Cycling in autumn: things to know

Cycling in autumn: things to know

Is cycling in the fall good for you? The Equinox of 22 September takes us to the season loved by cyclists because we can still ride, hated because it exposes us to the first risks of rain, cold and humidity. What can you do to continue cycling and prepare your body for the period when nature reaches the peak of its regressive phase? The rays of the Sun reach us tangents and less strong. For plants, the signal indicates the time when you need to prepare for the winter or the dormant phase. Something similar happens in the body: it slows down the processes of growth and regeneration such as the renewal of the skin and hair. Whether you go cycling or not, you need to protect yourself: indulge your desire to sleep, increase your appetite. We must deal with tiredness and enjoy the positive side: autumn is the season that favors concentration and concentration on oneself. We must take advantage of this to reorganize the inner energies, the projects, the forge of ideas. And don’t stop pedaling or training.

Cycling in autumn: how not to stop

Bleed the light

  • Concentrates maximum physical activity in the early hours of the day. As soon as possible, get out on your bike: natural light helps maintain your mood, strengthens your immune system and stimulates the production of endorphins. If you can, go for a weekend on the last sea and do a little bit more light. As I did years ago in Gozo (in the cover photo).

Autumn is Vata

  • Digestion slows down: the belly may be more dilated. You have to accept that it is softer, maybe massage it with sesame oil, rebalancing, in Ayurveda, for the autumn dosha Vata. If you feel like it, do a few days of a detox diet or a purification practice with water, broths or light centrifuges. Massages and hot baths increase your wellbeing, in this season better with essential oils with a slightly warming and stimulating effect.

Breathe

  • Autumn exposes some parts of the body to greater fragility. One of them is the throat. That it is necessary to protect, by bicycle, from cold blows, also avoiding breathing too cold air. At home, it is good to do breathing exercises so that your lungs are more resistant to winter diseases. They are generally described in any good yoga manual and in my article How to train your breathing and be happy.

Watch out for vitamin D

  • As the light decreases, both the mood and the amount of vitamin D needed to fix calcium in the bones decreases. Sports that leave the body in a low-gravity environment such as swimming do not contribute to bone density. Cycling is also a non-impact sport. So be careful to take vitamin D in the right doses, especially for women cyclists in menopause. The shrinking muscle draws calcium from the bones when it is not in the blood. Adding some high dynamic impact activities is also a good idea. On this subject see also my article Is it true that the bike swells the legs?

Vitamins for the immune system

  • Protecting oneself and preparing oneself for winter also means, in autumn, stimulating the immune system with a multivitamin mix. Keforma of San Marino, a company to which Federica Pellegrini is also attached, has developed three types of multivitamin supplements: All Vit Endurance for endurance sports, Stop and Go for football, tennis and team games. Fitness for those who do muscular activity in the gym. The Endurance for runners and cyclists contains vitamins – involved in every metabolic process -, zinc – immunomodulator par excellence -; enzymes and trace elements such as copper, manganese and selenium; folic acid and vitamin B12 that activate the processes of disposal of aerobic fatigue.

Do not underestimate dehydration on your bike

  • In autumn/winter, despite the temperatures, you sweat on your bike anyway. And it cools down. Because of the cold, you also drink less. Beware of dehydration. For short rides, water is enough. For longer rides, you might as well fill the water bottle with an isotonic drink, which has the same molecular pressure as the blood, so that it can be easily exchanged through the cellular membranes.

In autumn, pay attention to your weight

  • Do not take weight: in cycling, as in many other physical activities, the displacement of the entire body mass of the athlete is an important part of the workload. In women cyclists, because of the lower lean mass, the maximum aerobic power or oxygen consumption is about 15-25% lower than in men. Therefore, it is essential to keep the percentage of fat within the optimal values, carrying out workouts that mobilize the lipid supply.

Baked foods

  • In autumn, it is good to have 4-5 meals a day to balance the natural increase in appetite and hypoglycemic drops. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are the most important protection foods. In the colder seasons it is not recommended eating them raw. In this regard, read also What do cyclists eat before a race?

Good night

  • In this season, allow yourself at least 7-8 hours of sleep, whether you ride, or if you don’t ride a bike on some day.

Drainage

  • Liquid pooling and microcirculation: two purely feminine problems that can in the long run give rise to cellulite. Specific herbal teas can help. Among the supplements, I have tried with satisfaction the Red Dren, always by Keforma, a syrup with affection draining and purifying. It contains centella which is phlebotonic, and the Japanese mushroom shitake energy stimulator. On me it has had the effect of reducing retention deposits within the knees. I hope he can do something good for you bicycle women too.

