Is your day job killing your cycling?

Cycling, simply put, is not exactly the cheapest of hobbies.  And until we can make that big leap into the pro ranks (which is almost, but not entirely, impossible for a 37 year old) we generally have to do something when we aren’t riding to make a few bucks.  But sometimes that balance just doesn’t work out so well.

I’ve been in that situation for the last few months.  I’m a tech guy – systems engineer, responsible for keeping my company’s servers up and running.  And I’ve been working for a startup.  That means a lot of hours.  One can not ride with their keyboard in front of them.

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Another great cyclist blogger – and diabetic

You’ve read about my diabetes here on JustAnotherCyclist a couple of times.  I’ve even claimed to not write about my diabetes much on this blog (as I write about diabetes on this blog – yet again!)  Nonetheless, it is a huge part of my life by necessity.  So it was with some interesting that I happened across another cyclist and diabetic – and blogger.

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Podcasts of Note

Cycling’s online resources continue to grow.  Websites, forums, blogs – they’re everywhere, for every possible facets of the cycling world.  But if words and pictures aren’t your thing, and you are more of a listener, then there are a plethora of cycling podcasts available.  I’ve put together a list of some of my favorites below.  This list is by no means comprehensive, and rather represents my own personal tastes.

VeloReviews This podcast is the audio extensions of the cycling website VeloReviews.com.  Featuring three regular hosts with varied background, the shows regularly cover fitness & training issues, as well as bike maintenance and wrenching.  It is also one of the few cycling podcasts that has a woman as a regular host – giving a voice to women  specific issues and concerns.  For the latest podcasts, see the page on VeloReviews, or search on iTunes.

FredCast The first cycling podcast I ever listened to.  David Bernstein produces the FredCast, and has worked himself into something of a icon in the online/new media cycling world. From coverage from the floor of Interbike, to the latest product recall information, David’s FredCast sets the bar with this very polished and professional production. see the FredCast website, or again, look to iTunes.

The Spokesmen Taking the format of a “roundtable” discussion, The Spokesmen podcast regularly features different representatives from new media, as well as the greater cycling industry.  Another of David Bernstein’s productions, the shows rotation hosts feature a couple of regulars.  Among these are Carlton Reid of BikeBiz.com and Quickrelease.tv, Neil Brown, blogger on versus.com and founder of Carolina Cycling News and “The Masi Guy” Tim Jackson of Masi bikes.  Other members of the Spokesmen have included Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, and Jeff Helfand of VeloReviews (above).

Two John’s Podcast While composed mostly of racing news, the Two John’s has a personality and feel all its own.  Definitely one of my favorites, with an underlying wit and humor all its own.  The podcast has found a home for itself over at missingsaddle.com.

Spin Burger mixes burgers, beer and bikes in Midtown Sacramento

There is no question about that fact that Sacramento has changed in the last couple of years.  Bike culture is in full effect.  And every culture needs its patrons.

Fred Haines is doing his part to help with that patronage role.  Fred is President – and Executive Chef – of SRO Inc. SRO is responsible for dining establishments throughout the greater Sacramento area, including Bistro 33, Riverside Clubhouse, Suzie Burger and Side Bar.  There have been hints of Fred Haines’s interest in cycling before.  Riverside Clubhouse used to offer a special on Friday nights to folks that rode in on their bikes.  Many in the area have even ridden with him before.  However, his latest endeavor Spin Burger takes his cycling interests a step further.

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Can we bridge the tweed-lycra divide?

They seem to be almost opposite ends of the spectrum in the cycling world:  The lycra crowd and the tweed crowd.  We also unfortunately know the stereotypes.

Photo Courtesy of Richard Masoner :: http://www.cyclelicio.us/

Photo Courtesy of Richard Masoner :: http://www.cyclelicio.us/

Photo Courtesy of Richard Masoner :: http://www.cyclelicio.us/

The lycra-clad weekend warriors dropping $10,000 on bikes they only ride on sunny Saturday mornings, picking routes that allow them to blindly blow through stop lights and block traffic in an effort clearly targeted specifically to annoy drivers.

The tweed folks riding around on odd bikes with lots of baskets, and children hanging on for dear life in the baskets in a way that every non-cycling American with common sense can immediately recognize as blatant child endangerment.

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Christmas gift ideas for the cyclist dad

Note: If you feel like you may have read this post before, you’re probably right.  This is an only slightly modified repost of a previous Father’s Day article.  Same principles apply though.  Enjoy

There is a very long tradition of getting dad a tie for Christmas.  But what if Dad’s favorite pastime involves a saddle, two wheels and two pedals?  As a general rule, folks don’t wear neck ties on the weekend group rides.

Luckily, there are a number of items – ranging from the relatively inexpensive to the completely extravagant – that can fill the bill.  Here’s a list of some ideas in no particular order:
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An open letter to Diabetic cyclists

It is an unfortunate necessity of being a cyclist with Type 1 diabetes that a fair amount of thought goes into blood sugar levels on the days before, during and after major rides.  Despite all the warm fuzzy “Diabetes doesn’t stop me from doing anything” sentiments – which I in fact do agree with – there is still an inescapable fact of life: Diabetes is a big pain in the ass.  I’ve talked before about some of the challenges that cycling, or any athletic endeavor, can present to a diabetic.  To that end, I’ve decided to share some of my methods of managing my diabetes while I’m riding, and ask for your stories to help me address some of the areas I’m struggling with.

