Monday, October 28, 2013

The Curvy Cyclist – New York is Wheel-y Getting Bike Friendly Now


New York City, where I have done all of my city cycling since the early 80s, is experiencing a bit of a bike riding craze.  With the new CitiBike program installing a plethora of kiosks every few blocks, it seems as though the bike has become the new means of transportation.  The program started at the beginning of summer so everyone could enjoy the bikes before the cold weather set in.  It’s incredible advertising for Citibank, that’s for sure... I am happy to say I was an “early adaptor” and still don’t think the kiosks, even though there are many around town, are convenient enough.  I am spoiled because I store my bike in my apartment every night, take my bike down the stairs, assemble it, and off I go!  Renting a bike costs a bit, too.   $95 a year and $9.95 a half hour with fines of $4 for every fifteen minutes.  I have had my bike for over three years, and have used it every day or thereabouts.  The foldable bike cost me about $575 and if I figure if I use it 300 days out of the year and I’ve had it for three years, that’s 900 days....I would say it cost me pennies a day for the use of my bike....and since I can fold it up and bring it wherever I go, I never have to worry that it will get stolen again.  The thirty five bikes that preceded this foldable one more than throws off the savings average when you factor in all those dollars down the drain.  But, as I said, the way I rationalize it is: Every delivery guy needs to have a bike to have a job, so I’ve given thirty five people jobs in this city over the last few decades!!!

The city has become so much friendlier in the past year for a cyclist.  Just today I was biking along the path next to the East River in Manhattan and I came to a huge staircase and thought to myself how I didn’t want to carry my 30 pound bike up those fifty stairs.  Just then I noticed this little metal gutter that was installed down the side of the stairs right under the railing.  Wow, some genius actually thought about how to make that haul a lot easier.  So I put my bike in the little slot and pushed it up the stairs.  It was a great stair climbing cardio workout but not awkward nor cumbersome at all.  I stopped midway to take the picture that I include in the article and this hunky guy asked me if I needed a hand with my bike the rest of the way up.  He was sweating profusely and even had a little drop hanging off the end of his nose.  I thanked him but said, “Thanks to the city installing this little channel up the stairs, I am independent...but I so appreciate it!!”  I guess I had two options to make the ascent easier!  One useful, the other handsome!!

During my travels I also saw this little tiny yellow Smart Car in the smallest of parking spaces and noticed the license plate said “Parkable”....love the humor!!  Took a photo of it, too! 

I will spare you the picture of the smooshed dead rat I was forced to run over as a bus was speeding to my left.  My mind was going back and forth trying to manuveur and decide between Rat-Bus-Rat-Bus-Rat-Bus....RAT!  I had to run right over the flattened rodent remains or perhaps be smooshed by the bus and wind up looking like the rat!

It’s been very hot this summer, but a little triple digit heat index never stopped me.  I just drink a lot of water and carry a lot of paper towels, oh and wear waterproof makeup!!!  A girl’s best friend!!  I drink at least eight glasses of water day.  I remind myself to drink that much and I have this nifty trick that helps me keep track.  I wear eight beaded bracelets (different colors for different outfits) on my right wrist every morning and as I drink a glass of water I take one of the bracelets and switch it to my left wrist...by the end of the day, all the bracelets are on the other wrist if I’ve had my quota.  I am thinking of marketing the sets of eight bracelets and call them “Aqua-lets”....my stepdaughter came up with that name and I LOVE it!!! 

Hope this inspires you to grab a bike a take to the streets wherever you may be...once you get over the initial traffic terror grip of fear, just remember to wear a helmut and pay attention.  The other muscle bike riding exercises is your brain as you have to think and react all the time.  Keeps your reflexes in gear, too!

Submitted by - Catherine Schuller "The Curvy Cyclist"

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hiking with the Elk

   This fall has started beautifully here in Trail Dames with lots of hiking, backpacking and camping out!  The coolest thing we have done lately is go hiking in Catalooche Valley in the Smoky Mountain National Park.  This is a really gorgeous area full of 19th century buildings, including a school and two churches.



ElkAt the beginning of the weekend fifteen of us loaded up cars full of ice chests, tents and campfire makings then headed north.  After setting up camp, we were off to hike, enjoying the cool weather and views that only the Smoky Mountains can bring.

The coolest thing about this trip is the elk!  This time of year is rutting time, and the valley is full of herds of elk.  We got the opportunity to hike over at sunset and watch these beautiful animals interact with each other, the males posturing and bugling while they try to attract cows. It is really a neat sight.

Following this up with a campfire complete with good food and even better company was the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of fall.  The leaves aren’t changing yet, and the pumpkins are still on the vine, but we can see it coming and the view from the Smokies is a great one! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Fun & Fit

Football, Harvest Festivals, and Pumpkins are everywhere these days. Fall is here!  That does not mean for me that my fitness routine decreases and neither should yours.  In fact, the best way to enjoy the fall months is to get outside and keep moving.  It is the perfect time to start a new fitness routine which you did not get a chance to this summer.
Why not start biking?  Remember the days in elementary school when you never got off the bike? Embrace your childhood and get back on those two wheels.  There is no better way to enjoy the changing leaves and the crisp air when peddling on a local trail.  Has your bike been sitting in the garage?  Make sure you air up tires prior to leaving and always wear a helmet when biking.  Find some great biking wear at Junonia.

PerfecTemp-Womens-Plus-Size-Fleece-HoodieWhy not start running?  Getting up early for running in the summer means you are setting the alarm at 5 AM!  In the fall, you are able to sleep in and still go for a run mid morning with cooler temperatures.  Embarrassed about being seen running your intervals?  With the sun setting earlier, you are able to get mileage in the evening.  Just make sure you wear reflective clothing, lights, and stay hydrated.  Find some flattering runningwear at Junonia.
Why not start yoga? No matter what athletic adventure you are on, stretching is a must for success in your training.  There is no better way to get a workout when stretching those tired muscles.  Want more of a challenge?  Consider hot yoga.  It is a great way to warm up on a cool fall day, and the heat is a great way to relax those muscles.  Shop great yoga wear at Junonia.

If these activities are not exciting for you, just get out and enjoy the weather.  Either a walk with your family or visiting a corn maze, keep yourself moving.  Keep embracing your active self and active life. 
-Blog submitted by Jennifer Nelson
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