other ear as well. Tying the end of the two braid together can be done with a hair tie or by taking a small strand of hair and wrapping it around the base, securing it with a pin in the back. For more great information about how to keep your hair looking fantastic, you can check out some other great ideas at betterhairday.com.

Start Biking To Work!

If you’re thinking about joining the millions of cyclists on the road and biking to work there are many factors you need to consider. Riding a bike is a great way to get exercise, will save you tons of money on gas, and is better for the environment but you do have to take some precautions (like watching out for road rage). Click here to see a good way to aid in controlling road rage.

Following are of some of the most common hassles that cyclists deal with. I’ll help you figure out ways to overcome these barriers so you can get your bike out on the road; no more excuses!

The destination is too far. “I’m unfit.” To get fit, you have to start somewhere. Try starting with smaller trips. In the beginning you could take shorter rides on the weekends or after work to build up stamina. You could participate in a park and ride, where you ride your bike part way to work and ride the bus the rest of the way.

Worried about getting sweaty and arriving at work feeling gross? Riding your bike does not have to be as strenuous as a workout at the gym. Leave your house with ample time to get to work, and you can enjoy a leisurely bike ride in. Of course, the hotter months can still prove to be an issue. Stash your stuff in a basket or in panniers on a rack, as carrying a backpack can cause you to sweat. You can also bike to work in a set of workout clothes and change once you arrive, or keep a stick of deodorant in your desk.

What about the dress code? You might be worried about wrinkling your clothes. As mentioned above, you can take a change of clothes with you and change. This might sound like a big hassle and a great excuse to not ride your bike; but think of it as exercise that you’re working right into your already busy schedule.

Other concerns might be theft or running errands after work. If you have a good lock, your bike will be safe in the bike rack. A basket on the front of your bicycle is a good solution to carry items for smaller errands.

What about angry, impatient drivers? Are you concerned with cycling on the road with cars? By giving drivers ample room and staying well within your bike lane you can avoid most conflicts.

If you’re following the laws, there’s nothing they can do but honk and yell at you. There have been incidences where a gun was pulled. If the firearm was stored correctly or kept in a small safe in the car, it would have prevented the altercation.  Just ignore the road rage, don’t instigate an angry driver. Keep riding at your own pace, stay in your own lane, and be aware of the traffic around you. By ignoring them, the incident will pass quickly; they are in a much faster vehicle and will soon be gone.

Hybrid Road Bikes

For years I road my bike, affectionately called “Pumpkin” to and from work, to the grocery store, to friends houses, to the park pretty well anywhere within 15 miles. Which accounted for about 90% of my travel.

One sunny afternoon this past summer, Pumpkin was stolen. I always used a bike lock and today was no different. Unfortunately, I was using a chain lock and what’s even more unfortunate is someone snipped it.

The next day I went out and bought another hybrid orange road bike and named it Pumpkin 2.0 . O and this time I bought a bar lock.

Hybrid Bikes What It Is and What It Isn’tHybrid Bike

When I tell people I commute with a hybrid bike I often get strange looks. When I tell them my hybrid bike’s name is Pumpkin 2.0 I get even stranger looks. Essentially what a hybrid bike is a road bike with fatter tires and a different posture.

It is not a mountain bike and shouldn’t be used as such. If you take it “trail riding” you’re going to end up with a sore butt from a lack of shock absorption.

It is not a road bike – I learned this the hard way as I peddled furiously trying to complete my first triathlon. You wouldn’t think it makes a huge difference, guess what it does.

What it is, is the most practical bike to commute with. You could ride a cruiser into work if you only have 5 miles to ride and you don’t mind it taking 25 minutes. The beauty of the hybrid is that if you need to do a little off-roading, say across that grassy field or down that gravel road it’ll hold up just fine. But it also can get moving pretty quick on cement.

The Primary Differences of a Hybrid Bike

If you saw Pumpkin from afar your first reaction would be road bike. It has a slim frame like a road bike and the tires, compared to a mountain bike are quite thin. However, when you get a road bike side by side with a hybrid bike you quickly realize the tires are a solid ½-1” thicker than a road bikes. The frame isn’t as light weight either.

The other main difference is the posture. When you sit on a road bike you should be bent over in order to reduce wind resistance. A lot of road bikes have tri-bars attached to them which allows you to get even lower.

On a hybrid bike you’re given the option to sit in a more upright position. Pumpkin also had the hand positions to bend over similar to a road bikes posture.
I don’t use my hybrid bike for long rides. If I want the exercise I’ll go play softball or basketball. If I need to go for long rides I’ll jump on my road bike. If I want to go trail riding I’ll use my mountain bike.

