Cycling For Life

Cycling shouldn't only be about the scrapped knees we get when we are young, foolish and full of the joys of whizzing around.

Cycling is something for all peoples of all ages, but somewhere along the road that gets forgotten. Lifecycle.cc wants to change that. We want to get more people cycling for fun, as a eco friendly way to commute and for sports and fitness.

How Ice Baths and Memory Foam Mattresses Help Top Cyclists Recuperate

The Tour De France 2014 is underway and riders from around the world are midway through one of the most gruelling physical challenges known to sport.

Over 21 stages the athletes cover an incredible 3664 km. That’s a truly remarkably physical feat and we thought we would take a look at the methods riders use to avoid burnout and recuperate each day to get back out and ride again over huge distances.

A Good Sleep

Did you know that some competitors have the same mattress and pillow shipped around the event so that they can ensure a hight quality nights sleep?

Typically the riders will sleep on a high quality memory foam mattress such as the kind that you’ll find here and some even have sponsorship deals with mattress companies!

While the performance can’t be put down to the mattress it’s clear that for an event like this anything that can be done to help the athlete is considered and nothing is left to chance.

Ice Baths

It’s a common practice for the athletes to make use of portable inflatable ice baths immediately following completion of the stages. It’s been proven that an ice bath helps to combat inflammation and reduces soreness the following day. This helps the riders get back out there to take on the challenges of the road.

Nutrition and Hydration

Nutrition and hydration an extremely important part of the recuperation process. Muscules can only hold 1600 calories of carbohydrate fuel so riders are continually eating and drinking to replenish their fuel source. Dedicated nutritionists work to maximise hydration and energy levels and keep riders riding.

Massage

Massage is another important part of the recovery process. Physical therapists perform massage therapy each day to sooth the muscles and stimulate blood flow that helps the muscles to relax and repair themselves before another gruelling day.

Flotation Tanks

A large part of the race is the mental challenge. Some athletes use floatation tanks to provide relaxation and sensory deprivation. It’s important to start the next day as fresh as you possible can and mental recuperation is an important part of the recovery process.

Preparation and Training

Perhaps the greatest method that the cyclists use to be able to recuperate and be ready to race the next day is preparation and training. The Tour De France is one of the most gruelling athletic challenges in sport but the competitors spend their whole lives preparing their body for this type of physical challenge. It is this preparation that allows them to do things that seem unreal for the average cyclist.

Cycling is a great way to stay fit and you don’t need to compete at this level to reap the benefits of cycling. Hopefully some people will be inspired by the athleticism that the competitors show to make cycling part of their life. There is no more fun way to get healthy than on two wheels powered by your own internal engine.

How Travel With Your Bike As Carry On Luggage

Cycling is one of the best ways to move around short distances making it the perfect way to get around most cities.

While we will conceed that cars, trains or planes beat the bicycle for long distance travel for us around town the bicycle is the clear winner for the following reasons:

  1. Cycling is Free – Buses, subways and trains are just not cheap and the purchase and maintenance costs for a bicycle are minimal in comparison. And let’s not even get started on car parking charges!
  2. Cycling is Healthy – Subways are horrible, dark, depressing places. Overcrowded buses are not much better.
  3. Cycling is Just Plain Faster! – Even in a large city you’ll find you can get most places faster on bike that you will on public transport.

If you are used to the benefits of cycling around towns and cities then it can be quite annoying when you travel abroad and sudddenly you need to go back to using public transport with all it’s costs and problems.

But wait a second! Did you ever think about taking your bike with you? To help you decide if travelling with your bike we created this guide to taking your bike on public transport.

 Taking Your Bike In The Car

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The ease of taking your bike with you in the car of course depends on what car you drive.

If you are driving a small car you will probably need to think about a folding bike.

Larger cars might be ok to put your bike in the storage area with perhaps using the quick release system to remove your wheels.

