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Cycling In The Fall: Short, Windy Days

Because cycling is cheaper than therapy (and more effective)

Because cycling is cheaper than therapy (and more effective)

Seven months ago every bike shop in the Upper Midwest was as busy as a Chicago “slip and fall” attorney the day after an ice storm. Back in the spring the bike trails were full of new cyclists with shiny bikes, gaudy jerseys, and fresh saddle sores. By the middle of summer some of those bikes were abandoned and some the of new cyclists became former cyclists. However, a lot of those newbies persevered, lost weight, gained muscle and were in great shape—until Labor Day. Unfortunately, at the first sign of cool weather most of these folks hung their bikes up till next spring and will gain back all the weight they lost before Christmas. However, on New Year’s Eve they will resolve to “hang in there longer next year.” Folks, it doesn’t have to be this way! There is absolutely no reason you can’t ride your bike outside all year long! As the old saying goes, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.

I live between Chicago and Milwaukee and during an average winter the temperature rarely drops below -10 degrees Fahrenheit (the record is -27F). When people ask how I can possibly enjoy riding in such temperatures I tell them two things: First, the crazy (or dedicated) folks up in Minnesota ride in temperatures below -50 degrees (or worse), so -10 or -20 degrees in Chicago is actually not all that bad. Second, as I tell people all the time, the hardest part of riding in the winter is the first 500 feet after you leave your house.

Riding in the fall and winter does require an extra layer of clothing (or two), and because the days are shorter you will probably need a headlight and taillight as well. However, the advantages of cycling year-round far outweigh the disadvantages. First, you won’t gain back the weight you lost during the summer. Second, spending time outdoors will definitely improve your mood. Third, next spring you won’t have to reintroduce your butt to your bike saddle—they will already be old friends and get along well. Fourth, you will impress all your wimpy friends who spend winter in their basement on their training wheels, I mean, on their trainers. And last, you will never have to worry about overcrowding on the off-road trails.

 
50 Comments

Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Life On Two Wheels

 

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Finding Your Fitness Motivation

How are those New Year’s resolutions working out for you? A lot of people start a new year with the best of intentions to change their eating habits, start a fitness routine and get in shape. However, without constant encouragement from family and friends some people just can’t seem to stay motivated to exercise and eat right. I’ll go back to writing product reviews on Monday, but today I would like to help you find a way to stay motivated this year!

Welcome To My Gym

Welcome To My Gym

If you need a bit of motivation to help you reach your fitness goals I would suggest you follow some of the blogs I read (listed below). On the right-hand side of this page you should see a partial list of the over 200 health and fitness blogs I follow (so glad I took that speed reading class). I wish WordPress would rotate the avatars (or as they call them, blavatars), but at the moment they only display the last fifty blogs I decided to follow. These avatars usually show a photo of the blogger (sometimes a logo) and if you move your cursor over the photo it tells you the name of their blog and their tagline. I just started using the widget that displays these avatars last week and, unfortunately, as soon as these avatars appeared I stopped following two of the blogs because I felt their avatars were very demeaning to women (and the sad thing is both of the bloggers were women!). Here are some of my favorite blogs (and I am so sorry if I forgot to mention your blog)…

Cyclists and Triathletes: Kent Peterson’s blog, aptly named Kent’s Bike Blog, is the blog I have followed for the longest length of time. There are two Minnesota-based blogs I thoroughly enjoy, The Adventures of Joboo and His Trusty Pugsley and Bill’s Magical Mystery Tour. Rounding out the list is Sip, Clip and Go (Massachusetts), IowaTriBob (Iowa), Tracy at SpringfieldCyclist (Missouri), elisariva (Ohio), and Elizabeth at Triathlon Obsession (New York). Annie at anniebikes is seasoned commuter who also loves to tour (Vermont). A little further away is Kitesurf Bike Rambling (UK). Jim at Fit Recovery is a recovering alcoholic/addict—I am not sure where he lives, but his blog is great!

Fitness, Weight Lifting and Body Building: You will notice that all the blogs in this section are written by women. I am not a sexist nor am I following these blogs for aesthetic reasons. However, if I am going to read an article about weightlifting or body building I would rather have the photo next to the article be of a smiling female than of some dude flexing his muscles with a strained look on his face that makes me think he needs to increase his intake of dietary fiber. Lisa Traugott at She’s Losing It! became my hero when I read that she does 400 lunges a day with a 50 pound weight! Dani Cee is a certified personal trainer and works as medical content writer and nutrition adviser. Joy is a certified personal fitness trainer and she writes at joyfitnessandstyle. Sara, a group exercise instructor, writes at Shh…Fit Happens. Sarah, a certified group fitness instructor, can be found at Strong, Fit, Beautiful. Katie at Fit Butt Fabulous is a first-grade teacher by day, health and fitness enthusiast by life. Newlywed Laura at Fit And Busy has a great motto on her site, “If you don’t make time for fitness now, you will have to make time for sickness later.” Joanna at Sports Bras And Sippy Cups is a fit momma who lifts more than just babies! Heather at Run Eat Play writes about every day life experiences with exercise, food, and family.