However, without question my hybrid bike gets far more usage than either my mountain bike or my road bike. It gets me around the city and I love it for that. I’ll also never use a chain lock again.

Is it possible to buy a carbon road bike for under $2k?

Bikes are a convenient way to get around cities since they provide good exercise, relatively quicker speeds compared to walking. Plus, and, is a cheaper mode of transportation compared to driving a car or taking public transportation. Buying a bike is a worthy investment, especially if you choose to buy a fast carbon road bike for under $2,000.

Biking allows a great convenience as it provides quicker speeds than walking while at the same time a cheaper alternative to public transport or the expensive cost of driving a car around a city. Buying a bike is an investment, so considering various factors carefully before buying the right bike is important.

carbon fiber road bikeThe Road Bike

Road bicycles are typically ridden on paved surfaces and roads. As these bikes are designed for travel, they are built to endure long distance travelling. Road bicycles may be made of different kinds of materials but all are generally lightweight. One of the lightest materials used in manufacturing road bike frames is carbon fiber. A carbon road bike is more expensive than other frame materials but it is lightweight, corrosion resistant and sturdy. Carbon fiber as a material is easily manipulated for customization and personalization. Parts of a carbon fiber bicycle frame may be reinforced for further strength to endure strong forces such as pedaling. At the same time, certain parts of the bicycle frame may be adjusted to be flexible to allow for additional comfort to the bike user. As this is the case, carbon fiber bikes may be more expensive but are a worthy investment in choosing a bike for long term use.

Disadvantages to the carbon road bike

Having a carbon road bike is a great advantage especially if you are an avid bike commuter. However, there are some disadvantages to owning these kinds of bikes. Carbon road bikes are really expensive, compared to those made of other materials. In addition, these bikes are prone to damage due to the low impact resistance of carbon fiber. Cracking may result from minor collisions. In addition, carbon fiber bikes are prone to fatigue failure if poorly maintained and constantly used. To rectify these issues, carbon fiber may be amalgamated with other materials such as boron or stainless metals in order to enhance its functions and keep it sturdier. It is important to cover these bikes and protect them when you aren’t riding them.

Buying a carbon road bike

Best value for a Carbon Road Bike!

Choosing to use a carbon road bike must be thought of thoroughly as it is a significant investment, costing thousands of dollars(cheapest option – http://cheapcarbonroadbike.com/). However, there are cheaper options to buying carbon road bikes. Cheap alternatives to brand new bikes include buying refurbished carbon fiber frame bikes. With these refurbished products, you still get the same quality of material at a lower price. Refurbished and used carbon road bikes cost less than $2000, allowing you to have a high end bike at rather cost effective prices. Additionally, in choosing this cheaper option, you can further customize your bike by buying new sets of wheels and other personalized parts to make our bike ride more comfortable and enjoyable.

Protecting Your Skin While You Ride

We bikers spend a lot of time outside. I mean, that’s part of what we love most about biking, right? Biking is more than a hobby, and for most us, it’s more than a mode of transportation. It’s a lifestyle. And we love it because it’s green, it keeps us healthy, and it gets us out of the house and into the great outdoors.

However, aside from chronic chaffing, biking does present a few health risks we should be aware of. Before I go on, I don’t mean to imply that biking is unhealthy, obviously. I think biking is one of the most awesome, healthy things you can do for yourself. I just want to present a few risk we’re all taking when we bike. We should be aware of them because if we want to keep biking into our old age, we need to keep our goodies in tip-top shape.

So, here are a few of the health risks associated with the sport and lifestyle we loves so much. Remember, I’m no doctor, so please feel free to correct me!

Carpal Tunnel

Isn’t that the thing that secretaries get from typing too much? Yes. But it’s not like it’s a condition that only computer nerds and administrative assistants get. We can get it, too. Think about the position our wrists are in all the time when we bike.

When we’re flying down the road, we’re putting steady pressure on our wrists for the whole bike ride. And, usually, our wrists are at a slight upward angle. Over the years, this pressure can very easily turn into Carpal Tunnel, which can be a huge pain in the butt, and, if it’s bad enough, it can even stop you from riding all together.

Simple solution? Wear a wrist brace as often as you can. Just be sure to get one that has an open palm, so you can keep control of your bike.

Knee, hip and ankle deterioration

Biking is not as hard on your joints as, say, running. But it’s not easy on them either. We’re constantly working our knees, hips and ankles. Over time, that can put a lot of wear on the ol’ joints. You can do lots of stuff to help avoid major problems in the future. One of the easiest things you can do is stretch and work on your flexibility. The more flexibly and strong your muscles are, the more they’ll protect the joints their connected to. Also, make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D3, which is essential for joint health.

