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Sixth, ride well; by that I mean, have a nice comfortable relaxed position on the bike, assuming the bike fits your well. By that I mean, you should have a relaxed balanced position with your weight divided between your seat, your pedals and your bars. It doesn’t matter if you ride a mountain bike, a road bike with drop bars which most people prefer on the road, or a cheapo department store bike. In every case, your weight will be divided between these three points of contact to make yourself comfortable.

Seventh, and very, very importantly, pedal well! What do I mean by Pedal Well! Peddling well has two components. These two secrets of good peddling are actually what separates the professional rider from the struggling goof ball! If you pay attention to these two peddling secrets, you will ride like a pro too! These two are, first, pedal smoothly and strive to make perfect circles with your feet. To do this, relax your whole body and pedal in an easy gear so you don’t have to “push” on the pedals. When a foot on one side reaches the bottom of the pedal stroke, pull back on the pedal as if you were scrapping mud off the bottom of your shoe. This keeps the pedals rotating smoothly and avoids any dead spots in the pedal rotation. Certainly this is easier if you have toe clips holding your shoe to the pedal, and easier still if you are mechanical clips holding your shoe to the pedal. Don’t worry about being able to get out of clips. After a couple rides, this comes natural.

The second component of the peddling secret is to keep your pedal revolutions relatively high. The pace or speed of pedal revolution is called “cadence”. You want to keep your cadence around 100 rpm for most fun rides. How do you know what 100 rpm feels like? It is fairly brisk. You don’t want to be whizzing along like a sugar-crazed kid on a tricycle caroming off the furniture. But you don’t want to be laboring either. Find your happy medium. The reasons for a high cadence are many. You will avoid knee stress or knee injury. You will build strength in your knees, ankles, well, all parts of your legs. You will be able to accelerate easily on the flats and climb hills, simply by keeping your cadence or spin up. If you want to go faster, you simply spin faster. You breathe easier while spinning briskly, and you heart works better as it is not straining. Your blood is flowing well into all parts of your body and especially into all parts of your legs. So pedal smooth and pedal briskly, energetically, but lightly, relaxed.

Eighth, and here a secret that many cyclists do not know, but most eventually learn, even though some never learn it: Get out of your comfort zone! Unlike in show business where you want to shorten things up and leave them wanting more, in cycling, in planning and dong rides, the most benefit will be obtained by you and for you when you go on a ride and 2/3rds the way through it, you wish you were home! Do you see what I am talking about. This is one way of getting you our of your comfort zone. Only by being pushed somehow to get out of your comfort zone will you be able to get to a great fitness level. Similarly, get out of your comfort zone by sometimes going out when you don’t seem to feel like it. But once you are on the bike, you are enjoying yourself after all.  And you will be comfortable being outside of your comfort zone!  That applies to most things in life.

Group rides are a great way to push yourself, or get pulled, out of your comfort zone. Your bike shop is a great source for info on group rides. Pick a group ride that is appropriate for your ability and level. Don’t start with a century 100-miler. If you start with a fast group, you will be dropped as fast as a whistle blower is shunned by his co-workers. Then you will be riding alone, anyway.  Fast group rides come later after you get the basics. Just ride,for now, no matter what the weather.

But you can always make allowances for the weather, or work around it. If it rains a lot in your area, if you live in Seattle, for example, get some biking rain gear at the bike shop. If it is cold, bundle up, and please use current high tech clothing. If it is going to be a 100 degree Texas-hot day, get out early in the morning. If you hear or see that it is going to rain later on today, get going early. If it is storming now, wait it out.

I hope these eight secrets of fitness through cycling have helped you.

Remember, 

1) ride and enjoy the elements outside,

2) maintain your bike,

3) dress for comfort during the ride,

4) plan your route for your ride,

5) ride regularly; find ways and do things like group ride to encourage yourself to ride regularly,

6) ride well, that is, ride relaxed and in a comfortable balanced position,

7) pedal well, pedal smoothly, at a medium cadence of around 100prm,

8) get out of your comfort zone!

When you see a cyclist go by, make a mental note. Are they using these 8 secrets of biking? Or just some? Or in some cases, none? You people struggling all the time, uncomfortable, inappropriately dressed, on poorly maintained bike, riding less than optimal routes on poor roads with too much traffic, struggling in a heavy slow gear, who are not enjoying themselves.

Please, please, please, put into practice these eight secrets of cycling and you will be so happy you did. You will live better, longer, and happier, and have a sparkle in your eyes!  Even if you use only some of these secrets, you are off to a great start. If you put them all into practice, you will look like a pro, feel like a pro, and ride like a pro. Happy cycling!

