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Jelly Belly Sport Beans

I am a distance cyclist and usually consume 250 to 300 calories per hour while cycling (and burn around 1,100 calories an hour). The food products I take with me on rides have to be compact and taste good. I also like to have a bit of variety in my food and therefore I use products from several different companies. A few years ago Jelly Belly, the world-famous manufacturer of jelly beans, came out with Jelly Belly Sport Beans, a nutritional product for athletes. When the product was introduced it contained high fructose corn syrup so I didn’t even try it. However, once Jelly Belly switched to all natural ingredients I tried them out and am glad I did! While Jelly Belly Sport Beans will never be the only carbohydrate product I consume, I now take a package with me on just about every ride.

Jelly Belly Sport Beans

Jelly Belly Sport Beans

If you have never tried Jelly Belly Sport Beans then you are missing a real treat! I rotate through a dozen or so carbohydrate products while cycling (not all at the same time), and I can tell you that Jelly Belly Sport Beans have the most robust flavor of any of the products I use.

Jelly Belly Sport Beans come in six flavors (Orange, Berry, Lemon Lime, Fruit Punch, Watermelon, Cherry). Two of the flavors (Watermelon and Cherry) contain caffeine. Anytime I review nutritional products I like to list the ingredients, and since the Cherry flavor is my favorite I’ll give you the ingredients list for it: Evaporated cane juice, tapioca syrup, and cherry juice from concentrate. It also contains 2% or less of the following ingredients: natural flavor, thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacinamide (vitamin B3), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), citric acid, citrus pectin, potassium citrate, sodium citrate, sodium lactate, black carrot (color), black currant (color), grape skin extract (color), apple (color), purple carrot (color), hibiscus (color), beeswax, carnauba wax, confectioner’s glaze, salt, and caffeine.

Each one-ounce package of Jelly Belly Sport Beans has 100 calories. Every serving also provides 25 grams of carbohydrates, 80mg of sodium, 40mg of potassium, along with a small dose of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C. This product is also Certified Kosher (Orthodox Union).

At one time Jelly Belly Sport Beans were made with corn syrup, but that has been replaced with evaporated cane juice. For me this is a big deal—I refuse to buy any product that contains high fructose corn syrup. Jelly Belly has also switched to all natural ingredients for the coloring used in these beans. These beans are coated with beeswax and carnauba wax. You might think these waxes are just for making with beans shine (which they do), but the advantage is that your fingers will not get sticky while eating these beans even on a hot day (due to the high melting point of carnauba wax).

The only thing I do not like about Jelly Belly Sport Beans is the packaging—they are very difficult to open while on the bike. These packages come with a resealable top and to me this is totally unnecessary since they only contain 100 calories per package.

Jelly Belly Sport Beans retail for around $1.25 per package, but you can usually save a lot of money by buying them in bulk (24 packages). If your local bike shop does not give you a discount for buying in quantity then you should shop for them on Amazon.com.

 
 

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Cycling Home From Siberia by Rob Lilwall

Cycling Home From Siberia by Rob Lilwall

Cycling Home From Siberia

Most “adventure cycling” books tell the story of some brave cyclist as they travel through a foreign county while on summer vacation. Very few cycling adventures start in the dead of winter, and especially not leaving from Magadan, Siberia—one of the coldest inhabited places in the world! Cycling Home From Siberia tells the story of Rob Lilwall’s bike trip from Siberia back to his home in London, England three years later. This 30,000 mile journey took him through some of the most remote places on the globe and allowed him to see the world as few very other people ever will.

Lilwall’s journey began in 2004 and by the time it was over he had cycled through Russia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium and England (I hope I didn’t miss anyone).

