In my home state of NSW there will be a number of new laws relating to cycling introduced from the start of next month and up until now I’ve let others do the talking. But it’s time I joined in the debate and let my voice be heard.
For those who are not from NSW from 1 March 2016, my esteemed government will introduce a number of new laws. The first one is very positive from a cyclist’s perspective:
Drivers who pass a bicycle rider must allow a distance of at least:
- 1 metre when the speed limit is 60km/h or less
- 1.5 metres when the speed limit is more than 60km/h
If drivers cannot pass a bicycle rider safely, they should slow down and wait until it is safe to pass the rider, leaving the minimum distance. To help drivers provide the minimum distance, some exemptions to the road rules will apply.
If you read this blog regularly you’ll know that I’m keen on stories about brain health and ageing and this story I came across at www.biospace.com resonated strongly with me. Here’s a slightly edited version of the report……
Researchers at King’s College London have found that muscle fitness as measured by power in the legs is strongly associated with an improved rate of ageing in the brain.
The findings, published in a journal called Gerontology, suggest that simple interventions, such as increased levels of walking (and let’s assume cycling), targeted to improve leg power in the long term may have an impact on healthy cognitive ageing.
Scientists studied a sample of 324 healthy female twins over a ten-year period from 1999, measuring various health and lifestyle predictors. Researchers were, therefore, able to control for genetic factors affecting changes in cognitive function.
When I started this blog four and a half years ago my very first pro cyclist interview was with Australian Bridie O’Donnell. Bridie’s recently hit the headlines by breaking the hour record on the track in Adelaide so I thought it was timely to catch up with her.
Q: Firstly, huge congratulations on breaking the hour record on the track recently. Was it the hardest physical challenge you’ve ever taken on?
A: Thank you very much! The physical challenge of the Hour itself was not the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but the 6 months preparing for it was. I had to learn a lot of new things like how to ride a track bike, how to ride the bends, improve my power, lose weight etc etc
I’m a member of Cycling NSW’s Women’s Commission which I joined earlier this year. By way of background, the Women’s Commission (like a committee) works “across the sport of cycling in NSW to ensure the development of policies and initiatives which promote participation amongst women and girls of all ages into the sport and recreation of cycling”.
I must admit that I wasn’t sure if volunteering for this role would be a complete waste of time and we’d just sit around ‘shooting the breeze’, but I’m pleased to report that the focus is on action and getting events happening. Here’s a brief summary of the main initiatives for 2016.
I know I said last year was going to be an awesome year for professional women’s road cycling and 2016 is shaping up to be even better. Here’s a few races that you should definitely follow this year. Unfortunately we won’t see too many of them on TV in Australia but you can keep up with them, and other races via social media and various internet sites. Cycling Tips Ella has great coverage of women’s racing as well as Prowomenscycling.com.
6 May to 8 May – Tour of Chongming Island, China
This event is the first multi-day event of the Women’s World Tour. It consists of a two day stage race, and a stand alone race that in previous years has served as a Women’s World Cup round. The terrain is pretty flat, making this a race for a team that works together to protect their sprinter.
If you buy yourself a bike, the most obvious and necessary accessory item is a helmet. That particularly applies in my homeland Australia where bicycle helmets are compulsory for all cyclists. The laws were introduced in Australia in the early 90s and despite the ‘trailblazing’ our various governments thought they were doing, there aren’t many countries that have followed. But I’m not here to debate helmet laws (even if I don’t personally agree with them – we should have the freedom to decide for ourselves), but I do accept that the law states I must wear a helmet so I comply.
So what should you look for when you’re buying a helmet. Here’s my buying tips:
Buy it from a reputable retailer
Helmets are like shoes, you should try them on before you buy them because even if you know your size they will inevitably fit differently depending on the brand and model you choose. Visiting a local bike shop will give you the opportunity to receive advice from a trained person and try on a number of different options.
There are also plenty of options available so you might want to visit a few bike shops to find the perfect fit and look for your needs.
Committing to a New Year’s resolution is a favourite blog topic of mine. I’ve written a post about it for the past couple of years because I really like to share what I’ve learnt about goal setting, and what we fickle humans need to do, to really stick to our commitments.
The reality for just about all of us, is that New Year’s resolutions are really difficult to stick with. So many other aspects of our lives just get in the way, sometimes we also experience crises in our lives which throw us off track. The best way to ensure our greatest chance of success is to be realistic about what we can achieve.
When I worked in corporate life I learned about SMART goals. They are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. There’s actually a few different versions of “SMART” but this is my preferred one.
There’s only three shopping days left before the fat man squeezes himself down the chimney. If you’ve left your shopping until now, here’s a few ideas for that ‘hard to buy for’ female road cyclist, most of which you should be able to track down in time.
Specialized Gel gloves
You can never have too many pairs of cycling gloves. Even if you wash them regularly, gloves eventually wear out and need to be replaced. The Specialized Gel women’s gloves are sold in Specialized dealers all round the world so you should be able to pick a pair up at around $45. They come in black/white, black/white/teal and black/pink.
You can’t eliminate the chance of someone pinching your prized bicycle, but you can minimise it with an appropriate lock or security device. I know it’s not the most exciting subject but it’s really important to keep you bike secure. Bikes that are not well secured are really easy to steel because the thief can ride away from the scene fairly swiftly, and even if you see them disappearing with it, you won’t be able to catch them on foot, particularly in your cleated bike shoes.
I work in a bike shop and I’ve heard many sad tales from customers who lost their whole bike to theft, but also parts of their bike like wheels and seatpost/saddles. There’s nothing more useless (or annoying) than a bike without wheels or a seat.
So here’s a few tips for minimising the risk:
Every year I put a women’s cycling Christmas gift guide together of things I like. I often include things I’m buying for myself for Christmas, or that I already own. I figure if I like them then other female roadies will too. So here’s 2015’s selection, complete with links for where you can buy them.
I’m a Christmas decoration tragic and my list wouldn’t be complete without a bike theme bauble. This year’s can be bought from UK website notonthehighstreet.com and they’re made of bamboo.
I’m also a scarf tragic and have a draw brimming over with plenty of them. This one appeals to me because the bikes are fairly subtle. Once again I found it on notonthehighstreet.com