cycling http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5523/all en-US 11 Ways Cycling Can Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-cycling-can-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-cycling-can-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_riding_bikes_000025900695.jpg" alt="Couple riding bikes together to save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What would you do with $9,000? No matter how you like to spend your money, that is a huge chunk of change. The kind that might allow you to take a few months off work, travel across the globe, put a down payment on a new home, or start a retirement account. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that's how much the average American spends simply commuting to work. Vehicle purchases, fuel and oil, and other automobile expenses account for the majority of that figure. Then there's parking, toll roads, and the undeniable opportunity cost of being stuck in traffic.</p> <p>If there's one simple way to slash your budget, it's ditching your car. And, at least in the warmer months, opting to ride a bike is often the simplest, healthiest, and least expensive solution. Here are 11 ways switching to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-road-bikes">two-wheel transportation</a> can help you save.</p> <h2>1. You Won't Need Gas</h2> <p>Gas is a major cost for drivers. If gas is $3.50 per gallon and your vehicle gets 20 miles per gallon, you'll be paying 18 cents per mile for gasoline alone. Your bike? Nada. You also won't have to worry about filling up.</p> <h2>2. Less Wear-and-Tear on Your Car</h2> <p>Every mile that you drive in your car is wearing down your tires and your brakes. It's using up motor oil and windshield wiper fluid. It's breaking down your belts and other parts that'll eventually need replacing. In other words, it's costing you money. Bikes need maintenance too, but they are much smaller, simpler machines. Plus, you can probably learn to do most of the maintenance yourself. Car parts and repairs are costly. The less you drive, the more you save.</p> <h2>3. Your Auto Insurance Will Drop</h2> <p>Even if you opt to keep your car and become an occasional or fair-weather cyclist, reducing the number of miles you drive in a year can have an impact on your auto insurance rates. Insurance rates are calculated, in part, based on the number of miles you drive each year. Call up your insurance company and let them know you'll be using your bicycle for transportation this summer. They may offer you a discount.</p> <h2>4. Bikes Are (Relatively) Inexpensive to Buy and Maintain</h2> <p>You can get a good bike for a few hundred dollars. If you venture closer to $1,000, you can get a great one. You'll also need a helmet, a bell, and maybe a light for safety. But unless you're a real gear junkie, that's pretty much where the costs begin and end. Most people can ride on the same tires for years and, in most cases, all most bikes need are a yearly tune-up and a little oil on the chain.</p> <h2>5. You Won't Have to Go to the Gym</h2> <p>Most gym memberships cost more than $50 per month, but if you're riding your bike most days of the week, you won't need one. Cycling is a great cardio workout that can burn some major calories. A 150-pound person cycling at an average speed of 14 miles per hour will burn almost three hundred calories in 25 minutes. Plus, by combining transportation and exercise, you'll be saving time too.</p> <h2>6. You'll Take Fewer Sick Days</h2> <p>A Dutch study released in 2010 found that cyclists took&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20580736">one less sick day</a> per year, on average, than non-cyclists. If you don't get paid sick leave, that's one more day of pay. Even if you do... who wants to be sick?</p> <h2>7. You'll Increase Your Productivity</h2> <p>Want to put yourself in position for a raise? Cycling &mdash; or any exercise, really &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://road.cc/content/news/130251-walking-or-cycling-work-means-less-stress-and-more-productivity-study-finds">reduces stress </a>and boosts productivity. If you cycle to work, you'll be firing your brain up for a productive day. Then you get to de-stress and switch off from the working day on the way home.</p> <h2>8. Parking is Free</h2> <p>Depending on where you live, simply parking your car can be a huge expense. In major cities like New York, Boston, and San Francisco, parking rates can run as high as $500 per month or more. Bikes can be parked on most city streets for free. If you're commuting to work, you can probably even park your bike right beside your desk.</p> <h2>9. You May Qualify for Bicycle Commuter Benefits</h2> <p>In 2009, a bicycle commuter benefit was added to the IRS Code as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. What that means is that employers may reimburse bicycle commuters up to $20 tax-free for every month they use a bike to get to work. This reimbursement can be used for bicycle purchase and maintenance, repair, and storage. Basically, bicycle commuters can get up to $240 annually in lieu of other transportation benefits such as a transit pass or qualified parking. This $240 can also be excluded from taxable income. Check with your employer to see if this benefit if available to you.</p> <h2>10. You'll Buy Less</h2> <p>If you've ever run errands on your bike, you know that you'll have to make some sacrifices. Because you'll have to carry everything you buy home either on your back or behind you, you'll probably want to stick to buying only what you need, and nothing more. But, hey, isn't that what we should all be doing anyway?</p> <h2>11. It's Low-Cost Leisure</h2> <p>Once you start biking to work and running errands on two wheels, you might find that you rather like the feeling of the wind in your hair. Cycling is a great leisure activity too. Pack a picnic lunch with some friends and explore your city on wheels, or head out onto the trails on a mountain bike for an afternoon adventure. You'll get exercise, fresh air, and fun &mdash; all free of charge.</p> <p><em>Do you ride your bike instead of driving? How has it impacted your budget?