King of the Road
New York and many other progressive cities are focused on healthy and sustainable living, which means making accommodations for cyclists. If you cruise the streets or attend any Community Board meetings, it is obvious that the battle lines have been drawn and it is an all out war between drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. No matter which side of the debate you are on, I think we can all agree that everyone can coexist and should do so safely. In fact, this Summer I was struck by the side mirror of a passing car (a Mercedes SUV ironically on its way to Soulcycle!); thankfully I was only grazed, maintained my balance, and merely had a bruised elbow. So, if you are going to put on your tight biking shorts (risk social ridicule) and click into your bike, you better think about safety first --- this week's post makes sure you stay in the Loupe!
It's a perfect time to cycle outdoors with the seasons changing. Before you get on out there, you need the right gear to stay safe and protected. Sadly, most cyclists I know have been struck or know someone who has been struck by a car. And, not to be depressing, 75 percent of all fatal bike accidents in NYC involve a head injury. Therefore, without question, you need the right helmet and, of course, it should include the latest technology. This brought me to the almighty Livall Bling Helmet. It protects your noggin like most other helmets. It also has tail lights and turn signals at its rear to communicate to other cyclists and motorists where you're headed. The Livall Bling Helmet also has sensors that monitor for any sudden accelerations/decelerations (accidents) and automatically sends SOS alerts to your emergency contacts (Hi Mom). And if that wasn't enough, it includes a Bluetooth microphone and speaker so you can make calls, listen to your tunes (podcasts for me) without earbuds jammed into your ears. You're connected, you're safe and now you can roar as the King of the Road!
This product is exceedingly cool and perfect for my vain cyclists (you know who you are)! If you like to ride around in style, not mess up your hair with a helmet, then Hovding has created the perfect solution for you. It is essentially an airbag made for cycling. You wear a collar (that's not bad looking) that contains the airbag which deploys (in .1 seconds) when it senses you are having an accident. This covers a much larger area than traditional helmets, presents a much softer impact, and can withstand multiple hits to the head. Full disclosure, I haven't tested the impact inflate (I'm not an X-gamer), but it gets rave reviews and the demonstration videos are incredible!
The safest way to cycle is abstinence, or a stationary bike (except if you're my sister-in-law!). I have known about Peloton for awhile and didn't quite understand the value proposition. So when a close friend was moving offices and didn't have a home for his Peloton, I jumped at the opportunity! The primary goal in cycling (for most) is not transportation, but rather getting in shape. The problem with cycling outside is light (when you have time to do it, it is typically dark), weather (we don't all live in San Diego where it is nice year around), difficulty (hard to calibrate the intensity level), and safety concerns. The stationary bike addresses most of these concerns! What is missing, however, is the camaraderie and competition of cycling with a friend(s) or joining a class. I completely understand the collectivism of places like SoulCycle and Flywheel, rocking out to the same music can be intoxicating. That is where Peloton comes in. You can get most of the collectivism with the live streamed classes (SoulCycle), and you can even see where you rank relative to others taking the same class (Flywheel). The best part of Peloton is you can have the energy of being in a cycling studio in the comfort of your own home and according to your own schedule. Want to take a spin class at 3 AM, why not?
In cycling there is safety (and speed) in numbers (hence a peloton). Cars and trucks can see you better and if they do hit someone, the others can help the fallen and get a license plate! Others can also motivate you to go faster and longer than would otherwise be the case. Strava was introduced to me by fellow Loupe(rs) Lawrence A. and Ricky S. These guys actually use it for cycling, as well as running and swimming. First, it is a way to create a workout plan, log your workouts, and stick to your plan. Next it is a way to meet up with people you may know, or other Strava users who have similar workout profiles (a Facebook for exercise addicts?). It is also a way to check in on your friends to motivate each other and compete. Seeing someone do a 40 mile ride before you even wake up can (and will) have a very strong impact on your motivation! This is a convenient app that has all the bells and whistles you need to keep track of what you (and others) are doing and easily share it. ... I'm in, but don't judge me by my (lame) times!