16gfty-signature-line-3-aug-2016

How to Stay Sane Organizing a Charity Ride

Cyclists have a lot of love in their hearts. We love riding our bikes, talking about our bikes, and talking to people who also love bikes. We love the communities we ride in and around, and we love doing good for ourselves and for others.

When it comes to making a positive impact on the community, the natural inclination is to find a way to join something we enjoy with something that can help others. Thus, charity bike rides grow in popularity year after year, raising incredible amounts of money for a wide array of causes, from military veterans, shelter pets, children’s cancer research, to my personal heartfelt mission of seniors and adults with disabilities.

Thinking of starting a ride to benefit your favorite cause? Event planning and organizing, at any level, can be overwhelming, but the results are often well worth it! As a professional fundraiser working in the nonprofit field, I myself recently started the process of planning a charity ride for my organization, Family Eldercare in Austin, Texas, and I’d like to share what I’ve learned from the process. This is not a complete list because that would be much too long for a blog post, but I hope it provides a good basic set of ideas to guide you!

In the Beginning Continue reading

Bicycle Components – where to splurge and where to save

Bicycle components, what to splurge on, and what to save on is a bicycle owners biggest dilemma. If your finances are limited, you can purchase a few components that will give you the most bang for your buck. I’ve personally had to decide what it is that’s a priority for me. Do I splurge on a new seat, or, do I buy those really spiffy, gotta have cycling shorts? While they’re not all true components, these are the things that are the most essential to me: a really spectacular pair of over- the- top (some of my co-workers still harass me about HOW much money I actually spent) cycling shorts, a bicycle pump, the seat, and last but critically the most important, good brakes.

1. Shorts

Ah, one of my favorite topics, cycling shorts. This is a totally personal choice based on style, economics, preferences, and what works best for you. You may go through a lot of trial and error here, but the most important advice is to go Continue reading

bike ms team photo silly cropped

Riding for a Purpose

I love to ride. Up or down, all-in or cruise, solo or or group riding or going out for ice cream with my family – I love it all. But my very favorite thing about cycling is the opportunity I have to make a difference in another person’s life with every ride.

Three years ago, I joined Team Cycle4Cure. We’re a local group of like-minded local cyclists who are passionate about riding in general, but we especially love to ride for a purpose. We enjoy riding long distances in order to raise funds to fight debilitating and life-threatening diseases. We know many people who suffer with cancer, multiple Continue reading

IMG_3197

My First Attempt at ‘Bike Packing’

Last summer I was envious of my friends leaving for weekends on their bicycles with their panniers packed with all of their camping gear.  I love camping and I love biking, so I had to figure out a way to join them without going out and buying a touring bike.  IMG_3176As an avid backpacker, I already own all of the ultralight camping gear, so it was just a matter of how to get it all on my bike and still be able to ride it.  If I’m able to pack all of that in a backpack and carry it on my back for 10 miles, how much harder can it be to carry it on a bike, right? (And yes, all of you that have ever carried your camping gear on a bike, feel free to snicker a little at this point.)  The Katy Trail was picked for the destination as an easier route for a first-timer.  I was also biking with my friends Jackie and Kirk, and Kirk’s 13 year-old daughter Mazzy.  It was Mazzy’s first distance ride, so Continue reading

bags on bags (2)

Part 3 – The Seatbag

Ladies love their purses – well, I certainly do. And while riding bikes might have limited your style statement in the past, those times are long gone. Join me on a journey of fabulous options that will turn your commute to work, your coffee ride, or your touring in an adventure where form meets function!

After focusing on rear rack options in Part 1 and the handlebar and cockpit bag in Part 2, it’s time to see which seatbags can help you ride prepared for all scenarios. Seatbags are usually designed to hold the bare necessities – spare tube, tire levers, and maybe a CO2 cartridge. More often than not, I have had trouble with a) fitting everything in and b) having the seat pack stay attached to my bike on bumpy roads. A lot of companies started introducing clip mounts in addition or replacement of the traditional strap closures. While I love the reliability of the clips, there is one drawback: the clip mounts won’t fit all saddle positions. So while the mechanism is more secure than the usual straps, make sure Continue reading