Diet and Nutrition: Even though I am not a vegan I enjoy reading what Laura at The Daily Meal has to say. Christy at Christy Fit is a fitness instructor and model, but she also has several recipes for great protein shakes. Even though she is no Martha Stewart, Doctorate Housewife also has some great recipes. You should also visit Carrie at Fitness And Frozen Grapes for some healthy, great-tasting recipes. Katie at Gettin’ My Healthy On is not a professional dietician, but she does have wonderful recipes (and a killer smile). Dr. Madeleine Vanstory at Rants, Rules & Recipes has an excellent blog—she explains why diets don’t work and why most food is garbage (you really need to visit this site).

Interesting People: Anita Mac is a world traveler and I enjoy reading her posts at traveldestinationbucketlist. Heather is an “explorer” with four young children and she writes at 7feetnorth. Melissa lives in a “small town in Illinois” and blogs at Spicy Homemaker. Stephanie at The Stolen Colon was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 1999 and her blog is both uplifting and inspiring. You should also see Anka at Keeping it Real and Melissa, a Michigan photographer, at Melissa Not Dusting. Erin at Hey Hey, Erin May is a designer, writer, marketer and all-over creative for hire. And last, but certainly not least, there is Irish Katie, a frequent commenter on this site and the proud mother of a teenage daughter.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in Life On Two Wheels

 

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Don’t Hang Your Bike Up Just Because It’s Fall

Let me depart from my usual product reviews for today so I can extol the virtues of year-round cycling. A few months ago every bike shop in the Upper Midwest was as busy as a Chicago “slip and fall” attorney the day after an ice storm. Back in the spring the bike trails were full of new cyclists on shiny bikes. By the middle of summer some of those bikes had been abandoned and some the of new cyclists became former cyclists. However, a lot of those newbies persevered, lost weight, gained muscle and are now in great shape. Unfortunately, at the first sign of cool weather many of these folks will hang their bike up for the next six months, gain back all the weight they lost and then start all over again next spring. Folks, it doesn’t have to be that way! There is absolutely no reason you can’t ride your bike outside all year long!

Ride your bicycle all year long

Improve Your Mood: Cycle All Year Long!

I live between Chicago and Milwaukee and during an average winter the temperature rarely drops below -10 degrees Fahrenheit (the record is -27 F). When people ask how I can possibly enjoy riding in such temperatures I tell them two things: First, some crazy folks up in Minnesota ride in temperatures below -40 degrees (or worse), so -10 degrees is actually not too bad. Second, the hardest part of riding in the winter is the first 500 feet after you leave your house.

Riding in the fall and winter does require an extra layer of clothing (or two), and because the days are shorter you will probably need a headlight and taillight as well. However, the advantages of cycling year-round far outweigh the disadvantages. First, you won’t gain back the weight you lost during the summer. Second, spending time outdoors will definitely improve your mood. Third, next spring you won’t have to reintroduce your butt to your bike saddle—they will already be old friends and get along well. Fourth, you will impress all your wimpy friends who spend winter inside and exercise with their training wheels, in mean, on their trainers. And last, you will never have to worry about overcrowding on the off-road trails.

If you are interested in becoming a year-round cyclist I would suggest you check-out some of the product reviews I’ve done for Spring and Fall Cycling, Winter Cycling, and Cycling In The Rain. As the old saying goes, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.

 

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5,000 Miles Of Cycling And Four Months To Go

Yesterday I passed the 5,000 mile mark on my bike for this year and that is two weeks earlier than last year. In 2011 my goal was to cycle 5,000 miles, but I was able to hit 6,836. As some of you know, my goal for this year is “to have fun.” By that I mean that the number of miles at the end of the year is not as important as enjoying the time I have riding. As a result, I have spent more time riding off-road trails this year than I ever have before.

Cycling is better than therapy

Before you ask, the man in the photo above is not me—I bought the photo from PhotoXpress.com. I ripped off the text from a blog that had a photo of a young woman running and the caption read, “Because running is cheaper than therapy.” However, I couldn’t use that language because distance cycling is actually more expensive than therapy. Though I never though of myself as a politician, there was a time I held public office and our unit of government had to employ psychologists. No offense to anyone in that profession, but I have always considered psychologists to be one step away witch doctors, shamans and voodoo priests. I am not a therapist, but in my occupation I do spend time counseling individuals and my advice is often more like the therapist portrayed by R. Lee Ermey in the GEICO commercial. Instead of asking, “How does that make you feel?” I am more likely to tell someone to “butch up” and stop their whining. If you have a medical problem go see a medical doctor—most other problems can be cured by a few hours on a bike.

Earlier this year I was able to spend a lot of time riding with friends, but now I am usually back to riding by myself. In the spring I rode several hundred miles with my friend Eric, a Navy commander, but he has since been transferred to the East Coast. During June and July I rode 800 miles with my friend Anna as she was preparing for RAGBRAI, but now she is back teaching high school. I’ve also gone for a few rides with Randy, a man about my age who lives a few blocks from me—he just started cycling this June but already has 2,000 miles on his bike. I also went for one short ride with James, a kid who lives across the street from me (a slow ride but with very entertaining conversation).

 
77 Comments

Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Life On Two Wheels

 

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