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Diabetes, cycling and technology

Note:  I first wrote and posted this article to my blog at VeloReviews.com on June 15, 2010.  Since then, I’ve imported it back here to JustAnotherCyclist.com to provide more context to posts that will be appearing here.

I generally don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on my diabetes [here on JustAnotherCyclist.com]. It is not that I’m ashamed of my type 1 diabetes, or trying to hide it, but more that I mostly consider it just a part of my life. Thinking of it in that context I’m just not really compelled to post about it on web sites that I frequent, or write about it in my blog. However, every once in awhile something comes along that can potentially make my diabetes noteworthy. In this case, it is a change in the way I manage my diabetes that promises to make my cycling a whole lot better, safer and enjoyable. Well, two things actually.
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Coffee, Ride, Coffee, Ride, Beer, Repeat

There is an undeniable connection between cycling, drinking coffee, and drinking beer.  But why?

Cycling Inquisition delves into this subject in some detail.  But I’ve got a slightly different take on it.

There was an article sometime ago in Bicycling magazine that first alerted me to this idea, and I’ve seen references a couple of times since then.  Basically, the idea is that endurance sports – like cycling and marathon running – release certain chemicals in the brain.  This will come as no surprise to many, as frequently cyclists will cite occasions of becoming grumpy, lethargic or downright hostile if they are not able to get out and ride regularly.  Sound like the same things that happen to regular beef aficionados when they don’t get a night at the pub?  Not a coincidence, says some research.  Some of the same chemicals released by endurance athletics are also released into the brain by alcohol consumption.  Of course, the cyclists and runners get it without fear of hangovers and DUIs!

So maybe there is good science behind the beer drinking connection.  But what about coffee?  My answer – logistics.

First off, caffeine has some very obvious and noticeable effects on athletic performance.  Enough so that it was once banned and tested for as an illegal substance when used during athletic competitions.  In fact, WADA, or the World Anti-Doping Agency, are considering adding it back onto the banned substances list.  And who doesn’t want a little extra kick that is both social acceptable and doesn’t involve a blood bag?

That doesn’t feel like the whole story, though.  I believe the crux of the caffeine connection comes from the dynamics of group rides.  Groups need places to meet and the two most common meeting places for random groups of folks: pubs and cafes.  While drunken and hung over cyclists may explain Mr. Attack-at-weird-places-and-blow-up, or Mrs. Don’t-talk-to-me-when-I’m-pedaling that sometimes show up for the group rides, alcohol consumption is generally frowned upon by the serious group ride leaders.  That leaves coffee shops as the next most reasonable alternative as meeting places for group rides.

Get enough cyclists with their lycra kits showing up at your cafe repeatedly, and eventually sponsorship deals will be discusses.  And – given that cyclists are often compelled to talk about the amazing products and services of their sponsors, it stands to reason that sipping the java would become an integral part of cycling as a whole.

Tell a cyclist to “Break an Elbow”

Pretty much everyone is familiar with the tradition in theater of wishing well to actors before a performance by stating “Break a leg.”  Well, now cyclists can have their own silly superstition.  Next time someone is heading out for a ride, yell at them “Break an elbow!”

We can thank Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles for setting us up for this.  He recently found himself involved in a right-hook incident with a taxi cab while he was riding his bike on Venice Blvd, which ultimately resulted in a broken elbow for the mayor.

As a result of this incident, the mayor has declared his desire to put together a bike summit.  According to an LA Weekly post:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently reached out to the bicycle community via YouTube and announced — more than a week after he broke an elbow in a bike accident on Venice Boulevard — that he would help organize a summit about the future of pedal power in L.A..’We’re going to work with the bicycle safety community to put together a bike summit,” he said.

It is unfortunate that someone in a position of power has to be injured to drive the point home about the need for more understanding and protection of cyclists.  However, it is totally understandable why, as a human, the mayor would be more sensitive to cycling issues after an incident such as this.  “Have a good ride mayor!  Break an elbow!”

The time seems ripe in LA for a change in culture.  The LAPD was already making strides to improve bicycle safety.  From the LA Times blog post:

Police Chief Charlie Beck has made overtures to bicyclists, promising to make their safety a bigger priority and sending some of his officers to ride in the monthly Critical Mass bicycle ride in June. The LAPD issued a directive instructing officers that a motorist can be held responsible for causing a bicycle accident even if he or she did not make direct contact with the rider — and can be arrested for fleeing the scene, Box said.

The LAPD involvement in the critical mass ride, while reported as wildly successful by both sides, unfortunately also only arose in response to an unfortunate circumstance.  A previous ride in LA staged to protest the BP oil spill was met with what was perceived by many as unwarranted aggressive behavior towards cyclists.

I fully applaud the actions of both the mayor and LAPD, acknowledge that all folks make mistakes, and give kudos to LAPD for recognizing a poorly handled situation and taking actions to correct the damage. However, I can’t help but find it frustrating that so many times it requires a tragedy in the cycling community to bring about any real, positive change.

Be safe, keep your helmet above your saddle above your pedals, and by all means “Break an Elbow!”