1. From the Top: Dealing with Cycle-Guilt
2. News & Reviews: Holiday Season Special Offers for All Readers
3. Question of the Week: Have You Ever Felt Guilty Leaving the Family Home to Ride?
4. Ask Coach Fred: Should Better Flexibility Alter My Riding Position?
5. Sponsors: Cycling Products from our Sponsors
6. Jim's Tech Talk: Thanks For Helping Adelaide
7. No Problem: Hill Circuit Training Tips
8. Quick Tips: Make Use of Your Adjustable Reach
9. Cadence: The Joys of Riding Hard and Going Nowhere
10. RBR eBookstore: The Best Cycling Bookstore on the Internet!
Editor’s Note: First off, Happy Thanksgiving! to our American readers next week. We’ll be taking the week off to spend with our families, so no Newsletter on Thanksgiving Day, the 27th. See you again December 4. Enjoy your own family time!
We recently were honored to add Stan Purdum as a regular contributor to RBR. Stan is a life-long cyclist, freelance writer and editor, and Methodist minister. He writes thoughtfully and evocatively about his cycling adventures and has agreed to offer two of his books, both detailing cross-country bike tours, for sale in hard copy format in the RBR Bookstore – starting today. (See details about his books below Stan’s column.)
His column today is a terrific take on how he dealt with the very natural guilt of leaving his wife and family at home while undertaking one of those cross-country tours. It holds lessons for anyone contemplating such a ride and, like all of his works, is simply a pleasure to read. – John Marsh
By Stan Purdum
“I have a family, and although my dream is to have a bicycle pilgrimage, I would feel incredibly guilty about leaving my family. I’d have a sense that I had abandoned them, and I don’t think I could shake that feeling.”
That declaration was part of an email message I received from a cyclist who had read my book about my coast-to-coast bicycle trip, Roll Around Heaven All Day. He wrote to me to ask if I’d had similar feelings and, if so, how I’d handled them.
Other cyclists who tell me they yearn to ride extended trips often assume that those of us who have done so took to the road guilt-free, shucking all responsibilities and embracing a gypsy freedom because we have no ties that bind.
’Taint so — at least not for all of us.
For some of us, it was a matter of cobbling together some time off and negotiating with our family members the extended absence. And we seldom left home without mixed feelings. Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn was speaking wisely when he said that conscience “takes up more room than all the rest of a person’s insides.”
It’s true, of course, that some long-distance riders are in a period where they can be footloose for a while. As I rode my own journey on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail a few years ago, I noted that some of the coast-to-coast riders were people who didn’t have to deal with the emotions of leaving families; they were either unattached or had brought their significant other with them on the ride.
Several of those in the latter category were young adults, couples, married or otherwise, without children and who had not yet settled into careers. They shared the miles together, some literally linked on tandem bicycles. I also met a couple in their late 30s who had brought their two children along as well. One child cranked her own bike and the other cycled on a tandem with her dad. Many of the unattached riders were also young adults. A few were riding solitary journeys, and others pedaled with friends who where similarly uncommitted.
Jim, a man I met in Montana, was typical of the older unattached rider. In midlife, his marriage had ended, and finding himself also between jobs, Jim had decided on a long-distance bike trek as a way to reassess his life. With no relationship to tend, taking to the road for several months was not difficult.
But there were a number of us who were in ongoing marriages and had family responsibilities, but who nonetheless were on the road without our spouses or children. Riding eastbound in Montana, I met a woman riding westbound. She was 66 years old and a member of an Adventure Cycling cross-nation tour group, with whom she rendezvoused each evening. During the day, however, she rode at her own pace and was often by herself. She told me that she was happily married, but that her husband had no interest in riding the journey with her. He was willing for her to have the experience of the bike trip, however, and joining the tour group rather than making the trek alone had been her concession to his concerns about her safety.
In my case, it wasn’t that I wanted to be away from my wife and kids, but simply that it was not feasible for us to make the journey together. My choice was either to go without them or to not go at all. In my book, I described my situation this way:
My wife ... wasn’t crazy about the fact that I would be away from the family for my entire vacation allotment .... Although I had occasionally taken a week off without the family before, this would be the first time in the 29 years of our marriage that my plans included no time off together. Two of our three children yet lived at home, and although they were teenagers, they still needed some supervision and chauffeuring, which Jeanine would have to handle while also maintaining her job responsibilities. ... juggling both her own and my usual parenting tasks was asking a lot of Jeanine, and I didn’t feel great about it. ... it wasn’t going to be a holiday for her.
