Ride On: Help yourself and the environment

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By Stosh Dlugolenski

Granby is a great place for outdoor play and a wonderful town to see by bicycle. Beautiful vistas are the reward for trekking up challenging hills and the center of town lends itself well to touring at a leisurely pace. Recreational bike riding is a safe, low-impact, aerobic activity for people of all ages, so whatever your pleasure, you and the environment will reap the benefits. Did you know:

·    A short, four-mile round trip by bicycle keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe? (WorldWatch Institute)

·    Bicycling increases heart and lung fitness, as well as strength and stamina?

·    Bicycling reduces the risk of serious conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and the most common form of diabetes?

·    A 150-pound cyclist burns 410 calories while pedaling a moderate 12 miles in an hour—almost the equivalent of a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder®

·    Exercise in general has been shown to decrease anxiety and stress levels, and bicycling is a fun way to exercise?

·         Bicycling is an activity the whole family can enjoy?

Sources: Exercise and Your Heart—A Guide to Physical Activity. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute/American Heart Association, DHHS, PHS, NIH Publication No. 93-1677; bikeleague.org.

Here are some tips to make bicycling in Granby an enjoyable reality for you:

·    Warm up and cool down. Like with any exercise, take time to do a few warm-up exercises and then to cool down when you’re done. You’ll suffer less muscle strain and be able to stick with a program.

·    Start small. It’s been a long winter, so take it easy your first few times out. You’ll have plenty of time to work up to longer distances and greater speed, so don’t rush it.

·    Give yourself a destination, and make it reasonable. Start with a few-mile trip—maybe into the center of town and back, or, if you’re in the farther reaches of Granby, to a friend’s house. You’ll find that setting a goal will keep you motivated to go the distance.

·    Ride with a buddy. Not only is it safer, but more fun too. Riding with a friend gives you each someone to offer encouragement and camaraderie, two factors that make any exercise easier.

·    Of course, observe all safety rules, from always wearing a helmet to observing traffic laws. Learn the rules of safe bicycling to ensure a great trip each time. For more information, visit the League of American Bicyclists website at www.bikeleague.org.

For starters, they include the following “Ten Commandments” of bike riding:

I. Wear a helmet for every ride and use lights at night

II. Conduct an ABC Quick Check* before every ride

III. Obey traffic laws: ride on the right, slowest traffic farthest to right

IV. Ride predictably and be visible at all times

V. At intersections, ride in the right-most lane that goes in your direction

VI. Scan for traffic and signal lane changes and turns

VII. Be prepared for mechanical emergencies with tools and know-how

VIII. Control your bike by practicing bike handling skills

IX. Drink before you are thirsty and eat before you are hungry

X. Have fun

*ABC Quick Check

A is for air

Inflate tires to rated pressure as listed on the sidewall of the tire

Use a pressure gauge to insure proper pressure

Check for damage to tire tread and sidewall! Replace if damaged

B is for brakes

Inspect pads for wear! Replace if there is less than ¼” of pad left

Check pad adjustment! Make sure they do not rub tire or dive into spokes

Check brake level travel! At least 1″ between bar and lever when applied

C is for cranks, chain and cassette

Make sure that your crank bolts are tight; Lube the threads only, nothing else

Check your chain for wear! Twelve links should measure no more than 12 1/8 inches

If your chain skips on your cassette, you might need a new one or just an adjustment

Quick is for quick releases

Hubs need to be tight in the frame! Your quick release should engage at 90°

Your hub quick release should point back to insure that nothing catches on it

Inspect brake quick releases to insure that they have been re-engaged

Check is for check it over

Take a quick ride to check if derailleurs and brakes are working properly

Inspect the bike for loose or broken parts. Tighten, replace or fix them

Pay extra attention to your bike during the first few miles of the ride