Monday, April 27, 2009

LA County Bicycle Coalition

Some very good things are getting done by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.  Here is a link to some of their current and past projects.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Acura LA Bike Tour Tip - Hybrid v Road Bike

Former Lance Armstrong mechanic Dave Lettieri explains the differences between a hybrid and a road bike.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Riding can be tough. Why make it harder?

If you are fueled-up correctly, your riding can be much more enjoyable and healthy. Don't get caught up in the thought that the calories you take in before or during a ride will counter the calories burned. But is it really sensible to eat a big meal before a short ride?  Hardly. 

If you're going out for a light ride of 45 minutes to an hour and normally don't eat anything, try to start with a light meal. If you're going out in the morning then just start with a healthy cereal or even an energy bar. Your local bike shop should have a great selection of energy bars. Try a number of different types and flavors to find something that you like and you wouldn't mind eating while out for a ride. 

What you should see is an increase in your sustained energy during your rides.  Plus your post-ride recovery will be better and you’ll be less likely to feel so dead after your rides. If you still have a dead feeling, try increasing your caloric intake slightly and stretch it from pre- to during your ride. 

Lastly, it’s also important to remember to stay hydrated. Here in Los Angeles our weather doesn't change much, but as little as a 10 degree swing in start to finish temps can make a big difference in how much water/fluid you should drink. Try to be sipping from your water bottle at least once every 10 to 15 minutes. This will get you in the habit of drinking while out on your ride. Hydration’s secondary benefit beyond enhancing the body’s nutrition intake and absorption, it also helps speed up your metabolism.

Nate Loyal 
Bike Fit Specialist

Acura LA Bike Tour Route

Please feel free to have a look at the Acura LA Bike Tour route. For an enlarged view click here.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter!

We welcome you to join the Acura LA Bike Tour Facebook group or follow us on Twitter.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Christian Vande Velde Interview

After years of riding for some of cycling’s top names, Christian Vande Velde had the opportunity to finally take over the reigns as a team leader last year for Team Garmin - Slipstream.  For Christian it was a break out year placing third at the Tour of CA, fourth at the Tour de France and first in the Tour of Missouri. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with the American Tour de France contender.

Acura LA Bike Tour:  What's it like to be able to ride your bike for a living? 

CV: It's a dream come true that I have the ability to ride my bike for a living. When times are tough with travel and or injury, I try to keep things in perspective.


ABT: Can you give the LA bike Tour participant an idea of your day? 

CV: Wake up, change diapers, breakfast, ride for average of 4 hours, lunch, massage, play with kids, emails, dinner, catch up with Leah (wife), bed.


ABT: How many miles a week do you ride? 

CV: Around 500.


ABT: How many calories do you consume a day? 

CV: Anywhere from 3000 to 6000


ABT: During the Tour? 

CV: 6-7k


ABT: What would you be doing if you weren't a bike racer? 

CV: Not a clue, probably wearing a suit. 


ABT: Where are you right now? 

CV: In Girona, Spain.


ABT: What are you doing? 

CV: Sitting on my couch, watching Winnie the Pooh with Uma and drinking coffee. 


ABT:  You are active on Twitter. What do you think of it?

CV: Ashton Kutcher just reached 1,000,000 followers. I think it is crazy. I still have a hard time telling people what I am doing, but it is much better than a website and much easier to follow people. It's great.


ABT: Will you catch Lance someday on the number of people following you? 

CV: Never. 


ABT: Favorite sport, other than cycling? 

CV: Water skiing. Motocross...almost anything with an engine, mine gets tired every once in a while.


ABT: Would you consider riding with 15,000 other riders at next year's Acura LA Bike Tour? 

CV: Of course!

Follow Christian on Twitter or at Team Garmin Slipstream.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Acura LA Bike Tour Tip- Changing a Flat

Former Lance Armstrong mechanic and owner of Fastrack Bicycles shows us the best way to fix a flat.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Acura LA Bike Tour Tip - Bike Lights

The Acura LA Bike Tour picks a couple of bike lights to get you through the ABT safe and sound.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What To Wear On Early Morning Rides

Former Olympian Dave Lettieri shows us some clothing options for the Acura LA Bike Tour.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Proper Hybrid Fit for the Acura LA Bike Tour

Fit specialist Nate Loyal shows us how to be comfortable and relaxed on a hybrid bike.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Road Bike Fitting

When choosing a road bike, the correct fit can make all the difference. Local fit specialist Nate Loyal takes us through a proper road bike fitting.

Club Profile - Velo Club La Grange

The Acura LA Bike Tour had the opportunity to talk to Velo Club La Grange board member and local category 2 bike racer Marco Fantone.

Acura LA Bike Tour: The club is one of the oldest and largest clubs in the US. Can you tell us about the formation?