If you are looking for a commuter bike that you will use mainly for transport purposes then folding bikes such as the Brompton are going to make your life a lot easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Your Bike On The Train

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 Taking your bike on the train is usually pretty painless. However it’s probably best to contact the train company before your turn up if you are riding a full size bike.

With regard buses it is possible to take your bike but usually it’s really not worth the hassle you are going to face.

If you want to avoid such conveniences then again the answer is a folding bike. Folding bikes shrink down to luggage size and you should not need to book ahead for the train, subway or bus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Your Bike On the Plane

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 Yeah you read that right. We think taking your bike with you when you travel on a plane is an excellent idea. Ok maybe it doesn’t work if you are travelling with the whole family, but if you are travelling alone or with a partner the you will have amazon freedom in your destination city when you have your bike with you.

In this case a folding bike is really the best option and you can buy special bike cases so really your bike is no different from regular luggage. If you bike is very small then you may even be able to take your bike on as carry on luggage. When you are flying it’s always best to check ahead as each airline has different regulations regarding bikes and check your carry on luggage size allowance so you are well prepared.

We hope this article encourages to use your take your bicycle with you when you travel. In our experience a bicycle is way better option than public transport in most of the worlds major population centers.

Cycling For All The Family Including Young Children

Most kids learn to ride a bike somewhere between the ages of 3 and 8 with age 5 probably being the most common, but that doesn’t mean you need to wait until your kids are older before you can get out cycling as a family.

There are a few options to help you keep cycling when you have young children. It’s a great thing for all the family to do together and we believe that giving your kids the cycling bug from a young age is the best way to ensure that they get into cycling for along and healthy life.

Let’s take a look at some your best options.

The Bicycle Child Carrier

 bikechildcarrierThese are great for toddlers, you should make sure your child is able to strong enough to support his own neck when riding on the back. Remember he is right above the wheel and it can get pretty bumpy back there. He will feel every bump more than you so adjust your speed accordingly.

Your child should always were a helmet when riding in the child carrier. He is vunerable back there if you have an accident.

Having said all this many children love riding in the back seat. It can be a thrilling experience and will get your child involved in cycling at an early age.

 

Bike Trailers

 bike-trailerBike trailers look like so much fun. They are a great way to take 1 or 2 small children out cycling with you.

If you are put off by the cost of a bike trailer you might consider something like the Baby Jogger POD Chassis that can be used as both a bike trailer and a jogging stroller. It seems to be rated highly by those in the know and since you will need a stroller anyway it keeps the cost down.

Some things to keep in mind. A bike trailer is really low down and is not the best place to be in traffic because of exhaust fumes.

They are probably best suited to rides in the countryside. Again your kids should wear a helmet even in the bike trailer.

Bike With Training Wheels

Young child on a bicycle with stabilisers.

Almost everyone learns to ride on a bike with training wheels and it’s a great way to go about things. When we are young we don’t have the balance and coordination to safely ride a bike and we fall over easily. Training wheels help your child get started safely.

While you might not be able to go at the speeds you would like you can actually cycle with your child together at a slower pace and that’s really healthy for the child and probably more so that simply sitting in the back of the child carrier or bike trailer.

Learning How To Ride A Bike

As we mentioned in the intro we mentioned that kids learn to ride from age 3 to 8. If you want to get out cycling with your kids then perhaps the best way it to teach them how to ride a real bike at an early age. Ride in safe places, in the park on the grass where falling will not hurt so much. If you teach your child the habit of cycling from an early age it will stand them in great stead for the rest of their life helping them towards health and fitness.

Here is one of our favorite videos with some tips to get starting cycling without training wheels.

How To Choose The Bikers Best Friend

Not everyone wants to wear a bike helmet. They used to be uncomfortable and they can be hot on summer days. However, a helmet is probably the most important piece of equipment that a rider has. The helmet protects the head. Even the best cyclists and bikers fall from time to time. Cyclists reach high speeds, so one fall and one hit to the pavement can crack the skull. If you ever find yourself in that unfortunate position that’s when you’ll realise that as a cyclist your helmet is your best friend.