If you have enjoyed this short introduction to the world of cycling, please buy my $7 report entitled The Complete Guide to Cycling, available as soon as it is finished.  To be the first to receive notices and updates about the guide, please send an email to admin@michael-holcomb.com to join my mailing list if you have not already opted in.  Thanks, and again, happy cycling. 

Third: Comfortable!  Let’s focus on your comfort for a minute. You will need a few things to be comfortable and to enjoy your bike ride. If you are not enjoying it, you won’t be doing it very often! You need comfortable and safe clothing. Please do not wear a bulky jacket or shirt that will billow out like a sail and tend to force you to go every which way but in the way you want to go! Occasionally, you see folks wearing a bulky jacket. They are being pushing around by the wind, and are struggling big time to make any progress at all, down the road. You are not sailing a boat; you are peddling a bicycle for fun and fitness.  Also, if you start with a bulky jacket, it will become uncomfortably warm very quickly as you exercise.  Start wearing your thin layers, appropriate for your weather that day, and very quickly you will warm up and be comfortable!

 

Please buy bike shorts with a padded crotch and a jersey with pockets in back from a bike shop or by mail order. Bike shops are the best source of bike clothes because they offer endless free advice and the chance to see and in most cases try on the merchandise before you buy. You might get a small discount from mail order but they certainly do not offer the personalized service that your local bike shop does. If the weather is cool, buy a biking jacket from the shop, perhaps a discontinued one if your budget is tight. The jacket will be form fitting, but not tight, wind resistant and water resistant but will breathe so you don’t create an unbearable sauna and sweat to exhaustion.

 

Be sure and have a clean bottle full of fresh water in your water bottle cage and keep hydrated, that is, drink some before you become totally dehydrated. Eat what you like before the ride and carry a convenient snack like an energy bar in a back pocket. Now you are energized, you feel good, look good, and your bike sings. Let’s go riding.

 

Fourth, Planning!  Think about your route and the time you have for your ride before you depart, and make adjustments accordingly. Preferable pick a time when vehicle traffic on the road is minimal, such as 9am or even earlier on Saturday or Sunday morning. That is time when you see lots of bikers out and racing teams training. Riders who ride a lot pick the best times and places to ride, and so should you.

Of course, riding 20 minutes every day is better for you than riding 6 hours once a month, but your busy schedule or inclement weather probably are dominant factors as to when you can ride.

 

Your local bike shop, once again, is a fountain of information about good bike roads in your area. They offer ride guides, ride announcements, and often function as a place for riders to congregate, meet each other and start rides from. On your ride, when you see other riders stopped for water or taking a break along the way, stop and say hi and be friendly. Ask about their recommendation for routes, and advice on anything. Sometimes you will find they bought their bike at a bike shop you never heard of, one that is a great new source for you.

 

Fifth, make your riding a regular activity. While you may not have time for longer weekend rides, you can always pull out your bike after work, weather and daylight permitting, and ride one of your favorite routes for about an hour.

 

One hour after work three times a week is ideal. You will continually get fitter, breath easier, walk easier, sleep better. When you bike, you are doing ideal aerobic exercise. Your heart pumps fast and irrigates every part of your body with fresh blood. Every organ, especially your brain, gets rinsed with fresh blood. Waste products are carried away, and nutrition-rich blood goes into every cell, renewing your body, helping it function better. Everything you do, from work to sex is better when you are fit and healthy.

 

Getting fit and keeping fit should be fun! Before I began cycling regularly, exercise was a chore I suffered through. I might go to a grueling indoor spinning class, which, granted, was a great workout, but afterward, I went home and ate twice the calories I just burned off! And I didn’t go back! At least not for a while. Indoor classes can be fun, especially in the winter, with great music blasting but read on.

At one time, I also struggling to lift heavy iron dumbbells assembled from worn-out 4-8-4 steam locomotives.  I felt pretty beat up when the session was over so I let my gym membership lapse!

Finally over a long time and a lot of trial and error, I learned these 8 secrets of cycling and I am happy to pass them on to you here, one day at a time.

Listen, the first secret to fitness on a bicycle is to make the ride fun, fun, fun, by riding outdoors, any time of day, and focus on having fun! You are outdoors in the elements, often sunny and warm, at least in summer. It may not be perfect. There may be some wind, some clouds, perhaps a cool bite to the air or a threat of rain. Often there is traffic on the road to be careful of.  Sure, there will be obstacles along the way, but they are all easily overcome.  Be sure and listen to your body.  Start each ride peddling very easy in order to warm up.  If you have an injury or are super sore, ice it.  I keep a bag of frozen corn in the freezer that corforms easily to any sore body part.  Eat well, plenty of whole grains like brown rice, cous cous, quinoa and bulgar, as well as plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Bonus tip: if the other vehicle is bigger than you are and wants to go first, let them! This is a rule of the sea, by the way, that the larger vessel has the right of way, and is an unwritten law on land too. So please keep that in mind. Don’t be like my friend who got in a fight with a bus and lost!

