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Rules For Cyclists

As winter approaches, cyclists need to be doubly cautious on the roads and make sure to follow all traffic laws. If drivers and pedestrians need to obey the law, the same goes for cyclists.

For this reason, we’d like to remind you of the main rules and regulations of the Highway Code that apply to cyclists.

The list below is not exhaustive, so make sure to brush up on the Highway Code before you take to the roads.

  • Be respectful: The rules are made to improve traffic flow and interactions with drivers.
  • Use hand signals to indicate your next move (arm outstretched to the left for a left turn, arm outstretched to the right for a right turn, glance over your shoulder before passing or moving out of your lane). These signals are the only way to warn drivers of your intentions.
  • Obey traffic lights and road signs: They apply to everyone on the road (drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists), so you need to pay attention to them.
  • Drive in a straight line and single-file whenever possible, to prevent traffic jams and avoid accidents.
  • Do not drive on the sidewalk, which is for pedestrians only.
  • If you haven’t already, install a front and rear light on your bike so that drivers can see you more clearly. In the winter, this is mandatory and highly recommended to avoid accidents.
  • As when driving a car, alcohol is strictly prohibited when cycling! A police officer could order you to take a breathalyzer test, and you could be issued a ticket.

These rules are mandatory for cyclists, as well as for drivers and pedestrians. When everyone obeys the law, we all have better insight into our neighbours’ intentions, which prevents conflicts. This can only make cycling more enjoyable.

traffic lights

Are you aware of these rules? Do you follow them consistently? Feel free to send us your comments on the subject.

The Benefits Of Cycling

Riding your bike regularly is a great way to make sure you stay healthy. In addition to being an inexpensive and effective sport, cycling also helps you build muscle and feel good about yourself. Biking on a regular basis will relieve your day-to-day stress—and you’ll have fun while doing it, all without too much effort.

We’d like to remind you of three important benefits of cycling. You won’t be disappointed with the results.

Improves your breathing and builds muscle

The main benefit of cycling is that it’s a complete sport. Riding your bike regularly works your cardiovascular system and your muscles. Breathing correctly, which is essential to good athletic performance, helps you to keep up a sustained effort and increases your endurance. Cycling also works many different muscles, including the abdominals, pectorals, arms, back, buttocks, and legs. The leg muscles, which work the hardest during this particular exercise, become more toned and less susceptible to injury.

Burns calories 

Riding your bike regularly is the first step toward shedding that spare tire! Because your legs never stop pumping when you’re cycling, your circulation will improve and the muscles in your legs and bottom will firm up. You’ll also burn calories—for example, a 75‑kg person would burn about 225 calories in 30 minutes. In winter, cycling is even more effective, since exercising in cold weather blasts calories at warp speed.

Boosts self-confidence

Cycling is a great way to unwind. After taking a leisurely bike ride or even just riding to work, you’ll feel calm and relaxed. Cycling on a regular basis relieves stress and helps to improve self-esteem. With more confidence, you’ll be in a better frame of mind to tackle life’s daily challenges. Cycling is an excellent form of therapy—you’ll feel better about yourself and your body.

well-being

Do you have anything to share about the benefits of cycling? Feel free to tell us about your experiences!

Have a great ride :)

What To Wear Cycling: The Perfect App For Cyclists

Autumn is here and the temperature is heading down as fast as the leaves did before they covered the ground in a kaleidoscope of blazing colour. Wearing suitable clothing for the temperature becomes a puzzle, whether you’re walking to work or hopping on your bike. Who hasn’t experienced the discomfort of cycling while wearing clothing that’s too hot or too light? That was the case of inveterate cyclist Christopher Mullen, who had had enough and decided to remedy the situation by creating the application What To Wear Cycling.

What To Wear Cycling is a mobile application that tells you, depending on where you’ve decided to bike to, how to dress so you’re comfortable and able to take full advantage of your expedition. It takes data collected from tests and analyses conducted across the United States under every atmospheric condition imaginable and uses them to create a simple, easy-to-use app.

what_to_wear_cycling_home

How does it work?

Using the GPS on your iPhone, the app detects your geographical position, gives you the present or future weather conditions and suggests the ideal outfit for your bicycle training session—from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. In just a few clicks, you’ll know the temperature, the speed and direction of the wind, and the weather forecast for your next trip. You can then share the recommendations with your cyclist friends by email with the “Tell the Peloton” option.

