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Tips to Get You Rolling After a Long Winter

12 Get Ready for Spring Cycling

It is currently mid-March in Colorado and the weatherman is giving us more good days than not. I don’t know about you, but  I’m itching to get back into a rhythm of riding. What that really means is I’m trying to build back up the confidence of being on a roll and feeling the comfort of routine.

Sorting out the kinks after a long winter can be a challenge, but don’t let it trip you up or keep you from being excited about blue skies and two wheels! Here are the tips I’m taking over the next week to be ready for spring and many of miles with my bike before the weather is picture perfect.

1.) Get your bike ready

This could be a full service tune up or simply pumping up the tires, lubing the chain and giving it a once over. Either way, get your bike ready for that next warm day!

2.) Get yourself ready

This weekend an action item on my to-do list is to sort out my bike clothing. This includes being ready for some not so perfect days, but knowing where my gloves, shoe covers and possibly rain jacket is. That way I’m not searching for my left glove 15 minutes before my group ride is supposed to leave!

3.) Short trips are better than no trips

If you need motivation, ride to the coffee shop or friends house. Your first rides back on the bike don’t need to be epic, they need to be easy and familiar.

4.) Motivate yourself

Maybe you need a new gadget for your bike, or maybe you need to outline your cycling goals. Either way, put a carrot in front of yourself and bring on the motivation!

5.) Do it

Seriously, just get on your bike. You’ll thank me later.

Week-End Round Up for March 15

3 Children's Bikes for Life Training

Grab a delicious cup of coffee as it is time for the week-end round up. Have something to add? Put a link in the comments below.

This past weekend I attended training with Bicycle Colorado & Bike for Life. Look for a recap of the training and more information about what these two great programs are doing.
[sd_action_box bgcolor="#ed228d" textcolor="#ffffff"] Products in for Review [/sd_action_box]Several products are in for review that you’ll be seeing over the following weeks
Fix It Sticks Replaceable Edition

2014 Trek Lexa SLX Road Bike

Cedar Cycling Standard Women’s Jersey

2014 Raleigh RX 1.0 Cyclocross Bike

Banjo Brothers Canvas Commuter Backpack
[sd_action_box bgcolor="#ed228d" textcolor="#ffffff"] Top Articles on BSG This Past Week [/sd_action_box]Bicycle Shopping: The Three Common Types of Bicycles

Review of the Whole Life Challenge

Review: Bern Allston Helmet
[sd_action_box bgcolor="#ed228d" textcolor="#ffffff"] Across the Internet [/sd_action_box]Ride Your Bike Like Everyone is Watching – We are Role Models

2014 Women’s World Cup Preview via Bicycling Mag 

The Best North American Handmade Bicycle Show coverage is on Prolly
[sd_action_box bgcolor="#ed228d" textcolor="#ffffff"] In Colorado [/sd_action_box]Denver Weekend Cycling Events from 303 Cycling 

Green Bike Lanes in Denver

Review of the Whole Life Challenge

3 whole life challenge

In the beginning of January I signed up for an 8 week challenge called Whole Life Challenge. The 8 weeks ended this past weekend and I wanted to capture my experience while encouraging all of my readers to sign up for the next Challenge in May.

The overall mission of the Whole Life Challenge is simple in text: To create lives of unbound possibility where health and fitness are limitless resources and the right of every human to design and share. You know when you sign up that you are making a lot of changes in your daily life but I didn’t realize what type of healthy habits I would be developing over the 8 weeks (or how hard some of them would be!)

My Biggest Challenges of the Whole Life Challenge

It is easy to look back and think “I owned that challenge”, but really, the challenge owned me.

Food Prep and Planning

I signed up for the advanced eating challenge which equates to paleo eating with no grains, diary or soy. This meant that we cooked 98% of our meals for 8 weeks. Besides the last week when we were on vacation I can count on one hand how many times we ate out. The process proved that meal planning and proper food prep is necessary even when you live in a moderately progressive area like Boulder/Denver.

 Working out and Stretching Daily

During this challenge I really drank the CrossFit kool-aid but as a true beginner I am only going 3-4x a week. If I missed a workout it was never due to being lazy but due to time constraints of work and commuting to/from. To the same tune getting in 10 minutes of stretching after a 12 hour day at work wasn’t always top of mind when I stumbled in the door. These two pieces of the challenge are something I still carry with me as I don’t feel like I overcame them 100% or have nailed down a great balance.

