Biking outdoors and cycling in doors is a method of exercise used by many, especially in the greater Seattle area. Seattle has great trails that are used by bikers daily. One well known trail is the Burke-Gilman Trail, which begins in Ballard and ends in Kenmore. This is about a 14 mile ride with two paved trails that take you along some gorgeous views. The second commonly used trail is the Arboretum, which leads through the Arboretum down to Seward Park or up toward the Burke-Gilman trail. It can be heavily populated with traffic, but has wonderful scenery and plenty of shade. If you are new to the Seattle area or want to try something different, Seattle Heritage Bicycle Tours offer half-day or full day tours on many different routes around Seattle.
Biking Rules in Seattle:
- Always wear a helmet, it’s the Law.
- Remember to use your hand signals.
Right Turn Signal
Left Turn Signal
- If your riding on the street, you must follow all the rules of a car
- Ride in bike lanes when available to you
- Bicycles operating at night must have a white light in front and a red reflector in back
Bike Stores in the Seattle area:
Gregg’s Cycle (Green Lake)
Montlake Bike Shop (Seattle)
Velo Bike Shop (Seattle)
Road Bike: Suitable for triathlon participants and club cycling members. Best for- Pavement.
Generally a lighter weight than mountain bikes and is good for fitness, commuting long distances, events, and races. Some types are built specially for speed and racing with an aerodynamic riding position and others are made in an upright riding position.
Cruiser: Suitable for long leisurely rides. Best for- Flat roads, fun and comfort. Designed for flatter roads because these bicycles are designed with single speed. These bikes have balloon tires and are in an upright position. They are also known as beach cruisers because they are mostly used along the beach in nice weather.
Mountain Bike: Suitable for trail riding through dirt or rocky roads. Best for – Dirt, rocky trails, and gravel roads. Designed with shock absorbing features so that they can withstand dirt, rocks, sticks, roots, and bumps. Lower gears than road bikes so that they can handle steeper terrain. Mountain bikes tend to be less efficient on pavement because of their smaller diameter wheels.
Pedaling – It is normal to hop on a bike and want to only push down while you are pedaling. To be able to make you’re pedaling more efficient, you need to be pulling up as well. When your pedal gets to about 3 o’ clock on the pedal stroke, you want to pull back like you are wiping dirt off the bottom of your shoe.
Seat Position – Your seat should be positioned so that your leg is in proper line with the pedal, or in other words; KOPS/TTOPA. These abbreviations stand for Knee Over Pedal Spinal or Tibial Tuberosity (the bump right below the patella) Over Pedal Axle.
Handle Bars – The positioning of your handle bars should be between 180 degrees and 175 degrees. This is parallel with the ground below or slightly titled upward.
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You know it’s important to drink lots of water before, during, and after a workout, but you might be forgetting something! During exercise, your body also loses electrolytes, and you need to replenish them for proper organ and cellular function. Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium chloride, and bicarbonate.
Sodium regulates the total amount of water in the body and the transmission of sodium into and out of individual cells also plays a role in critical body functions. Many processes in the body, especially in the brain, nervous system, and muscles, require electrical signals for communication. The movement of sodium is critical in generation of these electrical signals.
The proper level of potassium is essential for normal cell function. Among the many functions of potassium in the body are regulation of the heartbeat and the function of the muscles.
Chloride is the major anion (negatively charged ion) found in the fluid outside of cells and in the blood. Chloride also plays a role in helping the body maintain a normal balance of fluids.
The bicarbonate ion acts as a buffer to maintain the normal levels of acidity (pH) in blood and other fluids in the body. Bicarbonate levels are measured to monitor the acidity of the blood and body fluids. The acidity is affected by foods or medications that we ingest and the function of the kidneys and lungs.
