Archive for December, 2008

Keeping Your Head Warm and Your Glasses Clear in Winter

Posted by Doug Shidell, December 30th , 2008. One response

Last post we dealt with keeping your hands and feet warm during winter bike rides. This time we’ll deal with keeping the rest of your body comfortable.

Head: The head radiates a lot of heat. If it’s cold, your whole body, down to the fingers and toes, will feel cold, so keeping your head warm is critical to your comfort on the bike. Keeping it too warm, however, will only make you sweat excessively. The goal is to stay warm, but not overheated.
1. Start by expanding the retaining system on you helmet to make room for headwear.
2. Wear a balaclava that creates a good seal around your neck and fits tightly around your face and skull. The tight fit will hold your ears against your skull, where they will stay warmer, and keep cold air from sneaking in. If your neck is still cold under the balaclava, add a neck warmer made of fleece or wool.
3. The balaclava should cover your cheeks and nose. Some do it by pulling up over your mouth, forcing you to breathe through the fabric of the balaclava. Others offer a nosepiece and an opening for breathing through your mouth. The style you use depends on whether you wear glasses while bike riding. More on that in a second.
4. Wear a ski mask or wrap-around glasses to protect your eyes and the upper part of your cheeks. The combination of eyewear and balaclava should cover all exposed skin. Ski goggles work best because they are designed to ride an inch or two away from your face and allow airflow around the lens to prevent fogging.

Foggy Eyeglasses: Ski goggles do a good job of staying clear in the coldest weather. Eyeglasses don’t. They don’t do a good job of protecting the skin around your eyeballs or upper cheeks, either, so it makes sense to wear goggles over your glasses when riding. Unfortunately, glasses fog up under goggles. I haven’t found the perfect solution for riding with glasses in extreme cold (under 15 degrees F), but I have learned a few tricks to reduce the condensation.

Until recently, simply wearing goggles over glasses was a hassle. The goggles pressed against the eyeglass temples, creating painful pressure points. Smith Optics, has overcome that problem by creating a break in the frame of the goggles and replacing it with a foam membrane that puts very little pressure on the temples.

Riders without glasses have learned to exhale up through the balaclava. The warm moist air flows over their cheeks and keeps them toasty. Those of us with glasses don’t have that luxury because the moisture fogs the lenses. Not a good situation in traffic.

This is where a nosepiece and opening for the mouth help. The trick is to forcefully direct your breath down and away from your glasses. I do it by forming an “O” with my lips and breathing out hard. That same “O,” however, draws freezing cold air into my mouth when inhaling. I nearly froze my teeth one zero degree morning before learning to open my mouth into a big, cheesy grin on the inhale. The grin created an opening that was wider than the mouth hole in the balaclava so I pulled in warm air from around my cheeks to mix with the chilled outside air. Riding through the streets of Minneapolis alternating between an “O and a cheesy grin isn’t a natural thing to do. When I finally admitted that I was using this unusual breathing technique, someone told me it was similar to a Buddhist breathing style. I suppose that should make me feel calm.

Stopping invites fog. As soon as you stop, even for a minute at a traffic light or stop sign, pull the mask down and breathe directly into the outside air. If your body has started heating up, you will also want to pull the goggles up and away from your eyes to cool down your face.

If your body temperature rises high enough to break a sweat, your glasses will fog. The moisture from around your eyes and forehead will float out to the glasses and condense on the relatively cold lenses. I give up at this point. I pull the goggles down and finish the ride with only my eyeglasses to protect my eyes and cheeks. It isn’t too bad because the heat from my head keeps my face relatively warm. A better option is to open a layer on the torso or reduce the insulation around the head to shed some of that excess heat. The best time to do that is before you break a sweat.

Dry Your Clothes: Nothing is more depressing than putting on damp clothes for the ride home. If you want a comfortable ride at the end of the day, start dealing with clothing moisture before you step indoors at work.
1. Open zippers, pull off your helmet and remove the wind shell if practical while still outside. This will begin cooling your body and driving off excess moisture. Depending on the length of your ride and how hard you pushed yourself, your body will pump out extra heat for about 10 minutes. That’s enough time to get into a shower or dry clothes without getting chilled.
2. Turn the wind shell inside out and hang it on a hanger or drape it over your handlebars (assuming the bike is indoors) so it can dry out during the workday.
3. Reverse your gloves or mittens, especially if they have a waterproof layer that might trap moisture.
4. Locker technology is way behind the times. Despite all evidence to the contrary, most people and institutions still believe that a metal box with a couple of slits on one side is the best way to store damp clothing. It’s not. At the end of the day clothing stored in a locker will be damp and cold. The best way to dry our clothes during the workday is to hang them on a clothes hanger, outside the locker, to get maximum airflow. If your choices are limited and it is nearly impossible to dry your clothes during the workday, bring an extra base layer to work. Keep it dry in your panniers or a backpack during the ride in, then pull it out and use it for the ride home.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Bike Commuting in January

