May Is National Bike Month

May is a great month, the month I was born but it’s also National Bike Month! This is the month to grab your friends, get on your bicycles and celebrate everything about bicycles. Become a bicycle ambassador. There’s a lot to feel good about!

Become a bicycle ambassador for your area. Spread the word!

May is a wonderful month to start cycling if you’re not already enjoying this popular sport. It gets you outside, it’s fun and it gets you fit. You will see people of all ages on bikes with smiles on their faces. The smiles and good feelings are genuine.

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Proud to be a Bicycle Ambassador for the Bay Trail. Be the best cyclist you can!

There is a movement for bike riders of all backgrounds to become more of a cohesive community following similar beliefs by banding together. Urban cyclists and the racing world combined. I consider myself a Bicycle Ambassador of the Bay Trail loosely following rules set by other communities being formed all over the world.

One of these in Portland Oregon, 21st Avenue Bicycles (a shop), launched The 21 Ambassadors program, to directly support the urban cyclist. They believe:

“To ride a bicycle is to be part of a community, to share a common experience, as much as it is about good health and helping the environment […] We believe that as a community we should support each other in bad times as well as good. We, the 21 Ambassadors are here to help you. When tires flat and spokes break, when chains fail and gears groan, when you need a hand, we hope to be there to assist.”

I believe we can all become Bicycle Ambassadors simply by riding mindfully and stopping to help others. I’m not much help mechanically when someone has a flat, or a broken spoke but I do have my phone, some cash, a first-aid kit, protein bars and can direct you on the trail. I have (what I call) “can do.” We can all do our part.

  • stop and offer assistance to fellow cyclists
  • use hand-signals and follow all rules of the road
  • set the standard for exemplary riding
  • be polite and helpful-some people may decline your help

It makes this urban cyclist feel good to say I’m a Bicycle Ambassador! A great way to participate in National Bike Month. Be the best cyclist you can!

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If you don’t ride daily May is a great month to start! Riding your bike 3 to 4 times a week will reward you with better health, weight loss, a stronger core, quality sleep at night and make your real-age lower than your birth age by as much as 10 years! All good reasons to ride your bicycle daily.

Consistency is your secreat weapon! Use it liberally. 

Consistency is a useful tool when trying to make a lifestyle change. For some people, working out at the same time each day helps but others benefit from just linking exercise to some other event during the day. People who do this and make it a habit find it’s easier to maintain.

This is something I take advantage of. I have breakfast at the same time every day and after doing dishes I get dressed to ride. I am fueled for my morning while getting out early for a ride before coming home to a clean kitchen. It works!

National Ride To Work Day During Bike Month

If you ride to work, first of all, I want to say you are awesome! That is a lot of miles to and fro every week navigating commuter hours. I salute you! Ride To Work Day is the day your place of employment may have some surprises just for you. (More about that soon.)

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Bike Month has all kinds of unexpected perks and ways to celebrate it. Perhaps a group you didn’t know about is having a group ride? Maybe there’s someone you’ve been wanting to ride with but haven’t asked? A new route you wanted to try? This is the time to do it. Meeting others who ride and learning from them is a huge plus.

In the coming months I’ll be posting on some of these subjects:

  • health benefits
  • ride safety
  • helpful gear
  • free applications for tracking rides
  • food choices/recipes
  • bikes
  • sleep

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I’m going to start sharing my rides here so will be writing more often. I meant to do so at the beginning of Bike With Bekkie but got caught up with sharing my weight-loss and health improvements because I wanted to tell everyone what I discovered. I was a hot mess and I knew if I could lose weight and get healthy so could others.

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Kids love to ride their bikes too! Take them out for National Bike Month!

Cyclists banding and sharing together for the future. Power in numbers!

On Your Left, Safety Counts

When I’m riding the various trails around this area it’s always surprising to realize just how many people using them have no idea there are rules to follow. This often leads to negative interactions, and worse, accidents where people get hurt because people don’t take the time to acquaint themselves with the area they’re spending time in.

Whether on foot or on wheels when on the trails the rules are the same for everyone. If you have young children it’s important to teach them to be on the lookout for moving bicycles and staying safe.

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Rules Of The Trails

  • Stay to the right-no more than 2 across
  • Call out when passing
  • Pass on the left when it’s safe
  • Observe the right of way
  • Top Speed Limit is 15 miles an hour unless otherwise posted
  • Speed Limit is 5 miles an hour in crowded areas
  • Slow down to pass
  • If you stop pull off the trail
  • Use hand signals, even if alone
  • Be polite and smile
  • Keep an eye out for dogs and children.

Bikes follow the same laws that cars do whether riding on a trail or on the street. If there’s no bike trail you use the lane just like a car does. Make sure you’re seen before advancing in traffic. I use very few bike lanes on crowded streets but living near the Bay Trail I can get away with it.

Don’t be confused with the bike in the left lane (image above.) You won’t really stay in the left lane if others are using it. This is to show how to pass someone and the correct place to be.

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“On your left,” is what you should call out when passing someone. I always say, “Thank you,” as I pass by, people resent you less for intruding with your bicycle and makes most of them smile. Being a good “Bicycle Ambassador” (a person that promotes cycling in a good way) is something to be proud of!

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Hand Signals

Hand signals are something you should learn and get in the habit of using. They are universal and easy to do. I use the easy signal on the bottom right (for my right turns) because the other way confuses me.

I don’t see these being used much on the trails but I do because it makes the path I’m taking crystal clear to others. I don’t think cyclists use them enough. You need to use them always even if you’re riding alone. Hand signals make your intentions known, show the path you’re taking and make people notice you.

There are hand signals for everything, check them out at Mapmyfitness: http://blog.mapmyrun.com/10-cycling-hand-signals-need-know/

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Your Voice Is Important

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Know Your Place On The Streets

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This is what to expect from the bike lanes. I have ridden in all 3 by now. The diagram on the right can have a solid line between the car and cyclist or not.

Protect Yourself And Your Noggin

A bike helmet (or brain bucket) is your best friend for protection in case something goes wrong. Make sure you buy a good one and that it fits correctly. Most sports stores or bike shops will be glad to help you.

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Of course, you want to have your bike checked out once a year (more often if you notice problems) to make sure it’s in tip-top condition on the road. Happy cycling!

Know the rules, be polite, ride safe and stay safe.

Signs You Might Be A Cyclist

You’ve seen “them” riding on their fast bicycles 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 vintage touring style bicycle on the Bay Trail. Of course, in no time I was wearing colorful stretchy biking outfits while zooming by people…and nodding.

~gasp~

I was one of “them”!

There are many 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 as we navigate our lives around our bicycles are all signs that we are becoming cyclists. 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 social network profile shot of you posing on or next to your bike with a gorgeous landscape behind you.
  • Your bike has a nickname.
  • 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.
  • You run errands after your bike rides while wearing your colorful stretchy biking outfits.
  • 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.
  • If you’re a man, you have smoother legs than your woman.
  • 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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For me, dressing to bike is part of the fun. I buy from Fabletics, Under Armor and Ross. Those pants were on sale and made my roommate snicker when he saw them.

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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. Welcome to the club!

You’re a cyclist! One of us, one of us, we accept you, we accept you!