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-cycling-can-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it">5 Times a Gym Membership Isn&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-make-exercise-more-fun">50 Ways to Make Exercise More Fun</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/36-workouts-you-can-do-in-your-living-room-while-its-cold-out">36 Workouts You Can Do in Your Living Room While It&#039;s Cold Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-trick-yourself-into-burning-more-calories">7 Simple Ways to Trick Yourself Into Burning More Calories</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle biking cycling exercise fitness saving money Mon, 01 Jun 2015 15:00:08 +0000 Tara Struyk 1437209 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Fix a Bike Flat http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-a-bike-flat <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-fix-a-bike-flat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1326490541_e2b04f7237.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The open road, miles away from home (and cell coverage), is no place to discover that you don&rsquo;t know how to repair a flat tire.</p> <p>Let me be honest. I am considered not-so-bright in the realm of doing things without serious trial and error, and this category includes making bike repairs. But I am committed to making progress, however slowly. To that end, I have taken a bike mechanic class in which I replaced a tube on my road bike, which theoretically gives me the know-how to fix a flat.</p> <p>Since then, I have struggled and then triumphed with fixing a flattened tire. Yay! As a result, my knowledge of wacky things that can go wrong is relatively high. Here are the basic instructions as well as what might go wrong during the process.</p> <h3>How to Fix a Bike Flat</h3> <p><strong>1. You'll need to carry these items with you:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Tire levers (2), also known as tools</li> <li>Tube</li> <li>Pump (tire inflator and CO2 cartridges or small hand pump)</li> <li>Optional (more items are shown below; these may be helpful to those who know how to use them)</li> </ul> <p><img height="454" width="605" alt="bike tools to carry in your bike bag" src="/files/fruganomics/u95/bike%20tools.jpg" /></p> <p><strong>2. Remove the wheel.</strong></p> <ul> <li>Change gears so that the chain rests on the gear closest to the outside of the bike.</li> <li>Release the brake mechanism (I've noticed that some brakes have quick release mechanisms and some require maneuvering).</li> <li>Take off the wheel by using the quick release mechanism (if you don't have a quick release, loosen the bolts that hold the wheel in place; and you'll need special tools for this step).</li> <li>Have someone hold the bike while you fix the flat or flip the bike so that the seat is on the ground.</li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Check the outside tire.</strong></p> <ul> <li>Make sure that there are no obvious problems with the tire tread like a nail stuck in the tire.</li> </ul> <p><strong>4. Remove the tube inside of the tire.</strong></p> <ul> <li>Using the tire lever, lift the lip of the tire over the rim on one side (note: many bike mechanics like to remove the entire tire; however, my cyclist friends recommend removing one side of the tire only in order to make a quick fix when on a ride).</li> <li>Move the tire lever a few inches along the rim and use the lever to hold the tire in place over the rim.</li> <li>Take the second tire lever and continue lifting the tire over the rim until an entire side of a tire is off the rim.</li> <li>Remove the cap on the tube valve, let out any remaining air, and then remove the entire tube. (My tubes have always been completely flat but some may have contain some air.)</li> <li>Run your fingers along the inside of the tire to check for any sharp items that may have punctured the flattened tube and may cause problems with the replacement tube.</li> </ul> <p><strong>5. Replace the tube.</strong></p> <ul> <li>Give the replacement tube some shape by blowing air or pumping a small amount of air into the tube.</li> <li>Position the tube valve in the rim.</li> <li>Push the tube inside the tire.</li> <li>Put the tire back inside the wheel (both sides) by pressing the beaded part of the tire under the rim, move along all sides of the rim until the entire tire is snug. The last part of this process can be tricky so you may need to apply extra pressure and finesse to getting the last few inches of the tire under the rim.</li> <li>Inflate the tube to the right pressure.</li> </ul> <p><strong>6. Replace the wheel.</strong></p> <ul> <li>Place the wheel so that the chain engages with the sprocket on the wheel.</li> <li>Re-engage the brake.</li> <li>Check to make sure the wheel is firmly attached.</li> </ul> <p>When you get home, discard the old tube and put a new tube in your bike bag. If you used a C02 inflator, put another cartridge in your bag.</p> <p>To see how a bike mechanic changes a flat tire, see this video:</p> <p><iframe height="390" frameborder="0" width="640" title="YouTube video player" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Wlt2xog9-9Q" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <h3>What Can Go Wrong</h3> <p>If it's not working, here are some reasons why.</p> <ul> <li><strong>You have a tube but it&rsquo;s the wrong size.</strong> Identical-looking bikes may require different sizes. Problem solved: Ask your bike shop to sell you the right size of tube. And, check the dimensions printed on the flattened tube before you begin installing a new one.</li> <li><strong>You only have one tire lever, and you need two.</strong> Problem solved: Levers are cheap so get at least a couple, maybe more to have around. If you are on the road or out on the trail, don&rsquo;t despair: use nimble fingers or borrow a friend&rsquo;s tool.</li> <li><strong>Your bike pump doesn&rsquo;t work properly; or, in my case, you have difficulty in using the pump properly.</strong> Problem solved: Practice inflating your tires using your pumps: a large one that you keep in your house or car and a small one that you carry on your bike (either a small hand pump or a CO2 inflator).</li> <li><strong>In your rush to begin repairing the flat, you forgot to move the chain to the outside position by changing the gears (applicable to your rear tire).</strong> Problem solved: Be patient and remember that you have to replace the wheel at some point. But if you forget to change gears, then don&rsquo;t worry; just be extra diligent when putting the wheel back on and take a test ride.