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When you live in a country like Australia it is pretty difficult to avoid heat and sun exposure while you’re riding your road bike. The summer sun can be pretty fierce so here’s my tips for handling it.
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Ride early and late
I do most of my riding early in the morning. There are a number of reasons for riding early but one of them is definitely sun exposure and heat. You’ll also avoid traffic if you ride early in the day. But if you can’t ride early in the morning then try a twilight ride to avoid the sun.
Make sure you carry at least one full waterbottle on your bike, if not two. You can buy insulated bottles like the ones I use from Camelbak. I fill them up with fridge-cooled water before I go out and the water stays cool for hours. If you’re going on a long ride (more than say 60 km) then you should consider a sports drink in a second bottle. This helps with hydration but also energy. There are always places to stop and refill bottles, particularly on organised rides.
Before I worked in the bike industry (a mere one year ago), I was of the view that if you wanted to buy a road bike then your focus should be on the gearing of the bike, but the more I learn about road bikes, the more I realise that the frame is far more important than the gearing which plays a secondary role.
Just like many road bike buyers, when I bought my current carbon-framed bike I used the level of gearing on the bike as the key determinate. I first decided whether I wanted an aluminium or carbon frame and then I decided that I wanted Ultegra level gearing or better. Once that decision was made, I set about developing a short list of bikes that met this criteria. I also decided that I wanted to buy a women’s specific bike. You can read more about this topic in a couple of previous blog posts I’ve written.
But back to the frame. Just to give you an example which concerns a friend of mine (a male friend). He cracked his carbon bike frame recently. Lets call the brand M. I believe the frame had a manufacturing fault and over time the weak point gave way and it literally snapped and tossed him off, just behind me on a weekend ride.
At the recent Sydney bike show I was lucky enough to meet Emily Miazga who is the effervescent woman behind Em’s Power Cookies & Bars. Canadian-born Emily runs her own business from the south island of New Zealand and agreed to answer a few questions to help unravel the secrets of her success.
When did you first start making your power bars and cookies?
Back when I was a teenager, I used to make yummy cookies for myself as well as to give to friends, etc. I found people loved yummy cookies and it was fun giving them away, including to my high school teachers! Over the years everyone used to say I should sell my cookies. I ended up studying to be a registered dietician, so followed the foodie-career route. My recipe also evolved. When I started travelling and ended up in NZ, I needed work. So it was a perfect time to launch my power cookies! That was Feb/March 2004.
While I was researching a couple of topics for future blog posts I came across this rather glamorous book called Hollywood Rides a Bike which features images of Hollywood movie stars from a bygone era. I have absolutely no interest in the current crop of Hollywood starlets, but was intrigued by the interesting photographs I found of screen legends like Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe riding bikes. Not all of them are necessarily featured in the book but here’s the ones I found for your interest and entertainment.
Should I eat before training?
A very common question among cyclists. The answer depends on a few factors:
- what you are planning to do?
- what you want to get out your session? and
- the duration of your training session.
You can apply some very simple rules based on planned intensity and duration of the activity. Even if you are exercising with weight reduction as one of your goals you will find you train better if you have a little fuel on board before an intense training session.
Here’s the second guest blog post from sports dietician Rebecca Hay from The Athlete’s Kitchen. Rebecca kindly volunteered to write a few blog posts for WWC and here’s her second contribution about what to take on board during a ride………
The length and intensity of a ride dictates how much and what you might decide to take with you on a bike ride. There is a lot of information in magazines and the internet about how to meet needs. Many cyclists choose to consume water only on their rides. For a short, moderate paced ride this may be enough. When the intensity kicks up though it is time to start thinking about adding some carbohydrate to top up muscle fuel.
Basics – muscles will use glycogen for fuel. Glycogen is stored in our muscles and liver. We have enough stored in our muscles for ~90min of moderate intensity activity.
When I first started riding I did ride around on my own a fair bit but over time I found like-minded riding companions who I now consider to be amongst my best friends. I’ve been riding for five years now and over those years I’ve found lots of buddies, both women and men, some of whom have already come and gone in my life.
The first step for me was to find a local group of riders who already met on a formal basis for a weekly ride. For me, this group was called BayBUG which in long form is Canada Bay Bicycle User Group. There are BUGs all over NSW which are formed under the auspices of Bicycle NSW and cater for beginner riders. It was ideal for me, and it gave me an introduction to group riding and plenty of riding buddies.
Over time, as the group got to know each other better we formed some subgroups and started riding on Sunday as well as the regular BayBUG Saturday ride.
It is very rare to find a group of recreational riders who ride at the same pace all the time. They’ll be riders who are having a good day, those who are having a bad day and just those (like me a lot of the time) who are just slower than many of their friends. For me, this is because many of them are men, and in general male riders are stronger than women.
But I don’t let that spoil my enjoyment of riding with friends and my pals are always very kind to me, and wait for me, and encourage me to improve. Likewise, I sometimes ride with others who are slower than me and I’m always kind and patient too.
I found this great article by Sarah Bonner published on the women’s cycling website Women’s Cycling and the editor Laurel-Lea kindly agreed for me to republish it here. Over to Sarah…..
I originally wrote a blog post about commuting by bike last year, and at the time I didn’t commute, and had no intention of commuting, not in the job I was in at the time. But of course circumstances change and I’ve now joined the army of people taking to the roads to get to and from work.
Women tend to approach cycling differently to men (please excuse the stereotyping) and that includes bike commuting. A lot of men treat commuting like a race and constantly attempt to outdo their previous times and those of other riders. Women however, tend to treat it more like a practical way to get to work and are more focused on safety than speed. So naturally women have a few ‘special’ requirements.
To me it’s all in the planning. Here’s a few tips I’ve compiled to get you started.
One of the major topics amongst my riding friends in the last few weeks at the post-ride café visit, has been aggressive birds. Spring has definitely sprung in my neighbourhood and birds are out in force defending their young.
Thankfully my bird attacks have been uneventful where I’ve heard a click noise on my helmet and been aware of an anonymous object nearby, but a few of my friends have not been so lucky. One of them had a butcherbird attack him on Saturday morning and draw blood on his cheek. Another was attacked by an aggressive magpie last week while visiting an area where he doesn’t normally ride. Both of them stayed calm and managed to stay upright but many are not so lucky.
These stories have prompted me to do some research and put a list of facts and tips together.