The 1 Reason You Aren’t Riding Your Bike and What To Do About It

Is fear keeping you from reaching your cycling goals?

Well, you are not alone. Riding on the road, even a low-traffic country road, can be terrifying. You’ve seen the headlines and you are afraid of crashing.

But here’s the deal: Accidents happen because there is risk in every activity we do.

Do you run on the road? Do you drive a car? Do you walk down stairs?

Trust me, I know how you feel because I, too, have a fear of riding my road bike. My pretty bicycle sits on a trainer in my living room. I feel guilty every time I look at it.

Read this Before You Do Anything

You may have seen the statistics about riding bikes and how it is safe compared to so many other things we do, such as commuting. I’ve read them, too. Doesn’t work.

Go read this blog post at Over the Bars. The author is a certified and an insured bicycle safety instructor and a traffic safety professional who studies crash statistics. He also rides a bike every day…and is alive to write about it.bike fed logo

Go read the post, then come back.

You Probably Already Know What You Have To Do

Did you read the blog post yet? So are our fears based in reality or are they simply a result of sensational media coverage? Although, articles like the one at Over the Bars are helpful, there’s really only one way to get over your fear of road riding.

The only real way to overcome a fear is to face it. You must start riding your bike outside.

You already knew this, didn’t you?

Before you begin riding outside, learn and understand bicycle safety, of course. Even a little education can help calm anxieties. You can find cycling safety tips on our 2Toms Knowledge Base by clicking here.

When you are educated, take your bike outside. And start small.

Go for a 5- or 10-minute ride on a paved trail in a closed parking lot or somewhere else cars are not allowed. Gradually increase your time riding outside using this safer-feeling option.

When you’re comfortable, try riding on the road for a few minutes. Even 5 minutes. And gradually increase your time. Baby steps.

HelpGuide.org, a non-profit organization that offers resources to help people resolve health challenges, calls this baby-step process a “fear ladder.”

Be consistent. Practice.

The more you ride outside, the less scary it will seem and it won’t be long before you’re commuting to work…on your bike!


How to Get that Stinky Smell Out of Shoes and Sports Gear

How to Get that Stinky Smell Out of Shoes and Sports Gear

Well, it’s fall and back-to-school time! And, if you are a parent (or if you are reading this and are in school, yourself), then you know it’s also back-to-sports time.

You also know that means it is back to washing some seriously stinky socks and uniforms, and dealing with smelly shoes and sports gear.  Ugh!

You don’t have to have a child in sports, though. My kindergartner comes home with some pretty stinky feet after wearing his shoes all day, playing on the playground and riding on the hot bus.

You don’t want your house smelling like a locker room. And you don’t want to send your child to his or her game with stinky gear. Washing uniforms and socks is easier, of course, since you can throw them in the wash.

(Click here to learn more about Stink Free Sports Detergent.)

But what to do about the stuff you can’t throw in the washing machine? Getting the odor out of running shoes, or off of soccer shin guards or hockey pads seems more difficult.

That’s exactly why 2Toms created Stink Free Spray.

Stink Free is a shoe deodorizer that also works on sports gear and even in gym bags and lockers. You can spray it on anything that is hard to wash.

It’s safe to use on leather, canvas, satin and denim shoes, in work or riding boots, on hockey and football pads, in helmets, and on motorcycle gear—anything that smells, really.

Stink Free Spray uses a formula that doesn’t just mask the odors caused by sweat, it completely eliminates it.  And Stink Free does not use perfume in its formula. Once the spray dries, there is no smell at all.

If you’ve ever thrown something out, or thought about throwing something out, because it smelled and you didn’t know how to wash it, then you definitely need to try this.

For example, let’s say your husband wore his expensive fur-lined Crocs on a hot day in the summer…with no socks on. Just a hypothetical. But you’ll be glad you have some of 2Toms’s Stink Free Spray.

Go here to learn more and read more about Stink Free Spray.


4 Ways for Cyclists to Use ButtShield to prevent Chafing While Cycling

If watching Le Tour de France has you squirming in your seat–not from excitement, but from the thought of sitting on a bike that many days and hours in a row–then you might want to try ButtShield on your next ride.

ButtShield will help keep friction burns, saddle sores and butt rashes at bay. And it lasts all day, even under the most extreme conditions…like the climb up Mont Ventoux perhaps?

ButtShield Logo Home PageHere are 4 ways 2Toms’ ButtShield can help cyclists prevent chafing while cycling:

1. Use ButtShield as a Chamois Cream

That’s right. You don’t need both. ButtShield can be used as your chamois cream. In fact, in a review of ButtShield on Slowtwitch.com by triathlete Greg Kopecky, he said: “ButtShield truly keeps your butt and shorts independent of each other.  It’s slick, but not uncomfortable or strange.  The best part is it lasts a very long time.  Other chamois creams I’ve used can dry up towards the end of a long ride and stop doing their job.”

