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Exceeding Without Expectations

By Sheila Ascroft

Sometimes you can accomplish more when you’re not trying so hard. You can kind of sneak up on your psyche before it freaks out and says ‘you can’t do that.’

It happened to me on a “just out for a ride” kind of day. Since it was late

Read more . . . Exceeding Without Expectations

The Long and Boring Road

Sheila Ascroft

I love cycling but sometimes it is boring. There, I said it. Boring with a capital B. Cycling an ever-so-straight road can be tedious, a mental slog as much as a physical. Let’s not even talk about biking into a headwind.

There’s nothing to see but endless fields of

Read more . . . The Long and Boring Road

Time to Refocus Your Cycling

Sheila Ascroft

Sheila Ascroft – Cycle for Sight June 2011

I’ve had a lousy cycling season.

First a hip injury then a respiratory virus and a new puppy took away most my chances for some great long summer rides. I didn’t even come close to my usual mileage, managed only

Read more . . . Time to Refocus Your Cycling

Cycling Balance: the No-hands Manoeuvre

By Sheila Ascroft

Meredith Miller (photo: Carson Blume)

Can you ride a bike no-hands? Should you? Well, I believe it is a useful skill—even for us recreational cyclists.

Professional cyclists often raise their hands in victory crossing a finish line, but I’ve never had the occasion to do that! I

Read more . . . Cycling Balance: the No-hands Manoeuvre

Stupid cyclists – don’t be one of them!

By Sheila Ascroft

Is it me or are some cyclists just plain stupid?

There seems to be a street version of Russian roulette happening in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario. I’m afraid that it is endemic in all cities. With six cylinders in the barrel and only one bullet, some cyclists seem determined to narrow

Read more . . . Stupid cyclists – don’t be one of them!

Chamois creams: Soothe Your Cycling Butt

By Sheila Ascroft

Multi-density women's chamois

Once you’ve tried a chamois cream, you won’t want to go back to non-lotioned padded shorts. In case you are wondering what a “chamois” is, it’s the padding in a cycling short and is pronounced as “sham-me.”

In the olden days, cycling shorts pads

Read more . . . Chamois creams: Soothe Your Cycling Butt

Unofficial Rules of Cycling Etiquette

By Sheila Ascroft

Be polite – with everybody, even the idiot who cuts you off! Manners matter especially when you represent the rest of us of the road. Your actions affect the attitude others hold toward all cyclists.

Ring that bell – when passing pedestrians or other cyclists, roller

Read more . . . Unofficial Rules of Cycling Etiquette

Cycling Products: Don’t Discount Simplicity

By Sheila Ascroft

Bike Brake locks front brake lever

It’s so simple; you wonder why no one else has thought of it before now.

It’s just a tiny odd-shaped rubber band, but it relieves one of those little annoyances that comes with cycling. The Bike Brake is a

Read more . . . Cycling Products: Don’t Discount Simplicity

Fat Broad On A Bike: Don’t Hide – Ride!

By Sheila Ascroft What’s a fat broad like me — 200 pounds of flab squatting over skinny tires — doing on the road? I’m cycling just like everyone else. And regardless of your size, you belong here too! If you like cycling, don’t let your mind cheat your body out of doing something fun and

Read more . . . Fat Broad On A Bike: Don’t Hide – Ride!

Fat Broad on a Bike: My First Solo Century Tour

By Sheila Ascroft

My First Solo Century Tour

I woke before the alarm clock too excited to sleep. What will it feel like beyond 50 miles? Can I actually do 100? What if . . . I forced my mind to focus: pump tires, fill water bottles and

Read more . . . Fat Broad on a Bike: My First Solo Century Tour

Can you Ride the Distance?

By Sheila Ascroft

Too tired to continue

It seems contradictory for me-the-motivator to say this, but don’t go the distance if you are not prepared for it!

It’s so easy to get caught in the trap of trying a big ride because your friends are doing it. Or maybe

Read more . . . Can you Ride the Distance?

