Archive for December, 2008

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Why is a Bike Helmet Important?

December 31, 2008

Reason #1: Unexpected Falls!

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What a difference a year makes!

December 29, 2008

For the past 10 years I’ve been heavily involved in scuba diving.  You could say that when possible I’ve structured work and vacations around it and/or obsessed about it constantly.  Even as recently as last year, I was selling off old scuba gear and leveraging for things like more powerful dive lights.  However, this Christmas was mostly about acquiring more cycling related gear.  In fact, we started the year with 1 bicycle in the garage, and now there are 7 bikes!

What happened?

While I’ve dove for the enjoyment of seeing new things and the social aspect, my primary driver for scuba has been that it prompted me to maintain a level fitness at something higher than the couch potato I’m prone to be.  There is an Achille’s Heel to this though.  You don’t dive to get in shape, you get in shape to dive.  Well… at least that’s my take on things.  Sometimes just thinking about being in better shape for diving wasn’t enough motivation to lift weights or spend another boring session on stationary cardio equipment.

Enter cycling.  I’ve tried cycling before… back in 1997 when living in North Central Ohio. … but the combination of riding the roads with a heavy steel mountain bike with aggressive nobby tires and the solitary rides were a disincentive to anything but sporadic participation.  I even tried to ride this same bike this year on a whim.  I thought I was going to die on the SW Ohio hills!  However, I’m blessed with a soul-mate that is willing to try just about anything I want to do.  She purchased a bike for her and her daughter.  These bikes were much lighter than my old bike, and as luck would have it, her daughter lost interest in riding before even attempting it.  So we spent many hours and miles on these bikes for about 6 weeks.  Realizing the fragility of those particular bikes, we upgraded to road bikes and continued riding many times a week.

I do best when I can get into and maintain a habit.  With cycling, it’s easy to jump on bike in the evening.  Before you know it, a couple of hours have past.  The endorphins are abundant, and the exhilaration is plentiful.

As with any hobby of mine, it generally becomes an obsession.  Hence, more gear, more bikes.  Perhaps the most telling of transitions from the dive obsession to cycling obsession was selling a relatively powerful dive light and only replacing it with an “adequate” dive light… lol.  Yes, diving is still a very enjoyable activity to me, but one that I can only get to on occasion because quality diving is too far from me now.  Instead, cycling can easily be an everyday part of my life, fulfilling the important mission of keeping me off the couch while providing an enjoyable activity and improving my quality of life… especially with Penny!

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What percentage bike to work in Ohio?

December 26, 2008

Based on a Census Bureau numbers, I was curious what the numbers looked like for Ohio and it’s bigger cities.

Let me start by saying that Portland, OR (3.9%) is a great benchmark for the nation, and Chicago (1.1%) does a commendable job for the Midwest.

(0.0%) Akron
(0.3%) Canton
(0.3%) Cincinnati
(0.4%) Cleveland
(0.6%) Columbus
(0.8%) Dayton (not surprising considering they lead the state in bike trail creation)
(0.0%) Toledo
(0.3%) Youngstown

(0.2%) State of Ohio Average

Yikes!!

It looks Ohio has a ways to go.  I lament that I can’t bike commute to work, but at least working from home sometimes helps me be a bit greener.  Perhaps I need to try and do some grocery shopping with the bike/panniers. 🙂

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Taking advantage of a break in the temperature

December 24, 2008

While the weather wasn’t ideal, the temperature sure was.  56F with winds and brief heavy rain seemed good enough for an outdoor reprieve from using the indoor rollers.

It was great to get out!  I used the MTB with the smooth commuter/hard-pack wheels I’d put on.  It really gives that bike a different feel from the aggressive nobbies it came with.  It was also the first time I’d ridden the MTB using the clipless pedals (besides the indoor rollers)….. great improvement to the handling… definitely looking forward to using those shoes on the trail!

Viva la temperature reprieve!!

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Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’

December 22, 2008

No…. I haven’t forgot about the blog, but all of the recent riding has just consisted of indoor rollers.

I’d signed up for a Challenge on MapMyRide consisting of 300 miles in one month to keep me active.  That would require me to average 10 miles a day… certainly doable… but the flu and business travel have put a damper on successful completion of that goal.  Nevertheless, I’m pushing through to the end of the month to see how many miles I can accumulate.  After all, the real motivation for the challenge is to keep me active through the month of December, past most of the holiday calories, and keep me “in shape” to ride outside at the first break in the weather.

I came across a quote that I really liked.

As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do.  ~Zachary Scott”

Well… here’s to living life without regrets! Cheers & Happy Holidays!

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How bicycling can help your diving (or other activities), your health, and the environment!

December 14, 2008

This year I needed an activity that I could “immerse” myself into since driving to the quarries for diving seemed like a waste of good money with the high price of petro earlier in the year.

The benefit has been an activity that can be participated in multiple times per week. Being outdoors with the wind whipping past me has been a great motivator to continued riding. The outdoor views, Penny’s company, improved cardio, and increased leg strength have made the riding quite fun and worthwhile. Riding a bike through the countryside is a great way to experience it. In fact, the speed of biking is a “sweet spot”… when walking, wildlife hears you and runs off long before you see them… in a car or motorcycle, wildlife is often a blur… but when biking, you come up on wildlife before they realize you are there and can experience them differently than driving or walking. We’ve seen lots of squirrels, rabbits, ground hogs, deer, cardinals, and even turkeys…. each providing their own measure of enjoyment to our rides.

Since I travel so much, and can often take my bike with me, it is also a healthier alternative than some of the local activities I used to find myself involved with… LOL! For those of you that are disciplined enough to use hotel fitness rooms, biking around a new area is a great way to break up the monotony, and to get to know it as well. Storing the bike in the hotel rooms works out pretty well.

You’ll find that many areas can have paved bike trails, secondary roads suitable for riding, or even hidden mountain bike trails that are a great way to burn some calories.

Another side benefit to cycling is participating in an activity that uses less petroleum resources (other than possibly getting to a trailhead or other suitable start point for your biking).

Now… what does this all have to do with diving. Well… since I’ve taken up biking, any of the diving that I’ve done has been immensely easier. Not only are there cardio benefits, but strength/endurance benefits as well. On week-long jaunts where toting around doubles all week used to tire me out and really get me by the end of the week, I felt great. In fact, our last full week of cave diving in Florida it was very hot, yet even carrying extra gear to facilitate a cave class seemed easy. Even helping other divers lug gear up and down the steps at Gilboa Quarry was a piece of cake!

You may strongly want to consider picking up a bike and enjoying a pleasant activity that can help de-stress you from everyday life as well as improve other areas physically. If you already have a steady consistent workout regimen that you practice… that’s awesome. Evenso, you may want to initiate some cross-training with some cycling.

You needn’t bike as if you were going to participate in the Tour de France! Rather, you can ride a comfort bike, mountain bike, road bike, even a recumbent and enjoy the benefits of getting outdoors with an activity that is easy on your joints!

Will you join me in biking your way to a better quality of life? I think you’ll find the activity quite enjoyable!

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A Quick Demonstration on the Rollers

December 11, 2008

While Penny is recovering from surgery, I decided to set up the camera and do some testing on the rollers for speed.