Tag Archive for health benefits of cycling

Morning Links: Shaming the fat shamers, USA Pro Challenge starts today, and more Mobility Plan fallout

Just keep it to yourself.

In a blog post that went viral over the weekend, a self-described curvy British bike rider recites the pain the comes from being told to get “off the fucking road you fat bitch” by a pair of spandexed riders.

Then later on the same ride, she’s told to “get that fat ass up here” by another.

Seriously.

I remember a few years back, I was riding along the beach when I came upon an extremely large woman riding with a friend. Someone whose weight could have easily been measured in the multiple hundreds of pounds.

I admit, my first thought was how ridiculous she looked atop that tiny bike.

Then I shamed myself with my second, as I realized the courage it took for her to get out there and risk the ridicule of total strangers. And how she could be saving her own life by riding that bike, improving her health with every pedal stroke.

And that, if she kept it up, she might not be that large for long.

I kept those thoughts to myself.

But as I passed, I gave her a smile, along with the same nod I would any other rider. Because she was one of us, just as much as any fixie rider or spandexed roadie.

And maybe more so, because it took more effort just to get on that bike to begin with.

So if you see someone whose body doesn’t fit your image of what a bike rider should be, give him or her a nod or smile, or a maybe a word of encouragement.

And if you can’t manage that, just keep your damn mouth shut.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

Aussie rider Rohan Dennis is one of the favorites in the USA Pro Challenge that kicks off today, after achieving all of his long-range goals in just six months; the three-day women’s tour starts Friday.

The young Norwegians are coming on strong.

And Tour de France winner Chris Froome wants to be the spokesman for clean cycling. Which is only a little ironic since so many fans — and at least one previous winner — accused him of cheating during the tour.

………

Local

The Times offers a look at the Rowena road diet as a model for what the new Mobility Plan hopes to achieve. Let’s not forget that reducing serious collisions benefits motorists, too.

LA Times’ reader’s react to the passage of the plan with a couple of well thought-out letters. Then there’s the other kind, with one saying getting people out of their cars is like trying to get Charlton Heston to give up his guns, and another suggesting we should emulate Shanghai’s switch from bikes to cars — neglecting to mention that didn’t turn out so well. Thanks to John Lloyd for the last link.

A writer in the Daily News says rip out all those road diets and the bike lanes that came with them to make more room for cars.

Three groups have just 23 days to raise funds for their Great Streets challenge grants, including a musical intersection at Florence and Crenshaw and a complete streets demo on Cesar Chavez.

 

State

A San Diego woman was seriously injured when she reportedly turned her bike into the path of a tow truck after she’d been drinking, although the description of the collision just doesn’t add up. Thanks to San Diego’s Mark Ganzer for trying to help figure this one out.

Virgin Atlantic lists the ten best bikeways in San Diego.

A Fremont cyclist was killed when he — allegedly — suddenly turned into the path of a car. In the absence of independent witnesses, in many cases like this, it’s more likely the driver simply didn’t see the bike rider in front of them until it was too late.

Marin County is about to open a 17 acre bike park.

 

National

A Maui letter writer asks the mayor why volcano bike tours are allowed to endanger the lives of local residents. Although it sound like the real danger comes from impatient drivers.

An SMU student’s design for a portable, inflatable bike rack, which took second place in the university’s innovation competition, ships this month after a successful Kickstarter campaign. So what the heck finished first?

Big hearted Omaha gang detectives buy a kid a new bike after he scrapes his knee trying to ride a girl’s bike with a flat tire.

This is why people continue to die on our roads. An allegedly drunk Iowa driver fled the scene after running down three cyclists on a group ride; he had a previous conviction for DUI, as well as convictions for drug offenses, assault and child endangerment. Yet somehow, he was allowed to keep driving until he nearly killed someone.

The Amish in Kentucky have recently received the okay to ride their bikes, much to the consternation of local drivers.

Sad news from Rhode Island, as an 80-year old masters racer died after crashing into the back of a truck that had broken down on the side of the road.

It’s not fast delivery if it never gets there; a New York e-bike delivery man was arrested for riding salmon through the Holland Tunnel.

Props to a Virginia driver for rushing an injured hit-and-run victim to the hospital. On the other hand, don’t just leave the guy’s bike lying in the middle of the street.

