Merry Christmas Cyclists!

Tis the season to be jolly but unless you’re lucky enough to live in a state (or country) that stays warm all year you are probably wishing you could ride right about now. The holidays are good that way keeping you too busy to begrudge the cold weather and snow as you clean, trim, shop, and eat your way through the 3 months of major holidays. Hopefully, you’ll get a few presents to open unless you’ve been naughty.

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I’m lucky enough to ride all year living in the Bay Area in California although I have plenty of friends of all ages who ride in the snow and ice all over the globe. Want to meet some of them?

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I’d like to invite you to join a group I have on a social network called MeWe. When G+ (Google Plus) went away a lot of my friends joined MeWe only to find it wasn’t what we hoped for, however, I started a bike group there called “Let’s Ride” that quickly grew into over 500 members that I couldn’t give up. It’s a great group of wonderful people from all over the world that love to ride, share bike-related posts, ride stats, and more. Even if you don’t need another social network (I know the feeling) I guarantee that you’ll enjoy my group. Check us out by following either link and introduce yourself.

'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.'

Let’s enjoy some Christmas images I found online. Some vintage fun too.

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How are you spending your Christmas this year? I’ll be riding my bicycle and making a nice meal at home with my cat (Ninja) and roommate. Isn’t she cute in her ugly Christmas sweater? What are your fur babies wearing this Christmas?

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My Christmas sweater (sweatshirt) I got last year. I’d seen it online for many years before getting it but when I did I wasn’t disappointed. Isn’t Christmas all about ugly (or cool) sweaters?

Riding the Bay Trail this year has been beautiful and fulfilling as always. Taking a break off for surgery in August really slowed me down but I’m back at it now. I look forward to the new year with my knee replacements which have only made me better.

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I make most of these with PhotoLab by Linerook Investments LTD, an application that makes your photos into all kinds of art on Android or iPhone. You can also spiff up your selfies for social networking. Found wherever you get your phone apps. It’s free but I paid for it years ago and use it often.

It’s raining and 48 degrees outside today but the sun is supposed to show up later. I’m lucky enough to live where I can ride year-round but I do miss snow at times as I grew up in Michigan City, Indiana. I grew up ice skating, sledding, cross-country skiing and more.

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I don’t know if you heard but Grumpy Cat passed away this year. She is still the best and won’t be forgotten because as we now know, once on the internet, always on the internet.

Christmas holds so many hopes and dreams. I hope all of yours comes true and I hope you have a great Christmas! Toasting some eggnog with you, “skoal!”

* About the featured image: The Santa Rampage is coming back to Milwaukee on Saturday, Nov. 30. The Santa Rampage is an annual event in Milwaukee that features hundreds of people in Santa suits – as well as a wide swath of various holiday-themed costumes – riding their bicycles across the city. Over the last five years, it has reached such an esteemed cult-status that even the dodgy weather of the season does not detract from the merriment or the number of riders who participate in these festivities. They also have it in other states like Portland Oregon and the number of states participating grows each year.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

My Story Can Be Yours, By Summer

My Story Can Be Yours was the first post I wrote for this site on March 21st, 2016. Re-reading it I’m amazed at the strength I found at a very low time, one of the lowest, in my life. It was a dark cell padded with my own body fat that I encased myself in caused by events that can still haunt me if I let them. The fight was bloody hard but worth it!

It took time to work and many times I wanted to quit. I had pain, falls off my bike, cold wet weather that I wanted to avoid and that was just while riding my bicycle. My knees hurt so bad. Coming off of the anti-depressants and sleeping meds was added icing on the bad news cake. Withdrawal added to my eating and sleeping problems.  I was tired of being tired, watching what I ate, waking up sore, and was a moody mess.

From hard times comes real strengths. The kind that stay with you for life.

I’m not here to tell you I have a miracle diet that’s going to make you lose that stubborn weight and keep it off this time. I’m not here to tell you that riding your bicycle is the only thing you’ll need to do to be in shape. There’s no fasting, smoothie drink, pills or treatment that will give you the health you seek. I am here to tell you that once your mind is made up and your body follows it becomes a way of life that will transform you into the best you can be, turning your real age backward.

On February 20th I hit a milestone. My anniversary of biking every other day for 2 years! What I learned in that first year saved my life and sanity. By continuing what I learned through maintenance I became good at it and have kept my weight within 4 pounds of my target weight continuing my healthy journey.

I sleep like a baby, have energy to spare, my memories good, my hair, teeth, and skin are great, my BMI is normal, and I’m limber and strong for my age of 63. In my case, I’ve found the fountain of youth, the missing piece to everyone’s weight-loss puzzle but completing the puzzle is only the start. My life itself hasn’t changed much but my outlook has and that’s made all of the difference.