During the first leg of his journey Lilwall was accompanied by an old school friend, Al Humphreys, but when they got to Japan they decided to part ways. Lilwall made this journey on a ten-year old steel-framed mountain bike he named Alanis. By the time he loaded the bike up with four panniers, a bar bag, and two canoe bags it weighed 130 pounds! On the second day of their trip the paved roads stopped and they would not see them again for nearly 3,000 more miles. On the fourth day, having traveled less than 300 miles, the snow started to fall and they quickly learned what slipping and sliding on the ice was like—and daytime temperatures of -30C were common. I enjoy riding in such conditions, but only for a few hours at a time! Lilwall and Humphreys seldom had a chance to warm up during this leg of their journey. Lilwall had to stick a glove down his crotch just to keep his private parts warm! To make matters worse, they even got robbed at gunpoint while in Russia.

By the time Lilwall finished the Siberian leg of his journey he had cycled over 3,300 miles, consumed 189 chocolate bars and over 100 packets of instant noodles. When Lilwall finished his trip he had repaired a total of 157 tire punctures (not a record I wish to ever break).

I had thought about writing a very long review for this book, but decided just to give you a glimpse of the first couple of chapters. I always read books with a yellow highlighter at hand so I can mark the sections of a book  I find interesting. However, by the time I finished reading this book I think about a third of the pages had sections highlighted. If you love adventure cycling books this one will not leave you disappointed!

Cycling Home From Siberia is over 400 pages long and once you get started it will be had to put down. This book is published by Howard Books, a division Simon and Schuster. I mention the publisher only because this book is a model for the way adventure cycling books should to be printed. The book has an easy-to-read typeface, numerous photographs and good maps so you won’t feel lost along the way.

The paperback version of Cycling Home From Siberia retails for $15, but you can order it from Amazon.com for $13. This book is also available in a Kindle edition for $12.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Bonk Breaker Gluten Free Energy Bars

One day back in the spring I walked into the local bike shop and one of the owners tossed me a small package and told me to try it out. When I looked at the package it had the name Bonk Breaker on the front—it was a product I had never heard of before, but have since become very well acquainted with. In fact, if you ride very much at all you need to get acquainted with them as well.

Bonk Breaker Gluten Free Energy Bars

Bonk Breaker Gluten Free Energy Bars

Bonk Breaker is an all-natural energy and protein bar that is made without dairy, gluten or soy products. These bars are designed for endurance athletes (cyclists, runners, etc.). I have only tried four of the ten flavors of Bonk Breaker that are available, but they have all be simply delicious so far. The ten flavors available are: Peanut Butter & Jelly, Peanut Butter & Jelly (High Protein), Almond Cherry Chunk (High Protein), Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip, Apple Pie, Blueberry Oat, Espresso Chip, Almond Butter & Honey, Peanut Butter & Banana, and Fig.

This would be a very long review if I gave you the ingredients list for each of the bars, so let me just list the ingredients for the Apple Pie Bonk Breaker (my favorite) so you can get a general idea of what they contain. Ingredients: Rice Nectar, Organic Gluten Free Oats, Honey, Coconut Oil, Brown Rice Flour, Non-GMO Brown Rice Protein, Apples, (Freeze Dried Apples), Brown Rice Crisps (Brown Rice, Rice Nectar, Sea Salt), Ground Chia Seed, Ground Cinnamon, Natural Apple Flavor, and Sea Salt. One 2.2 ounce bar has 250 calories (72 from fat), and has 34g of carbohydrates, 7g of protein, and 4g of dietary fiber.

Do you need Bonk Breaker energy bars? Well, it depends on how far you ride your bike. On short rides (anything under two hours) you would probably be just fine with carbohydrate gels and/or energy drinks. However, it is very rare for me to go on a bike ride that lasts less than two hours so I nearly always take a Bonk Breaker or two with me. After two hours of exercise your body needs some protein, and one regular Bonk Breaker bar has around 7 grams (the High Protein bars have even more). By the time I’ve been on my bike for three hours I want something that tastes and feels like real food—and Bonk Breaker fits the bill perfectly. These bars are soft, full of flavor, and taste great.

Because I am a distance cyclist I sometimes have to take over 2,000 calories worth of food products with me on a ride, and because I like variety I never confine myself to using just one brand of energy product. However, Bonk Breaker is one of the few “must have” foods I take with me on nearly every ride.