Posted by Doug Shidell, December 29th , 2008. One response

This post is for you IF: 1) You have been riding regularly since mid-October. 2) Bumpy, icy roads don’t intimidate you.  3) Riding in temperatures below 15 degrees F. seems reasonable.  4) You live north of Chicago.

It’s January, despite the date on this posting.  The January thaw came a couple of weeks early this year, turning hard-pack snow on the roads into inches of thick ice. Shoulder snow has melted, sagged into the travel lane, been pummeled into ruts and ridges by auto tires, and re-frozen into an unforgiving, tire grabbing, maze of slick craters and canyons. The temperature is moderate right now, in the mid-twenties, but over the next four to six weeks we can expect average highs in the low to mid teens and a couple of days with highs below zero degrees Fahrenheit. We’ll see snowstorms, some with blizzard like winds, and anyone who works an eight-hour day can expect to ride most or all of one way in the dark.

One more thing: There are no gold medals for riding through the winter. By the end of January even hard-core bike commuters will question their sanity on a sub-zero ride in the dark. Storing your bike for the next 6 weeks may not be a bad idea. By mid-February the sun is high enough to clear the roads and sub-zero nights begin fading into distant memories. And don’t worry about missing winter bike commuting altogether. On average, February highs don’t reach freezing and snowstorms can be expected through the end of March.

Still interested? Then you must already know that January isn’t all as bad as mentioned above. Some days qualify as very pleasant winter weather. It’s also possible to dress and prepare for the tougher conditions. Here’s how:

Clothing: One of the best overviews I’ve seen is on the Civia Cycles website. Using photos and text, the site shows a rider dressed for each ten degree difference in temperatures from 100 degrees F to –20 in dry conditions and from 100 to 40 degrees in wet conditions. Use the guidelines as a starting point, but don’t get hung up on the details. We each have different tolerances for cold hands and feet and overall body temperature.

Basics: Cover exposed skin. Cold wind will find its way into the smallest opening. Wear gloves or mittens with a cuff that comes up past the wrist. Make sure your tights come below the top of your winter boots or booties. Cover your face and seal in the heat around your neck.

Layer for warmth: Start with a thin wool or fleece layer against your body. Cover it with a heavier mid-layer and top it off with a windproof shell. The mid-layer is the variable layer. Although you can wear heavier or lighter layers depending on the weather, I prefer using two mid-weight layers because January temperatures can change by as much as 20 degrees between the beginning and end of a workday.

Cotton Kills: Cotton holds moisture against your skin instead of wicking it away. Wet cotton will make you colder rather than warmer. Don’t put that cotton t-shirt under your high tech super-insulating mid and outer layers.

Circulation Trumps Insulation: If your hands are cramped inside your mittens or you have layers of wool socks jammed into your boots, you will be cold. Insulation is great, but if you need multiple layers, make sure that your mittens and shoes are big enough to handle the bulk without cutting off the blood flow to your extremities. You can improve circulation during your ride by swinging your arms in large aggressive windmills and walking in place (flex your toes with each step) at stop lights. You can walk hills to get the blood flowing to your toes.

Hands: It’s tough to keep your fingers warm. They’re out there in the wind. They aren’t moving, so circulation is poor and if the road conditions are sketchy, your fingers may be wrapped tightly around the handlebars. How do you keep them warm?

1.       Don’t grip metal. Wrap your handlebars with cloth or cork handlebar tape or use a soft rubber handlebar grip. Avoid hard plastics that conduct heat from your hand to the metal bars. If you have bar ends on mountain bike bars, wrap them in handlebar tape. If your hands are large enough, put an extra layer of tape around the bars for added insulation.

2.       Wear mittens instead of gloves. They keep the fingers together. Try a test ride to make sure that you can shift and brake properly with mittens. Three finger “lobster” gloves are warmer than five finger gloves and more flexible than mittens.

