Sunday, January 21, 2007

Choosing the Right Handlebar Width

Part of a perfect fit is having the right-size bar.

For road handlebars, have somebody measure the distance between the "points" on the front of your shoulders. This is the basis for finding the bar width that allows your arms to be straight while in the drops or on top of the hoods.

Then you have to find out how the handlebar you want is measured.

There's no set standard on how road handlebars are measured. Most are measured from the center of one drop to the center of the other. If the bar you're interested in is measured center to center, simply add 2cm to your shoulder measurement to find the right size--so if the points of your shoulders are 40cm, you want a 42cm handlebar.

Some bars are measured from the outside edge to the outside edge of each side of the bar. For those, you add 4cm--so a 44cm bar would fit 40cm shoulders.

Measure the little pointy places on the front of your shoulders, because the arm radiates from these points. Add 2cm to this measurement for a center-to-center measurement, 4cm for outside-to-outside.

Cinelli, Terry, Profile Design, Ritchey, Dimension. Salsa
These brands are measured from center to center--buy the size that's 2cm wider than your shoulder measurement.

ITM, TTT, Deda
These are measured outside to outside, so add 4cm to your shoulder measurement to find the right size.

Source: Bicycling Magazine Website

Crank Length

The right crank length, like any other part of fitting a bike, boils down to body size and riding style. Longer cranks provide more leverage for pushing large gears at a low cadence in climbing, time trialing, and the like. Riders who sprint or otherwise use a high cadence will do better with standard crank sizes.

Longer cranks tend to cause a sharp bend in the knees at top dead center, right when power begins to be applied. Cranks that are too short won't be as efficient, as sticking to higher cadences involve the leg mass moving around more than with a shorter crank.

For general road racing and touring, those with road frames smaller than 21" (54 cm), or people less than 5'9", will want a 170 mm crank. Frames from 21.5" to 24" (55 to 61 cm), people from 5'9" to 6'1", will probably want cranks from 170 to 172.5 mm. Those with frames over 24.5", typically over 6'2", tend to want cranks of 172.5 to 175 mm. Be sure to read our article about your optimal frame size.

The story isn't over, of course. If you are a track races, reduce this estimate by 2.5 mm, more if the races are short or the track is steep. If you have frequent knee problems, shorten the cranks by 2.5 to 5 mm, and adjust your gear choices downwards to reduce the stresses your knees have to endure from mashing a crank with more resistance.

If you're calculating this to use an a mountain bike, use cranks 2.5 to 5 mm longer than on a comparable road bike. If you ride time trials or hilly races, add 2.5 mm to your crank. For pure hill climbs, add 5 mm.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cooled Cycling Infrastructure

A cycling project which Qatars sovereign Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani has proposed to promote the health of his people. After all, a large proportion of the population suffers from problems brought on by prosperity: they do not get enough exercise, cardiovascular diseases are prevalent and children are obese. This is a prestigious project with Qatar as an example to the countries in similar conditions!

For people in Qatar cycling is not at all the obvious thing to do. This needs to be changed as the 30 kilometre cycle path - now designed - is to be completed within a year after the signing of the contract. An attendant problem is the fact that Qatars climate is intensely hot and humid. The project group therefore came up with the idea of cooling the entire cycle path using cold ground water.

The American consultancy firm the Rand Corporation has been leading in advising the Emir on the realisation of his goal of getting Qatars population to cycle. Velo Mondial played a major role in the realisation of the cycle path and proposed to involve the Dutch firm Goudappel Coffeng for the technical aspects. Another Dutch firm Akertech was involved in preparing the technical drawings.

Velo Mondial was leading in preparing the report: ’Developing Bicycle Paths in Doha, Qatar; A Plan to Promote Use of the Planned Bicycle Path in Doha’. As part of the work to develop this plan, and with particular reference to the training and promotion of cycling to Muslim women, we have discussed existing best practise with projects working in these fields in Tilburg (NL) and in the London Cycling Campaign. We would like to express our thanks to Lucy Davis of the Community Cycling Project, London Cycling Campaign, UK, Angela van der Kloof of ‘Stap op de Fiets & Fietsvriendinnen’, Tilburg, The Netherlands, and Aziz Bekkaoui, Amsterdam.

