Why Recumbent Exercise Bikes Beat The Competition

Exercise bikes continue to be popular options for home exercise despite the competition from trendy new fitness inventions. They offer the same aerobic benefits of riding a bicycle. And you can use it any time, in any weather, without leaving the comfort and safety of your home.

  Recumbent BikesExercise bikes don’t take up much space, require little or no balance or coordination, and can provide an effective workout for users of any level, from beginners to seasoned competitors. While the same could be said for a number of other types of home fitness equipment, the exercise bike is one of the few that allows you to watch television or read a magazine while you work out.

   5 Reasons Recumbent Bikes Are A Smart Choice 

1.) Recumbent Bikes Work for All Fitness Levels - Even the most inactive person will find a recumbent exercise bike easy to use. You can adjust the settings to offer little or no resistance as you pedal. People who are overweight will definitely find the seat much larger and more comfortable than other exercise bikes. Athletes will find the recumbent exercise bike a challenge. The resistance can become incredibly difficult. The bike can simulate pedaling up hills. Most recumbent bikes offer various programs that will require you to sprint and tackle hills. If you want an upper body workout as you pedal, you can easily add weights and do repetitions as you sit back in the recumbent bike seat.

Are You Considering Clipless Pedals?

The Shimano American Corporation has been providing quality bicycle parts since 1961.

About Shimano

With the popularity of the 20-inch wheeled bikes and the high rise handlebars (mostly Schwinn), there was a great demand for multi-speed hubs. Shimano was producing an affordable and reliable version that caught the attention of the industry. Since then, Shimano has been producing quality drivetrain parts for bicycles including these clipless pedals. The rest is Shimano history.

Why Clipless Pedals

Shimano has been making clipless pedals since 1990. Clipless pedals have a cleat acceptor and are used with Shoes that have cleats affixed. Their main benefit is that they keep your foot in the best position for power to the pedal, meaning more of the pressure from your legs is going straight to propelling the bike.

One advantage of clipless pedals is that you can pull up when you pedal and can manage your cadence (the rate at which you pedal), more efficiently. By pulling back straight in the bottom of your pedal stroke (like you are scraping something off the bottom of your shoe), you can keep your cadence smoother and more efficient. Clipless pedals (like well-adjusted toe clips) allow you to do this without pulling your foot off the pedal.

Shimano M324 Clipless Pedals, Combo Platform and SPD

There are many choices of clipless pedals but I particularly like the  Shimano Combo Platform. The benefit of the Shimano Combo Platform is you can ride on the flat side when in heavy people/vehicle traffic, then clip into the pedals for a powerful open ride. The Shimano M324 Clipless Pedals are not as light as the cheaper pedals of this type, however, the SPD attachment is top quality and wont break. The outer area of the pedal is very strong steel. The pedal’s alloy core is colored exactly like the LX group which has the strongest materials. These pedals have the same theme as a trekking/touring bike. These pedals work perfectly all the time and are designed to last at least as long as a bike or two.

What Can A Hybrid Bike Benefit Me?

Hybrid Bikes

Some of you may be considering a hybrid bike and would like to know some of the benefits a hybrid offers. Hybrid bikes are becoming more popular on the road and trail and are an alternative to the typical road and mountain bikes that you may be use to. A hybrid bike is one that blends the best characteristics of both road and mountain bikes into a bike that is sturdy, comfortable, fast, and ideal not only for riding on the road, but also the trail.
Features of a hybrid that come from mountain bikes are a more upright frame, offering a more comfortable riding position, a stouter frame that can handle more weight, as well as absorb the day-in and day-out shock of bumps, potholes, etc. that you might encounter in a commute and it has slightly wider tires for better traction and stability.

Features that come from road bikes are lighter rims for faster riding, lighter components and taller gearing for going faster.

Schwinn Hybrid Best Seller
The wheels on a hybrid bike are a true combination of what you find on road and mountain bikes. Wider, like a mountain bike for greater stability and durability, but able to sustain higher air pressure that puts them in the same level as a road bike when it comes to inflation level. The higher air pressure allows them to go faster by reducing rolling resistance.

Bike Shoes And Clipless Pedals-Are They For You?

Shoes are the power transmitting devices on your bike. Cycling shoes are stiff so that the feet are protected from the strain of pedaling. This stiffness also allows more of your power to be transmitted to the rear wheel. Whatever shoes you decide to go for, be sure to have compatible pedals. Several systems are available that allow cycling shoes to more efficiently connect to the pedal.

Are Bike Shoes For Me?

