2020-Another Year To Ride

There’s so much to look forward to in the new year! While many people are thinking of resolutions they usually break within the first few months I’m thinking about continuing what’s worked for me almost 4 years now. After putting the hustle and bustle of the holidays behind me it’s time to get back to riding.

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Whether you ride year-round or in the spring when the snow melts one thing you should do each year is to make sure your bicycle is in tip-top shape to ride. Parts can shake loose and bikes should be inspected and readjusted yearly especially if you ride daily. Yearly bike maintenance is imperative for safe riding.

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Yesterday I had a sobering reality while doing my visual check before a ride. I checked the front and back wheel levers for my quick release and everything looked good. I usually make sure they’re flipped down tight but I don’t physically manipulate them unless they look like they moved.

Right before we took off I noticed while jerking my handlebars (by accident) that something sounded loose. I first thought it was my cell phone holder on my handlebars because I was having trouble tightening it down. It wasn’t.

I shook it again and thought I saw my front tire move. No way! I picked up my front end and spun the tire, it was moving fine. Then I pushed the wheel sideways and noticed it was moving back and forth a tiny bit. OMG!

Although everything looked good I knew something was wrong. I tried the wheel release and it was very loose. I had a vision of happily riding along watching my front wheel come off and crashing violently. It was my worst nightmare!

I released the wheel fully, tightened the release screw, and put the wheel back on. I made sure the wheel was solid and the release screw was as tight as I could work it. I also checked the rear release which was good. I had saved myself from a world of hurt and a terrible accident.

This is one reason I’m against quick-release wheels! Yes, it’s nice to get the wheel off easily for many reasons but if they aren’t tight your wheel can come off. Some bikes have a guard in place so if it accidentally opens your wheel is held on but it’s no guarantee.

I don’t wish to scare you but I rode with a friend some months ago who thought he was having a front brake problem until he discovered the wheel release had come open. He rode like that for miles and was extremely lucky his wheel didn’t come off. People don’t usually have that kind of dumb luck.

Now, most new bikes come with quick-release wheels (front and back) so it’s very important to do a visual hands-on check of your bicycle every time you take a ride. Safety first!

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What To Check Before A Ride

Take the time to look at your bike before a ride. You will want to put your hands on it.

  • Check tire pressure and add air if needed. The correct pressure will be on your tires.
  • Check the frame for any damage or rust and cables for any bends, or frayed edges.
  • Try your brake handles and make sure your breaks are engaging. The brake pads or discs shouldn’t be worn.
  • Make sure your tires have good tread on them with no aging rubber or cracks in the sidewalls.
  • Manually check your front and back wheel release levers making sure they are tight and flipped shut.
  • Check the condition of your chain. Chains need to be kept clean and lubricated.
  • Keep your (rear wheel) gears clear and clean of debris.
  • Is your seat the correct height? Your leg on the lowest pedal should be fully extended with a slight bend in your knee.
  • Handlebars should be straight and tight.
  • Secure any gear properly and keep away from your spokes.
  • If wearing pants use clips or straps to keep them tight at the ankles and away from your spokes.

If you find something you can’t fix do a search for a good bike shop in your area. They will be glad to answer any questions you might have. They can tell you how much air should be in your tires (if you can’t find it) and can do yearly maintenance on your bicycle if you can’t do it yourself. A good bike shop is the best tool you can have.

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Yearly Bike Maintanence Musts

  • Inspect and adjust your derailer.
  • Inspect and adjust your brakes and brake system.
  • Inspect and adjust your chain and drive system.
  • Clean and lubricate your chain and drive system.
  • Clean and inspect your frame for wear and rust.
  • Inspect and tighten screws and parts on your frame.
  • Check tires for loose or bent spokes, worn bearings, etc.
  • Inspect tire rubber for wear.
  • Inspect all cables, cable housings, and connections.
  • Inspect handlebars, hand grips or handlebar tape, mounted brake handles, and shift levers.
  • Inspect fender clearance and hardware.

If you take your bike into a shop they will do all of this for you including cleaning your bike. Ask your shop for a list of what they charge for maintenance, cleaning, and services.

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I’m excited to have my 4 year riding anniversary coming up on Feb. 20th! Although I’ve had a bicycle my whole life I’ve only spent the last 4 years being serious about it. I started riding 20-30 miles every other day for my health and sanity. I was 60 pounds overweight and depressed on meds in very bad health after having the worst 4 years of my life. Bike riding is now a healthy habit that has kept my weight off and helped me to get over my sleeping problems. That’s what made me do this site I wanted to spread the word about how healthy bike riding is for people of all ages. (Read my full story HERE.)

