NYC Century: Your Questions Answered

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When? Friday, August 1 – Saturday, September 6 (the day before the ride), during shop hours. (Tip: Pick up your bibs early to avoid lines — 7000 riders will be picking up bibs this month!)

Where? Your local Bicycle Habitat (Chelsea, Soho, or Park Slope).

Can I register in-store? Sure! And if you spend $10 or more at Bicycle Habitat, you’ll receive $10 off the price of registration.

What do I need to bring with me? Your ID, or a copy (print or email) of your registration. (If you register online, please allow at least 24 hours for our registration list to update.)

Any special TA deals? All registered riders will receive $5 off any purchase of $20 or more while picking up their bibs. The first 500 pick-ups will receive an additional $5 off coupon.

More questions? See our website.

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Making it happen: How to prep for the Rapha Women’s 100

Last summer, over 4,000 women participated in 100km rides all around the world. This year’s Rapha Women’s 100, the second annual ride, takes place on July 20.

Here’s some advice from local coach Tara Parsons on preparing for the ride:

  • Set goals: Make a plan on paper. Whether you share it with others or keep it for yourself, having your plan written down helps make it real.
  • Visualize it: Envision the route and how you will ride it so it is less of a mystery — go pre-ride the course ahead of time if possible.
  • Be positive and think of yourself as a winner: Create a mantra for yourself to get over your fears. Tara used to hate fast descents, so she consistently told herself that she loved the downhills to finally conquer and embrace them. (This is a strategy that is handy on Saturday morning race days before the sun is up: “I love waking up at 4am to go race! Getting dressed in the dark and leaving the house while the rest of the world is asleep is the best!”)
  • Have a support system: Ride with a buddy! Don’t have a riding buddy? Join a group training ride and make a new buddy! Habitat’s women’s Friday morning rides start up again in April. And the women of the Rapha Cycle Club are hosting Sunday morning rides all spring and summer to prepare for the big event. It’s much easier to get to the top of a tough climb if you know that you’re in good company. If you’re interested in getting more into road racing and want to meet more female racers, check out the CRCA Women’s Clinic in April.
  • Make it happen: Gradually ramp up to the distance. Start doing intervals and increasing your distance, and before you know it, you’ll be ready.
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Coach Tara Parsons’ presentation at the Rapha Women’s 100 party on March 20

The Rapha Women’s 100 welcomes all women who love to ride — whether you regularly ride long distances or you just got a road bike and are looking to set longer goals for yourself. If you’re looking to connect with more women in NYC who love to bike, and to challenge yourself along the way, come join the ride!

-Karen Chin

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Charlie on the Lafayette Street Bike Lane Upgrades

Bicycle Habitat staff and customers turned out in force last night at Community Board 2’s (CB2) Transportation committee to support a remodeled Lafayette Street bike path. The upgraded lane will feature a parking-separated bike lane from Prince to 14th St, which will make it more accommodating for cyclists and easier for pedestrians crossing the street. As cars, bikes, and pedestrians are blended safer and more seamlessly, Lafayette will become more people friendly.

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I’d like to thank all those who showed up. The world is run by those who show up. It was by far the friendliest bicycle-related CB2 meeting I have ever attended, and attendees — business owners and neighbors, pedestrians and cyclists — were overwhelmingly supportive of the upgraded lane. The committee resolved unanimously to support the street changes.

Lafayette is scheduled for repaving at the end of April (ouch for my business but hooray for our wheels) and the new lane structure may happen shortly after that. I spoke briefly at the meeting in support of the project and advocated for the inclusion of the portion of Lafayette between Prince and Spring (currently the planned improvements start at Prince Street). Our shop, which has been on the block for 36 years, generates over 60,000 cycling trips a year to and from the store, making it arguably one of the busier blocks on Lafayette. The addition of Citibike docks on Spring and also south of Houston have made it even busier in the last year. I also raised the question of when a south bound protected lane might be possible.

If you missed the meeting, you can take a look at the whole proposal on Streetsblog. All in all a good night for cycling.

-Charlie

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Help us get ready for spring. Join us at the Warehouse Sale!

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It’s time to get ready for spring! To make way for new product, we are emptying our basements.

  • up to 50% off of city bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, and frames
  • sales on clothing, parts, and accessories
  • door busters including Bern helmets, half price tubes, Shimano wheel sets, and kryptonite locks

If you’ve ever been curious about what treasures a New York City bike basement holds, this is your chance to see! Join us at 182 Lafayette St, just two blocks down from our Soho shop.

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30% off winter clothing

We still have a few more weeks of cold weather left. Take advantage of our pre-season winter sale and treat yourself to that jacket you’ve been coveting all winter. All winter clothes are 30% off (and check out our closeout rack in Soho — select pieces up to 50% off!).winterapparel

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Yoga for Cyclists – Q&A Part III

yogaTonight marks the last yoga class of our six-week winter series. The class has been geared towards active people who are generally new to yoga with special attention on the places cyclists need more strength and flexibility.

This week on the blog we’ll be posting some yoga for cyclists Q&A based on recent inquiries from students. If you have any of your own questions or want to sign up for the last class, email kristen@bicyclehabitat.com.