You can ride a bike in just about any shoes, and that may be fine for someone that rides only minimal. But anyone who rides distance or for competition can benefit from shoes specifically designed for bicycling. The more comfortable your feet are while you ride can only benefit your over-all riding experience. Shoes with cleats referred to as “clipless” provide continuous power to the driving wheel.

Compared to typical athletic shoes, cycling shoes are designed with stiffer soles to provide more efficient energy transfer to your rear wheel as you pedal. These stiff soles also protect your feet while riding and support the full length of each foot to reduce cramping and fatigue. The uppers are also relatively rigid for extra support.

Cycling shoes can be “clipless” or not. The clipless shoe pedal combination offers unmatched control and greater transfer of power to the rear wheel. If you are a casual rider or prefer shoes without cleats, the typical platform pedals are all you need. Another choice is the combination clipless/platform pedals that gives you the option of clipless or platform.

Choosing Bike Shoes

While deciding on the right bike shoes for you, keep in mind proper shoe/pedal compatibility. There are many different types and styles of cycling shoes designed for all categories of biking and rider preference.

Which Pedal system is Best?

Each type has pros and cons. There is no "best" system - simply one which works best for you. Take some time to decide the ones that are right for you.

 Protruding Cleats
Can Make
Walking Difficult.
Out-soles are available in smooth and lugged patterns with rigidity ranging from stiff to very stiff. Casual riders and commuters do fine with basic rubber soles while mountain bikers require aggressively lugged soles for maximum traction while walking. These soles offer grip on rocky or unstable surfaces. Road cyclists typically prefer shoes with smooth soles for minimum weight and wind resistance and some offer carbon-fiber soles to maximize power transfer. Clipless style out-soles come with 2 hole(SPD-style), 3 hole(Look-style) and 4 hole(Time-style) with cleats protruding from or recessed into the sole.

Burn More Calories On A Treadmill

Your goal when engaging in physical activity is to burn down calories and keep yourself physically fit and healthy. Compared to just 500 calories per hour on the exercise bike, the average medium-intensity treadmill workout burned 700 calories per hour. Dr. Hoffman said that one reason for this difference is the amount of muscle mass that is used in both exercises. Apparently, when you walk or run on a treadmill, you use more muscles than you do on a bike, stationary or otherwise.

The greatest benefit of treadmill exercise is burning calories. However, it is not the only reason why you should consider this type of workout. For people with certain health conditions, engaging in vigorous physical activity can be detrimental to their lives and their health. People such as those with osteoporosis, hypertension, and back pains are recommended to do no more than walking when they exercise so as not to overexert themselves. The treadmill, therefore, provides them with an exciting alternative to just plain walking outside.

A treadmill can add consistency to your walking workout. Most models have programming in them that allow you to maintain speed and intensity throughout your entire workout. They also have an incline device that would let you control the inclination of your walk, exactly as though you are walking up or down a hill.

Walking for 45 minutes, five times a week can cut your chances of getting a cold or flu in half, according to a research conducted by the Harvard Medical School. But you can’t really walk, can you, if it’s raining outside? That is why the treadmill, where climate changes don’t matter, is great to have around.

Furthermore, the treadmill can be used by anyone, young, old, male, female, pregnant, not pregnant etc. Let’s take pregnant women, for example. While some aerobic activities can be risky during pregnancy, walking is actually beneficial to both the child and the mother. Hormonal changes caused by pregnancy can loosen ligaments. In order to tone muscles down and strengthen the joints that support the growing baby, walking is recommended for pregnant women.

The treadmill also helps prevent injuries that could happen when you run outside on uneven or even wet ground. Gravity can have very nasty effects, however beneficial running and sunlight might be. A treadmill with good cushioning on the belt will help support each foot-strike you make, making your running or walking easier.

Finally, if you are just looking to get in shape, walking or jogging on a treadmill improves muscle tone and not just in your legs, but all over your body. Strengthened muscles means the heart can pump more oxygen-rich blood with each step you take.

How To Burn Calories and Lose Weight By Doing Interval Training:

Schwinn 860 Treadmill

The Schwinn 860 Treadmill is designed to help you move from the place you are to the place you want to be. With a generious running surface, powerful motor, integrated heart rate programming (chest strap included), multi-color dual screen consoles, and optimally cushioned running surfaces, these treadmills are your ticket to ride (or walk or run!) Learn more about the Schwinn 860 Treadmill.

See the Schwinn 840 Treadmill which is very simular to the 860 but with a few less features and at a moderated price.

Morning Exercise Is Great!