It is especially important to replenish electrolytes after exercise, because many electrolytes are lost in sweat. You can replenish your electrolytes by consuming sports drinks, juice, milk, and many fruits and vegetables. Perhaps the most common and efficient way to replenish electrolytes is through sport drinks like Gatorade and PowerAde. These drinks offer a good source and adequate amounts of carbohydrates and electrolytes to replenish your body. So remember, next time you plan your workout, don’t forget to include a way to properly recover and nourish your body!
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Sports Massage techniques consisting of flat, broad-hand compressions, jostling, and kneading are generally done without oil with the athlete draped (under sheets) or in loose clothing/ athletic attire. Deep gliding strokes with oil can also be used, with the overall purpose being to clean and prime the muscles by increasing circulation. The difference between Recovery Massage and Maintenance massage is in their application. Recovery Massage facilitates recovery from competition or a strenuous training session and is applied soon after the activity. Maintenance Massage is received on a regular basis by athletes as part of their training regimen. Its purpose is to help athletes maintain optimal physical condition during training.
Recovery Massage is administered for the uninjured athlete soon after the activity. It should last no more than 30 minutes and is essentially a post-event Sports Massage. This somewhat immediate, shorter duration application can reduce the athlete’s recovery time from an event by half and is designed to minimize the physiological effects of the activity. Several hours after or the next day, the Recovery Massage could last as much as one hour, although post-exercise soreness may have already developed. Jostling coaxes the nervous system to let muscles relax, compressions and deep gliding strokes increase circulation, promoting better cell nutrition and removal of waste products.
Maintenance massage consists of general recovery massage on the entire body with specific attention to problem areas, concentrating on tight and sore muscles, stiff joints and former injury sites. Sports massage techniques are effective in addressing tension and improving muscle flexibility, thereby restoring normal Range of Motion. Although the jury is still out as to the cause of post- exercise soreness and pain, broad-hand compressions of Sports Massage can successfully alleviate this condition: pressure used is administered lightly at first, increasing proportionally as the pain diminishes, until all muscle discomfort is eliminated.
By increasing circulation of blood and lymph, Recovery and Maintenance Massage carry away waste products or metabolites, promote cell nutrition, reduce edema and expedite healing of damaged tissues. They calm the nervous system and restore Range of Motion. Afterwards, athletes should feel relaxed and refreshed.
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Many Seattleites enjoy the vast terrain of Washington through the means of biking. Weather permitting many people hit the outdoors and enjoy all of its scenery using a road, mountain or on a hybrid bike. While the true enthusiast might brave the Seattle downpour, most people come inside the club and enjoy one of the many different spin classes offered at the club.
One Factor that is constant with all cyclists, indoor and outdoor, is that their posture will start to take a turn for the worst. Having correct posture consists of maintaining a balance in the strength and flexibility of the front side (chest and front deltoids) and back side muscles (rear deltoids, mid traps and upper lats) of the upper body. As we ride any type of bike we maintain a slight or extreme forward lean, sometimes for hours. This forward lean eventually causes a strengthening and tightening of the front side muscles, while never addressing the backside muscles. If this continues without constant stretching and strengthening of the backside muscles a kyphosis or mid back hunch back look will start to form. So now that we cyclists know what the issue is, how do we address it? Some of the great options offered at the club are to take a yoga class and ask them to add a cat and cow sequence to their class. This sequence is performed by getting onto your hands and knees and alternately depressing your chest as far as possible (cow) and then pushing your shoulder blades as far upward and apart as possible (cat). Another possible rehab solution would be to try pilates, where everything involves lengthening the spine and strengthening the core. If these are not addressing the posture problem then you could always get a personal fitness trainer to make a rehab workout to strengthen all the backside and core muscles as well as show you upper body stretches.
Cycling should be a fun and enjoyable sport that we can enjoy both indoor and outdoor until we are in our later years; in order to keep it that way and not create muscle imbalance problems for ourselves, we need to make sure that we stretch our chest and strengthen our back muscles as often as possible. If we keep our posture safe, we keep all of our daily activities safe and enjoyable.
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