All you need to know when buying a city bike

All you need to know when buying a city bike

Moving around the city is becoming more difficult and complicated every day: people drive starry, traffic lights, traffic jams, parking problems, pollution causes them to restrict access and parking to vehicles … That is why cycling has become an alternative to private transport in recent years.

But what do we have to take into account when buying a city bike? Buying a bicycle is not a decision we can make by arriving at the shop, looking for five minutes and buying the bike we like best. There are certain things that we must take into account in order not to regret after our new acquisition.

Aspects to be taken into account when buying our tour bike
The purchase of a bicycle can be an excellent alternative to transport within a large city such as Madrid or Barcelona, especially in recent months in which due to pollution are activating protocols restricting traffic and even prohibiting parking in the most central areas to vehicles. In addition, of course, there is the advantage of doing physical activity and being able to pray it at any age (this is not something exclusive to young people).

In addition to moving to our workplace, we can use the bicycle to transport small packages that we can carry in baskets or baskets that can be coupled for it, so we can even make a small purchase on the way home. But what aspects should we take into account before buying our bicycle?

The price

Obviously, we must make a budget according to our possibilities, since it will not only be the economic investment in the bicycle, but we must also take into account that later we will have to buy a series of accessories (some of them as the mandatory helmet), so the cost will increase.

Putting the initial budget only for the bicycle between 200 and 500 euros may be a good option, as this way we can consider different alternatives depending on the brand we are looking for.

Size

Bicycles, as well as clothes, are sold by size, so make sure that the one you are going to buy is our size. Although from one brand to another the measures can suffer some slight variation, in general the measures are standard in all. In this way we will find the following table of sizes to take into account

The saddle: why is a good saddle so important?

Being the displacement by city something that is subject to the numerous potholes and ups and downs of the pavement, having a saddle of a comfortable and ergonomic material seems to be fundamental (a hard and rigid saddle is going to cause us more than one pain “there” and that we end up parking the bicycle in a storage room).

Not only road cyclists should have a good saddle. Just as when we walk, our feet are the element that supports all our weight, in the case of the bicycle our buttocks (and our coccyx) are the ones that will support our weight, so it is important to be as comfortable as possible and, therefore, have a support surface as ergonomic as possible.

One advantage of saddles is that they can be dismantled, giving us the option of replacing them with another that is more comfortable or that we like more.

Braking system

There are basically five types of brakes on city bikes: rod brakes, cantilever brakes, v-brakes, backpedal brakes and drum brakes.

Rod brakes: these are a type of brake currently in disuse, although in some cities you can still see a bicycle with this braking system by which the brake pad was operated by rods rather than cables.

Cantilever brakes: it was the most used brake for all types of bicycles until the arrival of the V-Brakes.

V-Brakes: they were created by the Shimano brand in the 90s, and they are the most used system because of their value for money. In addition, one of their advantages is that we should not exert too much pressure on the way to achieve good braking power. They are typical “shoe” brakes.

Backpedal brakes: as you can imagine, these are brakes that are activated when pedalling in the opposite direction. However, since the braking is not sudden, we have to “anticipate” the braking so as not to get frightened.

Drum brakes: these are shoe brakes, but unlike v-brakes, in drum brakes their movement is expansion, rubbing against a cylinder (drum) that rotates between the wheel and the hub.

Single and double chaining bikes: which one to choose

Until a few years ago, it was common to see bicycles that had up to three chain rings, which gave more options for change and development to pedal. However, when circulating through the city, it was common to hit the largest plate with the curb of the sidewalks, so they began to market single-plane and double-plane bicycles.

Double chainring bikes: with only two chainrings we are going to gain some space between our gearbox and the ground or the elements that could cause knocks on the largest chainring, we are going to reduce the weight slightly (with one less chainring) and we are going to have a more fluid pedalling by gearing the speed changes much better and producing a better use of all speeds. On the other hand, we are going to lose efficiency if we have to climb steep streets, as the triple plate offered us greater versatility.

Monoplate bikes: the difference in weight is going to be noticeable, as we eliminate two chainrings and the chain will have fewer links (this also reduces the potential number of breakdowns we may suffer), the Q Factor will decrease (the distance between our legs when pedalling) so it will improve the efficiency of our pedalling and the chainrings will have longer teeth (in addition to alternating a wide and a narrow tooth). On the other hand, our bicycle will be less versatile and, although the system is simpler because it only has one chainring, it will be more expensive.

After-sales technical service

A factor to be taken into account in the event of possible defects in our bicycle that we have not seen in the test or in the event of future breakdowns. One of the things we must emphasize when evaluating bicycles is the guarantee they will give us (in the same way we do when buying a car).

