Understanding Tour de France

June 4, 2019 / no comments

The 2019 Tour de France begins on Saturday July 6th through Sunday July 28th.  The event is the third most viewed sporting event after the Olympics and World Cup watched by 3.5 billion viewers. This overview provides a breakdown of the basics of the tour and fun facts to better understand the race.

How far do they ride and where?  The 2019 Tour will travel 2,150 miles during a 21 day span beginning in Brussels and ending at the historic Champs-Élysées in Paris. There are 21 stages with each day brings various terrains and distances including individual time trials. The route is determined by a committee often made up of former racers looking for new ways to challenge the cyclists each year.

How big are the cyclists? The average man is typically between 5’ 8”- 5” 10” weighing about 140 pounds with 4% body fat. Each cyclist will begin trimming down 3 months in advance to ensure a lean body for the race.  There have been larger successful cyclist like Mario Cipollini who is 6” 2” weighing 170 lbs. While he never won the tour outright, he was known as the strongest sprinter on tour winning 12 individual stages.

What is a Peloton?– The Peloton is the name for the cluster of riders in a tight formation. This grouping allows cyclists to draft off each other conserving energy throughout the race. The riders in front block the wind as well as creating vortices allowing cyclist behind to save as much as 40% of their energy depending on the wind.

There are some disadvantages of being toward the back of the pack. Cyclists are literally inches apart traveling at average speeds of 30 mph making reaction time virtually impossible. Therefore accidents that occur are often because it is very difficult to see or react when drafting in the back.

Peloton shape may change depending on direction of wind so if you see a cluster toward the rear, then there is likely a strong tail wind. If there is an elongated shape to the group then they are fighting a crosswind.

Every aerodynamic advantage including shaved leg and arms helps conserve energy. A fun 3-minute video showing benefits of shaved vs. unshaved body can be found here.

How much do the bikes weigh?  The governing body named Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) mandates the bikes need to weigh a least 6.8 kg or about 15 lbs. With today’s technology like carbon fiber materials, it is easy to eliminate weight off your bike.  When riding 2,150 miles, you’ll want to schlepp as little as possible so most cyclists keep their bike weight close to the minimum, however the lightest bike does not necessarily win. You still need to pedal it efficiently.

How many calories to the riders burn during the race?  The daily calories consumed ranges between 5000 for flatter courses to 7000 for the mountain stages so roughly 6000 calories. To put that in perspective, these cyclists can consume 9 Burger King Whoppers, or 54 Bud Lights, or 242 carrots a day for 21 days straight….and not gain a pound. Yowza.

Why do the different jersey color mean?
The Yellow Jersey– The  prized jersey is the equivalent of the Green Jacket in golf’s Masters Tournement   The yellow jersey is awarded after each stage to the rider who is the overall leader of the race. Each day the total amount of time taken to finish that stage is added to the cumulative time of all previous races, and the overall leader is determined.  There is also a point system based up on stage difficulty that can impact the winner but essentially it is the overall leader that earns the jersey.  The cyclist who is leading after each stage wears the yellow throughout the next stage.

The Green Jersey – Also known as the sprinters jersey is awarded to the cyclist with the highest number of points. Points are awarded to cyclists who finish first, second, third, etc.. at each sprinting stage. Points are awarded depending on the type of stage and position of the cyclist. You don’t have to win each stage to earn the green, but you do need to be near the front for as many sprints as possible to earn the points and jersey.

The Red Polka-Dot Jersey: The King of the Mountains jersey. Points are awarded to the first rider to reach the top of designated hills and mountains. Mountains are given points according to steepness and distance with points corresponding to the grade. The red polka dot jersey  goes to the rider who has won the most points in the mountain stages by reaching the top of various climbs first.

The White Jersey: Only for  the younger riders under the age of  26. This is worn by the cyclist with the lowest overall time.

What does it cost to payroll a cycling team? Every sport has financial disparity and cycling is not any dissimilar.  The team with the largest budget is UK’s Team Sky with a budget of $45 million per year. Not surprisingly they have won 6 Tour de France titles and have their sites on 2019.  The team with the lowest budgets have a payroll of $4 million per year and you guessed it…. have never won.

All teams have 8 riders in the race with each having a role to support the other. Essentially you have one top rider and the rest are blockers and tacklers for this rider. Only one person wins but it does take a team effort.

Enjoy the race!

How Cyclists Stay Safe on City Streets

February 4, 2019 / no comments

How Cyclists Stay Safe on City Streets

As a cyclist, you spend a lot of your time avoiding accidents. It’s a little ironic that an activity that keeps you healthy also involves so many precautions to reduce the risk of hurting yourself in a collision with an automobile.