The family of a cyclist murdered by a homeless man while riding from Maine to Florida to propose to his girlfriend last year plan to finish the ride in his honor.

 

International

More problems for the upcoming Rio Olympics, as a team of photographers were mugged while covering a road cycling test, after the route was changed to accommodate a street protest.

A writer for the Guardian says it’s not satanic to say cyclists get a raw deal. It’s actually a pretty good look at the polarization of modern society. And equally valid on both sides of the Atlantic.

Heartbreaking story from the UK, as some low-life scum stole the bike a seven-year old girl was given as a birthday present by her father, who died just 12 weeks ago.

A group of British bystanders may have saved the life of a critically injured 18-year old cyclist by lifting a car off him after he was struck during a sportive ride.

Long promised Brit bikeways were never built because infrastructure for cars is considered a national priority, while bikes aren’t.

Something’s going on in Helsinki. A bus drove into a crowd of bicyclists protesting the road rage death of a bicyclist earlier in the week, followed by a fight between the driver and protesters.

The bike boom is even spreading to Putin’s Russia.

In a truly sickening case, 13 Bangladeshi men have been arrested for torturing and killing a 13-year old boy suspected of stealing a bike, and posting the video online.

Austrian doctors urge the country to dump its mandatory helmet law, saying it’s keeping people off their bikes. And an Aussie researcher says the country’s roads are fundamentally unsafe, and big decisions have to be made about the real value of on-street parking. Seriously, is a more convenient parking space worth a human life?

The Thai crown prince leads thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of cyclists on a ride honoring his mom’s 83rd birthday.

 

Finally…

Can you really call it a cycle superhighway if it’s just a third of a mile long? A judge with a keen insight into the law says a father went to far when he bashed a helmeted cyclist over the head with a wrench. Gee, you think?

And don’t even think about riding your bike naked in Anchorage.

 

Morning Links: Record your bike’s serial number, cycling helps keep you safe during surgery, LACBC needs new ED

Good advice from Lifehacker, as they say to always keep your bike’s serial number handy in case of theft.

My suggestion is to take photos of your bike and the serial number with your cell phone, then email them to your yourself. That way, you’ll have copies in multiple places so you won’t lose or accidently delete them. And having a photo eliminates any risk of transcribing errors.

……..

There are countless benefits to bicycling. But who knew one of them is that riders and walkers are five times less likely to die during surgery?

……..

Local

Have experience leading a nonprofit? The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is looking for a skilled new Executive Director (pdf), as well as a part-time bookkeeper (pdf). A great opportunity to help build SoCal’s leading bike organization into one of the nation’s top bike advocacy groups.

Speaking of the LACBC, they’re hosting the first ever Firefly Ball at the end of this month to benefit the coalition and honor civic leaders who help make the city more bike friendly.

The Santa Monica Bike Center won this summer’s National Bike Challenge.

SaMo will host a Halloween themed Kidical Mass on Saturday, the 25th.

Kross-tober Fest brings cyclocross to Long Beach this Sunday.

 

State

A new two-mile bike path opens in La Mirada, part of a planned 66-mile loop around Orange County.

Palm Springs hosts a Cycledelic bike festival this Thursday to celebrate new bike lanes, a bike corral and Bike Fix-it station.

San Bernardino police are out on bike patrol, which proves popular with the public.

A bike rider was killed after being hit by several cars while riding salmon in the traffic lane on I-80 in Vacaville; no word on why he was on the highway, let alone riding the wrong way in traffic.

Cars will be banned from San Francisco’s lower Market Street by 2017, which will eventually feature raised cycle tracks. But why do you need a raised bikeway if there won’t be any cars?

 

National

Bike Radar offers five tips for beginning riders to avoid ruining a big bike ride.

Three Portland road diets prevent 37 crashes a year at a cost of just $500,000.

Bryce Canyon National Park plans a possible eight mile bike and pedestrian path.

Kansas get its first protected bike lane.

Shameful. An NYPD police investigation shows a bus driver failed to yield when he left crossed a cyclist, leaving a Swedish model brain dead. Yet he walks away without charges, while she doesn’t. And never will.

Take note LA: A New York Streetsblog report says implementing the city’s Vision Zero plan will require a major culture change, as the previous item makes painfully clear.

