Adamo is a popular line of saddle products from Ideal Saddle Modification (ISM), a company founded by cyclist Steve Toll. In addition to making appearances on road racing podiums and securing age group victories, cyclists sitting on ISM saddles have gone on to win the Ironman and several Olympic medals. The Adamo Road Saddle mirrors the Adamo Race Saddle in design but features more gel and additional foam padding that lends to riding in and out of the aero bars. The cutout between the front arms is slightly wider on this Adamo saddle, increasing blood flow in the pudendal artery. This saddle is the product of choice for several professional Ironman and 70.3 distance competitors.
Adamo Road Saddle Details
The Adamo Road Saddle is 135mm wide and 245mm long.
The Adamo Road Saddle includes:
• Winning design
• More gel than Adamo Racing saddle
• Additional foam padding that contributes to riding in and out of aero bars
• Wider cutout between front arms increases blood flow of pudendal artery
• Cr-mo rails
• Designed for hip angle positions ranging from 0*-90*
• Available in white or black
Pros of the Adamo Road Saddle
• Relieves pressure on sensitive areas
• More comfortable riding position, especially in drops and aeros
Cons of the Adamo Road Saddle
• “Breaking In” period can be rough, but after about a week or steady riding, it should be fine
Our Take on the Adamo Road Saddle
I was having considerable problems with my nether regions on longer rides and started looking at the saddles of other riders. I had heard and seen the Adamo saddle before, but had never actually talked to a cyclist that had ridden one. My buddy from The Rat Snake, Dan Forbes, had one on his bike and I was finally able to get some direct feedback from a rider that was using the saddle. His feedback on the saddle was by far the most positive I had heard from any rider regarding any brand of saddle, so Adamo seemed to be the way to go.
After pouring through the website, the Adamo Road seemed to be the perfect choice. It has all of the featured I was looking for and I was able to get in white to complement the paint scheme on the website. When the saddle arrived, it actually looked a bit smaller than anticipated but, aesthetically, it was a very good looking saddle and I could not wait to get it on the bike.
My previous saddle and been fitted so I tried to keep the mount as close as possible. It took about 10 minutes of riding to realize the new saddle was definitely going to require some tweaking concerning position. I kept a mini tool in my saddlebag and continued to tweaking the position both in regard to angle and front/back positioning over the next few days.
The shorter saddle required two major adjustments over the traditional saddle I had on the bike. My riding position on the saddle itself was dramatically changed, especially on the aero bars. For use of a better term, my “junk” was now completely off the saddle and actually resting in front of the tip of the saddle. I also had to go from a 1 degree down angle to a 3 degree down angle on the saddle. Once I had the saddle dialed in, I noticed a significant difference in my comfort during longer rides.
Now, all was not strawberries and whipped cream right out of the gate in regard to comfort. The new riding position meant breaking in a new area of my rear. To be perfectly honest, I had doubts after the first couple of rides because my tailbones hurt like all hell. To be fair, some of this was surely caused by the fact that I did not have the saddle dialed in correctly at this point. However, it was still surprising considering the added cushioning on the saddle compared to my previous one.
Having said that, after about 100 miles, I started to see a significant difference in how I felt after a ride. My tail was no longer feeling the after effects of a long ride and my back, neck, and shoulders felt significantly better after a multi-hour ride on the bike.
The bottom line here is that of all the saddles I have used over the years, I cannot remember a more comfortable ride than I am currently getting with the Adamo Road. There are also about a dozen other saddle options available if the Adamo Road does not fit your profile. This is far and away one of the strongest recommendations I can make for what I deem to be one of the most important and often overlooked pieces of equipment on the bike. Pay for the upgrade, your butt and your “junk” will thank you.
Summer will soon be here, bringing sunshine and warm temperatures perfect for cycling. While the weather may be picturesque, it also can wreak havoc on the skin and body. Dehydration, overheating, and sunburn are a few issues that cyclists must contend with during summer. Follow these summer cycling tips to enjoy rides throughout the season.
