Fall outdoor fashion – Practical or Parisian?

Parisian commuter

Thankfully, practical. Although this guy gets props for adding crochet to his commuter bag, we won’t be seeing any of this from our mainstream brands. Due to our inclement, widely varying climate … practical, functional layers are IN on the west coast.

Layering and wool is the way to go. This is not a new concept, it’s just been made a LOT better through the use of quality materials (e.g. merino wool, Gore-Tex) and FUNCTIONAL CROSSOVER designing in mind. This means that this fall’s cycling clothing will also work for running, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, for example. This not only makes sense, it saves us dollars by being able to wear the same gear for many sports.

I spent some time with Cynthia, Manager of Different Bikes in West Vancouver, last week to get the inside scoop on this year’s fall/winter gear. This blog is set up in two parts … Part 1 – Upper Body Layers, Part 2 – Lower Body Layers.

Part 1 – Upper Body Layers

Cycling apparel companies are going back to the days of wool … it’s not new, it’s what the boys of the Tour de France back in the beginnings wore, wool jerseys. Wool is a natural wicking fabric that doesn’t cling to odours and leaves you feeling drier and more comfortable than any synthetic or cotton can. Merino wool has been increasingly popular the skiing/snowboarding scene, and has finally made it to the cycling world. Example: Sugoi merino wool base layer called the Sugoi Wallaroo 170 Cruiser.

If you go with a short-sleeve jersey, add some arm warmers that can be removed if the weather heats up. I’m a huge fan of the arm warmers!

A great mid-layer is a thermal/fleece pullover layer that is fitted, possibly with at least 1/4 zip for air-flow and comfort. Keeping base and mid layers fitted is key to ensuring you can fit more layers over top comfortably. Example: Sugoi Jersey Midzero Zip

Thermal/windproof
A jacket with wind-proof front paneling and a breathable, stretchy back is ideal for cold nasty days. It will keep you warm from the blowing wind while allowing you to breath through the back paneling. Look also for reflective stripes and pockets. Most jackets also have a bit longer back to cover the lower back more when bent over cycling. I’ve had a jacket like this for commuting and it’s lasted me years and I’ve worn it a lot, I almost prefer to wear it even in light rain because it’s so comfortable!

Waterproof
Gore-Tex and similar synthetics are the name of the game when it comes to waterproofness. GORE brand clothing contains Gore-Tex, a waterproof, breathable material that is also light-weight and easy to pack away in a back pocket. An example is the GORE Power 2 jacket – it’s very light, available in bright colours, has taped seems and zippers, reflective stripes, back-pocket and is a fairly stretchable material. Another similar waterproof jacket is the Sugoi Majik Shell jacket. It is not made of GoreTex and I’m told is not as breathable a material, but has side zips and a back panel flap for extra airflow. It also has taped seams, front chest pocket, four-way stretch in the back and is slightly lighter than the GORE jacket.

Gloves
You can even layer gloves if you wish. There are waterproof shell type gloves that can be worn over your normal bike gloves that are great for rainy days. Or, you can go with a slightly bulkier glove that has a thermal, wind-resistant and waterproof layering. I’ve been wearying a Sugoi pair for the past few years that have been awesome! They’re just the right thickness to keep my hands warm, but aren’t too think to inhibit braking and shifting.

Check out some of the gear at Different Bikes used as examples:

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Fall Trail Running Races – still 2 local races left!

Run the North Shore still has two trail running races left on the schedule for 2010 in North Vancouver. The Hallow’s Eve race is October 24th and has two distances, 10 and 21 km. The last race, the Phantom Run, is on November 13th and has 3 distances – 12, 19 and 24 km. Both look like really fun events to end the season with!

Different Bikes opens a New Cycling Studio!

Different Bikes in West Vancouver has opened a new cycling and training studio in West Vancouver above their bike shop. There are new state-of-the-art spin bikes and trainers, a skookum sound system, and lots of natural light. Some of BC’s best cyclists and coaches are leading weekly workouts and the schedules are filling fast! Check out Different Bikes website for more details.

Healthy Muffin Recipe

My Grandma recently shared a quick, easy and healthy muffin recipe with me that I would like to share with you. I made a few changes to the recipe when I made them yesterday because I had some frozen blueberries to use. I exchanged raisins with blueberries in the recipe, and decreased the sugar content because of the added blueberry sweetness.  I also found that I had to add a bit more oatmeal to the mixture because it was too wet. I always play around with recipes though so I’ll give you the original. Hope you enjoy!