</li> <li><strong>The tire won&rsquo;t settle back into the wheel.</strong> Problem solved: If you&rsquo;re having trouble getting the tire tucked in after replacing the tube, start over. Take out the tube. Put one side of the tire back in the rim. Replace the tube (again) and push the tube into the tire cavity, not next to the wheel. Then put the other side of the tire back in the rim.</li> </ul> <h3>How to Avoid a Flat</h3> <p>Of course it's best to avoid the flat altogether. Here are some tips to prevent a flat.</p> <ul> <li>Before riding, pump your tires to the correct PSI (pressure per square inch), which is printed as a number range on your tire. If you have questions, ask your bike mechanic to recommend a precise PSI setting.</li> <li>Match bike tires with surface conditions.</li> <li>While riding, avoid hazards such as loose gravel and potholes that can cause flats or damage to your bike.</li> </ul> <p><em>Do you have tips on avoiding or quickly fixing flat tires? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-a-bike-flat">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-signal-5-quick-ways-to-boost-your-cell-phone-reception-updated">No Signal? 5 Quick Ways to Boost Your Cell Phone Reception. Updated.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper - Updated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-dvd-player-region-free-in-seconds">Make Your DVD Player Region-Free in Seconds</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY bike bike gear cycling flat tire Tue, 05 Apr 2011 10:24:10 +0000 Julie Rains 516562 at http://www.wisebread.com Train Now for a Summertime Family Cycling Trip http://www.wisebread.com/train-now-for-a-summertime-family-cycling-trip <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/train-now-for-a-summertime-family-cycling-trip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bike%20trail%20for%20WB.jpg" alt="Pine Creek Trail" title="Pine Creek Trail" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Winter is a great time to get ready for a summer cycling vacation with your family. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/summer-freebies-and-bargains-for-kids">Summer Freebies and Bargains for Kids</a>)</p> <p>A couple of winters ago, I convinced my husband that taking the kids, then 15 and 12, on an <a href="http://www.railstotrails.org/getinvolved/findanevent/sojourn/index.html">organized cycling trip</a> was a great idea. Actually, I persuaded him to sign up for the trip and withhold judgment on our family&rsquo;s capabilities (individually and collectively) to ride over 150 miles in 4 days. My job was to prepare the family for this adventure. I discovered that there are really four components to getting ready for a cycling trip (or similar outdoor vacations involving moderate physical activity):</p> <ul> <li><a href="#Fitness">Fitness</a></li> <li><a href="#Nutrition">Nutrition</a></li> <li><a href="#Gear">Gear</a></li> <li><a href="#Mental_Readiness">Mental Readiness</a></li> </ul> <h2>Create a Trip Evaluation</h2> <p>Before you get ready, you'll need to know <em>what you are getting ready for, </em>so start with a trip evaluation. Note your trip's:</p> <ol> <li>Distance</li> <li>Average speed</li> <li>Conditions</li> </ol> <p>Getting the distance of a trip should be straightforward. I&rsquo;ll mention, though, that the mileages for our trip were updated periodically as trails and road safety were evaluated and re-evaluated. There were also some optional miles for side trips.</p> <p>For a casual trip, you may not receive information stating the average speed of the cyclists, but you can calculate this number using the schedule of activities. For example, if the start time is 9 a.m. and lunch is served at 12 noon at a site 30 miles from the starting point, then cyclists should average 10 mph to arrive on time.&nbsp;</p> <p>Assessing conditions is the most difficult task. Look at:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Surface:</strong> Will you be riding on a trail where cars are prohibited? What type of surface is the bike path?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Support: </strong>Will you need to transport your own gear, such as tents and clothing? Are meals, snacks, and water provided by organizers? What type of overnight facilities are available &mdash; hotel, bed and breakfast, campsite? Will cell phone service be available if you have problems?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Climate: </strong>What is the average temperature? Will you need winter gear or rain apparel?</li> </ol> <p>Having participated in cycling events with friends, I&nbsp;had the knowledge to get the family ready. However, finding time to train was a challenge with winter weather, short days, schoolwork, and real work persisting as interferences to a fitness regimen. Plus we had some false starts.</p> <p>Our first training ride has become part of family lore in the &ldquo;disaster&rdquo; category: My youngest son collapsed (figuratively, though he did feign a near-physical collapse) after cycling about five miles on a multi-use trail. My husband, then 49-years-old and an occasional exerciser, wasn&rsquo;t feeling energized either. I ditched my dreams of idyllic family outings in which we harmoniously enjoyed each other&rsquo;s company as we pedaled happily, steadily, and swiftly. Then I developed and activated Plan B.</p> <h3><a name="Fitness"></a>Fitness</h3> <p>To get ready for a cycling trip, <em>ideally</em> you and your family should take rides together on weekends, early mornings before work, or evenings after work (or during the day if everyone has a flexible schedule). Steadily you&rsquo;ll progress toward your fitness goals and trip readiness. Specifically, you should try to attain the average speed for the longest-mileage day.</p> <p>As I mentioned, my total-family approach didn&rsquo;t work smoothly for us, so my Plan B was to get each person ready separately, even though we&rsquo;d progress at different rates. My husband and I started by taking long bike rides on a greenway near our house on Saturday mornings and occasional evenings. Whenever possible, I took my 12-year-old during the week. Eventually, my husband and younger son rode together to take on more challenging distances. (I&rsquo;ll note that this son was working toward a Cycling Merit Badge and was motivated to complete a series of rides including the capstone 50-mile ride.)