Dark colors absorb heat, which is undesirable when outdoor temperatures are high. Wear light colors and ensure that jerseys feature wickable material and are properly ventilated. Before putting on any clothing, cover the body with broad spectrum sunscreen. This prevents ultraviolet rays from prematurely aging skin or causing skin cancer. Pack sunscreen in the gear bag and reapply it after working up a heavy sweat.
To absorb sweat on palms and prevent slippery handlebars, wear cycling gloves. Sweating is inevitable during strenuous summer rides but gloves make these journeys more comfortable. Wear a hat or bicycle helmet to protect scalp from the sun and a headband to prevent sweat from dripping into eyes. Take some towels and use them to absorb sweat during rest breaks.
Ride Early and Remain Hydrated
Riding before the sun comes up helps to beat the heat. Try to complete at least 70 percent of a planned route before the sun reaches its apex in the sky. When sun begins shining, don a pair of cycling glasses to prevent glare and protect eyes. If early morning rides are not possible, ride when the sun is setting. Temperatures will begin to decline and the scenery will be truly memorable. Sun can make riding more difficult so ride in shady areas, go at a comfortable pace, and take breaks regularly.
Staying hydrated is important regardless of the temperature but is critical during warm weather. Drink water before, during, and after a ride and pack more water than you expect to drink. Outfit the bike with a bottle cage or use hydration packs, which have room to store snacks, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Take energy drinks on long rides to replace electrolytes and carbohydrates and provide an energy boost.
Before heading out on a ride, make sure the bike is in optimal condition. Replace chunky winter tires with lightweight versions for summer and get the bike tuned up before the summer season. If you plan to stop during a ride, take a bike lock to prevent your bike from finding a new owner. Get in some hard rides during summer but do not forget that cycling is supposed to be fun, so work in some cruiser rides and enjoy the day!
*Photo Courtesy of Michael Dorausch via Creative Commons License
Each year, the beautiful country of France hosts the most prestigious multi-stage cycling race in the world, The Tour de France. Even people who are not avid cycling fans have heard of this event, which has a long and interesting history. Brush up on your knowledge before June 29, the date that the 2013 Tour de France begins.
The Early Years of The Tour de France
It all began with an idea held by L’Auto magazine journalist Geo Lefevre in the early 20th century. Though a bicycle race that spanned nearly 2,500 kilometers seemed unheard of, Henri Desgrange, Lefevre’s editor, believed in it. On July 1, 1903, 60 brave cyclists took off from Montgeron. By then end of the sixth stage, 471 kilometers later, just 21 remained. However, sports fans were hooked and the roadside crowds grew each year.
Affectionately called “Le Tour,” this race has endured both bad and good times, giving people something to believe in during wars and providing another reason to rejoice during prosperous economic times. Globalization opened this race to foreign countries and more than one hundred years later, it is still the cycling competition to watch.
Notable Events in Tour de France History
Appropriately, one of the most prominent cyclists in the history of the most Tour de France is French. Bernard Hinault first won Le Tour as a Grande Boucle rookie in 1978. Nicknamed “The Badger,” he went on to win in 1979, 1981, 1982, and 1985. After the 1986 race, Hinault retired, cementing his place in history. To the victor goes the spoils, which have included money, an apartment, a car, and a work of art.
The modern version of the race consists of 21 stages, each one day long, that span a 23-day period and approximately 2,000 miles. Between 20 and 22 teams participate and each team has nine riders. The race is far and away the most grueling endurance event in sports with even the most fittest of riders calling it quits before the final day. It is a mix of exciting sprint finishes, time trials, and mountain top finishes that usually decide who will wear the coveted Yellow Jersey on the final day of racing.
Only two World Wars have prevented this race from being held each year since 1903. The route was lengthened over the years, eventually passing through the Alps and Pyrenees mountains, and it changes each year. If there is one race on the schedule that every professional cyclists hopes to make the roster, this is it. By the time the winner crosses the finish line at the beautiful Champs-Elysees, he will be completely exhausted, but he will also know he has done something very few men in the sport have been able to accomplish.
