BikeCommuters.com

Author Archive: Big McLargehuge

My name is Big, Big McLargehuge. I'm the Ultra Commuter of BikeCommuters.com. All these other pansies on this site don't commute nearly as much as I do. In fact some of them even own cars! I don't have a car, it's probably because the Law says I'm not allowed to drive on the road...but whatever.

Cycling: A Fun Way To Stay Fit, Even for Celebrities

Not everyone is a great competitor, which means that not everyone wants to be the best when it comes to fun practices such as getting some exercise as they cycle. They simply want to enjoy it or they want to stay fit and in shape. Sure, the true competitors – often professional athletes – want to come out on top and therefore take part for different reasons.

Cycling is a relatively uncomplicated activity. Most of us were introduced to a tricycle as toddlers and to bicycles as soon as we started school. Maybe that is why so many people enjoy it simply to relax and to have fun – individually or in groups.

Some people plan vacations around cycling; some great cycling routes all over the world make for memorable holidays. Who said every break has to be a city trip, or days at the beach, or hours on deck chairs around swimming pools? 

FOR SHEER FUN

Some celebrities are often spotted around town cycling away for the fun of it – nothing serious, just relaxing, it seems, as they either cycle by themselves or treat their little ones to a fun ride. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the world’s most famous “twerker” Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Aniston and David Byrne of Talking Heads can be seen as they pedal on in a relaxed fashion. Byrne is actually a great advocate for cycling and wrote a book called Bicycle Diaries on the subject. His preferred means of transport to get around the cities he visits is to jump on a bicycle and get moving!

Brad and Angelina (Mr and Mrs Pitt, of course) love taking the kids on a bike stroll when time allows. Naomi Watts also likes to get out, and what better way than to get her hubby and kids to join her on a bike ride, even in a city as busy as New York. Recreation at its best!

Even the President Obama has been spotted out with his family from time to time, and in 2009 his administration doubled spending on walking and cycling initiatives, resulting in more than double the number of cycling trips in America.

Well-known British politician Boris Johnson (Mayor of London, Member of Parliament) has been in the news for his efforts to encourage Londoners to cycle more, by announcing that 2 new cycle routes would be built soon. It forms part of a huge £900m project to see London natives get on their bicycles and start pedaling. Some may be sceptic about these plans initially, but support may grow if it proves to be successful.

While cycling is a fun activity and it a great way to get outdoors, it also helps keep the legs looking good, the butt firm and the cheeks rosy and healthy.

CELEBRITIES WHO TAKE CYCLING SERIOUSLY

Not all celebrities cycle for fun; no, some take this activity quite seriously. Not all of them may have aspirations of becoming top cyclists, but quite a number of them see cycling as a way to stay fit and strong.

It is a well recorded fact that F1 driver Jenson Button stays fit and sharp by cycling often as part of his fitness regime. Because Formula 1 racing demands of the drivers to carry as little weight as possible, cardiovascular exercise is very important, and that is why cycling is a wonderful way of staying lean and strong. To test his fitness, Button uses the 12km Madonna Climb on the Italian border, which is the same climb that someone like Lance Armstrong does to test his own form. Says Button, “It hurts like hell…I love cycling in the mountains…the views are fantastic and it is doing you good.”

Another F1 driver, Mark Webber, loves cycling and enjoys both road and mountain biking to stay in great shape. He enjoys cycling both as a leisurely activity and a way to stay fit.

Marcin Horecki, former member of the Polish National Alpine Skiing team whose career was cut short because of injury, found a new passion in playing poker. Very competitive by nature, Horecki makes no secret of his fondness for testing himself against others. More recently he added taking part in cycling races to his impressive resume. In his first ever cycling race he finished 900th out of 1,500 competitors – not bad for a maiden effort.

The late Robin Williams who reportedly was a friend of Lance Armstrong and had, at one stage, 60 bikes in his garage! Another actor known for his love of cycling on a more serious level than spinning on his porch, is Matt Damon, who has completed Cape Town’s famous Cape Argus Cycle Tour, the world’s largest timed cycle race. Other celebrities who have completed this race include Sir Richard Branson and Armstrong himself.

Jake Gyllenhaal of Brokeback Mountain fame is another Hollywood heavyweight who professes to being addicted to fitness, which includes time on a bicycle in both California and New York. Other Hollywood celebrities who love cycling include Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (NYPD Blue, Raising the Bar). The latter is certainly no novice when it comes to the sport. Gosselaar started racing in 2005 and went from category 5 to category 2 in only 2 seasons which is not bad going for an amateur. Dempsey is even more involved; an avid cyclist himself he is on record as cycling more than 100 miles a week.

