Archive for March, 2013

March 22, 2013 00

Last week I had a really special night – Jono Fisher and his gang from Wake Up Sydney gave me a kindness award for being kind to women by helping them to get cycling with BikeGal.com! Here’s a link to the Q&A with me (thanks to my quick thinking boyfriend for recording it!). Wake Up […]

Last week I had a really special night – Jono Fisher and his gang from Wake Up Sydney gave me a kindness award for being kind to women by helping them to get cycling with BikeGal.com!

Here’s a link to the Q&A with me (thanks to my quick thinking boyfriend for recording it!).

Wake Up Sydney is a community of 12,000 people celebrating kindness and courage in Sydney and encouraging Sydneysiders to be kind to each other.

I spent 10 minutes on stage with the host of the event and Wake Up Sydney founder Jono Fisher talking about BikeGal.com. I really hope it inspires a few more women to give cycling a go.

On stage

The night was great. It started with a guided meditation which may sound odd, but when you have rushed there straight from work and have a million things rolling through your mind it’s not a bad way to start an event and get everyone in a good place. (Guided meditations before work meetings – wouldn’t that be cool?).

There was music performers, a great speaker called Steve Biddulph talking about his book which is all about raising girls (I’ll let you google that one).

Thanks Wake Up Sydney and thanks to City of Sydney for nominating me.

Here I am (in the middle) with my family and friends. We had a great night!

(L-R) Ginni Seton, Robyn, Chris and Rachael de Zylva, Sarah Nicita, Sarah Fernando, Mark Drinkwater

(L-R) Ginni Seton, Robyn, Chris and Rachael de Zylva, Sarah Nicita, Sarah Fernando, Mark Drinkwater

March 21, 2013 00

Another guest blogger!! Today’s blog comes from my gorgeous friend Sarah who is living in Kathmandu, Nepal at the moment. As she is riding a bike there I asked her to send me a blog about her experience. She is quite the writer! I love that she can still look glamourous while riding a bike […]

Another guest blogger!! Today’s blog comes from my gorgeous friend Sarah who is living in Kathmandu, Nepal at the moment. As she is riding a bike there I asked her to send me a blog about her experience. She is quite the writer!

I love that she can still look glamourous while riding a bike in Nepal.

If you would like to share your cycling adventures overseas or even your everyday travels – email me! info@bikegal.com with a photo of you and your bike. Tell us why you ride, where you like to ride.

Now… over to our guest blogger Sarah and her ode to Scott

I gaze lovingly at your tall, strong frame. To say that you have changed my life, opened new doors and blazed new paths is insulting in its understatement.

You protect me in this place of chaos by lifting me above the dust and debris. In a city where there are no road rules or traffic lights and lanes are merely a suggestion, you navigate me safely among the zooming and zig-zagging cars, motorbikes and pedestrians. In places where the city’s road widening project has turned the streets into something resembling a bomb site, you lead me lovingly over the piles of rubble and mud.

I used to be terrified of this place, but now, thanks to you, I feel right at home.

Sarah cycles the Ring Road, 27 km of paved road circling Kathmandu.

Last week, you whisked me away for a magical weekend in the hills surrounding Kathmandu, passing through rural villages where the children delightedly greeted us with “namastes” and doe-eyed cows and baby goats stared lazily at us. Bemused villagers raised their hands in greeting, wondering who this strange foreign couple were. We got down and dirty in the mud and splashed around in the bubbling brook, laughing at our sheer inhibition and wild abandon.

This month, we will travel to postcard perfect Pokhara where we will have an exhilarating time navigating the mountains surrounding gorgeous Lake Begnus together.

Scott, my dear American, my feelings for you are unconditional. If you ever get sick, I promise to take you to a place in Lazimpat where they will fix you up, as good as new.

Where Sarah takes Scott for bike repairs in Kathmandu, Nepal.

I love the way you feel under me. We fit together just so. You know exactly how to handle me and you know when to put the brakes on.

