Whether you are a beginner or just doing something wrong biking can be a real pain. It’s no fun to find yourself 30 minutes into your ride wishing it was over with already. Hands falling asleep, arms hurting, backaches and backside aches are common complaints that make us want to give up but with practice, we can avoid some of that pain.
What hurts you beforehand?
Before taking up any sport it’s good to be aware of your weaknesses. Prior injuries or disabilities will haunt you if you don’t plan ahead and protect yourself. It’s a good idea to have a talk with your doctor about biking and whether it’s something you can do first. Your doctor will tell you the best way to protect yourself so you don’t make any problem areas worse.
A pain in the butt.
Not many people come away from a bike seat saying it feels great. Most bikes come with the smallest size seat you can get similar to what comes on a 10-speed bike. There are 3 sizes of seats and unless you want to buy a new seat you can learn to use the one that comes on your bike.
My bike has a medium size seat which is standard on a touring bike but even my seat was painful at first. Instead of buying a new seat, a cheaper alternative is a seat cover. They cost about $20 and come with memory foam or gel to give you a more comfortable ride. Easy to install and remove you can take your seat cover with you if you change bikes.
When riding your bike you’re not always pedaling. When coasting, lift your rear off of the seat a little resting it. You can always stand while coasting stretching out your body and giving your rear a rest. Added up these small breaks can really help.
Benches give us a great place to take a break but rather than sitting again stretch in place or take a small walk.
If all else fails a new seat may be in order but make sure you get one with springs underneath they make all the difference in smoothing out your ride.
My aching back.
Back pain is always a sign that you are straining rather than letting your legs and core do the work. When riding a bike you don’t want to “put your back into it” you will be in extreme pain. Before your legs are strong enough to take the slack it’s easy to pull or tense your back going up that hill rather than relaxing in the seat and using your legs.
Concentrate on letting the bike carry you. Sit high in the saddle and don’t hunch forward or round your back. Don’t lean heavily on your hands keep a light grip and relax.
When you are tired this is the time you should be the most careful with your back. Take a break, stretch your back and remember to pull with your thighs and core when you pedal relaxing your back. Develop a good riding style watching the angle of your back and stay comfortable.
Make sure the balls of your feet are on your pedals pushing forward. Be patient, in time you will build the core and leg muscles it takes to bike with less effort without back strain or pain. The key words are bike fit, core muscle stability and riding style—all of these likely contribute to back pain.
Use the correct bike posture for your type of bike.
My hands are falling asleep and my arms hurt.
If you are grasping the handgrips too tightly you will be on pins and needles. Leaning heavily on your handlebars will cause your arms and shoulders to hurt moving into your back. It’s good to have some options so you don’t have to keep your hands in one position during your ride. Changing hand positions is a big help.
If it’s possible, ride with one hand resting the other. I can do this with my touring bike because the handlebars are upright. Put the weight on your seat not your arms or hands. Keep a light but firm grip on your handgrips.
Watch your wrist and arm position with elbows bent depending on your handlebars. It’s possible to get padded riding gloves and handlebars that offer more than one hand position if you can’t get used to your setup.
My neck is killing me.
Whether in a bike lane or on a path when cycling you must watch for traffic. On bike paths, you ride on the right-hand side and get passed on the left, always. You need to be aware of what’s around you. It can give you a sore neck. If you are tense this can get worse.
Relaxation goes a long way in bike riding. I look at it like Yoga on a bike. If you keep the parts of your body relaxed you will have less pain. It takes concentration and if necessary, stretching beforehand. Do some neck circles before riding…simply sit and gently move your head in full slow circles one way, and then the other.
Keep your head moving when you ride. You’ll want to take in the view and watch for other bikers, people walking, objects in the path and cracks in the path that can capture your tires. Keep your eyes and ears open.
The position that you ride in makes all of the difference. Get acquainted with your type of bicycle and select the right bike fit for you. Adjust your seat and handlebars as suggested for your bike. When done right it will serve you well and keep you comfortable while you ride.
Pick the right bike for you and where you are going to ride.
There are many kinds of bikes to choose from when you buy your bike do some research and get what you need. If you are going to bike on pavement but take the occasional dirt or gravel path a touring bike is your best bet. A 10-speed type of bike is good for paved bike trails.
