Make Your Cycling Footprints Smaller

As a pretty new road cyclist, but a long-time sustainability advocate, my contributions to this blog will be centred more on the topic of making our cycling footprints smaller, before, during and after our rides.

Sustainability is a loaded word, and probably we in the cycling world would like to think about it as how we can sustain ourselves during a long and challenging ride to make it to the end. However, I’d like to suggest a general definition of sustainability that can give us a shared understanding of the concept.

The generally accepted definition of sustainability is ‘meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’ But what does that mean for us cyclists? The GranFondo Canada team (organizers of the RBC GranFondo Whistler and the RBC GranFondo Kelowna) asked the same thing, so we’ve been working with them to develop their own sustainability strategy starting with the RBC GranFondo Whistler. To operationalize the definition of sustainability, we took principles derived from the Natural Step. Here’s what they are and what we, as cyclists, could consider as we ride through the beautiful province we call home….. Continue reading

Treat Yourself to Women’s Specific Design

Not so long ago, all bikes, parts, accessories and clothing were called “unisex” and were intended for both men and women. But you and I know that designers had men – the largest share of the market – in mind and that women were left to make do. Well, with the growth in popularity of cycling among women, manufacturers can now turn a profit on a wide variety of products including women’s specific bike frames, shoes, saddles, clothing, etc. If you really want to enhance your cycling experience, consider making the investment in products designed just for you.

Saddles

Corsa Cycles

Women shouldn’t have to ride with any discomfort, especially between their legs!!! Women’s specific saddles like those made by Specialized (e.g. Lithia, Aerial and Ruby) provide support where women need it (under their pelvic – or sit – bones) while reducing soft tissue pressure with saddle  “cut-outs”. These scientifically designed and medically tested saddles can mean the difference between surviving a long ride and truly enjoy it. If you’re buying a bike that comes with a “unisex” saddle, try to work a women’s specific one into the deal. Continue reading

Crashing: Not as Bad as you Think!

Early in my cycling career I was informed that there are only two types of (road) cyclists: those who have crashed and those who will crash. Fear of crashing is likely one of the biggest things that hold back people from starting to cycle and likely remains the single largest fear once you begin.

I have owned a bike for four years and have had my fair share of crashes in that time. I recently experienced probably the worst crash of my cycling career in a triathlon (of all things) in Austria in May.  I am really disappointed that it happened, as I was in a good position to win enough prize money to pay for my whole trip, earn lots of points towards the Ironman 70.3 points ranking, and determine how well I was able to handle back-to-back half Ironmans for the first time (I had raced in Spain the week before).  But the easiest way I can rationalize it to myself is: “it’s part of the sport.” There is a risk that you will crash each time you get on a bike. And you know what? I cannot wait to get back on the bike after every time I crash.

Amy at the bottom of Mount Lemmon (40 km climb in Tucsion, AZ), 3 days after crashing hard and being in the hospital

The experience in Austria made me start thinking about when I first started cycling. I come from a running background, so when I first started I was not used to, or comfortable, with the high speeds at which I would travel over the pavement on my bike. I was constantly thinking about crashing and how horrible it would be to hit the pavement while going that fast.  I had heard stories of “road rash” and even the name itself invoked some really painful images in my head. In my first two seasons of owning a bike and racing triathlons I would literally brake while going downhill simply because I was afraid of going too fast due to my fear of crashing.  Continue reading