User-bike weight ratio

Obviously, the weight ratio between our weight and that of the bicycle is also something to bear in mind, since if we buy a bicycle that is too heavy, we are going to have to make an extra effort when it comes to getting around. In addition, we must take into account if we are going to take some package in our bicycle, reason why it would be advisable that our bicycle was not excessively heavy.

Traveling in the city: bicycle with or without engine?

In recent months, Madrid has had to activate various measures to deal with the increase in pollution, such as restricting parking in central areas or limiting speed on certain roads. As a sustainable and ecological alternative to this scenario, electric bicycles are presented as a great advance and a magnificent option for travel within large cities. Unfortunately, within the MOVALT 2018 Plan the government has not contemplated the inclusion of aid or subsidies for anyone who wants to buy an electric bicycle.

In addition, electric bicycles will offer us the possibility of reducing the physical effort that pedalling in a city such as Madrid may entail, as well as saving us time on our journeys from one point to another in the city. More advantages of electric bicycles are, for example, having a lane reserved exclusively for us, saving on parking, economic savings compared to a car or motorbike (ITV’s, circulation taxes, gasoline expenses, workshops…) and, of course, the aforementioned benefit of reducing polluting emissions to zero.

Speaking in numerical terms, we can find models from 400 euros to about 3000 euros, depending on our pocket (although in Spain the newest models do not usually lower than 1000 euros).

Evidently, electric bicycles are going to suppose a higher initial payment than a conventional bicycle, but if we think about it, in the long run it will suppose a considerable saving with respect to a vehicle (either car or motorbike): we save the registration tax, the circulation tax, the ITV’s, the possible fines for speed or parking, we have no parking problems (cost of the parking meter ticket), we do not spend gasoline (yes, we have to charge it, but the cost is going to be much lower than the cost that a fuel vehicle generates). The initial investment, therefore, compensates.

Regarding the battery, there are two types of electric bicycles, depending on whether the battery is recharged by plug or “self-charging” when driving as some hybrid cars do. According to current regulations, the batteries of electric bicycles can not generate a power greater than 250 watts (and in speed can not exceed 25 km / h), because if exceeded, the law would treat them as mopeds. Currently almost all models of electric bicycles use Lithium battery and the recommendation is that after four years of battery life start thinking about changing it.

If we talk about the weight of these bicycles, it is obvious that they are going to be heavier bicycles than a conventional one due mainly to the presence of the battery. As a general rule, an electric bicycle can weigh between six and eight kilos more than one without a motor. This is an aspect to bear in mind if we buy a bicycle that does not allow the disassembly of the battery for recharging (since we will have to take it home to plug it in).

If I have a conventional bicycle, can I adapt it and turn it into an electric one? The answer is yes. To do this, we can buy a conversion kit (whose price can range from 200-300 euros to 800) that are easy to install. Having a lower initial cost (be careful with this, because “electrifying” our bicycle can mean having to change the wheels and even the brakes, so the outlay increases), this means a saving of economic resources in our pocket (since we have the bicycle and do not need to buy a new one), although for tastes the colors, and there are those who prefer to keep their conventional bike and buy a new electric one.

Healthy urban mobility solutions: Decathlon presents its innovations in trekking bicycles, electric bicycles and scooters

Healthy urban mobility solutions: Decathlon presents its innovations in trekking bicycles, electric bicycles and scooters

Improving mobility in large cities is everyone’s business, and the more we bet, both institutions and citizens, on public transport or alternative means of transport, the more we will be improving the quality of life in cities.

Cycling has been the fastest growing alternative means of transport in recent years: in fact, according to a report by Eco-Counter, Spain was the country with the highest growth in bicycle use between 2014 and 2015 (8%), and after experiencing this enormous growth it has remained stable over the last year.

If you are thinking of leaving your car parked when making short journeys in the city and want to know other alternatives to move, Decathlon presented a few days ago its new solutions for urban mobility: bicycles, electric bicycles and scooters. We talked to you about the characteristics of each one of them.

Mountain bikes and touring bikes: the most traditional option
The most traditional option we had until now when looking for means of transport or mobility solutions alternative to the car, and perhaps the only option we had valued until recently, was the mountain bike or the city bike. Depending on the consumer’s needs, we could choose one or the other.

Mountain biking: designed for athletes

It is clear that, if we are sportsmen and want to use the bike for something other than going to work or to move around the city, the most important option to consider is the mountain bike.

Mountain bikes are not as comfortable as touring bikes in terms of the position of the cyclist, who needs to have his back less upright, but they are usually lighter (the frame is usually made of materials such as aluminium, which ensure the robustness of the bike with a low weight) and also have different chainrings and sprockets that, regulating the gears correctly, will help us get the most out of our bike with the minimum effort.

We must not forget that trekking or mountain bikes are designed for sports use, which is their main function, although we can also use them as a means of transport in the city. The model presented by Decathlon is its new Riverside 500 (249.99 euros) in three sizes, with nine speeds and front suspension fork.

