Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Three things riding a bike trainer will improve that isn't your legs

You might think that enduring riding a bike on an indoor bike trainer apparatus is all about improving your legs strength and cardiovascular fitness. Of course these are trained, but other benefits accrue also.
  • Adapting your big tush to the little seat. Getting used to the little bike seat takes time. it can be unpleasant to say the least. Riding the trainer maintains your adaptation to this least pleasant aspect to riding a good bike. 
  • Adapting your upper body to leaning on the handlebars for extended periods of time. Your upper body needs some fitness to maintain the cycling position. And we know you aren't doing any pushups.  An enjoyable bike ride does not mean sitting up and riding hands free half the time (or... does it?) 
  • Your neck. Your neck can sometimes not be your best friend. Your neck is great at balancing that heavy brain-filled bowl of bone up top of the spinal column, and does it best when you are standing up straight. But lean over into the bike riding position (assuming your are holding on to the handlebars, which really you should be doing) and the neck get to tell you that you are causing trouble and cut it out already. So riding the trainer teaches your neck muscles to adapt to this new position, which they will if you spend a little time at it regularly, like riding your bike on the indoor trainer a few times per week. 

Ok, we hope you are convinced now and are already getting changed into the cycling clothes.

Trainer Tips

Here's a few tips to make indoor training easier, less boring and more comfy.
  • -fresh full water bottle
  • -protect your bike with a trainer towel thing
  • -lip goo because you'll be breathing hard and your lips will dry out.
  • -a fan, blowing hard, because you will be generating heat, and possibly a lot of it.
  • -eye protection, because the fan is blowing hard, and eyes are important to protect
  • -a headband, because sweating is mandatory if you are doing it right.
  • -fast music that you like a lot. If you are sitting up and pausing, the music is the wrong music.
More tips
  • Use a trainer-specific tire.  We have destroyed expensive road tires on the trainer.
  • But... You cannot use the trainer tire outside.
  • Clean the tire with alcohol before each session. Go buy a bottle of rubbing alcohol for this purpose.
  • make sure there is nothing fragile on the ground around the bike that you will step on and crush and destroy
  • always release the tire from the trainer's roller after each session.
  • Fitness doesn't improve in seven days.  12 weeks is more like it.
  • Rest/Recovery are as big a part of training as the heavy breathing and sweating are.
  • For a great full body workout, try alpine snowshoeing (with poles) in the uphill direction. Use the poles a lot to improve your upper body region to support a good bike position/form.
  • Feel your feet. Are they light inside your shoes? Can you wiggle your toes? Happy feet are important to having a happy cycling experience.
  • rinse or wash the headband and heartrate monitor strap right when you finish - no crusty stuff please!


CFM Cadence-Interval trainer workout

Here is a stimulating cadence-interval workout we like a lot.  You will be pedaling at a fast rpm (110-120 rpm) for intervals of increasing duration (30 seconds, increasing by 30 seconds each interval until 3 minutes long for the final interval.  (ten laps on the 256-step staircase at the Mont Royal Chalet/lookout is another very popular interval workout option that will improve your fitness, and that is the goal)

10 minutes - warm up (pedal easy, pedal hard, don't over do it)
Set up the resistance and make sure other details are ready (timer? water? towel? fan?)

30 seconds @ 110-120 rpm
     60 seconds recovery
1 minute @ 110-120 rpm
     60 seconds recovery
1 minute 30 seconds @ 110-120 rpm
     60 seconds recovery
2 minutes @ 110-120 rpm
     60 seconds recovery
2 minutes 30 seconds @ 110-120 rpm
     60 seconds recovery
3 minutes @ 110-120 rpm
          Recovery: easy pedaling 5 minutes

Remember: don't go into cardio overload!

Take a rest day after this workout. DO NOT do this every day. Recovery is as big a part of training as the heavy breathing and sweating are.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

What is "active transportation?"

Active transportation is FUN!

Actually, Let's have the Public Health Agency of Canada define it for us:

What is Active Transportation?

Active transportation is any form of human-powered transportation. It is any trip made for the purposes of getting yourself, or others, to a particular destination - to work, to school, to the store or to visit friends. As long as it is "active", you can choose the mode - walking, cycling, wheeling, in-line skating, skateboarding, ice skating (eg. on a canal). Walking and cycling are the most popular forms of active transportation. It can also involve combining modes such as walking/cycling with public transit.
Active Transportation is important for a number of reasons! (not just because it's fun!)
The most energy efficient and least costly mode of transportation is muscle power!
For distances up to 5 km, cycling is recognized as the fastest of all modes from door to door.

