5 Cycling Websites That Will Blow Your Mind

Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 in Bikes, biking, Cycling | 0 comments

Fortunately in today’s digital world, every hobby has at least a few thousand websites dedicated to it. Although we now have a myriad of online publications to choose from, there are many trashy sites that get in the way of finding what you’re looking for.

So where do I look?

Wading through useless websites is a real issue when it comes to mountain biking and cycling – because every guy and their jovial Uncle Tim is a pro. Instead of wasting hours trying to find the perfect sites, take a look at this list of some of the most popular cycling blogs:

  1. Fatcyclist – This website is the blogging baby of a comedic writer who calls himself Fattie. He is by no means fat, but is one of the most hilarious people you’ll ever come across. His articles are informative, accurate and full of self-deprecating witticisms that’ll give you a kick-start on a blue day. 
  2. MTBR – This site contains massive amount information on bikes, workouts and gear reviews. It also offers great forums where you can chat with fellow enthusiasts and get all your questions answered.
  3. Ride – South Africans love their extreme sports and Ride exemplifies the extent of this passion. This site offers ideal training programmes, dietary guides, top product reviews, events updates and even the latest news on all that’s happening in the cycling world. On top of that, it even features impressive videos and interviews with talented individuals.
  4. Pinkbike – This website is very similar to MTBR, but with a lot more style, elegance and personal stories. You’ll get lost for hours on end while you follow a cycling journey all over the globe. Check out all the best cyclists, and see what they can do – live though their trials and tribulations and share their victories.
  1. Bikeradar– Their slogan, ‘The world is for riding’, captures the essence of their ideology. This fun site hosts everything you need to know about cycling, whether you’re an expert or a beginner. It even has content on how you can get your family interested in this activity. There are tons of links to interesting industry news, the best routes in your area, and competitions.

Each of these websites imparts very useful information to both international and South African cyclists.  Whatever your biking needs –advice, new parts, inspiration, training schedules – you won’t be disappointed. At the end of a long day, you can simply spend an evening on a YouTube journey watching your favourite athletes showcase their skills. This is also a quick and easy way to grab some inspiration on the go.

In addition to finding cool videos and new ideas, you can connect with people all over the world:  from the Drakensburg all the way to Canada and Spain. Share your ideas, experiences and difficulties. You can even upload videos and gain a loyal following. Get started tonight and gain some useful knowledge by reading these inspirational websites!

Malini enjoys two things more than anything in life. They are, writing and cycling. When she’s not in the saddle enjoying rides through the country side or writing about it. 

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Are Bicycles replacing Cars on our Roads?

Posted by on Feb 25, 2014 in Bicycle, Bikes, biking | 0 comments

Not so very many years ago, sidewalks and roads were filled with children on their bikes, riding their way to school. Those of us old enough to remember those days remember the pride we took in our bikes, making sure that they were clean and that our precious bells were in tip-top ringing condition. Gradually, those bikes, which were also used by commuters and people running errands, were replaced by buses and cars. The scene changed from one of kids careening about on their bikes to those same children simply standing by the street corner, waiting for a bus. Commuters, too, changed their mode of transportation. Today, however, we are wondering if we are seeing another shift, one that leads us back to the two-wheeled wonders powered by whatever we ate for breakfast.

Government Agendas

government agendas

When little Jane pedaled fiercely down the road to make it to school on time just fifty years ago, she never dreamed that one day, one day in her lifetime, the United States government would be spending millions of dollars to try to encourage children to do exactly what she was doing—riding her bike to school. Even so, it is true. As part of the Federal Highway Department Safe Routes to School program, the federal government is spending millions of dollars both to provide safe routes for kids to bike or walk to school and to encourage kids to get out and use those routes. The return to two-wheels isn’t limited to kids in school. Biking seems to be a growing trend across many walks of life.

Biking Cities

roadside bike

Roadside bike rack at University of Minneapolis

Whether they are doing it for the commuting crowd, students, tourists, or people headed to the mall, many cities across the U.S. and around the world are making it more convenient than ever to leave the four-wheeled vehicles at home and start pedaling the two-wheeled ones. While biking lanes are rather common, a number of cities have gone the extra mile when it comes to accommodating bikes.