Source: Velo Mondial

Friday, January 19, 2007

Who is Ian Hibell?

Ian Hibell
Cycle-tourist extraordinaire

check out the website here

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Energy Drinks & Food Bars: Power or Hype?

A typical day for Javier starts early and ends late, and he often finds his energy flagging at key times. So he relies on power drinks and energy bars to get him through school, sports practice, his job, and then homework. Although Javier is usually exhausted by the time he falls into bed, he’s also noticed lately that he’s sometimes too jittery and wired to sleep. He wonders if all those power products are giving him a little too much energy.

Energy drinks and nutrition bars often make big promises. Some say they’ll increase energy and alertness, others offer extra nutrition, and some even claim to boost your athletic performance or powers of concentration. But once you cut through the hype and look past the flashy packaging on energy products, chances are what you’re mostly getting is a stiff dose of sugar and caffeine.

So should you eat or drink these products? As with everything, they’re OK in moderation. The occasional energy drink is fine, and a protein bar in the morning is a better choice than not getting any breakfast at all. But people like Javier — who usually has about three or four energy drinks and a couple of protein bars every day — are overdoing it.

Make Smart Choices

With so much going on in our lives, lots of people feel tired and run down. And many of us find ourselves skipping a meal sometimes. So it’s not surprising that nutrition, protein, and energy drinks and food bars have flooded the market, offering us the convenience of energy on the go.

Sometimes, this can be good news — like for the person who has to skip breakfast or the athlete who needs an energy boost before practice. Food bars will never beat a well-balanced meal or snack when it comes to meeting our nutrition needs. But many of them do contain more nutrients than a candy bar or a bag of chips. Likewise, some of the sports or energy drinks on the market today contain some vitamins and minerals.

Know the Downsides

So the occasional power drink or food bar can be a good choice. But as with anything else, it’s possible to get too much of a good thing.

Here are some facts to keep in mind when it comes to food bars or energy drinks.

They contain excessive sugar and calories. Did you know that some energy bars and drinks contain hundreds of calories? That may be OK for athletes who burn lots of calories in high-intensity activities, like competitive cycling. But for many teens the extra sugar and calories just contribute to weight gain, not to mention tooth decay.

Energy drinks are often full of caffeine. Caffeine may be legal, but it is a stimulant drug. It can cause side effects like jitteriness, upset stomach, headaches, and sleep problems — all of which drag you down, not power you up! Plus, taking certain medications or supplements can make caffeine's side effects seem even worse.

Food bars don’t make good meal replacements. You never really see someone eat an energy bar for dinner and then sit back with a satisfied grin. Nothing beats a real meal for both that well-fed feeling and the nutritional satisfaction your body needs.

Although lots of energy drinks and nutrition bars have some vitamins and minerals added, they can’t give you all the different nutrients your body needs to grow, develop, play sports, and handle all the other stuff on your schedule. The only way to get that is through eating a balanced diet and not skipping meals.

They may contain mysterious ingredients. In addition to caffeine and sugar, some brands of energy drinks and food bars can have ingredients whose safety or effectiveness hasn’t been tested — things like guarana (a source of caffeine) and taurine (an amino acid thought to enhance caffeine’s effect). Some contain herbal supplements that are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), such as ginseng.

These kinds of ingredients may cause problems for people who are taking certain medications or have a health condition. So play it safe. Always check the label carefully before you eat or drink any kind of energy supplement.

They’re expensive. Though energy bars and drinks are everywhere these days, they don’t come cheap. At about $3 a pop, you can get a better (and cheaper) energy boost by eating a whole-wheat bagel with cream cheese. And you can get better hydration by drinking 8 ounces of tap water. Other on-the-go foods that provide plenty of nutritional bang for the buck include trail mix, fresh or dried fruits, and whole-wheat breads and cereals.

