How I Plan to Go From an Out-of-Shape Entrepreneur to a Cycling Master

A guest post by Melanie Nathan


JUST OVER A YEAR AGO I QUIT MY JOB. I quit because I was tired. Tired of going to an office everyday. Tired of taking orders. Tired of a long commute. Tired of not seeing my family until 6 o’clock every night. Just plain tired. I’d been freelancing in my spare time and realized that with some time and effort, my freelancing could turn into an online business, one that allowed me to make my own hours and work from home. So after my husband and I sat down and made a plan, I made the leap and never looked back.

While I’ve found a great deal of freedom and joy in running my own online business, I have noticed a significant change in my body. My work has always required a good amount of time in front of the computer, but the time increased as I managed my businesses from home. This is something I worry about as research has linked too much sitting to an increase heart disease and health related deaths. Beyond that, without a solid schedule, I’ve lost control of my eating, wandering to the fridge whenever I have the urge. After a year, I’m 20 pounds heavier and tired in a different way. I’m so tired I can’t keep up with the family I quit my job to spend time with. I’ve known for a while that I need to make a change.

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When I was younger, I never worried about my weight. Not only did I reap the benefit of an 18-year-old’s metabolism, but I biked everywhere-to class, to study group, to work, or even just to get away from it all. I miss biking. Even though 25 years later life has gotten significantly more sedentary, I still follow sites for cycling enthusiasts (LloydLemons.com is a definite favorite). I remember the feel of the crisp air on my face and the elation of conquering a tough hill. I’ve realized that these things no longer need to be memories. For the sake of my health, I need to get back on a bike.

My first steps are to get prepared. I know that I can’t just hop on and go (especially in the cold slush that dominates the roads this time of year). So as I wait for warmer and drier weather, I’m researching and taking the steps I need.

Step One: Find a Cycling Group
As I develop my skills, I want to stay motivated, so my first step was to find a group to ride with. I’ll be much less likely to make an excuse to skip a ride if someone else is expecting me to show. Luckily, a local cycling club hosts rides for beginning cyclists. Even though I used to ride all the time, I figure time and inactivity has turned me into a beginner again. It will be a good place to start.
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Step Two: Find a Bike
I went into this step a little concerned. Bikes can be incredibly expensive, and I did not want to break the bank. I was pleasantly surprised to find a number of bikes listed on Craigslist and ultimately found one that met my needs and price range.

Step Three: Get the Clothes
I want to ride as comfortably and safely as possible, so I’ve found a solid helmet, breathable attire, and proper footwear. I’ve also purchased a couple of pairs of biking shorts to keep unnecessary soreness at bay.

Step Four: Decide on Accessories
It seems that there are a million gadgets being marketed to cyclists, and I need to find out which are beneficial and which are a waste of money. I know that getting stronger as a cyclist will be a process, so it’s a matter of finding the accessories that will help me through that process. After careful consideration, I’ve decided to invest in a power meter. It’s simply the best way I can see to help me build skill and strength. I’ve also decided to purchase a phone mount, not so I text and bike, but so I use apps to monitor time and speed or use a map if needed.

At this point, I’m no longer tired. I’m excited. I’m excited for the places I’ll explore and I’m excited for how I’ll feel. I know that cycling is going to be the thing that helps me turn my health around, and I can’t wait to start. Now I just need a little sun.

About the author: Melanie Nathan is an online entrepreneur, freelance writer and lover of cycling. She writes for many publications, including Huffington Post and Wellness.com. Her hobbies include animal rescue and making zen cloud lamps. Follow her on Twitter to learn more.


Surviving and thriving after a terrible bike accident

A guest post by Pearson Constantino

Growing up the bike was everything for me.  It was my entertainment, it helped fuel my imagination, it took me to school, to my friends’ houses, and was my escape. As I got older and more experienced, with a 400 mile bike tour to Cape Cod under my belt, the bike became true unbridled adolescent freedom. I would ride for the sake of riding. Without destination, I rode to feel the wind in my hair.

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After college, living in New York I rode everywhere, to work, for exercise, for fun, I felt great, until one morning a stranger changed my life. I was hit from behind by an SUV, there were no witnesses and I was left by the side of road, my bike totally destroyed, my body badly injured. After two weeks in the hospital, I had resolved to get back on my bike and ride it across the United States! 

Two years of rehab later that's exactly what I did. With the help of my brother Pete we embarked on a cross-country adventure on our bikes to encourage people to get back on their bikes, and drivers to share the road. This is my story. 

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by Julia Wrona: 

I documented Pearson’s recovery and then followed his journey with Pete across America filming their encounters with drivers, meetings with other car-on-bike victims, and the beauty of the American landscape.

