Archive for the ‘Biking Tips’ Category

Bicycle Riding at Night: Why and How to Stay Safe

Since the time change I’ve been contemplating riding my bike at night during the week.  There is a group of riders at my local trail head that go out every Wednesday night for a 12+ mile ride but I haven’t worked myself up to it yet.  In my research on the subject I found a few other reasons why bike riding at night is the best option.

  1. To avoid wind – during the day the wind can make it very difficult to pedal but if you ride at night most often you’ll find the winds have died down.
  2. To avoid the sun and/or heat – temperatures during the day, depending on where you ride, can reach well over 100 degrees and unless you are on a trail or road that’s pretty well covered with trees that sun can beat down on you, making your ride very uncomfortable.
  3. To avoid traffic – there is less people or other bikers to worry about when you ride at night.

Riding at night does have some drawbacks but by following these basic safety precautions and making sure you are prepared for anything that might come your way, you’ll enjoy the ride.

  1. Night Vision – your ability to see, even with a good set of lights, will be diminished.  If you plan to do a lot of night riding buy a good set of lights, both front and rear.
  2. Safe Speed – you may only be able to see a few feet in front of you so travel at a safe speed so that you can avoid potholes, road kill or debris that might be in your path.
  3. Your Safety is Key – if you don’t feel safe riding at night, don’t do it.  Keep in mind that you could have a run-in with a wild animal (bear, wolf, moose, etc) so be prepared.  Beware of drunk drivers, or other people looking to spoil your night ride.  Make sure you have a cell phone with you and a family member or friend knows your route and ETA.  If possible, travel with a partner or group.

I can’t see myself riding on the road at night but definitely on the trails.  Sounds like a lot of fun!

Do you have any comments on bike riding at night?

Ride, live, have fun!  Cindy 🙂

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How often does this happen to you?

I know there are certain rules aka Trail Etiquette that are common at the trails I ride at, but I’m just wondering if for guys the common courtesy they should show to women go right out the door while on the trail.  Today my mom, my oldest daughter and I went riding at the trails and there were a bunch of people there, so many that it took me a while to find a parking spot.  While on the trail we must have passed at least a dozen or so groups of riders and not one of them got out of the way so that we could pass.  Several of them didn’t even slow down, basically forcing us off the trail.  They were all guys – from young to old.

Now I’m not the type to demand that my man open the door so I can get in or out of the car or anything like that but I sure hope that’s not the direction today’s generation of guys are heading.

Since I’m talking about Trail Etiquette I thought I would share some common rules with you:

  1. Be Courteous – all trail users should be respectful of other users regardless of their mode, speed or skill level.
  2. Be Predictable – travel in a consistent and predictable manner, looking behind before changing positions on the trail.
  3. Don’t Block The Trail – use no more than half the trail so that you don’t block the flow of other users.
  4. Keep Right – stay to the right side of the trail, except when passing another user.
  5. Pass On The Left – if you need to pass others going in the same direction as you, pass them on the left and make it clear you are passing with either your voice, bell or horn as a signal.  Yield to slower and on-coming traffic and remember kids and pets can be unpredictable so be careful around them.
  6. Stopping – when stopping, alert others behind you and then move off the trail.
  7. Use Lights At Night – if riding at night make sure your bike is equipped with lights.  You should have while light(s) that are visible from 500′ to the front and a red or amber light visible 500′ to the rear.
  8. No Drinking & Riding – you will need all your reflexes on the trail so no drinking and Riding and no drugs.
  9. Be Respectful Of Private Property – trails are open to the public but often the land on the side of the trail is private property.  Don’t litter, destroy or otherwise disrespect the private property or the owners rights.
  10. Clean Up Litter – do not leave glass, paper, cans, plastic, or any other garbage on or near the trail.  Let’s keep our trails beautiful for many generations to enjoy.
  11. Travel in groups on well traveled trails, carry a small bottle of mace and your cell phone.
  12. Have You Outgrown Trails – if your speed and style endangers other users, check for alternative routes that better suit your needs.  Selecting the right location is safer and more enjoyable for all concerned.

Here’s a downloadable brochure that  you can print out and share with others:  http://www.ibike.org/education/Share-Trail-Brochure.pdf

Ride, live, have fun!!  See you on the trails.

Cindy 🙂

Mountain Biking vs. Road Biking

Mountain biking is a far more technical riding process than road biking because it’s mostly done off-road, trails can be full of stones, roots, tree trunks, and other debris.  It requires more concentration and technical ability on behalf of the rider.  A mountain biker’s average speed will rarely be over 20 miles per hour.  Mountain bike frame tubes aren’t normally as thin as a road bike, shocks are now very common, their tires have more tread for better traction and their handlebars emphasize on the best control and handling possible.

Road biking is done on paved roads, thus reducing the rider’s need to concentrate on the road as much and rather letting him focus on his stamina or other physical aspects.  Road bikes are much faster where the biker may be going at speeds of up to 75 miles per hour (the Tour de France average was 34 miles per hour).  Road bikes are designed to cut the wind as much as possible, which makes them faster.  Their frame tubes are thin and light, their forks hardly ever have shocks, their rims and tires are also thin and their handlebar is shaped differently so that the rider can keep his body as close to the bike as possible.