Cutting Through the Hype

There’s some clever marketing behind energy bars and drinks, and you've got to be a pretty savvy consumer to see through it. So be critical when reading labels. As with everything, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If energy bars and drinks are becoming their own food group in your diet, remember — “all things in moderation.” These products aren’t harmful if you have them occasionally, but they’re not the healthy choices the advertising hype makes them out to be either.

The truth is, the best energy boost comes from healthy living. People who eat well, drink water, and get enough physical activity and rest will have plenty of energy — the natural way.

Source: KidsHealth-Teens-Food & Fitness-Nutritions Basics: Mary L. Gavin, M.D., March 2006.

Sugary Soft Drinks Bring More Sleep Than Energy

Anahad O'Connor, the New York Times short-answer man for questions about health and fitness, takes on the myth that sugary soft drinks can boost energy levels. Perhaps so, O'Connor tells us, but if they do, they don't do it for long. The Times cites a recent study published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology that gave group of healthy adults a 90-minute mental test after eating a small lunch on various days. On some days, about an hour after lunch, they drank a soft drink that had 42 grams of sugar and about 30 to 40 milligrams of caffeine. On other days, they drank a similarly flavored drink with no sugar or caffeine.The Times reports that with the high-sugar drink, the subjects’ test scores were lower and they had more delays in reaction time and lapses in attention. After a 15-minute rush of energy, they became tired and less alert.

Source: Sports Geezer, Nov 16, 2006.

Bonking: Don't Run Out of Blood Sugar

If you watch a major bicycle race on TV, you have to be impressed by how the riders can eat enough to sustain them through races that require more than five hours of near maximum effort. If they do not get enough food during their ride, they can fall off their bikes, lie on the ground unconscious and start to shake all over in a in a massive convulsion. This is called bonking: passing out from low blood sugar.

Your brain gets almost all of its fuel from sugar in your bloodstream. When your blood sugar level drops, your brain cannot get enough fuel to function properly, you feel tired and confused and can pass out. There is only enough sugar in your bloodstream to last three minutes. To keep your blood sugar level from dropping, your liver must constantly release sugar from its cells into your bloodstream, but there is only enough sugar in your liver to last 12 hours at rest. During intense exercise, your muscles draw sugar from your bloodstream at a rapid rate. Your liver can run out of its stored sugar and your blood sugar level can drop, and you bonk.

Bonking is common in bicycle races if a rider does not eat frequently, but is rare in long distance running races. When you run, your leg muscles are damaged from the constant pounding on the roads and you must slow down. However, you pedal in a smooth rotary motion which does not damage your muscles, so you can continue to pedal at a rapid cadence for many hours.

To prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low during intense exercise lasting more than two hours, eat at least every 15 minutes. It doesn't matter what you eat: salted peanuts, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chicken, an apple, a banana or anything else. Almost all fit people can take small amounts of food frequently during exercise without developing stomach cramps.

Source: Ezine @rticles - Recreation & Spots: Cycling by Dr Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

Burn Fat While Riding Your Bike

To burn more fat when riding your bike, the answer is simple: intervals

  • Spend about 15 minutes riding your bike as a warm up.
  • The give her all you've got by blasting your bike hard for 60 seconds. Your target should be about 90% of your maximum heart rate.
  • Ride at a recovery rate for two minutes.
  • Repeat this interval ten times.
  • Cool down by riding at the recovery rate for at least 10 minutes.

You can build up to doing 20 intervals for a great workout.

Source: About: Bicycling website

Bike Anatomy

The beauty of a bicycle is that it is such a simple device. Even so there is still plenty of jargon and technical sounding language to deal with. To save you from bafflement in the bike shop we've produced this quick guide to all the main parts of a bike. We've used a road bike but all the information here still applies to other bikes too.

BRAKE LEVERS Pull these to stop: part of an integrated STI lever (along with the gear shifter) on road bikes, on their own on Mtbs.

STI/ERGO SHIFT LEVERS Road bike gear changers that are integrated with the brake levers. There are two different systems: Shimano STI (shown) and Campagnolo Ergolevers.

