Guest Post: Fiterature & Cycling

Hi friends! As I am enjoying my vacation, my amazing husband is at work…. (yes, I feel very guilty.) BUT, today is his birthday! He’s amazing, and I adore him to pieces, so let’s bring him some birthday love-shall we?!

{love this guy!}

(By the way, don’t worry, we celebrated tons before I left!)

Now, on to an even more exciting topic. Here is Megan!

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What it IS, friends of Enjoy Your Healthy Life?! I’m Megan from Fiterature.

As you know, Annette is taking a much needed (and definitely earned) vacay this week, so you get to read guest posts!  Yay for you!  Guest posts are fun because you get a glimpse into the blogs that your favorite bloggers are reading.  And apparently Annette is reading Fiterature, which can only mean two things:  1. She thinks I’m cool OR 2.  She came upon me accidently while googling “Rad Fitness Attire From the 80’s” for her Girls Nights at the gym.  I prefer to believe #1, but #2 is more likely.  You be the judge.

As I am writing this, I am sitting at my parent’s lake house in Wisconsin. It is the PERFECT day for writing – overcast and chilly.  You KNOW that if it were sunny and warm, I would be demanding we head out on the boat for some shenanigans.  Instead, I’m cozied up indoors which is pretty much a dream come true.  You know what else is a dream come true?  The fact that every time I Iook down at the dock, I think of the single best day of my life (not counting meeting Ozzie Smith – sorry babe, but that’s why you love me).  My wedding day!!!  The weekend was filled with my favorite people in my favorite setting.  ‘Nuff said.

Another reason I love coming to “Da Lake”, as we’ve named it, is the ribbons of open road.  After living in LA for 7 years, and now the metro area of Kansas City, I get super excited when I can just jump on my bike and ride for miles without ever hitting a stoplight.  The roads here have the perfect amount of flat stretches for working on my cadence and form, along with some rolling hills that make my thighs burn on the way up and my adrenaline pump on the way down.   It was during one of those flat stretches that this post was written, along with my NY Times Bestselling novel and Academy Awards acceptance speech.

Fiterature’s Must Have List for Cycling. Cycling is a fun, low impact sport and a major calorie blaster! Whether you are a beginner or a yellow jersey, this list will make your ride easier, safer and more fun.  See you on the road!

  1.  A bike that fits: Bikes don’t just come in “Girl” or “Boy”, they come in sizes based on your height, leg and body length.  It is important to get a bike fitted to YOU so your ride is comfortable, efficient and injury-free.  Most bike stores should fit you for free, especially if you plan to purchase from them.. The number you are looking for is the frame size in centimeters.  For example, my bike is a Men’s 54cm. Had I not have been fitted, I would have never known a Men’s bike would be more comfortable because of my longer torso. Trust me on this: if you are riding a bike that is not the right fit, your body will be working twice as hard to propel you forward.  Plus you are in danger of injuring your knees and hips because you are forcing your body to overcompensate for poor posture.  Take the time to get fitted.
  2. Helmet: Yes, it isn’t the sexiest part of bike riding, but it’s the most important.  Did you know that the average careful bike rider will crash about every 4,500 miles (less if your name is Megan) and that head injuries cause 75% of our 700 annual bicycle deaths? Not to freak you out buuuuut….get a helmet.  Look first for a CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) sticker inside – some triathlons and races won’t let you ride without it.  Pick a helmet with a smooth, well-rounded shell and a bright colored exterior, so cars and other riders can see you. Look for vents and sweat control, too. Put it on, adjust the pads and straps or the one-size-fits-all head ring, and then try hard to tear it off. The helmet should not move more than an inch in any direction, and must not pull off no matter how hard you try.  A good fit means level on your head, touching all around, comfortably snug but not tight.
  3. Saddlebag: No, I’m not referring to the junk in yo’ trunk, though jumping on your bike CAN slim those puppies up!!  I’m talking about a small bag that straps underneath your bike seat.  I never ride without a spare tire tube, a patch kit, tire irons, and a few bucks. There is nothing worse than being 10 miles from home when a tire blows and finding you are not prepared.  Plus, you can carry other fun things in there like lipstick and gummy bears!