The city bike: ideal for city cyclists

Another of the mobility solutions that we can use if we want to pedal around the city is the city bike. In this case we find very ergonomic bicycles in which the cyclist keeps his back upright, so they are usually much more comfortable than mountain bikes or trekking.

The bicycles of stroll, especially those of Dutch style, that are the most typical, tend to be more robust and a little more heavy due to the materials used in the manufacture of their frame (generally steel) and have less speeds than a mountain bicycle, something that makes them ideal for routes in which there are not very steep slopes.

They also usually have some integrated elements that are very useful for city cyclists, such as the front or rear luggage rack, dynamo lighting and the chain guard.

Decathlon presented the models Elops 500 (169.99 euros) and Elops 520 (229.99 euros), both in two sizes, with ergonomic handlebars and incorporating the model 520 an anti-rotation spring in the handlebars that facilitates its handling in the city.

Electric bicycle: innovation for big cities

Mixed bicycles, which have the option of assistance by means of an electric motor, have been the bet of many large cities when it comes to offering bicycle rental services. Thus, BiciMad in Madrid or Sevici in Seville have opted for this type of hybrid bicycles to make them available to their subscribers. Bicing in Barcelona has also expanded its bicycle offer by adding mixed bicycles to the existing circuit.

What does an electric bicycle bring to our journeys in the city? Electric bicycles provide us with extra help, either at specific moments of our urban journeys, or during the entire journey of the same, at the consumer’s choice. This type of bicycle allows us to move assisted by an electric motor that makes the pedalling infinitely simpler and more pleasant and that allows us to reach higher speeds with less effort.

Decathlon presented its new model of electric and folding bicycle Hoptown 500 (599.99 euros), with three modes of assistance (sport, normal and eco) and a range of up to 25 kilometers in eco mode (the one that uses less battery of the three). It is a lightweight bike, very easy to fold, with six speeds and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

During the product presentation I was able to try this new electric bicycle, and the truth is that I was very surprised both its comfort and the remarkable assistance offered by the engine during pedaling, even using the eco mode, which offers the least help. Circulating between the cars I could go practically without pedaling and, climbing slopes (we climbed the hill of Moyano, next to the park of the Retiro) made the work infinitely easier. Without a doubt it is a very good option to take into account in cities where the slopes are the order of the day, such as Madrid.

To move on two wheels in an original way with a scooter

In addition to bicycles, another urban mobility solution within our reach is the skateboard. It is not as popular in big cities as the bicycle and its use has been linked mainly to leisure time, but it is another of the options we have to move quickly through the city.

The scooters intended more for urban mobility than for leisure time are incorporating some features that make their use much more comfortable for the person carrying them: the possibility of adjusting the height of the handlebars, an ergonomic handlebars, quick and easy folding to carry it comfortably and even suspension systems on both wheels for a more comfortable ride.

Decathlon presented different models of urban scooters including the Town 9 EF (139.99 euros), with a second brake on the handlebars that greatly facilitates driving.

How electric bikes work and why they don’t work for you (but they can improve your health)

How electric bikes work and why they don’t work for you (but they can improve your health)

Electric bicycles are becoming more and more fashionable in our cities, generally as an alternative means of transport to cars, motorbikes or public transport: without going any further, bicycles belonging to the BiciMad service in Madrid have a motor that assists cyclists in pedaling.

But let’s go a little further, is it possible to get in shape with an electric bicycle? Will our physical condition improve even with that assistance when it comes to pedaling? We see what the studies say about it and what benefits or harms we can find in electric bicycles when it comes to improving our physical shape.

How does an electric bicycle work?

First of all, let us clarify how an electric bicycle works: this type of bicycle is identical to traditional bicycles, only that they include an electric motor that helps us in certain moments of pedaling.

Does this mean that an electric bike is like a small motorcycle? No, because it also has a pedaling sensor that makes the electric motor activate only when we are already pedaling, that is, it does not replace human traction, but only works as an aid at certain times.

The engine is powered by a rechargeable battery that is usually housed in the transverse tube of the frame of the bicycle, in other cases it is external, being placed where the classic bottle of water would go. They have different capacities (on which the autonomy of our electric bicycle depends), different weights and materials. The most recommended are those made of lithium ion, which have greater durability, less weight and occupy less space than traditional lead batteries.

These bicycles are subject to the same traffic rules as traditional bicycles, which we must comply with both for our own safety and that of other vehicles and pedestrians.

Models, advantages and disadvantages of the electric bicycle

Maybe in our day to day we only see electric bicycles, the most used to make displacements in city, but the certain thing is that already exist electric bicycles of other types, for example, of mountain type mountain-bike, like the one that you can see more above.