Marco Fantone: La Grange was founded by Raymond Fouquet in 1969 in Westwood Village. La Grange is a small side street off of Westwood Blvd. and the intersection of La Grange and Westwood was the location of Raymond’s restaurant; “La Grange”. Translated from French, La Grange means “the barn” and apparently this particular barn was the starting point for the legendary Nichols Canyon ride, which continues on to this day. Word has it that there was steady growth within the club during the 80's and substantial growth during the “Lance Era”.

ABT: In the mid 80's La Grange had one of the best teams in the country on both road and track. What did that team accomplish?

MF: Don’t have the answer to this one.

ABT: I seem to recall them dominating on both road and track, having such riders as Olympic gold medalist Steve Hegg, Dave Lettieri and Thurlow Rodgers. Any aspirations to resurrect a program of that level?

MF: Comparing a top-flite team from the 80's to today is like comparing the Stone Age to modern technology. Not to take anything away from the accomplishments of those 80’s teams, but because there has been so much growth and interest in cycling in the U.S., the current level of commitment from both a time and monetary standpoint are much greater now than then. We have been fielding some very strong amateur teams over the past 5 years with surprising results.

ABT: Is developing young riders an initiative?

MF: This has always been something very close to Raymond and while the club has worked with a number of younger racers over the years, the influx of young riders to the sport, at least in our immediate area, has been thin. Ironically, the one demographic making a huge impact on the club has been in the 35-55 age range. Apparently, quite a few people who can no longer run, play tennis or shoot hoops have discovered cycling as the perfect no-impact cardio workout.

ABT: Aside from racing, La Grange has always played a part in local
politics. Why is that important to the club?

MF: Not sure if “politics” is exactly the right word; more like “public policy”. Because we are all cyclists who see the world from both the perspective of a cyclist and a motorist, we are in an excellent position to provide our input and feedback when it comes to cycling-related issues. Our strength comes from relationship building and over the years we have established numerous relationships on both the local and state levels as well as with important entities such as Cal Trans. I could briefly use the PCH repaving project last year as an example of how our involvement benefits all cyclists. Every cyclist who rides PCH is aware of specific pinch points that leave almost no room for both a cyclist and motorist. When it came time to re-stripe PCH, we contacted Cal-Trans and were able to speak directly to the lead engineer on the project. We introduced ourselves, and the club that we represent, as cyclists who are intimately aware of the hazards of PCH and asked if a three foot space could be striped off near the Bel-Air Bay Club, one of the more dangerous pinch points on the southbound side of the road. They reviewed our suggestions and today, a three foot wide space exists where no space existed before.

ABT: Best area to ride in LA?

MF: The hills above Malibu; probably the closest place to LA where you can feel like you’re tackling a Tour climb!

ABT: Best bike shop for Acura LA Bike participants?

MF: Helen’s Cycles has shops throughout LA and has a staff that seems to have the ability to assist virtually any level of rider, from timid beginner to the know-it-all pro racer.

ABT: If someone were inspired by the Acura LA Bike Tour to ride his or her bike more often, would La Grange be a helpful resource?

MF: The La Grange Friday ride has been the first step for hundreds of first time riders to get out on an organized pack ride. We all remember our first experience on the Friday ride; how intimidating it was to be riding with all of these individuals in matching kits and here we were in our plain wrap attire with mis-matched everything! But what a new rider can learn in the first few months is amazing; better bike handling skills and overall, more confidence.

The greatest aspect of being part of a club such as La Grange is the depth and wealth of knowledge within the ranks. We have an internal e-group of which some 300 of our 450 members are logged on to. It’s probably safe to say that if you have a problem you’re trying to tackle, there’s a club member who has already “been there, done that”. I’m now closing in on the big 4-6 and have been with La Grange since July 1997. I’ve seen the club grow from just over 100 to nearly 500 members over those years but perhaps more importantly, I’ve seen a change in the coexistence of cyclists and motorists in west Los Angeles. With greater numbers has come greater respect and perhaps a bit less hostility than in years past.

As with most things in life, it’s a work in progress!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cycling with Finesse

So you've started to ride consistently which is step one. Now what should you focus on while you are riding? Let's look into your pedaling form. Sometimes when we are exercising we feel that we think that a lot of pushing and pulling, like lifting weights, is a good thing and will give us the greatest returns. Cycling is a finesse sport. Think of it like swimming or golf. The harder you fight or muscle the technique the worse things can get. Muscles tire and joints can hurt. So with cycling the trick is all about your pedaling speed known as cadence. Now this is not your traveling speed. We want your legs to move quickly and efficiently. If you have a computer on your bicycle that tracks this, you will want to look for 85-95rpm. The sooner you work on this the easier riding will be in the long run. At first it might feel like your going slower but give it a few rides and your body will adapt. Your muscles and joints will thank you for it and as a bonus your endurance will get better. So if you find yourself in a big gear and pushing hard with a slow cadence, shift into an easier gear, spin more and start working on your efficiency.

Nate Loyal
Bike Fit Specialist