Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bike riding update

Motivated to exercise and save money at the same time, I have decided to ride my bike more and drive the car less.  I’m happy to report that my wife is also on board with biking more. 
Last week I rode my bike to work for the first time.  It wasn’t easy: it took 40 minutes to ride to the office, and 44 minutes to ride home.  There were plenty of hills for me to climb and plenty of hills for me to coast down.   It was hot after work.  By the time I got home, I was all sweaty.

Still, it felt great riding my bike to the office.  I felt like I was a kid again riding my bike to school.  I got a great workout and saved some money on gas and vehicle wear.  

During the weekend, instead of driving to the grocery store, my wife and I decided to ride our bikes.  The grocery store is only about 1 mile away, and it took us 9 minutes to get there coasting downhill without effort.  I can’t believe we used take 2 minute drives to the market like lazy fat-asses.  

It was hot on Saturday, and apparently we were the only bikers in this shopping plaza.  All the bike racks were empty:   
There were plenty of cars in the parking lot though.  We filled our groceries into backpacks and rode the uphill climb home.  The ride back took us 12 minutes.  I still can’t believe that we used to get into our cars to drive to the grocery store.  I guess we were afraid of getting a little sweaty.  It's ridiculous when I think about how much exercise we missed out on by driving instead of biking.  

In the future, we will consider buying a bike tow so that we can add more groceries and tow them home.

I have a few tips for you on bike riding:

Get a used bike from a friend or off Craigslist
If you’re looking for a bike, I suggest first asking around to see if any friends or colleagues have old bikes that they never use.  Next, you can check craigslist for possible great deals on used bikes.  Before purchasing, consider meeting the potential seller at a local bike shop to have the bike evaluated for anything out of the ordinary and any potential costly repairs on the bike.

I purchased my bike several years ago and it was just sitting around in my mom’s garage collecting dust.  My uncle wasn’t riding his bike anymore, so he let my wife have his. 

Wear a helmet
I don’t care if you think it’s ugly or you don’t like that a bike helmet “messes up your hair,”  if you don’t wear a bike helmet, you shouldn’t be riding on the streets.  91% of bicyclists killed in 2009 weren’t wearing helmets

In the state of California, wearing a helmet is the law if you are under 18 years old.  Now just because you’re over 18 years old, doesn’t mean you should not wear a helmet when you ride.  It doesn't matter how short your travel distance is.  Riding around on a bike without a helmet is like driving your car without seat belts, only much more dangerous.  

You may be an excellent bike rider, but there are still many terrible drivers out there who are trying to text and eat as they drive.  Always be aware of your surroundings when biking.

Properly lock your bike
I’ve learned that locking up your bike using both a U-lock and a cable lock together makes it twice as safe as if you used either of them alone.  The cable lock should be used to secure your front wheel to the frame and any parking post.  The U lock should be used to secure your rear wheel to the frame.
You can also do it the other way:
When deciding which bike lock to get, I went with the top rated lock on Amazon:
I’ve read that if thieves want your bike, they can get the proper tools to destroy most bike locks.  This is another reason why I recommend riding an older bike purchased on craigslist that you did not spend too much money on (fancy foldable lightweight bikes can run several thousand dollars).  I would get a simple bike that doesn’t look too desirable but gets the job done.  This holds true especially if you intend on biking to areas known for high rates of bike theft.

Protect yourself from the sun
I’ve been preparing for summer in Southern California and the dry heat that is going to come.  Pretty much all of my close friends know that I absolutely HATE the sun.  I’m not an outdoorsy or beach type of person.  I still don’t understand the appeal of why someone would consciously spend time outside to tan and prematurely age their skin, not to mention increasing the risk of skin pigmentation and skin cancer while they’re at it. 

I have extremely sensitive skin and I always seem to get sun burnt when I spend an extended amount of time outside.  To combat this, whenever I ride my bike, I wear dry-fit long sleeve shirts, sweat pants, and big sunglasses to leave very little skin exposed.  I always apply sunblock to exposed areas of skin.

My friend Joe loves to go fishing and he recently introduced me to a product called the UV Buff,  which he always wears when he’s fishing to protect his neck and face from the sun.  The manufacturer of the UV Buff describes it as a “seamless tube of fabric that can be worn in a variety of ways: think multitasking bandana.”  

This polyester microfiber is very soft and feels smooth to the touch.  It’s wicks moisture, dries quickly, and is breathable.  It supposedly has odor fighting properties.  It also has 95% UV radiation protection. 

The Buff comes in hundreds of unique designs and patterns so you can find the one that suits you best:
The Buff can be worn in dozens of different ways:
I have been wearing my UV Buff as a neck gaitor and face mask.  It will offer me near-complete protection from the sun.  I also wear my workout gloves to protect my hands from sun exposure.  With the UV Buff, I’m fully covered:

I found a UV Buff for $18.95 with free shipping on   Some colors are cheaper.  

Don’t ride at night without a bike light
I am not interested in riding my bike at night right now, but in the winter months there will be times when the sun sets early.  When that time comes, I’ll be looking for some type of bicycle LED light set.  You can see plenty of options on

Get out there and have fun
This afternoon we went for a short 35 minute ride around the block.  We rode to a nearby park where I did some pull-ups and chin-ups on the monkey bars for some strength training.  
It was beautiful out with nice cool weather.  I’d much rather get exercise this way than be inside a stuffy and smelly gym. 

You may not live close to work like me.  BUT, you probably live close enough to a grocery store to bike or walk there.  Consider it the next time you want to hop into your car.  Consider the health and wealth benefits of biking.  

Where will your bike take you?

You can read my next bike riding update here

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments? Questions?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...