How To Choose Your Bike Helmet

When choosing a helmet, looks are not the reason to buy a helmet.  Brand name is not a reason to pay more for a helmet.  The only reason to pay high prices is safety and helmet fit.  The fit will directly relate to the protection of the helmet. To help illustrate what’s important let’s take a look at some of the popular brands.

Giro

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Giro helmets are designed for good looks and for comfort.  The Giro Aeon is one of the most popular because it offers a great deal of protection along with easy adjustment and plenty of vents to keep you from overheating.

The Aeon is at the higher end of the price range for Giro helmets, but Giro offers other helmets that protect just as well at lower prices.

The Giro Savant is a basic helmet for under one hundred dollars.  Giro designs quality products for riders of all levels.

The design here is lightweight and breathable, it suits those that really want to work up a sweat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bell

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Bell offers a large line of helmets at a variety of price ranges.

Their basic helmet is sold in local retail stores for under fifty dollars, while their higher end helmets can cost up to 200 dollars.

Their line includes helmets for BMX biking, which offers more coverage, while their road helmets are aerodynamic and stylish.  Bell is a great choice for people in all walks of life.

Sometimes with kids helmet styling can be the most important factor. For kids that cycle unsupervised you really need a helmet that is cool. Otherwise it might come off as soon as adults are not watching.

Any helmet that is actually worn will have a superior safety record to one that is so uncool it gets discarded.

 

 

 

Mavic

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Mavic is another excellent brand of helmet.  These helmets are reinforced with carbon fiber in order to allow for the large vents that make their helmets unique.  They offer amazing protection with a comfortable fit.

Best of all, they are lightweight and stylish.  Mavic helmets are designed to make even the longest and hottest rides a breeze.

These types of helmet are great for more serious riders.

For more detailed advice of what helmet to buy talk to the staff at your local bike store, they should be qualified to advise you, and if you find they are not then you might be in the wrong store!

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth About Cycling Shorts

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People make fun of cycling shorts often. Something about small amounts of spandex covering large amounts of skin just seems to make people giggle.  Sometimes this makes people hesitant to wear them.  Some people don’t want to be laughed at, while others have body image issues.  Cycling shorts, however, will save you a great deal of pain and will make your ride more comfortable.  Most bike shorts have padding in the back in order to cushion the bum, while the material that they are made of acts as compression shorts and breathes which lets you be much more comfortable.  The shorts will reduce chafing and properly pad the tail bone. In spite of their reputation, bike shorts are an essential part of  serious cycling.

There are two basic kinds of biking shorts. The first kind is for cycling and racing. These are the kinds that make people giggle. The spandex road short is made to reduce wind resistance. It does this by hugging the body.  The other kind is basically a spandex short with a baggy outer layer over it.  This version is popular among mountain bikes, but is also good for the casual cyclist or the commuter.  It covers bits that you may want covered. 

When you choose bike shorts, the spandex layer should be quite snug.  Again, this is to prevent chafing.  Even properly fitted bike shorts can feel like a diaper to the new cyclist, but the padding will really save you from discomfort.  When choosing a bike short, talk to the people in the bike shop.  People in bike shops often are experienced cyclists and can advise on the kinds of shorts that may be right for you.

Ok, we accept cycling shorts might not be for everyone but I hope this little article helps you understand why more serious cyclists wear them. 

Cycling Safety – The Most Important Blog Post That ALL Cyclists Need To Read

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This site was created to promote the benefits of cycling which are numerous. However cycling comes with a risk and that risk needs to be minimised. If the photo shocks you then good. It’s supposed to shock you because cycling safety regretably at times is a matter of life and death.

Sharing The Road With Cars

Cyclists and cars must learn to share lanes.  The problem is that drivers don’t always see little old you on your bike.  It’s not that the driver is a bad driver, though it can be the case, but it is just a fact that a person on a bike is not always terribly visible.  There are several ways to decrease the risks associated with riding with traffic and increase your safety.

