2020-Another Year To Ride

There’s so much to look forward to in the new year! While many people are thinking of resolutions they usually break within the first few months I’m thinking about continuing what’s worked for me almost 4 years now. After putting the hustle and bustle of the holidays behind me it’s time to get back to riding.

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Whether you ride year-round or in the spring when the snow melts one thing you should do each year is to make sure your bicycle is in tip-top shape to ride. Parts can shake loose and bikes should be inspected and readjusted yearly especially if you ride daily. Yearly bike maintenance is imperative for safe riding.

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Yesterday I had a sobering reality while doing my visual check before a ride. I checked the front and back wheel levers for my quick release and everything looked good. I usually make sure they’re flipped down tight but I don’t physically manipulate them unless they look like they moved.

Right before we took off I noticed while jerking my handlebars (by accident) that something sounded loose. I first thought it was my cell phone holder on my handlebars because I was having trouble tightening it down. It wasn’t.

I shook it again and thought I saw my front tire move. No way! I picked up my front end and spun the tire, it was moving fine. Then I pushed the wheel sideways and noticed it was moving back and forth a tiny bit. OMG!

Although everything looked good I knew something was wrong. I tried the wheel release and it was very loose. I had a vision of happily riding along watching my front wheel come off and crashing violently. It was my worst nightmare!

I released the wheel fully, tightened the release screw, and put the wheel back on. I made sure the wheel was solid and the release screw was as tight as I could work it. I also checked the rear release which was good. I had saved myself from a world of hurt and a terrible accident.

This is one reason I’m against quick-release wheels! Yes, it’s nice to get the wheel off easily for many reasons but if they aren’t tight your wheel can come off. Some bikes have a guard in place so if it accidentally opens your wheel is held on but it’s no guarantee.

I don’t wish to scare you but I rode with a friend some months ago who thought he was having a front brake problem until he discovered the wheel release had come open. He rode like that for miles and was extremely lucky his wheel didn’t come off. People don’t usually have that kind of dumb luck.

Now, most new bikes come with quick-release wheels (front and back) so it’s very important to do a visual hands-on check of your bicycle every time you take a ride. Safety first!

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What To Check Before A Ride

Take the time to look at your bike before a ride. You will want to put your hands on it.

  • Check tire pressure and add air if needed. The correct pressure will be on your tires.
  • Check the frame for any damage or rust and cables for any bends, or frayed edges.
  • Try your brake handles and make sure your breaks are engaging. The brake pads or discs shouldn’t be worn.
  • Make sure your tires have good tread on them with no aging rubber or cracks in the sidewalls.
  • Manually check your front and back wheel release levers making sure they are tight and flipped shut.
  • Check the condition of your chain. Chains need to be kept clean and lubricated.
  • Keep your (rear wheel) gears clear and clean of debris.
  • Is your seat the correct height? Your leg on the lowest pedal should be fully extended with a slight bend in your knee.
  • Handlebars should be straight and tight.
  • Secure any gear properly and keep away from your spokes.
  • If wearing pants use clips or straps to keep them tight at the ankles and away from your spokes.

If you find something you can’t fix do a search for a good bike shop in your area. They will be glad to answer any questions you might have. They can tell you how much air should be in your tires (if you can’t find it) and can do yearly maintenance on your bicycle if you can’t do it yourself. A good bike shop is the best tool you can have.

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Yearly Bike Maintanence Musts

  • Inspect and adjust your derailer.
  • Inspect and adjust your brakes and brake system.
  • Inspect and adjust your chain and drive system.
  • Clean and lubricate your chain and drive system.
  • Clean and inspect your frame for wear and rust.
  • Inspect and tighten screws and parts on your frame.
  • Check tires for loose or bent spokes, worn bearings, etc.
  • Inspect tire rubber for wear.
  • Inspect all cables, cable housings, and connections.
  • Inspect handlebars, hand grips or handlebar tape, mounted brake handles, and shift levers.
  • Inspect fender clearance and hardware.

If you take your bike into a shop they will do all of this for you including cleaning your bike. Ask your shop for a list of what they charge for maintenance, cleaning, and services.

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I’m excited to have my 4 year riding anniversary coming up on Feb. 20th! Although I’ve had a bicycle my whole life I’ve only spent the last 4 years being serious about it. I started riding 20-30 miles every other day for my health and sanity. I was 60 pounds overweight and depressed on meds in very bad health after having the worst 4 years of my life. Bike riding is now a healthy habit that has kept my weight off and helped me to get over my sleeping problems. That’s what made me do this site I wanted to spread the word about how healthy bike riding is for people of all ages. (Read my full story HERE.)

