Biking Birthday

Does time ever fly! On Presidents Day, (Monday the 20th,) I’ll be biking every other day for one year! I am both excited and shocked at what I pulled off. I didn’t miss many days and I never felt like quitting but there were some very low points where I didn’t want to bike.

Looking back there was so much blood, sweat, and tears. I fell more than once getting bumps and terrible bruises. I not only hated hills but had to walk my bike up some of them. My face would be so red when I got home and looked in the mirror I used to look like a heart attack walking. I would collapse on my bed until I recovered.

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When I started riding my bike I had already lost 30 pounds but I was still plenty chubby and out of shape. You can see it best in this picture. I was on a diet of 1,200 calories which helped get me to where I am today. My bike, however, was like new then without the battle scars of today.

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Above, you now see a healthy woman at her target weight since last August. A woman who didn’t gain weight through the holidays or down times. A woman who’s in, and stays in shape. It’s certainly something to celebrate!!

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I feel like a movie star and so can you! I’m a real person who’s done this without any expensive diets, fads or help. You just need to do it, don’t give up, and don’t give up.

There are a few things I couldn’t have done without:

  • Myfitnesspal is an application that will help you keep track of your food calorie intake and nutrition needs. You fill out a profile and it uses your info to help you know how to eat. It’s easy to use, has all the foods, a bar code reader and you can enter your own meals. It also connects to various health bands, and exercise apps reporting your meals (calories) to them. It will also import caloric burn from other apps (including Mapmyfitness) and add it to your day’s calories.
  • Mapmyfitness is an application with GPS that keeps track of calories burned during various different exercises. I use it for my biking and it maps my ride keeping track of everything. I enter my type of bike, wheel size and profile info so it’s pretty accurate. It gives me my average speed, fastest speed, time biked, calories burned, time of day, altitude and much more. It compares my rides with other members in my area which is very interesting. It works with your phone, shoes, or fitness band including Myfitnesspal. It’s a free bike computer that’s easy to use and will announce your stats to you out loud while riding.
  • Jawbone’s UP3 is a fitness band that measures sleep cycles, steps, exercise activities, resting heart rate, food intake, and more. I’ve been wearing one since Oct. 2015 and found it has many features that are very helpful. It features a digital coach that crunches your data and gives you personal help and great articles to read. I’ve become addicted to monitoring my sleep, having this helped me with my insomnia to become a champion sleeper. It connects to Myfitnesspal and Mapmyfitness trading food, caloric and other info.

I use these apps for free with plenty of features that helped me out. Connecting applications together is easy, all these applications talk to each other which makes logging and keeping track a snap.

There are wonderful tools to use when improving your health but it’s really up to you. If you don’t take the first step you won’t get in shape. If you’re in bad health most of the time you will be obese and feel unhappy. Lose the weight and some of those medical problems will disappear. Add biking to that and soon you might be celebrating your own Bike Birthday and living a longer life.

You just need to do it, don’t give up, and don’t give up.

Got Rain? Make Rainbows

If you are lucky enough to live in a place that doesn’t have snow and ice in the winter there is still bad weather to deal with. Whether you let the rain dictate when you ride or not, there are some things you can do to be more comfortable when the weather doesn’t agree with you. Sometimes stormy weather can enhance your rides, I love it!

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Featured image is a picture of deep puddles and a rainbow down the trail. Here, we found another rainbow. We saw 5 rainbows that day all on the same ride!

I think you know by now I live in northern California. We have high winds and rain during the winter. I had to find a way to stay dry and warm during storms. Water resistant clothing just isn’t good enough when it starts to pour and you are miles away from home.

I was lucky when it rained last February it was a warm winter so riding home soaked wasn’t bad and we were still having a drought. Not so this year.

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Another rainbow across the San Francisco Bay.

I looked at rain suits at bike stores and REI and are they expensive. It costs even more to get the pants. I grabbed my Chromebook and started looking at cheaper alternatives.

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A double rainbow greeted me from my living room window before my ride.

I found one on Amazon after looking at a lot of cheap stuff. A full suit with pants for $14 I was thrilled when it got delivered. I was a vision when I tried it on. Lol! Next time it rained I was ready.

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Me in the pouring rain having a ball. You can see the raindrops in the photo.

I put on the suit and went riding to see how it performed. It was awesome. It didn’t get in my way biking and I was able to wear the hood under my bike helmet. A little time drying out and it goes back in my bike bag ready for next time.

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On this day I lent my pants to my friend I was riding with but you can see them here.

Both the pants and top have snaps on the wrists and ankles that keep them out of the way. The plastic material is thick and reinforced with flaps on the pockets. A hood keeps everything dry with nothing going down your neck. It was important to me that I could roll it up small enough to fit in my bike bag.

I almost got a rain poncho. It sounded good because it would cover the legs but bicycles and ponchos don’t mix they’re too baggy in the wrong places and could get caught in your chain or spokes.

Plastic can get hot while wearing it because it doesn’t breath but I haven’t had that problem yet. I wear my suit at the most, 2 hours. They are coming up with new materials but they can be expensive.

Being warm and dry in the rain gives you the freedom to explore on days when everyone else is inside. It puts you in a certain class of bike rider/nature lover, not everyone will bike in bad weather. There’s a kind of peace to riding in the rain I enjoy very much.

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Get a bag for your bike to carry stuff in.

Having a good bag on your bike means you can take your rain suit with you on rides. The bag on the front of my bike was around $65 and as you can see the straps on the sides hold it still when bouncing around the trails. (I like this style but next time would get something more waterproof.)