Jump Start Your Day

To be healthy, fitness exercise must be included in your overall daily activities. Beginning in the morning with an exercise program is the greatest habit to obtain.

Whatever type of exercise you choose to do will certainly benefit your overall health. Whether you like exercise videos or prefer to utilize fitness equipment such as a treadmill, recumbent bike or any other fitness product, the choice is yours.

The key is getting exercise whenever you can, whether it’s morning, afternoon, or evening. And by starting your morning with physical activity, you set the day’s pace. You get your exercise in before any other distractions can lure you away to something else.

When you exercise early in the morning, it jump starts your metabolism and keeps it elevated for up to 24 hours! Wow! That means you’re burning more calories all day long, just as a result of morning exercise.

When you exercise in the morning, you’ll find that because of the increased intake of oxygen and circulation of blood in your body, you’ll stay energized for the whole day. It will automatically put you in a healthy frame of mind. Whatever you may have on your schedule for the day, you will have the extra energy and drive needed to take it on.

Being a morning person gives you a good jump start to a more productive day. Research has proven that people who exercise in the mornings tend to be the ones who are the most consistent in their fitness routines and diets. So get yourself going and have a great day!

Three Wheel Recumbent Cruiser-Really?

The only  recumbent trikes I use to see were those odd bulky looking contraptions with the chain-drive protruding forward out past the two front wheels. Looks a bit dangerous to me. (Watch out, chainsaw coming!)  
The Very Popular Rover
Terra 2 Speed Recumbent Trike
Sells for $899

All kidding aside, these odd-looking recumbent trikes are becoming quite popular. They are designed mainly for long rides on the street or trail and for serious competition. But they are quite expensive. If these are what you're looking for, click on the pic to the left. I hear they have great reviews. Pictured is the highly sought after Terra 2 Speed Rover Recumbent Trike

 MoBo Triton Ultimate 3 Wheeled Cruiser
 On Sale for $319

On the other hand, while journeying through cyberspace, I came across these cool looking three-wheeled recumbent cruisers, in particular, the Triton by Hammacher Schlemmer. I watched a video of them in action, and I must say, they look like a lot of fun. 

The Triton is less expensive than the Terra type and has a classic tricycle look with a unique, simple steering mechanism that gives you total control. And, being a recumbent, you pedal while sitting down with your back fully supported for a pain free ride. 
Click for more details

The Triton is easier to look at and very easy to operate. It has a front flywheel drive mechanism with less mess than the chain-driven cruisers. Its’ flywheel mechanism lets you coast when you want and has caliper hand brakes for guaranteed stopping power. 

With its' simple design you can achieve an easy and fun exercise or a great cardio workout. And it's the only recumbent cruiser available with reverse gear. With its' strengthened steel frame construction, it is built to last. 

Some may think the Triton three-wheeled recumbent cruisers to be a bit extreme. But if your seeking an "out of the ordinary" ride that is stable, pain-free and fun, the Triton is just right. Comes in child sizes too...

Watch the Triton in action!

Where To Buy
The Hammacher Schlemmer Company is located in NY, New York, so it’s nice to know these three-wheeled cruisers are American made. Hammacher Schlemmer has a 162 year history of producing quality products. They make a number of these three-wheeled cruisers available for all ages. So if you’re the nonconformist type who likes unconventional designs, the Triton is tailor made just for you!

How Much Exercise

So How Much Exercise Is Enough?

Schwinn 860 Treadmill
To accomplish the best and quickest benefits of exercise you don’t want to risk hurting yourself by going too fast. Start slow and work up. For the best overall health benefits, experts recommend that you do 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times a week and some type of muscle strengthening activity and stretching at least twice a week. However, if you are  not ready to do this level of activity, you can begin by accumulating at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a day, five times or more a week.

If you have been inactive for a while, start with less strenuous activities such as walking or swimming at a comfortable pace. Starting at a slow pace will allow you to become physically fit without straining your body. Once you are in better shape, you can gradually do more strenuous activity.

Moderate-intensity Activity

Moderate-intensity activities include some of the things you may already be doing during the day, such as house cleaning, washing your car or yard work. These activities can be done in short spurts such as 8 or 10 minutes at a time.  Individually, each activity does not have much of an effect on your health, but regularly accumulating 30 minutes of activity over the course of the day can result in substantial health benefits.

To become more active throughout your day, take advantage of any chance to get up and move around. Here are some things you can do. Take a short walk around the block. Rake the leaves. Play actively with the kids. Walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Mow the lawn. Park your car a little further away from your destination and walk the extra distance. The point is not to make physical activity an unwelcome chore, but have fun with the opportunities you have to be active.