What To Wear For Your Ride

Before starting to use the application, it’s important to record your parameters. With a bar under the “Preferences” tab, you can adjust the results you’ve been given according to your sensitivity to cold or heat. Once your parameters have been saved, you’ll be able to plan what to wear—on a trip today or even tomorrow.

Don’t have an Internet connection on your iPhone?

No problem. By using “I’ll Set My Own Conditions,” you can manually enter your own weather conditions, and the app will suggest an outfit that corresponds to your parameters.

Set your own conditions

Planning an escape with your bike to the routes of the Eastern Townships when you live in Trois-Rivières (or vice versa)?

You can indicate the place you’re cycling through without using the GPS function. Once you’ve added the city of your choice, it will be saved in the application. You can also delete it from your selections if you don’t plan on returning.

You’re new to cycling and think a balaclava is a delicious Greek desert.

Just consult the “Clothing” tab to obtain a brief glossary of the different types of cycling gear. Novices will quickly make sense of it all because all the essential elements are listed, classified by body part.

Too good to be true?

The application has just about everything a cyclist could want, but there are a few drawbacks. It must be confessed here that it was only designed for the iPhone 4, 4s or 5, so if you don’t have an iPhone, you’ll have to count on a friend who has one to plan your cycling attire.

Plus, for non-English speakers, the app might prove a little disappointing because it’s only available in English.

Nevertheless, What To Wear Cycling is an ingenious, well-thought-out and well-designed application. It’s practical, simple and sure to delight cyclists everywhere, neophytes and experts alike.

$2.99 at the App Store 

For more information, visit http://www.whattowearcycling.com/

Cyclo-tourism: Discover the villages-relais

Cyclo-tourism for all tastes

You cycle regularly and you’ve travelled the extraordinary bike paths of the Route verte several times. Today, we propose some added inspiration, in the form of a string of picturesque Quebec villages, the villages-relais.

What is a village-relais?

A village-relais is a municipality of fewer than 10,000 inhabitants recognized by the Department of Transport and offering a range of services and a pleasant and safe spot to rest. The villages-relais were established to counter the effects of fatigue at the wheel, and dot Quebec’s main provincial roads and tourist roads. They’re hidden gems, for their warm welcomes and tourist, cultural and natural attractions.

Maps of the location of villages-relais du Quebec

Some of the places to discover on a bike

Among the 30 or so villages-relais is Danville, a Loyalist village in the Eastern Townships worth discovering for its architectural heritage and its ancestral homes. You’ll appreciate Danville’s cycling centre and the Burbank Pond nature interpretation centre, and, if you’re in search of a restaurant, the Temps des Cerises is a must-visit for its cuisine, architecture and terrace in a natural setting.

To see the video of Danville cyclist centre, click here and then click on the video tab at the bottom right of the page.

Restaurant Le Temps des Cerises inside view

Another beautiful village on the tour is Saint-Fulgence in the Saguenay, with numerous tourist attractions for the whole family and a 7 km bike path now under construction.

Twilight at Cap Jaseux

We also recommend La Guadeloupe in the Chaudières-Appalaches region for its diversified economy and divine maple products. The industry and courtesy of the town’s entrepreneurially minded residents are irresistible, and the same can be said of the region’s splendid pedestrian and bike paths.

The bike path La Guadeloupe located in Chaudière-Appalaches region

For the full list of villages-relais, we recommend this link.

Your comments and photos are welcome!

Bonne route!

The Miele team

Biking to work: It’s easy when you try!

Toying with the idea of biking to work? You’re not alone! A Canadian study conducted with 1501 adults (1998) found that “70 percent of Canadians confirmed that, if they had access to a reserved bike lane that enabled them to get to work at a leisurely pace in 30 minutes or less, they would definitely use it.”

Happily, new bike paths are cropping up every day in big cities, and more and more public services are emerging to encourage people to adopt biking as a daily means of transportation.

The same study found that the five main reasons cited for cycling to work were:

  1.       The desire to exercise and keep in shape.
  2.       The fun of it.
  3.       The convenience.
  4.       Environmental concerns.
  5.       The money it saved.

Worried that cycling to work might prove awkward? Here are some tips to make it fun:

  •      Prepare your equipment the night before and make sure your tires are properly inflated.
  •      Leave early so you won’t have to rush. Cycling at a steady pace is safer, ensures you don’t arrive at your destination worn out and gives you the chance to take in a bit of the landscape on the way.
  •      Get hold on some panniers that you can install on the back or front of your bike.
  •      If you have to change at work, bring a change of clothes, a towel and some soap.
  •      Invest in a good bike lock.

