Our Community: Why we ride

The world is so busy these days, it can be tough to sync up with one friend’s schedule on a regular basis, let alone FIVE. Riders Jess, Emily, Lily, Nathan and Sam manage to hold each other accountable and show up to ride week after week together. Their dedication and commitment inspires us on the daily. And when one of them isn’t there, you can be sure they call the other out on it. Continue reading

What you need to know about: Road Cycling!

by amy frankenthaler

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Spring is in full swing here in Boston. We are finally hitting 70 degrees, the sun is out and we are all trying to do more things outside! Spinning indoors all Fall and Winter has got us itching to cycle outdoors! It is definitely a sign of spring when those Hubway bike stations start popping up around the city (a sight for sore eyes).

I asked one of our Handle Bar instructors, Ashley Wagner to chat with us about her road cycling experience, the difference between indoor spin and road cycling. Ashley picked up road cycling right after college and made the bold decision to ride CROSS COUNTRY. Cross Country on a bike saddle, this girl must love to cycle (both indoors and out!!).

What is Road Cycling? Tell us about your experience on the road and across the country? 🙂 

Road cycling is one of my favorite things to do (beside riding inside at The Handle Bar of course 😉 ). When I ride outside I like to tour. Touring means I am not racing but using the bike to ‘tour’ an area. It is one of the best ways to explore. I love it because you get a better prospective then you would in a car, but you can cover more ground then you can on foot. Also who doesn’t love being outside on a beautiful day and getting a little exercise while you are at it!

How did you get into cycling?

I actually starting spinning inside and really liked the workout I was getting on a stationary bike so the natural next step was to take it outside. I told my sister about wanting to try road cycling. Naturally, my sister who is awesome… but a little insane, immediately found this summer cycling program called Bike and Build and convinced me to sign up. In the spirt of go big or go home, having no outside cycling experience, I signed up for a 3 month long bike tour across the country (yes 0-4000miles).

I had 6 months to train, which was a god send. The hardest part surprisingly wasn’t the fitness but was feeling confident on a bike, on the road, with cars. I like many of you, hadn’t ridden a bike since I was 10 so my skills were pretty rusty. I was able to figure it out with only a few minor falls and come June was had quit my job and was ready to ride my bike every day.

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Tell us about that how was the trip?

Turns being a little crazy paid off, it was the time of my life. If you have the time I would 100% recommend doing it. Obviously there were some growing pains at the beginning but I was so happy to be riding my bike, exploring, and being outside every day it didn’t really matter that my butt hurt. We Went from Portsmouth, NH to Vancouver BC. I was fortunate enough to ride alongside the Great Lakes, and over the Rocky’s thought Glacier National Park and put some serious miles on my bike. I learned a lot about my body and what it can do. I also learned a lot about cycling, which is something try to bring into my classes at The Handle Bar.

Is there a difference between a Spin Class and Road Cycling? What is harder? 

Honestly, I think spinning inside is harder. This is because you are in control. I am always so impressed when I see riders turn it up one extra notch or really give themselves a challenge. When you are outside you have a hill and you have no choice, you have to get over it. Inside, it takes much more mental strength to turn up that hill and intentionally make your ride harder.

For someone that has never road cycle before: How would you recommend transitioning from indoor cycling to the road? 

There are two things that are hard for people when they go from sinning to the cycling; clipping in and cars. Luckily for Handle Bar riders you already have practice clipping in, which will really go a long way. Before setting out on the street with cars and obstacles I would try clipping and unclipping a few times to be sure you know your peddles and your shoes. The other challenge is cars. They are big, fast and could squash you like a bug. This can be especially tricky in cities like Boston with few bike lanes and windy roads. When first starting out I would recommend a bike path, one of my favorites is the southwest corridor that goes through Jamaica Plan and Roxbury it is nice, and wide and off the street and a great place to get started.

What are some tips you have?