I am happy to report that we are still married. In fact, although my wife was never really happy about my being away from her for weeks at a time, she eventually put her objections aside and accepted my expedition without rancor. She even helped with some of the getting-ready tasks. While I still felt an occasional twinge of guilt about the disparity in our circumstances while I was rolling across America, receiving my wife’s blessing for the trip alleviated a lot of it. Certainly, part of the reason we were able to negotiate this arrangement was because our marriage was stable to begin with and we had a strong level of trust and respect for each other.
But beyond that, here are some of the specifics that really helped:
We talked about personal goals.
From the time we were first married, I had frequently voiced my desire to “someday” ride my bicycle across the country, and from almost as early, I realized that such a trip was not my wife’s idea of a good time. Her vacation preferences always included more conventional forms of travel and time to read by the pool, and over the years, we have taken some of those kinds of holidays together. They were pleasant, but they never satisfied my bicycling itch.
On the other side of the equation, my wife, as a nurse, has had opportunities to participate in foreign mission trips, something she enjoys more than do I, and I encouraged her to go when possible, while I stayed home with the kids. We eventually accepted that not all of our goals have to be in sync, and that there is value in allowing each other some room for occasional experiences that may not include the other. Her mission trips and my bike journeys have satisfied something in each of us, which makes us more content overall, and that is good for us as a couple.
I broke up the trip with returns home.
The reality of my job at the time meant that I could not take enough weeks off to make the coast-to-coast ride all at once. I ended up breaking the trip into three time-blocks over two years. While this was necessary for the job, it was also beneficial to our family situation. The longest I was gone at once was four weeks.
Where feasible, I included the family.
The timeframe of my ride worked out so that my daughter, then 15, could ride with me for the leg across Virginia. As soon as the trip became a father-daughter event, my wife, who believes in the importance of parent-child bonding experiences, became more enthused about the journey — it was no longer just for me. And I thoroughly enjoyed having my daughter along. On that same leg, my second son got involved by transporting us home from the destination point.
We threw money at the problem.
After I rode the first chunk of the trip, I realized how inexpensive bicycle travel can be, especially when camping out at night, as I usually did. So when I planned to ride the mid-portion, we reassigned the lion’s share of our vacation money so that my wife and kids could go to Disney World while I pedaled by myself across Colorado, Kansas and Missouri. Knowing they were romping with Mickey assuaged most of my remaining guilt.
I accepted that total freedom from guilt is not a reasonable expectation.
No matter how accommodating my wife and family are, what kind of a person would I be if I cycled off without any unease at all about the circumstances I’ve left behind? In this life, you do the best you can, but as long as you have any ongoing relationships, some mixed feelings are appropriate whenever you are apart from your loved ones for whatever reason.
I’ve taken another long bike journey since that first one, as well as a few week-long trips, and each one has required a certain amount of negotiation in our household. But that’s part of what life together is about. Because of the pervasive nature of guilt, which can inflict itself even in situations were no guilt is warranted, every trip begins with some degree of tension. But in my case, open discussion and attention to each other’s goals means that my cycle trips usually occur under a dispensation of grace from my life partner.
Stan Purdum has ridden several long-distance bike trips, including an across-America ride recounted in his book Roll Around Heaven All Day, and a trek on U.S. 62, from Niagara Falls, New York, to El Paso, Texas, the subject of his book Playing in Traffic. Both are available in hard copy format in the RBR Bookstore for $11.99 ($10.19 for Premium Members), with FREE shipping and handling to U.S. residents.
Premium Member Price: $17.00 / Non-Premium Price: $20.00
Free U.S. Shipping / $12.50 International
Premium Member Price: $7.00 / Non-Premium Price: $8.50
Free U.S. Shipping / $5.00 International
As I mentioned last week, I’ve been working with a couple of different companies to line up some special offers on great cycling gear to offer you during the holidays. There are savings to be had for both non-Premium readers and our Premium Members -- who can save as much as $125 on carbon pedals!