Bonk Breaker Energy Bars retail for around $25 for a box of 12 and if your local bike shop does not have them in stock I am sure they can order them for you. You can also order these bars from the Bonk Breaker Online Store and other online retailers, such as Amazon.com, REI, and Colorado Cyclist.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Product Reviews, Sports Nutrition

 

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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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Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels

Cyclists burn a lot of carbohydrates during a long ride and if you want to finish under your own power you need to replace some of those carbs during the ride. Honey is my favorite source of carbohydrates since it offers a perfect blend of both simple and complex carbs which prevents the energy “spike, crash and burn” that you get from most “energy gels.”

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels

The folks at Honey Stinger recently sent me a few packages of their new Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels. I am not a tofu-eating vegetarian. However, when given a choice, I will choose organic food every time. This is especially true when it comes to the food I eat while cycling. I’ve found that natural ingredients are easily digested and quickly absorbed into the body. Energy gels that contain a lot of chemicals make me feel uncomfortable while cycling.

The new Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels are available in three flavors (Vanilla, Fruit Smoothie, and Acai & Pomegranate). The Fruit Smoothie has a mild strawberry flavor. The Vanilla gel has a strong, but not overpowering, vanilla flavor, and the Acai & Pomegranate tastes like fresh Acai berries, but I couldn’t really taste the Pomegranate. However, the Acai & Pomegranate is my favorite flavor and after eating just one package of it I ordered an entire box of these gels.

The ingredients list for the Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels is about as simple as you can get: Organic tapioca syrup, organic honey, water, potassium citrate, natural flavor, citric acid, and sodium chloride. Each one-ounce (32g) package provides 100 calories with 23g of carbohydrates. Each serving also has 50mg of sodium and 50mg of potassium—the essential electrolytes that cyclists need during a ride. This product is made with 95% USDA-certified organic ingredients and they are also gluten-free.

Honey Stinger has offered Energy Gels for several years and the original flavors of those gels are still available and are now referred to as their Classic Energy Gels. The classic flavors (Gold, Ginsting, Banana, Chocolate and Strawberry) are made with pure honey, along with sodium, potassium, B complex vitamins and all-natural flavors. The Strawberry and Ginsting flavors contain natural caffeine. I like all the original flavors and usually order them in a box of 24 assorted flavor gels.

Can you really tell the difference between the Classic Energy Gels and the new Organic Energy Gels? Yes, but the difference in taste has nothing to do with the organic ingredients—the tapioca syrup in the new gels make for a much smoother product. As much as I like the Honey Stinger gels, they are never going to be my only source of food while on a long ride. However, I do take them with me on every ride. These gels are absorbed quickly into the body and just a few minutes after ingestion it feels like someone kicked on the afterburners.

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels retail for $1.35 per package, or $32.40 for a box of 24. If your local bike does not carry these gels yet they would be glad to order them for you. I’ve found that most local bike shops are willing to give you a decent discount if you buy three boxes of nutritional products at the same time—and you won’t have to pay for shipping! These gels are also available from R.E.I. and from the Honey Stinger Website.

 

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Cool Off Citrus Ice Towelettes

Cool Off Quick Chill Citrus Ice Towelettes

Cool Off Citrus Ice Towelettes

For the past few weeks the weather in the Upper Midwest has been absolutely brutal for cyclists—even if you leave very early in the morning the temperature has hovered around 100 degrees (F) by the time you get home. While there are several ways to keep cool on a ride, I’ve recently started using the Cool Off Citrus Ice Towelettes and they have been a real lifesaver! The single-use Cool Off packets are individually wrapped and are about the same size as a Wet-Nap (2.5″ width x 3.5″ height folded; 6×6″ unfolded).

The instructions for using the Cool Off towelettes are given on the back of each package: “For maximum cooling: Remove towelette and shake lightly. Then press on the back of your neck, inner arms, or back of knees for several seconds to allow the herbal infusion to fully penetrate and build the chill. To reactivate the cool, splash a little water on the skin where you used the towelette.”