3.       Layer for warmth and flexibility. Wear gloves inside mittens, but don’t pack them in so tightly that they reduce the flow of blood to your fingers. The advantage of layering is that you can remove the outer mitten if you need to adjust something (a zipper, the position of your balaclava, etc). The gloves will keep some of the heat around your hands while you make the adjustments.

4.       Protect the wrists. Wrists are narrow and a lot of blood flows through them. Keep them warm by wearing gloves or mittens that reach up to the mid forearm. Pull your sleeves down to the base of your hands to hold in the heat.

5.       Protect the thumbs: Pity the thumb. It’s out there by itself while all of the fingers are cuddled together in the shell of a warm mitten. You can’t do much with the thumb, but simple steps, like keeping it behind the handlebar (out of the wind) can help. Shake down the hands or spin them in huge windmills at each stop to get blood into the thumb. I’ve considered making a “thumb sock” to put over the outside of the thumb while riding but haven’t done it yet.

6.       Chemical hand warmers will throw off heat for 1 to 10 hours depending on the brand and the way you use them. Read the instructions and use them with caution.

7.       Pogies: The ultimate hand warmers, they fit over your handlebars and shifters, then extend up to your forearm. Make sure that you are comfortable riding with your hands in something that is attached to the bike. In case of a fall, you want your hands to come out of the pogie.

Feet: Feet, especially toes, suffer the same chilling experience as fingers. Despite the constant motion of pedaling, toes move very little. They get cold because they don’t have good circulation and they are out there in the cold wind for the entire ride. For toes, circulation trumps insulation just like fingers. Buy boots a size or two larger if you want to add layers of insulating socks.

1.       Clipless pedals make riding easier, but the clip conducts heat away from your foot and the cleats can clog up in the snow. You can put booties over summer weight clipless shoes for added warmth, but they won’t be as effective as a winter boot that is built for warmth from the ground up. In extreme cold, wear wool socks inside an oversized winter cycling boot, then add a bootie over the boot for an extra layer of warmth.

2.       Non-cycling winter boots are very warm, but you will work harder because the boots don’t clip to the pedals. Use wide platform pedals to give your boot plenty of surface to rest on. If you want to secure the boot to the pedal, for more efficiency, add a Power Strap to the pedal and cinch it around your boot. Keep in mind that it will be difficult to pull your foot off the pedal at a stop light or in an emergency. Winter boots are not designed to be seen in traffic, so add reflective tape to the heels and outside panels.

3.       Chemical foot warmers will keep your feet warm for 1 to 10 hours depending on the brand and style. Place the foot warmer as close to the toe box as practical so the heat is near your toes. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Protect the ankles: Ankles, like wrists, are generally thin and a lot of blood flows through them. Keep them warm with an insulated high top boot. Pull on a pair of booties if you need additional insulation. Generic winter boots usually come well past the ankle and often have enough room to tuck in a layer of two of clothing.

More winter riding tips with the next post.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Winter biking in Minneapolis

Posted by Doug Shidell, December 22nd , 2008.

The City of Minneapolis has been pro-active about creating a bicycle friendly city, even in the winter.  The Midtown Greenway and Light Rail Trail are plowed within 24 hours of a snowfall, often earlier, and they are usually responsive to phone calls about winter road maintenance issues that affect cyclists. To report a maintenance issue that affects you as a cyclist, call 311 in Minneapolis. If you live outside the city limits, call 612-673-3000. Or you can call a more direct line to see who is responsible for specific areas of the city and county. For a human interst side to plowing on the Midtown Greenway, check out this post by Shaun Murphy, Minneapolis Bicycle Program Intern

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Bicycle Commuting-Weather

Posted by Doug Shidell, December 22nd , 2008.

This is part three of a multi-part post on bicycle commuting.

Weather: What do you do when the wind is blowing, the rain is coming down at a sharp angle and the temperature is dropping rapidly? You drive! Seriously, as a beginning commuter you are dealing with a lot of new things like the new route to work, traffic, where to park your bike at the job, where to change your clothes and clean up. Don’t add bad weather to your challenges. Start as a fair weather commuter. Ride when the weather is comfortable, the sun is up and the wind is minimal.

  • Dial in the basics while establishing a habit of bicycle commuting.
  • Eventually bicycle commuting will work its magic on you. You will get hooked, and you will redefine “fair weather.” That’s when you can add a windbreaker for cool mornings or carry rain gear if the day begins overcast. You can add fenders to the bike if your definition of fair weather is occasional rain and attach a light if you want to continue the season when the days get shorter.

