No matter how young or old you are, riding a bike is one of the best types of all-around exercise. Not only does it get you out of doors into the fresh air and sunshine, allowing you to enjoy the local scenery, but you’ll also find that it’s a great way to spend time with time with friend and family and meet new people as well.

With the cost of gasoline ever increasing, and no doubt only continuing to rise, many people are already trading in some driving time for a bicycle. However, if you happen to be on the fence about taking up cycling, here are a few good reasons to hopefully persuade you to get started.

Health Benefits

Riding a bike provides a great many positive health benefits, including:

  • Lowering your risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even certain cancers.
  • Riding a bike elevates the heart rate and exercises major muscle groups.
  • Enhances your mood and leads to more social interaction, which may contribute to a lowered risk of depression.
  • Preserves and promotes overall physical fitness and an independent lifestyle.
  • Riding a bicycle is low impact, having a minmal amount of stress on the joints compared to other types of exercise.
  • Increases and strengthens muscle, bone and joint tissue while lowering the risk of fall-related injury.
  • Cycling for half an hour each day can reduce your risk of obesity and diabetes by as much as 50%.

Age is Not a Requirement

Even if you feel uncertain about your ability to operate a bicycle, there are safer alternatives available, such as getting a tricycle, or “trike”. There are a variety of high-quality trikes on the market which make keeping your balance, maintining confidence and safety easier while at the same time allowing for all the pleasures and benefits that cycling provides. Since cycling is also low impact and easy on the joints, it makes an ideal form of exercise no matter what your fitness level or age.

Fun for the Whole Family

Cycling is great for your health.Get fit and spend some quality time with the family all at once! Go on a picnic at a nearby park, take a tour of the local scenery or ride out to pay a visit to friends or other family members. Cycling is a perfect and fun way to get everyone in the family into tip-top shape.

Easy on the Wallet

Purchasing a bicycle provides a fantastic return on investment.  You get transportaion, fun and fitness all at once, and when you compare the cost to maintain a bike versus an automobile, it’s a no-brainer way to save some cash.


The freedom to go about on your own that cycling provides can give a big boost to your sense of independence. Make a plan to get outdoors and enjoy the nearby sights and scenery, see a friend or cycle to some local shops.

Increase Quality of Life

Rather than playing video games and seeking entertainment indoors, riding a bike is an enjoyable alternative for kids that gets them outdoors in the fresh air. When kids realize they can have fun exercising, it will encourage them to lead active and healthy lifestyles.

Green Transportation

Riding a bike is not just a smart choice for you, it’s also good for the environment. By riding a bicycle you are helping to cut noise pollution and greenhouse gases caused by automobiles, as well as reducing the amount of traffic on the streets.

Changing the Future

Enjoy the fresh air and sunshine!

Adults can teach kids the proper and safe way to cycle and how to interact with other cyclists and pedestrians. Having a strong foundation at an early age may help encourage kids to use bicycles in the future as a common form of transportion.

Give Confidence a Boost

For information on cycling safety and guidelines, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website for bicycle safety tips.


Can cycling really cause sexual dysfunction in men?

This topic has been increasingly discussed and debated in recent years, but studies do show that men who engange in prolonged bicycle riding without a proper saddle fit may be at risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED), especially in older men. However, this risk is dependent upon several factors, such as weekly number of cycling hours, the cyclist’s weight and skill level, and the bike’s fit.

Erectile Dysfunction – What is it?

Erectile dysfunction (also referred to as “impotence”) is a condition marked by the continual inability to attain or keep an erection firm enough to engage in sexual intercourse. Normally, the cause for ED is health-related, such as heart disease, low testosterone levels, diabetes, atherosclerosis, nerological conditions and chronic alcohol consumption. Smoking, obesity, and an inactive lifestyle are the most common examples.

How Can Bicycles Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Besides the health conditions listed above, there can be physical causes for ED when damage occurs to the nerves, muscles, blood vessels or tissues associated with getting an erection. Long-term perineal pressure (the area between the anus and penis) caused by prolonged cycling in the same saddle position can create this type of damage and lead to temporary ED. However, if the underlying problem is not addressed the damage to penile tissues could become permanent.

Some of the factors which contribute to bicycle-related erectile dysfunction include the style of saddle used, the cyclist’s weight (more weight equals more perineal pressure), and how intense the cycling is. Cyclists who race tend to have a lower risk for developing this type of ED because so much of their body weight is distributed to the pedals, relieving much of the saddle pressure.