They are both equally as good for your health and I encourage everyone to try both to see which they prefer.  I prefer mountain biking.  All the obstacles, hills, valleys, roots, etc., just make it that much more fun for me.

Ride, live, have fun!!  See you on the trails.

Cindy 🙂

Why join a bike club?

Most people like to ride bikes with other people and in most situations you should have a friend or family member with you just in case of emergencies and general safety reasons.  Joining a bike club will help keep you motivated to keep riding and stay healthy and your participation will keep others motivated just the same.  It’s a healthy circle that will expand to affect not only your life but all those around you and the other club members and their surrounding people.  Find a bike club that’s compatible with your riding needs and with people you enjoy being around.  It may take a couple tries to find the right fit.

There are a few women specific bike clubs on the website (www.biking4women.com/clubs.asp) and I’ll add more as I find them but here’s a list that’s specific to Florida:

Boca Raton Bicycle ClubPalm Beach County’s cycling club

http://geocities.com/JOHNKWAS40/rides.html

Capital City CyclistsThis site is the web for Tallahassee’s Capital City Cyclist club.  

www.cccyclists.org/

Caloosa RidersA great bicycling club in the Fort Myers area. Visit their site for a list of rides they offer as well as regular rides and maps.

www.caloosariders.com

Central Florida Believers on Mountain Bikes – A Christian oriented mountain biking organization that rides most trails throughout Central Florida. Anyone is welcome to join us for rides regardless of age, religious back ground or skill level.

www.cflbomb.org

Central Florida Bicycle Coalition – Advocating a “bicycle-friendly” community in Central Florida.

www.macintoshkeyboard.com/cfbc/

Coastal Cruisers Bicycle ClubA great bicycling club in the Gulf Coast area from Punta Gorda to Sarasota. Visit their site for a list of rides they offer as well as regular rides and maps.

www.coastalcruisers.net

Emerald Coast CyclistsA cycling club in the Panhandle.

www.gnt.net/~oakley/bicycle.html

Everglades Bicycle ClubA cycling club in the Miami area, e-mail GFDerby163@aol.com

Team FloridaThis site has information on the University of Florida Collegiate Cycling Team.

http://grove.ufl.edu/~cycling

Florida FreewheelersThis site has great information and news about cycling in Orlando and the events of one of the largest clubs in Florida.

www.floridafreewheelers.com

Florida Tandem and Touring Society, Inc. “FLATTS”To learn about tandem and touring opportunities in Florida email stratton@strattonlaw.com

Gainesville Cycling Club – This site has great information and news about cycling in Gainesville, and cycling in general.

www.afn.org/~bike/

Highlands Pedalers – Puts on Tour of Highlands and Ultra Bike Race in February of each year.

www.bikesebring.org

North Florida Bicycle Club – Cycling club for the Jacksonville area.  Puts on the Tour de Forts ride and the Watermelon Century in the fall.

www.nfbc.us

Orlando Road ClubDedicated to Developing Cyclists.  Weekly training rides and free coaching for riders interested in starting bike racing or in improving cycling skills. Specialized Junior Training Program for ages 10-18.

www.ORCracing.com

Osceola County Cycling Club – Road

Panama City FlyersCycling club in the Panhandle.

http://www.geocities.com/hnlbicycle/Panama_City_Flyers.html

Polk Area Bicycling AssociationPolk County area cycling club.

www.polkbiking.com

Ridge Riders Mountain Bike Association – Lakeland area off-road club.

Saint Andrews Cycling Club  – Based in Boca Raton, Florida, for juniors only, for any type of biking (BMX, Mt, Road, Track)

http://JLProductions.netfirms.com/SACycling.htm – e-mail JLMTBike@hotmail.com

Saint Petersburg Bicycle ClubCycling club in the St. Pete area.

www.stpetecycling.com/

Sarasota-Manatee Bicycle ClubPuts on Gulf Coast Cycle Fest in early November of each year.

www.smbc.us

South Broward WheelersCycling club located in South Florida area. Host annual century the first weekend in November.

www.wheelers.homestead.com

Space Coast Freewheelers Bicycle ClubCycling club in the Cocoa Beach/Titusville area.

www.spacecoastfreewheelers.com

Suncoast Cycling ClubCycling club in Palm Harbor.

www.suncoastcycling.com

Suwannee Bicycle AssociationPuts on the Suwannee Bike Festival and other events in North Central Florida.

www.suwanneebike.org

SWAMP (Southwest Association of Mountain Peddlers)Off-road club in the Tampa area.

www.swampclub.org

Tampa Bay Cycling OnlineOffers all kinds of information on cycling clubs and events in the Tampa area and around the state.

www.tampacycle.com

Tampa Bay FreewheelersThis site has great information and news about cycling in the Tampa Bay area and cycling in general.

