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.


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.


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.


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:


Merry Christmas and happy biking!


Duck Feathers

After I got over the initial pain of being a beginner and settled into my workouts I found that biking was making me feel amazing. I was in the best health ever and things that normally would have thrown me into a funk during my day just weren’t happening. I found myself not sweating the small things. I told my best friend there was no way that I could be depressed while riding my bike and surprised myself when I said it.

Just a year ago I was a dark cloud raining on everything that came my way. I couldn’t see past my various moods they colored even my best days. I was addicted to foods that didn’t nourish my body and spent all my time sitting on my kiester stuffing my face. It was a terrible way to react to the world and treat myself. As I increased my health through my bike rides I found the clouds parting and the weather clearing. Now it’s darn right sunny even on the rainiest days. I never imagined how well exercise worked as an antidepressant.

Now I feel immune to things that would have brought me crashing down in the past. I have found what I affectionately call, “my duck feathers.” Anything that threatens to bring me down just repels off of me like water off a duck. My problems haven’t gone away, I’m still the same person making the same mistakes I’ve always made, but now I have an inner happiness that keeps me going on a positive note.

The health benefits of exercising eating right and good sleep are astounding. My body is slowly changing for the better I can see and feel it. I have a waist and my stomach hasn’t been this flat in decades. My skin has cleared up, my hair is soft and shiny and my energy level is through the roof. My bad knees are so much stronger I don’t need my cane anymore. Overall, my legs and core feel strong. All the hours of riding have improved my heart and my doctor tells me with vitals like mine I’m going to live a long time. After only a year of working out, that’s music to my  62-year-old ears and I’m not stopping anytime soon.


While all these things are wonderful side effects of an aerobic exercise like bike riding, the thing that surprised me the most is the good mood that won’t go away. A good mood that didn’t require drugs just riding my bicycle regularly. With so many people having problems with depression, syndromes, and unhappiness I would think exercise would be worth trying.

Discovering “my duck feathers” is something I’m thankful for this year, that, and the fact that I found a good reason for riding my 30-year-old bicycle. Getting this twice as old woman functioning, healthy and moving again!

Join me! If you’re lucky enough to be able to ride your bike year-round do it and feel thankful for it.

Sleep 101

If you’re going to bike or do any kind of exercise sleep is something you’ll want to get enough of. Without sleep, you won’t have the energy or concentration needed for your day or ride. There are things your body needs to do that it can only do while you sleep. Many people have trouble sleeping or take sleep for granted but it’s one of the most important things you can do for your body and future health.


This is a screenshot from my Jawbone UP3 showing a typical night of sleep for me. Let’s see what we can learn from it. As you can see there are 3 kinds of sleep cycles during the night.

Sleep cycles are important.

Not everyone gets the same amount of REM, deep or light sleep a night. It depends on age, the individual and quality of sleep but everyone has these cycles of sleep during the night.

When we are in REM our bodies are paralyzed and we dream. This is why our bodies don’t try to run when we dream about running. REM is not only for dreaming it’s when the mind does it’s sorting of what’s happened during the day. Whether you remember your dreams or not everyone has deep sleep. Our mind needs REM, it makes up sharp and helps us to learn complex things.

For more information on REM sleep:

Deep sleep helps our bodies repair themselves. During deep sleep, our bodies chemically do all the good things we’ll need for the daylight hours. There are functions our bodies can only do at night while in deep sleep. Cells repair themselves and hormones are released. Deep sleep restores us physically and mentally. Deep sleep heals the daytime wear and tear on our bodies.

For more information on deep sleep:

Light sleep makes sleep cycles possible. During light sleep our bodies transition between deep and REM sleep. The body rests during light sleep and we can wake up easily.

For more information on light sleep:

For all of this to happen, we need to get enough sleep each night. We need a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Finding the time for this in our busy lives isn’t easy but if you want the benefits that sleep offers you’ll have to make the time. It takes good sleep planning.

Bedtime is not just for children. 

Give up the late TV shows, get off of the computer and if you go out, plan to get home early. Pick a bedtime you can do every night and stick to it. Set an alarm so you can get ready for bed and be in bed when it’s time to go to sleep. Now that we have On Demand TV it’s not important to stay up for TV shows or movies. Life has its ways of getting in the way be firm about your bedtime.

Before bedtime read or meditate in the dark. 

Some people have problems quieting their minds before sleep. To make sure you’re relaxed enough to sleep after getting ready for bed meditate or read a book for a 1/2 hour or more before your bedtime. Turning the lights out in your bedroom ahead of time and lying in the dark can help bring on a good night’s sleep. Drinking alcohol can help you get to sleep but will play havoc with your sleep cycles giving you a bad night’s sleep.

Here is a good article with tips for better sleep. It states that you shouldn’t read before bed but new studies have found that it can actually help. I read before bed and it puts me right to sleep. It still gives a lot of good information:

Set up your bedroom for sleep.

The bedroom should be as cool and dark as possible. Keep your blinds or curtains shut. I have a window open even in the winter, a stuffy hot room will not help you sleep well. It’s good to keep your bedroom around 50 degrees. I love being warm under a big blanket in a cold room, makes me sleep like a baby.

I make sure all electronic devices with LED’s are off or I put tape over the LED’s so I can’t see them. Blue LED’s or TV/stereo box lights can keep you awake by stimulating your mind just by looking at them in the dark. The darker the room the better.

Make sure your bed is comfortable. Dress in something loose and cool you want to be as comfortable as possible.

If you still need help getting to sleep.

Scent can help you sleep. Lavender is wonderful for sleep I have a spray I can spray on my pillowcase and it puts me right to sleep. Before you go to bed you can take a hot bath and put lavender in it. Either way, it’s heavenly.

Nature sounds of any kind are very relaxing and playing them while you go to sleep can help. There are many applications for cell phones that include timers so you don’t have to turn them off after you fall asleep. This is good if you can’t relax, or if your bedroom tends to be noisy. Do not play music it will keep you and your mind awake.

Make sure you get enough sleep.

I like to get 7 1/2 to 8 hours of sleep a night including weekends. The recommended amount is a full 7 to 8 hours a night. I set my alarms so I go to sleep at 10:05 and get up at 7 am. That leaves me about 9 hours leeway and most of the time I can sleep 8 hours or more. Part of that time is spent reading. I used to be an insomniac now I sleep like a baby but it didn’t happen overnight it took some time and planning.

It’s up to you!

You need to find what is right for you and stick with it. It might take you as long as a few months to get settled into it. Sleeping well is hard work for us folks that have trouble sleeping. It will happen! Things will come up that mess with your sleep plans but the next day get right back at it. As long as you leave time to get ready for bed and have your bedroom set up for sleep you’ll be doing awesome in no time.

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.

Let me know how you’re doing or if you have any questions about sleeping better.

Now, get some sleep!

Links from,,, and The Utzy Blog.

Fact: People who sleep enough hours every night weigh less than their counterparts.