Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road is an online cycling magazine. It is intended for writers and riders who want to share their on the road cycling stories and pictures. Submissions that follow our guideline are gratefully appreciated. See the appropriate section below. Will publish the best of the best each month.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road September 2014 Vol. 2 No. 9


Summer is coming to an end and fall is just beginning. Jack is planning hard for his tour across Canada next summer. Me, I'm holding down the fort. There have been some minor changes in the background here. Nothing anybody would notice. We continue to learn as we go. I'm proud of how the webzine has progressed and kept going.

In This Issue
(Click on the titles to view)

Year Round Cycling

If you want to be a year round cyclist, now is the time to start making sure you're ready. Here's a quick get to making sure you can handle the rougher weather when it gets here.

The Stress of Planning

Jack is planning his tour for next year. In this short article he discusses some of the stresses of making sure all the details are worked out.

The Pursuit Zone Interview

The Pursuit Zone is a weekly adventure sports podcast by Paul Schmid. This is a link to his interview of our own Jack Hawkins.

Cycling Children - A Parent's Nightmare

It's all fun and games, spill and thrills for the kids but it isn't always so much fun for the parents. Even with the most careful parents and responsible children, stuff happens.

Night Rider

The days in the Great White North are getting shorter again. If you commute by bike or if you ride after work you may find yourself running out of daylight. Here is a helpful guide if you decide to ride after the sun goes down.

Another issue is published. Hope you all had a great summer. Looking forward to fall cycling and  beyond.


Friday, 29 August 2014

Year Round Cycling



By Pico Triano

I’ve met a number of people interested in riding their bicycles year round. Even known quite a few who said they were going to do it. Up here in Canada being a year round cyclist is no easy feat but it is possible.

The summer is coming to an end. If you aren’t preparing for the hard part of the cycling season now, it isn’t going to happen. I’m not saying that you can’t start when the weather is at it’s toughest. My experience is that those riders don’t carry it through. They might do it for a few days or even a week but I’ve never seen them ride longer than that.

Preparing for the weather coming can be thought of in three areas: Conditioning, clothing and equipment.

You should start conditioning now. I’m not just talking about getting into physical shape. There is more to it than preparing your muscles.

Think of it as getting slowly into the water when you go to the beach. The water may feel too cool when you first get in, but once you’re used to it, the water temperature is just fine. The same is going to happen while you train through the fall. You will become accustomed to the lower temperatures slowly. If you ride all through the fall by the time winter arrives you will be ready for the colder temperature along with having the necessary stamina to ride.

It is physically more difficult to ride on a road covered in a layer of snow than bare pavement. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. If you are riding now and continue through the fall you will be ready for that as well.

Clothing is not difficult to choose for you winter riding as long as you remember to dress in layers. This was covered in an early issue of this webzine http://picoscycling.blogspot.ca/2013/12/dressing-up-moncton-maniac.html. I found that I added layers as the weather got colder and then peeled them off as spring came along.

The clothing and conditioning go hand in hand. Because I was physically accustomed to the weather I was able to wear less bulky clothing, with fewer layers to achieve the necessary protection from the cold.

If you have an operable bicycle, you should be fine. There are important things to consider though. Winter weather is hard on a bicycle and you need to be ready for it. Snow will strip the oil off your chain as efficiently as any degreaser. Salt spread on the road will also attack your bike.

Best advice is to make sure the bike is in good working order. Be prepared to do maintenance you normally don’t have to do very often – like oil the chain. It is also wise to bring your bike indoors with you when you are not riding. If you’re weird about your bike like a lot of us serious riders are then it won’t be difficult to convince you to do that.

Winter cycling is not all bad. I actually prefer riding in weather about ten degrees below the freezing mark, even if it’s snowing, to rain. Snow doesn’t soak in. You can brush it off. The snow also absorbs a lot of sound and if you like peace and quiet you will enjoy some really serene moments out there riding.



The Stress of Planning



By Jack Hawkins

The stresses of planning such an expedition as the one I will embark on next year have been
high as of late, as I get my head down and spend hours either staring at maps, guides or reading
East to West cycling blogs online.

There is so much to factor in: Food, accommodation costs, bike repair funds in case something
should go wrong and I am not able to fix it... Plus hundreds of other variables that may come into
play.

I'm planning to leave either late April or early May, depending upon the weather and whether or
not Old Man Winter is kind to me. My route still has yet to be nailed down, that is something that
concerns me, also. I have ordered "Canada by Bicycle" by Steve Langston, in the hopes that
while it details a route West to East, it will still prove useful in terms of accommodation and utility
(food stops, laundromats, etc) information.