  • Fort Mason, CA. A stretch of road in this community certainly encourages bikers. The parking areas have been replaced with a bike lane, complete with cement barricades, ensuring no one mistakenly parks his vehicle in the new bike lane.
  • Japan. Not surprisingly, Japan is a mecca for cyclists, something that never really went away with the car trend. Many cities rent bikes to tourists, and some even have multi-level parking garages dedicated solely to bicycles.
  • Munich. This city offers a fascinating public transportation system, one that contains varying levels of propelling options, with cheaper rates for those that are more environmentally friendly. Renting a bike, for example, would likely cost considerably less than riding the bus with the city’s Mo-Bility system.
  • Minneapolis. Some sources point to Minneapolis as the top city for biking in the U.S. This city has gone the extra mile in increasing on-street cycling lanes and bicycle routes for tourists as well as locals.

With such an emphasis on biking, perhaps our grandchildren will laugh when they hear of all the traffic jams, school bus rides, and commuter buses of today. They’ll be busy pedaling away, protecting our earth while exercising their muscles.

Chris Turberville-Tully enjoys spending time with his wife and sons outdoors, whether biking, taking a run on the beach or an evening drive (yes, he drives a car!) through the countryside. When not enjoying the great outdoors and fresh air, Chris spends his time writing for HR Owen or traveling abroad for business. To date Chris has visited over 80 countries and has no plans to stop just yet. Follow Chris’ travels on G+.

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Beyond The Training Wheels – What Your Child Needs To Know About Bicycle Safety

Posted by on Feb 9, 2014 in Bicycle, Bikes, biking, Cycling | 0 comments

A bike offers so much to a child. It promotes exploratory play; it’s a mode of transportation; it encourages independence; it develops balance; and so much more. Hence, it’s no wonder that kids, boys and girls, just love bicycles. But teaching them how to drive their bikes properly can be a challenge. They will fall and they will get scratches and bruises. Yet they will try and try because, to them, nothing is more rewarding than the day when their training wheels are removed. Still, before these are taken out and before you allow your child to drive longer distances on his own, you must explain to him what his responsibilities are as a biker so that he’ll remain safer on public roads.

bicycling

o He must have proper training. Some kids are not very good bike riders. They know how to drive straight, but they don’t know how to turn or stop when needed. Without the right biking skills, your child becomes a danger to himself and to others. Hence, assess your child’s driving abilities first.

o He must use the right equipment. Accidents on the road can happen. In order to improve your kid’s safety while on the road, see to it that he has the recommended equipment. A helmet is essential, and this must be worn each time your child rides. Knee and elbow pads can also protect him in case he falls.

o He must not ride his bike at night. Kids are independent, and your son might try to ride his bike to go to a friend’s house at night. But bicycling when it’s dark outside is very dangerous. A child is small; thus, it will be harder for other drivers to see him. Streets are also more deserted at night, and this makes your child vulnerable to attackers.

For older kids who are already allowed to bike at night, they must be required to wear the proper gear. Moreover, they must utilize items that will help in increasing their visibility while biking, such as LED lights that can be attached to bicycles and also reflective vests. Nevertheless, parents must not allow their children to go out at night especially since many accidents that involve bikers often happen between 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. These are also the times when drunk drivers are on the road.

o He must be aware of traffic rules. Bob M. Cohen & Associates believe that bicyclists have the same rights as other motorists. Because of this, cyclists, young and old, are also subject to the same traffic rules that govern all drivers. Therefore, before allowing your kid to drive his bike on public roads, he must understand traffic regulations and he must know how to put them into practice. To illustrate, a young driver must be able to identify and follow all traffic signals or lights, and he must obey all road regulations in order to stay safe.

o He must realize that riding a bike is a responsibility. A child who is old enough to drive a bike on his own must also comprehend that bicycling is not play, particularly if he is out on public roads. Hence, he must not participate in bike races or other recreational activities that might threaten people’s safety. He has a responsibility to himself and to other motorists. He must also understand that accidents do happen; and, when they do, the effects could be devastating not only to himself, but to other victims too.