The manufacturer claims that “Cool Off can lower the user’s surface skin temperature up to 12 degrees F., maintaining the coolness for over 60 minutes.” After using the product for several weeks I have to agree with their assessment.

Last week we had three straight days with temperatures of over 100 degrees (F) and a friend of mine had the air conditioner in her house break, but decided to stay there anyway. I gave her a couple Cool Off towelettes and the next day she told me the towelettes worked great—and then asked me for a few more of them!

The ingredients list for these towelettes includes Witch Hazel Extract, Alcohol, and Glycerin along with the following extracts: Aloe Vera, Arnica, Sea Weed, Chamomile Flower, Lemon Peel, Red Clover, St John’s Wort, Oat Kernel, Flaxseed, Fennel, Evening Primrose, Wild Yam, Tea Tree, Black Cohosh Root, White Tea Leaf, and natural or organic fixatives (Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butyparaben), Menthol, and Fragrance.

Cool Off Citrus Ice Towelettes are available in several sizes, including packages of 24, 40 or 100. I purchased a bin of 100 towelettes from Amazon.com for $47 and the order was fulfilled by First Aid Global Wholesale. The towelettes are made in USA.

One more note: I’ve read many reviews from women who claim that these towelettes work great for hot flashes caused by menopause. However, I have no way of verifying this claim on my own and am not dumb enough to ask any woman I know to try them out for that purpose.

 

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The First 3,000 Miles For 2012

A few days ago I passed 3,000 miles of cycling for the year and that puts me about two weeks ahead of where I was last year at this time. Last year my goal was to cycle 5,000 miles in 2011, but ended up with 6,836 miles. This past January several people asked me what my goal for 2012 was going to be and my usual answer was, “To have fun.” Last year I was trying to rack up as many miles as possible and that meant I got most of my miles while cycling on the road.

The first 3,000 miles on the bike for this year

The first 3,000 miles is the easy part!

When I bought my Surly Pugsley Necromancer Fat Bike last December I intended to use it mainly for rides on the snow, mud and beach (and in my area of the country sometimes all those conditions are present on the same ride). Even though riding on off-road trails is slower, it does have several advantages, i.e, no cars to avoid, no broken glass to dodge, and no teenagers throwing garbage out the window. Off-road trails also allow me more time to think, enjoy nature and meet new people.

I’ve found the people who use the off-road trails are generally more friendly than Roadies. Too often on the road you find some dude with a new set of aerobars who is just certain that if Fabian Cancellara crashes again he is going to get a call from Johan Bruyneel begging him to come save Radioshack Nissan Trek at the Tour de France (that’s probably why they are concentrating so hard they can’t even acknowledge the existence of other cyclists). The funny thing is that I cycled all winter on those same roads and didn’t see any of these dedicated cyclists on the road—I think most of them spent the winter in their basement riding on their training wheels, excuse me, I mean riding on their bicycle trainer stand.

One other change from last year is my training routes. Last year I got into a rut and rode the same handful of routes over and over. My loving wife has spent many hours in the car with me as I drove through the back roads of Illinois and Wisconsin looking for new training routes. I could have searched for these routes while on my bike, but I hate getting caught out in the middle of nowhere without water (yeah, it’s happened).

We all cycle for different reasons. Some ride for their physical health, others for mental health. Some people ride because they enjoy group rides, while others enjoy a quiet ride on the back-roads so they can work out their problems in solitude. Whatever your motivation for cycling is, I hope you can enjoy the rest of this year on a good bike.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Life On Two Wheels

 

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Eat, Sleep, Ride by Paul Howard

Eat, Sleep, Ride by Paul Howard - Ride the Tour Divide

Eat, Sleep, Ride by Paul Howard

For the past few years I’ve followed the Tour Divide, a self-supported bike race that follows the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route—over 2,700 miles of mountains, snow, gravel roads, logging trails and muddy paths. Sometimes the trails are so bad that instead of riding it becomes a “hike-a-bike” session. The race starts each June in Banff, Alberta, Canada and ends at the border of Mexico in Antelope Wells, New Mexico (USA). I recently read Paul Howard’s account of his experiences during the 2009 Tour Divide. His book, Eat, Sleep, Ride: How I Braved Bears, Badlands and Big Breakfasts in My Quest to Cycle the Tour Divide, is definitely worth your time!