What’s in ButtShield? Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Shea Butter, Green Tea Extract, Calendula Extract and Horestail Plant Extract. It’s non-staining, non-toxic and non-greasy. And the roll-on applicator makes it easy to apply. It’s safe for both leather and synthetic chamois–apply it directly to the chamois and then roll it on your body for extra coverage. Kopecky’s final thought: “I think ButtShield IS better than regular chamois cream.”

2. Use ButtShield on Inner Thighs

2Toms’ ButtShield can also be used to prevent chafing on thighs. Other ways to prevent thigh chafing on a bicycle is to get a good quality seat, and to wear proper clothing, such as bicycle shorts. But sometimes that’s not enough. Apply ButtShield to your inner thighs before your next ride to avoid chafing.

3. Use ButtShield Under Seams

Bike shorts are tight. Although, good-fitting bicycle shorts–or pants–shouldn’t be too tight, they can still leave red marks and even chafing on your skin under the seams around your waist and legs. Before putting them on, apply some ButtShield on your waist where you cinch your shorts. Women can apply ButtShield under sports bra seams, as well, to prevent chafing on the upper body.

4. Put ButtShield on Feet

Of course, the best way to prevent getting blisters on your feet is to have a good pair of cycling shoes and a quality pair of sweat-wicking socks. But what about those people who are just blister-prone? And some triathletes prefer to go sockless on the bike. Take a second to roll ButtShield all over your feet and you can avoid blisters that come from wet, sweaty skin rubbing in shoes.

For more on 2Toms’ ButtShield, visit the FAQ page.

 


Tips to Care For Your Feet

Whether you are a runner, walker, hiker or even a triathlete, your feet probably need some love! They do a lot for us, including absorbing most of the impact created when they hit the ground. What are some ways you can care for your poor runner (walker/hiker) feet?

Hal Higdon, championship runner and a writer for Runner’s World, offers some ideas in “Care for Your Feet” on RunnersWorld.com:

Make sure you have shoes that fit well: “Bad shoe fit can cause a multitude of problems for your feet, everything from numbness and burning to blisters and painful calluses,” says Rick Braver, D.P.M., a podiatrist in Englewood, N.J., in the article.

Wear quality socks: Bad, wet or cotton socks can cause blisters. (Click here to read more about how to find the best socks for running and to prevent blisters in the 2Toms Knowledge section.) Dave Zimmer, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Chicago, says in the Runner’s World article that he always points his running customers toward socks made with acrylic materials. “Fit is as important in socks as it is in shoes,” says Zimmer. Get socks with moisture-wicking technology.

Moisturize your feet: Lots of runners, walkers and hikers get dry, cracked feet. “The solution,” Higdon writes, is to “use a moisturizer such as Neutrogena foot cream every day. Rub it into the skin until your feet feel soft and smooth.” Stephanie Marlatt Droege, D.P.M., a podiatrist from La Porte, Ind., says in the article that the best time to apply moisturizer to your feet is immediately after a bath or shower: “Applying moisturizer at that time will help retain some of the water from your shower,” she says.

Keep feet dry: Some athletes suffer from feet that are too sweaty, resulting in athlete’s foot or fungal problems. This is when good, quality moisture-wicking socks becomes extra important. If you run through the water a lot, invest in a good pair of waterproof trail-running shoes.  Or use 2Toms BlisterShield to help keep your feet dry when running/walking/hiking!  It creates that waterproof barrier for you!

Massage: Love your feet! Higdon writes, “A weekly massage will do wonders for your feet (not to mention your outlook), and it will be most effective if you guide the therapist to the problem spots.” But you can also massage your feet yourself. Or you can use a wooden foot roller. Higdon says, “Rolling two or three golf balls or even a rolling pin under your feet also works well.” Reflexology is also a good option. Find a reflexologist near you at www.reflexology.org/.

Strength train your feet: “Many injuries are directly related to weak feet,” says John Pagliano, D.P.M., in the article. The Long Beach, California-based podiatrist and author of several books on running injuries says, “If the muscles are weak, they will not move the foot into its proper running position. The foot flops around instead of pointing straight ahead. Also, the stronger your foot and leg muscles are, the faster they can propel you forward.” Higdon lists these foot exercises: toe rises, heel drops, towel pulls, toe grabs and alphabet practice. Click here to go to the article and see how to do each exercise. Try to do them 2-3 times per week.


Side Cramps when Running: How to Avoid and Get Rid of Them

Side cramps. Side stitch. Side ache. No matter what you call it, getting a cramp in your side while running is just plain annoying. It hurts, too, and can affect how you run.