*Photo Courtesy of Nationaal Archief via Creative Commons License
Fuji is a leading brand in road bikes and its Gran Fondo 1.3 is designed for endurance. A revolutionary electronic shifting system courtesy of the Shimano Di2 Ultegra group creates an intuitive riding experience. Riders connect with the road through precise gear changes without any second-guessing required. Ten speeds and a Shimano Ultegra brake set provide the ultimate in performance and control. An ultra high-modulus carbon frame, butted alloy handlebars, and oval saddle featuring hollow rails create an appealing silhouette.
Fuji Gran Fondo 1.3 Details
The Fuji Gran Fondo 1.3 comes in six sizes: small (47cm), small/medium (50cm), medium (53cm), medium/large (55cm), large (58cm), and extra-large (61cm).
The Fuji Gran Fondo 1.3 includes:
• Road bike featuring 10-speed Shimano 105, 11-28T cassette and 10-speed KMC X10 chain
• White frame with blue accents
• Main frame made from C10 ultra high-modulus carbon featuring oversized PIIS BB86 shell
• C10 ultra high-modulus carbon thin seatstays
• Rotor 3DF, 50/34T crankset
• Forged-alloy dropout featuring replaceable hanger
• Shimano Ultegra brake set and Ultegra Di2 STI brake levers
• Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic STI shifter/brake, 20-speed, Flight Deck-compatible
• Oval saddle R700 with CrMo-Ti hollow rails
• Oval 201 butted 6061 alloy, 31.8mm handlebars
• Oval 300 suede-padded tape
• Double water bottle mounts
Pros of the Fuji Gran Fondo 1.3
• 25cm tires provide extra comfort
• Electronic shifting is flawless
• Carbon frame is absorbs rough spots on road
• Bike handles very well
• Higher profile better for riders with bad backs
Cons of the Fuji Gran Fondo 1.3
• Saddle is uncomfortable, will probably have to be replaced
• Does not have the “jump” of a pure racing bike
Our Take on the Fuji Gran Fondo 1.3
As a larger rider with a very bad back, I was looking for something similar to my Felt F75 (which I loved ) that would provide adequate speed but that would also improve the ride on the rough roads and lower profile that were taking its toll with the Felt. This bike did not disappoint.
The bike was purchased at a local bike shop (Tuckahoe Bike Shop) where a custom setup was offered. This setup made a huge difference right off the bat, and I immediately noticed the comfort level of the bike. After changing out the 25s for 23s, I realized this was a mistake and eventually went back to the 25s, which added significant comfort to the ride without really sacrificing any speed (some studies have proven that 25s are actually quicker than 23s and based on my rides, I would have to agree, or at least say the difference is negligible).
The handlebars have a higher profile, which I needed to ease the back pain from longer rides. Again, I immediately noticed a difference when being down in the drops (I was able to stay down in the drops for a much longer period with little to no discomfort). However, because of the more upright profile, I also added aero bars, which I would recommend to any rider that is looking to improve their speed.
One thing I noticed rather quickly was that this particular Fuji model did not have nearly the “jump” of the Felt. I expected this going from a pure racing frame to a “gran fondo” frame. On the bright side, while it did take me longer to get up to speed, I also noticed it was much easier to find a good tempo and hold that speed on the Fuji. This bike does not have the high-end speed of the Felt, either, but it was purchased for longer rides that would keep me comfortable and enable me to hold my group, which it definitely does!
This speed issue does come into play on hills going both up and down. If you like to gather speed prior to climbing and like to do it at the last second, I would recommend building up instead of going for that big jump. I found the bike did not pick up speed going down as well as a pure racing bike, either, so if you are looking to set your Strava segment on a descent, you better keep pedaling instead of tucking. In addition, because of the bigger tires and a little more weight, you are going to have to work a bit more on the longer climbs.