If you're not already a Premium Member, consider joining as a holiday gift to yourself in order to reap these sensational savings -- while supporting RBR at the same time. -- John Marsh
From SAMPSON SPORTS:
PREMIUM MEMBERS: Click Sponsor Special Offers to access the discount codes you’ll need to reap these savings. (Make sure you’re logged in first.)
These special offers from SAMPSON SPORTS expire December 31, 2014.
PREMIUM MEMBERS: Click Sponsor Special Offers to access the discount code you’ll need to get the 15% discount. (Make sure you’re logged in first.)
These special offers from LifeBEAM expire December 31, 2014.
Editor’s Note: The following is from the Community Engagement Chair of a cancer-support ride featuring college students riding from Texas to Alaska to raise money for cancer research and support groups. The Texas 4000 group is looking for “pen pals” to correspond with during the ride. Please read on for more details.
By Logan DeBord
Texas 4000 is a group of about 90 college students who ride their bicycles from Austin, Texas, to Anchorage, Alaska, each summer. Before they begin their trip, each rider raises at least $4,500, a dollar for every mile ridden, which goes to MD Anderson Cancer Center, the UT Biomedical Engineering Department, and LIVESTRONG Navigation Services. Our riders aim to embody the ideals of Hope, Knowledge, and Charity before, during, and after the ride.
Our newly-established Bicycle Buddies program can best be described as a pen pal system. The program pairs a rider with someone who is currently fighting cancer or has survived it. As soon as the Buddies are paired, they will communicate before and during the summer ride by sending pictures, email or letters. Correspondence includes any updates via phone calls, emails, texts, pictures, video chats, etc. We will ask community members, nurses, doctors, and family members to nominate anyone that they believe will be interested in joining the program. Nominees can be of any age.
By pairing up with a rider, we hope that each Bicycle Buddy back home will see just how powerful their fight is. Each Texas 4000 cyclist joined the organization to fight for his or her loved ones who have or currently are battling cancer. By reaching out to cancer fighters, we want to communicate that our team rides for the entire community. With this program, we hope that each Bicycle Buddy pair can use each other for support, companionship, and motivation.
We ask that you share this information through any avenue of communication to reach those who may be interested. Here’s how you can get more information on how to become a Bicycle Buddy. While we do have a limited number of riders, we will continue to assign Buddies on a rolling basis until there are no more available. Visit http://www.texas4000.org/ for complete information on our group. Thank you so much for your consideration!
Between now and December 22, Edison Nation is inviting veterans and active duty military personnel to submit their new product ideas to benefit Ride 2 Recovery.
Ride 2 Recovery helps injured veterans and those with PTSD improve their health and wellness through individual and group cycling programs at military bases, as well as on seven long-distance challenge events staged each year. According to the group, “Cycling has proven to be a catalyst in the recovery process by providing a new physical challenge while concurrently helping to cope with the mental challenges.”
The idea behind the Edison Nation project is to bring the new product ideas of yet more military personnel to market in ways that will help benefit Ride 2 Recovery.
Spread the word about the program and visit the Edison Nation website for full details.
Just launched last week: The latest from Coach John Hughes, our expert on nutrition and aging -- Cycling Past 50, 60 and Beyond: Fit For Life.
“While road cycling remains my primary sport, I’ve incorporated a number of other sports and activities into my overall recreation," he says. The result: "I’m fitter than I’ve been for years – and I’ve had more FUN getting this fit than I’ve had in years!"
Different physiological systems worsen with age, and by exercising in different ways you can stay fitter than if you just ride your road bike. The article shows how you can exercise in different ways to be fitter for life and have fun. It provides a variety of exercise options available to you to strengthen your body’s functions that keep you alive and help to keep you fit for life, including the aerobic, skeletal, muscular, neural, core and balance systems. Many of these options to road cycling are also great alternatives as winter approaches.
Fit for Life is packed with 34+ pages of detailed information.
Also New to the RBR eBookstore
A terrific new eBook from Rick Schultz, who in addition to being one of our regular product reviewers, runs his own bike-fitting business.
