Recycled Cycles

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Resolutions or Goals?

Photo by sharpneil

Photo by sharpneil

If you don’t know where you are going,
you’ll end up someplace else.
~ Yogi Berra

The idea of making resolutions at the start of a new year makes me wary. I always feel like I’m setting myself up to fail – and more often than not, I admit, I do. This year, instead, I’m calling it goal-setting. I’ve got one big goal (ride the STP with my 14-year-old son without letting him totally dust me) and mini goals that lead up to it. I find it easier – and more fun – to have something to work toward, rather than stressing out about giving up chocolate or trying to quit biting my nails.

Even if you’re not interested in tackling a big group ride like STP, think about the new year as a chance to set some personal goals. Small, achievable, measurable steps are a great way to move forward without overwhelming yourself. But be sure to choose something meaningful – know why you want to reach that goal, or it will be easy to quit. Perhaps most important, be specific: instead of saying “I will ride more this year,” try “I’ll sign up for 3 organized rides” or “I’ll commute to work by bike twice a week March through September.”

Here are some links to help get you rolling:

  • If you’re looking for dates to put on the calendar, Cascade’s event calendar is a great place to start.
  • For some help honing your skills, try CycleU.
  • Consider working with a coach. Our friends at Corpore Sano can give you a cycling-specific physical therapist’s perspective and knowledge. We’ve known Dan Harm of HARM Coaching forever – he is awesome and can help with everything from technique to endurance.
  • Want to get the family involved? We’ve got great deals on used kids’ bikes, and the selection is always changing! Also, check out Kidical Mass for great family-friendly rides.

Bikes on Vacation

We just returned from a visit to DC and Virginia, catching up with old friends and showing the kids our old neighborhoods. It was a great trip – but the triple-digit temperatures kept our level of activity to a minimum. By the end of the trip we were all itching to stretch our legs. Luckily, the weather cooperated and a nice cold front came in just in time for our last free day, bringing the temperature down to a very civilized 80-something degrees.

We planned to visit the monuments on the National Mall and maybe hit a Smithsonian museum or two. Since it was our last day, time was of the essence, so we decided to rent bikes and cruise from monument to memorial to museum. We hopped off the Metro at Federal Triangle, just a block and a half from the Mall and walked up to Bike and Roll, literally steps away from the Metro station. So convenient! They hooked us up with Trek comfort hybrids, perfect for our outing, plus helmets, tubes, pumps, and locks. They also rent performance hybrids, cruisers, road bikes, tandems, trail-a-bikes, and trailers – really, something for everyone! Bike and Roll offers tours, too, or you can join a free Ranger-led bike tour that starts at the Jefferson Memorial.

Believe it or not, even though we grew up in the DC ‘burbs, we’d never ridden on the Mall. It turned out to be a perfect way to see the sights! It’s flat, with nice wide walkways to make dodging pedestrians easy even for the kids. Cycling on the street was easy too – I think that DC drivers must be used to tourists on two wheels taking over the city in the summer. We easily saw all of our “must-sees” in just a couple of hours, leaving plenty of time for a leisurely lunch and a visit to the National Museum of American History.

Another option is the Capital Bikeshare, which allows you to rent a bike with just a swipe of your credit card from one of 165 stations around the city and return it at any other station. The problem is that they don’t provide helmets or kid-size bikes, and the pricing can make it more affordable to just rent a bike for the day, depending on how you plan to use the bike.

Cruising from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial along the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial (with stops at the MLK Jr. and FDR memorials along the way) couldn’t have been better.  All in all our day on bikes was a great way to end our vacation – and a good reminder that sometimes the best way to see a city is by bike!

Helmet Fit: Keeping Kids Safe & Happy

With two active boys, I know the value of hand-me-downs. Soccer cleats and sweatshirts have been passed from kid to kid around the neighborhood, and most things are outgrown long before they wear out.

The one thing I’m cautious about handing down is bike helmets. Kids’ helmets can take a lot of abuse, and there’s no piece of cycling equipment more critical to their safety. You don’t need to buy the most expensive helmet on the market, but you do need one that is in good condition and fits well.

Helmets can prevent an estimated 85 percent of head injuries from bike crashes, but they only work if your child wears one every time they ride! Here are a few reminders to help you keep your kids safe:

  1.  Don’t let your child ride his/her bike with the helmet unbuckled or super-loose. The chin strap should leave enough room to fit a finger between the strap and the chin, but should pull tight when you open your mouth.
  2. Make sure your child’s helmet sits low enough on his or her head so that it rests one to two finger widths above the eyebrows.
  3. Adjust the helmet straps so that they are even on both sides, forming a “Y” under the ears.
  4. A helmet that fits well should be comfortable – and your kid will be more likely to wear it! Check for twisted straps or missing pads if your child is complaining.
  5. Any helmet that has been involved in a crash should be replaced, even if there is no visible damage. If the foam inside has been compromised, the helmet will no longer protect the way it was designed to.

If you’re near Lynnwood this Saturday, April 21, Kohl’s will be having a free helmet fitting and giveaway from 10am – 1pm. Otherwise, the CPSC has a simple chart that might help you to ensure your child’s helmet fits properly. Or stop in to ask us – we are always happy to help!

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