Bike Like Me

Every time I see a new article about biking I get excited. After reading it, not so much. I feel that my kind of bike riding is totally ignored by the so-called specialists or athletes and that’s just not right.

It’s no wonder more people aren’t motivated to get back in the saddle and ride because like them I’m not interested in racing or setting up my bike so that I can be hunched over my handlebars trying to be aerodynamic wearing skin tight clothing.

Most of the people I see on the Bay Trail are like me, people on their bikes just trying to have fun and maybe lose a little weight. I see whole families biking together with big smiles on their faces and I know that’s what it’s really about!

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I smile at other bikers on the trail as they pass by me smiling back on a beautiful spring day.

Another thing that I notice is how many people seem to be riding bicycles that don’t suit them. They go to look at bicycles and buy the first shiny thing they see getting misdirected by the seller or pressured by their friends to buy a bike they aren’t going to want to ride. Or even worse a bicycle they will hate riding because it’s not the right type for them.

I see people on mountain bikes that never go on trails or expensive high-performance bikes made just for racing looking uncomfortable. If you don’t get the right bike for your body and where you ride you may be asking for a painful ride that will never get better.

If you are older you may not want to bend over on a ten-speed bike anymore and if riding on pavement most of the time you don’t need a shock absorber on your front fork you need a decent seat with springs underneath. Of course, that depends on you, we all have different needs and there are many types of bikes to choose from.

A warning up front, bikes are not made like mine anymore (my bike is 31 years old) and if you aren’t careful you could end up with a cheap bicycle that will break down more than you’d wish. Chains coming off easily, derailers with plastic parts that snap, bad breaks and pads, I’ve seen it all. Expensive doesn’t always mean quality spend a little time when you look. Get on the bike and take a test ride most good shops will let you ride first.

Even my roommate bought a mountain bike, it has 21 gears (versus my 10 gears) but when he rides with me on the Bay Trail he has to go through his gears constantly because they are for offroad use. Where my bike has stiff springs under the seat that make my bike incredibly smooth to ride, his has a front shock for landing on the wheel while doing jumps or taking large bumps on dirt paths. My bike has large wheels that roll further when I pedal and he has small knobby tires. It makes more of a difference than you’d think.

Touring bikes are your best bet you can ride them on the street but take them on the occasional trail or gravel road but they have changed! Most come with without fenders, have tiny seats without springs and drop handlebars (like a ten-speed bike.) There are “city (or commuter) bikes” that are meant for city streets that have almost straight handlebars and may or may not have fenders. The “dutch-style bikes” look more like the old touring bikes with fenders, good seats, and upright handlebars. There are so many different kinds of bike styles now so decide what you want on your bike and stick to it.

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Here you can compare a touring bike and a mountain bike. These are both Schwinn bicycles one old and one new. My frame (the sliver bike) is a girls “dutch style” bike and the red one is a unisex mountain bike. Mine is a 10-speed geared for the street and the other is a 21-speed bike geared for the dirt.

If you aren’t going to cram your bike into a trunk or car don’t get removable wheels. It makes your bike easier to steal, something else to go wrong and the front/rear breaks are affected because if the wheel comes off the breaks have to be opened up for that to happen. It does make it easier to change flats but it’s better to have fixed wheels and breaks in my opinion. You can always get a bike carrier for your vehicle.

I hope I’ve given you some things to think about. The important thing is, get the right bike for you so that you’ll be comfortable riding it because you’ll keep riding it. Get fenders if you don’t want to get wet or muddy going through puddles weather does change. Make sure the bike frame fits you and you can get on the bike. If you want an easier ride, get gears on your bike. Go to a reputable bike store and let them help you but be firm about what you want. Shop around and you’ll find that dream bike and love it as much as I love mine.

If you love your bike it will take you places and put a smile on your face!

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!