I haven't had time to post much, simply because pretty much all of my free time these days is spent biking around Ottawa like a fiend. I've said before that I think biking in Ottawa is probably one of the funnest things to do ever. And I still stand by that. You get to see so many neat spots that you wouldn't normally see from a car. Plus it's great exercise. I can already feel my legs shaping up and de-celluliting. ;)
But before I met Charles, I wasn't one to bike around by myself. It intimidated me. And I didn't want to pull a classic clutz move and fall over or get hit by a car. Plus if all you see is those spandex-wearing road bikers around, you may get the impression that in order to bike, you have to do like them. When in Rome right? Wrong. I feel like I can have just as much fun biking as well as not compromising my fashion instincts.
It does help too that my boyfriend is literally a biking guru. The other day he fixed something on my handlebars WHILE I WAS STILL RIDING THE BIKE. So every time we go out riding he teaches me something new. And slowly but surely I am gaining SUPER COOL bike riding SKILLZZZ.
Here are some tips that I've found super helpful!!
1. DO NOT BIKE IN SANDALS
As much as my gut tells me, "It's summer, your toenails look cute, get some strappy sandals and go!", I need to resist. There have been times when pedaling that my foot has either slipped off the pedals or I've scraped my big toe on the pavement. And every time that's happened, I've been glad to be wearing Keds instead of my favourite Steve Madden gladiators. Gotta protect your piggies! Talking about protecting your toes and feet brings me to my next tip...
2. Pedal with the balls of your feet.
If you pedal with the arch of your foot taking up the most real estate on the pedal, you aren't really optimizing your muscles and it's harder on your knees. The balls of your feet are the strongest part. So you should pedal with them slightly ahead of the axle of the pedal. Plus if the balls of your feet are near the centre, then your toes aren't hanging over the edge and you're less likely to do the toe-pavement scrapey thing.
3. Bumpy road? PEDALS LEVEL
One thing Charles always stresses, as a mountain biker, is to keep your pedals level. I try to make it a habit, if taking a break from pedaling is to bend both my legs and keep the pedals level, or stand up keeping the pedals level. That way, if there's a giant rock or a giant pot-hole, you won't accidentally snag your pedal on it and embarrass yourself.
4. Curb hopping, LEAN BACK.
A lot of the times when we're riding our bikes, we tend to switch from road to sidewalk. I know, I know, you aren't REALLY supposed to be biking on the sidewalk, but sometimes the road is just too much for me. Recently, (as in yesterday) Charles taught me that the trick to riding your bike up the curb is to just simply, lean back. It's truly magical. Before, I would have to awkwardly stop, pull my bike up the curb and then re-position myself and start biking again. Being able to just lean back and keep going is a total game changer!
5. Wear shorts that BREATHE
I am not one to wear skirts on my bike. I am far too concerned about showing the world more than I'd like to. But at the same time, we usually go out to dinner, or stop at the mall during our rides, so wearing some Adidas soccer shorts are out of the question too. I usually opt for some soft, breathable cutoffs and a cute top. Nothing is worse than having to adjust your clothes all the time.
Anyways folks, I hope you all have fabulous long weekends!! And if you have any bike riding tips or cool tricks to teach me, let me know! Like I said, I am totally down with improving my skills!