Something I was concerned about prior to purchasing the bike was the handling. The Felt was superior and did everything I asked of it. I was pleasantly surprised to experience BETTER handling by the Fuji. I am able to take corners with speed as well as avoid any late-spotted bumps in the road. For the average and above rider, the bike handling is more than adequate. The bike is actually very quick to respond and riders moving up in quality for the first time need to be aware of this. It takes only a mere twitch of the bars to change lines, which may be more dramatic than beginner riders are used to seeing on their current rides.
The improved handling really helps when down in the aero bars. Initially, when coming up on a dicey stretch of road that required a lot of maneuvering (I live in Sea Isle City, so many of our roads were damaged by Sandy and are being redone as of this review), I would get out of the bars and move up to the hoods. Eventually, I just went to the drops and after realizing how responsive the bike actually is, I was able to remain in the aero bars and keep the bike under control.
I cannot say enough about the Di2 system. Is it necessary, probably not, but I can honestly say I do not ever see myself owning another road bike that does not have an electrical system. The gear change is immediate and extremely smooth. There is never any sticking of gears or jumping as I ALWAYS eventually experienced with a traditional system. Yes, the upgrade is the bulk of the cost of the bike, but when you are climbing a hill or descending rapidly and need a new gear quick (and correctly for that matter), you will be glad you decided to go with the Di2.
Overall, I have to say for a rider that is willing to give up just a bit of speed for a LOT more comfort, the Fuji Gran Fondo 1.3 is the way to go. It is a nice step up from a traditional ride, but it is one that is well worth the money. The bike looks sharp, handles great, and it extremely comfortable on longer rides. It is really everything you could want from a bike in the road-endurance category.
Feed Zone Portables Review
Title: Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-the-Go Food for Athletes
Author: Biju K. Thomas, Alan Lim, Ph.D.
Publisher: Velo Press
Category: Nutrition, Sports Training & Conditioning
Feed Zone Portables is a cookbook in the popular series, The Feed Zone. It expands on The Feed Zone Cookbook also written by chef Biju Thomas and Dr. Allen Lim. The original cookbook featured healthy, practical recipes for athletes, bringing these favorites to the masses. In this new cookbook, the authors focus on portable food recipes. Included are 75 new recipes created for athletes who travel by bike or on foot. More than 50 recipes qualify as vegetarian and more than 50 are gluten-free.
Each recipe features simple ingredients and is easy to prepare. The food can be taken on a run, hike, climb, or ride for sustenance during exercise. A full-color photograph is provided to illustrate each dish. Nutrition data is also included to reveal how the body will benefit. The authors offer tips about why these real foods are best for athletes and reveal timesaving methods of preparing this type of food.
As explained by Dr. Lim in his introduction to this cookbook, compared to prepackaged fuel products such as gels and bars, real food is a higher-performance energy source that is more easily digestible. Athletes must eat and drink at different intensities of exercising during hot or cold weather. Solid and liquid foods are burned different by the body, so Dr. Lim offers a new process of receiving energy by eating real food and drinking to hydrate.
The Feed Zone Portables cookbook contains new recipes designed for anyone who exercises. Not only are these recipes based on common ingredients and easy to prepare, they create great-tasting foods including waffles, ride sandwiches, and cookies. Vegetarian and gluten-free recipes for athletes are difficult to find but this cookbook includes more than 50 of each, making it a must for anyone with special dietary needs.
The cookbook begins with an understandable explanation of how real food is more suitable for athletes and how it works in the body. Real food is a new idea within the sports world and it is yielding impressive results. Filled with nutrition, this food lacks the taste fatigue and queasy feeling that often results from consuming gels and sports bars.
Recipes in this cookbook feature an array of real foods that are also portable. Take them on a ride, hike, or a trip to the park with friends. Each recipe is made from scratch yet easy to prepare and the results are nothing less than delicious. This cookbook will change your thinking about the role of food in athletic performance.