The second secret, something that is almost always neglected, is to keep up on the maintenance of your bike. For a ride to be fun, your bike must be in good shape and working properly. If you haven’t ridden in a while and the bike doesn’t shift properly or is making strange noises, take it to your local bike shop. While you are there, ask them if they will look at you while sitting on the bike and tell you if the seat needs adjusting or if you need a longer or shorter stem. You may even look around and be tempted to get a new bike. If you do, be sure it fits you. Consider paying for a professional fitting. All bike shops offer a fitting, often free with the purchase of a new bike. For now, we want to have a good ride on your current bike. Soon, you may want to upgrade, and I will give you great tips on that too.

Remember what they say about dressing for work or to go out on the town, “if you look good, you feel good”! This too applies to biking. The appearance of your bike affects how we feel and enjoy ourselves on the ride. It helps a lot if your bike is working smoothly and quietly, like a new car. Like every vehicle, a bike must be maintained, but that is not much work!

Maintenance is easier if you keep up with it and not ignore it. For example, I keep a fairly clean rag where I keep my bike. After every ride, I wipe the oily film of dust and grime off my chain, and wipe the film and grit off the 2 rear derailleur pulley wheels too. I might even pass a clean rag over the frame to keep it shining.

Once in a while, I spend twenty minutes cleaning the frame with soap and water, and cleaning the chain, chain rings in front and cassette in back with a used tooth brush and some handy solvent. I have seen some chains that seem to be bonded with grime. For that you need a brush and lots of solvent. For solvent, I have used diesel fuel, turpentine, solvent purchased from a bike shop, and even olive oil! The chain and the rings or cassette parts really need to be clean for your bike to shift properly and ride smoothly. So please wipe the chain off after every ride. It is surprising how easy this is and how well it works as a key maintenance item.  More secrets tomorrow…


How Can We Make Money On Line!

Like the weather, everyone has something to say about internet marketing, but no one seems to do anything about it!

OK.  Let’s question google about ways to get into internet marketing.  Entering google a query about making money online, we find answers such as blogging, list-building, affiliate marketing, developing your own information products and a zillion ads for the same.  Since we can’t do everything, darn it, we must specialize!

Specialize!  Easy for you to say, but not so easy to do, perhaps,  like most things.  So, the path to specialization is to search the niches, search, search, search and research, and persue that which you are passionate about, knowledgeable about, excited about, and share this knowledge to help others.  Share it with a blog or by writing an ebook.  When you offer great information, advice and tips, links, articles, and ideas, people are going to be attracted to you and will gladly buy your products and services.

Specialize!  We live in an age of specialization!  No one can know everything about everything.  So we must know everything about one thing, one tiny area of expertise!  Narrow down your searces for information.  Focus on your passions.  And you will become an expert!  You are an expert, really.  You just did not know it!

 

 

My friend, Stuart Turnbull, at www.stuart-turnbull.com, has written a great ebook on how to use WordPress to create a blog and then edit it so that it looks like a static high-dollar custom Web Site!  It’s a great way to go to get a high quality web site by building it yourself.  For now this eBook is free to download here:  http://www.wordpress2website.com/19111501.pdf

In our current economy ( and when is the “current eonomy” not a challenging one?), we have to keep paddling, upstream, downstream, across stream, any-which-away-stream, to keep our heads above water, it seems.  So here is a cool product that has great usefulness to a lot of people.  I will be using it myself.

When you feel like this, know that we have all felt that way!  Not every day, hopefully.  But once in a while, yes!

What to do?  Just pick yourself up, climb out of bed, look in the mirrow and smile!  It works every time.

For every problem, there is a solution!  Just google it!  Hey, you google me, and I’ll google you!  That’s a fair deal!

And hey, if you don’t find the answers to your problems on google, look on YouTube!  Surely you will find something there helpful…or at least entertaining.

I am here to Blog, entertain, help and, yes, to make money.  I am a marketer.  I market products, services, real estate, all the necesities of life.  I help you find what is exactly right for you.  Email me your wants and needs at admin@michael-holcomb.com or post them below for our review.

