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 dutch 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!

Another Year To Bike

Today is the first day of the rest of your life, it’s the first of January, and there’s a whole new empty slate in front of you. What will you do with it?bca4ded079550cbe706f2f062c1df9da

I don’t do resolutions anymore for the New Year, I refuse to do them! I don’t think one year ever went by where I did something that was on those lists. I just blundered through each year hanging on by my teeth anyway.

The thing to do is pick one thing, one important thing that you want more than anything, (this must be something doable, not a magical spell or witchcraft) and learn how to achieve it. Do research on it and practice it until perfect. Put the effort into it that will bring the results that make you happy.

If you want to outlive everyone, stick around for your kids, stay healthy and strong enough to enjoy the rest of your life independently then  I ask you to consider living healthier this year and riding a bicycle is something people of all ages can do.

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Last year was very good to me! After riding for months I finally felt comfortable enough to really enjoy my rides. I look forward to and get excited about them. It was not always that easy.

I rode bicycles growing up but now I was much older (old enough to break bones easily), I could barely make it up the easy hills and the wind worked against me. I had to get used to sharing the trail with critters, walkers, runners, families with kids, and other bikers.

I had some falls stopping or starting my bike (the hardest thing for me with my disability) but my balance got better. It was a good 5-7 months where I was shaky and uneasy on my bike. Now I feel great and want to share the side effects of bicycling with you!

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If you have bad knees, need joint replacement or have pain in your knees I urge you to try riding a bicycle this year to help strengthen and maybe relieve some of that pain.

My knees always hurt with swelling and I still need both knees replaced (I have windswept knees) but biking this last year has made them so much better it’s unbelievable. My knees are much stronger for walking and no more cane!

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This year I am continuing what I started in October of 2015:

  • keeping my weight regular by logging what I eat, 1500 calories/daily of good healthy food
  • no sodas or sugary drinks
  • watching my daily macros (carbs, fats, and proteins)
  • drinking 8 ounces or more of water daily
  • riding my bike every other day (that’s 4 times a week)
  • getting at least 7 1/2 hours of quality sleep a night
  • multivitamins daily

Soon, I will add weight training a few times a week. As I get older I want to keep the strength to lift things for myself and get around without needing help. There are many good articles about staying active and what to do to maintain your health and good looks for many years to come.

Staying strong is important. My one important thing (if you haven’t guessed) is my biking because without it I won’t be healthy and happy, ready to enjoy the rest of what this new year has to offer.

Let’s be harder, better, faster, stronger this year!

Happy New Year!

Bicycles And Christmas

The holidays are upon us and my mind turns to…bicycles and Christmas! Let’s not forget the New Year but one holiday at a time, please!

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Visions of, and internet searches for, a new touring bike have been buzzing around my little head this season. I have seen some amazing bikes. Not that I can afford one but one but I’m saving my bucks.

I love my old bicycle I really do but I don’t have the talent, tools or room to refurbish it like I’d like to do and it needs work. I like the fact that it’s made really well, a 10 speed and I don’t have to pedal to switch gears. This was a thing that Schwinn came up with in 1986.

There are many things I like about my bike but there have been updates to bicycles and parts in 30 years.

When the time comes I’ll have to decide just what I want to do probably this spring. I could see my old bike refurbished/repainted it would look great! Something to look forward to in the New Year.

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I got curious about what kind of artwork I could find about bicycles and Christmas. I found some great things to share.

Above and below are postcard type Christmas cards.

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'Dear Santa, if you leave a new bike under the tree, I will give you the antidote to the poison I put in the milk.  Timmy.'

One way to get a new bike…

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An old Schwinn holiday commercial. Look at that white flocked tree!

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I would love to own and proudly wear this sweater! Ugly, or not?

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A 12-metre tall Christmas tree made with 230 bicycles has been installed at a shopping mall in Shenyang, China, this year.

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Santa Cycle Rampage Day in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

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Laurence Crossman-Emms’ 2015 Christmas Shot.

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The 2013 ZeroCelsius Christmas Tree bicycle parts repurposed from the dump to the Wealth Studio.

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Christmas Tree Made of Bicycles Unveiled At The Rocks

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I’m making a turkey on Christmas day with garlic mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, roasted carrots and some other goodies. Some rice pudding for desert. Right now I’m drinking egg nog with dark rum. I am splurging for Christmas but in moderation watching the waistline.

Hope you enjoyed the artwork. Whatever your plans I hope you have a nice Christmas. Wishing you all the best in health and bike riding!

Love, Bekkie

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Tis the season to be jolly!