I can tell you from personal experience, when I pull out my mid-ride snack of a rolled Panini or one of the many flavored rice cakes I make, everyone’s jaw hits the ground. My one riding partner usually utters, “Great, Jerry is pulling a gourmet meal out of his pocket and I am eating regurgitated protein!” These recipes are great and they are very open to tweaking to add your own personal flair. Best of all, they are extremely easy and inexpensive to make, especially when compared to the cost of most store-bought energy bars.
Bottom line here is that you can continue to eat food you cannot stand the taste of or start creating your own energy for your longer rides. Simply put, I cannot ever imagine eating another energy bar again that I have not created with my own two hands. Allen and Chef Biju have forever changed the way I look at “on the bike” energy. Thank you!
Mark Cavendish touts himself as the “fastest man on two wheels” and there is truth to this claim. Known as the “Manx Missile,” this cyclist has been compared to a running sprinter that pushes on the starting blocks and though he is just 27 years old, he has many notable achievements. Fresh off a stage two win at Three Days of De Panne and a second place finish at the Scheldeprijs, this sprinter is poised to take 2013 by storm.
Mark Cavendish Begins to Ride
Cavendish was born on May 21, 1985, in Douglas, Isle of Man. At the age of 12, he began racing informally on mountain bikes at the Douglas National Sports Centre. After graduating from school, Cavendish saved up enough money to become a professional cyclist. In 2005, Cavendish and Rob Hayles won gold in the madison at the 2005 Track World Championships, marking the first world title for Cavendish, who went on the win the European championship points race later that year.
Cavendish began his 2006 entry into road racing by winning two stages and the sprint and points competitions in the 2006 Tour of Berlin. This led to a position as a stagier on the T-Mobile Team. An excellent performance at the Tour of Britain resulted in a full professional contract for 2007 and 2008. During 2008, Cavendish became the most successful British cyclist by winning two stages at the Giro d’Italia and amassing four Tour de France victories.
Mark Cavendish Continues His Success
After joining HTC Highroad in 2009, Cavendish developed a partnership with Mark Renshaw, his lead-out man. Six Tour de France victories followed that year and Cavendish became the first Brit to retain the green jersey for two days in a row. Five stage wins at the 2010 Tour de France increased his career total to 15.
In 2011, this young cyclist became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France points classification. He also became the first Briton to claim the rainbow jersey as the UCI Road Race World Champion in 46 years. In November of that year, Cavendish received the MBE order of chivalry at the Queen’s Birthday Honors at Buckingham Palace.
Racing for Team Sky in 2012, Cavendish was part of the yellow jersey team and was named the best sprinter of all time at the Tour de France. He increased his stage victories to 23 and became the first cyclist to win the final stage of the Champs Elysees during four consecutive years. In January 2013, Cavendish signed a three-year contract with Omega Pharma-Quick Step and he is continuing his winning ways. While there are obviously other sprinters capable of winning races, most expect the future years to be dominated by Cavendish and his new nemesis, Peter Sagan.
*Photo Courtesy of Richard Masoner via Creative Commons License
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Chris Froome is not your typical road racing cyclist. Though Froome was raised in South Africa, he rides under a British license resulting from the birthplace of his father and grandparents and his own passport. Solid time trials and strong mountain climbing abilities have made this 27-year-old a strong worldwide contender.
Chris Froome Begins Road Cycling
In Kenya, David Kinjah, founder of The Safari Simbaz, introduced Froome to mountain biking. The two trained together in the rural highland areas north of Nairobi. Froome began his cycling career as a member of the Kenyan cycling federation. He represented Kenya in the 2006 Road World Championships, where he crashed into an official and finished in 36th place.
As a teenager, he moved to South Africa for school and later took up road cycling. He did not turn professional until age 22 when he joined Team Konica Minolta. One year later, he joined team Barloworld during the 2008 season and was named to their Tour de France team, finishing 11th in the young rider category and captured worldwide attention. However, Froome was British at heart and in 2010, he joined the British cycling Team Sky.