Skin cancer and general skin health

This is the big one. When you’re out in the sun all the time, you greatly increase your chance of getting skin cancer. And even if you don’t get skin cancer, you can make other conditions, like acne worse. In particular, if you suffer from dark spots, being the sun can make them darker, even if you use the best dark spot corrector. Plus, if you’re an older biker, it can make baggy skin baggier.

Easy solution? To protect against skin cancer and dark spots, wear regular sun screen. To treat baggy skin, check out some of the new technology, like the Dermawand (just make sure you read a few Dermawand reviews before you buy; it’s expensive).

That’s it for our tips! Have any more? Leave a comment!

Bike Commuting and Cat Owners

By Jillian Tilton

Commuting by bike opens up the door to many benefits, such as saving money on gas, staying in good shape, and enjoying the scenery that you pass by day-after-day during your commute. Even with all of these benefits, there are some issues that could stand in the way of you enjoying your commute, such as leaving your pets at home, and the state of their hygiene. Luckily for cat owners like yourself, the automatic cat litter box allows you to continue with your bike commute, without worrying and wondering about your cat’s litter box.

When you purchase an automatic litter box, you are not only saving money, but you are saving time. You do not have to choose between bike commuting and your cat’s health (hygiene), or odor control.

Cat on a BikeRemember that you will need to be patient with your cat once you begin using the automatic cat litter box. She will need to grow accustomed to the box, and this could take some time. You want your cat to feel as relaxed as possible; therefore, you should never force the automatic litter box on her. Let your cat use both her old litter box and the new box at the same time – only allow your cat to do this for one week. You will notice that your cat will begin to use the new automatic litter box on her own. A good way to ensure she uses the new box is to not clean the old litter box. Before the old litter box gets dirty, you should take a scoop of the litter from it and place it in the new automatic box; this gives the new box the smell of familiarity.

In order for your cat to acclimate to the automatic cat litter box reviews, you must be using the box correctly. For instance, you want to ensure you have filled the box with the proper amount of litter. Also verify that the self-timed cleaning process is working properly. This is a very important step because it saves you time when cleaning your cat’s litter box. Even though you are saving time and the cleaning is done automatically, you want to manually scoop out any waste that the rake may miss. Remember to clean the rake tines, which generally have a buildup of clumped litter.

The automatic cat litter box can be used if you own a large cat, or a couple of cats. All you need to do is replace the waste receptacle on a more frequent basis. Some waste receptacles are disposable and can be tossed in the garbage. Check the user or manufacturer’s guide to determine how often you should replace the liner. This could vary between days or weeks, depending on the brand you have purchased. You will need to add new litter more often to make sure the litter is leveled with the fill line. This will also freshen up your cat’s litter box.

On those days when you are not going to work, you can take your cat out with you while you commute to the park. Your pet will be able to enjoy the fresh air, and get out of the house or apartment for a little while. You will need to have a basket or trailer that will securely and safely hold your cat. Make sure your cat is comfortable while he is in the basket. Do not travel down roads that you know are bumpy. If there is anything that will excite your cat, avoid it. That includes other cats or animals, or loud traffic. Your cat may be anxious on his first bicycle commute, but over time he will become familiar with the experience.

Bike commuting is a lifestyle that has been popular around the globe for some time. Recently, this form of transportation has become very popular amongst Americans. Bike commuting allows you to ride your bicycle to-and-from work, to the park, and for almost every other business or leisure related activity. Do not be under the misconception that bike commuting has to negatively impact your everyday life, such as being a cat owner, or arriving to your destination in style. You simply have to learn some tips and helpful hints to make sure bike commuting is a seamless part of your day. Enjoy the video  showing how one cat really does ride with his owner

 

Bike Commuting and Bike Tool Kits

By Jillian Tilton

Many cyclists nowadays do not consider bicycle tools and kits to be very important until they become stranded on the side of a road without them while miles away from home. Aside from that, many cyclists who know the importance of these tools do not have any idea about what equipment they should bring along.

However, this is a concern that many people do not have to worry about. This is because the majority of local bike shops will help them in choosing not only the right tools for a particular bicycle but also teach them the right way of using them. At the same time, these shops offer clinics on basic bike repair and are often willing to assist a bicycle user on an individual basis.Bike Tool Kits

Flat Kits

One of the most important pieces of equipment that a bike user should take during their commute is a flat kit to fix a flat tire. Flat kits often include a tube patch kit, tire levers, spare tubes and a tire boot that is usually a temporary tire patch. Some flat kits also include an inflation device such as a carbon dioxide inflator or pump.

