Ben Spies

Elbows out: After its debut in 2011, Elbowz Racing quickly became one of the top amateur teams in the U.S. Photo: Elbowz Racing. Cat. 1 racer, and most notably, he started the successful Elbowz Racing team, which, in its rookie season in 2011, won more than 70 races. Spies won the AMA Superbike national championship for in 2006, and successfully defended his title in 2007, and again in 2008. He then went on to win the world Superbike championship in 2009, which he describes as nothing more than “a big dream.” Even with motorcycle racing at the forefront, Spies began cycling as a way to get in shape, beginning nearly a decade ago. Despite the difference in the physics and dynamics of bike racing and motorcycle racing, there are also similarities, in body position, and in the accompanying adrenaline rush. – Velonews

Professional Athletes are integrating the bicycle into their workout routines in greater numbers. Many NASCAR drivers are riding and Jimmie Johnson recently said on Lance Armstrong’s Podcast that in the mornings you’ll often see large groups leaving the track to go for a ride.

Today we are going to talk about a local athlete Ray Lewis and his love of the bicycle. We’ll circle back to NASCAR in an upcoming post.

Ray talks about his love of cycling in this Intro to a Spinervals video he recorded with Baltimore resident and Coach Troy Jacobson:

From: The Post Game

Ravens coach John Harbaugh says the All-Pro linebacker is in the best shape that he’s ever seen him in, and Lewis says that’s thanks to cycling.Ray Lewis Indoor Training

“I credit a lot of my training to a lot of my cycling,” Lewis told reporters, getting more excited by the word. “I did a lot of cycling. I became real big in it. First couple times I went out there I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I mean, the fatigue that you go through…”

One reason Lewis brought out the bicycle is because it puts less stress on legs than pounding the pavement.

Have any of you seen Ray while out on a ride?

This post is part of our celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Bicycle and the people who love them.

 

Pink (Alecia Moore) is often seen cycling, alone, with her family or to run errands. While on tour she is likely to be spotted on her bicycle exploring cities. Seems the only important accessory she usually leaves behind when photographed on rides is her helmet. However in some recent Instagram posts she is wearing a helmet so maybe she has changed her ways, we hope so for her and her family. Yet Another reason for her cycling is;

“The singer makes a point of riding bicycles instead of using a horse drawn carriage, which she is part of a PETA campaign against.” From ilovebicycling.com

 

This post is part of our series celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Bicycle and the people who love bicycles.

 

Famous People who Rode – Albert Einstein

 

Early in his schooling at Munich University in Germany, Einstein would often take bicycle tours with fellow scientists to contemplate the world at large. It is thought he had several ‘Eureka!’ moments while out cycling.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

This is part of our celebration of the 200 Anniversary of the Bicycle

Patrick Dempsey – Celebrities who Ride

Patrick Dempsey Actor, Production Manager and Producer but best known for his role as Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy is an avid cyclist. He has also acted in the Bridget Jones’s movies, Sweet Home Alabama and Can’t Buy Me Love to name a few.

From a Bicycling Magazine Interview we learned a little more about his passion for cycling:

Dempsey started riding after his mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. “I find biking is the best way to work on your cardio, and your lower body and core strength. It’s just an incredible sport. I love it. It just calms you down and it’s mediation in motion. Getting my daughter and the boys, and my wife, on bikes was a really great breakthrough this last year. It’s been a great way for us to spend time talking and working things out. It becomes therapy together because you get out and you’re moving and distracted. At the same time you can communicate.”

(interview) http://www.bicycling.com/culture/people/patrick-dempsey-s-challenge

Famous People and Bicycles

Certainly on the short list of famous people who had ties to cycling and the cycling industry are the Wright brothers. They bought their first bicycles in 1892 and in 1893 they started a repair and rental business in Dayton, Ohio. Expansion was next for the brothers as they started manufacturing their own line of bicycles. It is here where they started creating and building their flying machines. Ultimately using this knowledge and experience in their design and construction of the airplane.

 

 

 

From the Air and Space Website:

“In designing their airplane, the Wrights drew upon a number of bicycle concepts:

The Wright Brothers Bicycle Store Dayton, Ohio

•             The central importance of balance and control.

•             The need for strong but lightweight structures.

•             The chain-and-sprocket transmission system for propulsion.

•             Concerns regarding wind resistance and aerodynamic shape of the operator.”

From: https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/wright-brothers/online/who/1895/biketoflight.cfm

The Wright Brothers journey is truly fascinating and the bicycle played a major role in their lives. Obviously there is a ton of material about them so I won’t go on but I do highly recommend David McCullough book “The Wright Brothers” if you want to dig deeper into their story. Also the Air and Space Museum has some great information that can be found from the link above.