Aerobic Activity

Aerobic activity is an important addition to moderate-intensity exercise. Aerobic exercise is extended activity that uses the large muscle groups while causing you to breathe heavy at a regular, even pace. Aerobic activities help make your heart stronger and more efficient. They also use more calories than other activities. Some examples of aerobic activities are aerobic dancing, basketball, brisk walking, bicycling, jogging, jumping rope, racket sports, rowing, skating, skiing, soccer and swimming.

Airdyne Exercise Bike-A Good Way To Go

Schwinn Airdyne Exercise Bike

 Schwinn Airdyne AD 6
Reg. price $1000.00
Click for sale price.
The Schwinn Airdyne is an excellent fitness machine that has been around since the 1980’s. It was the first patented Exercise Bike to give you a full total body workout plus a total-body ergometer with a patented dual action motion that synchronizes arm and leg motions to simulate your natural motion. It is strong, made from steel and built to last. The Airdyne bike uses a fan/flywheel to create resistance rather than a friction belt or magnetic motor. For upper and lower body workouts – the faster you pedal, the greater the wind resistance. You can work upper body, lower body or both at the same time. As your workout becomes more intense the fan creates streams of cooling air to keep you cool. Since there is no friction mechanism to fail, they’ll be fewer repairs and failures.

The onboard computer allows you to select what information you wish to see such as mets, calories, distance, speed, rpm’s and can even display your pulse if you wear a chest strap. You can select miles or kilometers for distance and club or home for setup. It even allows you to input your geological elevation to facilitate a more accurate calorie count.

The Schwinn Airdyne Upright Exercise Bike is solid. Wind resistance is exponential, so the harder you pedal, the higher the resistance becomes. This naturally provides the right workout for both a novice and an elite athlete. This represents a good way to go if you want a well built durable piece of equipment intended for serious use to achieve your goal of cardio-vascular conditioning, weight loss or just good old exercise. Keep in mind that the intensity of exercise on the Airdyne bike is completely dependent upon you, the person exercising.

The best part about the Schwinn Airdyne is what you get for your money. The Schwinn Airdyne comes with a 30 year warranty (15 years for commercial use) on the frame and rarely breaks down. It is built to withstand use in fitness centers or health clubs. Your investment will be around for many years to come and probably outlast you and your offspring.

Amazon.com - You can buy a new or used Schwinn Airdyne Exercise Bike from the worlds largest online vendor. See the Schwinn Airdyne Upright Exercise Bike on Amazon now. 

Don’t waste your money on a cheap inferior brand. A new or used Schwinn machine (mostly refurbished) is better than buying a cheap off-brand model that will probably fall apart and leave you up a creek without a paddle.

Can Good Mountain Biking Shoes Make A Difference?

Professionals in any field use the best tools available in order to do their jobs as well as possible. While a lower quality tool may do the job acceptably, having the best tool means the job gets done right every time. There’s no failures, no questions and no slips. Time and time again, you can rely on the best tools for the job. When you’re a professional athlete, or simply want to compete at the highest level possible, you want the best tools as well. And if your sport is mountain biking, that includes every part of your bike, your helmet and even your mountain biking shoes.

To gain a competive edge, you invest in the best bicycle frame available. You invest in the best gears because they’ll give you a competitive edge. You get a competitive edge by investing in the best tires. If you make the same investment in quality when it comes to your shoes, you could have another competitive edge. Your competitors are making that investment which would give them the competitive edge over you if you don’t. You will be well served investing the same amount of time educating yourself about biking shoes as you have educating yourself about the best equipment.

Shimano 2-Bolt Cleat
Micro-adjust Buckle
Professional cyclists have mountain biking and road biking shoes specifically designed just for them. They not only have the advantages that the usual tennis shoe/sport shoe don’t have, but they are also comfortable. The main difference between them is the lacing system. While you may not think that’s important, stop and think how often you have to stop and readjust your shoes, untying them and retying them so they feel right on your feet. Your performance will be affected by ordinary lacing systems that often stretch and are affected by water, dirt and other debris.

Shoes with a single line, locking lacing system aren’t affected by anything. Your shoes won’t need any adjustments if you use stainless steel laces. You can turn a single point adjustment wheel that locks into place until you release it to tighten your shoes. Once you get the athletic shoe laces tightened where you want them, they stay on until you’re ready to take the shoes off. There’s no adjustments, no stretching or shrinking and no changes due to weather or getting wet. You are good to go after just one time. Check out your shoes and see if you can’t do a bit better so you can have one more edge over your competition.