Froome Breaks from the Pack
Froome began the 2011 season with top 15 finishes in both the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and the Tour de Romandie. During the 2011 Vuelta a Espana, this young rider made his mark, finishing in second place overall and equaling the best finish by a British rider in the Grand Tour record held by Robert Millar. Froome was the main mountain domestique for Bradley Wiggins and this is where his true potential really started to shine.
Froome signed a new three-year contract with Team Sky in September 2011 and became part of the Great Britain team that assisted Mark Cavendish with a World Road Race Championship win. A third overall finish in the first edition of the Tour de Beijing was followed by a period of illness. After recovering, he participated in the Tour de Romandie, helping Bradley Wiggins to win the race.
As part of the 2012 Tour de France Sky squad, Froome set the pace for leader Wiggins and the two rode neck and neck throughout subsequent stages, with Froome repeatedly waiting for Wiggins. Froome may have finished second but he was hailed as a super domestique and many think he could have easily won. At the 2012 Olympic Games, Froome represented Team GB and won a bronze medal in the time trial. Froome already has some notable accomplishments for 2013 including a second place general classification finish at the Criterium International. It is anticipated that he will serve as the team leader for the2013 Tour de France, finally allowed to showcase his talent and must be considered one of the favorites to win the GC for the 2013 Tour de France.
*Photo Courtesy of Mostly Dans via Creative Commons License
America has a new generation of professional cyclists who are giving the current leaders a run for their money and Tejay van Garderen is one of them. As a member of the BMC Racing Team, 22-year-old van Garderen already has some substantial accomplishments. This Boulder, Colorado, native is making a name for himself worldwide.
Tejay van Garderen Catches the Cycling Bug
Spending most of his early years in Bozeman, Montana, van Garderen begin riding when he was only ten. At age 14, he made the 28-mile, 7,000-foot Mount Evans hillclimb in just over two hours. As a junior cyclist, he amassed ten junior national titles in cyclo-cross and road racing. Early teams included the developmental squads of Team Rio Grande Racing and Team 5280 Magazine.
After turning 18, van Garderen participated in his first major senior level race, the 2007 Tour of California, as a member of the national team. In 2008, he joined the Rabobank Continental Team and came in second place in both the Fleche du Sud and Circuito Montanes. After joining Team HTC-Columbia in 2009, he had an impressive ninth place finish at the Volta ao Algarve, his first stage race. As a joint team leader at the 2010 Criterium du Dauphine, he finished third.
Tejay van Garderen Begins His Climb to the Top
Van Garderen had a landmark year in 2011, being named the best young rider at the Amgen Tour of California. He was also selected for the 2011 Tour de France squad, his first, where he rode to support Peter Velits and Tony Martin. Van Garderen became the first American to earn a King of the Mountains jersey in Tour de France history. During van Garderen’s thrilling stage 8 ride, commentator Phil Liggett called him the “Bozeman Boss” and he was eventually named Most Aggressive Rider.
HTC-Highroad was later disbanded and van Garderen and HTC teammate Marco Pinotti joined BMC Racing Team. In March 2012, van Garderen held the young rider’s jersey for the entire Paris-Nice race. He was chosen for the 2012 Tour de France to support leader Cadel Evans. Van Garderen ended up pacing Evans up the final climb, finishing in fifth place, and becoming only the third American to win the Best Young Rider Classification.
In August 2012, van Garderen had a second place finish at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge after several battles with fellow American Christian Vande Velde. A second place finish at the 2013 Tour de San Luis started this year on a positive note. Van Garderen started the 2013 European cycling season strong, placing fourth at Paris-Nice and third at Criterium International. It would not be a surprise at some poing this season to see Tejay van Garderen as the new BMC leader.