Biking in urban environments has its own set of challenges. In 2015, 70% of fatal cyclingaccidents occurred in urban areas. Here are the 7 best ways to make sure that you are safe in the city.

1. Preview your routes

If you’re going to doing a regular bike commute, it’s a smart idea to check out the route before you set out for the first time. Sure, we would love it if the bike lanes covered the whole length of the trip, but that’s not always the case. You can use an app like Lanespotter to help check for dedicated lanes and trails in your area.

You can also take a cruise on a weekend day, when the traffic is lighter. Even with bike lanes, your route could be affected by things like road construction or hazards that affect the clear view of a driver.

2. Make sure you’re loud and proud

It may sound a little quaint, but a good bike bell can save a life.By ringing the bell you can makeyourself heard by the pedestrian who is engrossed in texting someone, for example, preventingyou from having to swervearound the pedestrian and possibly into traffic.

These days, bike bells are louder, last longer, and come with extra features like LED lights. Don’t be afraid to use yours!

3. Keep your ears open

Covering up the street noise with headphones or earbudsis a definite no, as far as biking in the city. With some earbuds capable of producing decibel levels that will mask the sound of a construction crew, they’re the last thing an alert biker needs.

As much as you might hate it, resist the urge to wear them while you’re on the road. You need to hear any car horns or other warnings from drivers. And, if you need even more incentive: It’s illegal to wear them in several states.

4.  Don’t be afraid of high visibility

Bikers have a hard enough time staying visible to other traffic. Invest in gear that will make sure that you are seen. Sometimes it’s as simple as wearing a white t-shirt. At other times, you may need to go even more flamboyant. Look for reflective clothing and accessories. There are options out there from vests to reflective tape to hats.

Another great way to improve your visibility is with a light. Much as it has been proven with cars and motorcycles using your lights all the time increases your safety.

. KEEP YOUR WITS ABOUT YOU AFTER AN ACCIDENT
If you are involved in a collision, remember to be as thorough about gathering information as you would in a vehicle-on-vehicle collision. Get the drivers information -and their insurance information. Seek medical treatment if advised, and remember to document any bills or other costs thoroughly.
It’s also a good idea to consult with a good attorney who is experienced in bike injury cases. If there are problems with insurance payouts or other bills that could stem from an accident, it’s great to have the help of a professional who knows how to navigate the process of being compensated.
CONCLUSION
City biking is full of positives – and the occasional negatives, if you’re not careful while cycling. Be aware, be proactive, and be knowledgeable about your rights, if you are hurt.
Author’s Bio:
Scott is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and founder of a personal injury firm in Tampa. His career focus is on all types of personal injury cases. Follow @scottdistasio on Twitter to see what legal wisdom he shares next.

3 Ways Bicycling is Good for You

January 23, 2019 / no comments

Bodies, Brains, and Confidence: 3 Ways Bicycling is Good for You 

We know bicycling is good for us.  The biggest, most all-encompassing metric there is —  how long you live —  shows the cycling literally gives you more life. A Dutch study found that every hour spent cycling adds another hour to your life. A study by the Journal of Sports Medicine showed that the more you cycle, the more longevity you receive; Tour De France cyclists live eight years longer than average. But cycling isn’t just about living more, but better. Here are three ways cycling makes life qualitatively better.

A Better Body
Almost every muscle in your body is used in cycling. Leg muscles are worked most, for pedaling, but your abs and back muscles do the work of stabilizing while your shoulders and arms work way more than you might realize in supporting you at the handlebars. Even your gluteus maximus (i.e. booty) gets worked on the down-pedal. So you are thoroughly exercised, yet in a way that doesn’t stress your joints — a win-win for your whole body, hence the quality of your life.

A Better Brain
A funny thing happened during a study on schoolchildren’s performance that was focused on the impacts of breakfast and lunch — almost as an afterthought, scientists also looked at how kids got to school. It turned out it had a bigger impact than even what the kids ate: those who cycled to school performed markedly better than those who rode in cars.  “As a third-grade pupil, if you exercise and bike to school, your ability to concentrate increases to the equivalent of someone half a year further in their studies,” said Niels Egelund, a co-author of the study. This extrapolates to adulthood: several studies demonstrate boosted brainpower in adults, so much so that cycling has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s in the elderly.More Love Life
So it only follows if you’ve got a better brain and a better body, your love life is likely to also be a bit busier. A Mindlab study showed that cyclists are regarded by others as 13 percent more intelligent, 13 percent cooler, and 10 percent more kind — and a whopping 23 percent said they’d rather go a date with cyclist versus a runner, soccer player, or tennis player.

Written by Morgan Sliff