Another thing that I must factor in when planning out this trip, is nutrition. What types of foods
should I be eating? What is the cost of these types of foods, how much should I be eating?
Although I am not going to be so scrutinous as to map out my daily intake, I would still like to
have a good idea as to what my diet should be.

I imagine that it will contain plenty of oatmeal, Mr. Noodles, dried fruit, and perhaps the odd
chocolate cake when I'm feeling particularly proud of myself and/or down ­ chocolate heals
everything. Right?

I will also be asking the question of every bike tourist I know about what they eat. But truth be
told, I am more worried about the financial side of things, and will begin actively seeking to
crowdfund part of the budget that I have come up with.

All things considered, my bike is pretty much ready to hit the road, except for a few spares that I'll
need, and to convert my dynamo hub to recharge my electronics instead of charging my front
and rear lights. And a handlebar bag that I'm looking to add.

Despite the stresses, I'm almost ready to hit the road, and that is perhaps the most exciting
thing! Only a few months remain until I depart on the adventure of a lifetime.

About the Author

Jack Hawkins is a freelance travel writer and touring cyclist. Originally from the UK, he swapped one seaside town for another in 2006, and has been living in Canada for eight years. Jack has always had a fondness for writing and after graduating from Bonar Law Memorial High School in Rexton, Jack decided to pursue a freelance writing career, and implemented his love of cycling into his work shortly after a chance-meeting in 2013 with a fellow Englishman who had cycled across Canada.



Jack currently writes for this webzine, but is also a monthly contributor Mike's Bike Shop's E-Magazine, "The Rider's Edge". He recently worked on and published a series of thirty-one articles for revered bicycle touring guru, Darren Alff, for his website: http://gobicycletouring.com/. Jack also writes articles, journals, gear reviews, and interview pieces for his own website - http://jackonabike.ca/.


Pursuit Zone Interview



From Jack Hawkins,

Below you'll find a link to an interview I recently gave for The Pursuit Zone, an adventure sports podcast, published weekly by creator, Paul Schmid.

The interview discusses my introduction to bicycle touring, and my upcoming 2015 tour across Canada.
Enjoy!

http://thepursuitzone.com/tpz060

About the Author

Jack Hawkins is a freelance travel writer and touring cyclist. Originally from the UK, he swapped one seaside town for another in 2006, and has been living in Canada for eight years. Jack has always had a fondness for writing and after graduating from Bonar Law Memorial High School in Rexton, Jack decided to pursue a freelance writing career, and implemented his love of cycling into his work shortly after a chance-meeting in 2013 with a fellow Englishman who had cycled across Canada.


Jack currently writes for this webzine, but is also a monthly contributor Mike's Bike Shop's E-Magazine, "The Rider's Edge". He recently worked on and published a series of thirty-one articles for revered bicycle touring guru, Darren Alff, for his website: http://gobicycletouring.com/. Jack also writes articles, journals, gear reviews, and interview pieces for his own website - http://jackonabike.ca/.

Cycling Children – A Parent’s Nightmare



By Pico Triano

My five year old daughter had just learned to ride without training wheels and spent every chance she could booming all over the common area around the townhouse complex where we lived at the time.

Only a few weeks into her newfound joy, she came to the back door with her hands covering her face calling for her mom. Mom of course came and wanted to have a look. When the hands were drawn away they were covered in blood and so was her pretty young face. Suppressing a gasp of horror, mom went to working cleaning up the mess and providing first aid.

It didn’t turn out to be as bad as it at first looked. She had a deep cut above her eye just below her eyebrow. The bridge of her cute little nose swelled up.

My wife had done an excellent job. She had used small butterfly bandaged to close the cut. When I got home I felt she needed to be checked at the doctor. She had been wearing a helmet but had landed on her face on very rough asphalt. I was a concerned she might have a concussion. Plus we’re amateurs when it comes to some first aid and we wanted to make sure she was fixed up right. The doctor was impressed with the work my wife did and elected to forego stitches because the butterfly bandages were doing a good job. My daughter got a clean bill of health and it wasn’t long before she was out riding again – although a little more carefully.

I think it’s natural for parents to worry about their children having accidents. It’s also natural for children to have them. My kids have had a few and it would be nice if as a parent you could somehow prevent them all. That isn’t realistic though. I’m just glad my kids have provided me with less of those emergencies than I did for my parents.

What’s a parent to do?