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Whether you believe in resolutions or not I hope this is the year you decide to get healthy and stay that way. I’d like to encourage you to consider riding a bicycle if you don’t already. It’s low-impact, gives you a strong core, a healthy heart, promotes good sleep, improves your balance and is so much fun! It makes me feel like a kid again.

On Bike With Bekkie, I have many articles that talk about the benefits of riding a bicycle and getting healthy.  How important it is to eat right. What happens when you ride a bicycle and more. I have lovely photographs I’ve taken while riding the Bay Trail. Having trouble sleeping? I got you!

The Bay Trail is a mostly paved trail that runs around the San Francisco Bay with a view of the city, the SFO airport, and many other gorgeous landmarks. The beauty of this area can’t be beaten with its marshes, man-made waterways, and the creatures that live here. Click HERE to see the map.

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I wish you good health and happiness in 2020!

Every Other Day For Three Years

When I started my cycling journey whilst questing for good health I often felt like quitting. Red-faced, walking my bike up the smallest hills, not being able to catch my breath and unable to keep up with anyone. I felt like a big fat failure.

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Me and my 1986 Schwinn World Tourist (10 speed), in 2016/17.

At the time I had lost my first 30 pounds by cutting calories but I still had over 30 more to lose and was in horrible shape. Maybe it was the excitement of losing the initial weight, maybe riding my bike was reminding me of happier times, probably the hormone changes and endorphins were kicking in, but something made me dig in and keep it up when I wanted to (and normally would have) quit.

Within a year I lost the rest of the weight. I was feeling wonderful and more importantly, I had a new attitude, like a new lease on life. That first year was a lot of hard work but now I was reaping the benefits of daily exercise. Almost 2 years later I’ve not gained a pound back keeping my weight within 5 pounds of my target of 139.

The biggest surprise was the change in how other people looked at and treated me that had nothing to do with my weight. They saw a hard working, positive, reliable, better me because I was now living that way. It was definitely an eye-opening learning experience about what I was really made of. One that taught me that maybe I was ok after all and that gave me the confidence to continue. It will be 3 years on February 20th I’ve never been in better health and I’m convinced I found the Fountain Of Youth.

Benefits Of Daily Exercise

  • Fights Depression Without Drugs
  • Lose Fat Around Internal Organs (the worst fat you can have)
  • More Quality Sleep
  • Eat Less/Crave Better Food
  • Maintain Healthy Weight
  • Positive Attitude
  • Get Sick Less (Colds, Flu)
  • Low Resting Heart Rate
  • Less Cortisol (Bad Hormones)
  • Reverse High Blood Pressure
  • Reverse Heart Disease
  • Reverse Diabetes
  • Reverse High Cholesterol
  • Better Bone Density
  • Fights Dementia
  • Live Longer

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Happy together, me and my 2017 Norco Rideau (24 gears), 2018/19.

What was the biggest thing that kept me going through plateaus and setbacks? All the improvements I kept seeing in my life! Even the smallest wins gave me the confidence to keep it going and get it done.

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Proud of my Lifetime Stats on MapMyRide started on Feb. 20th, 2016.

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MapMyRide ranks user’s rides. You can see how you’re doing compared to other people riding the same trails. They go by age and sex. The points are just for fun.

Keeping a record of your rides/exercise of choice is easy with all of the free apps these days like MapMyFitness (click HERE.) Made by Under Armor this system will track any kind of exercise including dog walking. Strava is another favorite (HERE.)

Wearable trackers like Fitbit offers us a way to track invisible health trends like sleep, resting heart rate and more. Click HERE for tracking your rides, HERE for tracking your rides if you own a Fitbit.

Click HERE if you want to know how to start changing your life with diet and exercise like I did. This is the beginning (part one of 3 parts), of the Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change. It worked for me it will for you.

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On the 20th I look forward to celebrating my good health, keeping the weight off, feeling wonderful, maintaining my motivation to ride 20-30 miles every other day and kicking 2019’s ass! Join me!

You don’t need New Year’s resolutions, you need to do one thing and do it well. You can do it!

Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change-Sleep and Exercise

If you’re logging your food, cutting calories and eating healthier congratulations, by summer you’ll be looking and feeling marvelous! Just a few more tweaks and you too will find the Fountain Of Youth that being in good health offers us.

