Cycling is one of the healthiest fitness activities that you can partake in. It allows you to burn up to 900 calories per minute, and is low-impact, keeping your joints healthy and happy, no matter how hard or long you work out. I have personally enjoyed the benefits of cycling as a workout, and am consistently impressed by how well my body responds to the exercise.
I am also impressed with how well cycling works as a way of commuting. Whether you want to ride to work, to college, or just to the corner coffee shop, there are many great paths that you can ride on to get to where you need to go. Even if there isn’t a bike path going directly where you want to go, there are many streets that have been upgraded with a bike lane to provide safe riding for cyclists even during the heaviest traffic hours.
Some of you who ride for exercise will be interested in the numerous cycling events held in the Wichita area each year. Thanks to the mild weather and flat terrain, these events are regionally-known and attract a wide array of riders from the surrounding states. They are a great way to meet new friends who enjoy the sport as much as you do. In order to participate, you will need a road bike since mountain bikes are much too slow to keep up with the other riders. If you are a savvy shopper, you can typically find cheap road bikes for as little as $300. Diamondback, Tommasso and Vilano are some of the best brands to consider and Giordano has a bike that only costs about $400 but offers a large number of features — like STI shifters — that are only found on more expensive models. There’s a pretty good list of these cheap road bikes on davescheapbikes.com.
Some people feel that road bikes are too “aggressive” for them and are uncomfortable. In addition, there are many who are concerned because it limits them to only ride on smooth pavement. If you are one of those people, you might want to look at hybrid bikes. Hybrid bikes are great bikes for riding both on the road and on gravel. Especially for people interested in family riding, these bikes are great and offer an affordable way for families to ride together.
The wider tires on hybrid bikes also offer more protection from flats, and also more comfort and stability since the tires have more air in them than road bike tires.
The best bike is the one that you like and that you will ride on consistently. With all of these bike trails in the area, you really should get out and ride!
Bike Storage and Headache of City Ordinances
Recently, my neighbor decided he wanted to build a small shed in his backyard for storing his lawnmower in. It was actually going to be a pretty tiny shed, the type of thing that you could put together in one Saturday afternoon.
Before the week was up, he came home to find a big orange “Cease and Desist” notification taped to his front door. He had made the classic mistake of A. Not paying the $50 building permit and B. Building his shed 2 feet too close to the property line.He started the project after work one day and snuck in a few hours of work every few evenings after the kids were in bed.
If you are like most homeowners, you will find that you want to make modifications from your property from time to time. Before you make any of those changes, it is extremely important to check with your local ordinances and make sure that you abide by all applicable rules.
Additionally, you can often circumvent many of these rules by going with a temporary or portable shelter. These shelters can provide every bit as much protection, but they often require fewer certifications and can be taken with you when you move.
Whatever action you decide to pursue, be sure to consult with your local
laws to make sure that you do not incur any unnecessary fines.
Portable Garages are one such group of shelters that are gaining a huge following. They are ideal for protecting your vehicles in any weather and are also being used as warehouse storage and as backyard workshops. They hold up well in any type of weather and are designed to last for close to a decade between major repairs (such as a replacement canopy).
Plus, they are very easy to assemble and can typically be built in 3-4 hours. In fact, here is a video of one such portable garage being built.
Those small, Rubbermaid storage totes for putting your bikes and lawnmowers in are typically legal in any location, but I wouldn’t want to put a high-value object in one.
Are People Who Live In Cities Actually Healthier?
Having grown up on a farm as a child, I have often wondered whether those people who live in cities actually have the benefit of being healthier. I mean, after all, they typically are not outside in the sunshine as much where they don’t get as much UV. Plus they don’t have to work as hard physically, which should help save them from the debilitating strain of lifting and repetitive motion injuries. In an addition, they are not around as many pesticides, which also seems to be healthier — especially when discussing men’s testosterone levels.
However, city dwellers are not as sheltered as I might have originally thought. After all, they are centered in higher areas of smog and air pollution from manufacturing, making them more susceptible to asthma attacks. Those smog particles also contain carcinogens, and it has been shown that some regions have higher rates of cancer than others, likely from pollutions in those people’s environments. In addition, many people live and work indoors, limiting their exposure to vitamin D, and leading to more heart and immune related diseases as a result.
One of the most concerning is the recent uptick in tremors. More and more young people are starting to fall victim to hand tremors, which makes it difficult for them to complete school, play an instrument, or paint. These tremors continue to get worse with age and can greatly affect one’s career. The fact that we are seeing more children affected, is especially alarming.
Even worse, there is no known reason for these tremors. Like other diseases which plague our children — such as autism — it is not known what causes these tremors. Is it a basic over-usage of caffeine? Or is it something like MSG that causes it? Maybe a pesticide that was sprayed in their apartment when the kids were little. Or maybe it is genetic (although research is pointing to it not always being genetic).
Treatment typically uses something like beta blockers and can escalate to surgery where electrodes are inserted to apply stimulation and stop the tremors. Natural treatment also has a large following, and many people are trying natural remedies to see if it helps their tremors. For many people, a combination of the right herbs along with lifestyle change can help bring these tremors under control.
So, as you can see, both city dwellers and farm hands are exposed to their fair share of chemicals. However, by living in the country, you may be able to better control what you are exposed to. You can use sunblock to protect your skin when you go outside, and leave the property for a day when the feed store comes by to spray your crops.
Smog From Cycling
I was pedaling down a country road when I was suddenly passed by a farm truck billowing black smoke.
Now, any cyclist is familiar with the practice of “rolling coal“, as it is called. However, in many states it is not illegal.
That said, there are typically limits on how a driver can harass cyclists. And so, it may be worth talking with your local police department to see if they are sympathetic. In this age of GoPro, it is relatively easy to catch the transgressors on camera, especially when they like to hang back and smoke you really thoroughly!
My recent run in, reminded me of an article that discusses the environmental hazards of cycling through smog. Is it too dangerous to ride in the city? Will the smog kill you?
The short answer is, “no”. In actuality, you breathe more pollutants when you ride in car. In a vehicle, you move with the traffic and keep yourself directly in the stream of the pollutants for the entire duration of your drive. In a bicycle, the pollutants pass, giving your clean(er) air to breath again.
So the next time you have someone blow their exhaust in your face, just remember that clean air is around the corner.
Moving To The Country For Healthier Lifestyle
Recently, we moved out to the country to try to get better quality of life.
It takes a lot to get used to… Ice cream is not around the corner anymore. Neither is beer. Neither is toilet paper, for that matter. You have to be very intentional to buy what you need on each trip as the trips to town take forever.
The upside is that there are so many more riding opportunities. We have the beautiful gravel roads with hardly any traffic. I bought a new gravel bike and have been loving the time I get to spend cruising down these roads, away from the bustling traffic.
Sure, you want to be aware of farmers and the occasional teenage driver as they tend to drive faster than they should on the loose gravel. But there are so few cars, I normally just pull over when I hear one coming and rase my handkerchief over my nose for a moment while the dust settles.
I can’t say, yet, whether I feel healthier living in the country. We certainly use more fuel and have a larger footprint.
But my happiness has gone up, for what that is worth.