Friday, July 29, 2011

Improving your cycling by lifting weights - for women over the age of 60

If you are past the age of 60 and have been riding your bike for a few years but are not feeling any better on the bike, do some serious lifting using your hamstrings and glutes as they guy above.If hills still destroy you and on the flats some ladies are leaving you behind, strengthening the back of your legs and butt can do wonders.

As women, we do many awful exercises that while we might feel good doing them, in actuality, they are doing nothing for us as older women.

Strengthening the glutes and hamstrings will make you stronger and more steady on your feet. My personal trainer has been working on these areas with me.

The dead lift above is one exercise I am doing. Course not with the weight of that world champion but nonetheless, with weights. I also do an exercise called the "rack pull" focusing on this same area.

My PT has me walking with weights in my hands. Today I walked with a weight above my head. Also good for the core and my aging bones.

While no woman in my health club does anything like I am doing I have found these types of exercises are beyond fun. My cycling has improved greatly and I find I can bike and bike and the hills do not destroy me as they did before. MY PT says the key for an older woman is a strong butt. The bigger and stronger it is, the better your posture and overall well being when standing up.

All my exercise are geared to improving these two main moves: the rack pull and the dead lift. Most PTs tell older women to do lots of reps with low weights. I do the opposite, less reps and more weights.

By the way, I am beyond lucky to have a son who is my personal trainer. He is not only very good but he is very tough.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

teach your kid to ride a bike in 15 minutes

I was talking to my neighbor today and I asked him how he was doing teaching his son how to ride a bike. I had seen them earlier in the week going down the street with the child in tears and the dad frustrated. Looked like they had a ways to go.

Well today he tells me they found out about a program in NYC Park system that teaches kids to ride their bikes. He found the video on You Tube and voila, his son is now riding his bike.

Watch this video, you simply remove the bike pedals, find a slight decline and roll the child down and let him figure out on his own how to balance himself. Once he does, put the pedals back on and the child is on his way.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

women are notorious for looking for excuses

now this is what I am talking about

This post is a repost from, thanks Freybird

this post is so true for women and cycling, all I hear from women are all the reasons why they cannot bike on the roads, read for some inspiration.....................................

Genetics and Athletics
When discussing the opportunity for a given athlete to participate in a sport, the issue of an athlete's genetic limitations always arises. I am telling you now. Ignore genetics. They play such a small role in determining one's athletic abilities that it's not even an issue worth consideration.

I heard this argument from a friend on mine just the other day. "I wasn't cut out to be an athlete. My parents weren't athletes, and I just didn't have it in my blood. So, I never played any sports." This made me sick to my stomach. I can't stand this type of self-limiting, complacency, failed dreams, self-imposed dialogue.

It is true that genetics play a role in determining an athlete's athletic potential. This is, in part, because genetics determine the functional make-up of the musculoskeletal system. Things like bony make-up, muscle fiber type distribution, and tendinous insertion locations will all play a role in the athlete’s ability to develop comparatively high levels of force production/speed or endurance capacity.

But the point I am making is that most athletes never even come close to approaching their genetic potential in a sport. People just decide in their heads (for whatever reason) that their genes have limited them in some way, then go ahead living their lives based on this arbitrary decision.

Focused practice is what it takes to excel in any sport - not some genetic gift. Ask any successful athlete, and they will tell you that it's years and years of huge amounts of focused practices that has gotten them to where they are.

This is a foundational concept in one of my favorite books of all time: Bounce by Mathew Syed.

The underlying theme of the book is that EVERYONE can fulfill their dreams if they just keep at it, and find people to help them in the right direction. This is the case even in elite level performers that are considered “prodigies” in their sport or field. It always comes down to consistent, focused practice with the guidance of an experience mentor.

Don't believe me? Ask Wayne Gretzky...

“I wasn’t naturally gifted in terms of size and speed; everything I did in hockey I worked for. The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I worked hard every day….That’s how I came to know where the puck was going before it even got there.” -Wayne Gretzky (he played hockey)

The take home point is this: Suck it up. Work hard. Your only limitations exist in your mind. You have much more physical ability than you can even imagine.

a plea to bike store owners

This is a cry out to any female looking to buy a bike and get into cycling. I again received another email from a woman looking to enter the world of cycling. Here is her email....