If you don’t mind a little extra weight on your bike you may rethink having fenders on your bike when there’s a puddle or you drive over hot asphalt. I’m not talking about high-performance biking on Bike With Bekkie I’m talking about biking for good health and enjoyment.
Many people ride mountain bikes on the Bay Trail but they are made for mostly dirt paths and don’t offer the best ride on pavement. They make the mistake of buying mountain bikes for everyday riding but they are uncomfortable for long rides and the gearing is different. The right bike makes all the difference.
If you still have pain after doing all you can with your bike it might be time for a new bike. I feel biking is for almost everyone and see people of all ages biking when I am out. The common denominator is the smile I see on everyone’s faces.
Here I am taking a break to stretch. I do this at least 2 times while I’m on a ride. I used to have terrible back pain, a nerve would get pinched and half of my back would go numb. One day it hit me that I was putting my back into it not my upper thighs and on hills, I’d tense up my back muscles. When biking into the wind I’d yank my back around instead of gearing down and relaxing. It is so easy to ride the wrong way if you don’t think about what you’re doing. Now my back never hurts and the pinched nerve has not come back.
Got any questions or comments leave them behind and I will give you the best advice I can muster. It’s summer in the US and prime riding time.
Biking the Bay Trail from the San Mateo side of the San Francisco Bay is wonderful for I get to see San Francisco when I ride. I have now seen it in 3 seasons and all kinds of weather from the seat of my bike. I hope you enjoy the view.
They don’t call it “the city by the bay” for nothing. This is the view from Coyote Point, the city looks quite close from here.
This is in Foster City near 3rd Avenue on the bridge. The land mass to the left is part of the Bay Trail in San Mateo.
Windsurfers Beach is this patch of beach used by the windsurfers when the wind is up. I like to watch these guys out on the bay and when they “get air.”
San Francisco is not always visible on rainy days sometimes it disappears completely. The tide is out making it look like SF is sitting in a giant mud flat. I ride in all weather.
SF in the background on a very windy hot day. You can almost see SF shimmering on the horizon.
At high tide SF seems to be floating on the waves under the fog bank.
A close up of SF from Coyote Point which is a good place to view the city by the bay.
On a cloudy day at the beginning of my ride, the tide is out. See the bicycle in the foreground on the right? It’s been there forever and is a full bicycle someone left behind. Unfortunately, this area has its share of litter and dumping that can be seen when the tide is out.
SF is almost more interesting when the weather changes which can happen fast around the bay. The water has many looks and personalities.
Amongst spring flowers, SF looks like it’s next to the Coyote Point boat harbor from this view but it’s behind it across the bay.
They have put rocks like this around most of the bay. SF is in the background on a crisp day.
San Francisco can be seen from the San Mateo side of the Bay Trail all the way to the San Mateo Bridge. It’s wonderful to see it all kinds of weather and seasons I’m a lucky person to be able to bike here daily. The only season left for me is Fall and I can’t wait!
These pictures were taken with a Nikon Coolpix digital camera and a Samsung Galaxy s7 cell phone camera. The moving pictures were taken with the Animated GIF Mode on my s7.
I recommend the Samsung Galaxy s7’s camera, with all of the modes included it’s one of the best cameras I’ve ever used which is saying a lot for a cell phone camera. I now use the S7’s camera for all my photography.
I hope you liked my photographs! Riding a bike is the best way to see and photograph the world in my opinion. Happy riding!
If you’re going to bike or do any kind of exercise sleep is something you’ll want to get enough of. Without sleep, you won’t have the energy or concentration needed for your day or ride. There are things your body needs to do that it can only do while you sleep. Many people have trouble sleeping or take sleep for granted but it’s one of the most important things you can do for your body and future health.
This is a screenshot from my Jawbone UP3 showing a typical night of sleep for me. Let’s see what we can learn from it. As you can see there are 3 kinds of sleep cycles during the night.
Sleep cycles are important.
Not everyone gets the same amount of REM, deep or light sleep a night. It depends on age, the individual and quality of sleep but everyone has these cycles of sleep during the night.