What sets Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit apart from other fitting books is this: It is packed with details that you can use to do a complete self-fit – BUT it is also designed to give you the “tools” and knowledge to help ensure you can find and work with a professional fitter to get the best possible fit for you.
Like most of us, Rick has heard legion horror stories about “professional” fittings that left riders less comfortable, in more pain, etc., AFTER the fitting. That should never happen. And Rick’s eBook was written as a response to ensure that it doesn’t happen for you.
Coming Soon: New Shoulder Injury Treatment and Prevention eArticle
Dr. Alan Bragman has a new title, as well, Shoulder Injuries and Cycling: A Guide to Treatment and Prevention, which is next in our publication queue.
Shoulder injuries are extremely common with cyclists, Dr. Bragman points out. In fact, both he and I have had one.
Understanding the shoulder’s anatomy, and the various exercises used to address the different types of shoulder injuries or problems, can benefit cyclists – whether you’re trying on your own to overcome a less-serious shoulder problem or working with a physical therapist or other medical professional to rehabilitate a traumatic injury.
This knowledge, and the various strengthening exercises, may also help you avoid some of the typical shoulder problems as well. They are recommended for overall strengthening and stability of the upper extremities, with the goal of increasing your riding comfort and avoiding injury.
’Tis the season. If you’re either looking for a program to get you started with resistance training, or you’re in the market for something specific to cyclists, look no further than Coach Harvey Newton’s Strength Training for Cyclists SYSTEM, which includes the 132-page electronic Strength Training for Cyclists Manual, plus a 42-minute DVD Training Program and 28-page hard copy Quick Start Guide.
Coach Newton, a veteran roadie and former coach of the U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Team, is unequaled in his understanding of how cyclists benefit from strength training. And his Strength Training for Cyclists system has benefitted hundreds of RBR readers over the years.
Slowly but surely, we’re working to make available some of our best-selling titles in Kindle editions for those of you who use the popular reader. We will continue to work though our catalog, and as new titles go on sale we’ll work to get those up on Amazon as well. Because Kindle editions are sold exclusively through Amazon, and Amazon takes its cut, there is no Premium discount available on Kindle editions.
Here are the RBR titles currently available in Kindle editions:
After doing yoga for 3 months, I'm a lot more flexible. Now my handlebar seems too high and too close. Do you think I should change my position to reflect my increased limberness? -- Basil D.
Yoga and other forms of stretching are great for flexibility and many riders have gotten benefits. There is plenty of time to incorporate this type of training into your winter workouts and enjoy the comfort advantages of a more limber body in the coming season. (And many riders tout the virtues of making such exercises a part of your year-round training.)
Your riding position is governed to a large extent by how flexible you are in the lower back and hamstrings. Andy Pruitt, Ed.D., director of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine in Colorado, argues that if you can't touch your toes without bending your knees, you won't be able to maintain a low, relaxed riding position.
So, if you're now loose as a goose, you can probably improve your position with a longer stem and lower handlebar.
However, don't overlook this fact: Flexibility is specific, just like the rest of training. In the same way that endurance gained by running doesn't transfer directly to cycling, so the ability to put your palms flat on the floor without bending your knees doesn't necessarily mean that you can sustain a low riding position.
When you do flexibility exercises, you're holding a stretch position for 10 or 15 seconds. But when you pedal, your low back and hamstrings stretch and shorten rhythmically with every pedal stroke. It's not the same thing.
If you try a lower and longer position, do it cautiously. Don't reduce bar height by more than a centimeter. Same for increasing stem length.
Use the new position for several rides to adapt and see how it feels. Good? Then you might want to stretch out a bit more. Don't go so far that you experience soreness or tightness ride after ride.
And don't forget that while a low position is more aerodynamic, it can compromise pedaling power. An ideal position balances power production, comfort and aerodynamics. This, and many other “fit factors,” is explained well in some of the eBooks on bike fit in RBR’s Bookstore: Andy Pruitt's Medical Guide for Cyclists, Dr. Arnie Baker's Bike Fit, and Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit.
Coach Fred Matheny has decades of experience as a competitive racer and cycling coach. He is the author of 13 RBR eBooks and eArticles.