The bike hasn’t changed much in its basic shape over the years. It certainly gotten better and a lot more choices in styles etc.

Bicycle History

A little history of the bicycle again from Wikipedia:

The first verifiable claim for a practically used bicycle belongs to German Baron Karl von Drais, a civil servant to the Grand Duke of Baden in Germany. Drais invented his Laufmaschine (German for “running machine”) of 1817 that was called Draisine (English) or draisienne (French) by the press. Karl von Drais patented this design in 1818, which was the first commercially successful two-wheeled, steerable, human-propelled machine, commonly called a velocipede, and nicknamed hobby-horse or dandy horse.[8] It was initially manufactured in Germany and France. Hans-Erhard Lessing (Drais’ biographer) found from circumstantial evidence that Drais’ interest in finding an alternative to the horse was the starvation and death of horses caused by crop failure in 1816, the Year Without a Summer following the volcanic eruption of Tambora in 1815).[9] On his first reported ride from Mannheim on June 12, 1817, he covered 13 km (eight miles) in less than an hour.[10] Constructed almost entirely of wood, the draisine weighed 22 kg (48 pounds), had brass bushings within the wheel bearings, iron shod wheels, a rear-wheel brake and 152 mm (6 inches) of trail of the front-wheel for a self-centering caster effect. This design was welcomed by mechanically minded men daring to balance, and several thousand copies were built and used, primarily in Western Europe and in North America. Its popularity rapidly faded when, partly due to increasing numbers of accidents, some city authorities began to prohibit its use.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_bicycle

Image Information: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4406665

So now that we have a little of the background stuff out of the way we’ll be sharing quotes and talking about some famous people who ride bicycles.

Our customers celebrate the bicycle every day and so do we. For the month of June we’ll be celebrating the bicycle a little more than normal. This month is extra special this year, June 12th is the 200th Anniversary of the first bicycle ride. During June we will be sharing fun facts and such about the bicycle. It is our hope that you enjoy them and maybe share them with your friends. Riding bikes is super fun and so is talking about them.

We’ll start today with Wikipedia’s Definition of the bicycle:

Bicycle

The early bicycle.bicycle, also called a cycle or bike, is a human-poweredpedal-drivensingle-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A bicycle rider is called a cyclist, or bicyclist.

Bicycles were introduced in the 19th century in Europe and as of 2003, more than 1 billion have been produced worldwide, twice as many as the number of automobiles that have been produced.[2] They are the principal means of transportation in many regions. They also provide a popular form of recreation, and have been adapted for use as children’s toys, general fitness, military and police applications, courier servicesbicycle racing and bicycle stunts.

The basic shape and configuration of a typical upright or “safety bicycle”, has changed little since the first chain-driven model was developed around 1885.[3][4][5] But many details have been improved, especially since the advent of modern materials and computer-aided design. These have allowed for a proliferation of specialized designs for many types of cycling.

The bicycle’s invention has had an enormous effect on society, both in terms of culture and of advancing modern industrial methods. Several components that eventually played a key role in the development of the automobile were initially invented for use in the bicycle, including ball bearingspneumatic tireschain-driven sprockets, and tension-spoked wheels.[6]

Wikipedia Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle

Link to image information: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=727702

The bicycle sure has come a long way hasn’t it! 

It’s been awhile since I wrote. I debated about a couple of topics I’ll get to each but for today I thought I would write about the bike, the environment and our health.

When you talk to your friends about some of the issues that concern them the conversation may turn to: Obesity, especially childhood obesity, dependence on foreign oil and the length of their commute in the morning, i.e. traffic congestion. Guess what? The bicycle can help us with all of those issues.

For me one of my concerns is obesity especially childhood obesity and the affects it has on today’s youth. It amazes me how many children are obese. Additionally on my mind and I am sure I am not alone is rising fuel costs. Yes lately they have been much better.

Interestingly the bicycle can help in both of these areas.

Did you know?

FACT

  • In the US 50% of car trips are less than two miles.  Currently less than 1% of trips in this country are made by bicycle.  (In Holland it is 30%)  Some cities are doing a better job then others; Boulder, CO is already at 21%, Davis, CA is at 20%.  Minneapolis is at 2% – well above national average, but with room for improvement.

FACT

Children bicycling to school.

  •  “In 1969, about half of all students walked or bicycled to school.  Today, however, the story is very different. Fewer than 15 percent of all school trips are made by walking or bicycling, one-quarter are made on a school bus, and over half of all children arrive at school in private automobiles.”

THINK ABOUT:

What if we started to reverse this trend? Think about what it could do to help with childhood obesity. Or better yet the rise in childhood diabetes. One great place to start is Safe Routes To School.  If kids include cycling as a part of their life when they are young they are more likely to continue to ride as they grow older. What a great health gift you would be giving your child!  Cycling is a healthy low impact fitness activity that they can participate in for life.