*Photo Courtesy of DenisMenchov08 via Creative Commons License
Peter Sagan may be only 23 but he is already taking the cycling world by storm. Nicknamed “The Terminator,” Sagan is a professional road cyclist for the Cannondale World Tour team. The beginning of the 2013 season has been extremely fruitful thus far. We can only imagine what the future holds for this young, exciting, and very talented rider.
Peter Sagan Begins Making His Mark
When Sagan was just nine years old, he joined a small local cycling club in his town, riding both road and mountain bikes. Though Peter Sagan has cemented himself in the sport of road racing, winning stages in nearly every race he has joined since becoming professional, it was mountain bike racing that initially put him on the map. After winning the 2008 UCI Mountain Bike Junior World Championship, Sagan moved into the world of road racing.
Sagan joined the Quick Step Pro Tour team for road testing but after failing to receive a contract, he vowed to quit road cycling. At the prompting of his family, he tried out for the Liquigas-Doimo pro team and was awarded a multi-year contract with the option to ride mountain bikes for Cannondale Bicycle Corporation. Liquigas representatives were blown away by the results of the young rider’s medical tests, saying he was physically stronger and more capable than any other 19-year-old rider they had encountered.
Sagan Goes Pro
After earning his nickname for destroying the most mountain bikes at the Liquigas training camp, Sagan was nominated for his first Pro Tour in 2010, Tour Down Under. During the second stage of this race, he was involved in a crash. Despite receiving 17 stitches in his arm and left thigh, he kept riding and managed to help hold off the sprinter group. Sagan went on to win his first and second Pro Tour stages at the 2010 Paris-Nice road race.
Additional stage wins followed during the remainder of 2010 including securing the Points Jersey and Youth Competition placements at the 2010 Tour of California. In 2011, Sagan won three of the five stages along with the overall and points classifications at Giro di Sardegna. He made it to the final stage of Vuelta a Espana, thanks to sprinting to a win in stage 12.
In 2012, Sagan had another banner year, demonstrating excellent form and outsprinting his rivals in multiple races. His performance at the Tour of California turned the cycling world upside down and put notable sprinters such as Marc Cavendish on alert that Peter Sagan would now be a major factor at any sprint finish stage. Suddenly, long time favorites were no longer considered easy wins and Sagan was more often than not leaving them looking at his rear wheel.
A team name change to Liquigas Cannondale earlier this year has not affected Sagan negatively as he won his first comeback race at the Gran Premio Citta di Camaiore after battling bronchitis. With the Tour of Flanders and the Amstel Gold Race in his immediate future, Sagan is focused on two more wins. We can also expect to see him on the podium several times during the Tour de France. The only real question now is if he will continue to grow into a true GC contender or if he will remain a sprint specialist.
*Photo Courtesy of DenisMenchov08 via Creative Commons License
This weekend in my town is Polar Bear Plunge weekend. Our town goes from about 1,500 full time residents to close to 50,000 occupants overnight. This is just a small taste of what we get once the summer kicks in. We lovingly refer to the invaders as “shoobies.” I understand they are important to the local businesses, but I just wish they would follow some local rules, one of which is wearing a bicycle helmet when riding a bike.
As is typical when we have an event or it is summer and the town fills up, I see a lot of bicycles on the streets. One thing I simply do not understand, though, is why very few of these people are wearing helmets. I saw a rather disturbing site a few weeks ago, and then again this morning, of a woman riding back from the CVS with a child seat on the back of her bike. Not only was she NOT wearing a helmet, but her child was also in the seat with NO helmet and drinking out of a juice box. In fact, I am fairly certain it was the same woman and child.
Now, maybe it is none of my business, but I did say, “You guys really should be wearing helmets, especially with all of the construction and the streets being torn up like this.” In no uncertain terms, I was told to mind my own business. Hey, if this woman wants to be an idiot and ride without a helmet, that is fine, but putting a small child on the back with a straw in his mouth is completely insane.