Another important item that a bicycle user should include in their flat kit is a pair of nitrile or latex gloves. This will keep their hands clean when they do repairs on their bike. People should always remember that fixing a flat is not hard to do if they have the right tools on hand.

Spoke Wrench

A spoke wrench is invaluable to a bicycle user. These wrenches are often used to adjust the spoke tension through loosening or tightening the spoke nipples. The majority of multi-tool kits frequently include a spoke wrench.

However, many of these are often difficult to use. At the same time, it is important to remember that spoke wrenches come in different sizes. Using the wrong size wrench can destroy or damage a spoke nipple. Untrue wheels or a wheel that is bent also requires the use of a spoke wrench because it needs occasional spoke tension adjustment.

Mini-Tool or Multi-Tool Kits

A mini-tool or multi-tool kit is often an indispensable bicycle tool in the hands of a professional. Because of this, it is important for every cyclist to know how to use one. A multi-tool kit is a handheld device that contains several tools. These tools often include all common types of hex head wrench sizes, Phillips and regular screwdrivers.

At the same time, it is important to remember that common adjustments made to a bicycle are performed through the use of four, five or six millimeter Phillip screwdrivers and hex wrenches. However, the majority of chain works often require a chain breaker. Multi-tool kits are often designed for field use only.

Cassette Lockring Tool and Vise-Whip with Handle and Guide Pins

When it is time for an individual to change their cogset, they will often need a combination of tools. A high-tech vise-whip along with a cassette lockring tool that has both SRAM or Shimano and Campagnolo lockring will help people to lock their cogs into place especially when they are planning to travel long distances. Using these tools also helps in eliminating the chances of experiencing of a knuckle-busting slip that commonly occurs with a traditional whip.

Chain Tools and Torx Keys

A chain tool is a tiny mechanical device that is designed to break a bicycle chain a unique way that can be mended using the same tool. It also has plates and links that are pinned together. These can all be pushed out through the use of a chain tool.

Because the pins can be pushed out gradually with the use of a screw, they can be fully or partially removed depending on the user’s intention. Most chain tools are designed for bicycles that have flat plate links. Aside from that, they are also designed to reconnect a bicycle’s chains in case they were disconnected during a commute.

Another important biking component that a bicycle user should take during their commute is Torx keys. This is because nowadays disc-brake-rotor hardware is made from Torx components. Three Torx keys will often cover everything a bicycle rider needs. These sizes include T-30, T-25 and T-10.

Bike Commuting and Bicycle Covers

By Jillian Tilton

Bicycle commuting is a healthy and efficient way to get back and forth to work. Yet commuting on your bicycle every day presents certain challenges, such as what to do with your bike while it’s parked. Aside from locking it up for security, bicycle covers are important too.

A bicycle cover protects your bike from the elements. If it rains or snows, you don’t want your bike to be sitting outside all day. This can lead to rust, not to mention a wet seat for you to ride home on. In climates that are hot and dry, you should protect your bike from the sun. Additionally, a bike left outside all day will accumulate lots of dust and debris. There are a wide variety of bicycle covers that can protect your bike.

Types of Bicycle Covers

You don’t want to cover your bike with just anything. It should be a durable and preferably waterproof material so that it does the job it’s meant to do. It’s also essential that your bicycle cover be the right size, so that it covers the entire bike.Bicycle Covers

Another factor to consider is the weight of the cover. You will need to carry this with you on your bike, so the lighter the cover, the more convenient it will be for you.
Let’s look at some brands and styles of bicycle cover.

EmpireCovers -This is one of the leading manufacturers of covers for all kinds of vehicles. Their bicycle covers, made from a heavy duty polyester material, are designed to protect bikes from rain, snow, sun and dirt. Their covers are water resistant. They make covers in several sizes that are appropriate for both children’s and adults’ bikes. They have elastic hems to make sure that the covers fit snugly over the bicycle. EmpireCovers have bicycle covers starting at just over $20.

Kloud Waterproof Bicycle Cover -If you want a bicycle cover that’s not merely water resistant, but waterproof this is a good choice. This is a good idea if you live somewhere that gets a great deal of rain. This cover is lightweight and is made from 190T nylon and is large enough to fit over any normal sized bicycle. It includes a drawstring storage bag. The Kloud Waterproof Bicycle Cover sells for around $20.

Electra Deluxe Bicycle Cover -This is a heavy duty bicycle cover that can also be used on a scooter or moped. Although this is full sized cover, it folds up easily so that it’s convenient to transport. While this is a very sturdy bike cover, it’s not as lightweight as some other models. The Electra Deluxe sells for a little over $30.