  1. Wearing a helmet is cool. I know it is a hard struggle to especially right after I have showered but my brain is too important to be vain.
  2. Get a rain guard, you never know when it is going to rain and having this on my bike with make you so much more comfortable.
  3. Start with a buddy! It was great to have my sister with me. She laughed at me when I fell over at a stop light because I couldn’t unclip in time. I also had someone with me when we road 30miles in the wrong direction in Indiana and we had to hitch hike our way to the guest site for the night. It is a great sport but it can be little intimidating to get started if you have someone with you it will make it a little easier and more fun when you stop for an ice cream break!
  4. It’s ok to fall, lets face it…it’s going to happen. You are going to feel so much better when you finally do and realize it isn’t that bad. (But be safe out there please!)
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Ashley taking her own advice about falling!

You can catch Ashley teach in Southie on Fridays at 7:15am and 4:30pm OR on the roads of Boston cruising on her bike. So be sure to hop into one of her classes or tweet at her (@amwagner23) if you have more questions about road cycling! As always if you want us to dig a little deeper into anything Handle Bar related, please reach out to us!

See you in the saddle!

Sweat away that cabin fever!

bike-in-the-snowSnowed in? Cabin fever already have you feeling stir crazy? Well, don’t fret! We’re hosting a Juno ride tonight at 5pm in our Southie studio for all of our riders who live within walking distance and can safely get to and from the studio. We’re all about getting our sweat on, even though the snow is piling up outside. But remember, safety first, HBers!

Can’t leave your home safely but still want to get your sweat on? Try this at-home tabata style training workout that’ll leave you sweaty and ready for your next HB ride…or to start shoveling:

Circuit 1 (4 minutes):

  • 20 second mountain climbers
  • 10 second rest
  • 20 second squat jumps
  • 10 second rest
  • Keep repeating until the 4 minutes are up!

Circuit 2 (4 minutes):

  • 20 second jumping jacks
  • 10 second rest
  • 20 second spider style elbow taps (assume high plank position, alternate tapping your left knee to left elbow and right knee to right elbow)
  • 10 second rest
  • Keep repeating until the 4 minutes are up!

Circuit 3 (4 minutes):

  • 20 seconds speed skaters
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds burpees
  • 10 seconds rest
  • Keep repeating until the 4 minutes are up!

Circuit 4 (4 minutes): 

  • 20 seconds jump rope (with or without actual jump rope)
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds split squats (jumping lunges, alternating legs)
  • 10 seconds rest
  • Keep repeating until the 4 minutes are up!

Repeat the entire workout 1 time through for a serious calorie and fat burn – all in less than 35 minutes!

Before you start that at-home workout or head out to the HB, put on a pot of this hearty Kale and Potato Soup (assuming you stocked up on Kale, just like those smart New Yorkers did pre-blizzard, causing a city-wide shortage of kale). But on the real, this soup is a perfect post-workout blizzard meal because ingredients can easily be substituted (spinach for kale, turkey for chicken, etc.) and it’s packed chock-full of protein and hearty veggies.

Kale and Potato Soup with Turkey Sausage (recipe courtesy of skinnytaste.com)
Servings: 6 • Size: 1 2/3 cups
Calories: 232 Fat: 4 g Carb: 31 g Fiber: 5.5 g Protein: 19 g Sugar: 3 g
Sodium: 647 mg (varies by brand of broth used)

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz reduced fat Italian chicken or turkey sausage
  • 8 cups (1/2 batch) kale, stems removed, leaves shredded
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water 
  • 3 medium red potatoes, peeled diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 pinch dried red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  • In a large Dutch oven or pot, cook sausage over medium-low heat. Turn and cook until brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from pot, let cool and cut into thin slices.
  • Add oil to pot, add onions and carrots; cook on medium until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  • Add broth, water and black pepper, bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add cooked sausage, potatoes, red pepper flakes and bring back to a simmer. Cook covered for about 4 minutes. Add kale and bring back to a simmer. 
  • Cook partially covered until the potatoes and kale are cooked, about 5-6 minutes. Adjust salt if needed.

Hopefully we’ll be back in the saddle all day tomorrow, but for the most up to date info, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay safe, stay warm, stay sweaty! 

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