I will stick by you, through the monsoon and winter seasons. We have an amazing year ahead, Scott. I can’t wait to share my life with you here in Kathmandu.

March 14, 2013 00

Congratulations for making it this far! I’m super proud of you. Only this week and next week to go… So this week’s objectives – cornering, making eye contact with drivers and considering your commuting route. Cornering Find a nice quiet street with some corners …. – Break before the corner – Practise leaning slightly into […]

Congratulations for making it this far! I’m super proud of you. Only this week and next week to go…

So this week’s objectives – cornering, making eye contact with drivers and considering your commuting route.

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Cornering

Find a nice quiet street with some corners ….

– Break before the corner

– Practise leaning slightly into the corner

– As you go into the corner, lean your weight on the feet on the outside pedal. i.e. the foot on the outside pedal should be facing down towards the road. This may sound counter intuitive but makes more sense when you do it.

– The foot on the inside pedal nearest the corner should be up. (watch the first minute of this – especially around 40 seconds you can see them cornering with the inside leg up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU-YIeXxuDs).

– Try cornering both left and right and ideally start with some big sweeping corners before trying tighter corners

– Also notice what gear you are in, similar to going up a hill, a higher gear will just give you a bit more stability going into the corner

Making eye contact with drivers

This is by far the best advice I’ve ever received. The best way to stay safe on the road and ensure motorists let you in, is to look over your shoulder and make eye contact with the driver behind you.

Particularly when turning or indicating, if you’ve locked eyes with them you know they have seen you.

It also means you are now suddenly a person to them and not just another cyclist.

When you look back at the motorist be careful not to steer off in a crazy direction! (Oh it happens!).

Often after making eye contact, a motorist will give you more space which is a good thing.

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Choosing your route carefully

This week I also want you to start considering your commuting route to work. By this I mean, don’t assume that the way you would drive is the way you will cycle.

Investigate bike paths (although if you are not a confident cyclist, these can be pretty crazy busy in peak hour) or check our quieter roads which may take you on a slightly further journey but make you feel safe.

If you can, try driving it just to see what it might be like.

Choosing your route is super important so spend the time considering it. Don’t forget there are lots of great places you can ride where a car can’t go – e.g. Darling Harbour or around the front of the convention centre, and these may be options for you on your route.

If you are having trouble ask other cyclists or you can ask me and I can share it with the BikeGal community. Someone will have an answer for you.

Some councils have also now produced bike maps, which show the local area and the best routes for bikes. So contact your local council too.

Riding up hills out of the saddle

I hope you are starting to make progress with riding up hills and getting out of the saddle.

Don’t forget that unless you are riding up a really really steep hill, if you have lots of gears you don’t have to get out of your saddle to get up the hill. And very worse case scenario – you can always hop off and walk. There is no harm in that.

Next week we are going to have a review of everything and see where you are up to!

I hope it’s going well – email me and let me know info@bikegal.com

Happy cycling!
BikeGal.com

March 9, 2013 5

So this morning I took my Mum cycling in Centennial Park. I’ve been suggesting this to her for a while, but today we actually did it. We were going to go last week but the weather was a bit yuk. She rode my flat bar commuter bike and I rode my road bike. Mum said […]

So this morning I took my Mum cycling in Centennial Park. I’ve been suggesting this to her for a while, but today we actually did it. We were going to go last week but the weather was a bit yuk.

She rode my flat bar commuter bike and I rode my road bike.

Mum said she hasn’t ridden in decades!

Mum

We had a few little incidents, mostly with stopping and she wasn’t used to the gears as she’s never ridden a bike with gears before. My brakes are also pretty strong.

In hindsight, I should have got her to practice starting and stopping first up.

But even with two falls (both when slowing down and trying to stop), she dusted herself off each time, smiled, got up and kept going! (my Mum is a legend).

I think she bruised her knee and scrapped her elbow, but nothing serious.

We did 3 laps and stopped for a coffee.

I’m super proud of her for doing this. As we all know cycling is not easy. And particularly as you get older you have a few more fears to fight.