Should I Get Shocks On My Mountain Bike?

 Entry Level Mountain Bike
As you shop for mountain bikes you will probably notice that entry-level mountain bikes usually don't have shocks. You will also find that more expensive mountain bikes either have front shocks only (hard-tails) or front and back shocks (soft-tails), otherwise known as full suspension mountain bikes

Hard-Tail Mountain Bike

Should you get shocks on your mountain bike? What are the pros and cons? Consider the following facts as you decide.

Well, having shocks definitely affects the comfort of your ride as well as performance. Earlier hard-tails use to accelerate faster and climb hills better than full suspension bikes, because they were lighter and you didn't lose any transfer of energy to the rear shocks. Today's soft-tails are nearly equal to hard-tails now in performance. 

Unfortunately, full suspension mountain bikes are more expensive than hard-tails. If you are going to be riding only on smooth trails and surfaces than you really don't need to have a full suspension mountain bike.

Full Suspension Mountain Bike 
On the other hand, when riding on bumpy terrain you'll notice the lack of rear suspension in a hard-tail bike pretty quick. You will especially feel it in your back and backside. If this is the case, full suspension is recommended.

If you can't afford a full suspension with decent and reliable components, I recommend buying a good reliable hard-tail from a specialty bike shop rather than going to a mass merchant such as Wal-Mart or Target. The cheaper components and heavy steel frame will not hold up for very long. 

Do You Want A Mountain Bike?

What is a mountain bike? In thinking about the type of cycling you want to do, if you plan on doing a lot of off-road riding, like zipping through the woods or traveling across desert areas on sandy or rocky trails, a mountain bike is probably what you need. Buying a mountain bike however, can be an expensive business, with entry level bikes going for about $250 to $300 and some of the top models selling from $4000 to $5000 and even more.

Schwinn Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike
Mountain bikes are designed for riding under more diverse and rugged conditions than other types of bikes. They typically have a stouter, more upright frame and offer a higher clearance. A good mountain bike can take a lot of stress and abuse and still allow the rider to semi-comfortably negotiate rugged terrain and go over or around obstacles that he or she may encounter on the trail.

Wheels: Mountain bikes usually have wide knobby tires that offer more substantial grip and traction over bumps and on a variety of surfaces, including dirt, gravel, rocks and sand. Tire pressure on mountain bikes is less than on road bikes, due to their greater volume and better traction offered by the softer tire. The rims and spokes on a mountain bike are stronger and more durable enabling it to handle the rough riding that mountain biking consists of.

Frame: The key factors to consider in choosing which frame material is right for you, depend on your own level of commitment and of course, your budget. There are four types of frames to consider and as the materials get more advanced, the price increases.
  • Steel: Most entry-level mountain bike frames are steel (also called “cro-moly”), due to the strength and durability the material offers and the low price of steel, relatively speaking. The fallback of steel is its weight and that it is susceptible to rust. For many non competitive riders, where weight is not much of a deciding factor, a steel frame is probably fine.
  • Aluminum: A good lightweight, rust-proof and relatively strong frame is aluminum. But over time and when  subjected to repeated stress is prone to break. I would not recommend aluminum frames for mountain biking, simply due to the rough nature of off road riding, which constantly subjects the frame to significant stress, particularly when a heavier rider is involved.
  • Carbon fiber: The next higher level of material and similar to aluminum in being lightweight rust-proof and very strong is carbon fiber. Carbon fiber frames may be suitable for the average or smaller sized riders, but the stress of mountain biking can also lead to breakage. Keep in mind, when they go it happens suddenly, usually resulting with much inconvenience.
  • Titanium: A titanium frame on a mountain bike is an excellent choice for large riders because of its ability to handle heavy loads without becoming fatigued. It is super light and incredibly strong. The bad news is, titanium is very expensive. Because of the cost, bikes with titanium frames usually fall way above the range of all but the most serious and competitive cyclists.

Handlebars: Mountain bike handlebars are basically flat, and go straight out from the stem. With a wider grip, usually about shoulder width, these handlebars allow riders to sit upright and offer a better position for vision and control of the bike on up and down hill terrain.

Riding position: The way that a mountain bike is designed allows riders to sit upright in a position that gives them the best control of the bike, with a well-placed center of gravity and the ability to shift weight forward or backward to provide balance and adjust to the varying terrain.

