- Exercise & Fitness
Bicycle To Work Or School Show How Much Mettle Goes Into Your Peddle
Bike To Work Day
May is Bicycle Safety Month.
Today is the 19th annual Bike To Work Day in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are 200 energizer stations scattered around the greater bay area.
Many of those 19 years my husband has volunteered at the energizer station his company sponsors.
This year I am so excited! I get to participate.
There is an energizer station in our town this year. Last year there was an energizer station at the community college. This year along with the college there are two other stations in town. One stop is at the K-8 school. They had an increase of 50 percent more kids riding their bicycles to school because of the energizer station. The other stop is in the heart of downtown. The mayor greeted cyclists downtown.
There are several perks for bicyclists on Bike To Work Day. Bicyclist get to interact with each other at friendly places called "Energizer Stations". Interacting with other riders makes for a stronger biking community.
Energizer stations typically have food, wonderful food. The station I stopped at had gluten free cupcakes, bagels, cliff bars, coffee and bottles of water. The energizer station my husband worked in Palo Alto had Hobee's coffee cake.
Energizer station volunteers gave out cloth bags that sling over your shoulder like a bike messenger bag.
The bags have great things. Not all bags are the same. My husband passed several stations on his 17 mile ride, The goodies in my bag were the best swag he saw. My son, the college student, got an aluminum water bottle at the college energizer station.
My bag contained:
- Coupons for free food at local restaurants
- Tire patch kit
- Glow-in-the-dark bracelets
- Flyers for the AMGEN bicycle race
- UFO (no idea what it is),
- Business cards of the energizer station sponsors
- A pen with a roll out schedule of Bay Area Rapid Transit trains.
- An invitation to an after work bike party/street fair in Oakland
- Bike maps
My husband's bag had coupons and a Cliff bar. Each energizer station is worked by volunteers some are members of various bicycle coalitions.
Some energizer stations had professionals to perform bike tune-ups too.
Peddle For Health
Riding your bike to work provides health benefits galore. Exercise increases energy. Increased energy helps control weight and that makes us feel better emotionally. Various diseases like cancer, high blood pressure and type II diabetes are better controlled through exercise. Improved balance and good sleep are also on the list of the benefits of bicycling. Bicycling is a low impact activity that anyone with decent balance can enjoy.
Deciding to start exercising is that first step, the second, most difficult step, is putting the foot to the peddle and turning the crank. The true test of your mettle is whether you set off on your bike the second time. After the third successful on a ride you will be hooked.
What's Keeping You From Starting?
If you need a bicycle before you start, do some research.
Go to a bike shop and find out what size bicycle fits your body. The staff at a good bike shop will ask you what kind of riding you will do and how much experience you have on a bike. Recently I rode a one speed cruiser. They look cool,and are considered comfort bicycles. If you are not in excellent physical condition that may not be the bike you want to start with. Typically they are heavy and require a lot of strength to peddle. Typically a five to ten mile ride effects me very little. After five miles on the cruiser I was stiff the next day. The dynamics of a cruiser in comparison to a hybrid bicycle, road bike, or mountain bike are dramatically different.
- Consider the weight of the bike. You, plus the weight of the bicycle is how much weight you will have to move.
- The correct size is important. If there is a bar can you straddle it comfortably?
- Once you have some idea of the size you need the kind of bicycle doesn't matter much for a beginner. The technology for Walmart bicycles is what 20 years ago was the top of the line bicycle.
- Find a comfortable seat. If you are a petite women look for a women's seat. A cushy seat is not necessarily a comfortable seat. .
A cushy wide seat may allow your bones to rub where bones shouldn't rub.
- Helmet. I bought my husband his first helmet 35 years ago today. Two weeks later he hit a parked car (1967 Mustang and dented the car) The helmet had skid marks on the top where he slid. He was sold. I have watched more than one person fall off a bike with a child in a child seat. The child had a helmet on, but mommy didn't. While mommy was loaded into the ambulance the unhurt child was screaming for her unconscious mother while the fireman held her. Wear a helmet when you ride.
- Start riding with an encouraging friend. If they aren't encouraging or go faster than you are comfortable find someone else to ride with until you get experience.
- Know your local bicycle laws. Arizona and California both consider bicycle vehicles. Therefore you can get written up for speeding, failure to stop for signals/stop signs and drunken riding.
The goal of bicycle riding is enjoyment and exercise. Here are some ways to succeed.
- Start with short rides, several times a week to insure your success and minimize soreness.
- Ride carefully on the correct side of the street. If you are on a bike trail yield the rider on the left. Be polite to walkers and joggers
- Wear clothing that will allow you to be seen. Light and bright colored clothing makes a rider more visible.
- Use lights at night.
- Look for well used bike trails if they are secluded. If you notice there are no other cyclists around when you think there should be take the clue;look for another route.
Ride safely and ride often until it becomes second nature. In my opinion a good bike ride will always cure what ails you.
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