For new, and renewing, Premium Members, we’ll kick in One Free eArticle of Your Choice. That’s a rebate, in effect, of $4.99 off the annual $24.99 membership. You can choose from among any of our 70 individual eArticles (bundles are excluded). Click to see the entire array: http://www.roadbikerider.com/all-earticles.
Of course, you’ll also get all the other great benefits we’ve pulled together for you, including discounts on all our eArticles and eBooks, great cycling product discounts, access to our full treasure trove of searchable content and, when you can’t find what you’re looking for, the Ask RBR a Question feature – which allows Premium Members to ask our experts directly; we’ll tap our network to find your answer.
Here’s how it works: Your receipt (emailed to you after purchasing your Premium Membership) is your coupon. Just hit Reply on that email and write in the title of the eArticle you’d like. I’ll drop it in your Downloads folder in your RBR account. (If you can’t find your receipt, just let me know. I’m happy to help you out.)
Three weeks ago, our News & Reviews section led with the article In Iowa, a Cyclist’s Life is Worth About $1,500. It told the story of Shawn Gosch getting hit and killed on a rural highway. The driver only had to pay a small fine because he claimed he didn’t see Shawn.
This piece drew plenty of comments, including one from reader Charlie Johnson, who told the story of a 27-year-old women named Adelaide who crashed into and went through the window of a car that cut her off in Boulder, Colorado. Charlie provided a link to Adelaide’s boyfriend, Kennett’s, poignant blog post about the accident.
The scary coincidence is that Adelaide works with me at SmartEtailing, in our Boulder office. And Kennett used to work there, until he accepted a professional racing opportunity.
On the day after Adelaide’s crash, October 19th, I had just arrived at the Boulder office and was shocked to hear what had happened to Adelaide and Kennett (they had started the ride together). Only weeks before, I’d worked the Interbike Show in Las Vegas with Adelaide. And now, she was in a coma in critical condition and fighting for her life due to a careless driver.
The fact that this happened in Boulder was weird to me. It’s such a bike-friendly place, with separate bike lanes and paths criss-crossing the city, plus wide shoulders sandwiching the major thoroughfares. Bike commuters are everywhere -- and even through the winter.
Then there are the myriad bicycle shops, pro riders, raging cyclocross scene, their famous Valmont Bike Park where last year’s national cyclocross championships were held, and on and on.
It just goes to show that even when so many things are right for safe cycling, all it takes is one dumb move by a driver to change everything.
The best news is that it looks like Adelaide is going to be okay. I saw her last week in Boulder, and she’s walking well and told us (through clenched teeth because she can’t yet move her jaw), that she’s already riding a little indoors on a trainer!
She still has a feeding tube inside because she can’t chew food yet, and she faces more surgeries to repair her injuries and teeth. But, she’s in good spirits and determined to recover fully. Understandably, she’s concerned about regaining her confidence to get out on the open road again. But all 12 cyclists in our Boulder SmartEtailing office are committed to helping her get over that.
I don’t know for sure, but I believe RBR readers have helped Adelaide. After Charlie’s comment appeared in the Newsletter, Kennett’s blog received over 100,000 views. And, Adelaide’s recovery fund rose quickly. It’s now at over $31K of the $50K goal.
The other cool thing that happened is that our company allowed all employees to donate their paid time off to Adelaide to give her additional paid time off for recovery, and she quickly had a surplus that should let her enjoy a long vacation once she’s fully mended.
Plus, thanks to Boulder being such a passionate bicycling community, a silent auction fundraiser was held last night, sponsored by RockyMounts, 45NRTH, Lazer Helmets, Polar Bottles, All-City, Skratch Labs, Jetboil, Borealis and Finkel & Garf.
As cyclists, we may not be able to stop these tragic accidents, but we sure know how to help each other -- and that’s a powerful thing. Thank you, and join me in wishing Adelaide a speedy and full recovery. You can leave comments Adelaide’s blog.
Also, if you want to help make the roads safer for cycling, you can get involved with People for Bikes’ Travel With Care media campaign, and the Bike League’s Bicycle Friendly America program. Look for local opportunities, as well.
Jim Langley has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He's the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check his "cycling aficionado" website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim's streak of consecutive cycling days has reached 7,616.