(source)

Clip-in Pedals: If you are going to do any amount of regular riding, you need clip-in (also called clipless – confusing, I know) pedals and shoes.  You do not have to be hardcore to wear clip-ins, nor are you required to wear a spandex unitard.  But hey, if you’re into that sort of thing, by all means…The reason you want to make the switch is because it will make your life EASIER.  By “clipping in”, or attaching your shoe to the bike pedal, you have far more control. The balls of your feet are connected to the center of each pedal, which is the correct foot position for maximum cycling efficiency.  Also, you never lose power because you are constantly either pushing through the pedal with your quads or lifting up with your hamstrings.  With flat pedals, as soon as the pedal starts circling toward the rear tire, you lose power because your foot can only “rest” on the pedal.  Clip-ins are also safer, reducing the chance of your foot slipping off the pedal at high speeds or while standing out of the saddle when riding up a hill.

  1. Shoes:  Unlike running or cross-training shoes, road biking shoes have incredibly stiff soles. This is a performance feature and is done to create the most efficient power transfer possible to your pedals.  They are lightweight by design, with ample ventilation and either lace, hook and loop straps, or notched cam straps. Most clipless road-bike shoes use either a 3-hole or 2-hole cleat system, so you’ll want to match it up with a compatible pedal. If that sounds confusing, head to a local bike shop and ask them to fit you and your bike for road shoes and pedals.   Typically, you want to wear a ½ size larger than your every day shoe, so your toes have room to expand and breathe.  Road shoes come in all colors and designs – the more stylish, the more expensive.  I hear white is the new black (love my new Specialized pair).
  2. 6.     Accessories:   Who doesn’t like to accessorize?
    1. A.     Gloves: Not only do they look fancy, they are helpful, too.  Cycling can put a lot of pressure on your hands and wrists, and the extra padding from the gloves can help elevate pressure and absorb shock.  Gloves give you extra grip and control while shifting gears, and make for wonderful nose wipers in the colder months. Also, if you take a tumble, you won’t be picking rocks out of the palms of your hands.
    2. B.     Sunglasses: Sunglasses can protect your eyes from the suns UV rays and shield you from dirt, debris and bugs.  Yep, nothing like getting a june bug SMACK between the eyes.  Lunch! When I first started biking, a friend told me a secret to buying sunglasses for cycling and I’ve never turned back:  Wear glasses that do not have frames around the bottom.  When you ride, you are constantly looking down, and a frame-free lens leaves no blind spots.  DUH!  Genius!!

(source)

Wow.  This post turned out to be waaaay longer than anticipated.  Are you still even reading?  I promise that I am typically not this long winded, but there are SO many biking things I wanted to share with you!  Thanks for reading (or using my many words to lull you into a nice nap) and stop by Fiterature to say hi!  Thanks to Annette for inviting me to share with you all! Isn’t she great?!

Caption: Dipping our tires in the Mississippi River at the RagBri finish line with my Dad-in-Law, Dancin’ Darrell.

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Loved this! Thank YOU Megan!

Have a lovely day you all :)

And to my hubby (he hardly ever reads, but on the off chance he does today,) HAPPY Birthday my love!! <3

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Comments

  1. Happy Birthday to your Hubby! I really enjoyed this post. My husband and I are interested in getting into cycling, and Megan has given us lots of information to review.

  2. awww happy birthday to your hubby!!

    what a great post–i’m just getting into cycling so i knew some of this stuff, but I learned some new things too! I definitely need to learn to carry a tire tube/patch kit on my rides bc i’ve been having so much trouble with flats recently! :(

    • Flats are the WORST! Check with your local bike shop – sometimes they hold free tire changing clinics so that if you do happen to get a flat, you know how to change it on the spot and keep on riding! Good luck!

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