Do you have children? What if you rode your bike with your children to school? For families that’s have children within walking distance to school you could certainly ride your bikes there.

I live near a school and it amazes me how many parents are driving their children to school versus walking or better yet, riding their bikes. The cars waiting to drop their children off at school backs up in front of my house almost every morning. Sure some parents look like they are dressed for work and dropping their children off on the way, many do not.

Most Americans can easily ride a bike 2 miles. How many of your errands could be done on your bicycle? What if you used your bike for only three or four errands a week? Think how that could improve your health and save on your gas bill and reduce the maintenance needed on the family car? What if you brought your family along? Now the family is participating in a healthy activity while spending time together and getting the errands you need done.

The bicycle of today is easy to ride and ideal for basic errands such as going to the grocery store the video store or even your local hardware store. I’ve set up my wife’s bike for some basic errands. We’ve installed a rear rack on her bike and some grocery bags. These bags are made by Bontrager and are the exact size of a brown paper grocery bag. You can take the bags into the store do your shopping and then attach the bags right to the back of your bike. She rides down to the store for the little odds and ends we need from the week for the store. Since we live so close to the store she often takes the longer route to either get there or come home to add to the work out.

If you think of some of the simple trips you make today and would get in your car for, how many of them could you be doing on your bike?

Here are some more interesting facts that I found from the League of American Bicyclists Web Site

Ride for the Economy

  • According to the Surgeon General, approximately 300,000 U.S. deaths a year currently are associated with being obese or overweight. This compares to 400,000 deaths a year associated with cigarette smoking. In 2002, obesity-related medical care spending accounted for 11.6 percent of all private health care spending, compared to just 2 percent in 1987, concludes Health Affairs.
  • Bicycles cost far less than automobiles to purchase and maintain, and do not require a continual intake of increasingly expensive gasoline. Between six and twenty bicycles can be parked in the space a motor vehicle requires for parking. Bicycles also cause little, if any, wear and tear on roadways.
    Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center

 

Ride for the Environment

  • Motor vehicle emissions represent 31 percent of total carbon dioxide, 81 percent of carbon monoxide, and 49 percent of nitrogen oxides released in the U.S. (The Green Commuter, a publication of the Clean Air Council). A short, four-mile round trip by bicycle keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe. (WorldWatch Institute).
  • According to the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, 25 percent of all trips are made within a mile of the home, 40 percent of all trips are within two miles of the home, and 50 percent of the working population commutes five miles or less to work. Yet more than 82 percent of trips five miles or less are made by personal motor vehicle.
  • 60 percent of the pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices can work effectively. Since “cold starts” create high levels of emissions, shorter car trips are more polluting on a per-mile basis than longer trips.
  • Michael Oppenheimer, the chief scientist at Environmental Defense, said, “If you reduced carbon dioxide, you’d begin to get rid of most of the stuff that causes these everyday respiratory problems. You’d start to get rid of the nitrogen oxides, which lead to the generation of smog. You’d start to get rid of sulfur dioxide, which leads not only to acid rain but to the tiny particles that people breathe, and which cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems.”
  • A Rodale Press survey found that Americans want to have the opportunity to bike to work instead of driving, with 40 percent of those surveyed saying they would commute by bike if safe facilities were available.
  • According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) October 2000 Omnibus Household Survey, 41.3 million Americans (20.0 percent) used a bicycle for transportation in the 30 days measured in the survey. Bicycling is the second most preferred form of transportation after the automobile, ahead of public transportation. More than 9.2 million (22.3 percent) of the 41.3 million people who bicycled did so more than ten of the 30 days.
  • Several findings from the BTS study indicate a growing concern among Americans with the impact of transportation choices on quality of life—and a willingness to consider bicycling as part of the solution. Half of all Americans (99.0 million people) believe that cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans are the primary cause of air pollution in their communities and 65 percent (135.4 million) are concerned about the level of traffic congestion on the roads in their communities. (They have a right to feel this way: Americans spend 75 minutes a day in their car.) Some 79.1 million (38 percent) of all Americans feel that the availability of bikeways, walking paths, and sidewalks for getting to work, shopping, and recreation is very important in choosing where to live.
  • Motor vehicle emissions represent 31 percent of total carbon dioxide, 81 percent of carbon monoxide, and 49 percent of nitrogen oxides released in the U.S. (The Green Commuter, a publication of the Clean Air Council). Short car trips (over distances that could easily be bicycled) are much more polluting than longer trips on a per-mile basis because 60 percent of the pollution resulting from auto emissions is released during the first few minutes of operation of a vehicle.