Gears: Mountain bikes have a wide range of gearing to allow them to handle a broad range of terrain. With low gears that go well below that of most road bikes, riders are more easily able to conquer some very steep hills. On the high end of the gear range, mountain bikes typically are not so tall in the gearing as what you’d find on a road bike. Rarely is there the need for wide-open, racing speed such as you’d have on a road bike, and the bike’s over-sized, knobby tires are not really appropriate for going super fast anyway.

A mountain bike will have either two or three chain rings in the front as part of the crank assembly, again smaller than what you’d find on a road bike, along with eight or nine gears in the cassette on the rear wheel, many times featuring one impressively-sized gear called a “granny gear” to help with the particularly steep climbs. This combination allows for anywhere from 16 to 27 possible gear combinations, a range that accounts for virtually every type of terrain that a mountain bike will cross over.

Pedals: Basic mountain bikes come equipped with platform pedals. This is useful if you’re the type of rider who frequently puts your feet down. Other more advanced riders may prefer to use toe clips or even clip-less pedals that allow the rider to secure his or her cleated shoes to the pedals.

Accessories: Mountain bikes may include cyclocomputers, frame pumps, tool bags, water bottles and cages. Also, because of the rugged nature of mountain biking and the frequent distances from “civilization” that it entails, many mountain bikers carry tool kits with extra tools and replacement parts that road bikers need not bring.

Buying Advice: Be sure you will be doing plenty of off-road riding before you decide to buy a mountain bike. If you are just going to be riding mostly in town or on paved or hard smooth flat trails, there are better bike choices that will be more comfortable and serve you better, such as hybrids, cruisers or road bikes.

Also, beware of cheap, heavy mountain bikes sold by box stores like Target and Walmart. Though they may offer snazzy-looking front and rear shock set-ups, generally these add a lot of weight to the frame, and being made from cheap components, they wont last very long under the types of rugged riding conditions they encounter.

Some Major Brands specializing in mountain bikes are Giant, Specialized, Gary Fisher, Trek, Diamondback, Kona, Charge, NS Bikes, Mongoose, Orbea, Revell, Yeti, Orange and Schwinn.

Safety: Always Be Safe and wear a helmet. Make sure you have a CPSC-approved bike helmet that fits properly. It should not wobble or flop around on your head when your chinstrap is buckled. Even with a great helmet, you might be unconscious if you crash. Carry ID, any important medical info, emergency contacts, and your insurance information. Adequate clothing, gloves and shoes are also recommended. It’s also a good idea to carry a cellphone, just in case.

Check out "Should I Get Shocks On My Mountain Bike"

Fitness: How To Ensure A Healthy Heart

Achieving good health consist of a proper diet and a well planned exercise program. Diet alone will not give optimum results, nor will exercise without proper diet. There needs to be a balance of the two. When it comes to exercise there also needs to be a balance between strength training and cardiovascular fitness.

Building muscle and sixpack abs takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but for overall good health, having a cardio workout plan is crucial. Having a regular strength training program is essential for building muscle and increasing strength. It is important to have a routine that hits all the major muscle groups and targets each specific area.

Strength training alone will not ensure a healthy heart. When considering the steps to take in our regimen for strength training and body building, we should also include cardio workouts for overall health, especially for the heart and lungs.

Cardiovascular fitness is a necessary part of an exercise plan directed at improving overall health and fitness. Increasing cardiovascular exercises improves muscular endurance, permitting the body to withstand activities over a length of time by supplying oxygen rich blood to the heart, lungs and vascular system.

Learn To Ride A Bike

How To Safely Take That First Ride

I remember the day I first learned to ride a bike. It was a beautiful spring day back in May of 1962. I just turned 6 years old and never rode a bike before. I learned on my cousins' old 20" cruiser bike that had fat tires and was painted light blue (maybe it was a Schwinn, I don't know). My mom, dad and I, along with my 4 siblings went over the train tracks to my Aunt Jessies' house in Rosedale, Maryland (she just turned 90). 

The roads near my aunts' house were very lightly traveled with small up and down hill inclines, so it was just right to easily coast. I'm not sure how long it initially took to learn (maybe 30 to 45 minutes or so) but I remember riding through the neighborhood most of the day. What a great sense of achievement I felt as I circled those back roads over and over again. It was the time of my life for me.

Now Sarah is 6 years old and wants to take off her training wheels. Is she ready to take the next step? If she's confident enough riding with her training wheels on, it just may be time to take them off. Once you've decided to take the training wheels off, take the following steps.

First of all, you'll want to make sure you have all of the necessary safety gear needed to prevent injuries. You'll need a certified bicycle safety helmet that meets legal CPSC standards. Also, you'll need knee and elbow pads in case your child falls.