Howard, a British citizen from southern England, never owned a mountain bike until he decided to race in the Tour Divide. His brief training for this ride was rather unorthodox—it appears as though he was willing to “wing it” and “learn by doing” (fortunately, he was a quick learner). In the Tour Divide riders are not allowed any planned support, nor are riders allowed to assist each other. Some riders sleep outside every night, while others are sometimes willing to pay for a hotel room for a few hours of rest and an opportunity to wash their clothes. Unlike many riders, Howard decided to travel the route without a camp stove or water filter, but did take a tent (instead of a bivvy bag).

Except for a few tire punctures, Howard’s bike apparently held up well during the ride. As is common in races like this, other cyclists were not so fortunate. Rugged mountain roads and bikes loaded down with gear are not a good combination—cyclists often have trouble keeping their wheels trued. Even if you are out in the woods truing a wheel is not that difficult if you have a spoke tool (they are found on most bicycle mini-tools). However, it seems that some tour riders never took the time to learn how to make simple repairs to their own bikes!

Howard has a rather dry sense of humor and his perspective on American customs and society is fun to read. Until this race he had never been in a Walmart before (what a lucky guy). On more than one occasion he made snide comments about how fat many Americans are—I’m just glad he didn’t visit a Walmart in Wisconsin!

Eat, Sleep, Ride is very well written and a joy to read. Instead of providing professional maps, this book has maps that look like they were drawn by a bored high school student—this is actually a compliment! Though the maps are hand-drawn and not to scale, I actually liked them better than in any other adventure cycling book I’ve ever read.

I do have two criticisms of the book. First, there is not a single photograph in the book! Second, though it is not absolutely necessary, I prefer adventure cycling books to include a detailed gear checklist (I like to know exactly what distance cyclists take with them on their journeys).

Eat, Sleep, Ride is available as a paperback book (272 pages) and retails for $17, but you can find it on Amazon.com for under $12. It is also available in the Kindle edition for $10.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across The Great Divide, by Jill Homer

Be Brave, Be Strong - A Journey Across The Great Divide, by Jill Homer

Be Brave, Be Strong

Every sports fan can give you a list of the heroes, icons and living legends of their favorite sport. I suppose most American cycling fans dream about going out for a long ride with great athletes like Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie or Levi Leipheimer. While I truly admire these men, if I had the chance to spend an afternoon cycling with anyone in America I would choose endurance cyclist Jill Homer. You will never see Jill Homer in the Tour de France, but her athletic ability makes those guys look like a bunch of wimps. I’ve read her blog, Jill Outside, for several years and a few months I reviewed Ghost Trails, a book about her 350 mile race along Alaska’s Iditarod Trail in 2008. I just finished reading her latest book, Be Brave, Be Strong, which tells the story of her record-breaking ride across the Great Divide.

The 2009 Tour Divide was a race that began in Alberta, Canada and ended on the border of Mexico at Antelope Wells, New Mexico. The 2,740 mile course went through some of the roughest paths, trails and logging roads in the United States. Homer finished this harsh course unassisted (but with a little “trail magic”) in twenty-four days, seven hours and twenty-four minutes (the female course record). During the race the riders crossed the Continental Divide of the Americas (the Great Divide) on numerous occasions and they seldom had a chance to ride on a decent road since the race organizers apparently take a great deal of pleasure in making race participants suffer. In just a little over three weeks Homer did over 200,000 feet of climbing through some of the most deserted tracks and trails in the United States. Along the way she often slept in a sleeping bag near the side of the road, but was also the recipient of random acts of kindness by total strangers.