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This was me in 2016, I had already lost 30 pounds through dieting alone but it wasn’t enough. I was around 170 and you can see the fat on my body.

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Me on my anniversary ride yesterday at 138 pounds. Both my bicycle and I have gone through many changes. Even with my jacket on you can see my bicycle legs and checking out my featured image you can see the fat is gone! Even my workout clothes are smaller and I can wear what I want.

Now that I’ve done it I’d like to help you do it. That’s why I’ve come up with, The Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change. Once you make these changes in your life I guarantee that you will lose weight, feel better and be in better shape no matter what age you are. My story could be yours by this summer and we have a 3-month start.

The Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change is a 3 part system that addresses more than your diet. We will look at how you eat, how you sleep and rework how you feel about exercise. It is a lifestyle change that will stay with you, meaning once you drop the weight you’ll keep it off. There is nothing fast or easy about doing this, work in equals work out but you will be the best you can be and it gets easier as you go.

Bicycling is a great exercise choice for people of all ages. As long as you have your doctor’s ok it’s actually an aerobic exercise you can do while sitting on a seat. The bicycle isn’t just for the city streets anymore they take you on nature trails and more. There are all kinds of bicycles including recumbent bikes (where you have 3 wheels and lay back) so there really is a bike for everyone. Riding a bicycle isn’t rocket science almost anyone can learn and get comfortable within 6 months. There are also stationary bikes at the local gym.

I think America has a health crisis. Children are fat because they have fat lazy parents. More American’s are overweight than ever and have all of the health problems that come with that choice. I think America has become lazy, fat and crazy. (I used to be all 3.)

Not making fun of anyone.

This lifestyle change wasn’t meant to shame or make fun of anyone’s weight problems it was designed to gently take you on a journey towards better health that will change your life. Here’s the equation:

Good healthy food.
Daily exercise (walk or bike.) <—–Equals Good Health
Quality sleep.

I was depressed, which made me house-bound and lazy, causing me to gain weight, get fat and feel crazy. It’s easy to see me today and wonder who I am to talk about these problems. But I do understand because I was there.

There are many ways to be lazy in life. The worst thing one can do is finding excuses for not getting enough exercise in your daily life. The truth is, if you are working out daily you’ll be fit and able to do more and burn/eat more calories. You’ll need better food and will sleep better.

You will also benefit from the hormonal/other chemical changes that will make you feel better. Depression, sickness and other problems requiring medications will get improve maybe even disappearing like they did for me. Many illnesses can be avoided just by losing weight.

My next post will introduce my Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change and how we can start to bring about those changes that will help you eat right, sleep well, lose weight and keep it off. This will be the last time you ever have to diet.

Repeat after me, “I will lose weight and be healthier starting this summer!”

Merry Christmas!

It’s Christmas Eve and most of us are not thinking of biking at this time of year. Never mind the snow and cold covering most of the country right now, this is Christmas. Here are some ways to get through it with the greatest of ease.

That said, how can we survive the holidays this year?

  • Relax, you’ve earned a rest.

You’ve been cycling more than ever this year, so why not put the bike away and have some time off? Your legs and family might thank you for it. Your body can use the break while mentally you can reflect on your past year. Sharing memories at this time is year makes us happy. What things did you learn in 2018 that might help you in the new year? It’s a good time to plan some resolutions, challenges, rides or sportives that you want to do next year.

  • Enjoy the holiday treats but don’t go crazy.

Christmas can be challenging for the waistline, with plentiful food and temptations wherever you turn. It’s so easy to overindulge at Christmas you can easily put on a couple of pounds and if you go crazy it’s going to take a lot of cycling to burn off the calories in the New Year. Limit the damage by making smarter food choices, watching your portions and staying away from alcohol. Remember that moderation is the word to bear in mind over the holiday season. You’ll thank yourself this spring if you don’t overdo it.

  • Have a cycling challenge or ride during Christmas.

Many cyclists look forward to Christmas as the holiday can provide some time off meaning extra riding time. If you find yourself with extra time on your hands why not set yourself a riding challenge over Christmas? Ride with others or alone breaking personal challenges. There are loads already available that you can join or maybe that Fitbit (or wearable tracker) has some goals to break? The more cyclists involved the merrier.

  • Get on the indoor trainer or take a spin class.

The weather isn’t typically great at this time of year (depending on where you live) if you are determined to keep cycling through Christmas, don’t discount the value of a trainer (a device you put your bike into, to ride it indoors) or spin classes. Instead of trying to replicate a long steady ride on the trainers do a short interval session. Instead of duration, aim for a high-intensity session. Spin classes usually offer fun holiday theme rides this time of the year. They are flexible and the workouts can be on and off the bikes. This is wonderful if you can’t get outside to ride.

