I was reading some bike blogs yesterday while all my rides from the week were updating on Strava and Garmin Connect and came across the quote from Ernest Hemingway about bike riding on JaxMeowMeow’s blog (you should check out if you are a hill climbing fanatic, Jax started climbing hills on a fixie and is now dominating some big climbs with gears in Southern California) . A group of us were talking about just this thing the other day. The places and things I have seen on two wheels are things I would have never noticed driving in a car or even a motorcycle. If you bike you get it, if you don’t you need to experience it to understand it. There really is no better way to explore places then on two wheels.
Women believe guys who ride fast and finish in the top of bike races and bike rides are better looking. It’s that simple.
No, I am not making it up, ask Erik Postma who recently published a paper titled, “A relationship between attractiveness and performance in professional cyclists.” Yea I took some liberty in interpreting the results given the study focused on professional cyclists. However, Erik studies biological evolution and explains how the results could be interpreted. It makes sense, evolution dictates that women seek strong males for all the reasons of survival and good genes.
While we might live in modern homes, manufactured landscapes and technology that can almost now think like a human, the fact remains we are a product of millions of years of evolution where our genes simply have say. And hey, riding fast is good for your health anyway. Here’s to those that ride in the front of the peloton!
Bicycling might just be getting more popular and not just with those of us who buy those crazy light carbon bikes. It appears more Americans then ever have taken up riding their bike to work. I was playing around with some statistics on the US Census site and found some interesting biking statistics.
* The number of U.S. workers who traveled to work by bicycle increased from about 488,000 in 2000 to about 786,000 in 2008–2012, a larger percentage increase than that of any other commuting mode.
* The combined rate of bicycle commuting for the 50 largest U.S. cities increased from 0.6 percent in 2000 to 1.0 percent in 2008–2012.
* Among large cities, Portland, OR, has the highest bicycle com – muting rate at 6.1 percent. Nice work Portland!
* At 0.8 percent, the rate of bicycle commuting for men was more than double that of women at 0.3 percent. Come on ladies, we like to see you on bikes as well!
* Among the approximately 140 million workers in the United States between 2008-2012, 0.6 percent commuted by bicycle, compared with 86.2 percent of workers who drove alone or carpooled to work Between 2000 and 2008–2012, the number of workers who traveled to work by bicycle increased by 60.8 percent, from about 488,000 in 2000 to about 786,000.
If the trend continues we will start to be a society that at least burns some real calories on the way to work.
I’ve used a bunch of energy drinks trying to find just the right one that works for me to sustain energy and maintain hydration. Some of the drinks have worked, some have not and a few just did not agree with me. One of the best hydration drinks or supplements I have found is Nuun. I have used probably 100+ containers of these over the years. They work for me. One of the best drink mixes I have used is Hammer Nutrition Heed and Sustained Energy. I like these because they have protein in them which is great for the longer rides. I tend to need to dilute them a bit from what the suggested amount is because they fill me up, they work great.
One of the downsides to all the drinks is 1) making sure you have a regular supply, which I always seem to run out, and 2) the cost, 3) sometimes taking in all the supplements makes me feel sick. To point #3 I just feel sick taking in things that are processed, do not get me wrong they work, just taking them in five times a week can make anyone sick of them.
For my diet I tend to always eat natural things, I just feel better. If it has a label I try and stay away. It does not mean I am religious about it, just try and make sure it is 85% on track. I love a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and cookies like anyone else from time to time. The natural thing got me experimenting making my own sports drinks for rides where I have run out of supplements or just to take a break. You can make your own sports drinks pretty easily. My ingredients:
- Home brewed iced tea – I fill the bottle up about half way.
- Water – I top it off once I have the other ingredients
- Lemon – I estimate with generally half a lemon or a few squirts of lemon juice
- Fine grain sugar – 1/4 cup of sugar = 200 calories, I usually give myself 1/4 cup or less per bottle.
- Salt – I just give it a few shakes.
The results is an iced tea lemonade sports drink with a little caffeine, plenty of sugar and some salt. Realize that this drink has mainly simple sugars, so it is not going to give you the complex carbohydrates you need, but you can get that in other ways, I usually eat a bag of pretzels.
This sports drink is also for my longer rides, after a few hours in saddle your body starts to absorb any food you take in differently and it’s a point where you have generally depleted your body’s store of carbohydrates. The sugar in the drink goes right into your blood stream and can be used for fuel. You’ll often see the pro riders drink a Coke or drink along those lines after they are about half into a race. It’s gives them a boost, this sports drink has about the exact same composition.
This is not for everyone and everyone’s body responds differently to different supplements while cycling. This drink has it’s place in training, give it a try and see what you think.
I ride in a climate often where it can be 60 degrees, cloudy and windy and thirty minutes later be in a micro-climate where it is 72 and sunny. Dressing for conditions like that can be a nightmare. Even if you do not live in an area that has a bunch of micro-climates you might climb a long hill, get hot and then on the decent be in a situation where you can get cold from the windchill. The pro cyclists often use newspaper, but given they have gone the way of horse and buggy and that most of us do not have a crowd of crazy fans at the top of the hill cheering us on we need an alternative. I keep a cut open ziplock bag in my back pocket for situations where you get a chill. Just take it out, put it under/between your suspender straps and you’re good to go.