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Whether you believe in resolutions or not I hope this is the year you decide to get healthy and stay that way. I’d like to encourage you to consider riding a bicycle if you don’t already. It’s low-impact, gives you a strong core, a healthy heart, promotes good sleep, improves your balance and is so much fun! It makes me feel like a kid again.

On Bike With Bekkie, I have many articles that talk about the benefits of riding a bicycle and getting healthy.  How important it is to eat right. What happens when you ride a bicycle and more. I have lovely photographs I’ve taken while riding the Bay Trail. Having trouble sleeping? I got you!

The Bay Trail is a mostly paved trail that runs around the San Francisco Bay with a view of the city, the SFO airport, and many other gorgeous landmarks. The beauty of this area can’t be beaten with its marshes, man-made waterways, and the creatures that live here. Click HERE to see the map.

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I wish you good health and happiness in 2020!

Spring Time On The Bay Trail

It’s springtime on the Bay Trail and after all of the rain, the drought is over in California making it a happy time for plants, flowers, birds, bees, and me! I’ve been aware of the Bay Trail for decades but since Feb. 20th, 2016 I’ve been riding regularly and taking photographs of the Bay Trail on my rides.

I’m thankful that I live close enough to ride this beautiful nature trail all year round and my photographs have grown into an amazing collection.  The photos in this post are from this spring (2017) and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.

If you check out my sidebar you can see even more of my photos and I change it occasionally so always check for more. 

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The water levels in the bay and surrounding natural sloughs are always changing with the tides. There is mud on the far left, deeper water channeling in the middle and shallows on the right. The patterns in the mud and water are always changing as nature is the best artist.

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There are crushed shell beaches along the San Francisco Bay that are great for walks when I need a bike break. The white is a nice contrast to the colors of the various plant life. This is low tide and in the distance is the San Mateo Bridge which is highway 92.

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Take a walk through Coyote Point, a 670-acre park which houses a yacht harbor, the CuriOdyssey museum and lots of places for picnics/cookouts all within a small forest of Eucalyptus trees. The paths up and down the cliffs are breathtaking with views of San Francisco, the airport, and the peninsula shoreline. There’s a full golf course nearby, a pistol/rifle range, and a playground. Kite and windsurfing are just some of the sports enjoyed here and the Bay Trail runs through it.

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Coyote Point used to be much more! As you can see here it was the Merchant Marine Cadet School in 1942 and after that, the College Of San Mateo campus until 1962. Coyote Point used to be an island connected by marshlands to the mainland. It’s now landfill turned into a golf course.

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The yacht harbor at Coyote Point with wildflowers in the forefront. Some of the flowers were brought in and some are natural it’s hard to tell which is which anymore but they’re all lovely to look at.

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I love to look for everyday shapes in nature like this rock that’s shaped like a heart. The yellow blooms are ice plants they almost bloom year round but go crazy in the spring.

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Just look at these yellow flowers, there were only 2 bushes like this. While I was taking close-ups of the flowers I almost missed this tiny hummingbird. The back of his head was bright red but my camera didn’t pick it up.

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This was one of my favorite flowers this year due to the color and detail but they weren’t around for long.

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Daisies are found all along the Bay Trail of numerous kinds and colors.

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After the purple blooms, little white flowers come out from the insides of these flowers.

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After all of the rain, we had many kinds of mushrooms growing. Not edible but very interesting.

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I like the striped petals and color of this flower. I tried to look up some of these flowers using Google Image Search but wasn’t that successful. It’s not a perfect system.

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Even the trees are amazing along the Bay Trail. That’s San Francisco in the distance but look at this tree! The foliage along the cliffs at Coyote Point and along the bay are bent and twisted from the winds and weather into some neat shapes.

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There are so many different flowers in this world and I never tire of them.

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These have yellow centers that look like the color’s running. Some are bushes some are single flowers.

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This was one of the first flowers to bloom and the petals look like someone crushed them but that’s how they grow. There’s still some left as of this write.

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Aren’t these pretty with the spotted petals? They are tiny things.

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Can you see the hawk in the center of this photo? The yellow and purple blooms are ice plants. They close at night and open with the sun.

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Get a load of these colors! They’re almost done blooming now. (These look like, but aren’t ice plant blooms.)

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The petals and shape of this flower are interesting!

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Bottlebrush flowers are the Hummingbirds favorite. I had a few trees near my patio once and didn’t need to have a feeder.