White Lightning Bike Johnny -This is a cover that fully encloses your bike. Rather than just being a cover, this is more like having your bike in a ziplock bag. There is a two-way zipper to take the cover on and off. Cover is large enough to accommodate regular bikes, hybrids and triathlon bikes. It also has convenient grommets that allow you to lock up the bike while it’s covered. This cover sells for around $50.

BikeParka -Another high quality bicycle cover, this one is made from a tough Polyester Ripstop fabric. It features Polyurethane coating to provide full weatherproofing. It is one of the best fitting bicycle covers, and is seam-taped to keep water from leaking in. The BikeParka sells for around $50.

These are some of the more popular bicycle covers you can find online. If there is a bicycle shop in your area you may be able to buy a cover there as well. When choosing a bicycle cover, it’s important to consider several factors. Here is a checklist of things to remember when buying a bicycle cover:

  • Size -Is it large enough to fit over your entire bike?
  • Material -Is it sturdy? Water resistant or waterproof?
  • Weight -Is it lightweight and convenient to carry around?
  • Foldable -Does it fold easily when you’re done with it?

Bike Commuting and Health for Beginners

By Jillian Tilton

Bike Commuting and Health for Beginners

Bike commuting to and from work or school is a great way to keep fit and contribute to lowering your carbon footprint. For those who already ride daily or on the weekends, it may be an easy thing to transition into daily bike rides back and forth to the job or school. However, for those who are in that transition phase between sedentary and fit, the approach to bike commuting needs to be altered a bit in order for it to be a successful fitness venture.

Setting Goals in Bike Commuting

The desire to be fit and the effort involved in the beginning can get in the way. Everyone embarking on the fitness journey sets lofty

Goals for your bike commuting

Bike Commuting Goals

goals, and that is okay. However, every goal needs sub goals that are easier to attain. Mini goals show progress toward the bigger goal. For someone who is new to daily exercise, bike commuting needs to be attained in phases.

Instead of just hopping on that brand new bike and heading off to work or school, it may be a good idea to first attempt the ride on a day off. This allows new bike commuters to gauge how the ride affects their bodies, shows how long it takes, and how it feels for the rest of the day after that first round trip. One may discover that losing a few pounds and gaining strength and endurance doing another exercise routine may be beneficial before commuting by bicycle is attempted.

Eating Right for Bike Commuting

Simple carbohydrates that many consume for breakfast is not enough to fuel muscles being used to propel a person on a bicycle back and forth to work. Lunch is also critically important because it will be the fuel for the ride home. Just as the commuter automobile does not run unless there is good fuel in the tank, the bike commuter will not either.

Monitor the caloric intake but be sure to eat the proper mix of complex carbohydrates and sufficient protein to sustain energy levels for the miles of pedaling expected. Stop eating refined sugars and heavily processed foods. Skip the fast-food breakfast sandwiches and donuts and opt for a healthy protein, oatmeal and whole grain toast instead. Foods such as rice, vegetables and chicken at lunch are needed in lieu of the old standbys such as a burger and fries. A popular diet plan that’s been used in the bike community is the gm diet plan consisting of a seven day program. Also, be sure to eat enough calories to support the extra ones that the daily two-way bike ride will burn.

Bike Commuting Pitfalls to Avoid

Monitor weather reports and use common sense for when it may be a better idea to commute by automobile. Get a waterproof saddlebag to hold clothes, lunch and other things. Wear reflective clothing, and keep the bike maintained better than you would your car. They wear out faster. Keep a coworker or friend on alert for an emergency ride in case your bike breaks down. Keep uniforms or suits at work, and change there.

Bike commuting is a fantastic way to maintain fitness goals. However, it may not be the best choice to reach minimal fitness goals. Choose it as an option once minimal fitness levels needed to keep up such a pace are reached. Move into it slowly. Maybe commute one day per week at first. No matter what, enjoy the ride!

Napa Valley Bike Tours

By Jillian Tilton

Napa Valley Bicycle Tours

You’ve heard of the Napa Valley tours that take you around in chartered buses or even limousines, but biking this beautiful area is also a popular choice. As you experience different wines and eateries, you feel and taste the crisp air while casually pedaling your bike. With so many different tours, it may be difficult to choose just one vacation idea. Take a look at some of your options for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The Biking Experience

Napa Valley does not have separate biking trails to access the vineyards. Most bike tours remain on country roads, along with some main roadways. Silverado Trail and Highway 29 are typical thoroughfares for both cars and bikes. There is a 6 to 8 foot ample shoulder

Touring Napa Valley by bicycle

Tour Napa Valley

that tours use for safe biking. Some tours that take you through the vineyards themselves, such as the Carneros District, lead you to other attractions, such as nature reserves. Keep your camera ready for views of gorgeous herons and other wetland birds that populate the area.