Ooh, scary. Philadelphia’s new bike vigilante is taking on scofflaw riders by posting posters.

 

International

A British cyclist is knocked off his bike with a piece of wood and punched repeatedly by two men before they ran off; no word on whether it was a robbery attempt, random violence or if they knew the victim.

Evidently, a British town has decided bikes are more dangerous than cars, as they inexplicably ban bicycles from the town center 24 hours a day, but allow cars for 12.

A French driver is charged with deliberately running over a cyclist and fleeing the scene following a dispute in Barcelona.

Newsweek discovers people in Copenhagen ride bikes, and cities around the world are trying to copy their success.

Bike advocates dismiss planned upgrades to Brisbane roads as mere window dressing.

An Aussie advocate says the bike versus car attitude has to stop.

 

Finally…

No, seriously. If you’ve got a bag full of meth hidden in your bike’s handlebars, put a damn light on it already. Turns out New York’s bike riding Senator Schumer takes calls while he’s riding, but will only stop riding if it’s from the president.

And a livid writer for the Daily Mail sputters that lycra louts must have license plates.

 

The health benefits of biking, and a call to be careful riding today

I’m on the run today, so my apologies for not offering a full update this morning.

But I didn’t want to let the week pass without offering this thought about the health benefits of bicycling from Michael Eisenberg.

Glad to hear your wife is recovering. I had a heart incident a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve taken up cycling, including commuting 30 miles round trip every day, and weekend rides like today’s 70 miler. I’ve lost 64 lbs, lowered my blood pressure to the point that I no longer take BP medications, lowered my blood sugar to normal numbers even after discontinuing diabetes medication, and improved my cholesterol numbers to well within normal too.  Keep preaching.

There are lots of reasons to ride.

But whether you’re riding for fun, exercise, transportation or any other reason, you’re saving your own life with every pedal stroke you take.

And that’s a good thing.

………

One other quick note.

Today is the last working day for a lot of people before Christmas. And that means a lot of office parties, and people getting off work early and starting their holiday celebrations on the way home.

So if you’re riding any time after noon today, ride defensively. And assume every driver you meet on the road has been drinking.

Riding random thoughts on a semi-rainy day

This is me climbing the walls.

Between today’s semi-threatening weather and an unrelenting workload — not that I’m complaining about having work in this economy, mind you — I find myself riding a wave of seemingly random thoughts rather than the bike I’d like to be on.

Partly because the bike I’d like to be on is finally ready to ride.

For some reason, I’ve never had the love for the 6-year old LeMond at the top of this page that I had for my now 30-year old Trek.

Maybe because it feels every little bump, and never felt nailed to the road like my old bike did. Or maybe because I’ve had my old bike longer than I’ve had my wife, and haven’t built the memories on the new one that I made on the old one — my bike, that is, not my wife.

Before

Although I’m sure the infamous beachfront bee encounter would certainly stand out, if only I could remember what happened.

Then again, that was before a broken wheel kept me off my bike for the last three weeks. Although I was happy to have the loan of a surprisingly lithe, plush and easy to ride red Urbana bike in the meantime.

After

But over the weekend, the kind folks at Trek and Beverly Hills Bike Shop — which isn’t actually in Beverly Hills, even though the sidewalk in front of it is — replaced my wheel under warranty, for which I thank both. So now I find myself jonesing to get out for a long ride on my own bike, and realizing just how much I’d missed it.

Especially since I got a report today that the virtually unridable sidewalk bike path along Sepulveda Blvd that we discussed yesterday may have finally seen a little improvement, along with the badly cracked Class 1 path through the Marina.

And unfortunately, that time off my bike is starting to show in the snugness of my waistband. And evidently, there’s a reason for that.

According to a formula in a recent issue of Bicycling, I burn about 1,000 calories an hour. (Weight divided by 2.2, multiplied by 12 if you ride between 16 –19 mph; my normal cruising speed is 18 – 20. Or multiply by 16 if you ride 20 mph or higher, by 10 if you ride 14 – 16, 8 for 12 – 14, 6 for 10 – 12, or by 4 if you ride less than 10 mph.)