My Biggest Wins of the Whole Life Challenge

The great thing about this challenge is it truly challenged every piece of my life in a healthy and exciting way. The wins outweigh the challenges greatly and picking out the biggest is difficult.

Most importantly my biggest win was completing (and dominating) this challenge with my new wife. We signed up together and created many healthy habits together like cooking and working out together more.

The stats: 5″ lost around my hips and waist, 10% improvement on my baseline test (11 mins: 800m run, 75 airsquats, 50 situps, 25 pushups and then as many burpees as possible in time left)

My Overall Review

Cliche as it is, this challenge was life changing and I would recommend it even to a die hard athlete.

I plan on continuing to eat mostly paleo, with proper food planning and prep on the weekends. CrossFit is very much part of my workout habits and will only make me a more balanced cyclist during the season. I’m not sure if I will do the challenge again anytime soon but that is mainly due to wanting to implement the “rules” of the challenge in my everyday life!

The Whole Life Challenge has changed my life, maybe it will change yours too?

Bike Buying: What are Your Goals for Biking?

7 Biking Goals

Photo credit: Jonathan Cohen

The first step in buying a new bike is to figure out what your goals are for biking. As a new cyclist this can be difficult since you might not know all the possibilities! You may be looking to bikes because a friend of yours is getting you hooked, or maybe you want to get your family riding and your trying to figure out where to start. Regardless of the reason, I’m excited to be apart of your journey of cycling!

Now, let’s take a step back and ask a very important question.

Where do you want to go on your bike?

Some ideas to prime your pump:
Do you want to go on long road rides with 5 of your best buddies?
Do you want to get to work easier?
Do you want to keep up with your 11 year old?
Do you want to explore the backwoods?

What are the pieces you can measure?

Most humans need to have the ability to measure and compare to rate success. It is why most Americans have scales in their bathrooms, because their jeans don’t have hash marks for measurement! Let’s now figure out something you can strive for that is measurable to define success of your biking goals.

Examples:
Riding x days per month with your spouse or child
Miles or days ridden a week
Improving your average MPH
Lost weight
Wearing out your first chain/tires (under normal wear!)
Learning to bunny hop
Not getting dropped

Now, put it all together – what are your goals for biking?
“I want to go mountain biking and learn how to bunny hop.”
“I want to ride to work 2 times a week.”

Put in the comments!

Now, get ready to answer the next question in your bike buying research “What type of riding will you be doing?

Bike Lanes are Cheaper than You’d Think

6 peopleforbikeslogo

Originally posted on People for Bikes

Last week, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition published a brief exploration of what it called the “myth” that “there’s no way we can keep spending so much on bike lanes with so many other pressing needs in San Francisco.”

To make their point that dramatically improving biking and walking in a city costs almost nothing compared to many other transportation projects — in San Francisco, one of the bike-friendliest cities in the country, bike projects take up less than 1 percent of the municipal transportation budget — they listed some typical cost figures.

We decided to further explore this question by creating a simple bar chart, based on the same data. We’ll let you draw whatever conclusions you see fit.

People for Bikes Green Lane Project

Follow the National Women’s Bike Forum Online

8 Sharing the bike love

I couldn’t make it to Washington this year for the National Bike Summit but there are great things happening today with the Women’s Summit. Follow along on Twitter with hashtag #womenbike


Review: Road Holland The Delft Long Sleeve Jersey

7 Road Holland the Delft

MSRP: $130
Details: 100% poly mesh that is wicked breathable, fast drying, and non-conforming. 2 pocket design, 1 with a zipper to hold your smartphone

This jersey looks great and feels even better. The poly mesh was warm enough with a wind vest on a 50′ day. Personally, I would classify this as a long sleeve light weight “spring” jersey. It also wears well with a pair of jeans. Continue reading →

Go Fartlek

2 Fartlek Cyclocross

Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training. The variable intensity and continuous nature of the exercise places stress on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed varies, as the athlete wishes. (Source: Wikipedia)

The art of exploring is why I fell in love with biking some 18 years ago. The ability to just go find new places and adventures on my bike without the demands of school, sports practice or home life. It was a great escape and something I think we all forget as we grow up.

This past Monday when Emily and I got back from our weekend in the mountains I hopped on my bike and went for a fartlek, or Fartlick as my iPhone calls it. The goal was to blend in different speeds, try new routes and see how my knee felt on the single speed. The result was great, I enjoyed myself and found new trails near my house. An elevated my heart rate also showed me that my knee isn’t ready for the single speed just yet.

