Posts Tagged ‘Bikes’

12 days of sporty gift ideas

December 13, 2010

There are only 12 shopping days left ’til Christmas and if you have an athlete on your gift list, fear not.  Between now and the big day I’ll have 12 great ideas for the active person(s) in your life.

Seeing as it’s still early, you can still get away with ordering a gift online and having it delivered in time for December 25th.  With that in mind, why not gift some branded athletic gear for the next big race on that athlete’s schedule?

Whether she’s training for the New York City triathlon, a marathon or an Ironman, the race is bound to have T-shirts, sweatshirts, bike jerseys, hats and other accessories stamped with the race logo. 

My favorites tend to be the ones that have “In Training” stamped on them (like this one).  I’m also a big fan of the NYC Marathon gloves that list the names of the five boroughs on the fingertips.

I’ll also let you in on a little secret.  These clothes are something we’d love to buy for ourselves, but often don’t because we have too many other things to pay for like entry fees, sneakers and extra tire tubes. 

Here are links to some of the biggest online race stores:

New York City ING Marathon

Nautica New York City Triathlon

Ironman Gifts

Still looking for that perfect gift?  Don’t worry…I’ll bring you another idea tomorrow.

Wanna Race?

August 24, 2010

If you’ve ever competed in a race, whether it be a 5K or a triathlon or a full marathon, you know the high crossing that finish line brings.  And once you’ve had a taste, it’s over.  Just like Lays potato chips, you can’t just have participate in one.  This new feature is for you.

Every week I’ll highlight a race somewhere around the country.  It’ll be one that’s coming up in the next few weeks and still open to competitors.  Maybe you’ll decide to sign up.  Maybe you won’t.  But hopefully you’ll be inspired to find new ways to challenge yourself physically.  If anything, you’ll be able to start a free T-shirt collection!

My pick this week is a race that’s close to home (for those of us in NYC, at least).  It’s the New York City Biathlon. 

Happening September 5th, athletes will first run 2 miles in Central Park, then bike 12 miles through the park, and then finish with another 2 mile run.  The fee is $65, $75 on race day with registration limited to 500.   And did I mention you get a free T-Shirt?  Go here to sign up.

Listening to Your Heart

August 6, 2010

Remember a couple of months ago when I blasted equipment at the gym for not providing accurate calorie counts?  Well, it’s time for a follow-up.  Here’s what my non-scientific study found this time around.

Calorie counts on stationary and spin bikes are still way off.  This holds true even if you’re wearing a heart monitor, which, one would think, would help the computer to calculate correctly how many calories you’re burning.  It doesn’t, so continue to ignore it.

Treadmills are a different story.  They are by far more accurate than bikes, coming within only 50 calories or so of the count registered by my heart rate monitor while running.  So you can pay attention to those numbers if you’re looking for a guide.

I still maintain you should concentrate on your heart rate range during the exercise for the most accurate reading of how hard you’re working. 

If you’re working for endurance (i.e. exercising over a long period of time) aim for a number that’s somewhere around 65 percent of your maximum.  If you’re doing intervals…get that heartrate up to between 80-85 percent of your maximum during those intervals and although the heartrate to fall to around 60 percent inbetween.

Not sure what your maximum heart rate is?  It’s really simple to calculate.  All you have to do is subtract your age from 220.

Ode to the Triathlon

July 13, 2010

This is it!  The last week before the NYC Triathlon.  The last few training sessions before race day.  Even though I’m competing as part of a relay team this year, I’m beat!  I can’t wait to say goodbye to  hour plus workouts three times a week.  In honor of the end of this year’s training season, I’ve written a triathlon haiku.  Hope you like it!  (I’d also like to send a special shoutout to my relay partners.  Go Newsflashers!)

Swim! Bike! Run!

Race day is Sunday!

Trained hard.  Hope I finish fast,

and don’t fall off bike!

Just like Queen, I want to ride my bike

July 6, 2010

I’ve been spending a lot of time on a bike lately.  Mostly it’s because I’m in the final stretch of training for the bike leg of an Olympic length triathlon.  (After two  years of doing the NYC Triathlon solo, I decided to form a three person relay team this year.)  The other reason is because I enjoy biking so much more than running.  And now I have even more incentive to keep pushing those pedals.

One bike, two bike, red bike, blue bike.

According to findings, based on the second Harvard Nurses’ Health study, bicycling may help women control their weight during their 30s and 40s.  (The study, by the way, started in 1989 and is currently tracking more than 100, 000 nurses who fill out questionnaires about their health from time to time.)

What they’ve found that is that over the last 16 year period, women who upped the time they walked briskly or bicycled each day by 30 minutes maintained their weight.  Some even dropped pounds.

Conversely, women who decreased the time they spent walking briskly or bicycling to less than 15 minutes a day, gained weight (about 4 1/2 pounds).

Researchers aren’t quite sure why this is, but as one tells the “New York Times”, “[sic] it’s highly suggestive that bicycling is highly beneficial in women.” 

To that I say, “Bicycle!  Bicycle! I want to ride my bicycle!”

