It's a new year and time once again to give a new look to this blog. New graphics and colors. Same bike writer!

This blog is created not only to track my own progress on my biking journey but it is intended to also assist others who have either osteo or rheumatoid arthritis or both like I do. I hope as you read about the progress I have made that it gives you inspiration and hope that you can overcome the dibilitating effects of these conditions.

If your doctor agrees that you should be capable of expanding your limits read on and don't be afraid, just listen to your body and give it challenges. Biking is a great non-impact form of exercise and greatly enhances flexibility and range of motion.

It's not a substitute for Doctor visits, taking your meds or otherwise getting off your health plan but it auguments what your Doctor does for you and can give you a better quality of life. Go for it!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Talking Bike Wear, Helmets And Perception

I read a comment the other day on Facebook that someone left on a bicycle manufacturers page.  Schwinn has a program to give out brand new helmets to youngsters in areas with low incomes.  They proudly proclaimed how many helmets were given out with photos of happy kids riding their bikes.  They linked an article from the Detroit Free Press and asked readers to respond to suggest where the next location should be to give out helmets     The poster didn't like them giving out helmets because "helmets are a gateway to spandex and looking gay and they don't protect you anyway."


That's quite a leap. Because you wear a helmet you will soon wear cycling clothes? The rest of the implication is that bike wear makes you look odd.  People wear helmets with dress cloths and with gym shorts and tees and with whatever else they might happen to be wearing.  People wear helmets to protect their noggin.  With kids it is a good idea because they tend to fall more than adults because they lack the handling skills until they ride more and become proficient.  Bike wear does open up a whole discussion.

There are cyclists who wouldn't think of getting on their bike without a helmet and those who won't wear one at all and others who go with and without at times depending on their mood.  When I began riding as an adult I would not wear a helmet at first, I mean, I've gotten along for over 5 decades without one, spent my early learning years with plenty of bumps and falls without the benefit of a helmet and I'm just fine.  No one wore them back in the day because they didn't exist and we all made it.  Then I had a series of tumbles while I was sharpening my adult skills up and a helmet became routine for me.  I do like the wind in my hair feeling and the freedom that going without brings but 95% of the time I wear a helmet.

You can find whole dialogues, debates and volumes written on the pros and cons of helmet wearing and this blog post isn't taking a position one way or the other.  In the U.S. helmet wearing is more the norm.  In Europe where people use bikes to commute and for daily errands, not so much.  Over here we wear special cloths to bike in, over there, again, not so much.  There's two schools of thought on this as well.  The American point of view is specialty for all things and all sports and having sport-specific wear, anything from helmets to sunglasses to upper and lower cladding of our bodies.  Another school of thought is that wearing helmets and bike specific clothes makes bike riding look intimidating or dangerous and hard to do, like you need special stuff to ride and that can discourage people from taking it up as adults.  There's a perception thing too.  Cyclists riding in full kits (bike shorts and bike jerseys) often find drivers to be less courteous or friendly.  Riding in street cloths, riders report that people are friendlier, wave and smile more.  Whether that's right or wrong, it seems to be the way things are.  Europeans for the most part use bicycling as transportation and aren't bothered with special outfits because it's just a part of normal everyday life of going to the store, running errands or getting to and from work.  Of course there are pro European cyclists who look and dress the part, but everyday people cycle in street clothes over there more than people do over here.

As for me and my bicycle wear, here again is an example of learning about the "why" of something and changing your mind about it.  I swore I wouldn't wear bicycle shorts when I first started riding.  I thought that people wore them to look cool or to look like they were really into the sport and wanted to look the part.  Wrong.  They are worn for comfort, not looks.  If you ride long distances and long hours it keeps you comfortable in the saddle, period.  On rides over an hour, your body thanks you.  In addition to the padding which prevents or minimizes chaffing, the Lycra compresses your muscles as they work hard on long rides.  Your legs actually feel less tired after a long ride when you wear them. They're not exactly attractive and there's really no other reason to wear them.  If I'm out for some serious time in the saddle on long rides I'll wear them and sometimes a jersey too, more for function than anything else.  If you see me bopping around town and running errands, I'm wearing whatever I happen to have on.

Here is a link to the Ride Schwinn Facebook posting about the subject of Helmets on Heads program


  1. I followed your QR here. Congrats on technology! I never wore a helmet as a kid, but I would never go without one now. I'm struggling to get my kids to wear a helmet, it's easier to hop on the bike and go, but I'm working hard to instill the habit in them. Although bicycle helmets likely aren't as safe as other sport related helmets I figure they can't hurt and can help so why not wear them? As for bicycle shorts, yup, once I tried them I've not gone back. Amy

    1. Amy,

      Thank you for your comments and I hope you have success with your kids and helmets. It's great you're being a good role model to them! Technology is an amazing thing.