Grandma Morgan’s Oatmeal Raisin Muffin Recipe

1 cup oatmeal
½ cup butter
1 cup boiling water
¾ cup raisins
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour (I used spelt)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Salt
2 well beaten eggs

Mix together oatmeal, butter, water and raisins. Set aside to cool. Add rest of ingredients and mix until dry ingredients are moist. Put in lined muffin tins and bake at 375F for 12 – 15 minutes.
(These muffins also keep well in the freezer)

Fall is here …

And it has brought some dark and chilly wet weather! This time of year I start to think about what I’m going to do during the dark fall and winter days so I can maintain fitness and sanity.

Also, when commuting home after work in darkness, it is definitely hard to get motivated to go to the gym, hop on the trainer or run in the rain. Here are a few ideas to help keep you motivated and moving:

  1. Join the Peak Winter Race Series. Peak Centre for Human Performance in Burnaby has a weekly cycling race series during the fall and winter. Racing in winter you wonder? YES! Bring your road bike or a mountain bike with a slick, hook it up to their computrainers and line up against other riders in their gym and give’r! Each week is a different course, around an hour in length. It’s an awesome way to get a hard workout in during the winter and a lot of fun! It’s definitely not hard to get your heartrate going during these races! Visit www.peakcentrevancouver.ca for more info.
  2. Get some lights and hit the trails with some friends. Most bike shops sell high end lights for night riding, and a decent headlamp that you can get at Mountain Equipment Co-op or you might already have for camping, will do great for trail running. It’s a good idea to start on a trail that isn’t too rooty or rocky at the beginning, and go with friends for safety and enjoyment. You definitely need to go a lot slower than during daylight, but it’s a lot of fun and sure beats the treadmill.
  3. Buy a trainer or join a spin class. Depending on your work/life schedule, joining a spin class might be a great option, or even buying a trainer so you can hop on your bike whenever you have time. Throw in a movie or some good tunes and ride!
  4. Get a personal trainer/coach. Having a program set up for you might help you keep motivated to stick to your training schedule, run or get on the bike and ride after work even when you’re too tired. Or, if you can afford to, hit the gym with a personal trainer once a week who can help you work on your strength, fitness, and help prevent injuries. Most gyms also offer discounts if you go for a friend or two.
  5. Join a training group – running or cycling. There are local groups and stores that lead weekly runs after work and on the weekends, even during the fall/winter. For run training contact North Shore Athletics.
  6. Last but not least, make sure you’re doing something that is fun! If it’s not fun, why are you doing it?!? Also, make sure you take rest days and rest weeks so you don’t burn out before next summer. The last thing you want to do is be sick of your sport before you get to the best time of year to do it. Been there, done that … not so fun.

If you have some more ideas, let us know!

Trail Betty almost in action!

We are constantly trying to learn how to make this site better for our readers. Unfortunately, this might take more time than usual … I’m an environmental scientist with a passion for riding and running in my spare time over learning computer language and code. But I’m trying!
So, please bare with us over the next few months as we try to build content and make this site more fun and useful for YOU!
Thank-you.

RBC GranFondo finish!

This past Saturday (September 11, 2010) I took part in the inaugural RBC GranFondo, a 120km road ride from Vancouver to Whistler, BC. 4000 riders and myself hit the starting line early Saturday morning, and by 7 am our wheels were rolling through downtown on our way. I had never experienced riding with so many people at once before, it was an amazing but stressful experience! You really had to pay attention to your line and the other riders around you, not to mention the random dropped waterbottles, clothing and pylons on the road.

I road with some Active Life Team members, including my friends Jen, Heather and Leslie.

Proudly displaying our GranFondo Finisher medals!

There were a few crashes along the way, one of which included a teammate of ours. Luckily she managed to get back on her bike and finish the ride … tough chica! The ride included some significant climbing, however having lots of riders around and beautiful scenery was a welcome distraction .

Overall it was an amazing event. There were riders of all ages and abilities, it was trully inspiring! Our team finished 2nd in the women’s category, quite impressive for a team that didn’t actually ride together and road with various groups of friends instead!

Some of the gals have already signed up for it next year … very tempting! If you are interested, registration starts next week on September 20th. Check out: www.rbcgranfondowhistler.com for more details.

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