If technology is a big part of your life, check out some of the mobile applications available to make your trips simpler—or more thrilling.

  • Google Maps: The new updated version of the mobile phone application Google Maps provides biking directions.
  • RunKeeper: This application calculates physical performance using the GPS in your phone. You’ll be able to calculate average speed, how long you exercised and even the number of calories you burned.

Biking to work: It’s easy when you try!

Last but not least, it’s important to choose the right bike. In the city, you can use a hybrid (like Miele’s popular Umbria III) that helps you easily navigate urban obstacles while cushioning you from uneven road conditions.

You can also take advantage of the Bixi shared bike service if it’s available in your city. If you live far from your workplace (more than 5 km), it might be a good idea to choose a road bike like the Andiamo or an electric bike like the eVox to save time and energy.

Here’s what our entourage has to say about biking to work:

“Going to work by bike means I burn 1200 calories a day!”

“With a morning workout like that, my morale’s unshakeable and my concentration’s laser-sharp the whole day!”

“It’s simply the best reason to wake up and go to work every morning.”

Thanks to M. Tristan Audet, our bike-to-work expert, for his contribution.

Eight tips for eating well when you’re not training

Eating well in the every day life

Ever wonder how to eat when you’re not cycling? Here are some pointers you might find useful.

  1. Plan, plan, plan your menus … and don’t stint on the pleasure factor!
  2. Make sure your meals include the four groups in Canada’s Food Guide so that you obtain all the daily nutrients you need. If that isn’t possible, snacks can help make up for the food groups you’re missing.
  3. Plan your meals of the week. Do your grocery shopping from a list so you have all the ingredients on hand when it’s time to prepare your meals.
  4. Double your recipes so you’ll always have a meal ready when you come home from work, school or training.
  5. Avoid long waits between meals: When you’re training hard several hours a week, it’s quite common to feel hungry every three hours.
  6. Plan on having a snack if meals are more than four or five hours apart: This will prevent drops in energy, fatigue and sudden cravings and will help you work at your full potential.
  7. Take the time to taste and savour your food to get the maximum pleasure from it (and to better perceive when you’re full).
  8. A dietician-nutritionist can help you tailor a diet to your specific needs, taking into account such factors as height, weight and age, the type of sport you play and the effort you put into playing it, the frequency and duration of training, and your general health and lifestyle.

Miele and eVox thank Lucie Brossard B.Sc., Dt.P. for her valuable help with this series of articles.

Lucie Brossard, Dietitician

Lucie Brossard, B.Sc., Dt.P.

Dietitian-nutritionist

Member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec

Member of the Dietitians of Canada

514-743-0047

lucie.brossard@mail.mcgill.ca

Sources:  Clinical Sports Nutrition, Burke L. et Deakin V., McGraw Hill, Fourth Ed., 2010; Sport Nutrition Practice Guideline Summary, PEN, Diététistes du Canada, 2013; Atelier sur la nutrition sportive, Erdman K., MSc, RD, Diététistes du Canada, 2009

A conversation about sports nutrition for cyclists

When sport and nutrition go hand in hand

To really feel good playing a sport, you can’t neglect your diet. For Lucie Brossard, sport and nutrition are closely linked.

Lucie, what kind of diet is required when you’re a professional cyclist?

Lucie Brossard, detitician

You can’t get the most out of your sport if you don’t start out with a balanced diet. Whether you’re a professional cyclist or a Sunday athlete, diet can make an enormous difference, whatever your goal: whether it’s to improve performance, for the joy of moving or simply to change your outlook.

A balanced diet is all about eating—and enjoying—all the food groups. Nothing is prohibited. The Canada Food Guide is a good starting point. You have to eat at least the number of portions recommended for your age group.

Your needs for energy and additional nutrients must reflect your level of physical activity. The higher the level, the greater your need for fuel. Carbohydrates are the fuel of choice for the muscles and the brain.

There are only small reserves of carbohydrates (in the form of glycogen) in our muscles and liver. These reserves are quickly exhausted if training lasts for more than an hour. That’s why cyclists who train several hours a week have to make sure carbohydrates play a big part in their diets. They also have to eat enough protein and make sure they’re well hydrated, when they’re training and when they’re not.

Carbohydrates can be complex carbohydrates (also known as slow sugars because they take the body longer to absorb) or simple carbohydrates (also known as fast sugars). Examples of complex carbohydrates are bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, corn, rice, quinoa, millet, bulgur, couscous, potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes, fruits and vegetables, etc.