</p> <p>My oldest son didn&rsquo;t take many rides with the family as he was working out with his high school football team. His physical strength, mental toughness, and youth &mdash; along with the right gear &mdash; allowed him to complete daily distances easily.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s my approach:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Create and follow a plan that builds your mileage to the longest daily distance.</strong> Work out a few times each week, talking a long ride on the weekend and a couple of shorter rides during the week. Progressively increase the longest ride of the week, adding 15-30% in miles if possible until you reach your goal. If you are not able to ride during the week, do something: walk, take an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-started-in-indoor-cycle-class">indoor cycle class</a>, swim, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/exercising-in-a-winter-wonderland-how-to-be-fit-and-frugal">run outside</a>, or lift weights.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Add speed. </strong>You don&rsquo;t need to cycle 30 miles at an all-out pace to improve your fitness level. Quicken the pace slightly or put forth short bursts of intense effort and then slow down instead of stopping so that you&rsquo;ll get used to continuous effort (and avoid sudden drops in heart rate).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Rest. </strong>Take breaks during the bike rides every 10-15 miles or so. Recover between workout sessions. If you are relatively new to regular exercise, you may need to take more than a day of recovery between rides. If you feel tired, slow down or cut your distances, or take an extra rest day.</li> </ol> <p>As a note of encouragement, even if you walk a mile or so daily now, you have a better base level of fitness than you might imagine; getting to the next level is more attainable than you might realize. As a note of caution, don&rsquo;t overdo workouts. Build up slowly, and don't try to set speed records.</p> <h2><a name="Nutrition"></a>Nutrition</h2> <p>Novices consistently underestimate the impact of nutrition and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-to-drink-more-water">hydration</a> in tackling a long or multi-day ride. Those seemingly average in fitness can ride for hours when taking in the proper fuel and plenty of fluids.</p> <p>Generally, eating balanced meals and healthy snacks while avoiding fast food and processed food works well. My regimen is a fruit smoothie for breakfast with bananas, blueberries, yogurt, and orange juice; trail mix or energy gels for snacks; a sandwich and chips or pretzels for lunch; and a good dinner with protein, vegetables, and carbs, plus plenty of water and some electrolyte-laden sports drinks along the way. Others like eggs and toast for breakfast and peanut butter sandwiches for snacks, for example.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s my approach:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Develop menus that suit your preferences</strong> (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks). Test foods, meals, and drinks to determine which benefit your performance and what causes problems.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Pay attention to your diet and fluid intake</strong> during the weeks of training as well as immediately before the trip, during the rides, and afterwards. Never start an event hungry or thirsty as you'll likely suffer throughout the ride.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Never try a new approach before or during a long ride.</strong>&nbsp;This idea is like #1, but important enough that it should stand on its own.</li> </ol> <h2><a name="Gear"></a>Gear</h2> <p>Bringing the right gear that is easily transported to the trip is a major consideration. Training sessions will give you indicators of what type of gear is essential. For more specific information, review trip packing lists, ask organizers for recommended items, and interact with ride veterans on trip forums (if available) to discover useful items that may not be mentioned otherwise.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s my approach:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Find a bicycle and helmet that fit</strong> you and the cycling surface (that is, use a hybrid or mountain bike if you are traveling on a rails-to-trails trail or a road bike if you are riding on the road).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Bring a water bottle and other essentials</strong> in a bicycle bag, which should include a basic repair kit (bicycle tube, tool, and pump), snacks, and possibly a first-aid kit. Avoid carrying a daypack on your back as this arrangement becomes uncomfortable quickly.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Acquire additional gear as needed. </strong>These items may include a bicycle computer, moisture-wicking clothing (shirts, shorts, and socks), raingear, bicycle lock, and camping gear.</li> </ol> <p>Renting bikes and other equipment makes sense if you are traveling a long distance for the trip, and you are confident that you can rent the right type of bicycle that is in excellent working condition and fits properly. Our family&rsquo;s disastrous experience was due partly to a problem bicycle, selected hurriedly from a rental shop next to the bike trail. The chain fell off repeatedly and seemed permanently stuck in one gear, which didn&rsquo;t allow for ease of pedaling. The owner helped us and adjusted our bill, but the experience taught me to be diligent in checking out rental shops and bike rentals.</p> <h2><a name="Mental_Readiness"></a>Mental Readiness</h2> <p>Getting mentally ready is just as important as physical fitness. You don&rsquo;t have to pursue mental toughness specifically. As you train and encounter challenges, make mistakes, and survive these experiences, you&rsquo;ll develop mental toughness naturally.</p> <p>Things that have happened to me, for example, include times when I started to become dehydrated because a rest stop closed early, ate a hamburger just an hour before a long and fast ride, pushed myself too hard in the early phase of a ride and struggled for the subsequent 20 miles, and cycled for hours in the rain. I've also heard &quot;war stories&quot; that included sudden muscle cramping and extreme fatigue during an epic ride a few days after donating blood.</p> <p>These things are scary but they are helpful because they...</p> <ol> <li>...teach you what <em>not </em>to do next time.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>....help you to encourage others to avoid these problems or recognize what&rsquo;s wrong when someone repeats your past mistake (instead of panicking).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>...demonstrate your resilience.</li> </ol> <p>Another way to build your readiness is by completing the longest daily distance and doing back-to-back rides. The intimidation of a 40-mile ride and riding multiple days in a row disappears if you have managed to conquer those challenges already. You'll also learn techniques for handling such exertion.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t panic if you cannot take that long ride if you are otherwise healthy and fit, and the trip difficulty level is low. On a typical day, you'll have completed a workout plus all your daily chores (such as going to work, fixing dinner, and doing laundry), which can zap your energy. During the trip, all you have to do is ride.</p> <p>To find a trip that's right for your family, talk to folks at your local bicycle,&nbsp;outdoor shop, and bicycle club; or investigate&nbsp;trips offered by <a href="http://www.adventurecycling.org/tours/index.cfm">Adventure Cycling</a>, hosted by state agencies (such as the <a href="http://www.mostateparks.com/katytrail/2011ride.htm">Katy Trail Ride in Missouri</a>) and organized by adventure travel companies. To find trails suitable for family training, check out maps from <a href="http://www.traillink.com/home.aspx">Rails-to-Trails Conservancy </a>or your local parks and recreation department.</p> <p><em>If you have techniques for getting families or yourself ready for a cycling vacation, share them in the comments. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/train-now-for-a-summertime-family-cycling-trip">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surefire-ways-to-save-on-summer-camp-costs">Surefire Ways to Save on Summer Camp Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-starting-or-jumpstarting-your-exercise-regimen">Tips For Starting (Or Jumpstarting) Your Exercise Regimen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-travel-with-an-awesome-group-vacation">How to Save Money on Travel With an Awesome Group Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginners-guide-to-miles-and-points">A Beginner&#039;s Guide to Miles and Points</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-minimize-baggage-fees-when-flying">5 Ways to Minimize Baggage Fees When Flying</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Health and Beauty Travel cycling family activities family vacation summer activities training regimen Mon, 31 Jan 2011 13:00:21 +0000 Julie Rains 483647 at http://www.wisebread.com Getting Started in Indoor Cycle Class http://www.wisebread.com/getting-started-in-indoor-cycle-class <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/getting-started-in-indoor-cycle-class" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000002057269XSmall.jpg" alt="Spinning bikes" title="Spinning bikes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may be wondering how to get exercise during the winter. Indoor cycling (or spinning) classes are a great solution. Even if being led by an instructor who shouts commands may seem ridiculous, the benefits to fitness are tremendous. You can get a great cardio workout in a short amount of time within a safe, temperate environment. If you've wondered about this workout option or want to get more out of class, consider these tips on getting started and getting the most from your time.</p> <h3>Know what you're getting yourself into</h3> <p>You'll ride a stationary bike in a cycle studio, surrounded by fellow athletes-in-training. An instructor will lead exercise sessions, generally lasting from 30 to 60 minutes. A typical workout will attempt to simulate an outdoor bike ride that may include sprinting (spinning the bike pedals really fast), climbing (turning a knob to adjust resistance for a more difficult gear), and working recovery (pedaling at a slowed pace and/or lower resistance). Often there is music accompanying the rides and cyclists are advised to pedal at a speed that is in sync with the beat.</p> <p>Some may think that they are not in good enough shape to attempt a cycle class. These thoughts seem odd to me because you can easily adjust the workout to your own pace and strength. But be careful to avoid elevating your heart rate to dangerously high levels through overexertion and letting your heart rate drop too quickly by stopping suddenly.</p> <h3>Follow the sign-up process and get to class on time</h3> <p>Start by getting a class schedule and learning the rules about class registration processes, which can be quirky.&nbsp;If there is not a formal sign-up procedure, find out how early most people arrive for class and whether classes are generally full.</p> <p>My gym (the local YMCA) requires participants&nbsp;to sign up for classes. You can call as early as 24 hours ahead of the hour that the class begins. For example, if a Tuesday class starts at 8:20 a.m., then call as early as 8:20 a.m. on Monday. Competition is fierce, so late callers are placed on a waiting list. Another local gym takes participating members&nbsp;on a first-come, first-serve basis for each class. It also allows non-members to take a class for a fee.</p> <p>Make sure you get to class on time or early. One of the most compelling reasons is to keep your reserved space. The instructor may assign reserved spaces to those on the waiting list if you don't arrive at the specified time (for example, if you haven't arrived for a 8:20 a.m. class by 8:15 a.m., then you lose your space). A few more reasons to arrive early are to:</p> <ul> <li>Find a bike in a location that you prefer (you may want to avoid cycling next to the loud speakers or find a spot that allows you to see the instructor)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Have plenty of time to set up your bike<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Start warming up</li> </ul> <p>Lastly, some instructors will&nbsp;not allow you to join a class in progress, so late arrivers don't get a chance to participate.