What Are the Symptoms of Bicycle ED?

Reduced blood flow to the perineum causes pain, numbness or tingling in the perineum long before men develop ED. If you don’t have problems with pain, numbness or tingling, stop worrying and enjoy your ride. If you do have pain, address the problem before it gets worse.

Some symptoms of constricted perineal bloodflow include pain, tingling or numbness. These signs will manifest well before any ED issues come along. Luckily, for those who do develop symptoms of bicyle erectile dysfunction, reversing the condition before permanent problems occur is not difficult. If you don’t have any of these symptoms, don’t worry about it and enjoy the ride. However, if you do experience any pain or numbness, take the necessary measures to correct it before things get worse.

How to Prevent ED From Cycling

If you’re a guy experiencing numbness, pain or discomfort while riding your bike, try using the tips below:

  • For longer rides, try standing on the pedals every so often to stretch the legs and allow bloodflow to return to normal.
  • Keep in mind to alternate your position often as you ride, by standing and shifting back or forward as necessary.
  • Make adjustments to the saddle in order to minimize pressure points.
  • Try using a “no-nose” seat, or a seat with a cut-out area to eliminate excess perineal pressure.
  • Ironically, seats with a too much padding can actually create more pressure and numbness; use something that’s on the firm side.
  • To avoid unnecessary pressure, remember to always tilt the saddle downward or level, not in an upward postition.
  • Raise the handlebars if necessary in order to prevent leaning forward too much.
  • Make sure to wear high-quality cylcing shorts with a good pad.
  • Position the seat just high enough so your knee is only slighty bent with the pedal

What Type of Bike Saddle to Use

Fortunately, there are more saddle designs and styles to choose from than ever before. One type available is a saddle with a cut out area in the middle which dramatically decreases pressure on the perineum and penile tissues. Studies have shown that this design is effective and many riders have found them to be superior in comfort when compared to traditional seats.

Other seats not only have a cut out middle section, but a nose which faces downward as well. Research has indicated that this design in particular seems to be best at reducing any restriction of penile bloodflow.

Other studies have also shown a benefit from using a wider saddle compared to a narrow one. According to computer analysis, the rider’s weight is more evenly distributed on a wider saddle, reducing more pressure on the perineal area relative to a narrower saddle.

By keeping a few of these guidelines in mind you’ll save yourself from any potential problems down the road and enjoy more comfortable riding, too.

For more information on erectile dysfunction, including male enhancement products and testosterone supplements, visit

Bike Wheels

If you talk to an experienced cyclist about upgrading your bike, I’m fairly certain they would tell you that one of the most important things you can do is to change the wheels. The theory being that a lighter set of wheels will transform the way your bike rides and unlock new levels of performance. So, I thought we might take a closer look to see if wheels really are the best way to invest your money when upgrading your bike.

Rotation Weight

First, let’s discuss the most quoted reason behind the thought that wheels are the best upgrade for your bike: the effective rotating weight. The theory being that the rotating mass of your wheels has an effect three times greater than the equivalent static mass, meaning that saving 50 grams from your wheelset would be like saving 150 grams from your frame.

Unfortunately though, that’s only partly true, because rotating weight has no greater or lesser effect on the power that it takes to sustain a speed, even when climbing, than the equivalent static weight. That’s not to say that it has no effect at all – It does. Saving any weight at all from your bike will enable you to climb faster.


However, the greatest benefit from lighter weight comes when accelerating and decelerating. It takes less energy to get a lighter pair of wheels up to speed than a heavier pair, making them more responsive. So, from a standing start, I will save about 0.1 seconds by the time I get to 30 kilometers an hour. And that’s about an entire bike length.

It might not sound like much but it will certainly add up over the course of a three-hour ride. And in a race, it can be the difference between winning and losing.


You wouldn’t think that kind of minimal difference would be detectable out on the road. But even swapping out an already decent set of wheels with better ones can make a difference. Your bike will feel faster, climb well, and generally handle much better, but the difference might not be coming from the reduction in weight but actually from a significant improvement in aerodynamics.