Be Visible

The first way to be safe is to increase your visibility.  This means installing a headlight and taillights on your bike along with reflectors.  Putting reflectors on your helmet and clothing increases your visibility as well.  In fact, wearing brightly colored clothing will make you stand out and help drivers see you.  In general, wearing gray or black is a bad idea, especially in the evening and night. 

Use Mirrors

A common way for bikers to be hit is by pulling out in front of a moving car or swerving in front of a moving vehicle.  While cyclists often turn to look, they have blind spots too.  Mirrors attached to the handlebars will allow cyclists to see what is behind them and prevent them from being surprised and hit by a car.

Ride in Designated Lanes

Cyclists are often hit by opening doors.  In fact, opening doors are a major hazard for cyclists.  The only way to really avoid this is to ride in a designated lane either for cars or bikes (check your local policies and ordinances for what is permissible).  Cyclists often ride close to curb or to cars parked on the curb.  This means that they cannot avoid a sudden car door opening.  Riding in a designated lane—even a designated car lane, reduces the risk greatly.  The idea is to ride far enough over to allow plenty of room for the sudden car door.

Slow Down

Another common way for cyclists to be injured is at driveways or alleyways.  A car may be pulling out and may not notice the cyclist approaching.  While the cyclist may have the right of way, no one wants to get hit by a car because someone doesn’t stop.  The best solution for this is to pay close attention to the road and to connecting alleys and driveways.  Slow and be prepared to stop if you can see a vehicle attempting to pull out.  This does not mean that you have to stop at every crossing.  Many drivers do notice cyclists.  It simply means to have your hand on the brake and be ready because most drivers are looking for cars rather than bikes.

Avoid Blind Spots

It’s never a good idea to ride in a driver’s blind spot.  Being in a blind spot can mean that a driver may try to merge into you or may turn right or left in front of you causing bad things to happen.  Always try to be aware of blind spots and spend minimal amounts of time in them. 

Cycling is fun, but it does have its risks.   However, you can minimize these risks by being aware of your surrounding and by being cautious.  As cycling grows in popularity so will awareness, but the best way to stay safe is to ride as if you don’t trust the cars around you.  You can’t avoid all accidents, but you can prevent some of them by taking steps to be a responsible cyclist.

Resources

Barefoot Cycling Shoes??? They Were New To Us Too!

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The more serious cyclist will eventually want to try actual biking shoes.  These are shoes that clip onto special pedals on bikes for maximum use of energy.  They cause the pedals to move with both the up and the down motion of the leg, rather than just with the down motion that traditional bikes with traditional pedal use.  These shoes use more muscles in the legs, while making use of a motion that has to happen anyway.  You end up using both legs for the whole ride rather than one at a time, allowing for faster travel. 

Cycling shoes used to be stiff pieces of nearly total plastic that had clips on the bottom.  Since there was little walking involved in the shoes, they were not necessarily built for comfort.  They were built for durability and support.  Now, however comfort is part of the package.  People are demanding variety and choice in their cycling shoes.  As a result, the more serious cyclist now has several options to choose from.

All cycling shoes are designed to be stiff because stiffness prevents energy from being lost during the pedaling motion.  Cycling shoes are designed for maximum efficiency and maximum energy transfer between the cyclist and the bike.  This leads to less energy loss, less exertion, and faster speeds.  Bike shoes are not required, but they are definitely favored for those who cycle or mountain bike for sport. 

The beginner is going to want to assess his or her reasons for biking.  The casual biker and the commuter will probably not want to spend a great deal of money on stiff shoes.  However, the person who wants to cycle for the sport of cycling may want to consider trying them. The beginner may want to try a casual shoe that is not as stiff as a regular shoe, but makes walking more comfortable.  Specifically, look for hybrid shoes that work with a clipless system. 

