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Welcome to the CycleRecycle Blog page

 

Here we will keep you in the loop about our exciting news, current offers and promotions and our take on all things cycling

By CycleRecycle, Jan 5 2016 11:24AM

As 2015 drew to a close, many of us felt tremendous frustration at the issues confronting us across the globe. I won’t comment on politics and war since I will probably dig a pit I can’t climb out of. But those of us who want safer streets and better infrastructure see plenty of work ahead in 2016.


Here in NYC we saw the launching of Vision Zero. This is a model based on a program launched in Sweden with the intention of reducing pedestrian and bicycle fatalities caused by drivers. In NYC speed limits were reduced from 30mph to 25mph on most city streets. It’s been shown that reduced speeds decrease the likely hood that injuries will be fatal if a person is hit by a car. But here’s the hitch. Reduced speeds only work if drivers follow the law. In just over 1 week there were 11 fatalities caused by speeding drivers who often lost control of the car. Some of these drivers had suspended licenses and histories of previous dangerous driving episodes.


So why are these people even behind the wheel? What happens when they get caught? Essentially nothing happens. A taxi driver who sped through an intersection hitting a father and killing the young son who was holding his father’s hand got fined $250. This was not an isolated case. I don’t know what happens in other states or countries. In NYC it seems that a person is viewed as having God given rights to get behind the wheel. And God help the pedestrian for thinking he has a right to cross the street safely. Unless the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they literally get away with murder.


The Mayor of NY likes to tell us that deaths have decreased. However, I read something intriguing. The number of injured has not decreased. Why is this? Assuming that the driver has slowed down somewhat, i.e. going 30-35mph instead of the 40mph he used to do, the individual hit has a greater chance of surviving the crash.


The Swedish model for safe streets works on the theory that people are fallible and will make mistakes. Based on this theory, streets were redesigned to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to get where they need to. It also made it harder for drivers to do the wrong thing. Corners were bumped out shortening the distance needed to walk across the street. These bump outs also force drivers to slow down to make a turn. More bike lanes are protected. Other changes were made to street design and to alter driving culture.


An activist group has been working with the Department of Transportation to make several areas of Brooklyn safer. These are trouble spots known for high incident rates.


In one neighborhood, proposals were shot down by people who fear that improvements such as creating a small crossing plaza will lead to gentrification. Apparently, it’s better to keep the neighborhood dangerous for the middle and lower income families that negotiate this intersection trying to get to school and work. Sounds like a strange form of discrimination to me.


In Australia the laws have created a war on bicyclist, particularly those who use their bicycles as transportation. Violation of helmet laws carries stiff fines. Nothing substantial has changed to make the daily bike commuter safer. UK has issues with safety, driving culture and street infrastructure as well. This is despite a long bicycling tradition.


So our work continues in 2016. I would like to challenge all of you (and spread this challenge to others). When making all those well intentioned New Year’s resolutions make and follow through with this one. Join an advocacy group and become actively involved. If you are already involved then get someone new to join, take on a new project or just give a little more time or money. Here’s to success across the globe to make our streets safe and enjoyable places. Enjoy the ride.


@bikingmidwife


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Click Here to read `the Bicycle Shaped Object`


Click here to read `How to winterize your bike`


Click Here to read `5 ways to make your bike more visible at night`


Click Here to learn how to write for us


Click here to read our Guest Blog `Something that has caught my attention...`


Click here to read `how to stay motivated on your turbo trainer`

By CycleRecycle, Dec 23 2015 10:41AM

Training indoors is often a necessary evil during winter, but it doesn't have to be a bad experience

There are a host of training aids available these days to make the session fly by and there are plenty of other ways to keep you interested in your pain cave.


Here are a few things you can do to keep your motivation to the end of the session, starting with a bit of visual entertainment.


1. Watch a training video

Indoor training is big business these days and there are plenty of video aids on the market to make your sessions more fun. It’s strange, but watching a video of other people cycling does seem to motivate you to pedal on yourself.

There are the old school DVDs you can buy, featuring video highlights of races like the Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix or Liege-Bastogne-Liege, or nowadays there are more interactive ones available.

One of the most popular indoor training aids is the Sufferfest series of videos, which give you on-screen instructions of how hard you need to push yourself – meaning you don’t have to rely on a stopwatch to monitor your efforts.

Recently there has also been an increase in interactve turbos available, where you can plug in your power metre, cadence sensor or heart-rate monitor and it automatically adjusts the resistance based on the ‘effort’ you’re doing.

Combine that with some pretty decent virtual reality systems, like Zwift and it’s a whole new world of fun.


