Trail Ramblings: Are you signed up?

If you’re reading this you likely know that the National Bike Challenge began May 1st. You know that we’re the perennial favorite to win top honors. Yet, we know that there are many people out there who have no idea the challenge exists, or do, and don’t sign up. Tell your cycling friends and co-workers. Yes, I know that occasionally people have trouble getting signed up or syncing their app, but if you reach out I’ll bet one of us will be able to resolve the problem. Things may not be all back to normal for us yet, but riding your bike is one thing you can do that is normal and lets you participate in a “group” activity even if you ride by yourself.

May be an image of bicycle and text

From the Love To Ride Lincoln website:
Why take part?
There are a bike load of reasons to participate:
Achieve your cycling goals – Use the challenge as motivation to enjoy riding more. Set goals, earn badges, cheer each other on, and enjoy some friendly rivalry with your friends, neighbors, and coworkers
You want a bike-friendly world – Show your support for biking and a healthier, happier world
Win prizes – We’ve got some great prizes that you can win by participating
Compete on leaderboards – if a little friendly competition gets your legs cranking, then we have a host of leaderboards for you to enjoy
Enjoy building community – connect with your friends, coworkers and fellow riders. Share your stories and your photos and encourage each other to enjoy riding
Let’s get more people riding and smiling – your participation helps to show how many people ride, and you can also encourage non-riding friends and co-workers to get back on a bike. More people riding helps to get biking infrastructure built and helps our communities become more bike-friendly. Sign up at…

Let’s fill these workplace racks!

Bike To Work Week is May 17-23, with Bike To Work Day on May 21. 40% of all trips in the U.S. are less than two miles, making taking a bike for that trip easy and more fun than driving car. I know this week it may be hard to imagine that the hot temperatures we had over the weekend will soon be here to stay. Many people I talk with about commuting by bike to work cite a lack of shower facilities as to why they “can’t” do it. Really, there are ways around that. Even if you do work up a real sweat, bringing a change of clothes may be enough to deal with it. There is also the sink bath, wipes, and dry shampoo. If you allow yourself five minutes for cool-down, you may not even need to do anything. If your body is clean from a recent shower, you won’t even stink. I like to dunk a light weight long-sleeved cotton over-shirt in water before putting it on when I know I’ll be really hot. I’ll have air conditioning for about 15 minutes, and it will protect my arms. Others deal with the morning time crunch by taking their bike on the bus in the morning, and riding home in the afternoon. Or if you’re trying to avoid the heat, vice-versa. A word of warning. City buses only hold two bikes. If there’s another bike commuter doing the same thing, you’ll have to ride to an earlier stop to get that slot. It shouldn’t be like this, but it can happen.
I found out last summer when coming into work and being screened by a temperature scanner that sweat works! Duh, I know, but I could ride in with the outside temperature in the upper 90s and record a normal, or even slightly low temperature, due to the evaporation of my sweat. Those driving in sometimes were pulled aside to wait for a few minutes to cool down! I like having a small towel with me to mop up while I cool down.

Plan your re-supply stops.

Those out riding longer in the heat learn how to manage. The most important thing is to get acclimated by riding in it. My friend who puts in a lot of trainer miles and does well in mild temperatures bonks when on a hot, humid ride because he has not acclimated to hot, humid conditions. You can start in the cooler hours of the day, it’s certainly more pleasant, but if you are planning on eventually riding in the heat, you just have to work up to it. Of course, stay hydrated. Freezing your water bottles 1/2 and 3/4 full before topping them off before a ride is great, as is filling your hydration pack half full of ice or freezing it, too. Use arm skins made for protecting and cooling your arms, and sunscreen. Sunburns make you hotter, as well as damage your skin. Know how far your water is likely to last, and plan for a re-fill stop.
On really hot days, I like to ride mostly shady trails. Pavement reflects heat, and asphalt absorbs it even more. Back off your exertion a bit so you don’t over heat, and take breaks.

Yes, pavement is hotter. We soaked our jerseys and sleeves with water at every opportunity and tried to finish riding for the day before it got unbearably hot while on this tour. We did not always succeed.

See you out on the trails!