Fast sugars (rapidly absorbed) include fructose (natural fruit sugar), lactose (natural sugar from milk and yogurt), sucrose (from beets or sugarcane), honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, agave syrup, etc.

For useful tips and menu ideas, read this article.

What to do before, during and after a race or training session

When it’s time to train or compete in a cycling race, it’s important to make sure you’re properly hydrated and have had enough to eat.

  • Keep hydrated: Dehydration can compromise your physical performance and leave you feeling that exercise is more difficult. Dehydration can also cause thirst, fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, chills and headaches.
  • Before training/the race: Drink 125-375 ml of liquid in the two hours before training; water is a good choice.
  • During training/the race: Drink 400-800 ml/hour of training.
    • If the duration < 1 hour, water will suffice.
    • If the duration > 1 hour, a sports drink (providing 30-80 g of carbohydrates/L, 500-700 mg of sodium/L and 80-195 mg of potassium/L) is recommended. You can also make your own sports drink.
    • After training/the race: Drink to replace the liquids you’ve lost in perspiration and to restore hydration to its usual level. You’re properly hydrated when your urine is the colour of lemonade. Water, fruit juice, milk, chocolate milk, soy drinks and sports drinks are excellent choices.
  • Eat properly before training/the race:
    • You’ll have to pay attention to the amount of food you eat before training/the race to avoid stomach discomfort caused by incomplete digestion.
    • Carbohydrates are easily digested and should take up a large part of your menu because they’re your fuel. Proteins, lipids (fats) and fibres, on the other hand, can slow digestion, so it’s important to keep a careful eye on how much of these you’re eating before an effort. The closer your time of food intake is to the time of training/the race, the smaller your consumption of protein, lipids (fats) and fibres should be.

It is therefore recommended that you eat:

  • In the 3-4 hours preceding training/the race: a normal meal.

It should contain carbohydrates and a moderate quantity of proteins and lipids. My typical meal: fish in parchment with rice accompanied by a nice salad, a fruit and a small Greek yogurt; or in the morning: orange juice, café au lait, poached eggs and toast, ricotta cheese, a little butter and jam.

  • In the 2 hours preceding training/the race: a meal consisting mainly of carbohydrates that’s low in protein and lipids. My typical meal: a ham sandwich, tomato, lettuce, a small rice pudding and a small bunch of grapes. Or in the morning, orange juice, café au lait, and plain oatmeal cooked in soy milk with maple syrup.
  • In the hour preceding training/the race: a liquid or semi-liquid snack because it’s digested quickly. My favourites: drinkable yogurt, a glass of orange juice or a smoothie made with yogurt, milk, berries and banana.
  • Eat sufficiently during training/the race:
    • If the duration < 1 hour, you don’t have to eat. You do, however, have to keep hydrated. Water alone might do, but if the physical activity is performed at high intensity, a sports drink (like the one described above) might be a good choice.
    • If the duration > 1 hour, 30 to 70 g of carbohydrates are recommended per hour of training. These carbohydrates may be taken in different forms: sports drinks (see above), gels, granola bars, fruit bars, fig newtons, bananas, fresh fruit, dried fruit, etc.  My favourites: homemade sports drink, granola bars and fruit bars.
  • Eat sufficiently after training/the race: 
    • The 30 minutes after physical activity is the ideal time to maximize your recovery.

The muscles need carbohydrates to replenish their energy stores along with a little protein to repair muscle fibres damaged by effort. A snack might suffice if you’re only a little hungry after your workout or not hungry at all. It should contain carbohydrates and some protein, e.g. chocolate milk, fruit and yogurt, a smoothie, a peanut butter sandwich, etc.

  • In the 2-3 hours after the snack: Have a regular meal consisting of carbohydrates and a moderate amount of protein and lipids.

“There’s a lot more to be said about sports nutrition,” said dietician Lucie Brossard enthusiastically, “But I’ll stop there.”

Lucie Brossard during a race

 

Sources :  Clinical Sports Nutrition, Burke L. et Deakin V., McGraw Hill, Fourth Ed., 2010; Sport Nutrition Practice Guideline Summary, PEN, Diététistes du Canada, 2013; Atelier sur la nutrition sportive, Erdman K., MSc, RD, Diététistes du Canada, 2009

A conversation about cyclo-tourism and cycle sport training

Last week’s piece about Lucie Brossard’s cycling career attracted a big response.