2. Buy yourself a fan

You can have the best workout planned, all the entertainment in the world and the endurance of Sir Bradley Wiggins, but if you train inside without a fan you’ll be drenched in sweat in minutes.

Out on the roads you have the luxury of the wind to cool you down, but in your house it all gets a bit stuffy. So do yourself a favour and buy a cheap desk fan, set it up in a place that blows on your face and pedal away.

You may also want to put down a towel to protect your floor or carpet, as even with a fan you’ll sweat relentlessly anyway.


3. Have a structured workout

Sometimes you just want to get on your turbo to get your legs turning and keep yourself active in the winter. In that case, simply pedalling for an hour or so can be beneficial.

But more and more riders are using their turbo to keep to a structured training plan over the winter to ensure they hit the spring in good shape. Therefore having some kind of plan can help stave off the monotony of just pedalling at the same cadence.

Whether you want to ride at a certain cadence, close to your maximum heart rate or an average speed – a detailed plan can keep you interested for longer.


4. Watch a box set

If you spend a rainy Sunday laying on the couch watching endless episodes of your current favourite television programme, why not set up your turbo in front of the screen and pedal as you watch?

If you hate the fact that your favourite programmes are over too quickly, watching them on the turbo will make them feel a lot longer.

But make sure you don’t watch a programme where the characters have the propensity to mumble or talk very quietly, as the noise of the turbo is likely to have you reaching for the rewind button.


5. Train with other people

There’s a reason why spinning sessions are all the rage now – training with other people can help your motivation and make sure you don’t sack off your session early.

You don’t have to pack your living room with 20 other people, but recruiting your partner or a friend to train as well can help you share the pain.

If you’re doing the same workout as other people you can encourage each other through the tough parts and make the session go so much quicker.


6. Mix it up with intervals

As part of your structured training plan you should factor some intervals into your sessions, giving yourself something to look forward to (or dread) throughout the workout.

Rather than going hell for leather for 45 minutes, simply mix some sprints or high resistance bursts into your session and then return to your normal cadence.

Not only will it keep you focussed on what you’re doing, it’ll also help with your fitness and form on the bike, so it’s win-win!


7. Try rollers instead

If you’re easily bored, maybe riding a turbo isn’t for you, but you can still train indoors using rollers, which require a lot more concentration.

The other principal benefit of rollers is that you don’t have to clamp your bike into a machine, simply chuck the wheels on top of the rollers and start pedalling.

Except it isn’t as simple as that – it’s incredibly difficult to balance at first, meaning you have to hold onto a door frame/wall/sofa in order to stay upright. But once you’ve mastered the art of balancing the rollers can do wonders for your bike handling when you’re back out on the roads.


8. Finish the session with cake

We all love cake. You’d probably have a piece of cake at a cafe stop on a club run, so why not treat yourself after a tough turbo session.

It may not help much with your training plan, but we can’t be held responsible for that…


If you have enjoyed reading this post, please share or ReTweet.


Click Here to read `the Bicycle Shaped Object`


Click here to read `How to winterize your bike`


Click Here to read `5 ways to make your bike more visible at night`


Click Here to learn how to write for us


Click here to read our Guest Blog `Something that has caught my attention...`


By CycleRecycle, Dec 19 2015 10:20AM

Something that has caught my attention is the similar issues facing bicycle riders in UK, USA and Austalia. Safety issues confront pedestrians as well. Traffic laws in the New York City boroughs are appalling and enforcement is a disgrace. Studies have shown some interesting data. Streets become safer when more people ride bikes. Many people are afraid to ride because road safety is not given priority. Many people don't bike to work because they worry about arriving looking unprofessional.


I belong to an organization in NYC called Transportation Alternative. They have been a leading organization for about 47 years, working to improve street safety and public transportation. At a recent meeting, a young woman made some rather snippy remarks about bicycling in skirts. I rode my bike to the meeting, in a skirt. Well folks, I'm in my early 60s. I don't wear pants for a variety of reasons. And I'm no newcomer to bicycling. It has been my go to mode of transport and recreation since about age 6. But her comment got me thinking.


Those of us who are comfortable with bicycling can actively help others to feel more comfortable with riding. Doing so will introduce them to a healthful way to get around. As studies have shown, it will add to the number of people using roads to bicycle and take a few more cars off the road. Some of those new riders may then get involved in community affairs to improve safety.