These bikes incorporate the assistance motor and the battery that makes it move to facilitate some of the hardest climbs in the mountain, and can be useful in certain journeys of great harshness.

Of course, the advantage of these electric bicycles is the assistance in pedaling, especially if we think of places with great slopes (mountains, some cities like Madrid that are not very favorable to the use of the bike due to its orography): this assistance facilitates enough the possibility of cycling even if we are not habitual cyclists.

The biggest disadvantage is the weight that the battery adds to the bike, and that we must move with the strength of our legs when we do not use the pedal assistance. We are currently working on making longer-lasting batteries and lighter materials that reduce their weight.

Can we train with an electric bicycle?

Most studies related to electric bicycles refer to how they interact with vehicles and pedestrians and their impact on the environment, but we did find a study on their impact on the health of cyclists.

It is a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology in 2016 and accessible on-line. The study focuses on changes in the body of 20 sedentary people who switch to using an electric bicycle to move around the city for four weeks, at least three days a week and for a period of 40 minutes in each use.

The study concludes that these three 40-minute sessions a week, three times a week in sedentary people did improve some metabolic risk factors of the participants, such as increasing their maximum oxygen consumption. In addition, it made these sedentary people more physically active throughout the day.

The electric bicycles, thanks to their assistance in pedaling, could help to prolong the training, being able to stay more time giving pedals with less effort. But we must remember that “more is not better: better is better”, and that current training trends (HIIT, Tabata) are aimed more at more efficient training (better results in less time) than at longer training at the expense of the intensity of the same. This also fits in with our current lifestyle, where we have little time to train but want to see results.

Does it make sense to train on an electric bike? In principle not much, unless our goal is to hold on as long as possible by giving pedals.

We talked to the guys at El Tío del Mazo, one of the most important cycling blogs, to get their opinion about training with an electric bicycle, and these were their comments:

It is convenient to deny a belief, and that is that riding an electric bicycle does not make sport. That is absolutely false, you burn calories and you also sweat. But logically the expense is much lower than in a conventional bicycle.

It also depends, of course, on your use of the assistance. Try pedaling with an uncharged electric bike… Or simply double the number of hours you dedicate to it or the number of kilometres, in the end you will end up exercising.

However, it doesn’t seem to be the most practical thing to plan a training session, since you will have to dedicate more time to it, something that no one has more than enough time today. Only in the case of people who need to control their heart rate seems to be advisable, because always rolling in an area of “cardiovascular safety” risks are avoided, sports are done and burn calories. For any other type of training, the traditional bicycle will always be more practical and effective.

This is how you experience the descent of “Los Lagartos” on a first person mountain bike.

This is how you experience the descent of “Los Lagartos” on a first person mountain bike.

A descent route recorded on video by the beautiful Natural Park of “Los Cerros” in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), between pine groves and clay soil. Snaking, boxed between ravines with peraltadas curves. An enjoyment for the senses and for the body. Adrenaline and fun in equal parts.

The descent of “Los Lagartos” by mountain bike is a classic in the surroundings of Madrid, a kind of amusement park for bikers.

Tour in the “Los Cerros” area

Clear day, no rain, and although cool at dawn, as the day progresses the sun will warm pleasantly. Three friends from the university, Pablo Moraleda, Jorge Prendes and a server stay in this place to have a feast of cardiovascular exercise, fun and in contact with nature.

This natural park has several possible alternatives, all fun and with different degrees of technical and physical complexity. We chose as a climb to border the area of Las Crestas, in order to end up descending the sinuous path with peraltadas curves, known as “Los Lagartos”, a delight similar to descending a ski slope marking the curves behind a companion.

Rhythm and pulsations of the start

In about 1 hour and 30 minutes we finish the route, which has run at a quiet rate of ascent, and fluid descent in speed. At a heart rate of 120 beats per minute on average (68% of my maximum heart rate) and 164 beats per minute on maximum (93% of my maximum heart rate), with an energy expenditure of 1415 kilo calories (of which 34% came from fat), according to the Polar V800.

We do not carry hydration rucksack since in short routes with a can of water is enough.

Video of the route and descent (duration two minutes)

oBike arrives in Madrid: a bicycle service shared throughout the city

oBike arrives in Madrid: a bicycle service shared throughout the city

Shared mobility continues to make inroads in large cities with the consequent improvement in traffic, a decrease in pollution and greater convenience for citizens to access all places. When we talk about shared mobility surely the first thing you think about is carsharing companies such as Emov or Car2Go; from today we can enjoy in the capital a new shared bicycle service that comes to offer us more options: it is oBike.