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Claire Taylor is a freelance writer and a mom. Her articles are often about road safety and automobile maintenance.

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The 8 Greenest Cities In The UK

Posted by on Feb 1, 2014 in Bicycle, Bikes, biking, Cycling, Environment | 0 comments

If you are preparing to either purchase your first home or move to a new location, you undoubtedly have a list of priorities for your home that include great schools, fantastic job opportunities and a safe neighborhood. Hopefully, a city’s green rating is also on the short list when it comes to choosing the best place for you and your family to reside. After all, a city that fails to have a green outlook fails to plan for the future. Thankfully, many cities in the United Kingdom, aware of environmental issues, are taking measures to preserve the environment for generations to come.

Are you ready for our list of eight cities that are doing it right?

Newcastle

While this city’s roots date back to the Roman era, their green initiatives are certainly not behind the times. Since 1995, Newcastle has been the host of an annual Green Festival, celebrating the protection of natural resources. The city does not limit its green activities to a festival; rather, in their 2012 Newcastle City Deal, they established a goal to become a low carbon Pioneer City, reducing carbon output by 34% by the year 2020. Newcastle’s plans include the installation of hundreds of charging points for electric cars, and they are well on their way to becoming the electric car capital of the country. The city’s “green” and “blue” gym initiatives are creative ways to help people stay fit while interacting with the local environment. This is truly a city of the future.

Leicester

It is no accident that Leicester makes our list. After all, it was officially named Britain’s first “Environment City.” Leicester’s environmental fame does not end there; the city was one of only twelve local projects from around the world chosen to be honored at the international Earth Summit in 1992. The city features a labyrinth of walking and bicycle paths, some of which go through its award-winning park featuring an abundance of wildlife. The city’s football club boasts an organically-fertilized field, and the recycling program is top-notch. Leicester’s crowning glory is the Eco House, which features a home with the most environmentally-friendly technology, a large organic garden and a store that sells environmentally-friendly merchandise.

Brighton and Hove

This beautiful seaside city offers a park within a minute’s walk from anywhere in the city. Six of these parks (one being a former gravel pit) boast the coveted green flag award, demonstrating the community’s dedication to reclaiming wasted locations for the environment. Additionally, the city is actively pursuing status with the United Nations as a Biosphere Reserve. This lofty goal sets Brighton and Hove apart as one of the leading green cities, not just in the UK, but around the world. The city is divided into charming villages and presents a beautiful place to call home as well as an excellent green travel destination.

Bristol

With a 4.7% growth in the green economy for the year 2012 and ambitious goals toward becoming a low-carbon community, Bristol won the European Green Capital Award for the year 2015. Of course, Bristol is no newcomer to the green scene. Its annual Big Green Week attracted green ideas, art, entertainment and 50,000 visitors from around the UK in 2013. The green aspect of Bristol’s business sector is seeing significant growth, and the city has made great strides toward finding sustainable transportation solutions. All these add up to make Bristol a truly green UK city.

London

The capital city makes the list in spite of its massive population. The reason lies in the great strides London has made to become more environmentally friendly, strategies that include improving the large city’s air quality, greening the city with parks, and dealing with waste more effectively. Many of the strategies stem from the mayor’s 2009 goal of making London one of the greenest cities in the world. From transportation emissions to building energy usage, London has set out to tackle some huge problems, and she is doing a fantastic job.

Leeds

This city is on board with the Green Deal program and has become the largest partner in the deal, negotiating £100 million to fund energy saving remodeling in homes and businesses across the city. Additionally, the city has established 90,000 plus green jobs and a commitment to continue transitioning to a low carbon economy.

Cardiff

Cardiff’s What Matters 2010:2020 focuses on key goals for the city during that 10-year period. The primary concern is the health of the people of Cardiff, and second is a safe and clean environment. Cardiff is putting its feet to the ground with initiatives and has a website boasting at least twenty different campaigns to keep the city green. These campaigns range from dog cleanup to fly-tipping prevention.