It seems that cycling is gaining ground everywhere as more and more people are out on the roads – not only those who take it seriously, but also housewives and the Average Joe. They’re out there, cycling the streets of their cities and villages, and also the back roads of the countryside. It simply suits so many people and personalities. Whether you want to cycle individually, as a member of a social club, as a family to just get out, or because your competitive nature forces you to do so, it is easy. Just do it!

 

Combine Cycling and Sightseeing for a Spectactular Spanish Experience

So your annual holiday is approaching and you’re wondering where to go. You usually lie in the sun, eat and drink too much on an all inclusive — then feel lazy or guilty returning home. You hop on your bike for some activity and wonder: why didn’t you book a cycling holiday in the first place? On a bike, you can enjoy unparalleled freedom, take in spectacular scenery, discover hidden gems, and face challenging ascents with exhilarating descents. Sold? Great. Now, where to go?

Tough choice — but Spain is one of most awe-inspiring countries, and it also offers cyclists a truly varied experience. Think: stunning mountainous road routes, flat-cycling through idyllic countryside, delicious authentic cuisine, and the option of luxury hotels or basic camping accommodation. The beauty is: on a cycling holiday, you choose the experience you want. And if you’re going to spend money on all the necessary cycling gear, you could invest in these Spanish cycling holiday routes:

Northern Spain – cycle like a pro

The north of Spain is known for its awesome cycling routes — it’s the setting of the famous La Vuelta a Espana race. Here you’ll find genuinely breath-taking scenery as you make your way through the Basque country, past the Cantabria mountains, towards the renowned Alto de L’Angliru — also known as one of the toughest climbs in Europe, and not for the faint-hearted! However, with over 8000m ascent available, this area of Spain also has thrilling descents!

Coast along coastal routes

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For a more laid-back cycle, the south of Spain and the Costa del Sol provides excellent stretches of road paths, which are adjacent to stunning beaches and can lead you to bustling villages like Torremolinos. There there is no shortage of restaurants and bars in which to re-fuel, whet your whistle or unwind. A popular route begins at Malaga’s beach promenade towards Torremolinos, taking in the local bird sanctuary, sandy beaches and bars. On arrival at Benalmádena town, you can opt to return via Metro train to Malaga. Spanning a largely flat route of 40km, you won’t be judged for taking a train back!

Urban cyclists welcome

If you enjoy the buzz of a city, you could cycle the Bilbao to Barcelona route. This is a fantastic path from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean coast. If you want to see panoramic Spain in all its glory — and in one journey — then this route is for you. Expect a dramatic Pyrenees backdrop, historical villages, family-run rural restaurants, natural canyons and a climactic, stunning view of Monserrat. Alternatively, the city of Seville recently enjoyed new cycle path upgrades. With 75 miles of (largely flat) segregated lanes, novice and seasoned cyclists can enjoy the city on their own terms. It’s worth investigating the Via Verdes — also known as Greenways.

So whether you’re racing up the Angliru, or coasting along the Costa del Sol, cycling in Spain is really one of the best ways to see a country filled with highs and lows — cycle paths, that is!

Betting against the odds of bike commuting

There’s a few things we need to do to ensure that when you’re bike commuting you’re not going to lose. Today we’re going to go over some things that can help you start learning more about betting odds. Losing could come in the form of a mechanical breakdown, physical limitations or even unforeseen events.

So here’s what I recommend that you do before getting on your bike:

Bring 2 tubes, patch kit and a pump: The last thing you need is a flat, or two. By having the extra tube, you could have peace of mind and the ability to change out two flats. The patch kit could be used if both of your spare tubes get punctured again. Of course you can’t fix that problem unless you have a pump. By the way don’t forget the tire levers!

Hydrate: No matter if your commute is only 2 miles or 30 miles, make sure you have some hydration on your bike. Carrying a water bottle can help you beat out cramps in your muscles and if it gets too hot, you could simply cool off by dousing yourself with water.

Tools: One can never bring enough tools with them when riding. I recommend a multi-tool that has all sorts of goodies on it. I prefer the Crank Brothers Multi Tool 19, it even has a chain tool, and you never know when you’ll need that! It’s small enough to put in your bag and it can be a life saver.

crankbrothers2

Locks: Bring a lock! Bet the odds of theft by making sure you have decent lock for your bicycle. I’d go with a U-lock that has a cable that can look around onto your front wheels. Here’s what I mean, I lock the frame and rear wheel with my big u-lock, and then I take an cable to lock the front wheel, that cable is attached to my u-lock. That way I don’t have to remove the front wheel when I park my bike to secure it with the u-lock, make sense?