You see, the wheels generally represent about 10% to 15% of your total aerodynamic drag, although it can be as little as 0% or as much as 20%. That might not sound like all that much, but if you swap out your wheels for a really aerodynamic pair, you might be able to reduce that figure by about 25%, meaning that your total aerodynamic drag would reduce by about 2% to 3%.

And that’s not to be sniffed at. Generally, aerodynamics will have an effect that’s much greater on your speed than weight, although the exact nature of your route or course will determine that. But if you combine the right set of wheels that are both lightweight and aerodynamic, then your bike is going to be significantly faster on just about any course.

Comparing to Other Upgrades

Clearly, though, we need to put this in the context of other upgrades you can make to your bike. First of all, I’m going to discount training aids like a power meter, because although these can make a huge difference, they rely on you putting the work in over a long period of time in order to actually make those gains, and ultimately make you faster.

I’m also going to discount a bike fit, because although those are undeniably a good investment for your cycling, it’s not exactly an upgrade. What about tires though? A well-chosen tire can save a good few watts of rolling resistance. In fact, the difference between a really good tire and a garbage tire can be as much as 20 watts at 40 kilometers an hour, and that’s per wheel.

Similarly, changing parts of your bike to increase your comfort is quite a good idea. So swapping your handlebars and saddle, even your seat post if you’re suffering on the bike, could be a worthwhile investment. But while it might help you get more out of yourself on the bike, it’s not actually making the bike itself go any faster.

Gears are a common upgrade, given that they wear out anyway and regularly need replacing. But it has to be said that (from my experience) there isn’t really any performance benefit when it comes to replacing gears with more expensive ones, when done on a component by component basis. But what is undeniably a performance upgrade is maintaining what you’ve already got.

So upgrading some of your hardware and replacing parts as-and-when needed will keep your bike running smoothly and efficiently, therefore making you faster.


But despite all of this, there is one last factor to take into consideration: aesthetics. Now, many of you will feel that making decisions based on aesthetics is silly. And technically speaking, that’s true, but I’m going to respectfully disagree. To me, aesthetics do matter.

Your bike may looks good with standard wheels, but replacing them makes the bike look seriously cool. I would be proud to open my garage to a bike that looks amazing. And that’s value to me should not be underestimated, because perceptions and emotions have very real bearing on performance.

Humans are emotional, and emotions affect performance. Feeling good is a great way to go faster.


So, are wheels the most important upgrade? Well, short of keeping on top of your bike maintenance (which really isn’t an upgrade at all), then yes, I think wheels do have the biggest bearing on the performance of your bike. Tires for rolling resistance, lightweight for lower inertia, and improved aerodynamics for outright speed. However, whether or not a set of wheels that cost more than your entire bike will make your bike perform better than a new and more expensive one is a matter for debate.

Every so often, your bike will need a thorough cleaning. This includes putting your bike on a stand, degreasing the drivetrain and thoroughly cleaning everything.

Here’s a video showing how you can give your bike a deep cleaning, including how to degrease the drivetrain. It should only take you about half an hour to do, and will have your bike looking pretty much like new again.

A guy wrote to the me list saying he was giving up on riding long distance. Lets call him TOC, for “tired of centuries”. Hed ridden two 100 mile rides, finishing one in 8 hours and the other in 7:30. After each he was really tired.

Ahem. I wonder what it is like to ride that fast? I remembered my first century ride, the Salem Bicycle Clubs Watermelon Ride. It took 13 hours. That time did include a wrong turn for some bonus miles over a hill and into a headwind, running out of water with miles left before the final rest stop and then spending over an hour there. That was followed by eight miles or so straight into a 20mph headwind that had arrived in the afternoon. There was also more time spent lying on the grass in a city park, getting up the wherewithal to keep going. After that ride I was really tired. I was also happy that I hadnt taken a short cut to the end of the ride. Id gone the distance.

My initial response to TOC was to point out how quickly he’d ridden. Extremely fast for a first time century rider. Today I sent him another email. This one included more reasons for continuing with long rides.

A bit more on centuries. I rode 128.7 miles yesterday. It took 11:40 ride time and 13:19 wall time. Today Im disinclined to move. Maybe it was the 1000 foot climb from the Columbia Gorge to the plateau over the river. Maybe it was the additional 3000 feet needed to climb up to the unnamed summit on USFS road 23. Maybe it was the 600 foot climb out of the Lewis river. Probably not. I think the tiredness comes from the final climb, 1500 feet starting with over three miles at 7.5%.