Now that your child has accomplished riding on 2 wheels, make sure to teach these important bike safety rules for on road riding. 
  • Stop at stop signs and red lights. 
  • Ride on the right with traffic. 
  • Have approved reflectors and/or lights. 
  • Go over proper use of the bikes brakes. 
  • Make sure your child understands how to stop. 
If your child is riding at a playground, make sure they take off their helmet before getting on playground equipment to avoid strangulation.

Okey, now that you have all that done, find an area that has a smooth, slightly inclined surface (preferably a quiet secluded neighborhood off the beaten path). When she gets on the bike so that both feet touch the ground, and starts to coast, she’ll be riding that bike in no time at all, just like me.

What Is BMX?

BMX is short for Bicycle Motocross. The sport of bicycle motocross began in the early 1970's in Southern California. A small group of thrill seekers started riding their stingray type bikes off road on vacant lots and fields. It was a lot of fun with only minimal competition. Bicycle riders were performing jumps and 'getting air' on their bicycles like MX motorcycle riders(Motocross). The riders started to build neighborhood tracks and began to compete more seriously against one another.

Now there are two sanctioning bodies for BMX. They are the ABA(American Bicycle Association) and the NBL(National Bicycle League). Each focuses on BMX as a sport and on fair competition by member riders. Sooner Pearl BMX Raceway located in Oklahoma City is a sanctioned ABA track and abides by all ABA rules. Today the sport of BMX is sweeping the country and the world. There are over a 150,000 riders of all ages in organized races at permanent tracks across America.


The American Bicycle Association (ABA) was formed to provide organized racing and give national prominence to the sport of BMX. Under ABA rules of sanction, and to give all members an equal and fair opportunity, riders may accumulate district points at any ABA sanctioned track in the United States. Additionally, a national level points program is offered for riders who seek a higher level of competition.

The ABA represents the largest sanctioning body of BMX riders in the world. There are currently over 70,000 members and over 250 tracks in North America with these numbers growing daily. BMX racing is clean, exciting fun that the whole family can enjoy, whether as a racer, spectator, pit crew or track volunteer. BMX has something to offer everyone. Races are organized according to age groups and skill levels, so everyone can have the opportunity to compete on a fair and competitive level. Even beginner riders have the chance to race safely with other beginner riders.

Children created  BMX and it is dominated by children in numbers but there are mature riders also. It is a sport which promotes individual achievement, builds character, social skills, self motivation, self esteem, discipline, determination and to top it off, it's healthy exercise. BMX involves the whole family and allows families time together having fun in a drug-free environment. Races are free to watch and everyone is welcome.


ABA membership is required to race at ABA BMX. Every rider practicing or competing on any ABA sanctioned track must attain prior ABA membership. The following memberships are available.

One Day Free Membership- This membership is intended only for the new rider to have a chance to experience the sport prior to joining one of the memberships below. This membership is for one practice or one race only and is not transferable or re-useable.

Temporary- The ABA offers a trial membership for $25. This membership is intended only for new riders to the sport and is valid for 30 days. A rider may hold a temporary membership only one time in their BMX career. This membership allows riders to compete at single point races only, yet no ABA points will be awarded and provides you with no medical insurance coverage. If within the 30 day period the rider wishes to become a full (annual) member, there will be a $25 temporary conversion fee, with the initial $25 temporary fee also being applied toward the full membership fee, with presentation of the temporary membership receipt.

Full (annual)- A full membership costs only $45 and is valid for 1 full year at any ABA sanctioned event in the United States. Points will be awarded to all riders competing in any ABA sanctioned race with those points returning to each rider's home district. Full membership riders will receive the monthly publication of the BMXer magazine and all pertinent information mailings. Also, each rider will receive a current rulebook and official membership card.

Who can race? Races are organized into separate girl and boy categories, then subdivided into age groups and skill levels. The age groups range from 5 and under to 51 and over. Within these age groups are three skill levels; the novice, intermediate and expert.

How much does it cost to race? Once you become an ABA member, the only other cost will be the race entry fee. The entry fee entitles you to be a participant in the days BMX activities. A typical BMX race includes 3 qualifying motos along with a main event. In the main event, you race for awards determined by your finish along with the precious ABA points.

What kind of bike do I need? BMX racing does not require a lot of expensive equipment. Most racers start with their 20" street bike and make the following required modifications:

  • Make sure all bolts are tight, especially your axle bolts and stem bolts.
  • Remove any freestyle type axle pegs.
  • All reflectors must be removed for safety purposes.
  • If your bike has a kickstand, it must be taken off.
  • Your bike needs padded coverings on the crossbar of your handlebars, the handlebar stem (or goose-neck), and the top tube of your frame.
  • You'll also need a number plate. Most ABA tracks will supply you with a plate when you sign up. If not, a simple paper plate will do.
  • Shop for BMX Bikes at Amazon.