  • Be flexible with your riding time.

With parties, social gatherings, family events and work commitments over Christmas, it can be tricky to stick to your regular riding schedule and many people might give up trying to get out on the bike altogether. Change your morning ride to afternoon if you must, be willing to change your rides around Christmas plans you’ll still find the time. Flexibility is key, use what available time you do have to get a ride in. Don’t worry that you can’t do your regular ride just do the best you can.

  • Try something else to keep moving, get everyone involved.

If you really don’t have time to ride your bike due to social commitments, try taking a walk. Long country walks are popular at this time of year and a brisk walk is a really good exercise. Walking keeps you active and provides some fresh air and sunshine. Go for a run if you can. Even a 20 minute run around the block will get you breaking into a sweat and burn a load of calories. Grab some friends or family to go with you and make it a group affair. Dancing is another great way to burn calories while socializing. Sitting in front of screens is bad for us it’s the new smoking so let’s keep moving.

  • Grab a read.

If you can’t fit a bike ride in, why not pick up a book instead? With all the downtime at Christmas, it’s an ideal time to get around to reading that book you’ve waited to read or learn something new. I like to read about bicycling and nothing helps the winter biking blues like reading a good book or looking at my favorite bicycle magazines. Get the real thing, it’s still nice to hold and look at a real magazine. Brush up on your biking skills and more by checking in with your favorite websites like Bike With Bekkie.

  • Give in and get into it

Socialize, smile and laugh, enjoy the in-your-face moments with family and friends. Time spent like this is really healthy for us relieving hormones in the bloodstream that cause stress. Even those office parties can be fun just don’t over-do it or drink too much. Use cell phones for pictures only put them away at the party or restaurant. No matter how you celebrate the holiday season or what your beliefs are we need to step back, slow down, learn from our mistakes, rejuvenate, and heal so we can face 2018 the best that we can be and in good health no matter what age. We have a lot to deal with next year.

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Look at what my Tshirt says! My site’s motto.

It’s been 2 days since I’ve been biking. I should have gone Saturday but didn’t because my roommate is here and I wanted him to go with me (he often does.) I should have gone today but it’s cloudy which is no reason not to go. I’m being lazy after he turned me down today I didn’t want to go alone and that’s unlike me. It is Christmas Eve.

It doesn’t keep me from making cool stuff digitally (as you can see from this post) but I’m not burning mad calories biking every other day right now. This is becoming an unplanned break that I think I needed. Without getting into “readiness scores” mine has been low for a few weeks. My RHR’s higher than my normal average and my sleep stages have changed. Subtle hints to take it easy for a day or so.

Since the late 90’s I’ve spent holidays alone or with my roommate (who has no family) but that doesn’t mean I don’t participate. Some years I cook a huge meal for 2 but I don’t decorate or have a tree anymore which I miss very much. I know I get stressed out at this time of year and try to keep moving even if I stray from my cycling schedule.

To remind you, I bike 20-30 miles every other day and on Feb. 20th, 2018 I’ll be doing this for 2 years. I’m 63 and not in training but I push myself some days and do splits trying to rank on MapMyRide. Every workout has been logged and my maps/stats are available on the MapMyRide website. I wear a Fitbit Charge 2 and just bought the newest version of the Aura Ring (available in April 2018.) I’m a big believer in body sensors and health monitoring. I’m in it to win it!

Me taking time off from my daily bike rides doesn’t happen often. At the most, I do a week every 4 months or longer when I go stay in Oakland. As I write this I plan to bike on Christmas. I don’t want to take too many days off just enough to bring my RHR down a few beats and keep an eye on my deep sleep.

My roommate finally said he’d ride with me on his mountain bike! I’m so happy it’s my Christmas wish come true. I really enjoy riding with James we are well matched to ride together I let him lead the way and I follow. We always have fun he’s such a goof.

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James (my roommate for many years) and I biking last month.

I’m sipping eggnog without dark rum which is unthinkable (but has to be done) and thinking about riding tomorrow. I know the regulars will be out and about like me, at least a few of them. I only wish I had an ugly Christmas sweater or festive decorations for my bicycle but I don’t. Maybe I can hunt something up before my Christmas ride. A Christmas ride just seems right I can’t wait and it’s supposed to be sunny I’m already excited.

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I wanted to leave you with Ninja and her ugly Christmas sweater.

Tonight it’s Christmas Eve so Merry Christmas readers! Together we’ll see what 2018 and Trump’s tax plan brings to the world. (A little levity never hurt.)

'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.'

Cookies for Santa. Afterwards:

4.Pot-Cookie

Merry Christmas and happy biking!