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Archive for the 'Cycling Tips' Category

Commuting fun!

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

Today’s commute was particularly fun. The past few commutes had been a little routine and not boring exactly, but a bit less invigorating. But something happened this morning that made things fun — there was more traffic. Yes, incredibly, having more traffic improved my ride this morning.

For one thing, I figured out a really cool trick that I’ve been working on perfecting, but sometimes it’s hard to find the right opportunity to practice it. The trick I figured out is a way to accelerate much faster from a stop. Yesterday, I my rides to work and home were almost nonstop. I had to stop a few times this morning and got to practice the trick.

Maybe it seems obvious, but it wasn’t to me — here’s the trick. You need clipless pedals. When you stop, keep one foot clipped in (I use my left). When you are ready to go, start pedaling and clip in with your right foot as quickly as possible. When your right foot reaches the bottom of the pedal stroke, stand up, lean forward, and pull your right foot up and forward very quickly. If you’re in the right gear (use a higher one than you normally would when stopping), you’ll shoot forward — I can reach 10 mph almost immediately. You should be pedaling on the upstroke in general anyway, but I’ve found that I can get a lot more acceleration by doing the whole leaning forward and pulling, than by pushing down on the pedals. Does anyone else do this?

I saw a lot of cyclists this morning, and blew right by all of them. I was going to say hi, but I realized that they had headphones on (but no helmets, of course), so I just flew by. This is sort of a pet peeve of mine — if you’re riding, you need to be in touch with the world around you, not engrossed in music and off in another world.

Anyway, I rode harder than usual this morning, but it was just so much fun! I got to work in only 12 minutes. I was going to go slow and try not to sweat too much, but instead I had a few extra minutes to cool down, and I arrived at work with a goofy grin on my face. That’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make.

Keeping Cool

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

When I opened the front door to ride to work this morning, I was greeted with a blast of hot air. I had to remind myself that it feels cooler once I start riding and air is passing over me. During my ride, I was thinking about all the different ways I try to keep cool. Maybe some of these will help someone else. I’d love for people to add to the list, too.

Ways to keep cool:

Don’t wear cotton.
Cotton clothes hold moisture, so when you sweat, they get waterlogged and stick to your skin. It also takes forever to dry. Wear as little cotton as possible, especially shirts. Polyester is good and wicks moisture, pulling it away from your skin so it can evaporate. I’ve found that wearing non-cotton work clothes as well (with no undershirt, as those are cotton) helps me cool down faster.

Take your time.
Don’t ride too fast. You’ll work up more of a sweat. Also, take your time changing your clothes so you can cool down a bit in the process, and if you have more than one place where you can change clothes, choose the coolest place. Don’t schedule any meetings first thing in the morning so you can cool down first.

Clean yourself.
Wash your face, or wipe it with a wet paper towel or a wet wipe after you get to work. It’ll keep you clean and cool. Have an extra stick of deodorant to use once you arrive at work.

Drink something cold.
Even if you aren’t thirsty, bring cold water and drink some during your ride. It’ll help you feel a little cooler. I put my water bottle in the refrigerator in the morning and get it out right before I leave in the evening. In the morning, try drinking your coffee iced instead of hot. I have a mug that fits in my second water bottle cage, and I bring iced coffee to work every morning.

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