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Author Archive: Art Aguilar

Cycle touring in Mexico

Editor’s note: Between trips to work and school, many of us often dream of hopping on our bikes and taking a lengthy tour of someplace exotic. Read on for some tips on cycle touring in Mexico.

The Mexican landscape is large and diverse; there are mountains that soar into the sky, beaches that stretch for miles and ancient ruins that will take your breath away. From the bustling cities you’ll visit on Cancun holidays to hidden villages full of charm and Latin flare, a Mexican adventure can mean many different things.

Cycling in Mexico is an amazing way to navigate the country. For cyclists who are wary of the trials and tribulations of a trip deep into South America, Mexico presents the perfect option; exotic but not too exotic, a comfortable range between first world amenities and new world adventure.

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Routes
One of the most popular cycling routes in the country is for cyclists to venture down the Baja Peninsula and then hop onto a ferry headed for mainland Mexico. There are alternative routes down the Pacific coast but none rival the stunning scenery (if well-worn trail) of the Baja journey.

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Roads
Roads in Mexico include toll roads whose profits go to maintaining wide-shoulders and perfectly smooth road surfaces which are ideal for cycling on. The toll roads are also quite safe for cyclists, as there isn’t very much traffic on the toll roads and they also bypass almost all of the towns along each route.

Camping
Camping is often the preferred method of accommodation for cyclists and this is easily done in Mexico. Locals are incredibly friendly and happy to share camping site recommendations or even to help pitch a tent.
Small towns and villages are quite safe and a good bet for a setting up a night’s camp, just be careful not to wander off in search of ‘hidden spots’ in the larger landscape, campsites should be easily accessible and close to a town or village.

Visiting
Couch surfing has become incredibly popular in Mexico, thanks in large part to Mexican mothers who genuinely love to spoil visitors with delicious food and generous hospitality. While couch surfing is most popular with younger travelers, it is a great option for cyclists looking for a home cooked meal and a friendly (and local) face to help sort out the next day’s route. Local hosts are also known for providing authentic and interesting information about the towns they call home.

Safety
Visitors to Mexico are likely to see police officers with rifles in the street at some point during a visit. This is because the Mexican government has been cracking down on drug gangs and violence in recent years which has meant more armed men in the streets and checkpoints on roads (which apply to cyclists as well) but rest assured these officers are there to keep everyone safe. However, visitors are well-advised to avoid city-centres at night and exercise general caution to ensure that a Mexican cycling adventure is the trip of a lifetime.

Cycling in Mexico can be great fun, so why not take a chance this summer and do something a little different?

Choosing the right cycle insurance

How to find a cycle insurance that’s worthy of your trust?

Reports can be blinding, but even if you are ready to treat a report as half truth, you will find many documents that report the average occurrence of bicycle thefts at 3 per hour! Not surprisingly, it’s easy to remember at least one person from your social circle who has lost a bicycle at some point. Cycle accidents and thefts are too common, giving you a lot to worry about. Thankfully, you have the option of cycle insurance policies that cover you from the several problems that cycle accidents and damages can lead to. Having made up your mind about purchasing insurance for your bicycle, it’s now time that you learned some tips and tricks that can help you find the perfect cycle insurance product.

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An insurance policy that extends to your bicycles?

The market for cycle insurance products is witnessing rapid innovation, and you might not be too far away from home insurance policies that also cover your bicycles and extend lots of benefits. Such an insurance policy can help policy holders enjoy less complexity and more peace of mind. Moreover, cycles are integral parts of the lives of all those who love them, much like their homes. In fact, the front porch or the backyard might look alien to a few unless they see their beloved bicycles safely parked there. So, extended home insurance covers certainly auger well for such passionate cycling enthusiasts. Watch out for the cycle insurance products that New Insurance for Cyclists has in plan, ready to be unleashed into the markets really soon.

Ask a lot of questions – When an agent throws marketing material at you, dodge all of it and pose some stern questions. If the cycle insurance company pitching a product to you is actually good, it will have the answers. Is the bike covered when it’s not at home? Does accidental damage cover include property damage? Is theft included in the coverage? What if you’re in a different country, riding the same bike? Your questions must be relevant to the kind of use you put your bicycle to. For instance, you might want to focus your questions upon the accidental coverage aspect more than overseas coverage unless you are a bicycle tourist who often visits foreign countries.

Ensure that your bicycle’s unique accessories are also covered

Whereas those super special and wide grip tires might be the flesh and bones of your bicycle for you, the insurance company might consider them beyond the realms of coverage under the policy. It is imperative that when you hunt for the right cycle insurance policy, every trivial detail about the bicycle and your using habits must be considered before you sign the plan agreement. Another important issue you need to be aware about is the reparability and the replacement of your bicycle parts. As a dedicated cyclist, you might not want to go ahead with a policy that wants you to get your damaged tires repaired instead of replaced! The perfect cycle insurance cover is not too far away from you; something special is on its way from YellowJersey.co.uk to set the cycle insurance market abuzz.

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Want to get a real good workout during your commute?

As great as it is to be getting your work out on while riding your bike to and from work, I recently discovered a “bicycle” of sorts that allows you to get a more intense work out than just pedaling. I visited the 3G Bikes world headquarters in SoCal and got a chance to ride one of their 3G Stepper machines.
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Here’s the description:

The 3G Stepper is a revolutionary concept developed to merge unconscious fitness with everyday cycling, which will give a healthier lifestyle to cyclists. The Stepper uses foot platforms to replace the pedals of the bike. The rider pumps the platforms up and down, rather than moving in the traditional circular motion of peddling, achieving a better toning of the whole body.