First off make sure your kids have proper protective equipment. I know, I grew up before the days of cycling helmets and I survived didn’t I? Yes, but I had a classmate who did not. Make sure they have a helmet and use it.

Make sure the other end is protected as well. Don’t let your kids ride their bikes with bare feet or just as bad - open toed sandals. Flip-flops might even be worse. I know I was stupid enough as a kid to ride with them. The rubber sole could catch the pavement and pull your foot into the ground. It’s amazing that I have any skin on my big toes.

Second make sure they ride in a safe environment. Kids shouldn’t start out riding in the street. Make sure that when they advance to that point that they’ve been taught the rules of the road and that they’ve been taught to ride defensively.

Third suggestion, because with kids stuff happens, is to have a good first aid kit and know how to use everything in it. We learned a lot from experience but a good first aid course is useful.


Finally don’t get too worried about cycling accidents. Children can and will get hurt in the safety of your own home. Take appropriate precautions but don’t let yourself be so scared you don’t let them ride at all. I don’t believe cycling has to be significantly more dangerous than being alive.


Night Rider



By Pico Triano

I pedalled my way down the dark freshly paved road. The night air was still while lights flickered off in the distance. Part of me felt like I was travelling at unbelievable speed while another part of me felt motionless.

My purpose here is not to convince you to cycle at night. That’s a choice you make on your own. I hope to give you information that might help you do it a little safer if you choose to do so.

There are only two real issues with riding at night. They are simply put: Seeing and being seen.

Seeing where you are going is a relatively easy issue to deal with. Get an LED headlight. An LED flashlight purchased at the dollar store duct taped to your handlebars will do in a pinch (they don’t handle getting wet though). Only one word of advice here, make sure it isn’t aimed high enough to shine directly into the eyes of motorists. LED’s are bright and the retinas of those motorists will appreciate your consideration.

Being seen is more complicated. What you wear is just important as your lighting.

Wearing bright coloured clothing is the goal but it isn’t as simple as that. I wear pants that are weather proof. Problem is they come in two colours, black and blue. I’m sure if you hunt for them you can find yellow and orange ones. My jacket shell is a bright blue with reflectors. I go a step further. I wear a reflective construction vest at night. Other cyclists in Moncton, New Brunswick now wear them as well. I’ve seen a cyclist there dressed exactly as I did when I rode there one night. I would recommend reflective armbands and especially leg bands, which give a lot of movement.

For lighting I will skimp on my headlight but not my taillight. Get a good one with several different flash modes if possible.

There is some divided opinion on flashing lights. There are cases when drunk or very sleepy drivers will steer into a flashing light. They shouldn’t be on the road at all but let it serve to make you more alert while riding at night.

I think the flashing taillight is a must especially riding in the city. In my experience the steady small red light will get tuned out by drivers or get lost amoung all the other red lights that are out there on the road at night. The flashing headlight is just annoying. It will warn drivers that you are there but I’m paranoid enough that if I don’t think they see me I stop and just let them go. The flashing headlight won’t make any difference in that instance.

Night riding is not for everyone. It does take a great deal more alertness than riding during the day. I don’t want to overstate the risks. I’ve been night riding for years without incident.
I find dark coloured dogs loose at night far more frightening than traffic. Dogs are a whole other subject though.

Happy and safe cycling.




Thursday, 31 July 2014

Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road August 2014 Vol. 2 No. 8


Jack and I were both crazy busy this month. In spite of that and a nightmare problem with getting pictures to post correctly on the articles, August 2014 is published on time.

Changes to my personal schedule should allow me to take advantage of a few ideas I've had for our webzine. We are excited about the possibilities.

In This Issue
(Click on the titles to view)

June Bug In My Eye

What happens when you're roaring down a hill on your bike and you take a June Bug in the eye? I found out the hard way. Why I wear shades while riding and keep my mouth shut riding past swamps.

Spending the Night in My Hennessy Hammock

Jack's current tour housing of choice. Here is a review of the product after some field testing.

Difficult Century

Most of my century rides have been enjoyable at some level. This one was unplanned without preparation and wasn't much fun.

Our first webzine book review. Jack reviews Tom Allen's book. We will likely do more cycling book reviews in the future. I think they can be very helpful to both beginning and experienced rider.

Recently a cycling friend at work came out at the end of his shift to find the bike rack empty. Someone stole his ride. I take the time to discuss the ins and outs of bicycle locks.

Looking forward to another month of cycling and writing. Still hoping to get regular material from other writers but we are doing well. Until next month pedal on!