The bag on the back is very old (nylon) and I use it to carry excess. It doesn’t hold much, right now there’s a knit scarf in it.

There are bags of all sizes and shapes to buy for your bike. Make sure it will attach or fit on your type of bicycle.

Things To Put In Your Bike Bag

  • first aid kit
  • health bars or fruit/lunch
  • knit hat, gloves, and cold weather wear
  • rain suit
  • money and driver’s license or ID
  • aspirins or ibuprofen
  • bandana or clean x
  • sun block/sunglasses
  • binoculars (for nature of course)
  • rape whistle (I’ve had one for decades)

All things any good Girl Scout would think of bringing. (Yes I was.) ~giggle~

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Water water everywhere. I’m so glad I have full fenders on my bike! All these photos used were taken on the same day.

If it’s not raining here this time of year it can be in the low 30’s during the day. Winds from the San Francisco Bay cut right through normal jackets and coats. Find something windproof with thumb holes (which keep the wind from going up your arms.) Layer.

I found a knit cap that fits under my bike helmet and covers my ears, a big plus. Leather gloves are the way to go and protect that neck with a scarf. Long underwear is my friend.

It’s so important to be comfortable while exercising before and after warming up. Motivation can freeze up in the face of a very cold and windy day but once you get out there it’s all worthwhile. I know how hard it is when faced with a very windy day my biggest riding nightmare! I always feel better for doing it.

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You can get some beautiful light on stormy days.

When I get home I always have some great photographs to look over and share, the kind you can’t get on a sunny day. It makes me feel alive.

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If you compare this photo with the other photo in this article (above) you’ll see it’s similar but not the same, they’re 2 different rainbows from 2 different days.

This was taken this morning from the same area (my living room window) as the first one. They both were taken half an hour apart, one from last week, one from this morning around 8 AM. I’ve never seen 2 rainbows in the same place before but now I know if conditions are right it can happen.

It was amazing!!

I have never ridden a bike in the winter. In slush yes, but not snow and ice. I do know a few brave souls who do and even ride to work all year. I give them an award of the highest respect for they are the cream of the crop of bikers compared to me! I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!

Hope you enjoyed the photos along with my advice about biking. Since this is a new site I’m still gathering readers and I want to thank you for being a reader. I’m happy to have you!

Consider leaving some comments? I’d like to know about you and your interests. How’s your health? What kind of weather do you bike in?

Signs You Might Be A Cyclist

You’ve seen “them” riding on their 10 speeds, hunched over, no fenders, wearing colorful stretchy biking outfits and zooming by you barely managing a nod. Cyclists!

I swore this would not happen to me as I turned up my nose while riding (sitting up) on my 31-year-old touring style bicycle on the Bay Trail. Of course, in no time I was wearing colorful stretchy (in my case Yoga) outfits zooming by people…and nodding.

~gasp~

I was “one of them”!

There are all kinds of bikes to choose from sporting all types of riders but there is a common thread throughout that bonds us together as cyclists. The rituals and quirks that rub off on us all as we navigate our lives around our bicycles. Isn’t it good to belong?

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Photo from MapMyFitness

Signs You Might Be A Cyclist 

  • You can’t recognize your biking friends when they aren’t wearing colorful stretchy biking outfits.
  • The “check engine” light in your car has been on for months, but the most minor mechanical issue on your bike is fixed first.
  • You have at least one Facebook profile shot of you posing on or next to your bike with a gorgeous landscape behind you.
  • Your bike has a nickname.
  • When your driving you watch out for other riders, you slow down to a near crawl and give them plenty of room. You know what it means to be in that bike lane.
  • You also know what it’s like to use choice words when a vehicle cuts you off or a hater honks and nearly startles you off your bike. (They are out there.)
  • You run errands after your bike rides while wearing your colorful stretchy biking outfits. (Don’t forget to take the helmet off!)
  • You spend more time biking spending weekends and planning vacations around bike rides and rides with groups.
  • Stripes on your thighs and ankles, cut-out shapes on the tops of your hands, your colorful stretchy bike outfits tan lines will incite laughter at the beach and pool.
  • You ride to and from work because it’s the fastest way, and you’ve become a pro at changing in the office bathroom.
  • You don’t notice the grease on your clothes or tear in your pants until you’re at that meeting.
  • If you’re a woman, you take better care of your favorite bike clothes than your finest lingerie. (They can be expensive.)
  • If you’re a man, you have smoother legs than your wife or girlfriend.
  • You embrace fluorescent jackets, vests, and shirts. The brighter, the better.
  • You know what it means to do time in the saddle.
  • You’ve felt the shame of having to walk your bike up a hill and the pride of conquering that climb on your bike after a few weeks’ of riding.
  • You have more colorful stretchy biking pants (or shorts) in your laundry basket than jeans.
  • You’re baffled when your roommate or partner doesn’t understand why your bike can’t be stored outside.
  • Some of your hardest falls have happened when you’ve stopped or slowed to a crawl, which doesn’t make sense but happens none-the-less.
  • You take a bad fall with bloody hands and knees, but your first question is whether or not your bike survived.
  • You look and feel better than you have in some time, can’t stop smiling, and have oodles of extra energy.

~large smile~

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My bicycle photo made into a GIF using Masterpiece Art Filters from PhotoLab Pro and LunaPic.

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 Rules 2 Remember While Riding

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Use Your Hand Signals

You may not have fallen prey to all of the signs yet but I predict you will. If you fall in love with cycling you’ll enrich your health and life becoming stronger with more energy. You can do it.

You’re a cyclist! One of us, one of us, we accept you, we accept you!