We started this 2-part article last week by discussing how to choose the right course to use for this type of training, and we’ll finish up this week with tips for how to make the most of the circuit you’ve chosen.
Save your hill circuit for days when you want to climb hard. Don’t ride it casually. If you associate it with hard work, you’ll be primed to make a strong effort when it’s time to ride there. It’s a little like Pavlov’s dog, but instead of salivating on cue, you’ll be slobbering as you hammer over the hardest hill.
Ride the circuit both ways. Variety isn’t this workout’s primary attraction. You want to develop a blue-collar routine of work on cue. But riding the circuit both clockwise and counterclockwise gives you different gradients because most hills are steeper or longer on one side than the other. If you have an out-and-back course, you’ll automatically see both sides of each climb.
Get a training partner or 2 to ride with you. Solo slogging up climbs very quickly becomes a mental challenge. It can drain your enthusiasm. When that happens, your workouts get slower and less effective. So, find some like-minded masochists to share your hill circuit. Competition will heat up the pace, stop you from dwelling on every second of your effort and boost your rate of improvement.
Use different climbing techniques. Do the ascents in a variety of ways—big gears, small gears, seated on the tip of the saddle or at the rear, standing or sitting, with a still upper body or pulling rhythmically on the handlebar with each pedal stroke. Over time, you’ll find the techniques that work best for you in different situations.
Don’t overgear. Unless you’re doing specific, big-gear/low-cadence intervals, don’t let your cadence drop below 80 rpm on these climbs. If your loop has very steep hills, you may need a lower gear than you usually employ. In this case, buy a training wheel and cassette with the bigger cogs. Change to your “climbing wheel” before each hill workout.
Practice standing. Heavier riders usually climb seated. When legs don’t have to support bodyweight, more energy can go into getting up the hill. But regardless of how much heft you’re hauling, it pays to stand some of the time for variety, getting over steeper pitches and to give your butt a rest.
Ride the circuit only when you’re fresh. You won’t get anything positive out of the training if you force yourself to hammer when your legs are dead.
Hydrate and eat. Make sure you carry enough food and fluids to see you through the workout. If you ride for 45 minutes to get to your circuit, then spend another hour in the hills, you still have to ride back. If you emptied your bottles and didn’t bring a snack to eat after the final climb, you’ll be bonked before you get home. You need about 300 calories per hour to ride long and hard. That’s equal to an energy bar and bottle of sports drink every 60 minutes.
Don’t keep a record of average time or speed. They’re all but meaningless for this training. When you push hills hard, you have to ride the descents and flats easily to recover. Better to time yourself on the uphills to track improvement while ignoring your total-ride numbers. Beware, though, that speed on climbs can be misleading on a windy day. It can vary considerably for the same power output.
"I've been a long-time reader of your free RBR, but finally decided it was time to subscribe. You have a great publication and perform a much-needed service for the road biking community. Keep up the great work! "-- Roger Fobair
Support RBR with an annual Premium Membership for only $24.99.
Today’s QT comes to us from Premium Member Russ Starke. Here’s what he wrote:
Adjustable reach is the most unused adjustment on most bikes. SRAM and Shimano allow adjusting the reach of brake/shift levers. (Campy too, if you like working with epoxy).
Acceptable hand coverage on the levers while on the hoods may not be as good (or safe) on the drops. There are easy instructions and/or videos online to see how to adjust the reach.
SRAM is pretty straightforward, but Shimano varies between generations, i.e. 6700 may be a different procedure from 6800.
We’d like to hear from our readers with any Quick Tips you might have. To contact me, just hit the reply button on any email from us, or use the Contact Us form on the website: http://www.roadbikerider.com/contact.
By Clair Cafaro
For a cyclist a melancholy sets in with the changing of the leaves. It’s ironic really, because with cooler temperatures and colourful vistas the best days of riding are upon us. Yet we know the fall landscape marks the inevitable end of cycling outdoors.
The first several years with my road cycling club made this marking of the seasons vividly apparent. Summer meant bonding with a group of individuals, sharing ideas, exchanging quips, shedding tears from laughter or from heartfelt confidences. It meant spending countless hours in the saddle with them, exploring new landscapes, discovering tiny country-nestled towns and making lots of new friends. All of this would come to an end with the change of seasons. This always seemed strange to me. After countless hours together how could we possibly say goodbye for 6 long months?