Taking Action

Here are some ideas that may help you consider adopting more active modes of transportation:
  • Think twice about using your car for every trip. Could you walk or use your bike to visit friends?
  • Dust off your bicycle and cycle to work when the weather permits.
  • Trade in your dress shoes for running shoes, strap on a backpack and walk all, or part of the way to work/school.
  • Instead of driving your kids to the park, why not make it a family outing on your bikes.
  • If you are considering moving, think about the transportation options available to you in the new locations you are considering. How far will the distance be to those places you regularly need to get to. Could you walk to do most of your small errands? How far away is the nearest school for your child? Is this new neighbourhood "pedestrian friendly"?
But keep in mind, it's not just up to an individual to adopt active transportation, our communities, workplaces and schools must also support active transportation.

Communities that endorse active transportation :

  • have dedicated bicycle lanes and routes;
  • advocate for sharing the road with cyclists;
  • undertake specific measures to ensure the safe integration of pedestrians, cyclists and other active users among motorized vehicle traffic;
  • regularly maintain and upgrade pedestrian and cycling facilities;
  • provide storage for bicycles throughout the city;
  • have an integrated network of pedestrian and cycling paths that are designed for efficient transportation as well as recreation;
  • favour urban design that reduces the distances that people have to travel to get to work, retail areas, schools and recreational/leisure pursuits;
  • encourage the retail and service sectors to support customers who use active modes of transportation;
  • plan streetscapes to be visually pleasing and inviting to pedestrians;
  • have a network of greenspaces throughout the urban and suburban areas;
  • make access to public transit easily integrated with pedestrian and cycling facilities to encourage intermodal travel;
  • encourage driver education about how to share the road with multi-users;
  • encourage feedback from citizens, pedestrian and cycling advocacy groups.

Workplaces that endorse active transportation:

  • support and encourage their employees to adopt active transportation;
  • provide secure bicycle storage, lockers and shower facilities for employees;
  • allow more flexible dress codes;
  • organize workplace challenges, employee recognition programs or support community events to increase awareness;
  • work with municipal planners to map out safe and efficient routes to work and to address infrastructure or safety problems;
  • emphasize reduced motorized transportation while at work and encourage more active modes;
  • provide or subsidize safe cycling or in-line skating clinics for their employees.

Schools that endorse active transportation:

  • support and encourage their students to adopt an active way to get to school;
  • work with the municipality to identify safe routes for children while addressing safety and infrastructure barriers;
  • encourage parents to form "escorted walks" to and from school for young neighbourhood children;
  • have teachers work with children to identify the safest routes to get to school while teaching children about traffic and pedestrian safety;
  • offer cycling and in-line skating skill and safety courses;
  • work with parents, motorists and the community at large, to make the trip to school a safe trip for children and youth.
Isn't that interesting!

For lot's more information, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada.

(Originally posted in May 2006)

Some backcountry double track bike paths in Quebec

There are bike paths that are nice paved strips of happiness for bike riders to ride and ride and ride. Some people never let their bikes go off the asphalt diet. Don't let this happen to you.

Dirt roads and non-paved bike paths can be marvelous places to ride. Sometimes not, but often is it pure scenic beauty and enjoyment of the quietness of the real world, away from our modern manufactured world.

Fear of the unknown can prevent you from riding on the dirt road that you aren't sure where it goes but you think it goes in the direction you are going so let's go. What's the worst that can happen? Wrong question! the question is: What's the best that could happen? 

Early Alpinist Maurice Herzog talked about this in the context of climbing, which is not as dissimilar to cycling as you would think.

In 1953, Mr. Herzog wrote an essay for The New York Times in which he described the first time he went climbing in the Alps as a student, finding himself isolated, vulnerable, in peril — and thrilled.
“I believe what I felt that day closely resembles what we call happiness,” he wrote. “I also believe that if I felt such happiness in such rigorous circumstances it is because the planned, organized, predigested happiness that the modern world offers is not complete. It leaves certain sides of man’s nature unsatisfied.” 

I think that sums up pretty accurately the feeling one gets from a good bike ride adventure.

Here are some Quebec bike rides that are back country, but not "off road" pure mountain bike terrain, and less developed that quite civilized route route.

Aerobique Corridor (Laurentiens: Morin Heights to Rockaway)
Tomifobia Nature Trail (Eastern Townships: Ayer's Cliff to Stanstead)
Portage Trail (Gaspé: L'anse Aux Griffons)

We especially like the Tomifobia Nature trail. It follows the Tomifobia river through exceptional landscape far, far away from cars, condos and man-made noises.

We posted a photo on Twitter. This is in the upper part of the Corridor Aerobique in the Laurentiens. On this ride we parked in Arundel and bikes NW and back.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

what is an e-bike?

what is an e-bike?

The EU answers the question:

To qualify as EPAC’s and be classified as bicycles they must satisfy three bicycle like qualities:
-They go under 25 kph.
-They have a continuous power of 250 Watts
-They have pedals and a progressive motor that gradually cuts off as 25 kph -approaches