Archive for January, 2015

Fresh Start Adventure Series – Mettle to the Pedals! Part 3

Part 3 Safety First (or third as it were)!

So important with any sport, but especially one where you are moving at high speeds in and around vehicles in non-optimal conditions – SAFETY! I can’t stress it enough – be visible, make eye contact with drivers, use your head (the head that will be encased in a good quality NEW and approved cycling helmet), and plan for the unexpected!

Safety/Riding Tips:

  • Stay Steady and Stay Lose —For slippery stretches riders should slow down and stay loose. Brake only on the rear wheel to avoid spinouts on slick surfaces. And be prepared to take your feet off the pedals if the bike starts to fishtail or tilt.
  • Eyes EVERYWHERE —Cars are less aware of bikers in the winter. Ride defensively. Make eye contact with drivers.
  • Beware of Black Ice – Black ice forms when snow has melted and refrozen. It can be incredibly dangerous, so it’s important to be prepared. If you happen to find yourself on black ice, don’t panic, just stay steady and ride slowly through it. If you fall, keep in mind that at least your layered cloths will soften the blow.
  • Drink Up – In winter, you can reach dehydration long before you start to feel thirsty. While the cooler temps may not make you feel like you’re dehydrating, the reality is that biking is an aerobic activity and the outside temperature has little effect on the amount of water your body loses.
  • Keep out of the Curb – In winter conditions, the immediate curb area is where snow accumulates, gets plowed over, melts, freezes and generally becomes an uneven mess of ridges, road debris and ice. Try for pavement Seek out the pavement and don’t be afraid to take a lane.
  • Don’t Deny Yourself a Much-needed Rest – If you find yourself too tired to remain two tired, there is always public transit. Most transit makes room for bikes and their riders. It’s a good idea to bike near a bus route should the commute prove too long in the snow.
  • Keep it Cool – It’s best to give your bike a cleaning after subjecting it to all that road guck, but let’s face it, who has time for that. If you need to store your bike without cleaning it, your best bet is to store at a cooler temperature like underground parking, garage or utility area. Also, keep your chain and gear cassette lubricated for best operation.
  • Put your Mettle to the Pedals – Now get out there and have the ride of your life – safely.

If you have started a bike to work journey we would love to hear about it.

Send us pictures, reach us on Facebook or Twitter @StartRecycling,

let us know if your Fresh Start has made a difference!


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Fresh Start Adventure Series – Mettle to the Pedals! Part 2

Part 2 Dressing the Part!

Since we are following up on last weeks feature, Gearing Up for Winter Biking, I assume you have done your research and are even now locating the perfect second-hand bike to start your winter biking adventure! That brings us up to this week’s column, a brief outline of what to where and why.

What do I need to wear?

Again, this will depend on your location but in general, keep your core warm while ensuring your clothes are breathable. Ensure your eyes are protected from wind and flying road salt and debris. Keep your fingers and toes are warm – frostbitten toes can cause long-term issues!

The main thing is VISABILITY, VISABILITY, and VISABILITY! Make sure whatever you have one to keep yourself warm is bright, reflective and keeping you safe!

 I saw this great new eco-friendly down filled coat at J-Crew that says it will keep me warm in -40, doesn’t that sound perfect?

For a night on the town or walk in the park, sure! For barrelling down the salty, muddy highway with your heart thudding in your ears, if not from the extreme energy you’re expending, then from the adrenaline being pumped through your brain as you dodge traffic on black ice (see I told you it’s thrilling!!)… then, NO that is not what you are looking for. You want layers, well fitted, breathable sweat wicking, and possibly water resistant layers.

 Where can I find the right stuff?

There is a lot out there, I would take the time to browse online and learn a bit about what you will need and what you can expect to pay. Next, take a trip to the local bike shop and ask them what they recommend – chances are they will know a lot about conditions in your area.

I have no local bike shop and I live out of town – can I just order online?

Of course these day ordering online is always an option. That said, if this is new to you, I would really encourage you to make a day of it and head into the city nearest you to check things out before you buy. It is very important that the items you wear are a good fit and that you can touch them and compare types of materials and styles.

What if I hate it?

You’ll be thankful you bought your bike used! But seriously, it’s not going to be all roses, but you’re tough – stick it out. At the end of the day, if you are just not a biker at heart, don’t fret; there are lots of options to resell your equipment locally.

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Fresh Start Adventure Series – Mettle to the Pedals! Part 1

Part 1 Gearing Up!

Whether you made a resolution Fresh Start to get healthy or cut down your carbon footprint, or you’re just looking to kick the winter blues, nothing beats biking to work! Don’t let the snow, sleet and freezing rain keep you off the roads! Winter biking can be invigorating and thrilling in a way that a “springtime peddle through the park” never could be.

I’ve put together some tips for getting started. It’s not always an easy slog, but hang in there, I promise, it’ll be worth it. Set realistic goals, reward yourself when you meet them, and be proud of yourself – you have chosen to take an active step to improving yourself, your state of mind and the environment. Just remember to keep safe, keep your core warm and stay alert.

Gear Tips:

What kind of bike is best for winter roads?

Biking in the winter can be really hard on your bike, so whether you are new to biking to work or not, it’s probably best to start out with a used bike and/or used components. Most cities have resale groups or used shops. Also, it’s worth checking your local bike shop for used inventory. You want to make sure they are safe and operational and consider the tire!

Apparently, Fat bikes are becoming one of the most popular commuter options, especially in cities that get lots of snow.

What are the best tires winter biking?

Great question, and it really depends on your weather conditions, here in Vancouver, BC there isn’t a lot of snow, but there is still ice, salt and a LOT of wet! In harsher conditions where you may be pushing your peddles through piles of snow, your tires should be able to handle the road and keep you moving steadily forward.

  • In mild conditions you can use low-pressure knobby tires on both the front and rear wheels.
  • In severe conditions, winter tires with hardened steel spikes and a wide tread pattern will clear snow and increase traction on packed snow and ice.

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New Year – Fresh Start!

It’s a new year and another chance for us all to make a Fresh Start. You’ll notice I didn’t use the “R” word (resolution). The fact is, I don’t use the “R” word and haven’t for a few years. I got annoyed watching companies using the “New Years Resolution” to sell something. Gym memberships, home exercise equipment, cloths or food – you name it!

Instead of making a one-time resolution to better myself, I try to take every opportunity to have a Fresh Start. A Fresh Start is something different, it has all the opportunity without the commercial aspect, and without the pressure to transform into some super-human version of you that only eats raw nuts and organic hillside greens. A Fresh Start is just that, a start – no pressure, and something you can do each day.

At Fresh Start we believe in doing whatever we can to make the world a healthier place by encouraging recycling, donation, simpler and cleaner living. We work with organizations on the Downtown East Side of Vancouver to find employees that just needed a Fresh Start. We take pride knowing that what we do will make our clients lives better; and, we do it to the highest standard, every time regardless of who or where the job is. And do you know what, it works, business is good.

This “new year” I would encourage you to think about Fresh Starts – whether it’s your own, or helping to create one for someone else. It’s the small things that sometimes make the biggest difference.

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