Cycling in the Rain: Fend off Rooster Tails

By Sheila Ascroft

Quick to install Freddy Fender

Some rooster tails have nothing to do with chickens and everything to do with cycling in the rain. If you’ve ever felt one, then you know how disgusting it can be to have an arc of cold, wet and usually dirty water

Read more . . . Cycling in the Rain: Fend off Rooster Tails

Question: Do fat women need bigger bikes?

Fat broad on a bike

Dear Sheila the Psychlist,

I LOVE your blog for large women bikers!

I have a question I’ve never seen anyone address: Do fat women need larger frames? I find when I go to a bike shop most people automatically want to put me in a small

Read more . . . Question: Do fat women need bigger bikes?

Time Trials: Cycling Against the Clock

By Sheila Ascroft

OBC women's time trial. Photo by Benoit Deshaies

Ten seconds to my turn. My heart rate is already up in anticipation. I’m clipped into my pedals, waiting, balanced on my bike by the strong hands of a volunteer grasping the back of my saddle. I hear

Read more . . . Time Trials: Cycling Against the Clock

Unless You’re a Kid, Don’t Cycle on Sidewalks

By Sheila Ascroft

Child riding on sidewalk

I’m calling this a pedalling peeve, that as polite as I can manage. I’m sure I’ll have other peeves as we cyclists try to share the road….

Okay. It really bugs me when I see a grown cyclist riding on the sidewalk. It

Read more . . . Unless You’re a Kid, Don’t Cycle on Sidewalks

Sharing the Road with Cars, Buses and Trucks

By Sheila Ascroft

Share the Road

Cycling in city traffic demands constant focus and skill from cyclists at all times, but there are ways you can do to make yourself safer. The City of Ottawa offers some safety tips that apply to cycling in almost any town.

Read more . . . Sharing the Road with Cars, Buses and Trucks

Wheels and Spokes

By Sheila Ascroft

Penny Farthing had huge front wheel

Bicycle manufacturers haven’t exactly re-invented the wheel, but they sure have played around with it.

Back in those olden but golden days when bicycles were being developed, the Penny Farthing had an enormous front wheel paired with a baby rear wheel.

Read more . . . Wheels and Spokes

Come Cycle with the CHICKS

By Sheila Ascroft

CycleFit CHICKS Cycling club

Do you like riding with other women? Do you live in the Ottawa, Gatineau or Chelsea area? If so, you are in luck. The CycleFit CHICKS is a women’s only road cycling club and its inviting

Read more . . . Come Cycle with the CHICKS

Better Bike Components Cost More

By Sheila Ascroft

Shimano Ultegra triple crankset

So you’re in the bike shop and you have found two road bikes you like. Both appear identical—same aluminum frame with carbon fibre forks—but one is $800 more expensive than the other. What’s going on? A quick look shows that the wheels have

Read more . . . Better Bike Components Cost More

Bikes! Glorious Bikes! Spring is near!

By Sheila Ascroft

Pinarello's Dogma with swoopy stays and forks

It’s almost spring and a girl’s thoughts naturally turn to … a new road bike!

Oo la la. There are so many beauties to choose from. All pretty and bright with gleaming components, not a speck of dirty grease

Read more . . . Bikes! Glorious Bikes! Spring is near!

Ontario Bike Regulations—Know Your Rights!

By Sheila Ascroft

Learning to share the road requires learning the rules of the road.

Although the official rules of the road vary from province to province and state to state, there are many regulations in common. Obviously, I can’t list the specific rules for your area, so I’ve decided to focus on

Read more . . . Ontario Bike Regulations—Know Your Rights!

Get a Grip on Your Bike Comfort

By Sheila Ascroft

Specialized Body Geometry Comfort Grip

Many cyclists complain of aching hands or numb fingers when biking. There are a number of possible causes for this problem:

– Are you gripping the handlebar so tightly that your knuckles turn white? (Relax!)