Cell phone: I’m not sure of anyone who doesn’t have a cell phone in this day and age. Having a phone can be your literal Phone-A-Friend situation where you can get help if you needed it. I never leave home without my phone. There have been a few occasions where I’ve used up both tubes, my patch kit was all gone and or my pump broke. I ended up calling my wife to pick me up. I’ve also used my cell phone to call 911 when I witnessed an accident. You never know when you’ll need it.

I’m sure many of you already do the things I’ve mentioned. But some of us may think, “It won’t happen to me.” You’d be surprised on how well Murphy’s Law works…when things hit the fan, they HIT the fan. Prepare yourself each time you ride so in the event of something bad happening during your ride you can be ready to deal with that situation.

Your Next Biking Adventure Destination

Minorca is known as one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations. However, it’s also a great place for cycling enthusiasts. From viewing the island’s impressive forests, to its beautiful bays; there are a variety of cycling routes that will allow you to enjoy the sights of the island to the full, for more information on what to do when on the island visit Saga Navigator.

Mao/South Coast

This is a route that will allow you to see the La Mola fortress in Mao, then the city’s bay and port, before heading on to Mao city centre. From there, you can take the opportunity to see more of the south coast of the island. This will include a visit to Cales Coves, with its notable caves, before you enjoy the lovely beach at Cala en Porter. After a trip to the ancient Torre d’en Galmes settlement the ride concludes in the centre of Minorca at Alaior. The whole ride will be around 25 miles in length.

Cap de Favaritx Area

This is a circular route, some 25 miles in length which wraps around the Northern part of the island, and has some of Minorca’s most spectacular scenery as a backdrop. Along this route you’ll see holm oak and pine forests, before the journey ends at Cap de Favaritx. Here, you’ll encounter not only a unique lighthouse, but the lunar landscape that surrounds it.

The Wild Coast

For riders looking to enjoy a wide range of interesting views of the island, this route will definitely appeal. On this 23 mile route there will be woods, lakes, dunes, lowlands, and eye-catching gorges to see, as well as pristine beaches and the cliff-face at la Vall; which is several hundred feet high. The natural harbour at Cala Morell, on the Ciutadella coast is noteworthy, as is the prehistoric burial site in the area.

Off-Road Tour

For the more ambitious cyclist, travelling all the way round the island is an option. Utilising the Cami de Cavalls is the best way of doing this, though using a mountain bike will be advisable, considering the sometimes rocky nature of the path. Mostly a coastal route, it does occasionally go inland. The whole route is over 150 miles long, and offers sights of coves and cliffs, although there won’t be any really steep climbs.

Image by MontanNito used under the Creative Commons license

Image by javimorenoe used under the Creative Commons license

Exploring Beautiful Berlin by Bicycle

When it comes to exploring any capital city of the world, you can be certain of the fact that there is bound to be a large number of cars and buses zipping around the busy streets. Based on this very reason, when one visits such a town as a tourist, they often try to find ways to move around that keep them off of the roads. If you are not travelling far distances on your adventures, then cycling is definitely one of the most enjoyable ways to explore a city, providing the rider with the freedom to go wherever they desire. Berlin has a number of fantastic sites to see, offering a little something for everyone.

Before one can think about stepping foot into the hustle and bustle of the German capital, it is important to first find the perfect accommodation. If you are in it for the full German experience, then you should greatly consider staying in one of the many warm, cosy cottages or villas spread across the city.

With accommodation out of the way, the next step is to decide whether you would prefer to see Berlin through the number of guided bicycle tours available or whether you prefer to spread your wings, hopping out of the nest and enjoying your own creative bicycle routes.

The guided tours allow you to follow set routes that provide the rider with a chance to experience the different sides of Berlin. With a large range of tours offered, you have the choice between visiting well-known sights, such as the Berlin Wall, or tours that focus on more specific subjects such as historical tours and wine routes.

berlin bicycles

If making your own paths is more your style, you will be glad to know that Berlin has a fantastic public bike-share system in place. Like many other cities around Europe, this great initiative provides an extremely cost-efficient way to discover what the city has to offer. The process is easy, simply call the hotline provided at the bike-share location, you will then be provided with the unlock code and the bicycle is yours until you are all cycled out. At 1 euro every thirty minute and the handiness of being able to return the bike at any bike-share location, this is truly the future of city tourism.