The first third of Be Brave, Be Strong sets the stage by telling the story of Homer getting a serious case of frostbite on the Iditarod Trail and then dealing with her break-up with Geoff, her boyfriend of eight years, and the emotional turmoil that followed. Normally, this is the type of stuff I would totally ignore in book about a bike race. However, in this case the story is told in such a way that you can see how human emotions impact athletic ability—and as any cyclist knows, one of the best ways to solve a problem is out on a long ride.

The story of the Tour Divide race itself begins on page 111 when a group of forty-two riders leave Banff, Alberta, which is about 270 miles north of Canada’s border with the United States. I think most professional athletes would consider Homer’s training program and cycling style unorthodox, but it obviously works for her. Throughout the book she refers to Sour Patch Kids, one of her favorite sources of carbohydrates—I cringed every time she mentioned them. And as careful as she was about most things, she somehow manged to lose seven pair of sunglasses during the race!

Out of all the adventure cycling books I’ve ever read this one is the best—once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down! This book is a model of what adventure cycling books ought to be. The story is well written, the photos are crisp, and it has a good map so you can follow her progress. It also has one item that most cycling books forget about, i.e., a detailed gear checklist. I’m sure some people wouldn’t care, but I always like to know exactly what distance cyclists take with them on their journey (not just a general list, but brand names).

Be Brave, Be Strong is available in paperback from Amazon.com for around $15. It is also available in several other formats, including editions for the Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle, B & N Nook, Sony eReader and as a PDF download. I bought the paperback version because I can’t read a book like this without a yellow highlighter (old habits die hard).

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Distance Cycling, Your Complete Guide For Long-Distance Rides

Distance Cycling by Hughes and Kehlenbach

Distance Cycling

How long is your average bike ride? Are you satisfied with your current distance or would you like to be able to ride a lot farther? My average bike ride is a metric century (60 miles) and I don’t think it is any big deal. However, I’ve met a lot of cyclists who think a 20 mile bike ride is major accomplishment. In my opinion anyone who can comfortably ride 20 miles is capable of raising that to 60 or 70 miles with just a few weeks of preparation. If you want to learn how to become a long-distance cyclist then you need to get a copy of Distance Cycling, a new book by John Hughes and Dan Kehlenbach.

The main focus of the book is preparing cyclists to ride a century (100 miles). Like nearly every other person who has read this book has lamented, I wish a book like this had been available when I started cycling. Everything I know about distance cycling I had to learn the hard way. In fact, one of the reasons I started this blog was to keep people from making the same mistakes I’ve made over the years.

Distance Cycling starts by helping you define your goals and offers practical guidance for baseline conditioning. It also introduces you to the concept of prehabilitation, i.e., “recognizing the potential for injury and implementing specific exercises to prevent problems rather than trying to repair the damage afterward.” This section alone is worth the price of the book!

The section on “Fueling the Distance Cyclist” will probably change the way you eat on a bike forever. Too many people take up cycling “to lose weight” and starve themselves while out on the bike—then come home and “pig out.” Once you learn to properly fuel up you will find longer rides a lot easier to handle.

In addition to the proper nutrition you also need the right equipment, and this book will help you select the perfect gear for the type of ride you are planning for. Cycling-specific clothing can be expensive, so it is best to have some knowledge of what you need before you walk into a bike shop to try on clothing.

The training schedules suggested in this book are excellent, and they spend of good deal of time explaining the need to take plan time off the bike to help with muscle recovery. Near the end of the book they offer additional information for randonneuring and ultradistance riding.

While I highly recommend this book, there is one point that I do disagree with, i.e., the single paragraph dealing with vitamin supplements. Hughes and Kehlenbach are opposed to taking supplements, and even though they are experts in distance cycling I respectfully disagree with them on this point. Do the research yourself and see what works for you. If you are want to find out if your supplements are worthwhile, based upon current medical research, I would suggest you look at ConsumerLabs.com, an independent laboratory that tests the potency and quality of nutritional supplements.

Distance Cycling is a 259 page paperback book and retails for $20, but you can find it on Amazon.com for around $13. This book is published by Human Kinetics and was printed in the United States. I put this book in the “must buy” category for anyone who wants to tackle distance cycling.

 
 

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