Although they stand on their own, if you missed the first parts of the Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change you’ll want to read these for the full plan as this is the 3rd part.

  1. Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change-Food
  2. Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change-Logging Your Food

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Now that we covered food logging and healthy eating it’s time to talk about the most important thing you can do for your health and that’s getting enough sleep. All sleep, however, is not created equally when you have a good nights sleep you can feel it the next day. You have more energy, find yourself in a better mood and perform better but there’s more to sleep than meets the eye (sheets.) By introducing exercise into your routine while practicing good nutrition you’ll sleep like a baby reaping all the benefits of a balanced healthy life. (See graph above.)

What do you like to do for exercise?

Weight loss alone can be done by limiting calories without exercise but there’s a good chance you will gain it back within the first year sometimes gaining back more than you lost. The good news is there are so many ways to exercise these days that you’ll be able to pick something you can manage and if you get bored with it there’s more to try. There really is something for everyone.

I want you to consider bike riding, not just because I love it but because it works for people of all ages. Bike riding daily (outside with 2 wheels not spinning) gives you the benefits of aerobic exercise without weight or strain on the joints. It strengthens your core and gives you nice legs while enjoying nature and getting sunshine. Best of all, it burns crazy calories.

Exercise is your friend and path to good health.

If you haven’t exercised for awhile, any type of physical activity will be new, so it almost doesn’t matter what you do for the first several weeks whatever it is will do wonders on its own. Walk, hike, cycle, row, jog, dance, swim, repeat.

Be patient with yourself, you didn’t gain all that weight in a day. When it gets easy for you then do more. Keep it up!

You will be tired, sore, you will sweat and struggle but stick with it because it will get better. One immediate and positive side effect of exercise is that you’ll start sleeping better after wearing yourself out.

Once you get started your priority should be taking your chosen exercise and establishing it into a routine habit. For that, more frequent workouts and a daily routine are best.

How often should I exercise?

Since 250 minutes per week of exercise is recommended, you might think that you have to work out every day to lose weight. Instead, you can exercise every other day or even every third day and still lose weight effectively.

If you prefer shorter workouts, then daily exercise is probably best for you. If you work out for 20-35 minutes every day, you’ll meet the expert recommendations for weight loss. Exercising every day will also help you to build a regular and healthy habit of physical activity.

Sometimes daily workouts aren’t realistic on your schedule.

If your work week is hectic, you might choose to work out every other day. But if you exercise fewer days during the week, each workout needs to be longer.

For example, if you do one 60-75 minute workout on the weekend and four 35-40 minute workouts during the week, you can skip a few days of exercise and still meet the guidelines for weight loss exercise.

If you have to skip several days during the week, you can still exercise to lose weight, but each session will have to be longer to meet your goal. It’s also hard to build an exercise habit if you don’t exercise very often.

I bike ride every other day. That gives me 4 workouts a week, a day of rest in between each ride and it works out to be a different day of the week each week which gives me variation. If something comes up I skip a workout and just start again on the next day. The important thing is if I have to take off a week or so here and there that it doesn’t stop my routine for good.

A Balancing Act You Can Do

Exercise is part of a balancing act important to our bodies and the way they function. Without it, eating healthy foods and getting quality sleep isn’t possible which is why so many of us fail without it.

Are you an insomniac? Eating poorly yet exercising and still overweight? Depressed? Do you wake up feeling lousy after a good nights sleep? Or maybe you aren’t overweight but don’t have energy?

You need to Eat-Move-Sleep every day.

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An example of what it takes to balance our bodies and be truly healthy.

Get moving and improve your sleep!

Want to fall asleep faster and wake up feeling refreshed? As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, (such as walking or cycling,) can dramatically improve the quality of your nighttime sleep when done on a regular basis. What’s more, exercisers may reduce their risk for developing troublesome sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

The sleep/exercise connection.

Physical activity improves sleep quality and increases sleep duration. It reduces stress and tires you out. Early morning and afternoon exercise may also help reset the sleep-wake cycle by raising body temperature slightly, then allowing it to drop and trigger sleepiness a few hours later. It can be especially helpful if you are able to exercise outdoors and let your body absorb natural sunlight during the daytime hours.

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Tips for a good nights sleep.