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The Long Bike Back
is now fully edited, but we need some help with the cost of the final technical processes (color correction and sound mixing) so that we can release the film this summer.  Our crowdfunding campaign is quickly drawing to a close: http://igg.me/at/lbb Please consider contributing (there are perks, like a DVD, soundtrack, photo book, and more) and sharing the link with your friends and followers.

Here’s the film’s trailer, which illustrates Pearson’s spirit, the mission, and some of the amazing miles of cycling he and Pete covered. http://youtu.be/0M4Eni8GfGk

A note from Lloyd Lemons

Please consider helping to fund this worthy project. Cyclist and motorists everywhere need these stories, to learn that we must share the road. 

View the trailer here: http://youtu.be/0M4Eni8GfGk

Please make a contribution here: ttp://igg.me/at/lbb  (and time is of the essence!) 

Thank you!


It’s easy to get started riding a bike at any age

A guest post by Angelina Foster at Cycle Stuff Direct.

CYCLING IS LOVED BY MANY PEOPLE AROUND THE GLOBE and it’s not just for young people. Some of the most passionate cyclists are middle aged, so if you’ve been thinking about it, it’s not too late to start! It can be daunting knowing where to begin, so we have provided a rough guide for all who are about to explore this wonderful sport.

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The bike
If you’re starting out in cycling, buying a bicycle can definitely be confusing as there are different types of bikes and many manufacturers to choose from. Road bikes, hybrids and mountain bikes are the most popular. Visit a specialist bike shop that can advise you on the correct frame size and help you pick the best bike to suit the kind of riding you will be doing.

For short journeys any working bike will be fine, but if you’re picking up a second-hand bike, it’s advisable to get it serviced at a bike shop to make sure that it’s safe and in good working order. If you’ve already got a bike, congratulations – you’re already half way there!

Essential accessories
It may be tempting to buy all the latest bike accessories and clothing gear when taking up your new hobby, but here are the things you’ll really need:

Helmet – Helmet shapes and styles vary from manufacturer to manufacturer so try on a range of helmets until you find one that feels comfortable. We would advise buying a good quality one, because even though it’s not a legal requirement, a good helmet can protect you from serious head injury.

Clothing – You can wear almost anything you like when cycling (we recommend fabrics that dry quickly), but bright, reflective clothing is always a good choice. If you had to pick one item of clothing may we suggest a decent waterproof, breathable jacket.

Other helpful things to add to the list are lights, a quality lock, a patch kit and a pump!

Starting out
Start in a traffic-free area like a park to get comfortable with your new bike. Practice looking over your shoulders to improve your visual awareness; and riding single-handed while you make hand signals. Next try cycling around your local area where the roads are quiet. You should be feeling more confident now! Take it slowly and increase your rides gradually.

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Keep going
Make cycling a habit by getting on your bike regularly, whether it’s commuting, shopping or dropping your kids off to school. You could even join a like-minded cycling group to help you stay motivated. Bike rides can boost your mood and keep your weight under control. Above all, have fun!


Bike farther, ride longer with whole grains

A guest post by J. Baird at Grape-Nuts

WITH ALL THE HEALTH AND SOCIAL BENEFITS of cycling, baby boomers are hopping on their bikes now more than ever. But aging can affect your stamina. So, how can you improve stamina and increase your energy level for your next bike ride?

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That’s where whole grains come to the rescue. Whole-grain foods are a healthy choice because they contain nutrients, fiber and other healthy plant compounds found naturally in the grain. Not only does eating whole grains promote health maintenance, it can also help you power up short-term for your next bike ride. Here are 4 reasons why incorporating whole grains into your diet can help maximize your performance and comfort during your ride:

1. Sustain Your Energy. The body digests whole-grain carbohydrates more slowly than simple carbs, providing a constant source of fuel that keeps energy levels stable throughout your ride. You won’t feel the surge-and-crash effect of caffeine or sugar.

2. Feel Full Longer. The Mayo Clinic reports that including fiber in your diet can make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. Perfect for those long, leisurely Sunday rides.

3. Be Versatile. Combine whole grains with a variety of light, nutritious ingredients, like fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and lean meats. Not only will you end up with a satisfying way to power up for action, you’ll have plenty of snacks and meal ideas to choose from.

4. Maximize Your Energy. Aim to eat a small meal or snack one to two hours before you head out the door. A relatively high-carbohydrate, moderate protein, low-fat meal is best to consume before a workout, like a half-cup serving of Post Grape-Nuts cereal (which contains 52 grams of whole grains and 7 grams of naturally occurring fiber). Sprinkle Grape-Nuts on pro-biotic yogurt for a fiber boost with a satisfying crunch, or add fresh fruit to your Grape-Nuts with milk for a naturally sweet and healthy way to power your ride.