A few bike parking vs. car parking statistics:

Number of bikes that can be parked in one car parking space in a paved lot: 6 – 20.Bike Corral

Number of racks for bicycle parking in Seattle: 1,900.

Estimated cost of constructing one parking space in a paved lot: $2,200.

Estimated cost of constructing one parking space in a garage: $12,500. (from seattle.gov).

Ride for Your Health

  • Recreational bike riding is a safe, low-impact, aerobic activity for Americans of all ages. Bike commuting is an ideal solution to the need for moderate physical activity, which can be practiced five times a week. A 130-pound cyclist burns 402 calories while pedaling 14 miles in an hour. A 180-pound cyclist burns 540 calories while pedaling 14 miles in an hour.
  • Bicycling can help solve two of our nation’s leading crises: skyrocketing healthcare costs, which are damaging every sector of our economy, and the obesity epidemic, which in 2000 caused 400,000 deaths, 16.6 percent of all deaths recorded, due to physical inactivity and poor diet. A study of almost 200,000 General Motors employees found that overweight and obese individuals average up to $1,500 more in annual medical costs than healthy-weight individuals. By getting people moving again, bicycling can help improve Americans lose weight and improve their physical fitness. This could not only save lives, it could help greatly reduce the total costs to society of obesity, estimated at $117 billion per year (including $39 billion a year through Medicare and Medicaid programs, which cover sicknesses caused by obesity including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer).McDonald's Quarter Pounder
  • Recreational bike riding is a safe, low-impact, aerobic activity for Americans of all ages. A 150-pound cyclist burns 410 calories while pedaling 12 miles in an hour-almost the equivalent calories of a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder®. A 200-pound cyclist burns 546 calories while going 12 miles per hour-almost the equivalent of a Big Mac®.

Sources: Exercise and Your Heart — A Guide to Physical Activity. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute / American Heart Association, DHHS, PHS, NIH Publication No. 93-1677 and McDonald’s.

  • The President, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Surgeon General, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services have all recently expressed concern over America’s overweight problem. According to the CDC, 61% of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese; 13% of kids aged 6 to 11 and 14% of kids 12 to 19 are overweight. Obesity is second behind tobacco in U.S. health risk factors, contributing to 300,000 deaths a year.
  • According to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, approximately 70% of US adults are sedentary. This includes 28% who engage in no leisure-time physical activities and 42% who undertake less than 30 minutes of physical activity (such as walking) each day.
  • The Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health said, “Physical activity of the type that improves cardiovascular endurance reduces the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes and improves mental health. Findings are suggestive that endurance-type physical activity may reduce the risk of developing obesity, osteoporosis, and depression and may improve psychological well-being and quality of life.”

Ride for Transportation

  • Bicycles are solely human-powered and use no fossil fuels. Bicycles currently displace over 238 million gallons of gasoline per year, by replacing car trips with bicycle trips. – League of American Bicyclists.

THINK ABOUT:

The bicycle is ideal for so many things. Many, many countries have embraced the bicycle for their primary means of transportation. While it is not likely in America that all Americans can fully embrace the bike because of our existing infrastructure. We can greatly increase our use of the bicycle while at the same time making a healthier lifestyle for the environment and ourselves. For a lucky few who live in cities or close to where they work they have the ability to fully embrace the bike. Over the years mass transit has made great strides in helping cyclists get around more with their bikes. Many buses are equipped with bike racks and it is easier then ever to take your bike on the train today.

Great things get started and happen with small steps. What can you do? Are there three or four errands you can use your bike for? Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started and making something new a part of your daily routine. So don’t delay get riding today!

cycling-clothing-blog-header

“There are no poor cycling days, just poor clothing choices.” Ernest Freeland

Cycling clothing has come a long long way. No matter the type of riding you like to do there is a piece of clothing that is going to keep you comfortable while you are riding. Less is more these days when getting dressed for your ride. By carefully thinking about the conditions you want to ride in you can build a very versatile closet of clothing for your cycling without a huge investment. Buying quality pieces will also offer you greater durability and comfort. One of the biggest mistakes we see is people wearing out their cycling shorts and continuing to use them. A good quality cycling shorts is designed for a season and a half to two season for someone who rides several times during the week. If you ride less you may certainly increase the life of the short but they don’t last forever. Also the way you care for your shorts is going to have a big impact on how they hold up for you. While tops and jackets may last longer cycling short and anything else with a chamois is going to need to be replaced with some frequency.

Here are some links to other articles about cycling apparel.

Dressing for Cooler Weather

The Cycling Jersey

Dressing for Colder Weather

Note – This is the final part of a series we  will be sharing that Ernest wrote about cycling accessories and components. While they aren’t intended to be full on “Buyers Guides”  We do hope they will help you with things to consider when thinking about them or to view them a little differently. Then in future post we will dive deeper into each one of these.