The main novelty of this service of shared bicycles or bikesharing is that, as they do not have an engine, they do not need charging stations to fill up the batteries of the bicycle and, therefore, they can be parked anywhere (anywhere where bicycles are allowed to park, it is understood, and always within the municipality of Madrid, being able to leave the M-30 zone).

The service, according to the company, will be free throughout the month of October, with the user having to make only a refundable deposit of 49 euros as a way that the user is always responsible for the bicycle. Here’s how this new service works.

This is how you can start riding with oBike

To start using oBike all we have to do is download its free application (available on IOS and android), register through the app and you’re done. In the map will appear the bicycles available and close to us in the form of yellow icons. We can reserve the bikes for a period of ten minutes through the app, before unlocking them.

The bicycles have a Bluetooth locking and unlocking system: once the bicycle we are going to use has been located, we scan the QR code on the handlebar with our phone and unlock the padlock. When we finish our journey, we park the bicycle, put the lock back and so ends our journey.

The bicycles have a GPS positioning system that tells us where they are at all times, as well as a tracking system that tells us in our user account how many kilometers we have traveled, how many calories (approximately) we have burned, and so on.

Price per trip and points system

The price of each trip depends on the user points we have: each user starts with 100 points that can go up or down depending on the behavior of it. According to the same application, “the oBike points system is used to promote non-fraudulent travel and responsible behavior”. Thus, for example, if you park your bicycle in an area not designated for this purpose, 20 points are lost; or if traffic rules are violated during a trip, the points balance is reduced to zero.

In the same way, the user who circulates responsibly is also rewarded by increasing his points in the application, and thus being able to obtain prizes and discounts. If we report a bicycle breakdown through the app, for example, two points will be added to our balance.

With 100 points, the bicycle trip will cost 0.50 euros for 30 minutes, while if we have between 0 and 60 points, the trip will cost 10 euros for 30 minutes. A system that seeks to dissuade those who are not going to make a civic use of the bicycle.

Is it a good option for Madrid?

This new bike sharing company can certainly compete with BiciMad: oBike’s prices are similar (as long as we have all our points) and the fact that we can park where we want and not have to limit ourselves to the charging stations is an advantage for the user. Of course, being able to leave the M-30 zone with your bike is another of the great advantages of oBike over BiciMad.

The main disadvantage? That bicycles do not have a motor to support the cyclist, and the slopes of Madrid are pronounced (depending on the area) to climb them “by hair”. They don’t have gears either, something that they could implement for the benefit of the user in their next fleets. The deposit of 49 euros can also pull back some users when making that first outlay.

oBike will have to be given time to see how it works and if it is implemented in other Spanish cities. At the moment, we welcome all ideas to improve mobility in cities.

Madrid premieres an ordinance of sustainable and healthy mobility: that’s how you have to move around on a bicycle, roller skates or motor scooter

Madrid premieres an ordinance of sustainable and healthy mobility: that’s how you have to move around on a bicycle, roller skates or motor scooter

The city of Madrid is seeking to be increasingly friendly to pedestrians and eco-friendly means of transport: that is the aim pursued by approving today the new Sustainable Mobility Ordinance which, among other novelties, reduces the speed at which vehicles can circulate on most streets at 30 kilometers per hour.

More and more people are using bicycles, motor scooters (either their own or from rental companies, which have been proliferating in recent months) or even scooters to move around the city, but do you know how you have to behave in each case? Here’s what’s new in Madrid’s new Sustainable Mobility Ordinance.

If you ride a bicycle in Madrid

Thanks on the one hand to BiciMad and on the other to the different bike rental companies that have arrived in the capital, the bicycle is becoming the favorite means of transport for many people in Madrid. The extension of the bicycle lane (much criticized by some sectors) has also contributed to more people being encouraged to use the bicycle to move around the city.

With the new Mobility Ordinance, the great novelty for bicycles is that they will be able to turn right at red traffic lights as long as it is signposted. In addition, they will also be able to cycle in the opposite direction through residential streets (as long as it is signposted) and bicycle streets. When parking their bicycles, cyclists may leave their bicycles attached to street furniture (fences, benches, etc. but not vegetation).

If you move around on skates, skateboards or scooters without motors

Cycling is not the only means of transport that is beneficial to our health: many citizens also use skateboards and scooters without engines or skateboards not only in their leisure time, but also to move around the city.

If you use non-motorised skates or scooters, you will be able to ride on the sidewalk at pedestrian speed, and also on cycle lanes, cycle paths, cycle tracks and cycle streets. The most important thing in any of the cases in which space is shared with pedestrians is that you should try not to disturb pedestrians and not put them in danger, and not to exceed 5 kilometers per hour.