The Perfect Pedal

June 24, 2010

Just last weekend, I brought my tri bike into the shop.  It’s the second time I’ve done so in a month.  It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the bike (although I did need a new tube in the rear tire), but it’s because I’m always needing to switch out my bike pedals.

See, I’ve got two sets…one pair of platform pedals (the normal kind) and one pair of clipless pedals (the racing kind).

If you’ve ever tried to ride with clipless pedals you know failing to unclip and falling over into the street is a very real possibility.  I live in NYC.  It’s not a risk I’m willing to take, so for most of the year, I ride with platform pedals.  When race training heats up, I switch to the clipless kind.

Click on me to buy at Amazon.com

Perfection!

Switching pedals is something I have tried to do at home, but they screw those suckers on so tight, it makes more sense to pay the 5 bucks and have the very strong mechanics at the shop take care of it for me.

But not anymore.  That’s because I’ve found the perfect pedal.

It’s made by Shimano and as you can see from the picture…one side is a platform pedal, the other side allows you to clip in.  You’re familiar with these pedals if you use the spinning bikes at the gym…they’re exactly the same.

No more switching pedals.  And even better…I can ride my bike with my regular sneakers to the track and then switch to my road shoes once I get there without the risk of falling over into traffic on the way there.  And if you know me, you know that’s already something I’ve done.

Spinning Your Wheels

November 5, 2009

Some mornings, despite the best of intentions, we don’t make it to the gym or that spin class we had to sign up for two days beforehand because it fills up so fast. 

Enter spinning podcasts. 28_spinclass_lg

These are exactly what they sound like…spin classes in podcast form. 

No longer are you beholden to set spin times and crowded classes.  Now you can get the calorie-blasting workout that you love (and crave) on your own time. 

One of my fave spin podcasters is Trihardist.  Her music picks are good (a spin essential) and she keeps the talking to a minimum, which really lets you to get into a riding groove.  The “classes” are about 45 minutes long and include a warm-up, cool-down and stretch.

If you need more encouraging, just remember that you can burn upwards of 500 calories during a spin class.

Monday Music Mayhem

October 12, 2009

Like I promised, we’re slowing it down today.  Here’s a list of songs that are great for an uphill run or bike workout.   If you find the songs faster than you like for a hill, take it slow during the verses and amp it up during the choruses.

Empire State of Mind…Jay Z featuring Alicia Keys (totally didn’t realize those vocals were hers!)

Ego…Beyonce

Knock You Down…Keri Hilson featuring Kayne West and Ne-Yo

This Time…Nickelback

Pretty Wings…Maxwell

And in honor of Colombus Day, here’s an Italian pick:  A Novembre by Giusy Ferreri

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

September 9, 2009

Now that Labor Day has passed and summer is officially over (boo!), this is a great time of year to stock up on your running and biking necessities.  From sneakers to bike shoes and  cute running outfits to not so cute crocs, you’re sure to be able to find what you need (or want) for a steep discount.  And this doesn’t only apply to brick and mortar stores.  Some of the best deals can be found online.  For example, trisports.com is selling bikes for 35% off.  And if you use this coupon code: TRI25-E, you’ll get 25% off of their triathlon clothes.   Over at Performance Bicycles, they’re in the middle of a summer clearance sale, where most stuff is half off.

But you don’t have to be a tri-athlete to take advantage of the deals.  If you’re an avid spinner, now’s the time to snag a pair of bike shoes.  You’ll notice the difference the first time you clip in and ride.  And if you’re just a regular gym goer, maybe now’s the time to throw out those old and smelly gyms clothes and trade up for something new. 

Happy Shopping!

Expresso at the Gym

September 6, 2009

No, not the coffee kind.  (Although that would be nice). 

No, I’m talking about the cardio system that engages your mind (the company’s description, not mine).  Basically, it’s a virtual reality bike and riding it is like playing a video game at the gym.

The Expresso bike at my gym is an upright one, which means you’re sitting like you would on a regular bike and face a larger than normal TV screen.  The handlebar is like a real bike too.  You move it left or right to steer and you can shift gears up or down by pressing a button on either the right or left side of the grips. 

 The system has four intensity levels: basic, moderate, challenging and extreme.  The workouts or tours vary in length, with the shortest trips happening in the basic mode.  But just because the program says it’s basic, doesn’t mean it’s easy.  You’re going to need a lot of strength to push the pedals at a decent clip. (Believe, me it was harder than the bike portion of the triathlon!)  And you can’t cheat by using a lower gear.  Sure, your legs will move faster, but the on screen bike will move slower. (How dare they make us sweat!) There’s also a gaming mode, which allows you to race yourself or other bikers.

As for what you’re seeing as your riding, it’s basic pretty scenery stuff like rolling countryside and desert.  There’s also an internal music program that lets you choose a channel with a specific music preference. The music is the real stuff, performed by the real artists.  It’s a little limited though, so you might want to just stick with your iPod.  As for those of you who really enjoy watching crappy TV at the gym, you can banish the tranquil scenery and tune in to your favorite VH1 show.   (Tool Academy, anyone?)

To see for yourself, check out:  www.expresso.com