Basic Biking Tours

Typically within a group of 12, classic Napa Valley bike tours take you to at least three wineries in one day. These tours start mid-morning and usually end by 5pm or 6pm. If you are a beginner biker, this tour is a perfect match. With flat and smooth roadways, you do not need to traverse steep hills between wineries. Each biking leg is about 3 to 6 miles long, allowing you to rest at each stop and enjoy the surrounding scenery.

Through The Vineyards

Only specific tour groups have permission to bike through particular vineyard properties so reserve this vacation adventure as soon as possible. Because vineyard biking areas are on dirt and typically rocky, a sturdy mountain bike would work well on this alternative adventure. There is some road biking between vineyards, however. Reserve this Napa Valley mountain biking tour for experienced bikers. Transitioning between roadway types and maneuvering along bumpy, dirt roads can be tricky for a new biker.

Limited Time?

You may be visiting friends or family in the area, making a full day bike tour impossible. Look for tours that are only four hours long in the afternoon. You meet with a tour guide after lunch and enjoy several wineries in close proximity. These tours also work well for new bikers unsure of their endurance for a full day ride. Work your way up to a full day biking trip to improve your overall health.

On Your Own

If you prefer a more private tour, self-guided biking adventures are available. Work with a tour guide to map out your route to visit as many wineries as possible in a day’s time. When you commit to a route and specific wineries, the tour company picks up and delivers your purchased wine along the way to prevent any damage to the bottles. Riding a bike with wine bottles in a backpack is an accident waiting to happen. Some tour companies even arrange for a lunch to help you avoid long lines on the road.

Toughening Up The Course

For bikers looking for a challenge, Napa Valley bike tours also take you to Mount St. Helena and across to Middletown and Pope Valley. This long and strenuous ride is worth the effort when you look upon Pope Valley. With little urban development, Pope Valley appears like it did a century ago. Vineyards and rolling hills dot this area, creating a breathtaking bike ride.

Making A Week Of It

For the biking enthusiast, reserve a bike tour that continues for several days. You’ll stay at quaint hotels and inns as the tour takes you through vineyards and along the Pacific Coast. Collect wines from numerous wineries for the taste experience of a lifetime.

Contact a Napa Valley bike tour company when you decide on your vacation. Popular tours fill up quickly, especially in the spring and summer. Biking through wine country refreshes your mind and spirit.

 

Commuting With The Right Bike

By Jillian Tilton

Commuting With the Right Bike

Whether you want to save on gas money, help the environment or simply enjoy the exercise, you might be considering commuting to work on your bicycle. There are a variety of bikes to choose from and many factors you should first consider before you decide on the one that will be just right for your needs. Find a safe bike path to your place of work and then read further for a few examples of available bikes.

Commuter Specific Bike
Made of steel and with extra strong tires and wheels, these bikes were made specifically for commuting. Also known to be designed fora more relaxing and comfortable riding position, you can expect a safe, fast and enjoyable ride. They come with many things a commuter may need such as a bike rack to carry your briefcase or whatever else you may need for work.

Comfort Bike

If you are mainly looking for a nice comfy ride, these offer a very comfortable seat, a more upright riding position and excellent tires. They work best on flat roads. The upright riding position is often beneficial to those with neck or back problems to avoid soreness from riding.

Folding Bike

This is great for crime prone areas. If you don’t want to chance the possibility of someone stealing your bike no matter how careful you are to chain it up, this one can be folded right up and taken inside with you. It will fit into a very small space. Runs best on flat roads.

Cyclocross Bike

If you are looking for a fast ride that can handle a bumpier terrain, this one might be for you. It’s lighter weight and thinner tires allow for higher speeds, while the drop handlebars offer various positions for aerodynamics and comfort.

Mountain Bike

This one provides a nice ride on flat surfaces, bricks and rough surfaces and is wonderful at handling off-road excursions. It’s a good inexpensive bike to start commuting with while you learn your route and what your needs are. As you become more certain you want to continue commuting you might want to upgrade to one of the more expensive bikes.

Road Bike and Upright Road Bike

If you are looking for the fastest trip to your workplace, this is most likely the bike for you. It’s very lightweight and has drop handlebars so you can adjust position for what is most comfortable for you. The upright road bike differs in that it has straight handlebars for better bike handling and better brake gripping for faster stopping.

Recumbent Bike

This is probably the most comfortable bike due to its riding position and seat. However, because they are so low to the ground, there are sometimes problems with visibility in traffic and operating alongside traffic in bike lanes and on shoulders. For this reason, they should only be used for commuting for those who suffer from neck and back problems.