Our indoor trainer rides were born out of this very need to stay connected. In truth, the desire to stay cycling fit all winter takes second place to post-spinning coffee. Coffee time lasts twice as long as actual time on the bike.
Our indoor rides had very humble beginnings, not just in terms of space but what we thought it would be. With space at a premium, our early rides were held in the boxing studio of a local gym no bigger than a breadbox. This intimate environment became my classroom. It’s where I learned about gearing, heart rate, bike fit, form, all the critical things that form the foundation of making me a better rider.
With each passing year our little group grew until eventually we were 48 riders strong. Luckily, one of our new club-mates carved out some space in his warehouse, where for several years we congregated for our early morning rides. I’ll never forget pulling up to the snow-covered loading dock at 7:30 a.m., hearing music pounding from inside the warehouse walls. It sounded just like a night club — except for the a.m. part. It made winter bearable.
Although informal, the rides followed a periodized structure, led by a rotating group of instructors. There’s nothing like putting the hurt on your cycling buddies when your P/W ratio (power to weight ratio) isn’t a factor! We work on bike skills like single-leg drills and get to poke fun at each other when our hip flexors refuse to lift that leg over the top of the circle one – last – time!
(Be honest, there’s no way you do these on your own in your basement!) Doing them together makes them almost fun. While our hills are imaginary, the stairs are very real. Hauling your bike, trainer and gym bag up a flight of stairs is akin to climbing any tough hill. But it’s all worth it.
Perhaps even more worthwhile has been the opportunity to be charitable, to reach out and give a “hand up” to others. Our group has proudly raised thousands of dollars for charitable organizations such as the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation, which funds children’s oncology, as well as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Each of our 48 riders pays $150 for the entire winter. That works out to about $7 per class. A rotating group of ride leaders volunteer their time to teach. If we need to pay rent for the space, we pay that first and then donate the remaining funds. Our indoor trainer rides build bigger hearts in more ways than one.
As my sister Ursula Cafaro puts it:
“Change that helps us grow and expand and soar is a very good thing. Change that helps everyone else around us grow and expand and soar is even better. As we aspire to new things, new environments, new challenges, we need to remember to look back. Chances are there is someone behind us who could use a hand up.”
Clair Cafaro is the president of C.O.R.E CYCLING, an indoor cycling instructor certification program, and writes for www.womenscycling.ca.
Coach John Hughes' Cycling Past 60, Part 2: For Recreation builds on the foundation of information for 60+ riders in Cycling Past 60, Part 1: For Health and uses the concept of “Athletic Maturity” to design more rigorous programs for more athletically mature riders. Part 2 builds on Part 1 and assumes that you have read it and taken the test to determine your Athletic Maturity. latest is for both health-focused and recreational cyclists who ride with more intensity. This 23-page eArticle includes the six different health maintenance objectives for different components of your physiology, eight basic (and four advanced) training principles, types of rides, cross-training and recovery tips.
It includes six different structured workout programs, three each for Endurance and Performance cyclists, based on levels of athletic maturity.
Our other new titles include:
Dynamic Conditioning Monthly – Part 3: Power Development, by Coach Dan Kehlenbach. It’s the 3rd installment in Kehlenbach’s 5-month series, with each building on the previous installment. Part 3 focuses on power building, particularly functional power.
Coach Harvey Newton’s new 132-page Strength Training for Cyclists Manual, which can be purchased on its own or as part of the entire Strength Training for Cyclists System (eManual, DVD and 28-page hard copy Quick Start Guide). This is the strength training resource for cyclists.
Coach David Ertl’s eArticle Keeping Off The Pounds – a Strategy for Maintaining Body Weight in the Cycling Off-Season was written to complement his best-selling eBook, Pedal Off The Pounds. It contains both nutrition and workout tips for managing your off-season weight.
Coach John Hughes’ eArticle Cycling Past 60, Part 1: For Health describes how your whole body ages and gives you six different health maintenance objectives for different components of your physiology, including comprehensive fitness programs that address these objectives.
All of our more than 100 titles are available for instant download.