What Causes Side Cramps when Running?

In an article on WebMD, Olympic runner and running expert Jeff Galloway says that side cramps when running happen due to shallow breathing, “not breathing deeply from the lower lung.” This would explain why I got a side ache during the first three miles of the Seattle Rock ‘N’ Roll half marathon the last two years in a row. There is so much excitement. I’m high-fiving spectators, cheering for bands and not paying attention to my running or breathing. Galloway says the side pain is a “little alarm” letting you know that you aren’t breathing right.

Exercise physiologist and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise Pete McCall says in the WebMD article that a side stitch can also be from “an imbalance of blood electrolytes (such as calcium, potassium and sodium) in your body.”

How to Get Rid of a Side Stitch

Here are a few ways to get rid of and avoid side cramps when running from Galloway:Galloway Training Program

Practice breathing deep: “Put your hand on your stomach and breathe deeply. If you’re breathing from your lower lungs, your stomach should rise and fall.”

Don’t start too fast: This is a good rule to follow anyway. Running too fast out of the gates is a good way to get a side stitch. “It’s always better during the first 10 minutes to be more gentle,” Galloway says in the article. He also says that nervousness can cause runners to breathe faster and “revert to shallow breathing.”

Slow down, breathe deep: If you get cramping in your side during your run or race, slow down to a walk, says Galloway. “Do the lower lung breathing while walking, maybe [for 2-4] minutes.”

Eat or drink: If your side ache is from an imbalance of electrolytes, taking an energy gel and some electrolyte-infused fluids, such as Nuun. That worked for me both times.

Do you have any tips that have worked for you? Please share in the comments!


Benefits of Cycling for Health

Since 96th edition of the Giro d’Italia, one of cycling’s three European grand tours (along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana), took place a few weeks ago there was renewed attention on the benefits of cycling for health.

Here are ten of the most significant benefits of cycling for health:

  1. First, and perhaps most important, cycling is a great low-impact mode of exercise. This is important for people who are just starting to exercise that may not be in the best of shape, people with joint conditions, people with injuries to the legs or hips, and individuals who are overweight. Since approximately 70% of a cyclist’s body weight is distributed through the saddle and handlebars instead of through the rider’s ankles, cycling offers a cardiovascular workout without stressing weight-bearing joints. There’s compelling evidence that cycling benefits people with very low initial physical fitness and that it can cause considerable reductions in cardiovascular-disease mortality.
  2. Compared to other forms of exercise, cycling is one of the most convenient. Swimming requires a pool. Weight lifting means a purchasing costly equipment, or at the least, a gym membership and a commute. The only expense associated with cycling is a bike. An exercise routine that is convenient is more likely to be adhered to than one that requires lots of preparation. Not only can cycling be easily incorporated into daily life, but the exercise can be done at varying intensities and has few side-effects. Although cycling gear could be moderately expensive, you can always protect yourself against crash damage or theft by buying a bicycle insurance policy.
  3. There are numerous studies detailing the many health benefits of cycling as a form of exercise. These include reduced body fat, better sleep quality and lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  4. According to Preventive Medicine, cycling regularly has been proven to reduce anxiety, depression and stress. Scientists say regular aerobic exercise such as cycling has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize moods, and improve self-esteem.
  5. Cycling helps you live longer too. According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, found at Consumer.org,  “a 15-year study associates cycling with a 40% reduction in mortality for both males and females over all ages.”
  6. Another way cycling is good for your heart is that it improves the ratios between good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol. According to MayoClinic.com, exercises like bike riding can help reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
  7. Riding your bike is an excellent way to gain improved cardiovascular fitness, as well as a lower your risk of coronary heart disease.
  8. Cycling is also a safe exercise alternative for expecting mothers. Bicycling magazine claims that women who cycle while pregnant improve their overall cardiovascular fitness and that regular exercise may ease childbirth.
  9. A 1998 study conducted by Allot & Lomax and the Policy Studies Institute found that since bike riding is an activity that doesn’t require you to bear your own weight it is a much safer form of exercise than other methods. The study also discovered that regular cycling leads to improved muscle strength and improved mobility and coordination.
  10. Last but not least, cycling is fun. Not only can riding your bike put you in a good mood, but it’s also a proven stress reliever. In fact, a study published in the Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics journal found that cycling boosted energy levels by 20 percent and decreased fatigue by 65 percent. The lead author of the study, Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at the University of Georgia at Athens, claims that cycling causes your brain to release dopamine, which is linked to energy.

Although you may not win the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France, if you commit to including cycling as part of your routine, there’s no doubt you’ll end up a winner in the health department! To stay protected, get a free and easy bicycle insurance quote.