Libby, I am a 70yr old woman and just returned from a 6 day bike trip in Ireland. I never rode a bike with gears before and I used a trek 7300 hybrid. I was all set to purchase a similar bike before I read your blog. I live in Malvern and would like to start biking around here but don't really know the difference between a road bike and a hybrid. I thought the road bike was heavier. Could you please tell me the difference. I tried to register on that Terry site but was unsuccessful. Any advice would be appreciated.

Bike stores would be well served to have some older women working in them and selling bikes to older women. It is very intimidating for a women age 70 to walk into a bike store and ask for bike. I am willing to bet that this woman will walk out of the store with a heavy hybrid bike that she will struggle with when attempting to ride on the roads.

A 70 yo woman can be a serious biker. She can easily buy a good road bike and take to the sport even at her age. I am at a loss to explain why a bike store would sell a heavy hybrid bike to an older person trying to get into biking.

A road bike just makes more sense for older folks. It is lighter and most likely has better components and better wheels. A good road bike offers much more versatility for the older female rider. Hill climbing is easier, coasting is better and acceleration will be more efficient.

If you are reading this blog post and are an older woman - do your homework BEFORE you buy a bike.

1. Get informed and a good place to start is the Terry Cycling website. Watch her videos about bikes and bike fit.

2. Visit several bike stores -tell them you want to bike on the roads and want to be able to climb hills.

3. Get a bike with a TRIPLE CRANK. This will make hill climbing easier.

4. Find a bike club in your area and contact them and ask for help in finding a bike and or bike store. Look for a bike club that offers rides at the C or D level as this is a good place to start. You will find others in your same boat with the same skills.

5. An interesting bike for older women is one by Specialized called the Ruby. This bike has excellent gearing for the older cyclist. The cassette is an 11/32 which means you will have a nice easy gear for climbing hills. I bike with a woman now who has this bike and she sails up the hills.

6. Learn what it means to have good hill climbing gears. A good combo for you is the Triple Crank with a a cassette around 11/28 or you can go the route of the Ruby and get a bike with the Sram Apex which allows for very easy hill climbing.

The point of this blog post is to alert you to the value of doing your homework BEFORE you buy your bike. A bike store appreciates a well versed woman in terms of biking knowledge.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

from a fellow cyclist

Biking in Chester County, PA

Today I received a very pleasant email from a female cyclist in the Boston area. She has managed to capture my opinions on women and biking quite clearly and most likely has done a better job explaining my views than I have done. This year I am proud to say that the Biker Chicks have taken biking to a whole new level and I have inspired 2 new riders; one a fit 48 yo and one a fit 56 y0. I am happy about that.

Here is her email.... "Hi Libby,

I just spent about an hour reading through your biking blog and I LOVE your insights and your attitude about women and cycling! I am a 46 year old woman and I am in love with biking. It is my second love after running which has become more difficult to do as I age. My home is in Minneapolis but I am currently living in Boston - a far cry from the Twin Cities cycling scene. Your area looks beautiful for cycling with its rural roads and wildlife. I wish I could go riding with you!

Like you, I just don't understand the attitude of many women when it comes to cycling. They will spend a boat load of money on handbags and shoes but then want to buy a used bike from Craig's list that doesn't even fit them. Or they drive a BMW but won't invest in a nice bike to ride. And if they do, they can't change their own tire. I enjoyed reading your blog and "hearing" you voice some of the same passion for biking as well as some of the same frustration about it too. It is nice to know that I am not alone out here.

I just "subscribed" to your blog. Thanks for writing it!

Happy Riding :-)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Biker Chicks' Graduation

CONGRATS to all my Biker Chicks and hubbies of Biker Chicks, we have all officially moved up to an average speed of 13-15 mph. For Chester County, this is a fabo pace as we do climb hills. But we are all past age 55, well most of us, there are a few chicklets in the bunch, and we all look absolutely fabulous on our bikes.

But we have been at it now for almost 5 years and finally, we are getting better. It was not for lack of trying, god knows, we gave it our all over hill and over dale.

We have biked in 100 degree heat and in cold weather and in rain. We have fallen many times getting used to cleats and have had our share of flats.

But through it all, we have gotten better. The Chicks are finally upgrading bikes and wheels and it shows now. Coasting downhills at over 30 mph, wheeeeeeee!!!

But what a group of dedicated women and men. We have no fears on 4 lane highways, take the lane with ease and squeeze through tight spots.

By golly, we are now experienced cyclists. Hats off to all of my devoted cycling friends.