Edinburgh

Scotland’s beautiful green city of Edinburgh makes the list thanks to its progressive 2020 goals. The city plans to reduce carbon emissions by 40%, depend on renewable energy for 40% of its energy needs and promote low-carbon transportation city-wide. Its lofty goals have promoted sustainable housing standards, an increased focus on public transportation and stricter standards for waste and recycling.

Your new town’s commitment to green inititives can make a huge difference in lifestyle. Is there a recycling program? How about an environmentally-friendly public transportation system? Are there renewable energy options? All of these affect quality of life.

Siemans developed a Green City Index that tracks environmental performance, research projects, specific eco-friendly buildings (and more) for cities around the world. It is a tool that can help you decide where to look for your next home.

After all, when green considerations are included on your list of prerequisites, you are planning for the future — and not only for this generation, but for those who follow.

Featured images:

Chris Turberville-Tully, a board member and writer for ESA-ServicedApartments.co.uk, enjoys traveling around the world. Thus far, Chris has traveled to eighty countries enjoying the sites, sounds and smells of other cultures, tasty cuisine and stunning views. Follow Chris on Google+.

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Ten Of The Best Cycling Apps

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in biking, Cycling | 0 comments

App

Image Source

There is an app for just about everything these days and cycling is no exception. The humble bicycle has got increasingly high-tech – you can now monitor your fitness levels, plan your route, repair your bike and much more, using just your phone (and a variety of apps).

Whether you’re a serious athlete, a bicycle commuter or just someone who likes to get some fresh air on two wheels every now and then, there is an app to suit your cycling needs.

1.       Strava

Strava is one of the most popular cycling apps around and it’s not hard to see why. The app allows you to analyse each ride in detail by logging your location, speed and elevation. Strava can then transform this data into weekly and monthly graphs monitoring your progress.

However, it’s much more than just an app that spurts out statistics each week.  The main selling point of Strava is the competitive and/or social side (depending on how you look at it). The app has divided the globe into bite-sized chunks, which become timed sections you can compete on. Every time you cycle through one of these sections, Strava logs your time and you can see where you rank in the league tables. This allows you to compete with friends, or just other cyclists in your area.

2.       Size My Bike

It can be tricky to make sure you’re buying the right size bike for your body shape. This simple app solves this problem by taking 6 body measurements, which are used to calculate the exact size bike which would be the perfect fit for you.

Not only will this give you a more comfortable riding experience, but it improves your performance and helps to prevent injury.

3.       Garmin Fit

This popular training app is perfect for running or cycling – so great news if you love both! Using wireless fitness sensors, the app monitors your performance, whilst also tracking your location through your phone’s GPS.

Plus, it has a built-in music feature – great for keeping you motivated during a long ride.

4.       Bike Doctor

There is nothing more irritating that getting midway through a ride and discovering an ominous creaking, squeaking or hissing, which means you have a problem. This is where Bike Doctor comes in handy: downloading this app is like having a portable bike mechanic.

Currently, at just over 15,000 downloads, this increasingly popular app offers step-by-step repair guides to common problems. Whether you have a road, mountain, or hybrid bike, this app will have an answer to your problem.

5.       Bike Hub

This app is great if you’re looking for inspiration. It’s full of route ideas and it’s also perfect for exploring new areas, as all the routes are marked with popular tourist destinations, as well as bike shops, just in case something goes wrong.

This is an app suitable for any cyclist – there are routes for all abilities and the easy-to-use design encourages you to explore on two wheels.

6.       Fill That Hole

Pot holes are more than just an annoyance for cyclists – they can be very dangerous. This app helps you to combat this problem by reporting any potholes that you see on the roads.

Simply fill in the detail as of the pothole, take a photo and then the app submits this information to the appropriate authorities. You’ll help to improve the roads, one pothole at a time.

7.       Map My Ride

This app is perfect for planning a cycling adventure. You can choose from over 120 million routes across the world, or customise the routes to create your own. Once you’ve planed your route, you can share this with friends if you want to recommend a particularly good ride, or plan a journey together.