I’ll deal with dressing for weather, including winter riding, in a later post.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Winter Cycling Events

Posted by Doug Shidell, December 16th , 2008. 2 responses

There was a time in Minneapolis when a news reporter compared winter bike commuting to the Will Steiger Polar Expedition. Today winter bike commuting is almost mainstream, so what do the polar expedition types do to distinguish themselves? Check out Bike Winter for a list of events in Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison. Some highlights:

  • Milwaukee: Bike Polar Plunge: January 1 at 11:00 am. Ride in the New Year with a Ride into Lake Michigan. Meet at Palomino Bar, 2491 S. Superior.  Ride organizers helpfully suggest bringing dry clothes to change into.
  • Milwaukee: Bike Polo: Every Thursday and Sunday. Contact mkebikepolo@gmail.com for meet up information.
  • Madison: Ride the Capital City Bike Trail: January 17 11:00 am. Meet at the Bicycle Federation office 106 Doty St. Ste 400. Return for post ride warmer uppers.
  • Stupor Bowl Same weekend as the Super Bowl. This alleycat race is eleven years old and going strong.

    Minneapolis Bike Polo For the year round schedule, check the games section of mplsbikelove.

  • Northern Minnesota: Arrowhead 135 February 2, 2009. When you’ve done it all and still don’t feel challenged, try this midwinter event. It’s a 135 mile bike/walk/or ski race on snowmobile trails through the Iron Range of Northern Minnesota.. In 2006, the start line temperature was -35 degrees. The high was approximately -17 degrees. One participant lost ten toes to frostbite, so don’t go to this event under prepared.
Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Rack and Roll in Milwaukee County

Posted by Doug Shidell, December 16th , 2008.

It took two and a half years of lobbying and overcoming three vetoes by the County Supervisor, but the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors has finally approved bike racks on buses for Milwaukee County. The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin was instrumental in the campaign and will work with the transit system to develop a marketing and outreach plan. More information.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Bike Commuting- Route Planning, Traffic

Posted by Doug Shidell, December 16th , 2008. 3 responses

This is part two of a multipart posting on Bike Commuting.

Route Planning

Don’t expect to ride the route you normally drive. The reason you drive your favorite route to work is because that route was designed to make your drive faster and more convenient than any of the alternates. And if you like that route so do other drivers, for the very same reasons. Your route probably carries a lot of traffic, and heavy traffic usually means an uncomfortable biking experience.

The best bike route may not be the most direct and it may have more stops signs and slower speed limits than your preferred driving route. This is one of the most important barriers new cyclists face. Instead of a direct route, which usually includes a highway, you have to negotiate a number of turns and stop signs to get between home and work. This is a temporary problem. Each time you ride the bike, your route will become more familiar and more comfortable until you begin riding it on autopilot, just like in an automobile.

Bike route planning is personal. Some prefer the most direct route, regardless of traffic. Others will do almost anything to avoid riding in traffic. The following hints are designed to minimize your exposure to traffic without adding a lot of miles:

  • Find a parallel route. This is easiest in cites and neighborhoods designed in grid format. Often moving just one or two blocks off the main thoroughfare will put you on a low traffic, reasonably direct route.
  • Ride a road that is interrupted by a park. Often the park will have a bike path that will take you to the other side where you can continue on the road. The park stops through traffic, reducing overall traffic on the road.
  • A bike path may take you out of your way a little, but the traffic-free riding will more than make up for the extra distance.
  • Frontage Roads: These are a mixed bag. Some run parallel to a freeway and carry very little traffic. They have the advantage of very few cross streets so stop signs and lights are minimized. On the other hand, some frontage roads serve many businesses. Traffic can be high and cross traffic is heavy because of all the driveways into and out of the retail businesses.
  • Freeways and rivers create barriers that often force you to cross on high traffic bridges. You can often get quite close to the bridge using quiet residential streets. Move from the residential area to the main thoroughfare at a safe intersection, cross the bridge, then turn off the main road and move back into the residential area.
  • Use the knowledge of others. If you live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Madison, Wisconsin, or Milwaukee, WI, consider the bike maps by Bikeverywhere. You can also get great information by talking to your local bike dealer or asking fellow bike commuters at work.
  • Test the route: Ride it on the weekend or test the route in your car, before riding in. Don’t try your route the first time on a day when you have to worry about getting to work on time. It will create unnecessary stress.