So that’s somewhere around 10,000 –12,000 calories a week I haven’t been burning. And 3,500 calories plus or minus equals 1 pound of weight gained or lost.

The fun, not-so-little Urbana I borrowed — love those big, bouncy glow-in-the-dark tires

It also explains, in least in part, why a recent study suggested that biking on a regular basis could add up 14 months to your life. Although as far as I’m concerned, extending the quality of life is every bit as important as extending the length of it.

Which is why I plan to keep riding as long as my body will let me. That and the fact that there’s almost nothing I’d rather do.

And that could help explain yesterday’s article in the Times, which said that sales are down for electric bikes. While an e-bike may provide efficient, sweat-free transportation, it can’t provide the same health benefits or the sheer satisfaction and physical joy of pedaling a bike.

E-bikes can also cost every bit as much as, and sometimes more than, a Vespa-style scooter — even an electric one — while being more difficult for a beginner to ride. And you can’t always ride them everywhere bikes are allowed.

So I think I’ll stick with my bike, thank you. The one with the new wheel, tire and cycling computer.

And I plan to pedal its skinny GatorSkins Downtown for Tour de Fat this Saturday — and burn a few thousand calories in the process, which should just about make up for the calories I expect to consume there.*

* Biking under the influence is illegal in California, so limit your alcohol consumption just like you would if you were driving.

.………

Word broke Monday that a SoCal golfer died after being struck in the head with a golf ball; there’s no truth to the rumor that Mayor Villaraigosa may propose a mandatory helmet law for everyone on the links. Contrast the massive media coverage his death received with the minimal coverage given most biking fatalities; then again, golfing deaths a pretty rare, while a death on the streets just isn’t that usual. Thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up.

And in a story that defies rational explanation — or rather, in which the explanation doesn’t seem rational — Witch on a Bicycle points out that authorities in a Massachusetts town blame a bicycle rider for plowing down two parking meters before crashing into a car. Call me crazy, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cyclist who could knock over a solid steel parking meter post. Let alone two.

.………

Next year’s Tour de France looks like one of the more challenging routes in years, with six high mountain stages and four summit finishes. As expected, a Spanish cyclist ends the year ranked #1 in the world — but it’s Rodriguez, not TdF winner and tainted meat eater Contador; Tyler Farrar is the top American at #9. And Lance is well on his way to fathering his own team as he becomes a dad for the fifth time.

.………

Streetsblog asks where the next CicLAvia should be. The Claremont Cyclist discusses the 2nd Annual Mike Nosco Memorial Bicycle Ride; this year’s ride will benefit Andreas Knickman, the son of former pro racer Roy Knickman, in his fight against cancer. Bikeside’s Mihai Peteu reports on last Friday’s memorial ride for Daniel Marin. A Long Beach cyclist is threatened with tickets in retaliation for questioning an officer. Gary continues to shine a light on the Santa Monica City Council race, as two more candidates respond to his questionnaire on biking and land use issues. Will questions just how much a bike is really worth. Bicycle Fixation takes an in-depth look at bike parking, comparing a well-designed rack with a modern relic from the best-forgotten past. San Francisco aims for a 20% bike share by 2020, and a bold path forward for Bay Area cyclists. The Sonoma County GranFondo hit-and-run is now being investigated as an intentional assault. Advice on what to do if you’re stopped for riding in the lane, in response to a sheriff’s deputy who just didn’t get it. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske is interviewed by a Cleveland radio station. A reminder to check your auto insurance, because the uninsured motorist coverage can protect you on a bike. A Kansas City cyclist known locally as the Bike Man is gunned down and left to die in the street. New York Critical Mass riders win a nearly $1 million settlement; half will go for legal fees. An NYC cyclist shoots a cop when they try to stop him for riding illegally on the sidewalk; seems like a bit of an overreaction to me. NFL quarterback Tom Brady and supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen ride bikes sans helmets. Why drivers should love Toronto’s new bike boxes. Eight months in jail for running down a cyclist and leaving the scene while driving with impaired vision. A 6-year old cyclist is clotheslined when he rides into an over-extended dog leash.

Finally, biking can do more than just get you from here to there, it can also lead you home to a family you’ve never known. Or it can provide the path to true love — or not, as the case may be — in one of the cutest short films I’ve seen in ages.

%d bloggers like this: