Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Coming Soon: A bicycle's point of view

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The Photographer's and Cyclist's corner to become
A Bicycle's point of view

To my loyal fans (counting all four registered at the moment) I would like to extend my appreciation for your support, views and patronage to my current blog via clicking the Google ads which I get paid for. Currently, my blog has experienced a decline in viewership, so much so that I have decided to rethink my strategy about what I write and how I advertise it.

I have been focusing on general purpose topics regarding cycling and photography. These are two subjects dear to my heart  that interrelate to each other, given the sense of tranquility both offer to me personally.  Although I really enjoy photography as a hobby and have even made clients and small profits along the way with it, I take more out of writing subjects that relate to the cycling world and it's immediate and long term impact on society. Therefore, I have renamed my current blog "A bicycle's point of view" literally meaning the posts from here on out will come from the point of view of my bicycle. I will load my camera and give the reader the best interpretation of my vantage point from my bicycle rides. Being that it's not always easy to take the time and resources to do this, so my posting might be on a less regular basis. Yet all posts will be original with my own photos added.

I don't think there is enough on the internet about cycle-touring or randonneuring, or mountain trekking on your bike. There is also not enough posting about long distance travel, world travel, riding in the countryside, people using (not collecting) vintage bikes, bike riding in Texas, free training advice and so on and so forth.  I plan to change that and maybe gain some followers along the way. The new blog will also cover my transition from a daily driver to a daily pedaler, as transit centers start to open in my area and the car takes a secondary role in my commuting. 

I am also looking for sponsorship to support and promote cycling on my blog. If you are a bike shop, manufacturer, apparel company or know of someone who is, please send them over my way. I can even feature sponsor's products on my blog, just send me something and I will let everyone know about it. I will add a link to my website promoting any business who would like to sponsor me with their ads. 

The link to my new blog page is www.bicyclepointofview.blogspot.com

Stay tuned and thanks again for subscribing!

Johnny


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tips for A faster you- The Diet of a cyclist

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What a Cyclist Eats-
According to yours truly
We live in an age of sport nutrition counseling and dietary supplements- professions and things we have invented to feel better about eating a poor diet, like we didn't know any better. Most of us do, we just don't wish to put into practice what we know will be for our benefit. This article contains some common sense foods and tips that will put you on the right track to a faster you. All of these foods can be found in your local supermarket, no need to go on an organic, high priced shopping spree. Following these tips will help you add a couple of miles on your average speed if coupled with the right workout routine. 

Let's start off by putting into perspective the things you don't want to hear. First of all, beer in moderation, can be a good thing. A single serving of beer after a workout can give muscles much needed relaxation. That doesn't mean, however, that bar hopping on your bicycle will miraculously cure your need to watch your alcohol consumption and caloric intake. There are a couple of bar hopping bicycle clubs in my area; the girth of their members is pure testimony to the fact that their strategy isn't working. 

Just as beer, junk food can be equally as detrimental to your fitness as a cyclist. A cyclist can burn on average 1,200 to 2,000 calories in a 3 to 4 hour time period. The problem is finishing a workout then going for a double cheeseburger with extra fries and a soda. That right there will put a stop to any progress you would have made on your bicycle. Even though cycling is a great exercise, and cyclists in general exercise alot, if you're a cyclist you still have to watch what you eat. Our metabolisms start to slow down after our teenage years, so unless you're a teenager, this applies to you.  Even if you are a teenager, good habits at an early age will save you alot of trouble when you become older.

Does this mean being a cyclist involves being on a no-fun, permanent diet with no occasional indulgences? Absolutely not. It does however, involve allowing yourself to be guided by the common sense principles of healthy eating and controlling what you put in your mouth. Please observe the following tips that every cyclist needs to know and practice in their daily routine.

Eat high fiber foods: If you want to get serious about cycling, there needs to be some green in your refrigerator. Start buying more fruits and vegetables and including more servings of fruit into your diet. You can start with the foods that you're already familiar with: apples, bananas, and spinach just to name a few. Frozen vegetables are easy to make and can complement any meal. 

Replace enriched white bread with whole grain bread and cereal with oatmeal. Oatmeal is synonymous with cycling. Eating oatmeal kick starts your metabolism and eating oats has been linked to reducing levels of cholesterol and hypertension. Since a healthy heart is important in cycling, I highly recommend starting each day (or most days) with oatmeal.

Lean proteins: Lean proteins does not mean buying a pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts. A lean protein can be as simple as a hard boiled egg. Canned tuna is another lean protein rich in omega 3 vitamins and vitamin E, which helps blood circulation through the body. Fish and poultry, as well as nuts should be at the forefront of a cyclist's daily regimen.

Red meat should be limited in a cyclist's diet. Studies have shown that those who over consume red meat over a period of time are more likely to develop heart disease. Daily consumption of beef is linked to a 12% greater risk of heart attack. 

Water!: Daily hydration is what keeps a cyclist fresh after all the miles he or she has ridden. It's key to take water on your weekly training ride, but drinking water should start at the beginning of the day before you go on your ride. Make sure to keep hydrated all throughout the day and not to ignore the signs of dehydration: tiredness, anxiousness or dry throat. If possible, replace most beverages with water. Contrary to popular belief, tap water is not harmful. It's just as clean if not cleaner than bottled water and less expensive.

Sodas are a cyclist's worst enemy. They are loaded in empty calories and work against your muscles ability to recover. They destroy amino acids which are critical to building muscle mass in your body. Make it your goal to significantly reduce or eliminate any dependance on soft drinks. Replace soda with coffee.  Coffee has come along way since your grandmother's coffee. Look for flavorful options such as Cafe Bustelo, Starbucks's Verona or Komodo Dragon blends, Dunkin' Donuts House blend, or Nestle instant coffee. Buy a french press or espresso maker to enhance your coffee experience. Drinking coffee has been linked to significantly reducing your risk of Alzheimer's disease and  prostrate cancer.

If you follow these general principles, then you will see some major improvements in your cycling and overall health. You will strengthen and improve your heart function, which will lead to faster recovery times and less exhaustion after a ride. Cutting back on calories will contribute to weight loss. In turn, for every pound you lose, you will gain 15 to 20 seconds per every mile you climb. You can shave minutes if not hours over a course of a ride. Rather than upgrading the bike to go faster, sometimes it's a rider that needs the upgrading. These few tips will allow you to do just that. You will turn heads on your group rides, move up race categories and keep pace with the faster riders on the bike you already own.

Here is an example of a daily regimen you can follow:

Breakfast: Oatmeal, 1 to 2 cups of coffee
one serving of fruit with breakfast

Pre-Lunch: Snack on fruit or unsalted nuts before lunch.

Lunchtime: Tuna fish sandwich with lettuce, tomato on whole grain bread.
One serving of fruit with Sandwich. One electrolyte drink or water with meal.

Pre-ride: Two full glasses of water at least 30 minutes before a ride. One banana to give energy boost.

Dinner: Roasted or baked chicken, with one choice of carbohydrate (such as rice, potatoes) cooked spinach. Dinner should be eaten shortly after a workout. Avoid late dinners in the late hours of the night.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Car-less Society-Will it ever happen?

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A Car-less Future awaits:

Apocalyptic Dystopia for some, Utopia for the rest of us

A Car-less future...what brought this subject up? Really I just wanted to vent about this, and this is the best channel for that. With an early Spring in March and an early summer in gas prices one begs to question how much longer can the auto industry stand on it's feet. Some sources say we are headed for $7 a gallon gasoline by the end of this summer. Even if we don't reach such an astronomical number, one begs to question how much longer the common person will tolerate gas prices. There is a breaking point to everything, and people will be willing to pay only so much for a given item. If that item is not essential for survival, then it will be replaced if it can no longer be afforded. Granted, there will be many people to will fight tooth and nail to the bitter end to keep the precious commodities that they currently own. To be fair, many elderly and disabled will need provisions to get around even with the high cost of gasoline. So is this idea of a Car-less future only a far fetched, idealistic and libertarian concept? How close are we to achieving, or ending up in this situation? 

Cars are more than just goods that transport people around. They are an icon, an icon that no one dares question or topple from it's mighty throne. Since the inception of the assembly line and mass production (we can thank Henry Ford and the Model T for that)  the automobile has been the king of the castle for over a century. Housing subdivisions, the size of our freeways, economic and political infrastructure have all been modeled to serve the interest of the automobile and it's beneficiaries. Wars have been fought for the fossil fuels that keep it running on the road. The health of the overall population has declined because of it. Evenings spent with the family around a dinner table have all but disappeared, as most people spend their evenings in traffic driving home from work. Society has now reached a climax, a tipping point because this current model, which has been contained in every possible way in order to make it work, is now bursting at the seams. It can no longer contain the negative effects it has had on it's loyal subjects. 

The good news is, fallout is already tricking down. We can see that in the improved public transit and railways being built in cities across the country. Bicycle lanes are not just being put in parks anymore. Practical bicycling routes are being implemented. Transit Oriented Developments are leaving the drawing table. Car free zones are being considered. This isn't just a bunch of hipsters and vegans getting together in faddish style at a coffee shop. No, this is gaining support from the grass roots level all the way to the federal level. A head has finally turned, someone has finally noticed.

I am not asking for more that what is already being done. Many cities are still behind and have a long way to go to to be less dependent on their vehicles. Either way, owning a car or spending our paycheck at the pump will not be a choice we will have to make for very long. Rather, the increasing cost on gasoline, both financially and in every other aspect of our lives, will eventually make the choice for us. Revolution? some might ask. Not likely. Instead there will be a silent stand in solidarity over what must be done. No matter what creed or class, all will unanimously agree the course that has to be taken. People will park their cars and ride their bikes instead. Like all inefficient technologies, the automobile too as we know it will one day become obsolete. It's now a matter of sooner rather than later, and for a young man like me this is promising. It may finally come at a day when I am still able to ride my bike.