If you move with a motor scooter

The electrically charged motor scooter is not as beneficial to our health as the use of the bicycle or skates, but it is an option increasingly used by more citizens, especially since some companies have arrived in the capital to rent scooters.

From now on, if you are traveling on a motor scooter or other personal motor vehicle, you will have to do it on the road, never on the sidewalk. You can also use them on protected bicycle lanes, bicycle tracks and on the residential streets. They can be used, like bicycles, on all streets that limit the speed of traffic to 30 kilometers per hour (thanks to an amendment to the ordinance).

The road to Santiago by bicycle: this is how you have to prepare yourself physically

The road to Santiago by bicycle: this is how you have to prepare yourself physically

A few days ago we talked to you about the physical preparation necessary to make the way to Santiago by walking: not only does it consist of tying our shoes and walking, but we must also have the adequate preparation to be able to face long hours of hiking through different types of terrain and with great unevenness.

The same thing happens with the second option preferred by the pilgrims to make the way (although very behind to make the way walking): the bicycle. Doing the Way of Saint James on two wheels can be an unforgettable experience, but we must be prepared for it: here are the keys to start the way optimally.

The road to Santiago by bicycle

Nearly 22,000 people arrived in Santiago by bicycle during 2017. While the total number of pilgrims has been growing in recent years, the number of bicycle pilgrims has declined considerably, going from 16.33% of the total in 2011 (29,949 bicycle pilgrims in that year) to fall to 7.29% in 2017 (21,933 bicycle pilgrims). Even so, the bicycle is still the second option to reach Santiago.

The most common if we make the journey by bike is to opt for the French way, starting from Sant Jean Pied de Port in France, to reach Santiago after covering more than 900 kilometers through 13 stages. Each stage by bicycle is equivalent to one or two stages on foot, depending on the area, and cover between 50 and 70 kilometres a day.

How to Prepare for the Road to Santiago by Bike

The previous physical preparation is very important if we have planned to do the way of Santiago in bicycle: to cross the way in bicycle has nothing to do with the filming by road or by the city that we can do habitually and it is important that we prepare specifically for it.

Having ridden a mountain bike before, and having gone out on the mountain (not only by road or by city) is essential if you want to make the way to Santiago by bike: in the months before the start it is advisable to make some outings with unevenness to get used to it. The terrain that we are going to find on the way is rarely flat, so getting used to the legs (and buttocks, which are the most likely to suffer with the hours of cycling!) to that effort will not pass us so much bill at the key moment.

Before leaving for Santiago, rehearse some departures carrying your luggage in your saddlebags.

In addition, it is important that we know how we are going to take our luggage on the bike and that we also “rehearse” some outings with the bike more or less loaded to ensure that we develop well with it.

The work in the gym is also important: to prepare above all our lower train and our middle zone will be the priority in case of doing the way in bicycle. Reinforcing the musculature of our legs, in addition, will help us to protect the articulation of the knees, which will be the ones that suffer the most at the time of giving pedals. Exercises such as isometric squats (and other variations: here you have up to 23 different ones), dead weight and jumping into the box (with all these variations) should be part of our training routine.

At the time of working the central zone of our body we can opt for all type of plates or plates, that will work the internal musculature of our abdomen to the complete, training also the lumbar zone, helping us this way to avoid pains once we mount in the bicycle. Here you have 20 different variations of the plank so that you can vary your training.

Cycling along the road to Santiago is undoubtedly a great challenge for bike lovers: a personal and introspective journey and a physical challenge.

Shared bicycle services: health and economic benefits

Shared bicycle services: health and economic benefits

Shared mobility is fashionable throughout Europe. Carsharing and bike sharing services have been made with our cities, with the benefits they bring for pollution and traffic improvement. In the case of shared bicycle services, it seems that the benefits go further, improving our health, reducing the number of annual deaths and positively impacting the economy.

A recent study carried out in 12 European cities, with bike sharing systems in place, studied the consequences of this system on health, pollution and economy.

The study was carried out only in cities that had more than 2,000 shared bicycles, both normal bicycles and electric bicycles. Among the cities studied were Barcelona, Madrid, Seville and Valencia.

The researchers took into account the number of expected deaths – whether bike sharing systems increased or prevented such deaths – due to physical activity, traffic accidents and environmental pollution.

The shared bicycle system can provide both health and economic benefits.

The results they found suggested that the shared bicycle system may provide both health and economic benefits. According to the data from these researchers, bike sharing promotes physical exercise and decreases environmental pollution and traffic accidents. All these effects help to improve the overall health of the population. The consequence they found was that all these factors helped to decrease the number of annual deaths, which positively benefited the economy.

Throughout the study they warn that all this depends to a large extent on whether the use of shared bicycles is given in place of the use of the car. That is, if a person who would normally use the car to move around the city, leaves the car, and in return uses the bicycles. The greater the substitution of the car by shared bicycle journeys, the greater the impact.