HANDLEBARS There are a number of variations on two basic types: drops, for road bikes (as pictured) which give a choice of handholds, and flat bars which give a more upright position.

STEM Connects the handlebars to the fork. Stems come in a number of different lengths and angles. You can change your position on the bike by fitting a shorter or longer stem.

HEADSET SPACERS Only on A-head style headsets (see 7): round and washer shaped and fitted either above or below the stem to alter the stem height.

HEADSET This separates the fork from the frame, holding the fork in place and allowing you to steer; different systems are available: A-Head and Integrated being most the common.

HEAD TUBE Short front tube usually with the maker's badge on it. Contains the headset; and the fork passes through it.

TOP TUBE Connects the head tube to the seat tube- often called the cross bar. Mtbs and compact road bikes (as here) have sloping top tubes, standard road bikes have horizontal ones.

WATER BOTTLE Fits in a bottle cage which is attached to the bike via bottle bosses (threaded holes) on the down tube.

SADDLE Wider more padded saddles are good for slower riding, longer thinner saddles are best for distance and speed. Saddle choice is a very personal thing, though women buying a new bike should ask for a female specific saddle to be fitted.

SEAT COLLAR A round clamp at the top of the seat tube (see 34) which clamps the seat post (see 36) in place - can either be bolted or quick release.

REAR BRAKE Along with the front brake (see 32) there to stop you. Road bikes have calliper brakes, touring bikes and older Mtb have cantilevers, newer Mtbs more powerful V-brakes or discs.

CASSETTE (Or rear cogs) the spread of gears - 7, 8, 9, 10 - changed using the right hand shifter (see 2). Cassette cogs come in a variety of sizes for greater speed or climbing efficiency.

SPOKES Connect the wheel hubs to the wheel rims.

QUICK-RELEASE SKEWER Sprung loaded skewer with a handle at one end and a nut at the other which allows you to remove your wheels easily. Always do them up properly.

REAR DERAILLEUR (Or rear mech) shifts the chain between the cogs on the rear cassette (see 13)

REAR WHEEL Made up of spokes, hub and rim. The rear hub contains a freewheel which is connected to the cassette.

CHAIN STAYS Near horizontal tubes connecting the bottom bracket shell (see 22) to the seat stays (see 32) forming the rear triangle. The rear wheel fits into dropouts at the end of the stays.

CHAIN Connects the gears of the front chainrings with the rear cassette. Chains are specific for 8, 9 or 10 speed systems.

CHAINRINGS The front gears which are attached to the crank arm. Come in single, double or triple versions. Multiply number of chainrings by cogs on the rear cassette to give number of gears.

CRANK ARM Pedals at one end, chainrings at the other: available in different lengths to suit the length of your legs.

BOTTOM BRACKET Cartridge mounted axle that joins the cranks to the frame - your bike's drive unit.

PEDALS Can be either platform, toe clip and strap or clipless - your shoe attaches to the pedal via a cleat to give extremely efficient pedalling. Some bikes, especially more expensive ones, don't come with pedals so it's worth checking before you buy.

DOWN TUBE The diagonally angled tube from the headtube (see 7) to the bottom bracket (see 22).

TYRE There are two main sizes: 700C for road bikes and 26in for mountain bikes, there are lots of different widths available too. Fat tyres give a more comfortable ride, thinner is faster.

INNER TUBE VALVE Through which air is pumped into the inner tube/tyre. Two different types of valve are available: Presta (a thin needle shape), and Schrader (looks like a car tyre valve) - handy to know if buying a pump or new innertube.

FORK Holds the front wheel and connects (inside the headtube [see 7]) to the handlebars via the headset and stem. Usually made from steel, but aluminium and carbon fibre are also available. Suspension forks are common on mountain bikes.

FRONT BRAKE Various types available (see 12): use your front brake to slow you down first and your back brake to stop.

FRONT DERAILLEUR (Or front mech), this lifts the chain and moves it between chainrings (see 20) when you use the left hand STI lever or gear shifter (see 2).