Although when people first offer to help you, you don’t know if they are lying or telling the truth.  But you soon learn what they are up to, hopefully before you are out too much money, if they are into negative things.  But still, every experience is a learning experience.  Truly.  And everything is for the best.  These are eternal truths, if there are such things.  Or simple observations, if you will. Even better, self-fullfilling prophecies.  Those are the best kinds.

 

A Goal is Dream with a Deadline!

I can guess what you might want: how about a new career as an internet marketer making six figures or more per year?  Am I right?  Would this be for you?  Ok.  This would not be too bad an option, but how in the world is one to get into it?  Where does one start?

Most people start by learning all they can from articles, ezines, posts, emails, and, very importanly, buying internet products specifically designed to help them more forward into internet marketing, as least according to the sellers of the products.

But unfortunately, many products purchased don’t seem to contribute to one’s bottom line or move one’s internet business forward at all.  Bummer.  So what is one to do?  Give up?  No, although many people do just that.  I mean, the idea of making $100,000 a year from one’s home computer is certainly a tempting image.  Can it this idea or ,can I say, GOAL be attained.  Is it realistic?

Hey, a lot of people have attained that very same goal!  More people have tried and failed than have succeeded.  So why do some succeed where others fail?  I would say there are two factors at work: EDUCATION and DETERMINATION.

Determination is something you have to provide.  But I think it is easy to be determined if you have help: if you have continuous reinforcement, are making great progress in many ways, and are on your way to success.

Eduication, on the other hand, is very difficult to produce by oneself.  This is where I can help you.  My GOAL is to provide you a set of 4 to 6 educational products by this  Dec 15th (2011) that you can purchase for under 10 dollars, and learn tons!

So stay tuned!

 

Holiday Marketing is upon us…

Nowadays, in our consumer age, every holiday is seen as a field day for marketers.  Perhaps the holidays were created by marketers; I don’t know.  The history of holidays goes way back, back to when holidays were weather-centric, weather created.  If a blizzard hit, voila’, you had a holiday. A typhoon coming ashore, everyone hunkers down.

But now, living in a 24-hour media blitz called the modern world, we often let the shrill calls to buy pass over our heads.  But at the same time, a shopper’s holiday such as Black Friday gives a chance to find some bargains, and pick up another TV or new computer on sale!  Why not.  How to sift thorough the piles of stuff coming at us?  This is where bloggers come in.  We spend the time and the effort to go though the details, read the specs, study the reviews, and come up with good solid recommendations based on our research, and often personal experience.  So find a blogger you trust, and go along for the ride.  Hopefully the good will outweigh the bad.  Remember, nobody is perfect.  But some people are trustworthy, looking out for your interests; others are not. It is up to your good judgment to find a good voice, and keep in touch!

 

 

The best things in life are…

As the song goes, “The best things in life are free…”, and this is so true today.  If you really love someone, the best thing you can give them is you, your presence, your attention, your love.  There is no amount of gold or diamonds in the world that is worth one minute of someone’s love.  We get so caught up in the pursuit of material things, when the most important thing is this world is each other.  It is so good to remember this on Thanksgiving Eve, 2011.  Perhaps families that fight is not the best place to find love, but if you give love, you will surely get love.  Desire, attraction, an intense presence, a heightened state of awareness, all are manifestations of that thing called love.  I don’t know if love makes the world go round, but it can sure get you into a heap of trouble, or lost in a wonderful world of communicating and sharing!  And the person that benefits the most and learns the most is you, when you give all you have to give!  The more you love, the more giving you are, the more intense and real the whole experience becomes.  So open yourself up to love and let love work its wonders!

Black Friday

On tuesday before Thanksgiving, the excitement is building!  Are we excited about having our Thanksgiving in a few days?  Maybe.  But more so, it seems, we are excited to be drooling over not food, but the huge number of products available from Amazon.com, Ebay, Target, Tiger Direct, and all the other on-line marketers, products that will be available at cut rate, or should I say, cut throat, prices on the infamous Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.  Giant Flat Screen TVs for $199!  Blenders, toasters, heaters, coolers, warmers, thawers, massagers, and more, all available cheap, cheap, cheap, this coming Friday, Black Friday!

It is going to be great!!

Unfortunately some people get carried away and line up in the cold, in the wee hours, to be first in line to rush in to a store when it opens at 6am or 4 am on Black Friday!  And the pushing and shoving to reach the discounted advertised products is infamous, and certainly ridiculous.  But being in a crowd can bring out the worst in anybody.

Still, after a day of sitting inside, stuffing yourself with food, and watching american football for house on end, a day out of the house is a welcome break.  Especially if the weather is nice.

 

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