Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.

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The coolest thing to hit two wheels


If you know me, you know that I’m an absolute snob when it comes to bicycle handling skills and simple road etiquette. Having been somewhat of a damn good cyclist in a former life, I’ve seen the good and the bad side of folks on bikes. In fact, my nickname used to be The Bike Nazi. Why? Because I have zero patience or respect for folks exhibiting poor, or unsafe bike handling skills or simple etiquette.

While bicycle handling and etiquette are each very large issues, one of the most concerning is the lack of respect for the common stop sign. Declining to stop when required is not only a safety issue but an unfortunate missed opportunity to practice ones handling skills (trackstand, getting in and out of pedals…) and the building of fast twitch muscle fibers (they help you sprint & move quickly).

Rather than going any further, I suggest that you read the article below. I’ve lifted it from Katie Kelly at Katie has captured my personal thoughts re: the stop sign issue perfectly. We ask that you read it and spread the word.

Stop! Braking news!
How the coolest thing to hit two wheels is likely already at your fingertips.

It’s a growing cycling fashion statement, a training tool, and an indicator of riding prowess. No, it’s not the latest GPS device or power meter. It’s stopping for red lights and stop signs.

It’s all the rage, and all the cool kids are doing it, from national championship winning bike racers to downhillers to commuters. What may have started as a countywide crackdown against red light runners is evolving into a habit that quickly differentiates between Marin locals and those passing through, the experienced and those trying to show off. The difference? The experienced, skilled crowd stops for stop signs.

And it’s not just cops sending the message.

“I confess, I used to do it,” says Sean Fekete, of San Rafael, of yesterday’s trend of rolling through stop signs. “I’m cruising along, don’t want to stop and then start again.”

Today, whether riding after work on a fixed gear or blazing down a mountain on his downhill bike, stopping for stop signs has become part of Fekete’s regular riding style.

Why the change?

“I was riding a lot with a bike racer, and she was stopping at all the signs, so I just did it because she was,” says Fekete. “Later, I was working with a local coach, and his rule was that if you ran stop signs or red lights, he wouldn’t work with you.”

Fekete is just one of a growing number of Marin locals who feel intense annoyance at those who don’t stop.

“It’s lazy and disrespectful,” he says. “If you want to ride without having to stop, enter a race. Why give pedestrians and motorists even more reason to hate us?”

“I see people blowing stops signs so often now,” says multi-masters track national champion Pete Billington, also of San Rafael. “It is really frustrating when the same people complain about cars not respecting bicyclists.”

What sign running cyclists don’t realize is that not only do they stand out to the crowd as either inexperienced or dangerous, they’re missing out on a valuable muscle defining training tool.

“Stopping at stop signs really is a good opportunity to develop strong core muscles and even sprinting technique,” says Billington. “The tendency to swing the bike from side to side during a sprint is just wasted energy and practicing hip drive and forward acceleration is critical to developing top speed.”

Throw that at the next newbie who screams “On your left!” at the next stop sign.

How to Stop for Stop Signs

We asked Officer Paul Stromoski of the Ross Police Department what exactly cops are looking for when it comes to stopping for stop signs. You may find yourself surprised at how easy it is.

1. You don’t have to put a foot down. Come to a complete stop, yes, but it’s okay to stop for a split second, and then continue on. “Nowhere in the California Vehicle Code does it say cyclists have to put a foot down,” says Stromoski. But if you’re unable to maintain a track stand (balancing your bike at a complete stop), then obviously, you should, especially in a situation as described in Tip #2.

2. Give motorists and pedestrians who were at the intersection before you the right of way. This is Driver’s Ed 101, and yes, it applies to cyclists. Yield the right of way to those who rightfully have it and you may suddenly find your self within an intersection of allies. Who wouldn’t want that?

3. Cops want to see you physically turning your head to look in all directions. “You might think a peripheral look from the corner of an eye is enough,” says Officer Stromoski. “But we’re looking to see your helmet actually moving. It’s the only way we know you’re really looking.”

These are three tips that can spare you from expensive traffic fines or from drawing attention to yourself as an absolute novice. They could even save your life. And who knows? They may even help you get to the podium.

P.s. Thanks Mo, for bringing this article to my attention.
P.s.s. Thanks Katie, for sharing your words.

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Stuff is just stuff but what’s the etiquette on borrowing?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I’m missing some things that I could really use about now. I guess I could ask for them back but I don’t think I should have to. I guess it’s just me, I tend to return the things that I borrow and I forget that not everyone thinks like that. You see, I once drove 100 miles out of my way to return a book.

Anyway, I was curious about how others felt about the etiquette of borrowing so I decided to ask Google. In the end I found only what I already knew, but managed to forget.

  • If you loan something out, don’t expect to get it back. If you cannot live with that thought, don’t make the loan.
  • If you borrow something, treat it as the most precious and valuable item on the planet. Even if it’s just a paperback book. Return the item promptly and heaven forbid, if you lose it or damage it, tell the truth. Then move heaven and earth to repair or replace it while apologizing profusely.
  • It is very important to remember that whenever we borrow things from others, it is essential that we promptly return the said item, without waiting for the day when the owner asks to collect it. At that point, the owner may already be irked or annoyed.

Somewhat satisfied with my findings, I’ve decided to let my missing things go, after all I don’t have to dust them anymore (I hate dusting!), and if I decide that I can’t live without them, I’ll simply go shopping (I love shopping!).

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend, see you on Monday…

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Don’t bother me I’m sweating!

(An addendum to Yikes, critters in my path)

I should have said this before but forgot, it’s worth mentioning so here I go.

Rule #1 – Never, ever run up to a woman while she’s working out and tell her that you like her ass. That line only works when we’re drunk and even then you better be damn hot!

Rule # 2 – Don’t tell her that you’ve seen her around before.  You annoyed her with the first bit and now you’re freaking her out.

Rule # 3 – When she picks up her pace and politely turns you down for a date, do not under any circumstances keep trying. You’re done.

Do I sound cranky?  I was, but I’m not anymore.

Carry on…