Monthly Archives: November 2011

Afraid of the dark? A bike light will save you!

One law that all cyclists should know is to use a light when riding at night. This is for your safety as a biker- to help others see you.

When I first bought my bike, the salesman at Earnhardt Schwinn recommended that I buy a bike light. Thinking he was just trying to sell me add-on items I said no and told him that I wasn’t planning on riding at night. It was true, I hadn’t been biking in years and didn’t feel confident enough to go for a night bike ride. Well I stayed at the library studying too late one night and I eventually needed a bike light.

The next day I went to Tempe Bicycle to buy a light. They range in price from about $12 to $20 depending on the quality and style. Some can be easily removed and others can be fixed to your bike. Beware if left on your bike, the light could be stolen. I find that most people will leave your bike alone, but if no one is around the bike rack- some people will help themselves to objects that can be removed quickly like bike lights, horns, tires and seats. It’s true, it’s happened to me!

Here are some cool bike lights.

Planet Bike Rear(red) and Front(white) Light

Alternative ways to light your ride:

A bike light is not the only answer to riding safely at night. Here are a few options to help with visibility.

Reflective stickers – $6, LED Bicycle Lights- $50 and a headlamp ranges from about $20-$40.

Just be careful out there and use your head! Cycling is fun and is a great form of transportation, whether it’s day or night. But make sure you have a bike light!

Inspiration to All Great Beings

In preparation for finals, I decided to quote some inspirational athletes.


“Life, to me, is a series of false limits and my challenge as an athlete is to explore those limits.” -Lance Armstrong

“When a man says ‘I cannot’, he has made a suggestion to himself. He has weakened his power of accomplishing that which otherwise would have been accomplished.” -Muhammad Ali

“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” -Barbara Hall

“What we have is based upon moment-to-moment choices of what we do. In each of those moments, we choose. We either take a risk and move toward what we want, or we play it safe and choose comfort. Most of the people, most of the time, choose comfort. In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not.” -Anonymous

 I will dedicate myself to being great in my own way.


Ironman Results

Leanda Cave- 2011 Ironman AZ winner

Leanda Cave’s stats

Leanda Cave, 33, is a professional triathlete. Although she lives and trains in Tuscon, Ariz, Cave is originally from Louth, England.

Top Ten Women

1. 8:49:00 71 Leanda Cave Tucson AZ GBR
2. 8:54:33 5:34 70 Linsey Corbin Missoula MT USA
3. 9:00:14 11:15 72 Meredith Kessler San Francisco CA USA
4. 9:09:39 20:39 73 Amanda Stevens
5. 9:11:23 22:23 101 Michelle Vesterby Odense DEN
6. 9:12:18 23:19 79 Kelly Williams Austin TX USA
7. 9:12:40 23:41 94 Kathleen Calkins Goold River CA USA
8. 9:18:03 29:04 99 Sara Gross Victoria BC CAN
9. 9:19:47 30:48 75 Susan Dietrich Messel DEU
10. 9:22:37 33:37 86 Charisa Wernick Carlsbad CA USA

Eneko Llanos- 2011 Ironman AZ winner

Eneko Llanos stats

Eneko Llanos is 35 years old of Vitoria- Gasteiz, Spain. Llanos did not complete his first three attempts at Ironman, but finished in first today.

Top Ten Men 
1. 7:59:38 23 Eneko Llanos Vitoria-Gasteiz SPA
2. 8:01:29 1:51 34 Paul Amey Santa Monica CA GBR
3. 8:14:36 14:58 2 Viktor Zyemtsev Clermont FL UKR
4. 8:16:44 17:07 37 Torsten Abel Tucson AZ USA
5. 8:18:55 19:17 50 Stephane Poulat Anglet FRA
6. 8:19:29 19:52 54 Sebastian Kienle Hobenklugen BW DEU
7. 8:19:38 20:00 67 Jeremy Jurkiewi Nice FRA
8. 8:21:36 21:59 20 Michael Weiss Colorado Spring CO DEU
9. 8:22:21 22:43 66 Trevor Wurtele Kelauna BC CAN
10. 8:26:10 26:33 7 Christophe Bastie Saint Chamond FRA

Event Photos

Tempe: Make Way For The Ironmen

Intense training for weeks, months, even years…. Talk about blood, sweat and tears. This is the life of an Ironman.

The Ironman is one of the most recognized endurance events around. This Sunday over 2000 athletes will participate in the seventh Ironman Arizona. The triathlon is a three-part race that begins with a 2.4 mile swim in Tempe Town Lake with temperatures in the range of 60 degrees. Most swimmers prefer to wear a wetsuit for the swim. Next the participants grab their bikes for a 112 mile bike ride around a three-loop course to the Beeline Highway, through the Sonoran Desert back to Tempe Town Lake. The last leg is running a full marathon, which is 26.2 miles throughout the city-where spectators can cheer you on!

I am always amazed to watch athletes compete in this race. It is definitely not meant for beginner athletes. Some people don’t even finish the race. Those that do cross the finish line, earn the title of “Ironman”.

Biking 112 miles around Tempe

In 2009 the first place finisher, Jordan Rapp of Scarborough, NY, crossed the finish line at 8:13:35, while last place doubled that time finishing in almost 17 hours.  Only 112 people of the 2516 participants registered did not finish the race.

What: Ironman Arizona Triathlon

Where: Tempe Town Lake and surrounding roads

When: Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011 at 6:50 a.m.