In particular, they find that, in the cities studied, with the current level of substitution of car journeys by shared bicycle journeys, 5.17 deaths per year are avoided. This represents a saving of 18 million euros. They estimate that if all bike sharing trips were substituted for car trips, 73.25 deaths could be avoided in all 12 cities, with an annual saving of 225 million euros.

This could suggest that, if the shared bicycle system were implemented in other European – and world – cities, the number of deaths could be reduced, and economic savings increased.

In addition, investing in promoting the use of bike sharing among drivers, or users of other models of shared transport, could also have greater impacts on health and economy.

The use of bicycles has many benefits for our health and, now, moreover, we have every reason to leave the car and join the bike sharing.

All you need to know to get around the city by bike

All you need to know to get around the city by bike

Increasing our daily physical activity is one of the best ways we have to take care of our health, and moving around the city in alternative means of transportation, such as bicycles, can be a very good option for adopting healthy habits in our daily lives.

But do you know how to cycle around the city? Do you know how to get around and what are the different alternatives available to you? We tell you everything you need to know to ride a bicycle safely through the city.

If you go by bicycle, the traffic rules are also for you.

For legal purposes, a bicycle functions as a vehicle when we travel in the city, and the rules of the road also apply to cyclists. This means that in order to be able to ride our bicycle we will have to do it either on the bicycle lane, if there is one, or on the carriageway, as one more vehicle. In some municipalities, depending on their rules, you can drive on the sidewalk, but it is not usually the norm.

When driving on the carriageway we must always do it in the center of the lane to make ourselves more visible.

When we ride on the road with our bicycle we must do it in the right lane (or in the left if we are going to make a left turn) and not in the bus lane. In addition, it is important that for our own safety we circulate through the center of the lane: this helps us to make ourselves more visible when we go on the bicycle and to avoid dangerous overtaking or car doors or taxis that open without notice when parked.

We must also bear in mind that we have to signalize the maneuvers that we are going to make on the bicycle: the left turn is signalized raising the left arm, the right turn can be signalized either raising the right arm or raising the left with the elbow bent at 90 degrees. If you are going to stop, it is also advisable to mark it by raising your left arm slightly.

Unless otherwise marked, you should cross zebra crossings on foot as pedestrians, with your bicycle in your hand. Some zebra crossings in places where there are many bicycles can be adapted to them, with a signposted lane through which we can pass without getting off the bike.

Can I be fined while riding a bicycle?

As we said, the bicycle is considered another vehicle and, of course, we can also be fined for not complying with traffic rules. One of the most frequent fines for cyclists is the one that penalizes riding a bicycle while wearing headphones: this is totally forbidden, as it reduces the cyclist’s attention to the road. This conduct is punishable by a fine of 200 euros, and also applies if we wear only one headset or if our headset is bone conduction, without covering the ear.

Fines for driving bicycles with a higher than permitted alcohol content have increased in recent months, especially on weekends.

Another of the frequent fines that cyclists receive is for riding their bicycle with a higher than permitted alcohol level. If we ride a bicycle we cannot exceed the rate of 0.5 grams of alcohol per liter of blood or 0.25 grams of alcohol per liter of exhaled air. As for the amounts of alcohol, the law acts in the same way as it would with a driver of a motor vehicle with the only difference that it does not lead to a loss of points on the driver’s license.

Failure to carry the proper signage on the bike (a fixed white front light, a red light, fixed or flashing, rear light and a non-triangular red rear catadryoptic) is also grounds for a fine. Be careful with this because if we do not carry the lights regulations can also fine us even if it is day. The bell is also obligatory.

Other actions for which we can be fined when riding a bicycle in the city are to run a traffic light, drive on the sidewalk or drive the mobile.

The different alternatives for cycling in the city

Nowadays the cities are more and more bike-friendly and more adapted to bicycles as a means of transport. Many cities have already joined in offering bicycle rentals, with or without engines, to make it easier for citizens to get around. Among the best known we can name the BiciMad in the city of Madrid, Sevici in the city of Seville or Bicing in Barcelona.

Nor do we need to have our own bicycle to move around the city: shared bicycle rental systems such as oBike or oFo offer an alternative to those who prefer to rent bicycles by time or by route without having to depend on the charging stations of electric bicycles and thus being able to leave the central almond of the cities.

Before we pedal from one side of the city to the other, it is a good idea to know the itinerary we are going to follow: for this it is a good idea to use the Google Maps bike itinerary service, which will tell us which is the most recommended route for our trip, as well as other interesting data such as the unevenness that we will find on our journey.

Every day more and more people use the bicycle as a means of transport in the city, do you feel up to it?