Riding in Traffic

Riding in traffic is perhaps the biggest barrier to getting started bike commuting. The route suggestions above will help you avoid traffic as much as possible, but it’s nearly impossible to avoid traffic altogether. The key to riding in traffic is to act like a driver. That means, if you wouldn’t do it in a car, don’t do it on a bike. For example:

  • If you don’t normally drive the wrong way down the road, don’t do it on a bike.
  • If you don’t normally drive on the sidewalk, don’t do it on a bike.

You’re probably asking yourself: “Why wouldn’t I ride my bike on a sidewalk? The sidewalk is separated from traffic. There’s a curb there. You could be 15 feet away from traffic. Wouldn’t it be safer?”

Not necessarily. Sidewalks, like roads and freeways, have a “design speed.” Freeways, for example, are designed to handle traffic that flows at 70 miles per hour. Sidewalks are designed for traffic that flows at 3 miles per hour, or the speed of a walking person. Intuitively, we all understand this, even if only on a subconscious level. Consider your actions as you approach a sidewalk from a driveway. You automatically check for pedestrians, either through your peripheral vision or by checking a couple of feet to the left and right of your car. Any pedestrian beyond that distance is far enough away that you can safely cross the sidewalk without hitting him or her.

A bicyclist, riding 10-15 miles per hour, travels much further than a pedestrian. When a car and bicycle collide on a sidewalk, the most common reaction on the part of the motorist is that the bicycle “Came out of nowhere.” Sometimes that is literally true because sidewalks aren’t designed to allow a motorist to look for a fast moving vehicle approaching from that far away.

The same thing applies to riding the wrong way on the road. Again, as a motorist, consider your actions when you come to the edge of the road. You look left to see if any cars are coming at you in the near lane, then you look across the road and to the right to see if anyone is coming from that direction. If all is clear, you pull into the road. What you didn’t do was look down the near lane on your right. You logically expected that anyone in that lane was moving away from you. You could easily miss a bicyclist coming at you in that direction.

Be predictable

This brings up the most important rule of the road: Be predictable. If you look at the flow of traffic in a larger picture, you see that everything about traffic rules and regulations is about making everyone’s actions predictable. If you use your turn blinker, others expect you to make a turn. Rear brake lights broadcast that you are slowing down. Stop signs, stoplights, turn lanes, median strips, no passing paint; all guide you down the road in a predictable manner.

We all know what happens when someone makes an unpredictable move. If a motorist, for example, passes you on the freeway, then suddenly turns into your lane, your blood pressure goes up. You may hit the horn, curse, or worse. That motorist did something unpredictable. It caused you stress, and it could have caused an accident.

The same concept applies to bicyclists. If you do something unpredictable, like riding on a sidewalk, running a stop sign, weaving through traffic or making unexpected turns, you are doing something unpredictable, and increasing the chances of an accident. The predictable action is to act like the rest of the vehicles on the road.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Bike Commuting-Intro, Gear, Clothing

Posted by Doug Shidell, December 9th , 2008. 3 responses

Introduction

What’s the key to bicycle commuting?
It’s the will to ride.

 Making the switch from driving to bicycling requires overcoming some barriers. It’s a lifestyle change. Bicycling requires being out in the weather. It means supplying the power that gets you to work and it requires negotiating a traffic system that is tilted heavily toward the automobile. Those barriers are real and overcoming them requires a commitment from you, the potential bike commuter. Without the will to ride, the barriers will stop you before you get a chance to appreciate the benefits of bicycling.

Without the will to ride, none of the information in this article will get you on the bike.

What’s the key to making bike commuting a regular part of your life?
Enjoying the ride.

You are reading this because something about bike commuting appeals to you. That’s the motivation to get you started. Once you’ve started, however, you will only keep going if you enjoy bike commuting.

If you have the will to ride, the information below will help you enjoy the bike commute. Some of it is prescriptive, but much of it is about giving you the information, options and underlying fundamentals of riding that help you customize your commute to fit your needs and personality.

Gear

What’s the best bike for commuting?
It’s the bike you own.

There’s a long American tradition that says before you can participate in any activity, you must first spend a lot of money. The bike industry is ready to help relieve you of spare change, but if you want to spend your money wisely, kick back on your heels a bit and get some experience, then go into the bike shop as an informed consumer.