Not much can compare to a well earned 26 mile 2780 foot descent.

The views of Mounts Adams, Hood and St. Helens were stunning. The wildflowers were beautiful. Riding in the shade of tall pines and firs refreshing.

None of this would have been possible had I given up after that first 13 hour century ride.

There was 7970 feet of elevation gain on that route. While climbing the last one, the 7.5% one, I contemplated which of my systems was giving out. The legs? The lungs? The will to push them to more discomforting efforts? That contemplation became moot when I crested the summit and started downhill. Frequent pulses of the brakes kept my speed down in the comfort zone for the initial switchback descent. Not fun to throw away the gained energy. Then I hit the straight stretches with very mild downgrade and kept the bike moving along at a brisk pace. This was much more to my liking. In retrospect the worst part of the final climb was thinking about its difficulty while doing it. Well, that and dropping my bike one of the times when I got off to walk.

As I wrote to TOC, none of this would have happened had I given up.


If you’re like most people, you know you should get a little more (maybe a lot more) exercise than what your current routine includes. The trouble is, many people have a hard time deciding what activity will give them the exercise they need without costing a fortune or leading to boredom. Forget that gym membership you will never use and don’t worry about buying just the right piece of fancy equipment. Get up, go out to the garage, and get out your old bicycle.

One of the best exercises you can find to get yourself out the door and moving is bike riding. Most of us learned how to ride when we were children, but when we discovered the joys and convenience of a driver’s license, many a great bike landed in the garage without a second thought. Today is the day to think again.

Cycling can be done anywhere– Whether you live in a city or out in the middle of nowhere, you can hop on a bike and be getting some quality exercise in minutes. Bike riding can help with your balance, give you a cardiovascular workout and add in some much-needed relaxation without much in the way of special equipment. While a helmet is a wise investment, you can wear any comfortable clothing and your tennis shoes and be on your way.

Biking is a terrific family exercise. Even the baby can join in by simply adding a carrier to the back of one of the adult’s bike. Many families regularly cycle together, enjoying the bonding time as well as the exercise.

For the truly adventurous, mountain biking can add a whole new element of fun and activity to this once routine sport. With the wider tires on a mountain bike, much more challenging terrain can be explored without the risk of injury. Mountain biking doesn’t need to involve mountains at all- it is perfectly acceptable to take your mountain bike on the same trails you used to hike on. Many communities are building mountain biking trails that offer plenty of challenging countryside at a variety of skill levels.

Whether you are mountain biking or road biking, you can easily step up your daily physical activity and enjoy the great outdoors on two wheels. Go on out to the garage- you know you left a bike out there- what are you waiting for? Get on your bike and ride.


Here are a few tips to make your rides much more pleasant and enjoyable:

  1. Signal your approach to pedestrians, especially if they’re old. A bell is better than “On your left!”. “Good Morning” or “Afternoon” or “Hello!” in your most friendly voice is even better. Old people, or boomers who busted their hearing with loud music might not hear the bell.
  2. At least once a year change something on your bike to jostle your complacency.
  3. If you ride with groups slip to the back and join the conversation there once in awhile.
  4. Set your bike computer so you can’t tell how fast you’re going. Use duct tape if necessary.
  5. Bark back at the dogs, moo at the cows.
  6. Count the critters on a ride.
  7. Listen for the wing beat of a bird as you ride alongside it.
  8. Sing like you’re in the shower, if you don’t sing in the shower use this as a chance to sing.
  9. Volunteer to ride with someone who doesn’t ride or doesn’t ride very often. Don’t tell them how to ride, just be there. Well, maybe remind them to stop at stop signs and the like.

You say that you are safe, and that you will notice, and stop for a little kid; but your keen observational skills missed 7 cops wearing safety yellow.

The speaker was a cop. He was speaking to a bicycle rider while writing a ticket for running a stop sign. The statement occurred during a recent sting operation in Portland’s Ladds Addition. The message, or the $242 ticket, got through to the rider. Since then he’s been “super careful” about stopping at all stop signs. This behavior has generated a couple of comments from pedestrians. As the rider tells the story “twice pedestrians have told me that I was one of a very select few that actually stopped to let them cross at a stop sign.” The comments from the pedestrians have caused the rider to wonder just how safe he used to be. He thought he was riding safely, giving pedestrians space as they deserve. Now that he’s actually stopping, he’s being told he’s riding safely.