“You talk a lot about the hip flexors, but all this is new to me. Can you explain how stretching this area helps my cycling?”

I have a love/hate relationship with the hip flexors. After years of competitive cycling my hip flexors were so tight they were starting to pull my pelvis out of alignment. This was causing low back pain and sciatica.

Tight hip flexors are common among cyclists. The forward-leaning, seated riding position keeps the hip flexors in a continuously shortened state. On top of that, many cyclists spend their time off the bike sitting in chairs and working at computers, which increases time spent in the shortened phase. Our bodies adapt to how we use them the most, for better or for worse.

This is why it is important to undo all the forward-leaning and sitting we do on a daily basis. As hip flexors stiffen and shorten, the pelvis tilts forward and the lower back arches. This strain on the back can affect the spine, causing lower back pain, disc herniation, and sciatica. As the pelvis tilts, it can also cause you to overreach with the arms, creating a hunched riding position. All this can lead to reduced power output on the bike because you can’t effectively utilize your gluteal muscles.

When stretching the hip flexors, your target muscle is the psoas. You want to slowly and gently lengthen it back out. This means holding the stretch for at least 45 seconds and repeating once or twice on each side. Spend enough time in the pose for it to work.

Here are my three favorite hip flexors poses:

Knee to chest with hips under block (Beginning hip flexor stretch):

last oneLie on your back on the floor and place a block under your hips at the lowest height. Keep your right leg extended and draw the left knee into the chest. You should feel a stretch in your right hip flexor.

 

lungesLow Lunge (Deep hip flexor stretch):

There are many variations to this pose, and most people can benefit from these two:

Start in a low lunge with your back knee on the floor. Place a pillow or blanket under the knee if it is sensitive to pressure. Begin to lower your hips to the floor by moving the front knee over the front big toe but no further. Then place both hands on the front knee and begin to move your torso upright by straightening your arms. If you want to go deeper, place your hands on your hips and gently press them forward. Draw your shoulder blades together and open the chest.

 

standing wide angles


Standing Wide Angle variation (You can do this anywhere!):

Take your legs wide enough that if you extend your arms out to the side your feet will be under your hands. Place your palms flat on your hips with your fingers facing up and elbows in line with the sides of your body. Slowly push your hips forward and stop when you feel the stretch in the front of your hips.

Yoga with Kristen meets tonight, Wednesday, February 19 at 7:30pm in Soho. Stay tuned for more yoga in the spring.

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Yoga for Cyclists – Q&A Part II

yogaThis Wednesday marks the last yoga class of our six-week winter series. The class has been geared towards active people who are generally new to yoga with special attention on the places cyclists need more strength and flexibility.

This week on the blog we’ll be posting some yoga for cyclists Q&A based on recent inquiries from students. If you have any of your own questions or want to sign up for the last class on 2/19, email kristen@bicyclehabitat.com.

“My neck and shoulders get sore during long rides. Can yoga help this?”

Yes! The postural alignment taught in yoga and good cycling form both focus on keeping the spine long and straight. This takes a combination of strength and flexibility. Poses like Dolphin (fig. 1) strengthen the shoulder girdle and make it easier for you to hold yourself on your bike without hunching. Sphinx (fig. 2), Cobra (fig. 3), and other backbends performed on the belly are great for adding flexibility to the lumbar region. Downward Dog (fig. 4) stretches the upper back and shoulders.

Beyond strength and flexibility, there is an additional factor: your bike. How your bike fits you has everything to do with your ability to ride comfortably with good form. All the yoga in the world won’t make up for a bike that is set up poorly for your body. Yoga can help us train our bodies off the bike, which we then apply to our riding. An experienced bike fit professional can make sure your bike is set up to reflect your improved cycling posture.

Good cycling form = strength + stability + flexibility + bike fit.  Here are examples of the yoga poses that can help, demonstrated by Karen in our Soho shop.

Dolphin pose (fig. 1):

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Fig. 1: Dolphin pose
Develops shoulder, upper back, and upper arm stability

Place your forearms on the floor shoulder distance apart, then lift your hips up. Keep looking forward. Hold for 30 seconds, then build up to a minute. Rest and repeat up to three times. When you feel ready, try lifting one leg at a time up towards the ceiling as a fun variation.

Sphinx/cobra (fig. 2 and 3):

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Fig. 2 and 3: Sphinx/Cobra
Restores the lumbar curve in the spine.

Lie on your belly with your feet together and prop yourself up on your forearms shoulder distance apart. Relax your pelvis into the floor and work to pull your chest through your arms. Look forward or slightly up and hold up to one minute, rest, and repeat.

For a deeper backbend, leave your lower body in place and begin to straighten your arms for Cobra.

Down dog variation with bent knees (fig. 4):

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Fig. 4: Down dog variation with bent knees
Stretches open the shoulders.

Start on hands and knees with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Lift your hips up in the air and bend the knees. Working your heels towards the floor is great for stretching the calves, but more important for riding form is to open the upper back and shoulders. Bend the knees as much as you need to and try to bring your head to the floor to increase the shoulder stretch.

Yoga with Kristen is this Wednesday, February 19 at 7:30pm in Soho. 

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