SEAT TUBE The steeply sloped tube in the centre of the frame into which the seat post fits (see 31). The front mech (see 29) also fits onto the seat tube - at the bottom.

SEAT POST The post to which the saddle attaches. It's crucial to grease it occasionally to stop it seizing in the seat tube. You can raise and lower it to achieve correct saddle height.

SEAT STAYS The diagonal tubes on the frame which link the seat tube (see 30) to the chainstays (see 18). The rear brakes are attached near the top via bosses.

Source: Cycling Plus: Know Your Bike. website.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Bicycling Advice for Beginners

For those of you who are new to riding you may have some questions about getting started. You may want to know about the ins and outs of training, how to ride your new bike, or even getting started after a long sabbatical. Here is some advice from those of us who have been around the block a few times.
  1. "My best advice is to wear a helmet, watch traffic and have fun."
  2. "Learn to drink water when you ride. It's a skill worth building."
  3. "Invest in a decent pair of biking shorts or tights with a seamless chamois. My first ride was 14 miles in regular athletic clothing over cotton underwear (ouch). My next ride was the same distance in proper shorts right next to the skin- what a difference! Well worth the money."
  4. "Don't spend too much time watching the racing team in your area. Ride for fun and fitness!"
  5. "Be alert when riding. Cars and pedestrians are everywhere!"
  6. "Be patient! Resist the temptation to ride a zillion miles right away! You'll only make yourself sore and possibly turn yourself off as far as biking is concerned."
  7. "Ride a bike that fits you. Nothing hurts more than pulling yourself off of a bike made for a man (or woman), someone taller, etc. Your bike should fit you. They can check that at a bike club meeting or your local bike store."
  8. "Start slow gradually increasing average speed and distance as your fitness improves."
  9. "When you fall - get back up, lick your wounds and ride again."
  10. "Most of all, HAVE FUN!"
Source: About: Bicycling- Beginners Bicycling website/ photo courtesy of


Chondromalacia is the degeneration of the cartilage in your knees. Generally it is described as a pain beneath or on the sides of your knee caps. There can also be swelling, in severe cases you can hear the bones grinding.

This can be caused by a muscle imbalance (Weak quadriceps and strong hamstrings, etc.) Excessive pronation (arch collapsing too much, causing the knee cap to twist side ways) can also be a source of chondromalacia.

There are things you can do to self treat. For example decreasing activity, icing for swelling, even aspirin.

Biking should actually help chondromalacia, not hurt the condition. You should remember to stay off the large chain ring, avoid hills and adjust your saddle so that your knee is only slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

Source: About: Bicycling- Beginners Bicycling website/ photo courtesy of GetImage

Top 10 Riding Tips

As a new rider you may not know how to prevent common mistakes that can lead to physical discomfort during a ride. Even if you have been riding for a long time you can slip into the bad habits of riding discomfort. Here is advice about making every ride a comfortable ride.

1) Muscle Soreness

If you pedal your bike an extra few minutes, say 10 or 15 minutes, after ride or at the end of your ride, you can decrease the soreness of your muscles. It's also best to avoid hills during these last few minutes of riding. Cooling down is always important!

2) Eye Wear

When you squint due to the sun or wind (sometimes even bugs), you use a lot of energy and the facial muscles can become fatigued. This can lead to headaches and strain. To reduce the risks of this occurring try wearing your sunglasses.

3) Knock Knees

If your knees sound like they are knocking, check your cleats and your saddle. If these pieces of equipment aren't properly set up you can easily cause pain and damage to your knees. If you have noisy knees but no pain, and properly aligned equipment - you should be fine, even with the noise.

4) Pain in the Neck

Try not to ride with your neck in the same position for long periods of time. Try tilting your neck from side to side, or stretching it. Always remember safety first when taking your eyes off the road.

5) Saddle Sores

Bike shorts that are clean and made of natural materials go a long way to avoiding saddle sores. Also try allowing your shorts to dry in the ultraviolet rays of the sun to kill any bacteria. And just like my grandma always said - sleep naked to air that place out! (Gotta love grandmas...)