This won't happen if we turn tentative riders off. Not everyone should ride a fixie or dress in spandex. If we look at the most successful bicycle friendly cities we see men in suits and women in skirts, even in heels. Bikes with step through frames and multiple gears allow for a comfortable ride. There are shops which rent so new riders can try a bike for a few days without making big money commitments. Offer to go out on gentle rides or direct them to organizations that help new riders. These organizations have people who are trained to teach people to bicycle. Many also have safe riding classes and take groups out on the street. An increasing number of bicycle shops are doing this as well. More than anything - No judgment. Be supportive of each individual's personal needs and style. Our goal should be to encourage more people on bikes, not throw up yet another barrier.


@bikingmidwife



If you have enjoyed reading this post, please share or ReTweet.


Click Here to read `the Bicycle Shaped Object`


Click here to read `How to winterize your bike`


Click Here to read `5 ways to make your bike more visible at night`


Click here to learn how to write for us



By CycleRecycle, Dec 9 2015 02:07PM

Want to start some night cycling but worried about not being seen and having an accident?

Even if you have ridden for many years, the fear of being hit, having an accident, not reaching home never truly leaves you.

Feeling a little fear as you head out the door is a good thing because it keeps you ‘thinking on your pedals’.

Know that there is no such thing as being 100% safe riding a bike (day or night), but there is a lot you can do to help yourself ride as safe as you can.


Night cycling: how can I ride as safe as I can?

Safer night cycling starts with being highly visible to other road users every time you ride. Remember, no matter what your skill level – if you can’t be seen, you won’t be seen and you risk a serious accident, especially at night.

Safer night riding skill comes with regular night cycling practice. Remember, the more night cycling you do, the more you learn, the safer you’ll become in the long term.

Five ways to improve your night cycling visibility:


1. Use lights and reflectors

By law in the UK:

“At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen.

Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp.” (Highway Code rule no.60.)


Remember that in street lit areas, you may see the way clearly ahead of you BUT you might not be seen so easily. For this reason, you must have lights on when riding in street lit areas.


2. Use flashing lights in rush hour

If you’re commuting in town, or under streetlights in rush hour traffic, then a flashing light is the way to go.  Flashing lights tend to grab the attention of drivers (unlike steady lights) and makes them more aware of your road presence.  You’re no more brighter, but you’re much more conspicuous. Please note that if you’re not riding in the UK, you may have laws that inhibit flashing lights.


3. Use the right lights for your commute

The type of light you buy depends on the type of commute you’re going to ride.

It’s very important you get the right lights for your night riding. For more detailed information head over to Selecting Lights For Bike Commuting.


4. Use helmet headlamps and mini ‘blinkies’

A very effective way to be seen on your bike (in addition to your standard lights) is to wear a headlamp on your helmet front and back.  The advantage of this is that you can be seen from the side when you move your head in the direction of the approaching driver.

Mini blinkies are tiny little lights you can attach on the front or the back of yourself or your bike. These can be useful if you become separated from your bike in an accident, so well worth the investment.


5. Use retro-reflective kit

Retro-reflective strips light up in the path of vehicle headlight, ‘reflecting light back’ to the driver.

Always use retro-reflective kit in combination with your lights at night.

Retro-reflective kit must not be used in place of lights at night.

You may find that some of your kit already comes with mini retro-reflective strips. In addition to this you can buy extra retro-reflective tape or stickers and use them to enhance your visibility.

The best way to wear retro-reflective strips is to attach them on moving parts of your bike or body – again, this acts as a moving part and distracts the driver making you more conspicuous.

For example: ankle bands, stickers on your zip tabs, wheels, frame, helmet, tape on your sleeves or gloves are highly effective.


Above all, remember to make yourself highly visible to other road users every time you ride, and ride regularly enough to continually build up your night riding skills.


If you have enjoyed reading this post, please share or ReTweet.


Click Here to read `the Bicycle Shaped Object`


Click here to read `How to winterize your bike`


Click here to learn how to write for us


By CycleRecycle, Nov 27 2015 02:59PM

Do you have an opinion on cycling that you need to get off your chest? Have you a report of a ride, event or race you want the world to hear about? Do you want to help others enjoy cycling? We want to hear from you.


We are looking for contributors to our website blog. We currently get around 8000 hits to our blog pages per week, and we have over 72000 followers on Twitter.


Its simple to write for us:


Write your 500 – 1000 word Blog

Write a catchy headline

Include your name, & your twitter details (so we can link to you)

Proof read it, then proof read it 3 more times

email it to sales@cyclerecycleuk.com


We cannot promise that we will publish your post, although we will do our best


we look forward to reading your articles


Matt

CycleRecycle


Click Here to read `the Bicycle Shaped Object`


Click here to read `How to winterize your bike`


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