  • Get daily exercise. One 10 minute walk a day can improve your sleep.
  • Make a daily bedtime routine brushing your teeth, etc. before bed.
  • Have a bedtime and stick to it even on weekends.
  • Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet and dark. Blackout curtains can help.
  • Block blue light (with apps, glasses or filters) on your devices 2 hours before bed.
  • Avoid spending time awake or working in bed. The bed is for sleeping and sex.
  • Expose yourself to at least 10 minutes of sunlight in the morning.
  • Ignore stressors before bed save your worries for the daytime. Try deep breathing or meditation to relax.
  • A warm bath, reading a book, or listen to calming nature sounds before bed works wonders.
  • Get a full 7 1/2 to 8 hours sleep or more a night.

De-stressing is the one thing we all need to do these days so I suggest taking a good (solid) hour before laying your head on the pillow to calm down. Push the negative out and bring in the positive, whatever that may be to you. It’s so easy to fall into bed with a head full of the day’s activities only to have it keep you awake.

Good sleep planning sets you up for quality sleep and you once you get it you’ll know it. When I have a solid chunk of Deep Sleep I feel so refreshed and rightly so.

Sleep stages and benefits.

There are 3 kinds of stages our bodies go through during sleep. Light Sleep, Deep Sleep, and REM. Inbetween them we have Wake Cycles, times we wake up at night. Each person’s sleep cycles are unique to the individual but with trackers like Fitbit, it’s easy to see the trends of age groups and study how our stages of sleep affect us.

Each stage does something different while we sleep so if we miss out on a full nights sleep we’re messing with one or more stages of sleep our bodies need. Our bodies detect that and try to make up for it in other, sometimes more unhealthy, ways. This is why not sleeping enough hurts our general health.

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Sleep 101 will help you learn more about sleep and how to get a good nights sleep.

Your bed counts, what you put on it and what you wear:

  • Sleep naked. It’s been shown that it helps keep the body temperature even.
  • Buy a new mattress, get a new one every 10 years (think of the dust mites.) There’s something for everyone.
  • Re-evaluate your pillow. There are so many new kinds to choose from.
  • Get good bedding. Whether bamboo or microfiber, there are so many choices! You’ll want something that is soft and breaths.
  • Sleep under a heavy blanket. This is the time to have a favorite blanket on your bed and if it’s heavy it will help you sleep better. The weight of the blanket on your body has something to do with it.
  • Get a body pillow for support. Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs keeps your back straight. A body pillow supports your whole body. It promotes great sleep. Get a good one.
  • Cool your body. If you get too warm at night and can’t sleep invest in a cooling pad. People who use them swear by them.

Oversleeping The Effects Health Risks Of Sleeping Too Much

Sleep has superpowers.

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 fewer 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.

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Balancing Sleep, Exercise and Nutrition is the secrect to good health and long life.

Invest in a tracker to monitor your lifestyle changes they’re fun and simple to use. You buy the tracker, put it on, download the free app on your phone and pair it with Bluetooth. You’re good to go.

I have had a Jawbone UP3 and now have a Fitbit, Charge 2, and am awaiting my new Aura Ring. They measure, sleep, activity, exercise, heart rate and more. At any time I can see my live stats and it gives me something to work towards when I make my steps.

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16 country comparison from 2016

  • China leads this trends, standing at 45 percent of its online population.
  • Brazil and the USA come next, but significantly lower, at 29 percent each, closely followed by Germany (28 percent) and France (26 percent).
  • China, Russia, France, Australia and Canada are the only countries surveyed that have more women than men tracking their health or fitness.

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There are many things to consider when we think about the whole picture of our health and fitness.

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Recovery is important when exercising that’s why it’s important not to go overboard. Moderation is the word. Always take off a day of rest after each day of exercise and if you have a fever don’t exercise sick. Always get your doctors ok before starting any exercising program.

I’ll be posting more to the Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change until summer but you have everything you need to follow in my footsteps. If you do, I guarantee you’ll lose weight (inches all over) and make your goal weight in a year keeping it off. Your stomach will be flat, you’ll feel great and depression will be a thing of the past. Eat-Move-Sleep my friends!

More on the Eat-Move-Sleep Movement—-Coming Soon

There have been many new studies about sitting and what it’s really doing to us. Experts are saying that sitting all day is the same as smoking a pack of cigarettes (maybe worse!) Also, I have more to say about our diets. I think we should eat what we want in moderation if we are exercising regularly. I don’t believe in fads, or diets just good food. And of course, I’ll be writing about biking and showing off my photography. Group hug!

Let me hear about how you’re doing! Got any questions or can I help you in any way? I know I’m getting readers but you are very quiet. Lol! I wish you the best this isn’t easy I’ve been there.

Eat-Move-Sleep it’s a good anthem for the Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change!