6) Stem Length

Your equipment has a lot to do with your physical comfort. Contrary to popular belief bikes aren't one size fits all. If your stem is too short you will find that you have pain in your shoulders. If your stem is too long your triceps ache.

7) Wash out your mouth!

You've got to get the filth out! While I don't recommend soap, you will feel more fresh and your food a bit more tasty when not enjoying the reliving of the grime from your ride. A travel sized brush in your seat pack is a great thing to help remove road grit from your teeth after a ride.

8) Numb Hands

To keep your hands from going numb always wear gloves during a ride and try a handlebar cushion or thick tape. You can also try changing your grip on the handle bars frequently. This can be with or without the use of aero bars or elbow rests.

9) Back Aches

This could be caused by weakened abdominal muscles, which make your back work extra hard. Or your back aches could be caused by the all important stem - check the length. So check the stem and try some sit ups.

10) Foot Relief

To increase the circulation to your feet you should alternate from pushing down on the pedals to pulling up for a few strokes. This change can make a world of difference. You should also check to ensure your shoes or pedal straps aren't too tight. Cutting off the circulation in your feet is not a good thing!

Source : About: Bicycling- Beginners Bicycling website/ photo courtesy of

What kind of bike should I buy?

Well, the real question you should probably ask yourself is, "What kind of riding do I want to do?" Of course, even that question isn't so easy to answer. That's why I have two bikes! Hopefully you can narrow down the choices for yourself better than I managed to do. You should ask yourself the following questions:

Will I ride my bicycle on paved roads, or on trails or fire roads?
If you plan on doing serious off-road riding, you need a serious off-road bicycle. Get a mountain bike! There's a wide variety of mountain bikes available with or without front and/or rear suspension but that's a discussion that will have to wait for another day. Only with a decent mountain bike will you be able to competently maneuver your bike along single-track, down a mountainside, or over rocks.

On the other hand, if you are going to stay on well paved streets, you probably don't want to be slowed down by the weight and rolling resistance of a mountain bike and should look for something else.

Do I want to ride distances greater than ten miles?
If your going to ride more than about ten miles on the road, stay away from mountain bikes. While I've gotten a lot of good city riding with my mountain bike (equipped with 1-1/4" slick- treaded, high-pressure tires), I wouldn't want to be on it for more than about 30 minutes at a time on the road. Sure it's great off-road, but you'd be more comfortable and faster on a bike built for the road.

Do I want to carry my own equipment while touring?
If the answer is yes, try to get a touring bike. Although fewer manufacturers are making touring bikes these days, they can still be found if you're willing to look. Bikes built for loaded touring are usually more comfortable than other bikes, are more stable (they turn more slowly), and also come with eyelets in the frame and fork for attaching racks. Touring bikes also come with a triple crank to accommodate smaller gears. Sure, mountain bikes and some hybrids also have eyelets and triple cranks, but they are not conducive to riding great distances. And, after all, who wants to be uncomfortable on a long touring ride?

Would I rather sit in a comfy chair or on a skinny bicycle seat?
Sure we've all seen them. Those strange recumbent bicycles. And we've all stared at their owners like they were out of their minds. Well, they probably are out of their minds, but recumbent riders don't get sore butts or backs like the rest of us. Recumbents are just as fast as road bikes as far as I can tell, which make them good choices for fast club rides.

Do I live where there are an abundance of steep hills?
You might want to consider a sport bike -- a road racing frame with a triple crank and, often, more relaxed geometry. These two enhancements are simply more physically forgiving. The lower gears you get from adding a triple crank will save your knees by allowing you to keep a higher pedaling cadence up those annoyingly steep hills. This is probably a requirement for those cyclists with bad knees or a few extra pounds to carry around. A more relaxed geometry will make your ride more comfortable on long rides and will make climbing hills easier. You pay for these benefits by losing some aggressiveness. You won't be winning any sprints on your sport bike, but you'll still be able to walk at the end of your next century .