Regardless of which bike you pick, you will no doubt improve your health riding to and from work each day. This is a great form of exercise which will also save you money and help reduce a little pollution in the air.

Bike Commuting Bags or Backpacks

By Jillian Tilton

Bike Commuting and Bags or Backpacks

There are almost as many reasons for bike commuting as there are commuters. Common reasons for ditching the car include skyrocketing gas prices, high interest car payments, heavy traffic patterns, as well as the desire for fresh air and exercise. You’ve decided to join in; now how do you carry all of the items you need for work and play?

Many options exist for carrying things with you on your bike commute. Choosing one or a combination of bags will ensure that you have the space for any items you may need throughout the day. There are basically two types of bags; bags that you carry on your body, and bags that are attached to the bike.

Personal Carry Bags

Bags that you carry on your body come in 3 types: fanny pack, backpack, and messenger bags. A small fanny pack works well if you don’t need to pack anything large or heavy. The messenger bag is made of sturdy fabric with a wide strap that you wear diagonally across your shoulders. There is also usually a chest strap to keep the bag close to your body, so that the weight of the bag does not shift as you ride. The messenger bag is appropriate for carrying small, flat items such as files, paperwork, and a laptop or notebook. A cell phone pouch can be attached to the strap. A backpack will hold a wider variety of items of different shapes. Most backpacks have multiple pockets and sections for keeping items separated. A backpack should fit snugly against your back to keep the weight from shifting during riding. Look for a pack with padded shoulders to alleviate pressure on the nerves of the neck and back. Overloading either a messenger bag or backpack throw off your center of balance and make a ride more difficult.

Bags that attach to the bike itself come in many different types as well. A handlebar bag, as the name suggests, attaches to the bike’s handlebars. This type of bag is fairly small and is best used for storing items that you might need as you ride, such as your cell-phone or a quick snack. Similar to that are frame packs; small packs that attach to points along the frame of the bike itself. Frame packs are generally small, holding things such as water bottles and bike maintenance gear. An under the seat bag is available and is also a great place to store your bike maintenance gear, keys and other small items.seatbag for bikes

If you have a lot of gear that you need to take along with you, consider adding a rack to your bike. You will then be able to take advantage of the larger capacity of panniers (saddlebags) and rack-top bags. Both of these will hold larger items such as clothing, camping gear, laptops, lunch bags or any other large item that you may need to carry with you.

Summary

With all bags, you need to consider the types of weather you will be riding in. Some bags are available in waterproof fabric. For others you will need to purchase a rain cover if you plan on riding in inclement weather.

No matter what kinds of gear you plan on taking along for the ride, there is a bike bag to fit every occasion.

Where to Ride on the Roadway

By Jillian Tilton

Bicycling is a great way to commute or to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Bicyclists, under California law, have the same rights as vehicle drivers. Failure to observe those laws and the common rules of the road can quickly turn an enjoyable ride into a nightmare. That is

Where to Ride on the Roadway for Bike Commuting

Where to Ride on the Roadway While Bicycle Commuting

why it is important that bicycle riders stay informed about road rules and safety before they head out for that first ride. Below are some safety pointers that will help ensure a safe ride.

Where to Ride

Bicyclists must ride as close to the edge of the right-hand side of the road in the same direction that traffic is going. Under California law, riders can leave the edge of the road if they are passing, making a left hand turn, avoiding hazards such as an object in the roadway, or when riding on a one-way street. It is also acceptable to leave the edge of the road when approaching a location where right hand turns can be legally made or when a lane is too narrow to share with vehicles. Those same laws apply when there is a bike lane on the edge of the roadway.

When a lane is too narrow to safely share with vehicles, bicyclists should ride toward the center of the lane. This practice will help prevent vehicles from trying to pass in an unsafe manner.

Riding at Night

Cyclists who ride at night must equip their bicycles with an attached white headlight on the front of the bike. If the bicycle is not equipped with reflectorized front and back tires, a red reflector must be attached to the back of bike, each pedal, or the bicyclist’s shoes or ankles, must have a white or yellow reflector attached, both sides of the front half of the bicycle must have a white or yellow reflector attached, and both sides of the back of the bicycle must have a red or white reflector attached. This safety law is in place to help ensure that other traffic can see bicycles and avoid an accident.

Miscellaneous Laws

It is illegal to ride a bicycle while wearing earplugs or headsets in or on both ears. It is legal to wear an earplug in one ear and to wear hearing aids in one of both ears when riding. Bicyclists need to be alert to what is going on around them for their own safety and the safety of others.