</p> <h3>Bring water and a towel</h3> <p>Many classes require participants to bring water and a towel. Some folks may forget these items and may buy a single-use water bottle at the gym and substitute paper towels for a real towel. Pack your gym bag (or your car trunk) with an extra water bottle and towel to save money.</p> <p>Consider using oversized hand towels or smaller bath towels. These cover the entire handlebar area and help you avoid getting and giving germs.</p> <h3>Drink water and eat before class</h3> <p>Exercising while thirsty or hungry may cause you to restrict your activity, counteracting the purpose of participating in&nbsp;this fitness class. If you're planning a vigorous workout, drink some water and eat normally the day of the class. To boost your energy, try a smoothie an hour or so before your workout. (I make mine with yogurt, orange juice, frozen bananas, and blueberries.)</p> <p>Leave the energy gel or similar products at home. Since you're exercising in a controlled environment, you don't have to worry getting stranded on your bike 30 miles from home or slowing down your riding group because you're tired. If you start feeling sluggish, slow your pace or lower the resistance.</p> <h3>Dress appropriately</h3> <p>A basic t-shirt and shorts should work fine, though many people will wear a top with <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Layered_clothing">moisture-wicking capabilities</a> and cycle shorts (close-fitting shorts are helpful as they won't snag on the seat when you stand using the pedals as support). Some folks wear long-sleeve shirts and sweatpants, but they will often become uncomfortable, feeling nice and warm as the workout begins but getting too hot as the session continues.</p> <p>Cycle shoes are an extra and possibly unnecessary expense. If you are a beginner, wait to see if you'll enjoy the classes before buying extra gear. If you plan to cycle outdoors or anticipate using <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_pedal#Clipless_pedals">clipless pedals</a> in the future, cycle shoes for indoor class can be helpful. You'll be more likely to strengthen the muscles that you'll use in outdoor cycling. You'll also become more accustomed to the feel of wearing the shoes, clipping in, and clipping out. Choose shoes that will fit a stationary bike and can be used on your bike (note that you may need to buy new pedals for your bike).</p> <h3>Learn to set up your bike</h3> <p>Your instructor should be able to give you guidance on proper bike set-up. The gym may offer an introductory session to guide you through personalized set-up and explain basic guidelines, such as the meaning of instructions pertaining to adding resistance, increasing speed, doing an active recovery, etc. Make adjustments based on your comfort level and outdoor riding style. If your knees start hurting, for example, you may need to change your settings (or lighten the resistance until you become stronger).</p> <p>Before each class session, check the bike before you start your set up. Wipe off residual sweat from earlier classes, or choose another bike depending on your &quot;ickiness&quot; tolerance. (Also, remember to wipe down and clean your bike before you leave class.)</p> <h3>Adjust your ride</h3> <p>You may need to make adjustments to the ride based on your goals. Generally, it's easiest to follow the cues of the instructor and make minor adjustments to speed and/or resistance. For example, the instructor may be focusing on strength when you are interested in gaining speed, but you can quietly make changes that suit your needs without distracting other cyclists.</p> <p>Some instructions may be hard to follow &mdash; such as when the instructor asks you to create enough resistance to simulate a standing climb and then tells you to sit down and pedal (I find this task nearly impossible to accomplish: if there is enough resistance to hold my weight standing, then there is too much resistance to pedal when seated).</p> <h3>Recover</h3> <p>Don't leave without stretching, though some routines can be confusing. Listening carefully to the instructor and following the lead of your classmates can be helpful but invariably someone stretches to the right while another is moving to the left. Stretching at home (using <a href="http://bicyclerenaissance.com/articles/stretching-after-you-ride-pg119.htm">routines specific to cycling</a>) can be useful in understanding various techniques.</p> <p>To help your muscles recover from the workout, consider drinking a glass of <a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/milk-outperforms-high-tech-sports-drinks">chocolate milk</a>, which has been reported to have benefits exceeding sports beverages.</p> <p>Indoor cycle classes won't give you all the skills you need to excel in cycling. To hone real-life cycling skills (e.g., climbing, descending, outrunning dogs, and avoiding hazards), you'll need to ride outside: brave the cold now or wait until spring for nicer weather. Classes will definitely help your conditioning, though, so that you can build and maintain a base of fitness that will last year-round.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-started-in-indoor-cycle-class">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-avoid-workout-burnout">10 Tricks to Avoid Workout Burnout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it">5 Times a Gym Membership Isn&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-quick-workouts-you-can-do-during-commercial-breaks">9 Quick Workouts You Can Do During Commercial Breaks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around">10 Ways to Get a Good Workout... Even With Kids Around</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-starting-or-jumpstarting-your-exercise-regimen">Tips For Starting (Or Jumpstarting) Your Exercise Regimen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty cycling exercise gym working out Thu, 18 Nov 2010 14:00:09 +0000 Julie Rains 294584 at http://www.wisebread.com Tips For Starting (Or Jumpstarting) Your Exercise Regimen http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-starting-or-jumpstarting-your-exercise-regimen <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tips-for-starting-or-jumpstarting-your-exercise-regimen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman%20running%20near%20water.jpg" alt="woman runnning near water" title="women running near water" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How are your resolutions to get fit, exercise more, and lose weight going? If you need a nudge or some encouragement, check out my doable-with-a-busy-schedule approach to getting results. </p> <p><strong>Quick Start Guide</strong></p> <ul> <li>Start doing some form of exercise every day (walk around the block, take the stairs rather than the elevator); try to do more intense workouts at least at couple of times weekly (ideal is 3-5 times/week). </li> <li>If you haven’t already, set an achievable goal. You might decide that you’ll lift weights 3 days per week or walk 1 mile every day or run 20 miles per week. Or, you can aim for improving your mile time, or 100 yard freestyle time, or cycling speed. Still yet, you might want to sign up for a community walk, 5K, or charity bike ride. </li> <li>Try <a href="http://www.revolutionhealth.com/healthy-living/fitness/workouts/strength-muscle-training/weight-training" title="http://www.revolutionhealth.com/healthy-living/fitness/workouts/strength-muscle-training/weight-training">weight training to lose weight</a> (it can increase your metabolism) and build strength, which helps to <a href="http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/healthy/physical/sports/147.html" title="http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/healthy/physical/sports/147.html">avoid injury</a>. </li> <li>Get gear (clothing, shoes, equipment, and supplies) from local shops; you may pay more but you’ll be more likely to get the right gear the first time and you should be able to get training advice and/or tips on local groups that offer training support. </li> <li>Schedule your workouts as if they were appointments or business meetings, especially if you always seem to be pressed for time. </li> <li><a href="http://runningtimes.com/blog/?p=19" title="http://runningtimes.com/blog/?p=19">Rest</a>, eat well, and drink plenty of water. Your body needs to recover in order to become stronger. </li> </ul> <p><strong>Track your progress</strong> from month to month (or whatever time period seems reasonable to you) by measuring your: </p> <ul> <li>Weight and/or body size (chest, waist, thighs)</li> <li>Resting heart rate (when you get up in the morning) </li> <li>Heart rate after climbing a bunch of stairs or running a mile or whatever activity you choose</li> </ul> <p>These measurements should decrease though you may gain weight from having extra muscle or even increase in body size if you started with a thin body, based on my observations. (Consult a medical professional or trainer if you&#39;d like personalized information on body changes). </p> <p>To me, much of the exercise battle (besides finding time) is feeling confident about what you’re doing; if you need help putting together an exercise program, ask for help from an athletic friend or someone who works at the shop where you bought your gear, hire a trainer, buy a book on training, or check out <a href="http://www.activetrainer.com/" title="http://www.activetrainer.com/ ">an online training plan</a>. To get you going and speaking intelligently about training regimens, here&#39;s some <strong>athletic lingo:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interval_training" title="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interval_training">Interval Training</a>: sets of sprints (going really fast for say 30 seconds to 2 minutes) with short periods of recovery (time to catch your breath before doing another sprint); others may describe interval training as  hard work for several minutes followed by recovery</li> <li><strong>Endurance Training</strong>: running, walking, swimming, or cycling for long distances, which may range from one to 100 miles depending on the sport, your fitness level, and goals</li> <li><strong>Strength Training</strong>: building stronger muscles by lifting weights, which I like to do through resistance training using non-free-weight-type machines (such as Cybex or Nautilus brand equipment)</li> <li><strong>Splits</strong>: your time at specific intervals of a race; for example if you are running a 10K, you might get mile splits telling you how fast you are running each mile so that you can increase your pace or relax a bit in order to conserve energy for the end of the race</li> <li><strong>Pace clock</strong>: a time-measurement device found on swimming pool decks indicating time within each minute in 5-second increments (usually with 1-second hash marks); for more <a href="http://www.wsumastersswimming.org/workouts/lingo.html" title="http://www.wsumastersswimming.org/workouts/lingo.html">swim-related lingo</a>, see this Masters Swimming site </li> <li><strong>5K/10K</strong>: distances of approximately 3.1/6.2 miles, usually for a foot race</li> <li><strong>Century/Metric Century Bike Ride</strong>: 100 miles/62 miles (give or take a few miles, depending on road layouts) </li> <li><strong>Drafting</strong>: riding close behind another cyclist, letting the other person block the wind in order to conserve energy (you are supposed to take turns being the lead person)</li> <li><strong>Open water swim</strong>: swimming event or training activity not held in a pool but rather in a lake, river, or ocean </li> <li><strong>Grade</strong>: steepness of trail or road that you are running or cycling </li> <li><strong>SAG support</strong>: people in motorized vehicles (often vans) who follow cyclists and provide support if someone needs help (has a flat tire or just gets tired); see Wikipedia for more <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycling_terminology" title="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycling_terminology">cycling terminology</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.marathonguide.com/training/articles/HeartMonitorTraining.cfm" title="http://www.marathonguide.com/training/articles/HeartMonitorTraining.cfm ">Heart-rate based training</a>: training based on heart rate and using a heart monitor (seems lot a lot of math while sweating but apparently this method is helpful to many people) </li> <li><strong>Road/Mountain/Hybrid Bikes</strong>: types of bicycles made specifically for the road, trails in the woods, and a mixture of surfaces (asphalt, ground, gravel), respectively </li> <li><strong>No Drop</strong>: bicycle rides where the pace is set for the slowest rider and/or other riders will wait at intersections for the slower riders</li> <li><strong>Taper</strong>: reducing your workout load and/or intensity before a competitive event in order to prevent your body from being tired on race day and have peak performance</li> <li><strong>Personal best</strong>: your best time for a particular type of race (5K road race; Century bike ride) or your best time for a specific race that follows the same path every year  </li> </ul> <p>For those of you who have set a goal to <strong>participate in a community athletic event</strong>, here are my steps to success: </p> <ul> <li>Find events in your area by visiting <a href="http://www.active.com/">www.active.com</a> or looking for flyers at bike shops, gyms, and sporting goods stores</li> <li>Look at race results from prior years to judge competitiveness of an event; don’t let speedy people deter you but it is helpful to get an idea of what times are within a normal range and/or when rest stops may be closed and SAG support ends. </li> <li>Register for events in advance in order to get a slight discount (usually $5 on a fee of $15-20) and guarantee a space in the event, if participation is limited</li> <li>Sign the waiver, which seem scary but nearly all well-organized events will require you to sign a waiver indicating that you have trained for the event and understand the risks associated with participating</li> <li>Get your registration materials, such as your race number (attach to your shirt with safety pins provided) or ID bracelet, cue sheet with directions and turns (bicycle rides), and goody bag with an event t-shirt (if included in race fee) and promotional items</li> <li>Have fun!</li> </ul> <p>Whatever you do, be persistent even when you get waylaid by outside obligations; you&#39;ll be amazed at the cumulative, beneficial effect of exercise.</p> <p><em>These ideas are based on my experiences as an AAU swimmer, high school track team member, occasional runner, and wannabe faster cyclist.</em> <em>It is helpful to get professional training advice or even consult a physician before starting your own regimen. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-starting-or-jumpstarting-your-exercise-regimen">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/switching-addictions">Switching Addictions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/exercising-in-a-winter-wonderland-how-to-be-fit-and-frugal">Exercising in a Winter Wonderland: How to Be Fit and Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-run-your-first-5k">How to Run Your First 5K</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ready-to-buy-some-exercise-equipment-read-this-first">Ready To Buy Some Exercise Equipment? Read This First.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-run-without-music">How to Run Without Music</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Health and Beauty cycling exercise interval training running training training regimen Wed, 16 Apr 2008 02:11:18 +0000 Julie Rains 2007 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Infrastructure Destiny? http://www.wisebread.com/is-infrastructure-destiny <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/bike_route_sign_for_blog.jpg" alt="bike route traffic sign" title="Bike Routes" width="266" height="400" align="top" /></font></p> <p>Today is National Ride Your Bike to Work Day. I have a bike but I chose to drive in my “Share the Road” license-plate embellished car today. Why? The route from home to office, though short, is treacherous. Bike lanes and even sidewalks are a rarity in my city and when I ride, it is alongside fellow cyclists as well as trucks, cars, vans, and the occasional tractor-trailer. I need an infrastructure that supports cycling and walking.</p> <p>I chose my neighborhood because it was close to the highway that leads to my husband’s workplace and because, despite its lack of sidewalks, it is a walk-able neighborhood. More than 10 years later, my husband has moved to a home office and I’ve joined a gym and taken up cycling to get more rigorous workouts. We are within a few miles of the grocery store, our kids’ schools, and our church but it’s not feasible (to me, at least) to walk or ride to those places.</p> <p>In the past couple of years since getting a new road bike and having my neighborhood annexed, I have started to think about how geography, municipal services, and even my personal infrastructure (e.g., house, yard, utility services, and transportation) shape much of my daily life and my personal finances.</p> <p>First, I am thrilled to have recycling pickup and not have to drive 20 minutes to the recycling station; property taxes are up but my garbage pick-up bill has been dropped and my fuel expenses lowered. I could buy a pricey downtown condo and walk to parks, great restaurants, and entertainment venues; or I could stay put in my reasonably priced neighborhood where I need to take the car almost everywhere. So, quality-of-life tradeoffs can be measured in real dollars.</p> <p>Still I envision living in a tradeoff-less community (that is, one I could afford) with sidewalks, bike paths, restaurants, parks, and more. If you live there now, let me know so I can start planning my next move. </p> <p>(formatting changed, 6/15/2007)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-infrastructure-destiny">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-drive-one-of-the-10-smallest-cars-ever-made">Would You Drive One of the 10 Smallest Cars Ever Made?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-good-life-on-less-energy-even-in-the-us">The good life on less energy--even in the US</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-used-car-salesman-reveals-dirty-tricks-and-how-to-beat-them">A Used Car Salesman Reveals Dirty Tricks (and How to Beat Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-new-tires-really-6-year-old-ticking-time-bombs">Are your new tires really 6-year old ticking time-bombs?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-hidden-advantages-to-getting-rid-of-your-car">7 Hidden Advantages to Getting Rid of Your Car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Green Living Cars cycling walking Fri, 18 May 2007 18:30:03 +0000 Julie Rains 660 at http://www.wisebread.com