Archive for April, 2013

April 29, 2013 00

Sorry it’s been all a bit quiet from BikeGal.com over the last week but I’ve been on holidays to Vanuatu. I had a revelation while I was on holidays… cycling = better balance. Now this may not seem like rocket science to you, but if you are like me and have never considered yourself to […]

Sorry it’s been all a bit quiet from BikeGal.com over the last week but I’ve been on holidays to Vanuatu.

I had a revelation while I was on holidays… cycling = better balance.

Now this may not seem like rocket science to you, but if you are like me and have never considered yourself to have great balance then cycling is a way to improve it.

Having cycled for a few years now fairly consistently, I was delighted to go on holidays and discover that I could attempt paddle boarding and get up first go without falling off.

Several years ago I attempted windsurfing and the experience was just awful.

Anyway, here is me (below left) about to get on the paddle board. Sadly my photographer lost interest in my experience (and probably went to have a margarita!) so there are no photos of me up on the board. But I can promise you, I got up and it was fun!

Getting onto the paddle board

My boyfriend scoffed at me when I said I wouldn’t be able to get up on the board. So yes, he was right and I was wrong. But I was still surprised at how much my balance has improved.

Have you discovered better balance with other activities thanks to cycling?

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com

April 7, 2013 01

I decided once my cycling was up to scratch, my fitness had improved and I could deal with Sydney traffic, it was time to broaden my horizons. So I embarked on a cycling holiday through Vietnam but mostly in Cambodia. For anyone who has travelled in developing countries you will know what I mean – […]

BikeGal (AKA Rachael) cycling around Angkor Wat in Cambodia

I decided once my cycling was up to scratch, my fitness had improved and I could deal with Sydney traffic, it was time to broaden my horizons. So I embarked on a cycling holiday through Vietnam but mostly in Cambodia.

For anyone who has travelled in developing countries you will know what I mean – cycling in Cambodia made cycling in Sydney seemed like a breeze.

Cycling through the small towns was always interesting. It’s like word had spread before we got there that some crazy group of foreigners were passing through on bikes and everyone had come out to take a look.

I suppose for most people in the world, cycling is really just a mode of transport to move from point A to point B. Many local people looked at us as if we were mad, slightly confused or just a bit strange.  One woman asked me, “why would you?” She couldn’t understand why you would voluntarily want to do this.

Most days involved several hours of cycling but it was broken up with breaks, so nothing too difficult. Also most of the riding was pretty flat.

We had a mix of ages in the group from 20 through to mid 60s and everyone at different levels of fitness and cycling ability.

Road conditions were generally good – no gutters but sometimes it felt like we were riding on trails rather than a road!

Often along the road little kids would run out to greet you and expect you to slap their hand as you rode pass. They would giggle with absolute delight at this.

But by far, the highlight of the trip, was cycling around Angkor Wat (pictured above) – the UNESCO World Heritage listed temples.  While other tourists piled onto their buses, we lazily ambled along on our bikes and even managed to visit some temples that you could only get to on foot or on a bike.  It was the perfect way to visit the sites.

Coming home I realised how peaceful and orderly Sydney traffic is – unlike the craziness of Cambodia where you didn’t know who was going where or what was happening, yet everyone just seems to get along.

I would highly recommend a cycling trip for a holiday – it was a great mix of fitness, fun and site seeing.

Next week we return to cycling in Sydney topics…

Where in the world have you cycled?

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com

April 1, 2013 00

So sorry for the delay on getting this blog up – I’ve been sick…. Anyway, here it is! We are here, week 6. Well done to you for making it this far. By now if you have been trying everything in these blogs you should be ok at braking, cornering, getting out of the saddle, […]

So sorry for the delay on getting this blog up – I’ve been sick…. Anyway, here it is! We are here, week 6. Well done to you for making it this far.

By now if you have been trying everything in these blogs you should be ok at braking, cornering, getting out of the saddle, indicating and dealing with some traffic.

The last piece of the puzzle is considering where on the road to ride.

This may sound silly but it’s super important and will help with your confidence on the road while commuting by bike.

Repeat after me – I will not ride in the gutter!  You don’t need to. Legally you are allowed to own the lane. By this I mean, ride in the middle of the lane not on the far left. This means cars actually have to change lanes to go around you, instead of trying to squeeze past you.

If you ride in the gutter, you can expect cars to try and sneak past you in your lane and they will come close and probably give you a fright.

So….

Own the lane – take the whole lane. Ride in the middle of the lane. If motorists don’t like this, that is your problem. You are legally allowed to. Even better, ride with a friend and ride two abreast. Again you are allowed to do this and you will feel much safer doing so. Of course, if you are commuting on a regular cycle route, give other cyclists enough room to pass you on the right. Taking the lane also means you are out of harm’s way in terms of car doors opening on you.

Don’t run red lights. It makes you look like a doofus, it gives the rest of us a bad name and it’s dangerous. You could hit a car or a pedestrian. If you wouldn’t do it while driving, then don’t do it on a bike.

When in dedicated bike lanes, stick to the left unless you are overtaking. And when you are overtaking, it’s courteous to ring your bell or call out and let the cyclist in front of you know you are coming past them. E.g. “passing on the right”, “I’m on your right” etc.

Don’t ride on the footpath. Unless you are with a little person or the footpath is dedicated cycle paths (which happens – e.g. Victoria Road), it’s illegal to ride on the footpath. You will cause angst for pedestrians too. Not worth it.

buyingabike

Some road rules apply specifically to cyclists. Did you know you can:

  • Ride two abreast, no more than 1.5 m apart
  • Overtake on the left hand side of stopped or slow moving vehicles
  • Travel in Bus Lanes and Transit Lanes
  • Ride on the footpath if less than 12 years old
  • Ride on the footpath if you are an adult riding with, and supervising, an under 12 year old
  • Turn right from the left hand lane of a multi-lane roundabout with the proviso that you give way to traffic exiting the roundabout before you
  • Travel on road shoulders.

If you don’t believe me go http://www.bicycleinfo.nsw.gov.au/riding_safely/nsw_road_rules.html and check it out!

Congratulations on getting this far. I hope by now you are feeling more confident.

But what if you’re not?

If not, don’t fret. These things take time.  It took me much longer than six weeks to get the courage to commute to work on my bike. And if that’s you too, well so be it.

It may just mean a few more rides on quiet back streets or in a park until you get your confidence up.

Give yourself a pat on the back for giving this a go. Cycling as an adult is not the same as cycling as a kid. So well done for being brave and getting out there.

Let me know how you go!!

In the future, we will also run a special blog on cycling in cleats. Stay tuned.

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com