How can I get started? Simply visit your local track during the practice or racing times and ask for a membership application or information. You can watch the races, talk to other BMX families, or give it a try yourself.

What equipment do I need?

  • Long sleeved shirt.
  • Long pants or jeans.
  • Enclosed shoes. Skateboard style shoes are suggested.
  • Also, a helmet is required.
The ABA and Desert Sunset BMX highly recommend helmets with full-face protection. Most ABA tracks have "loaner" helmets for beginners to use. Many tracks offer equipment on a nightly loan basis. A lot of times, a good inexpensive helmet can be found at a garage sale or in the pit area of your local BMX track. You can also buy BMX Helmets on Amazon or look for BMX Helmets on eBay.

Shorts, cut-offs, tank tops or short sleeved shirts are not permitted at anytime while racing or practicing at a sanctioned event.

Where can I race? 

The ABA has over 200 tracks nationwide! Chances are there is one near you. Contact Desert Sunset BMX at (520) 444-7113 or call the ABA at (480) 961-1903 and ask for the track nearest you, or just click here to find a track.

Drivetrain: Shimano vs Sram

If you’re planning on upgrading your current ride with a new drive-train, should you go with Shimano or Sram components? Maybe you’re going for a custom build or getting a new bike altogether. I think most would agree that Shimano and Sram are the top contenders to consider. But which one is better?

Shimano Bicycle Components

Shimano holds nearly 90% of the entire world’s cycling component market and 97%+ of the worlds OEM market (not sure how current that is).  They turn over US $1 billion in bike components.  How could they not be good with numbers like that?

Starting in the 1960’s with a humble 3-speed hub, Shimano now sets industry standards for bicycle components and is everywhere in all aspects of cycling. By strategizing with elite manufacturers, Shimano remains in a constant state of progress, developing core components for everyday commuting. Through advocacy programs, commitment to environmental protection, and responsible business practices, Shimano contributes not only to cycling, but to the community as well.

SRAM Bicycle Components

SRAM is not as well known, but is a strong competitor and gaining unbelievable ground.  It has great ergonomics and a shifting mechanism that works great. Sram is aggressively and successfully increasing in the market share.

SRAM Corporation began with the goal of creating the absolute best drive-train system and has changed the cycling world forever with the introduction of Grip Shift. They continue to seek and introduce new technology and engineering advancements, as they compulsively refine and redefine the pinnacle of the ultimate ride.  And to genuine cycling enthusiasts, there is nothing more gratifying then achieving the ultimate ride. And Sram just keeps making it better.

Is One Drive-train Better Than The Other

Both SRAM and Shimano drivetrain systems work quite well. It is clear that you can adjust both systems to work reliably and consistently. Both systems also have comparable product levels with X-0, X-9, X-7 and so forth for SRAM and XTR, XT, LX and on down for Shimano.

Now, when you get right down to it, one seems no better than the other. Maybe the question should be, which drive-train is better for you? I wouldn’t let the shifter/drive-train question decide what bike to get unless you prefer the way one feels over the other. Either way, you pick a good quality product. How can you go wrong?

The Right Schwinn Tire

Are you having trouble finding the right size tire for your classic or vintage Schwinn bike? If you are, you’re not alone. Schwinn had some of those difficult to fit tires. Schwinn had a different rim/tire sizing system where rims were sized S-5, S-6, S-7 and so on. Standard American size tires wont work on the Schwinn’s English style rims.
I know it’s very frustrating to attempt to mount your tire only to realize that it doesn't fit. It's the wrong tire! So before you buy any tires for your Schwinn bike, you need to do your research first.
Schwinn had proprietary sizing. Sheldon Brown has an excellent article on tire sizing complete with a chart on his blog. Most, if not all of Schwinn tires carry a sub designation of S-x and you have to use that sized tire for that particular rim. Read Sheldon Browns’ “Tire Sizing” Article.
eBay is a great place to find tires and many other rare Schwinn items. Try finding Schwinn Tires on eBay now. You may be pleasantly surprised. I know finding the right Schwinn tire can be an exhausting venture.  For more information on Schwinn tire sizing, check out the Old Bike BlogI hope this post has given you the information you need to dissolve some of the stress involved in your search for that hard to find Schwinn tire..