So we decided to continue our conversation with this cycling devotee as part of our ongoing mission to get you on your bike at the earliest opportunity! J

Ms. Brossard, so far have you mainly done cyclo-tourism or cycle sport training? 

I first did competition, and then I did cycle training. I’ve never done cyclo-tourism (with baggage), but I’m not ruling out the possibility of making a trip with baggage in the future.

You’ve already taken bike trips. What kind of trips were they?

They were mainly the kind of bike trips you take in training camp.

Where did you go?

In the United States, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Colorado and Virginia, and in France, Ardèche and the Côte d’Azur–Maritime Alps).

 cyclo-tourism

Which type of bike do you prefer? A road bike, a city bike or a mountain bike?

A road bike. But I like biking in the city and I sometimes do a bit of mountain biking. I would also like to get a cyclo-cross bike to extend the cycling season into autumn.

What do you think of the Défi Pierre Lavoie?

A great cycling feat for a great cause!

What devices do you use when you cycle?

A heart rate monitor and a bike computer.

Where will your next bike trip be?

I’m planning a trip in Arizona next year and one in Spain or France in the next two years.

Do you do any particular training (bicycle rollers, etc.)?

From April to October, I’ll nearly exclusively bike outside. In October and November, I hike. From November to April, I’ll do virtual cycling on a roller with CompuTrainer or Elite software. I try to integrate some weight-training, lots of stretching and some outdoor activities (snowshoeing, cross-country skiing).

Has sport changed your life?

Sport has always been a part of my life. I can’t imagine my life without sport. It’s part of my identity.

Lastly, what advice would you give to somebody looking to get in shape? 

Try out all sorts of activities. Find an activity or activities that please you and that fit into your schedule. Aim for the PLEASURE OF MOVING. Go very slowly. Aim for a frequency that suits your daily rhythm. It’s the only way to turn it into a habit that lasts.

Women’s cycling: A meeting with Lucie Brossard

We recently met with the dietician Lucie Brossard, a woman with a fascinating career that combines a passion for cycling with sports nutrition. We asked her some questions on her experiences in the world of women’s cycling.

How long have you been cycling?

I have been cycling for 34 years.

What level did you reach as a cyclist? 

I was Quebec road cycling champion in 1983 J. I won several races and mounted the podium a number of times in Quebec. I competed in the United States. The highest level I achieved was participating as a guest member of the Canadian team in the Tour of Texas in 1984.

It was my first international experience, and the best cyclists in the world were there. It was a series of 12 races in one month. This series of races was the first stage in pre-selecting athletes for the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles, and the first women’s Tour de France the same year.

Why is cycling your passion?

I got into competitive cycling kind of by accident. In the beginning, I wanted to do cyclo-tourism. But when I got to my club and heard the other cyclists—the young and not so young—talking about races, about the emotion and excitement they were experiencing, it made me want to try it. And the routine of training, the discipline and rigour it demanded, provided an answer to an adolescent in search of identity and a meaning to life.

Lucie Brossard at Grand Prix cycliste in Hudson

Are you a dedicated athlete? 

What I can say is that I’ve always practised sports, ever since I was a child. Playing a sport for me is as natural as breathing J I’ve tried all sorts of sporting activities (running, swimming, diving, martial arts, tennis, badminton, volleyball, handball, basketball, track and field, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sea kayaking, river kayaking, climbing, weight-training, skating, rollerblading, etc.) but in terms of sheer sensation, cycling’s it for me.

Cycling is definitely part of your lifestyle. Where does your motivation come from? What do you like about cycling?

I often joke that cycling for me is a kind of virus I can’t shake. Seriously, though, I’d say that it’s a way to strike a balance in my life between work and other areas in my life.

In the beginning, when I was in competition, it represented the greatest passion of my life. Nothing else came close. And then, as the years went by, I achieved a balance. It became for me a means of staying healthy, of escaping, of freeing the spirit from stress, of feeling the benefits of endorphins, of experiencing the pleasure of moving my muscles, of seeing beautiful countryside, of recharging in natural surroundings.

In finishing, do you think we give women enough place in competitive cycling?

No, not enough. In Canada we have some great female cycling athletes that you hear little about. There is very little coverage of women’s cycling events. But with organizations like Cyclopétards (a Quebec NPO whose mission is to encourage women to cycle), the popularity of cycling among women can only rise.

If this article has given you a taste for discovering or rediscovering life on a bike, we invite you to check out our different models of Miele bikes or the renewable energy eVox bike.