Spring into spring

Despite the cold blast of recent days, there are plenty of signs that Spring is here. The days are getting longer, the weather is warming up, buds are on the trees and the blue sky beacons me to head outside. 

Has winter had you off your bike, enjoying some hibernation? If so your bike (and you?) might need a wee bit of attention. So use the arrival of spring as your inspiration to dust off your bike, give it a bit of TLC and head out to enjoy the splendor of Spring. 

Spring-tune your bike 

  1. Dust it off. Check the frame for any signs of damage or rust. 
  2. Pump it up. Check your tyres and pump them to the recommended pressure. A floor pump is a good investment for a biking family
  3. Chain reaction. Check your bikes chain and gears. Clean off any dust, grime or rust. Lube the chain (it should look silky)
  4. Accesorise. Make sure your helmet is fitting well and undamaged. Check your pump, spare tube, bike lights and other minimum equipment (see what’s in the bag) are all present and correct. 
  5. Check your brakes. Always do this before a ride (and after fixing a puncture). Make sure they engage well and don’t feel spongy. 

For more safety check tips check out this booklet from the NZTA. 

If you spot problems or are concerned about the state of your bike, pop into your local bike shop and talk about a safety check or service. 

Helping your kids perform these steps is a great way to teach them how to look after their bike. Now you are ready! Where will you go?

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Riding on the road

The best way to teach children cycling skills is to ride with them.  Awareness, caution, predictability and visibility skills are grown layer upon layer with lots of practice, guidance and positive reinforcement.  When you introduce them to road riding, your position relative to them should enable you to be constantly observing and coaching.  And remember, a great coach tells us what we are doing right as well as where and how we need to improve. Continue reading “Riding on the road”

Share with Care

Mind your manners!

At some point you’ll be riding with walkers, dogs and other cyclists, and possibly farmers and livestock.  Use it as an opportunity to show your kids the life skills of manners, courtesy, and sharing. Continue reading “Share with Care”

Pregnant Cycling

Mindful of the benefits of being fit and active whilst pregnant, I wanted to keep cycling.  I had my concerns, so I read up on the topic and consulted my doctor.  Here is what I learnt about each concern:

Injury Risk.   Collisions and falls present risk of injury to you and your baby.  This applies both on and off the bike, especially as your belly grows and you can’t see the kerb or other things which can be tripped over.  Walking,  being with kids and motor vehicle accidents all pose injury risk.  Overall the baby is well protected by amniotic fluid.  As an experienced rider with a good safety record I chose to trust in this.  I minimised risk by choosing where and when to ride, e.g. no mountain biking for me.

Heath Risk.  Sitting on the sofa eating chocolate biscuits posed more of a health risk for me than cycling did.  As with any exercise during pregnancy, it is key to avoid over-heating.  Pregnancy raises your core body temperature and raising it further can be bad for baby.  Because you heat-up from the inside out, you can’t just ask ‘do I feel hot’, as baby will be feeling hotter than you.  Because of this, experts usually advise monitoring your heart rate or perceived rate of exertion (PRE) whilst exercising, (your level of exertion will determine your core temperature).  They used to give a maximum of 140 BPM but this of course depended on how fit you were to start.  Cycling gently around town with the occasional small hill should be fine providing you don’t over do it.  Manage your core temperature with appropriate clothing, plenty of water and cool-down rests as needed.  Monitor your exertion in a way that works for you.  Follow general guidelines for exercising whilst pregnant.

Fatigue.  Growing a baby is hard work and it is important not to over do it in other areas of your life.  Listen to your body, when you are tired rest.  At the same time keep in mind that staying fit and active will make life much easier during delivery and beyond.  It is also great for your mental health, especially when cycling is something you enjoy.

The best advice I read was this:

“when your baby bump starts touching on the top bar of your bike it is time to stop”.

I happily cycled through both pregnancies.  With our first we turned up to our childbirth classes by bike.  With my second I towed our first child to daycare in our chariot cycle trailer, stopping at eight months when the baby bump got in the way.  Both times we had a couples weekend away, hiring a tandem and exploring bike paths in San Francisco and Napier.

For me, cycling when pregnant is a case of:

“if it feels good, do it”    ……..with a good dose of responsibility and sensible caution.

Did you cycle whilst pregnant? How was it for you?