The more serious cyclist has a variety of options.  The shoes for these cyclists are stiffer, but often offer a wider variety of options.  Shoes for the more serious cyclist tend to be lighter weight and streamlined in order to reduce wind resistance.

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Things change constantly.  There are new fads and new demands along with advances in technology.  The idea of barefoot running has taken off, and now cyclists are demanding barefoot biking shoes for a more natural feel of the pedals. There are many minimalist options that get close to barefoot shoes, but technology and science continue to push on for a better, more minimalistic shoe.  Whatever comes out of the shoe factory over the next few years, one thing  is for sure, we will have plenty of options to help us move from one place to another.

How To Fix A Dreaded Flat Tyre On Your Bicycle

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If you ride long enough you will eventually have a flat tire.  Hopefully the flat tire will be in your garage or the stairwell of your apartment.  More than likely it will be either on the road, or in the middle of a race or expedition. 

Luckily, bike maintenance is fairly simple and it is quite easy to change a flat.  Traditional bike tires consist of the rubber on the outside of the tire.  This rubber is what makes contact with the road.  Inside of that is an inner tube that actually holds the air.  This design allows you to simply change the inner portion of the tire without having to replace the outer portion.  The outer portion can still function when it is damaged as long as the damage is not extensive and as long as the inner portion is intact. 

Be Prepared

The first step in changing a flat is being prepared.  This is essential whether you travel on mountainous paths or gently rolling roads.  The kits for fixing flat tires are fairly small and can easily be attached to your bike or carried in a pack.  Several companies sell containers of materials that “fix a flat” without requiring much work.  The problem with this is that you will end up having to replace the tire later anyway.  Also, depending on your journey it may not last the entire ride.  It is meant to be a temporary fix rather than a permanent fix.  On the other hand, changing or patching the tube is a long-term fix that is quite simple. 

The basic flat kit includes:

  • Pry Tool
  • CO2 cartridge or pump for re-inflation
  • Inner tube or patches and glue

It is essential that replacement inner tubes are the proper size for your bike.  The required tire size should be listed on the outside of your tire. 

If you have a kit that includes patches and glue, be sure to carry some sort of wipe that will allow you to clean the punctured area.  Check your patch kit so that you are familiar with it and also so that you know whether or not you will need scissors to accurately size the patches. 

The first thing to do is take the tire off of the bike.  Most mountain and road bikes have levers or screws on the tires for easy removal.  Once this is done, check the tire for the object that caused the puncture.  If you can see it, go ahead and remove it. 

Next locate your pry tool.  This should look like a shoe horn, except smaller.  In a pinch, a screwdriver can work, but a plastic pry tool is best because it reduces the chances of damaging the wheel or the tire.  Once you have it off you should see the inner tube.  This is what needs to be patched or replaced.  If you are patching the inner tube, clean the area to be glued.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  It only has to last for the rest of your ride.  If you are patching, cut the patch to the appropriate size.  Apply glue to the area to be patched, then apply the patch and wait the appropriate amount of time for the glue to dry.  

Once the glue is dry or once you have prepared your new inner tube for installation it will only be a matter of putting the tire back together.  Place the inner tube around the rim of the tire, then place the outer rubber over it.  Be sure that you line the air stem up properly, or you will become frustrated and possibly have to take everything apart again.  You will probably need your pry tool in order to put the outer tire back onto the rim.  Be sure that your inner tube is not sticking out.  After this you must simply refill the tire and get back on the road or trail.

Replacing a flat is fairly easy, but it does take some practice.  Elite racers are quite good at changing flats and can often change them in just a few minutes.  The rest of us usually take several minutes to do this.  It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the flat kid and with the anatomy of your tire before taking long trips.  Flat tires happen to everyone.  It’s to be expected.  But you don’t have to be caught unprepared when it happens to you.

If you prefer to get your information in video format this is a great easy to follow video from http://www.performancebike.com