She enjoyed it so much she tells me she’s going to come back again during the week for another ride.

This just proves that anyone can ride a bike – it doesn’t matter how old you are. It’s just a bit of practice and persisting with it. So get your Mum on a bike!!

(P.S. No I’m not adopted!! My Dad is from Sri Lanka, so I look more like him!).

March 7, 2013 2

Congratulations on making it to week 4! I am super proud of you and hope you are starting to feel a bit more relaxed on your bike. Bit by bit, you will feel more comfortable and more relaxed. It just takes a little time and spending that time in the saddle. This week’s entire objective […]

Congratulations on making it to week 4! I am super proud of you and hope you are starting to feel a bit more relaxed on your bike.

Bit by bit, you will feel more comfortable and more relaxed. It just takes a little time and spending that time in the saddle.

This week’s entire objective is to get comfortable riding out of the saddle.

gears

Now no one is asking you to scream up hills like those boofheads do in the Tour de France!

Last week I asked you to just try getting up from the saddle and trying a few pedals and sitting down again.

This week we are going to take it a step further.

Find a small hill and as you start up the hill, make sure you are in a bigger gear. Get up out of the saddle, lean your weight forward on your handlebars and notice how it’s different going up the hill out of the saddle. It’s also hard work!

In fact, cycling up a hill sitting in the saddle is actually the more efficient way to get up the hill but as you get stronger and more confident, you will notice you are more capable of riding up a hill out of the saddle.

Try going up and down a gentle hill several times.

Notice how as you move up the hill out of the saddle, you start to get a bit of a rhythm as you are working your legs and your body naturally starts to move a bit left and right as you go.

If at any time this feels scary, just go back to the flat and just try standing up again for a few seconds while riding on the flat.

It took me quite a while to feel comfortable getting out of the saddle and riding up a hill. And lots of the time, even now, I still stay seated going up hills and there is nothing wrong with that.

Getting up a hill also means being in the right gear. As you get to know a hill that your ride repeatedly, you will get to know the best gear to be in. Sometimes you will be in too high a gear and it will be too hard, and other times you will be in too small a gear and you will find it hard to get out of the saddle – as you won’t have the right tension on the bike to do it (does that make sense!!).

I remember one day riding up a steep hill around the back of Rozelle, and half way up the hill I realised it was getting steeper, but I didn’t have the dexterity to shift down a gear! So I literally just stopped, got off and walked up the hill. I felt a bit silly, but hey who cares. It’s all a learning experience.

Next week we will look at cornering, making eye contact with drivers and considering your commuting route. And in the last week we will have a recap on everything.

I will also give you a special week further down the track about how to ride in cleats.

But for this week – just try getting out of the saddle and going up a hill out of the saddle. If you only make it up half the hill or a quarter of the hill, that’s totally cool.

If you get the wobbles on the way up, sit back down. Just start to get the feel of it.

Share your stories!

How is the program going for you? I would love to hear your stories. You can email me info@bikegal.com or find BikeGal.com on facebook and tell me about it.

Using your drink bottle while cycling?

One new cyclist Vera got in touch via email – she’s having trouble being able to eat and drink while cycling. Vera – this is certainly a skill!

Initially try just touching the top of your drink bottle. Whatever you do though, don’t look down. Look ahead and just feel for it – you will get the hang of it. If you cycle somewhere where it’s safe (like a park), you can also try getting the bottle out and drinking, and if you can’t get it back in, throw it to the side and come back for it next lap.

This happened to me once – because I couldn’t get it back in and couldn’t un clip without putting both hands on the handlebars. So I had no choice.

Drinking while cycling is great once you get the hang of it. I generally try to do it on a flat bit of road that I know, so I can keep one hand on the handlebars and drink with the other.

Probably wait until you feel really comfy taking your hands off the handlebars though before attempting to drink.

Got suggestions for how to ride up a hill or drink from your drink bottle while cycling? Please share in the comments below or email me.

Good luck!

Happy cycling,
BikeGal.com x