Thursday, July 10, 2014

A return to cycling in your 50's or tips for getting back on the saddle.

Time spent away from this blog is equal to time spent away from cycling. My new found passion for photography makes me walk a lot and brings me to use public transport more than pedalling my way around the city. I still managed to put in 4 good rides a year but weather and a back injury has kept me away from more than a year...until today.

I always ride back home on my first day of vacation. It gives me an opportunity to unwind and gets the work bugs out of my mind. Today's ride was an eye opener after such a long time off the pedals and getting close to the big 50. I got a rude reminder from my muscles that they had been idle for too long and the message was delivered by an insane amount of lactic acid in them. That one ride brought a bunch of things to the surface and hopefully these tips can help a few of you out there who are considering getting back in the saddle for a ride.

1.  Prepare.

Get your stuff together ahead of time. Don't wait at the last minute, your ageing mind will forget where you left that thing when you last used it years ago. Do a serious once over mechanical verification on your bike. The longer it's been parked the worst it can get. Even if it was pristine the last time you used it, time can still take its toll especially if it wasn't stored properly.

2. Plan your route and time table.

Try to avoid busy roads and look for low traffic alternatives. You don't forget how to ride a bike but the hazards of the road are many and you want to give yourself some room. You also want to give yourself some room time wise. Plan for more time than you think you might need to get to your destination. This way, you'll avoid pushing yourself too hard for nothing and you'll have wiggle room in case something unexpected happens.

3. Be aware and anticipate.

It's easy to get lost in the pain or the exhilaration of flying downhill. Keep your eyes open and anticipate all those things that can hurt or kill you like opening car doors, volcano crater sized potholes, loose gravel and texting idiots behind the wheel. Always ride as if you were invisible, not invincible. Wear a helmet, the older we get the more we hurt.

4. Don't ride hard

Get a feel for your bike before you start leaning hard into turns or zig zag between cars. Your reflexes might be a bit slower and your muscle memory might be a bit faded as well. Slowly get back in your old groove to avoid crashing.

5. Have a plan "B"

In case of a mechanical failure or your body decides to give up on you because it thought you were just joking, have a contingency plan to get you back home. Money for a cab or asking a loved one for a lift for the price of a "I told you so." and a slightly bruised ego is a lot better than walking.

Cycling is very good for us even when done with moderate effort. You don't have to start long distances right away, a bit every so often is very good and you'll just go further with time as your endurance improves. I'll be doing at least an hour a week from now on. I swear!

For those wondering, I did make it.

Until next time, Godspeed and ride safe.

Gerry :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Top 5 iPhone apps for cyclists

Top 5 iPhone apps for cyclists
Due to modern technological advances, there are now numerous varieties of apps available to aid and entertain you for any aspect of your day to day life. If you are an avid cyclist there are a wealth of apps to help you optimise your riding performance, track your progress, find optimal destinations and even communicate with fellow cyclists. Listed below are five of these ingenious apps which promise to intrigue and inform you whilst you travel.
1-Cycle Tracker Pro ($4.99)
Cycle Tracker Pro provides you with precise data regarding every element of your journey. It notifies you of your speed, distance, altitude, time as well as the amount of calories you have burned. It displays this information on an easy to use interface which also enables you to play music from your iPod whilst you cycle, permitting you to set certain tracks for specific sections of your route, to boost your motivation when you need it the most! You can also keep in contact with your friends and other cyclists through Facebook and Twitter.

2-Bike Doctor 2 ($4.99)
Available for both iPhone and Android, Bike Doctor 2 is a vital lifeline for any cyclist because it provides you with a list of the twenty nine most common bike repairs to help you in the case of any incident. The app provides easy to follow, step-by-step guides to show you how to fix a myriad of issues, from mending punctures to stopping gears from skipping. Moreover, the app contains a safety check option so you can be confident your bike is fully operational before commencing any ride.

3-Bike Hub ($0)
This free app informs you of the best cycling routes in your area. Bike Hub permits you to choose the ride which suits you best; be it a quiet route, a hectic one, or a combination of the two. Furthermore, Bike Hub lists all the local bike shops and garages in your area so you can easily stock up on supplies.

4-EveryTrail ($3.90)
You'll never get lost again! This app enables you to view your current position and cycling route on a Google Map or satellite view. Utilising GPS, EveryTrail integrates your saved rides onto your account on their website as well as allowing you to download 'Open Street Maps' to your phone, simultaneously conserving battery life and helping you find your chosen destination with ease. Additionally, you have the opportunity to test drive this app for free, testing up to a maximum of three rides, before upgrading to the advanced version.

Rendezvous is the perfect app if you enjoy group cycling rides. The app permits you to organise group rides by creating an event and inviting people to join. Subsequently, you can post messages between riders to finalise ride details and discuss possible routes. Moreover, during the actual ride, you can track the locations of your other group members, ensuring no-one is lost or left behind!

These apps are certain to enrich your riding experience and add a hint of modern technology to the timeless classic hobby of cycling. There are even bicycles available from Jardine Motors which you can connect your smartphone to and have a phone holder so you can easily use your apps on the move. The bicycle will even charge your phone as you cycle along! Whether you cycle out with your friends and all the latest technology or alone on a classic bike, have a great ride.
This article was written by Bradley Taylor, a freelance writer from Derby, England. Bradley is a motoring enthusiast who loves writing about cars and everything automotive, but he is versatile and also writes across a variety of other topics. You can keep connected with Bradley on Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

Hope you enjoyed this article by our very first guest writer Bradley Taylor.
Gerry  :)