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Spring Rides

2 May


IMG_20140216_142926077Typically I’m more a fan of autumn bike rides than spring due to the strong winds that accompany the warm temperatures of spring. Especially here in tornado alley. Today was as pretty a spring day as I can imagine having and without the strong wind. Add to that an unusually clear blue sky and it was a day to rival the best of days in October.

We did our usual fast and flat ride, except for the fast part. We rode to Jones and back, plus the sod farm loop, for 32 easy miles. Locals know exactly where I mean, and the rest of you don’t care so no need for further details. 🙂

Anyway, if it wasn’t for my neck being such a pain it would have been perfect. As it was my painful neck and shoulders didn’t ruin the enjoyment of the ride. I’d give it a solid 7 of 10 on the fun scale.

Energy wise I felt strong. Due to all my health issues I really haven’t ridden much, but I feel surprisingly strong for the number of miles I’ve put in so far this year.

Since I’m not allowed any sugar or carbohydrates (other than from vegetables and limited fruits), I’m also not ingesting any gels or Heed before, during or after a ride. I’m using the fat burning method to supply my energy. When you use sugar to fuel your efforts you have to continue to replenish or you bonk. The more sugar/carbs you ingest the more your body burns and the more you have to take in. On the other hand, there is a fuel source you most likely have plenty of: Fat.  Fat supplies you with an endless source of fuel – at least for most of us.

Don’t take my word for it, if you’re interested just Google something like, “burning fat instead of carbohydrates” and you’ll find tons of information. I mentioned Mark Sisson in an earlier post, he’s certainly written about fat being the fuel of choice. You have to adjust your body to relying and utilizing fat stores rather than carbs/sugar so it’s important to do it the right way. I continue to take gels with me just in case, but so far I haven’t needed them.


Rethinking Streets

1 May

Rethinking Streets, An Evidence-Based Guide to 25 Complete Street Transformations, available free in PDF and hard copy format, is a book detailing 25 complete streets projects from around the U.S. The following article discussing the book is from Planetizen.

The book written by, Marc Schlossberg, John Rowell, Dave Amos, and Kelly Sanford, may be downloaded here.

“Rethinking Streets,” a new report by the University of Oregon’s Sustainable Cities Initiative, provides detailed information on 25 complete streets and streetscaping projects. It is available free in PDF and hard copy format.
It’s time to rethink the street.

For too long we’ve been building streets as though they have one function–to move cars quickly. The reality is that streets can to do more than just move cars. They can move people on foot, on bikes, on transit, without hurting vehicular throughput and safety. They can be more than a way to get somewhere else. Good streets are good places, too – public places where people meet, sit and socialize, conduct business, wander about, play, and more.

This new book uses evidence from completed street projects from around the United States in order to help communities imagine alternative futures for their streets. The book does not show hypothetical street re-designs, but actual examples from typical communities to show how they did what they did and see what resulted from the change.



24 Apr

I’m going to take a detour from cycling this morning, just think of it as a little excursion on a back road, not sure where it leads, but it might be interesting…


One thing I’ve found while on my search to improve my gut health, is many of the people who are now at the forefront of digestive health got into it because like me they had a bout of food poisoning. Not your everyday food poisoning – if there even is such a thing – but the kind of infection that doesn’t go away on its own, and even when it finally does, the bad bugs have made a wreck of your insides and overall health.

The one year “anniversary” of my bout with food poisoning was yesterday. For most of the year I’ve struggled to leave it behind and to get back to normal. More progress has been made on that front in the last two months than most of the other months combined and I’m very grateful for that.

Without the help of several books and blogs I wouldn’t be on the mend. For anyone else struggling with digestive issues I recommend the following:

Digestive Health with REAL Food by Aglaee Jacob – a thorough and informative, yet easy to read manual of all things related to digestion. This booked really helped me to understand the how and why I was sick and how to eat my way back to health.

Fast Track Digestion by Norman Robillard – Robillard is a microbiologist and this book focuses on the science of digestion and how to figure out what food to eat that you can tolerate and what foods are likely to promotes symptoms. He also includes tables of foods by category to make it fairly easy to figure out what you should and shouldn’t eat. Many people have had great success with this diet.

Mark’s Daily Apple website and books by Mark Sisson. Sisson is the guy behind the Primal diet. Think of Primal as a first cousin to Paleo, but more tolerant and forgiving. I really like Sisson’s approach, plus he seems very knowledgeable and writes well. I’ve used his book (The Primal Blueprint) to expand my knowledge base about the diet part of this new way of living.

I would add “this way of eating and living” isn’t just for people who are sick or recovering, but for anyone who is not functioning as optimally as they would like – especially the Mark’s Daily Apple website (and other’s he references).

And since it almost always comes down to the bike, I would tell you this “way of living and eating” provides better fuel for your pedal turning engine. I’m experiencing that every time I ride.

Keep on pedaling.


Rediscovering Joy

19 Apr

P1070061.jpgThe day was more than half over before I got out to ride, but all the better because the wind had died down. Today’s route was shorter, but more hilly.

Toward the end I was getting tired and dreading the next hill, but instead I thought to myself, “just slow down and pedal easy”.  Granted I wasn’t going fast, but my mind was pushing me to pick up speed before the next ascent. Just that thought of slowing down shifted my focus. Instead of grinding up as hard as I could I eased up and focused on pedaling circles. Next thing I knew I was cresting it and heading down the other side.

I realized then my cycling would be better served if I focused on the techniques of cycling, more than the miles ridden and average speed. My shift in thought immediately made me less centered on the work of riding and more on my experience of riding. You can’t measure the technique of pedaling circles, you don’t push harder to pedal circles, you just think about spinning the pedals.

A different way to measure and track my rides would help. Something that centers on the quality of the ride and not my miles or speed or the feet of ascent climbed. To make a shift so I can have more joy while riding I really believe it will require less focus on the numeric statistics of riding. Probably means not wearing my heart rate monitor or using my Garmin 510. That would definitely be different.

The experience I’m looking for again is that feeling of losing myself in the ride: where there is no separation from me, my bike, the road, the wind, the sounds. Lost in the experience, yet keenly aware of my surroundings, obviously.

How does one measure cycling enjoyment; by how many bugs you swallow or find in your teeth from all that smiling? By leaving the Garmin at home and scoring the ride based on fun had?

What do you think?

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For the Love of Bikes Blog by Susan Lash (2009 - 2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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