Cutoff times (meaning you must be finished with each leg of the race by a certain time)

  • The swim event- 9:20 a.m.
  • The bike ride- 5:30 p.m.
  • The run course- Midnight

Driving around Tempe will be a challenge this weekend as many roads will be closed to accommodate for the biking and running portions of the race. To travel north and south use Priest Drive of the Highway 101. For east and west, use Highway 202 or University Drive.

Dial 511 for traffic information.

Related Links:

Ironman Race Information

How to Train for Your First Ironman

Equipment Checklist

Bike maintenance classes by Tempe Co-op

Only five classes remain!

Last Monday started off the first of six bicycle maintenance classes given by a local bike co-op/educational center. The friendly and knowledgeable Bike Saviours volunteers use hands-on teaching to assist us rookies with common bike maintenance.

I didn’t know what to expect from the first class. Lucky for me, there were a variety of people in attendance. Some people scaled on the intermediate level of bicycle mechanics, while the remainder of the class either knew very little or almost nothing about fixing bikes. I happen to fall into the second category, which made me wonder just what I had signed up for!

My initial nervousness faded after we broke into smaller groups to inspect each bike. We were to determine the bike’s condition and if we thought it could be fixed. Because the bikes and parts are all donations, some are beyond repair. We were asked to share our findings in a very casual manner.
“Anyone that wants to speak, we’d like to hear it.”
One man said the bike in front of him looked like it spent the last 15 years outside, but with a little TLC he thought it’d be a fine ride.

Listening to headset instructions

Last weeks topic was headsets. No I didn’t know what they are at first- but I learned!
My group disassembled the headset, which is the bearing assembly that allows the handle bars to swivel. We took out the bearings and cleaned them thoroughly. Then we reassembled the header. As we worked, Bike Saviour volunteers walked around to make sure we understood what we were doing and gave additional tips. Click here to view the handout on headsets.

Common threaded headset

Bike Saviours, not only offers classes, but the shop is also open to the public a few evenings during the week. Tools are free to use and the co-op sells bike parts for a minimal cost. The best part is having bike experts at your side for assistance! From the selection of donated bicycles you can pick out a bike to fix yourself and the shop volunteers are there to teach you how to fix it along the way.
The remaining maintenance classes will be held on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. in the rear workshop of the Sunset Clothing building.
  •         601 E. University, Tempe, AZ 85281 – located near the cross roads of University Drive and Roosevelt Street

Bike Saviours Information:

“The bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created. Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon.”

~Bill Strickland, The Quotable Cyclist

How to Stay Warm While Biking

In the past few days the temperature in Tempe dropped lower than what most residents consider to be their comfort zone. It’s not abnormally cold for the fall season, but for those accustomed to sunny days in the 80s- we have noticed the change.

So what is a cyclist to do?




It’s time to layer up.

Layers are the best way to dress for colder weather because as you warm up, you have options. If you get too hot, it’s easy to take off a sweatshirt until you need it again.

Within about 10 minutes of bike riding, your body tends to warm up. If you have overdressed, you will be uncomfortable and wish you hadn’t.

The overall purpose of layering is to trap heat between the layers of clothing.

  • The first layer should be dry wicking to prevent moisture. When you sweat and are in cold weather, the moisture becomes wet and you become COLD.
  • For the next layer try a thermal fabric or polyester to trap heat. My favorite brand of thermal underwear is made by Hot Chilly’s.
  • The outer layer should hold heat in while blocking cold air and wind. A nylon, windbreaker jacket would serve as the perfect biking jacket. Cotton and wool are not recommended fabrics because once they are wet, they stay wet.

Think with your head and think about keeping it warm too! The important stuff is kept up there and about 30 percent of your body’s warmth is lost through the head.

  • If the weather is cold and windy add a hat, gloves, and scarf to your attire.

I find that my hands are the most sensitive when riding in the wind. I need my hands to steer and break so I stash a pair of gloves into my backpack just in case.

Related links:

Cold-Weather Riding Tips (

Lame excuses to not commute by bike (

Commuting by Bike in the Winter (

Learning to Layer Clothing (

How to layer for maximum warmth (

Video: Tour de Fat bike ride and festival

Each year, the bike and beer festival called Tour de Fat goes on a 13-city tour in the United States. It is locally sponsored by Tempe Bicycle Action Group and the New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colo., who both share a love for cycling as transportation. The Tour de Fat mission to persuade people to commute by bicycle is supported by a program where people can donate their car for a bike. In each of the 13 cities, one participant is chosen to trade-in their car for a handcrafted, New Belgium commuter bike for a one-year commitment. This marks the fourth year of the trade program. For more information on the car/bike trade program click here.

The Tour de Fat festival starts the day off bright and early with a bike ride parading around town. Many participants tend to dress in costumes, decorate their bike or build a unique bike for the occasion. It has become a popular tradition to attend Tour de Fat in Tempe, because of the strong cycling influence from the City of Tempe and the Tempe Bicycle Action Group. It seems that its popularity has grown in recent years by the large crowd of costumed people clustering at the entrance of Tempe Town Lake before the bike ride. Afterward bike riders lock up their two wheelers and enjoy New Belgium beers and entertainment. The event is really a one-of-a-kind festival and a great location to people watch and take photographs.

Below is a video from Tour de Fat on Oct. 15, 2011, in Tempe . I was an active participant in this years’ Tour de Fat, as my video will show.

Does Tour de Fat visit your city? Here’s the tour line-up:

  • Durham, NC
  • Nashville, TN
  • Chicago, IL
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Boise, ID
  • Ft. Collins, CO
  • Denver, CO
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Tempe, AZ
  • Austin, TX