You Spell “Heartbreak” D-N-F

August 7, 2016 at Ironman Boulder was going to by my day. For 20 weeks, I had trained, putting in 15-20 hours of swimming, biking, or running a week, meticulously tracking my progress and ensuring every piece of the puzzle laid in place. Ironman Boulder, my second full distance race, was my chance to make right what I felt had gone wrong for my at my first event. I was a faster swimmer now, a confident cyclist, and my running had improved enough I felt pretty sure I wouldn’t take 7 hours to run a marathon ever again.10

The day was going to be my day. Until it wasn’t. All of the best laid plans, the bright outlook, the excitement and enthusiasm proved to be not enough and instead, on race day, I learned something new: what failure felt like. I learned a lesson that is real, emotionally raw, heartbreaking, and hard enough that even now, days later, I’m still dazed.  When the medic pulled my chip at mile 101 of the race, my heart sunk and my stomach knotted- not only in my own self-pity, but in the realization that Continue reading

20160804_095128

Best Water Bottle for You

I am not sure that someone can be considered a water bottle expert exactly.  But if they can, I am pretty sure I have a Ph.D. in water bottles.  My husband calls my collection excessive; I call it thorough.  You need different water bottles for different things even in cycling.  Let’s talk about when you need what.

When you are riding short

You just need some20160804_095248thing that fits inside your water bottle cage on your bike.  Unfortunately, water bottles and water bottle cages are not universal, so you will need to find one that fits yours.  But don’t feel like the more expensive the better.  Honestly the water bottles you get in race goody bags generally work great for this.  You may want to up the ante and get an insulated water bottle if you live in a hot climate or like your drink ice cold like I do.  Look for an easy open spout that you can open with your mouth.

When you are riding long Continue reading

Sarah 4

Journey into Triathlon

My journey into Triathlon has been one of both immense happiness and sadness. I more or less happened on the sport as a way to mix up my running and cross train more. I purchased my first road bike in April of 2015. After purchasing my bike, I started riding with some girls from the local YMCA. These girls were the real deal! They were serious riders, and most were training for various races: Ironman Arizona 140.6, Beach to Battleship 70.3, and Ironman Muncie 70.3. I was blown away at their strength, courage, and ability to simply endure and keep going. I wanted to be like that and find that type of strength within myself. Each time I conquered a distance as a “first,” these women cheered for me and genuinely felt happy for me. I was hooked on the bike and running. Naturally, according to my tribe of women, I needed to add swimming into the mix. I started dabbling in swimming off and on of that year. I wasn’t ever really serious about it nor did I commit to the pool.

January 2016, I decided to do something I never do. I Continue reading

Swiss Planks

Crosstraining for Cyclists

 

You either love it or you hate it: cross training.  Some relish the idea of changing up their workout and trying new things.  Others find the idea of deviating from their regular cycling schedule either daunting or a nuisance.  The fact is cross training is necessary to not only make you a better cyclist but also helps to prevent overuse injuries.

As a trainer and coach I have learned over the last decade that your cross training should differ depending on whether you are in or out of a training cycle.  So if you are 8 weeks out from a big race your cross training will vary greatly in frequency and type than if you are in a maintenance phase months out from any race where you will be pushing your pace or endurance.  Here are some general guidelines for cyclists to follow when look for cross training options and figuring out how to fit them into their exercise plan.

When you are OUTSIDE of a training phase:

bags on bags (2)

Part 2 – the Handlebar Bag

Ladies love their purses – well, I certainly do. And while riding bikes might have limited your style statement in the past, those times are long gone. Join me on a journey of fabulous options that will turn your commute to work, your coffee ride, or your touring in an adventure where form meets function!

Part 2 of the series introduces you to an alternative that I discovered relatively late in the game: The Handlebar/Cockpit Bag. Read Part 1 on the Trunk Bag, Bent Basket and Pannier Set here!

Detours DayPass Handlebar Bag

Detours DayPassI am surprised that it took me so long to think about handlebar bags. They are the easiest feature to keep your phone, wallet or camera accessible while riding – plus some of them, like the Detours DayPass, transform into mini-purses that are not only cute (a purse design with radishes??? Yes!) but super practical. In addition to their secure buckle straps for the handlebar, the DayPass comes with a detachable shoulder strap so you can carry the purse around when you’re done riding – it definitely has become my perfect companion for a coffee date with friends! It also comes with reflective details for more safety on your way back home.

Banjo Brothers Canvas Barrel Bag Continue reading