Do I want to ride with a full-time partner or child who doesn't ride at my level?
Then you should get a tandem. They are not cheap, but it may be your only hope of keeping up with your wife (or husband) or pre-teen child. Of course, before shelling out the big bucks for a tandem, you have to ask yourself, "Can I really stand to be attached to this person for hours at a time? Will they cooperate? Do I trust this person to be my tandem partner?" Hey, half of the fun of bicycling is "getting away." If you want some time alone, you're out of luck. However, tandems can bring people closer together much more than just sitting on the couch together watching television. And, best of all, nothing goes faster than a good road tandem on the flats and especially downhill! Keep in mind that you'll want to purchase a road tandem (one with 700c wheels) rather than an off-road tandem (with 26" wheels) to get those speed advantages.

The off-road bikes might look cool, but where are you going to ride that monstrosity off-road?

Will I primarily take leisurely rides on paved streets or bicycle paths?
If you just want to relax on your bike on short rides at a comfortable pace, you might want a hybrid. They're not so great off-road and not so great on fast road rides. However, you usually get to sit more upright and have lots of small gears for riding easily. You might want to trade in the stock tires for something with less tread and more air pressure to increase your riding efficiency.

Am I a kid who doesn't need an expensive mountain bike to destroy?
You can buy an inexpensive BMX bike to beat up that will accommodate your smaller size.

Do I just want to look cool riding on the sidewalks and bike paths in the cool part of town?
Then get a new piercing and hop aboard a groovy cruiser. They look like your grandmother's old Schwinn, but these days you can put fancy componentry on that funky little frame, including various internally shifting rear hubs. This is a bike that just looks like it belongs riding up and down busy city streets (wear a helmet anyway, dude!) After all, if you don't feel look and feel great on that bike, why bother?

Source: About: Bicycling- Beginners Bicycling website/ photo courtesy of

Bicycling through the camera lens

view from MNS chalet at Habu, Cameron Highlands

Myth - White bread is worthless; it has no nutritional value.

Although the refined white flour used to make bread may have been stripped of fiber, magnesium, zinc, and several other nutrients, at least five nutrients have been added back by enriching the flour with B vitamins (thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid) and iron.

Some white breads offer more of these vitamins than do whole wheat breads. But not all the lost nutrients are replaced, so the optimal sports diet includes primarily whole grain breads. When reading the label on the bread wrapper, be forewarned that wheat flour is synonymous with refined white flour. Only bread labeled as "100% whole wheat" are indeed made from all whole wheat flour. Most breads are white flour based, with a dash of whole wheat flour (or other grain) added. The fiber content offers a tip-off: look for breads with at least two grams of fiber per slice. And if the rural syores offer only white bread, relax.... you can have whole grains at other meals.

Eating white bread will not hurt your health unless your entire diet focuses on refined white flour products (i.e. too many white bagels and pasta meals etc.). You'd be wise to eat a variety of grain food and consume a variety of nutrients. Hence, if you eat a bagel made from white flour at breakfast, choose rye bread at lunch and (baked) corn chips for a snacks. Or, if you prefer white bread for a sandwich, enjoy whole grain Wheaties for breakfast and corn for dinner. The key to an optimal diet is to balance out the highly processed food with more wholesome products throughout the day. No one food- not even white bread- can be classified as bad. It can be integrated into an overall good diet.

Source: "Loafing Around; Bread & Cyclist" by Nancy Clark, MS, RD, Adventure Cyclist, Sept/ Oct 2006./ photo courtesy of

Facts of the Day

Number of bikes owned per 10 households;
  1. China - 8.8
  2. Malaysia - 8.6
  3. Vietnam - 8.5
  4. Singapore - 8.4
  5. Japan - 8.3
  6. Thailand - 8.3
  7. Philippines - 8.0
  8. South Korea - 7.7
  9. Indonesia - 7.6
  10. Taiwan - 6.9
Sources: Bicycling magazine, December 2006 issue/ photo courtesy of

Established in December 2006