There are lots of other handy features like a Nutrition Tracking Calculator – just what you need to make sure you are getting the right nutrition for your ride.

8.       Bike Brain

If you’ve got bikes on the brain, then this might be for you. This app is packed with features including GPS mapping, in-app picture uploads and training mode features. Plus, the app archives all of our routes, so that you can keep track of your adventures.

Also, the app optimises your phone battery life to ensure your phone doesn’t die midway through a journey.

9.       Coach My Ride

Designed with the help of cycle coach Lionel Reynaud who says ‘The Philosophy of CoachMyRide is to help time-crunched riders to improve their performance and to help beginners to enjoy their rides.’

The app gives you structured training and more than 99 workouts with something for all abilities.

10.   Live Rider

LiveRider is one of the most high-tech cycling apps available at the moment. In reality, it’s more like a piece of kit than an app. This ‘bike computer’ app comes with components to attach to your bike’s back wheel which allows you accurately monitor your progress.

As you ride, the device collects data which is synced with your phone. As the app allows you analyse your performance in minute detail, it’s perfect for a hard-core cycling enthusiast.

 Whether you want to get fit on two wheels, set unbeatable times, fix your bike or just explore the world, there is an app to help you do it. Have I missed any of your favourite apps? Or have you tried any of these apps yourself? Share your thoughts below. 

Featured images:

Gavin Harvey is a fitness instructor and cycling enthusiast. He loves to try out new gadgets and as a result, his phone is full-to-bursting with fitness apps.

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Best Bike Trails Near Dallas

Posted by on Nov 9, 2013 in Bikes, biking, Cycling | 0 comments

Bike Trail

Even in the middle of one of America’s most bustling metropolitan areas you can still find ways to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors without traveling too far. The Dallas-Fort Worth(DFW) area is home to many trails for biking; you just need to know where to find them. Whether you’ve been biking for years or you are thinking about purchasing your first bike, you will be able to find something that you can enjoy. Here are some of our favorites:

L.B. Houston Nature Trail

This trail can be found in Irving. It is only five miles long so if you are just starting out as a biker, this is a great place to see how you do on a trail. It also doesn’t have any big rises or drops which is another thing that makes it perfect for the beginner and gives a great view of the Trinity River.  

Trinity River

Riding the Trinity River this way offers something a little bit different than your ordinary bike trail. Perfect for those who prefer to ride in a group, you can take your bike and ride the Trinity Railway Express westbound train to Fort Worth. You’ll join members of the Greater Dallas Bicyclists. There is more than 20 miles of trail next to the River, the group has lunch and then comes back on the 2 p.m. train. The only cost is your $10 day train pass. Discounts are offered for people 65 and older and students.

Arbor Hills Nature Center

Located in Plano, this is by far one of the best bike trails for the Dallas biking enthusiast. It is a 200-acre park and has a variety of trails for hikers and walkers and paved paths for bike riders and strollers. In addition to a variety of paths, this park also showcases some of the area’s best natural sites including a lot of trees that you don’t get to see too often in the heart of the city.

White Rock Creek Trail/White Rock Lake.

This area is one of the most popular bike riding areas. Riding along the lake will give you access to local wildlife including great blue herons, ducks, pelicans and turtles. There are different paths you can take to ride different lengths. One trail measures 7.5 miles one-way and if you add the loop around the lake, you can add an additional 10 miles to your ride.

Rowlett Creek Preserve

This area is great for mountain biking enthusiasts. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, if you prefer mountain biking, head to this area. Trails are mapped out to easily determine the difficulty of each trail. In addition to a variety of trails, this is another great area to take in some wildlife scenery.

 Windhaven Hill, The Colony

If you are a biker who is looking to get some interval training, you’ll want to check out this area. This is the home to the steepest hills in Dallas. You will be in the company of the area’s more advanced bikers and there is a nine-mile look that provides an excellent workout with a big push at the end on the area’s steepest hill. 

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License: Creative Commons image source

  

License: Image author owned 

Chas Carrier is a cash home buyer and real estate expert who buys and sells homes throughout the DFW metroplex with We Buy Ugly Houses Dallas.

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