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These purple, white or pink flowers on stalks are the bees favorite and they will swarm you if you get too close. The tree (with the bare branches) looks dead but it’s not. I never see anything grow on them so it’s a mystery to me. That spot in the sky is not a plane it’s a bee.

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Can’t leave out California poppies. Bright orange, you see them everywhere even in the middle of the freeway. This year down south they had so many bloom that they could see them from the Space Station. They call that a super-bloom.

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These tiny yellow flowers grow everywhere in the wild grass.

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I had to include this cactus in a nearby garden although there are plenty of succulents that grow wild. I’m still waiting for it to bloom. (The ice plants are succulents.) Love those tiny blue flowers too!

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I could show you more flowers and plants but that’s enough for today. I’m closing with this photo of some stunning clouds above the San Mateo Bridge at low tide. The bay and sky are ever-changing from minute to minute. The birds are busy feeding and everything is peaceful on the Bay Trail.

This site is fairly new but I’m troubled by the lack of comments. Please leave your thoughts I’m waiting to hear them. If you want me to write about something now’s the time to let me know. I plan on more articles about health and biking but surely there’s something you want to hear?

Happy 200th Anniversary to the Bicycle! Read about it from the Wall Street Journal.

Earth Day

As bike riders, we have seen pollution first hand, up close and personal. If you ride in the city it’s in the gutters of the bike lanes, in the parks (despite the many garbage cans) you see bottles and trash all over the ground. I always ask myself, “What’s wrong with people?” But there is no answer.

Riding in the country is no picnic either. Dumping is done anywhere and everywhere. There can’t be trash cans placed all over the earth and it’s really not that hard to carry your trash back home. Then why can’t people do it?

There are recycling centers and places to dump any kind of garbage you can produce and yet people just don’t have the time or inclination to do it. I’ve seen every type of person out there chuck garbage. Parents littering with their children are teaching another generation not to respect our planet. I hate to say this but people are just that selfish.

We are creatures that want fulfillment instantly. If we don’t feel it’s going to benefit us immediately we’re probably not going to do it. We are a short-sighted race with limited intelligence for all of our so-called smarts. I notice many people can look at a nature area covered in litter and not even see it. That kind of thing chills me to the bone.

To me, there’s nothing worse than riding the beautiful Bay Trail and seeing the trash and dumping that’s still going on. There are trash cans all along the trail and sometimes there’s trash on the ground right by the can taking laziness to new heights.

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Looking towards San Francisco during low tide you can pick out all kinds of trash in the mud including a whole bicycle that’s been out there since I’ve been riding. Tires are numerous and I’ve seen shopping carts. I’m not surprised by anything anymore.

I try not to include the trash in my daily photos of the Bay Area but the birds pick at cigarette butts, the fish are swimming in god knows what and it makes me sick. One part of the trail has a large tidal pond where I take pictures of white herons, ducks and other large waterbirds feeding when the tide is low and there are tied bags of trash floating amongst them. San Mateo residents should be ashamed.

There’s not much that can be done about controlling other people’s littering. Shaming doesn’t work and education is falling short of making a difference. I’m usually a positive person seeking answers but each year when Earth Day comes around I find myself a little sadder. Talking about it once a year is not enough when it’s a daily problem.

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Make A Difference-Don’t Add To The Problem

We can make a difference by making sure we don’t add to the problem. I will even pick up other people’s trash. There’s always a trash can ahead or at home. In our own lives, we must be proactive and pick up our messes. By doing so we are helping the planet by being responsible and it adds up.

When we control our own trash it never turns into a problem for someone else to handle. We can be proud that we are doing the right thing keeping the earth clean and our trash away from wildlife. They don’t know any better but we do!

If You Have To Smoke-Take Your Butts With You

Both of my parents smoked around me growing up, I was lucky enough to be turned off by it and never start. I know people who religiously pick up their litter but never think about what they do with their spent cigarettes. They don’t disintegrate or go away and the filters last forever. I see them everywhere on the bike trails it’s a disgusting habit. Hurt your own health but don’t ruin my view!  Please don’t empty ashtrays on the ground near your vehicle either take it back home.

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I’m a poet and can’t let Earth Day go by without writing about it. Hope you like it.

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Believe

Believe in a better tomorrow
believe that the air is pristine
believe that there’s nothing endangered
the future remains to be seen.

Believe in a world that is caring
believe that the oceans are clean
believe companies are recycling
the future remains to be seen.

Believe in a healthier planet
believe if together we lean
believe we can all do what’s needed
the future deserves to be green.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2016

Artwork: Earth Day by Dana Gray

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Have a great Earth Day! When you ride your bike pick up your litter!

Earth Day is every day-your actions make the difference!