– Is your position dialled in

Read more . . . Get a Grip on Your Bike Comfort

Be Prepared: Cycle with ID

By Sheila Ascroft

It was during the split second before my bike helmet hit the pavement that I thought: hope my helmet stays in place, hope nobody runs me over, hope someone can identify me….

Fortunately, everything turned out okay—this time. But as I lay in the road with car tires

Read more . . . Be Prepared: Cycle with ID

Benefits of Joining a Bike Club

By Sheila Ascroft

Perhaps you’ve seen them on a Sunday morning rolling along a rural road? A pack of cyclists all in the same brightly coloured jerseys, pedalling easy, chatting with each other, and thought, ‘I’d like to do that.’

Well you can. If you don’t yet belong to a bicycle

Read more . . . Benefits of Joining a Bike Club

Cycling with Diabetes – Don’t Despair!

By Sheila Ascroft

When the doctor told me I had type 2 diabetes, it was a relief! Suddenly, several months of feeling oh-so-tired made sense. Things got even better as the medication kicked in, and I was almost my old self again.

But despite my booming morale, the first

Read more . . . Cycling with Diabetes – Don’t Despair!

Improve your Cycling

By Sheila Ascroft

Lake Champlain tour

It was Einstein – not Dr. Phil – who first defined insanity as doing the same things over and over again, and expecting different results. It applies in cycling too.

If you want to improve your cycling, whether it is to ride faster or

Read more . . . Improve your Cycling

Cycling with Knee Pain?

By Sheila Ascroft

Courtesy of CycleFit Chicks Cycling Club

Ouch. My knees.

If this has become your cycling theme song then welcome to my club. Even though cycling isn’t a jarring-impact sport like running (except if you crash!), it may still cause you pain.

Regardless of the various terms

Read more . . . Cycling with Knee Pain?

Elliptical Benefits

By Sheila Ascroft

Ugh. Winter.

I’ve been cycling for 24 years, which means I’ve had 23 winters to get through. Real winters of snow and ice and cold winds. I wish I lived in New Mexico! I do try to cross-country ski when the weather abates, but obviously, it’s no substitute

Read more . . . Elliptical Benefits

Video Motivation for Cyclists

By Sheila Ascroft

I’m sure you’ve felt this way: it’s only 5 p.m. and already dark outside. There’s a cold wind blowing and the last thing you want to do is go out to a spinning class. I understand. Some days, I don’t even feel like using my indoor bike trainer.

Read more . . . Video Motivation for Cyclists

Cycling Education is Paramount to Segregated Lanes

By Sheila Ascroft

At first glance, the idea of a segregated bike lane in a busy downtown city seems like a great idea. But is it?

A segregated lane (SL) might seem great while you’re riding in it. Well, except for the problem of cars wanting to turn right across the SL and

Read more . . . Cycling Education is Paramount to Segregated Lanes

Pump Up Your Self-Reliance

By Sheila Ascroft

Cycling self-reliance is a good thing. I know Martha Stewart would agree with me!

I’m more adventurous on my solo rides because I know how to fix a flat. In fact, last season I fixed way too many until I discovered this negligible splinter of metal hiding

Read more . . . Pump Up Your Self-Reliance

The Big Ride

By Sheila Ascroft

I’ve been cycling for 24 years and never gone anywhere. Well, that’s not quite true. I’ve been to several somewheres over and over again.

But after 76,000 km, I’m wondering why I’ve never done a Big Ride. You know what I mean – those once in a lifetime rides across

Read more . . . The Big Ride

Cycling Out of Your Comfort Zone

By Sheila Ascroft

Photo: Tim O'Lett

Do you ever go out of your comfort zone? I did this summer. Deliberately. I extended my Friday rides to a time and distance I’d not done alone before.

One day I set out to cycle 110 km – the only caveat was that I had

Read more . . . Cycling Out of Your Comfort Zone