Anyone commented on your riding lately?

Robert Hurst, an urban cyclist with over 150,000 miles and 15,000 hours of experience, has contributed to the literature of bicycling with his book The Art of Urban Cycling: Lessons from the Street. This book provides a history of 20th century transportation in the United States; a catalog of surfaces (pavement, potholes, railroad tracks, curbs, pavement deformations, and more) found in the urban environment; a comprehensive guide to riding in traffic; an overview of common injuries; some thoughts on air pollutions and finishes up with equipment descriptions including an entire chapter devoted to Punctures and Flat Tires.


The Art of Urban Cycling

First, my largest complaint about the book. Robert ensures the reader understands the inherent dangers of cycling. No where else have I read such a dispassionate series of descriptions and warnings about the potential of harm while riding. I fear that some readers may become overwhelmed by his descriptions and put the book down without finishing it. Such a reader will be doubly damned. They will have a heightened fear of riding. They will also not benefit from the nearly 100 pages of sound, concrete advice for how to mitigate the dangers and ride safely.

At its core the book is about safely riding in urban settings. The section In Traffic includes 36 chapters on facets of riding starting with Beyond Vehicular Cycling including sections on Vigilance, The Invisible Cyclist, Four Way Stops, Left Turns, Corner Cutters, Hand Signals, Riding a Straight Line and concluding with Riding with Others. Each chapter examines the subject and describes areas of cautions and safe approaches to the matter at hand. Taken together they form a comprehensive guide. The book’s section on flats and punctures is also comprehensive. The section on equipment largely dodges the issue of what, but does cover the most important elements with information on fit, clothing, tools and luggage. The end of the book includes an extensive bibliography directing the reader to further resources.

The advice and techniques Robert describes are sound and provide a solid foundation for riding. If you have not read this book buy it or check it out from the library. I followed up my library check out with a purchase so I may keep a copy in the house as a reference book.

Here are a few snips from the book to whet your appetite for it:

Blame Versus Responsibility

The word “blame” came to the English language by way of the Latin word blasphemare, meaning “to blaspheme.” The Old English version of the verb “to blame” had a very negative connotations. It implied dishonesty. Blame had roughly the same meaning as malign or libel. Somewhere …[blame] became quite respectable — not a proud or useful moment in human history. … The proliferation of blame is rather useless for urban cycling. Blame is what happens when it’s already too late. … Thinking in terms of blame while out on the road is a perfect example of self-fulfilling prophecy. Blame is dangerous.

the most effective way for a cyclist to stay out of trouble on city streets is to forget entirely about the possibility of blaming others and to take on full responsibility for his or her own safety. …

From now on — if some bastard breaks every law in the book and runs you over in the process, it will be your fault and nobody else’s. That is the meaning of true freedom. That is how we will keep such disasters from happening in the first place.

Route Choice

Know that your urban-cycling experience should not be marked by frequent conflict. Occasional conflict, sure. But the ride should actually be pleasant. No yelling. Not fist shaking. No screaming in terror. Every commute should be a bit of a vacation. If it’s not, perhaps a little creative route finding can solve the problem.

Running Green Lights Do not go gentle into that intersection, oh urban cyclist. Got a green light? So what. (Then check out his chapters on running red lights and stop signs.)

Positioning in Heavy Traffic

Cars and trucks are kind of like bulls at a rodeo. As long as we can avoid the business ends of the beasts we can contend with them quite easily. We can mess with them and use them as our toys. But if we get careless — horn up the yang.

The chapter Panic Stops is a gem that reviews the physics of bicycle braking and explains how a bicyclist with practice can achieve remarkable short stops and even turn during hard braking. Robert describes in great detail how to come to a hard, controlled stop in as little distance as possible. This lesson alone is worth the monetary cost of the book or the time spent reading it. The chapter concludes:

It is good to master all versions of the panic stop, but it is better to anticipate problems well ahead of time and to avoid situations where problems elude anticipation. Panic stops are a symptom of cyclists’ mistakes. Riders who have mastered the art of anticipation rarely have to flash their most serious stopping skills. The riders who know best how to execute panic stop are the riders who least often need to. Youth is wasted on the young, and experience is often wasted on the experienced.

If you ride, read this book. If you know a rider who has not read this book encourage them to do so.