It helps shape the calves, thighs, abdomen, buttocks in a similar work out to that which you would achieve on a stationery Step machine in any gym, as well as increasing your heart rate to speed up your metabolism. The Stepper bike naturally enhances an upright posture because it has no seat unlike conventional cycles.

So the neat thing about the 3G Stepper is that it’s a tough work out and it has gears! Getting started was a bit awkward at first, but once I got going, the “stepping” motions were pretty natural. Cornering was a blast since it had a wide front tire. Of course when you’re riding something like this, you’re getting quite a bit of attention from drivers and pedestrians a like. Which is a good thing because you want to remain visible while you’re on the road.

I know what you’re thinking, this is more of a work out machine than a mode of transportation. Well check out these two guys who rode their 3G Steppers from Germany to Prague (Czech Republic)! 388.42 KM (241.35 miles) in almost 3 day. If these guys can ride hundreds of miles, I’m sure you’d be able to ride your 6-10 mile commute with a 3G Stepper.
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Why should you cycle to work?

 

The number of commuters leaving cars and public transport behind for their commute to work and turning to cycling to work, and with so many benefits it is easy to see why. Here are some of the reasons why you should make the switch to cycling around London rather than driving:

Cost

Cycling is undeniably cheaper than public transport and especially driving, the money saved, even with just one less car journey per week will quickly add up which of course you can spend better elsewhere.

Skipping the Gym

Why go to the gym to use an exercise bike before your commute to work when you can kill two birds with one stone and spend your time wisely, both commuting and exercising at the same time. If you only use the gym for cardio such as this you could even cancel your membership, making more potential savings each month! Those who mix resistance training with cardio workouts at the gym will find they don’t need to spend as much time on the cardio and get a more effective muscle building workout in in the time instead.

Health

Fresh air and some cardiovascular activity twice per day will quickly pay off health wise. The increased activity can result in weight loss, even without the dieting which can reduce the risks of health problems in later life.

Productivity

The charity Sustrans conducted a study in 2013 and they found that those that cycle to work not only have far fewer sick days than those that don’t but they are also more productive during working hours. Further to this there have been countless studies which found that using public transport is more likely to make you catch bugs and sickness compared to those who travel in cars, walk or cycle.

Cycle to Work Schemes

Even if you do not currently own a bicycle it can be a worthy investment to make. Lots of businesses run the Cycle to Work initiative which gives employers the opportunity to save money and tax on the cost of purchasing a bicycle that they are going to use in order to commute to work. If you are unsure about this, ask your employer for further information. With more and more people beginning to turn to cycling it will also have a knock on effect on the facilities such as bike sheds, cycle paths and other initiatives that are available in order to encourage more to cycle instead of driving.

If cycling everyday isn’t for you, you could always consider incorporating it into your routine gradually. Cycling in London one to two times per week, rather than driving will give you the opportunity to see how these benefits will positively affect you, you may just find you end up hooked!

 

Gone A-Cycling — How to Plan a Cycling Trip

 

It’s easy to get a little bored riding the same routes and roads all the time. Sure you can mix things up every now and again and set yourself personal best targets, but sometimes the only option is to go on a cycling road trip.

However, the logistics of planning and preparing for a pedal-powered expedition are complicated. You need to find a destination and a way of transporting all your equipment. Once you’ve taken care of all that, though, the fun and satisfaction of hitting the open road and racking up the miles cannot be beaten.

Planning Ahead

Unless you’ve got a utilitarian 4×4 or spacious SUV, you’re going to need some vehicle accessories to transport all that gear. In an ideal world, you’d have a vehicle like a Nissan Pathfinder with enough room for multiple bikes and all your friends.

If you don’t have the good fortune to have such a vehicle, you’re going to require a few alternative transport solutions. Thankfully, you can get all kinds of bike racks and roof top cargo carriers — a testament to the popularity of the pursuit — to fit any vehicle. You may even want to hire a bigger car or trailer to tow along. Just make sure that you secure all bikes and equipment that are fitted to the exterior of your vehicle firmly. Oh, and stick to the local rules of the road!

Choosing a Destination

From steep hills to rough and rugged terrain, the choice of cycling destination is up to you. Mountain bikers should have a great deal of specialist parks and courses at their disposal, while road cycling enthusiasts can go online and research popular routes nearby.

If you’re looking further afield or considering a trip abroad, think about the characteristics of each destination. These will include local attractions, culture, language, amenities, climate, terrain and scenery. Road trips in the summer are obviously more appealing due to the lack of wind or rain, but staying hydrated is of the utmost importance.

Getting Onto the Road

Fit your bike with a rear rack and panniers that hang down either side of the frame. These are great for carrying repair tools, food supplies, maps and spare clothing for all weather conditions. If you’re mountain biking, a backpack might be more appropriate.

Bear in mind that all this equipment will probably slow you down and could also affect your projected itinerary. With a clear day ahead of you, though, plenty of time to rest and recuperate, and an inspired mind (and body), though, anything will seem possible.

The aforementioned tips and advice will help you embark upon an exhilarating cycling road trip. Okay, so you’ll have to spend a few hours planning and making sure you have everything you need for the trip, but once you’ve taken care of it, it’s all behind you and it’s just the road ahead of you. Are you ready to roll?