Get your current bike tuned up and start riding. After you’ve ridden a few times, you’ll get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. You may realize that you want a softer ride and a more upright position. Or you may go the other direction and want something a little lighter and more responsive. You may decide that you want fenders to protect you in the rain, or you may realize that you hate riding in the rain, so a bike without fenders is fine because you plan to drive even if there is a hint of rain in the air. Some riders like the funkiness of a single speed bike with a fixed gear sprocket. Others prefer the easy, upright position of a hybrid or city bike.

There is no right answer, just personal preference and the more experience you have, the better you will know what your preferences are. If, at some point, you decide to replace or upgrade your current bike, the experience you gain from riding will make you a better-informed consumer. You will go into the bike shop with a pretty good idea of what you want in your next bike and chances are higher that you will get that perfect vehicle.

Helmet: Helmets are like seat belts in a car. They’re a minor annoyance everyday, and a lifesaver in an accident. All helmets are pass/fail on safety. You can’t buy a bicycle helmet in the US unless it passes a minimum standard for safety, so the key to buying the right helmet is whether it fits comfortably. A properly fitted helmet will rest lightly on your head. You shouldn’t feel pressure spots on your skull. The straps will straddle your ears without touching them and they will clip together snugly under your chin without restricting your breathing. The sales person in your local bike shop can help you with a proper fit for the helmet.

Bike Lock: A bike lock is important unless you have the option to store your bike in a secure spot. The strength of the lock will depend on your needs. The most secure are the heavy duty U-Locks, but these are heavy, awkward to use and clumsy to carry. If you park your bike downtown or after dark in a dangerous area, the U-Lock is the next best thing to a bike locker for security. On the other hand, if you work in a suburban corporate office and the bike parking is in a spot where windows overlook it and people pass it throughout the day, chances are you can get away with a lighter weight cable lock that is designed primarily to keep honest people honest.

Backpack or panniers: You will have to bring items back and forth between work and home. It might be a laptop, working papers, toiletries, a change of clothing, lunch or any number of things. There is no “right” way to carry the load. Most riders fall into one of two schools of thought on how to carry your gear.

  • Backpacks: They’re convenient. Throw the pack on your back, ride to work, lock your bike and walk inside. Everything comes with you. The downside is that backpacks can get hot in the summer. Some are designed to allow airflow between the pack and your back, but on hot, sticky days you will still end up with a sweaty or clammy back. Backpacks also put extra weight on your shoulders, hands and butt.
  • Panniers, or saddlebags, attach to a rack on your bike. The bike carries the load. You ride carefree and easy. No sweaty back and no extra weight on your back and butt. The downside is that you have to attach and remove the panniers to take your gear inside.

It’s strictly personal preference. Try one way. If it doesn’t work, try the other.

Clothing

How much of that fancy bike stuff is useful, and how much is for show? The simple answer is that all cycling clothing has some function and some show; just like every other piece of clothing you wear. The distance you ride and your personal preference will determine the clothing you wear on your bike commute. Here are some general guidelines:

Distance to work is less than 5 miles:

  • No special clothing needed. If you ride slowly and don’t work up a sweat, you can easily wear street clothing. Otherwise shorts, jeans, and sneakers will do just fine.

Distance to work is 5-10 miles: You will be on the bike for 30-45 minutes each way. That’s enough time to experience some discomfort.

  • If you ride in soft-soled shoes, for example, your feet may get sore because the sole of the shoe bends on each pedal stroke. Your foot will get tender right at the spot where the shoe bends around the back of the pedal. Correct the problem by wearing a hard soled shoe. The rigid sole will spread the weight across the bottom of your foot instead of focusing it at the back of the pedal.
  • You may also notice that the seams of your jeans or dress pants are aggravating a tender spot. Cycling shorts relieve the problem by adding a layer of padding (chamois) to the inside of the shorts and by using a design that moves the seams away from the areas that you sit on. You don’t have to ride skin hugging, bulge showing Lycra to get comfortable cycling shorts. You can buy cycling shorts, with or without padding, that are looser fitting and look like casual dress clothes.

Distance to work is greater than 10 miles: You could be on the bike for an hour or longer each way. This is where cycling clothing works best. In addition to the shorts mentioned above, consider:

  • A shirt or jersey that wicks away moisture
  • Gloves to cushion your hands
  • Cycling specific shoes to make your pedaling more efficient and less tiring.
Filed under: Bikeverywhere News