Anyone that has ever crashed knows how important a helmet is to his or her safety. Before my revelation of realizing how important it is to wear a helmet, I hit the pavement at a very slow rate of speed and wished I had spent the $50 on a decent lid. The fact of the matter is no matter how slow you are actually moving, your body carries significant force as it heads toward the ground. You WILL get hurt. At best, you will come away with some scrapes, at worst, concussion and serious injury, and yes, possibly even death.
It seems as though we are hearing or reading about a story every day of a cyclist being hit by a motorist. Sometimes it is an angry motorist not wanting to share the road, sometimes it is just an ignorant cyclist not aware of his or her surroundings. Regardless, wearing a helmet is needed today more than ever before simply because the risk factor of being hit has dramatically increased.
I cannot tell you how many times I hear, “I don’t ride like you, I go slow and am only going a few miles.” Well, I have news for you, the fact that you do not ride as much or as well as me makes you an ever greater risk to meet the pavement with your face.
Last year was one of the worst years I can remember with close calls. On at least six occasions, I had a driver come at me with purpose. They were just having a little fun or thought they could beat me across an intersection where I had the right of way. I actually had one of the scariest close calls I have ever had early in the season.
It happened at a small intersection where crossing traffic must wait. I was in the flow of traffic about 10 feet behind a forward moving car. I was moving very close to the speed limit (one of those days where a nice tailwind lets you feel like a rock star) and figured since I was so close to and moving at the same speed as the car in front of me, the car at the intersection would have the common sense to wait until I passed as well. That was not the case. As soon as the car went by, he gunned his engine and flew into the intersection. I hit my breaks so hard the back wheel almost came off the ground. Luckily, I was able to swerve just enough to miss him and never hit the ground.
After coming within inches of being crushed I caught up to the driver and he told me, “You are only on a bike, I am in a car. Besides, I didn’t think you could get through that intersection before us so we went for it.” I proceeded to inform him of my rights to the road. Furthermore, because they were driving in a resort area where bikes are all over the place, they need to pay more attention and back off the gas a bit. When in doubt, simply let the bike pass. After all, you ARE in a car and we are completely exposed on the bike.
Incidents such as this are pretty typical down here, which is why I simply cannot understand why parents do not stress to kids that they need to wear helmets. I cannot even count on both hands and feet how many kids I see ripping around down here on their bikes without helmets. Going to the ice cream shop, heading to the beach, or just riding up and down the street, they need to have a helmet on their head. Repetition breeds habit and if kids are allowed to not wear a helmet for shorter rides, do you really expect them to put it on without a fight for longer ones? Furthermore, if mom and dad are not wearing a helmet, what kind of ground do they stand on when telling their kids to put one on?
So, just how damning are the statistics? In 2010, of the 616 cyclists killed, 429 were definitely not wearing a bicycle helmet and it is unclear whether or not another 93 had a helmet on. That is 85 percent of the cyclists killed that year. In 2009, 628 cyclists were killed and 91 percent of them were not wearing a helmet. In 2008, 716 cyclists were killed and 91 percent were not wearing a helmet. In 2007, 699 cyclists were killed and 92 percent were not wearing a helmet. In 2006, 769 cyclists were killed and an amazing 95 percent did not have a helmet on. These numbers go on forever and it is always close to or over 90 percent of the cyclists killed that are not wearing a helmet.
Do yourself a favor, go out and buy a helmet. Even the cheapest of approved helmets meets safety standards and will provide protection. You can get a quality helmet for about $30 and if you are a hardcore rider, you can get a helmet that is stylish and well vented for under $100. But hey, if you life of that if your child’s is not worth $100, then keep riding without one. Maybe you can look like this guy when you are done…just saying.
If that doesn’t scare you, this one should:
One final plea by James Cracknell on how a helmet literally saved his life:
Now I am off my soap box, the decision is yours. I just beg of you that when it comes to you and your children and riding, please make the right one.
Top Photo Courtesy of SLO County Bicycle Coalition via Creative Commons License