Do you implement fartleks in your training or weekly rides? What do you find?

I find new places to take photos, time to beat up on the pedals and needed bike time without a Garmin or HRM. During big training blocks I often find my best power over time results as I’m just getting in a groove with out focusing on the Garmin.

Now, go fartlek. Take a friend if you can!

Photo Disclaimer: I lost my bar ends on the ride, they will be replaced ASAP!

How to Dress for a Cold Bike Ride to a Concert

9 Cold Weather RIding

This guest post is by Lindsay Piper of QBP.

Man, my boyfriend is the coolest.  Me: doot doot doot, working away.  BF: Guess what? I got tickets to Polica tonight.  Me: Whaat?  OMGAWESOMEYAY

Here’s the thing, this conversation took place in early December in Minneapolis.  The concert was to take place at a concert venue called Mill City Nights, which is in downtown Minneapolis.  Well on a weekend, parking is a pain, and there’s the whole problem of not wanting to drink & drive, but well YEAH I’m going to have a cider while I watch Polica.

So what’s a gal to do? Ride her dang bike, that’s what a girl’s to do. 

That’s a bit easier in summer of course, but that night was expected to be in the range of 20-30 degrees, and the roads & paths were covered with a bit of snow/ice slop.  So this brought up the obvious question – what on earth do I wear to stay warm & dry on my bike, but still look concert-worthy?  I set to work a-wardrobing.

It is Crucial to Layer

winter bike clothing

 Layer 1 – The concert layer

Key #1: Toasty legs- I accomplished this by layering Patagonia midweight Capeline pants under my Outlier Women’s Daily Riding Pants. The Outlier pants are super stretchy, so it’s easy to add the layer under them without becoming immobile.  And they look like jeans, so style.

Key #2: Warm & dry tootsies- Nobody likes cold soggy feet while trying to take in awesome music.  To fix myself up here, I layered some DeFeet Wooleator socks (Minneapolis Bike Love Edition) under my Stella McCartney for Adidas high tops.  They’re made entirely of shiny synthetic leather and cover my ankles; both factors keep my feet dry & stylish at the same time, in a slightly Marty McFly kind of way. Where’s my hoverboard?!

Key #3: Warm but not sweaty core- I snagged a delightful tee shirt, complete with printed sassy phrase, and layered it under my numero uno, all-time favorite piece – my Surly long sleeve merino jersey.  It’s comfortable, keeps me warm & sweat wicked, and looks feminine but not girly. Disclaimer: I manage Surly and a few other brands’ clothing offering- this is one of my babies, so I might be biased, but it really and truly is awesome & indispensable.

winter bike clothing

Layer 2 – The outer layer (as watched over by my late dog Baxter, who was not thrilled that I was about to leave him home alone)

Key #1: Dry & Windproof torso – My handy OR Mithrill softshell- another indispensable piece, does the job with panache.

Key #2: Warm, safe extremities – On the paws, my 9,000 year old Swix lobster mitts.  They’re a little sad looking at this point, but they work.  I’ve yet to find a bike-specific pair of gloves that I like as well.  My 45NRTH Greazy merino cap.  It’s warm, fits nicely under a helmet, and has plenty of ear coverage.  Same disclaimer as above, and also in this case the Brand Manager is also the aforementioned boyfriend, so there you go.  Anyhoo popped on top of that is my Lazer 02 helmet.  The high-vis yellow is nice for night riding, and the one-size-fits-all adjustment means it’s easy to fit it over a hat.  The finishing touch is a pair of photosensitive Optic Nerve glasses to keep the crap & wind out of my eyes.

Key #3: ID & money required- The tiniest of Timbuk2 messenger bags, the Catapult, is so handy.  Plenty of room to stuff my gloves & hat once I arrive at the venue, without excess bulk.  And it rides high & tight to the body, which is really nice for riding.

Lindsay Piper

Striking a pose in my concert getup at home

Lindsay Piper

About to roll out.  Note the front & rear lights.  Safety, people!  I’m riding my All-City Macho Man with 45 NRTH Xerxes studded tires to cut through slop & ice.  You can tell this is still early winter, because my neighbors & I had still been taking snow removal much more seriously & thoroughly.  We’ve since given up on the prospect of seeing actual pavement.

Cold Weather Commuting

Success!  Opening act Marijuana Death Squads, and headliner Polica.  Love her pants!