www.tbfreewheelers.com

Treasure Coast Cycling AssociationA cycling club serving the Martin/St.Lucie county areas of Florida. Offers many club rides during the week and sponsors the Ocean to Lake ride in November to support Hospice of Martin/St. Lucie Counties.

http://treasurecoastcycling.netfirms.com/
tccainfo@adelphia.net

West Palm Beach Bicycle ClubCycling club in Palm Beach County. Host Tour of Sebring on Labor Day Weekend.

www.floridacycling.com/wpbbc/

Wheelers of Kings Point – A cycling club in the Kings Point Area.

www.kpwheelers.com/

Make sure you have the right bicycle seat

When I started riding again the seat on my new bike was just as uncomfortable as you can imagine.  I hated to go bike riding because of that darn seat.  It’s not supposed to be that way ladies.  You just have to choose the right bicycle seat for you, where your going to ride, how your going to ride, etc.

Keep in mind, like any new sport, you will exerience a little bit of soreness when you start out but that should go away after a few weeks of regular riding.

There are a number of different seat types but only three basic riding positions:

Upright Riding Position:  sitting completely upright, pedaling slowly, all your weight direcly on your seat.
upright1

 – Choosing a wide, cushioned seat will work best

Regular Riding Position:  leaning slightly forward, pedaling fast, some of your weight supported by the handlebars and pedals.
regular

 – Choosing a medium-width, medium-padded seat will work best

Pro Riding Position:  very forward, pedaling very fast, weight supported by seat, handlebars and pedals.
pro

 – Choosing a narrow, lightly padded seat will work best

When shopping for a seat if you are looking for one to suit the Upright riding style make sure you get one with lots of padding.  If you’re choose a seat for longer and/or faster rides, either regular or pro, you’ll want to pick a seat that has a little bit of padding built into the appropriate areas to relieve pressure.  You’ll find the seats with more padding for this riding style will cause numbness and pain, which is what you are trying to avoid.

Because everyone’s bottom is a different width, you’ll need to find a seat that fits your “sit bones”.  These are the two points you feel when you sit on a curb.  Your sit bones should be centered over the rear of the seat and you will probably find that on most seats there are anatomic bumps in that area for this purpose.

You may notice that some seats have a groove or hole cut in the top.  This part is the section that usually causes numbing and pain in sensative areas so they take it out.

However you ride, select a seat that feels right for you.  Try lots of seats, ask your friends, check seat height and angle, ride more (you should know within 2-3 weeks of riding if the seat is right for you), move around on the seat while riding and dress for cycling (padded bicycle shorts help).

Ride, live, have fun!  See you on the trails.

Cindy 🙂

Women’s Biking Apparel

Hello Ladies,

If you just started riding, you’ll notice other women and some men who wear bike shorts with a padded private area.  I know the first time I saw it I just snickered and thought it looked silly.  After about 2 weeks into my bicycle riding adventures, I went and looked at those “silly bike shorts” at both my local bike shop and Dick’s Sporting Goods.  I found pricing anywhere from $40 up to $90 per pair!! 

I just think that is outrageous and soon found them much cheaper online.  If you look on the Apparel page you will find shorts, shirts, socks, hats, gloves, bike accessories, footwear, books, manuals and anything else I think you’ll need to enjoy your riding experience more.

Ride, live, have fun!!  See you on the trails.

Cindy 🙂

How to choose the right bicycle for you

This is something I continue to struggle with when I’m looking at bikes at my local bike shops.  Should I get a hard-tail or full suspension?  Should I get disk brakes or the standard brakes?  Should I get a soft full cushion seat or one of those aero dynamic thin ones?  Here’s a few questions that will help both of us determine what we should be looking and buying at when it comes to our bikes.

  1.  How much cycling do you plan to do in a week or month?
    a.  When I feel like it (approx. price range:  up to $200)
    b.  A few times a month (approx. price range: $200-$350)
    c.  On weekends (approx. price range:  $350-$450)
    d.  A few times a week (approx. price range:  $450-$800)
    e.  Every day (approx. price range:  $800 or more)
     
  2. What is the difficulty of the level of the surfaces you will mainly use?
    a.  Straight and level, city /asphalt (road / hybrid bike)
    b.  Some lightly inclined long distance hills (road / hybrid bike)
    c.  Some short distance inclined hills (mountain bike)
    d.  Mountains all the way!! (obviously mountain bike)
  3. What will you use your bicycle for?
    a.  For fun (road/hybrid, hybrid or mountain bike)
    b.  To train myself and get in better shape (race, hybrid or mountain bike)
    c.  To go to work (road/hybrid, hybrid or mountain bike)
    d.  To travel long distances / do camping trips (road/hybrid, hybrid or mountain bike)
    e.  To go where no man has gone before!! (mountain bike all the way)

If your bicycling habits relate to more than one of the types above, then choose what you do the most.  Also, take into account the road / trail conditions:  asphalt, compacted sand, gravel, mud, rocks, roots, etc.

Looking for some unbaised reports on some of the well known bike manufacturers, go to:  ConsumerReports.org

Ride, live, have fun.  See you on the trails!!

Cindy 🙂