When we are in REM our bodies are paralyzed and we dream. This is why our bodies don’t try to run when we dream about running. REM is not only for dreaming it’s when the mind does it’s sorting of what’s happened during the day. Whether you remember your dreams or not everyone has deep sleep. Our mind needs REM, it makes up sharp and helps us to learn complex things.
Deep sleep helps our bodies repair themselves. During deep sleep, our bodies chemically do all the good things we’ll need for the daylight hours. There are functions our bodies can only do at night while in deep sleep. Cells repair themselves and hormones are released. Deep sleep restores us physically and mentally. Deep sleep heals the daytime wear and tear on our bodies.
For all of this to happen, we need to get enough sleep each night. We need a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Finding the time for this in our busy lives isn’t easy but if you want the benefits that sleep offers you’ll have to make the time. It takes good sleep planning.
Bedtime is not just for children.
Give up the late TV shows, get off of the computer and if you go out, plan to get home early. Pick a bedtime you can do every night and stick to it. Set an alarm so you can get ready for bed and be in bed when it’s time to go to sleep. Now that we have On Demand TV it’s not important to stay up for TV shows or movies. Life has its ways of getting in the way be firm about your bedtime.
Before bedtime read or meditate in the dark.
Some people have problems quieting their minds before sleep. To make sure you’re relaxed enough to sleep after getting ready for bed meditate or read a book for a 1/2 hour or more before your bedtime. Turning the lights out in your bedroom ahead of time and lying in the dark can help bring on a good night’s sleep. Drinking alcohol can help you get to sleep but will play havoc with your sleep cycles giving you a bad night’s sleep.
The bedroom should be as cool and dark as possible. Keep your blinds or curtains shut. I have a window open even in the winter, a stuffy hot room will not help you sleep well. It’s good to keep your bedroom around 50 degrees. I love being warm under a big blanket in a cold room, makes me sleep like a baby.
I make sure all electronic devices with LED’s are off or I put tape over the LED’s so I can’t see them. Blue LED’s or TV/stereo box lights can keep you awake by stimulating your mind just by looking at them in the dark. The darker the room the better.
Make sure your bed is comfortable. Dress in something loose and cool you want to be as comfortable as possible.
If you still need help getting to sleep.
Scent can help you sleep. Lavender is wonderful for sleep I have a spray I can spray on my pillowcase and it puts me right to sleep. Before you go to bed you can take a hot bath and put lavender in it. Either way, it’s heavenly.
Nature sounds of any kind are very relaxing and playing them while you go to sleep can help. There are many applications for cell phones that include timers so you don’t have to turn them off after you fall asleep. This is good if you can’t relax, or if your bedroom tends to be noisy. Do not play music it will keep you and your mind awake.
Make sure you get enough sleep.
I like to get 7 1/2 to 8 hours of sleep a night including weekends. The recommended amount is a full 7 to 8 hours a night. I set my alarms so I go to sleep at 10:05 and get up at 7 am. That leaves me about 9 hours leeway and most of the time I can sleep 8 hours or more. Part of that time is spent reading. I used to be an insomniac now I sleep like a baby but it didn’t happen overnight it took some time and planning.
It’s up to you!
You need to find what is right for you and stick with it. It might take you as long as a few months to get settled into it. Sleeping well is hard work for us folks that have trouble sleeping. It will happen! Things will come up that mess with your sleep plans but the next day get right back at it. As long as you leave time to get ready for bed and have your bedroom set up for sleep you’ll be doing awesome in no time.
Sleep has super powers.
There are new studies coming out all of the time about the powers of sleep. It’s been proven that getting enough sleep makes you live longer. People who get enough sleep actually eat 300 less calories a day when they were well rested. Sleep brightens your mood for the day. People who get enough sleep don’t get sick as much. Your blood pressure goes down when you sleep giving your heart a break. Sleep helps you make better decisions and boosts your creativity. It also gives you more energy. They are finding out new things about how sleep helps us all of the time.
Let me know how you’re doing or if you have any questions about sleeping better.
Now, get some sleep!
Links from howsleepworks.com, psychologytoday.com, sleepdex.org, and webmd.com.
I am very lucky to be able to bike the Bay Trail up close and personal at this time. Sharing my photographs and poetry is one way I can show you just how special this area is to me and why we should keep it as pristine as we can. The animals who live here and nature depend on us.
