Blog, Cycle U News, Uncategorized

Commuting by bicycle in Seattle – a free clinic 4/1 6:30pm

I’m giving a free clinic this Wednesday night at the West Seattle Cycle U at 6:30pm:  How to bike commute in Seattle.  Free tea and coffee as well, finshing at 7:15pm, 3418 Harbor Ave SW, free parking as always across the street.

I love riding my bike in traffic (this is Craig talking), today on my commute through downtown I felt like I was a motocycle in Hong Kong in rush hour traffic, but it was a Sunday, and I was just riding to the West Seattle store from the Sand Point store.   I arrived at work feeling 20 times better than when I had started, energized, calm and flush with good circulation.  I have been a bike commuter since I moved to Colorado to start racing in 1987, and there are few things in life that make more sense than riding your bike to work.  Here are the key benefits:

1.  Get in better shape

2.  No waiting in traffic or long lines of cars, much less frustration

3.  $ No gas and the repair bills are 1/20th of a car

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Blog, Cycle U News, Uncategorized

How not to crash on a bike

It is fun to go fast on a bike, REALLY fun! But there are risks out there, and we want you to be safe, so here are some tips to help you avoid trouble:

1. assume cars will do stupid things, assume people don’t see well and are on prescription meds. It is up to you to not put yourself in harms way, so pick safe roads, if there is no shoulder to ride on, get off that road as fast as possible.

2.  be defensive, look at parked cars as you past to see if there are drivers who could open doors, look at the front car tires, could this car pull out and hit you?

3.  learn to brake well and know what your brakes will do when you slam them on.  Become an expert on road surface traction, cycling takes a perfect focus on the road and the surroundings at all times and appropriate speed choices, even a momentary lapse could have very bad consequences.

4.  double check your equipment, flat tires, chains snapping from being installed incorrectly, skewers not tight, handlebars slipping, all these things can cause mishaps.

5.  when following another rider, stay slightly to the side, and assume they will brake quickly or turn without notice…until you train them not to.

Get out there and enjoy this early Spring…with caution.

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Blog, Cycle U News

Kids ride bikes like ducks swim

It amazes me how much fun kids have riding bikes and going over jumps. Among our many kids bicycle offerings is the Larry Kemp camp each August for 4 days near Cle Elum. Not every kid loves riding their bike, but the ones that do really bring a smile to my face, watching them race to get back on their bike after every lunch, breakfast or activity, they can’t get enough!

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Cycle U News

Dean’s Letter: Catching the Big One

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It’s an achievement we all dream of. Maybe your goal is winning the race. Getting your dream job. Acing that exam. Or, of course, catching a record breaking fish. Whatever your “Big One” is, we all have one, and more often than not they seem to get away. What we often forget is there are ways to win without catching the “Big One”.

When I was introduced to ocean fishing ten years ago, I assumed it would be easier than racing. I didn’t need to train full time like I did as a professional cyclist, or maintain the same fitness level. I had a vision in my mind that looking for fish in open water and enjoying my catch with friends afterwards would be much simpler. I was very wrong.

Although fishing may not require the peak fitness that cycling does, it demands other kinds of luck you don’t need to succeed in the cycling circuit. In a race, you can control almost everything except the behavior of your opponents. You will have spent weeks training up to the event, preparing your gear and planning your strategy. It’s a simple equation: the more you put in, the more you get out.

Fishing is harder because for the most part you are not in control. Even if you prepare for the day as best you can, you will be unsuccessful most of the time due to the hundreds of other variables which go into a successful catch. Can you find the fish? Are the fish biting? Do you have the right bait? Is the sea rough? Is it the right season? Is my line tangled? Did that shark just eat my dinner?

Although there are many more things that can go wrong than cycling, fishing provides you with more opportunities to win. When the fish are biting there are many chances to hook a prize. In a race there is only one first place.

Often, I am asked how I did after a race or a fishing trip. My friends want to know if I won first place or caught the Big One (and brought it home for dinner). Most of the time the answer is no, I missed the big catch or a spot on the podium. But does that mean I didn’t win?

My answer is no. Even if I don’t get the “Big One” every time I fish or race, I always have something to show for my efforts. Whenever I ride, I improve my fitness level. Whenever I go fishing, I come home with a smile.

I define winning in cycling as this:  Did I do my best?  Did I push my body to the limit to see what I could do?  Did I recruit all of my emotional energy to get the best performance I could?  If I answer yes to those questions then that race is a win, even if I didn’t place. Of the roughly 400 races or events I have done since I retired from professional level racing, almost all of them are wins by that definition.

My definition of a win fishing is similar to cycling: Did I actively hunt fish to the best of my ability? Did I enjoy being in nature, on the water with friends? With this as my criteria for winning  I can safely say that every day fishing has been a win for me. Of course, if you counted actually catching a fish as a requirement for “winning” my success rate would be drastically lower.

Too often we forget that we can have a win day without catching the “Big One”. Even if I don’t win the race or catch a big fish, I feel successful for having pushed myself to the limits of what my body (or my rod and reel) can handle. Next time you face a difficult task, think about winning as pushing yourself further than you thought you could go before. By taking small wins, you will be better motivated to push yourself through the pain of a race or stay out on the water longer.

If you see a Facebook post from me with a fish, know I am extremely happy because I have done something much harder than racing a bike.  Cycling and endurance sports are much more of a sure thing than fishing for me. Even if I don’t place, I always get a thrill riding a bike (which sure helps me feel better after getting skunked on my last fishing trip).

C U on the road (or the boat!)

Craig Undem