We still have the old movies. I watched them today. My father couldn’t wait to film me riding my first blue and white bike with hand brakes; one of my favorites sports during childhood. Always smiling with excitement, as I watch the now converted movies from 8 millimeter to DVD, trying to wave at the camera as I flew by, faster and faster.
When my two children were young, I remember my neighbor buying beautiful bikes for them that I could not afford at the time. How they loved their bikes and neighbor who has passed away. And all of us still ride today. Choosing special days, especially this month, to ride for local errands instead of driving a car. Though sometimes I need reminders on how I can prepare for the best quality ride as I age or mature for a better word!
May is National Bike Month. Throughout the Chicago area, riders encourage a car-free commute, experiencing the joys and benefits of bicycling to work and school. One wholesaler, Clif Bar and Company, provides nothing but organic food and drink that inspire energy while celebrating this month.
At Clif, they are truly passionate about food that creates healthy adventure when hiking or cycling. Clip helps to support an adventurous community of athletes including Clif Pro Team Athlete, Hannah Rae Finchamp. Part of the Pro Team’s youth movement, Hannah Rae came to the squad in 2013 through the sport of XTERRA where she is a two-time amateur world champion (winning these titles – overall, not age group – at ages 16 and 17(!) respectively)
Hannah offers some great suggestions to improve everyone’s personal bike ride:
1. There is never a bad time to start. Cycling is what we like to call a “life sport” meaning you can do it at any time and in all phases of life. While many college athletes are forced to hang up their equipment after school, many people are purchasing bikes later in life as a way to commute and to exercise. Start small and plan it out.The less experience you have on two wheels the more time you should spend planning, mapping, and researching. There is no better way to ruin a ride than to end up lost and without water 20 miles away. At the beginning, leave yourself wanting more and as you become more and more comfortable allow yourself to experience the freedom that cycling can bring.
2. I think the biggest pain point of riding to work has to do with preparedness. Find a small and comfortable bag that you can pack all your essentials in. Camelbak has some perfect options. Make a plan as to where to store your bike during the work day. Does your office have a space where you can store it? If not, purchase a light weight and strong bike lock that you can travel with wherever you go. Finally, during the winter months, make sure you have lights that you can turn on for the commute home.
3. Always wear a helmet. That is rule number 1, and frankly there is never an excuse to break it. The helmet isn’t necessarily because you will crash, it’s there to protect you from everyone else.
See attached flow chart for riding on the road suggestions.
4. The biggest suggestion I can make for the road is to purchase some high quality bike lights.There is no price to be put on safety. I spent many days during my college career riding at 5:30 am and my bike lights were the only thing that gave me peace of mind that I was safe. I would recommend a 700 lumen front light and a red, blinking rear taillight.
5. Nutrition and hydration are key. The longer the ride the more fuel you will need. Make sure you have a bottle cage on your bike and a bottle that you can drink out of while riding. Especially if you are new to exercise you’ll find yourself hungrier than usual. Don’t give into the vending machine at work, pack yourself some sort of quality snack for after your ride. A Clif Builder Protein Bar would be perfect to give you the nutrients you need and to keep you satiated until lunch time.