Cyclists should observe the safety rules of the road and all laws to help ensure that they have a safe ride and do not endanger others. This includes obeying the same traffic signs that vehicles are required to obey including stop signs and traffic signals.

Bike Commuting Checklist

By Jillian Tilton

Commuting towork in California by bicycle is a great way to help save the planet, save your wallet, get some exercise and enjoy a scenic and fun morning commute. Commuters should not just hop on their bicycle and head for the streets, hoping for the best,

California Bicycle Commuting Checklist

Use a checklist for a safe and enjoyable ride.

however. Bicycling safely requires certain safety gear. Here is a list of gear that you should have on hand if you want to start commuting by bike safely.

Bicycle

The very first item you need for California bike commuting is a bike. Not just any bike will do, however. You need a bike that has all the proper reflectors, that has handlebars no higher than your shoulders and that is small enough for you to stop and start again with no problem. Your bike must have brakes that allow you to stop with a one-braked-wheel skid. Your bike must also have a permanently attached seat, unless it is made to be ridden without a seat.

Helmet

Although helmets are only required by law for children under 18, adults should always be in the habit of wearing them as well. Because you will be riding on California roads with traffic during your commute, you should take every necessary precaution to protect yourself in case of a dangerous accident. Helmets are invaluable for protecting your head.

Clothing

Clothing for bicyclists should be designed for safety, not fashion. You should wear bright, reflective clothing such as a neon yellow vest so that cars will see you easily. Your clothing should not restrict your movement, but it should also not be loose enough to get caught in your bike’s chains or tires either.

Riding Gloves

While not required by law, riding gloves are a great way to protect your hands in case of a fall. They can also help protect your hands from blistering if you ride frequently.

Ankle Strap

An ankle strap is a great way to fasten your pant legs close to your body so you do not run the risk of them getting caught in your bike’s chain or tires. If you do not want to invest in one, a tight clothespin, safety pin or rubber band can do the trick as well.

Rain Gear

If you commute to work frequently, you run the risk of biking through rainy weather. Having proper rain gear such as a poncho or rain cape and a rain hat will help you arrive at your destination relatively dry.

Fenders

While rain gear helps protect your clothing from rain falling down from the sky, bicycles have a tendency to splash mud and water up from the ground onto your clothing as well. Fenders help deflect this road sludge, keeping it off of your clothing.

Helmet lightHeadlight

If your commute requires you to ride while it is still dark out, California law requires you to attach a bright white headlight to either the front of your bike or yourself so approaching cars can see you.

Taillight

While a bright taillight is not required by law, it is an excellent idea for riding in dark or dim conditions. Car headlights may not reflect on your bike’s reflectors soon enough for a car driver to notice you, or the driver may simply not be paying attention. A red taillight helps increase your visibility and keeps you safe.

Basket

Not only does California law require you to be able to keep one hand on the handlebars at all times, but you probably do not want to carry your gear for a long commute anyway. A bike basket gives you a place to store anything you need to bring with you, whether it is a change of clothes for the office, a bag of groceries on the way home or bike repair gear you keep on you in case of emergencies.

Backpack

If you prefer not to use a basket on your bike, a good backpack can work just as well for most cargo you need to carry. While it will be heavier for you to carry, it will keep your gear closer to your body and safer in the event of a bike crash.

Bike Lock

A good bike lock will not necessarily keep you safe, but it is essential for keeping your bike safe. If you forget to lock up your bike, you may find yourself walking home after work.

Bike Equipment

Your bike will need routine maintenance from time to time. You should keep a tire pressure gauge, chain oil and a wrench at home to perform proper bike maintenance and keep your bike in excellent shape.

Portable Bike Tool Kit

If your bike has any problems while you are riding, you will need a way to fix them. A portable bike kit typically contains small and useful tools like wrenches, screwdrivers and a patch kit in a portable tool kit.

Spare Tube or Patch Kit

The problem you are most likely to have while commuting is a flat tire. A spare tube is necessary for getting your bike running again, though a patch kit can work for smaller holes in a pinch.

Portable Pump

Once you have replaced your bike tube or patched your hole, you will need a way to fill your tire back up with air. A small, portable bike pump can be clamped to your frame so it is out of the way but always there when you need it.

Copy of California Road Rules for Bicyclists

While you do not need to carry a copy of the road rules with you when riding, you should have a copy at home for reference. Knowing the rules of the road will help you behave in a manner that other cars and bicyclists will expect and will help you to remain safe on your commute. For example, California law requires bicyclists to always travel in the same direction as traffic and to stay to the right side of the lane when the lane is big enough for cars and bikes to share.