May Bike Check-Up

May is a good month to get your bicycle ready for summer. Either you’ve had your bike put away for the cold season or were lucky like me and rode all year but now’s the time to see what kind of shape your ride is in. Even new bikes can need maintenance.

If your bike is in relatively good shape you still need to keep it that way by keeping your chain adjusted and lubricated. If you have gears the derailleur might need to be adjusted and cables/brake pads can wear out.

How do I know if my bicycle needs work?

Some things will be obvious when broken but many aren’t. Those things are something a professional will be able to find and fix. You might not notice things are amiss while riding but once fixed you will be able to tell the difference.

If your bicycle’s dirty wash it like you would a car with soap and water. It’s important to keep your bicycle frame clean and dry. Even with full fenders, my bicycle gets dirty. A little car wax works wonders on the paint and makes your bike look like new while protecting it.

Now give your bicycle a thorough visual inspection.

  • cables and cable housings
  • tires/hubs/
  • drivetrain (chain)
  • front or rear derailleur
  • caliper/pads or disc brakes
  • brake levers/handlebar tape

Worn tire treads are easy to see and you want to check the walls of your tires too. Cracks in the walls (sides) of your tires come with drying and age. If you have them, or your vintage bike has it’s original tires it’s time for new tires.

Take a short ride, go through the gears, check the brakes, and look for wear and tear. If you’re not sure of something take notes so you can ask the mechanic. Most of the time your bicycle will just need some tender loving care and lubrication. There’s plenty of how-to’s to be found online.

If you can’t work on your own bicycle there’s plenty of shops that will. I take mine to the shop I bought it from. Do a search and see what’s available in your area. Most shops have websites with good information. Always read reviews if available.

Take it to the nearest bike shop for service.

Most shops will have a schedule for maintenance work so when you call for service ask them what they do for that price and what service specials they have. Ask how long they’ll have your bike and about the warranty on their work/parts.

While you’re at the shop ask them to be sure your bike is set up correctly for your body. Many people don’t realize they’re riding on an ill-fitted bike. If your seat isn’t right or you can’t reach your handlebars comfortably you won’t be riding your bicycle for long!

Maybe you want to upgrade parts on your current bike or look for a new bike. Your local bike shop can help you with that too. Most shops have refurbished bikes that can get you on the road this summer for cheap. Vintage bikes like mine are in style again and ride like a dream.

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The featured image is my 1986 Schwinn World Tourist. Once you get your bike back take it out and enjoy the seasonal blooms and weather.

If you take your bicycle to a shop for service do it now before they get busy. The closer to summer the longer it’s going to take to get your bike in and out of the shop. Avoid the rush and keep yourself safe. Accidents often happen due to worn parts or tires.

And wear that helmet!

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Bicycles aren’t just for transportation bicycles are healthy and fun!

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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 stays 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 (for lack of a better title) 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 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.)

We don’t have much time. 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!”

The Right Motivation

One thing about tracking your rides with an application like MapMyRide (MapMyFitness) is at the end of the year you can look at your stats to see how you did and hopefully be amazed. I can log onto the site and look at my ride statistics including the maps, of every ride (or workout) I’ve done since the beginning. It’s great for motivation and reviewing just how hard you did work.

Learn how to track your rides.

I get emails from MapMyRide periodically to remind me of how I’m doing and this year blew my mind! You can see my stats HERE and it has some nice animation to go with it. This was my first full year riding and really was my best year yet.

My Best Year Yet Equals WOW

  • 3,630 miles, that’s equal to running 1,168 5K races.
  • 170 total workouts, that’s like working out daily for 24 weeks in a row.
  • 328 total hours, that’s like working out 24 hours for over 13 days. (Half a year, every other day.)
  • 158,185 total calories burned, that’s 427 slices of pizza.
  • 6 challenges finished, winning 19 awards along the way.

Plenty of times I didn’t want to ride. I almost always ride alone and without a bike carrier so I always bike the same 30+ miles every week. Motivation is my biggest problem. I wish I had a secret to overcoming a lack of motivation but the only way I know of is to try harder.

Overcoming Bad Motivation/Moods

  • treat yourself to something nice after your hard work (not food)
  • have a time of day for your workout and stick to it
  • eat breakfast every morning
  • hydrate, hydrate, hydrate before, during and after
  • think about how good this is for you and pat yourself on the back
  • practice a positive pre-ride mindset/ meditation to clear your mind
  • smile at others and let the scenery take you away
  • be thankful that you can workout and do what many cannot

If all else fails, do the mental work and try again. A half hour into my ride I almost always feel better. If your motivation is low don’t beat yourself up about it pick yourself up and start again. Never workout when you’re sick or have a fever and everyone needs a day off from exercise sometimes.

For most people, the number one reason many fail New Years (or other) resolutions about exercise is motivation. It took you a long time to get out of shape so it will take some time to get back into it. The more positive and realistic you are about your goals the better you’ll do.

Learn how to track your rides with a Fitbit. 

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Motivation:
ˌmōdəˈvāSH(ə)n/
noun

  • the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
  • the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

There’s no way I could have done what I did last year without learning how to deal with my lack of motivation. Most of the time this was linked to my moods or the weather. This winter I’m having a problem with the weather. It doesn’t snow or freeze in my area of California but if it’s a cold day I can balk.

In reality, it’s barely below 40 degrees and adding full gloves, a head covering and a coat solves that. It’s not too cold to ride but I “feel” like it is and if I don’t challenge that in my mind I probably won’t go. In moments like this, I decide to put on my “big girl boots” and do it anyway. I’m always glad I did.

For every good reason to go work out, there are probably 3 reasons why you won’t. Motivation really is mind over matter which is why so many people fall short of their goals. The real culprit is moods we can’t give in to them. The good news is once you get into better shape you’ll feel better which will put you in a better mood. You’ll find your moods are more even and might find yourself happier.

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I’m much happier going into 2018 and I know it’s because of my love of biking. So many positive things have happened to me surrounding it besides the good health and other benefits for someone my age. I’m a more confident, comfortable person all around and planning to keep it up. And yes, I’m damn proud of myself!

Put Your Bad Motivation On Permanent Vacation For 2018