The featured image is San Francisco with the fog coming in as seen from Coyote Point. This image is the San Mateo Bridge, Highway 92, looking from Foster City towards San Mateo. The tide is out so the wetlands are exposed but when the tide comes back in the waters of the San Francisco Bay will be all the way up to these rocks and beaches.
The serious bikers out there all wear these funny helmets. If you ever rode a motorcycle (like me) we call them “brain buckets” and for good reason. If you have a fall or god forbid, get in an accident you will be glad you are wearing one.
They come in all styles, even aerodynamic if you’re one of those crazy fast cyclists who move at the speed of light. It’s important to be safe but without a helmet, you will be hard pressed to communicate with the other bicycle riders and that would be sad.
Being the friendly person I am when I first started riding my bike I’d see the other person coming towards me on a bike, have a big smile plastered on my face, make eye contact and before reaching them say hello. I would feel the blast of wind, see the person streak by and nothing….
Surely it wasn’t me? I pushed on….
Soon it was clear that unless it was a family biking, people walking or someone moving at a slower speed that I wasn’t doing something right. These “bikers” were just unfriendly! How could I make contact with my own kind? I kept trying, watched and waited.
Then one day I saw it…I almost missed it because it happened so fast. To be sure I watched carefully and saw it again. It was not always accompanied with eye contact but it was given freely and in solidarity. It was “the nod.” Suddenly I understood and was elated!
It’s not always easy to see and there are some cyclists who really don’t bike to be social so they will ignore you and that’s ok but if you are like me you will want to communicate with the others.
Some people smile, some don’t but you will see the nod of the helmet, a slight, quick, forward dip of the head made easier to see by the funny helmet they are wearing. Now that I’ve cracked the code you know what to do.
Next time we pass on the bike trail I’ll not be saying hello but I will give you “the nod” meaning all is well-enjoy your ride!
Safety is no joke get a helmet and wear it when you ride.
Chili is a wonderful food it sticks with you is easy to make and 1 cup is about 266 calories. It can be made and ready to eat in a little over an hour. This is my own recipe and I used it throughout my weight loss journey and after dinner, I was never hungry. You don’t have to be dieting to eat this chili it’s just good healthy food.
2 pounds of hamburger (I like hamburger with some fat it tastes better)
3 green peppers (any color)
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon of salt
3 shakes from the bottle (or what you like) of paprika
parsley flakes or fresh (as much as you’d like)
1/4 cup chili powder (or less it’s up to you)
2 fresh tomatoes (I leave the skin on)
1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 cup of water
1 15 ounce can kidney beans
1 15 ounce can black beans
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans
Put the hamburger in a non-stick dutch oven. Chop the green peppers, onion and add. Chop the garlic very fine and add. Add the salt, paprika, and parsley flakes. Chop the tomatoes and set aside.
Cook on high heat stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn until almost all of the liquid disappears. (This should take no more than 15 minutes but don’t time it, watch the liquid and don’t leave it.) Then add chili powder and stir until the mixture is coated with it.
Add the canned tomatoes with the liquid from the can. Add the fresh chopped tomatoes, water, the bay leaf, and stir.
Reduce heat by half, cover with a lid and cook for 45 minutes. Make sure the heat just cooks the chili without burning it on the bottom. It should be gently boiling when you peek under the lid.
When 45 minutes is up, drain the kidney beans, black beans, and garbanzo beans and mix them in. I like to make a 3 bean chili but you can substitute any kind of beans you like or use all kidney beans. Keeping the lid off, heat for another 20 minutes until the beans are hot. Because the skin was left on the fresh tomatoes you may see little pieces of the skin rolled up in the chili. Eating the skin is good for you.
After 2o minutes remove the bay leaf it’s done. I like to have a piece of Safeway nut and grain bread (my favorite) with a 1/2 tablespoon of butter on it with my 1 cup of chili. My whole meal, with 8 ounces of milk is 566 calories.
Enjoy! My chili will keep you full for hours your body will love it and it’ll give you plenty of energy for your bike rides. It keeps well just put it in the fridge.
Sorry, I don’t have a picture of the finished chili I ate it all before I thought about taking a picture for this. Lol! If you try this let me know how you liked it in comments.