GoodTurn Cycles http://goodturncycles.org GoodTurn Cycles is an electric bike shop in Littleton, CO. We offer a retail eBike showroom, rentals, tours, and youth job training. Wed, 30 Jan 2019 18:12:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2 http://goodturncycles.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/cropped-mstile-150x150-32x32.png GoodTurn Cycles http://goodturncycles.org 32 32 Community Blog Series: Our value of “Community First” http://goodturncycles.org/2019/04/01/community-blog-series-our-value-of-community-first/ Mon, 01 Apr 2019 15:00:31 +0000 http://goodturncycles.org/?p=1237 Following our Winter Health blog series we wanted to continue to explore and emphasize the third value of our mission statement. GoodTurn Cycles is a nonprofit social enterprise dedicated not only to helping people achieve better health but also to providing job training to young people. GoodTurn Cycles operates in a way that puts the community first, always. And that sounds good but what does it mean? Why are we intent on being “community first”? How do we operate as community first? How do we make it a reality?

 

What it means to be “Community First”:

For us, “community first” is almost instinctual to human nature. If there is one thing that is almost inarguable it is that people are communal by nature. From the very beginning of time we have operated and survived in groups. We believe that as a society we flourish when we work together and recognize the importance of those around us. It is through communities that we are able to learn more about ourselves, love ourselves and learn to love others. It is through communities that we live our best lives and so we value being community first. To be community first means lifting our eyes and truly seeing those who are around us. It means creating a space where people are welcome to spend time, share stories and provide for one another. It means that we operate so that the welfare of the community is always considered as the most important factor of the decisions we make. It means that we have an obligation to help everyone in our community in every way that we are able.  

 

Why we are intent on being “Community First”:

Throughout the last century America has become more isolated with every decade. Our technological advancements have allowed us to separate to a point where human contact is no longer guaranteed in everyday life. This has led to growing rates of suicide and division. Here at GoodTurn Cycles we think that continued separation from one another is unacceptable. We believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to connect with those around them, and that business’ as entities of the community are not excluded. We also believe that as a business in the community we have the opportunity to make a larger impact in the community since we are a place where people gather and interact with one another. It is the community that supports and sustains us to remain in business, and so it is the community that we must give back to and help support as well. We are intent on being “Community First” because we believe that creating more of a symbiotic relationship between customers and business’ will be beneficial to the world. A retail store has become a cold place in America today. We want to be more than just a space for transaction. We want to be a place for stories and genuine connection.

 

How we operate to make “Community First” a reality:

The first and most obvious way that we live up to our claim of community first is through our job training program. The main reason our shop even exists is to provide a resource for young adults in the community who have a harder time entering the workforce. While our job training is the most obvious there is more to the picture. Something as simple as the service we provide is meant to benefit the community. We are firm believers that cycling can bring better physical and mental health. We are also aware that not all members of our community have the same physical abilities or financial situations. By providing electric bikes to rent we are trying to assure that everyone has the opportunity for a joyful riding experience. We also try to always take the time to listen to our customers needs, so that we can provide them with the bikes that are the best for them at a reasonable price. Quality bicycles that people can ride without worrying about their integrity has always been an important concern when looking at products available to have in the shop. To end, our goal for the future of our shop is to continually create even more of a community with those who are around us. We have dreams of community nights where folks can gather at the shop to learn, connect, and have fun. We want to do it all, everything from basic mechanic classes to whiskey/wine tastings. We hope that as we continue to grow our customer base we can continue to get to know the stories of everyone we meet.

We are here for relationships, not transactions.

So if your in the area stop by the shop today, and if your farther out send us an email or give us a call. Let us know how we can better connect with, serve and provide for you, our community.

Thanks for reading,

Kyle Freeman

kyle@goodturncycles.org

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Winter Health: Braving The Cold Commute http://goodturncycles.org/2019/02/28/winter-health-braving-the-cold-commute/ Thu, 28 Feb 2019 16:00:18 +0000 http://goodturncycles.org/?p=1313 There’s No Bad Weather, Just Bad Clothes

I sold my car over two years ago, so I commute on my bike year round. After several winters of bike commuting, I have a pretty good idea of what to wear for every temperature range and have amassed a large amount of winter gear. But, I do not plan to tell you my riding outfits for specific temperatures for a couple reasons. First, I am naturally warmer than most people, and everybody regulates body temperature differently. Second, everybody has a large variety of clothes in their closet that should already work and will not own what I own. My goal is to give you the tips and knowledge necessary to tackle the colder days and be able to increase the amount of days you commute throughout the year. At the end, I will give a list of clothing I really enjoy and would recommend.

While I am a firm believer you do not need to spend much money on new or different winter clothes, I recommend wool to everybody who wants to commute in the winter. Technology has created some pretty nice synthetic materials, but I am not convinced any of them are better than merino wool. Wool regulates temperature with the body incredible well, can still help keep you warm when it gets wet, wicks moisture from your body, and is naturally fairly smell proof. I own a pair of mid-weight wool leggings. I have biked down into single digits wearing those leggings, and I have sat in a classroom at 70 degrees for nearly 3 hours. I was comfortable in both situations. This is also why I love wool socks. I can wear them all day and my feet never feel too hot or too cold. Wool has been key to commuting comfortably in varying temperatures throughout the winter.

An important part of bike commuting is layering. Layers allow you to make minor adjustments for the temperature range of your morning commute and evening commute. It even allows adjustments mid-ride if you misjudged your outfit. If you place your warmest jacket on over your t-shirt and begin to get to hot, there is not much to do about it because you will either be hot or way too cold. Layers let you fine tune or easy adapt an outfit. Often morning or evening commutes will be at different temperatures, but it is easy to take an extra long sleeve shirt to wear on the way home if it will be colder rather than swapping jackets. Even if you have to take a full extra pull over to add because of Colorado’s drastic temperature swings, a pull over sweater is smaller than a different large jacket. As stated earlier, I recommend a wool base layer and then different layers based on need with a windproof and/or waterproof outer layer on the colder days. You generate a considerable amount of heat while riding, and it is often lost due to the wind rushing through your clothes. By simply adding a windproof layer, it can make any outfit significantly warmer. I will wear a wool base-layer and t-shirt into the mid-to-low 40’s fairly comfortably. The other day I simply added my Patagonia rain shell that is water and windproof (not very breathable). I was sweating at 22 degrees outside. An outer-layer that removes wind-chill is vital to cold weather and many of those layers can pack nice and neat into themselves.

From my experience, if you are wearing enough clothes to be warm standing around outside, you have too much on. Once you start biking, you will generate a considerable amount of heat that you need to account for. I assume I will be a little cold for the first mile to mile and a half. After 6 months of commuting to the bike shop, I have a “spot” for each direction of my commute that I can evaluate if I am too hot or too cold. It is long enough into the ride for my body to have warmed up. If I am not warm by that point, it generally means I need to add another layer. If I am warm, I will be fine. If I am hot, I need to shed a layer or be a sweaty mess by the time I reach my destination. The more you commute, the more you get used to what to wear at different temperatures. I check my weather app before I leave for my commute and now know what to wear at each temperature meaning I rarely have to stop to add or remove a layer now.

Always be prepared for the drastic changes in weather. I prefer to not wear windproof materials unless it is very cold. So I tend to have a wool base layer, then a long sleeve shirt, running pull over, or light hoodie. However, I always keep a windproof jacket that packs small into a little ball in my backpack. So if any day I am underdressed, I can easily throw that over what I have and it should help quite a bit. If you always prefer a windproof layer, maybe keep a light-weight wool base layer in your bag as an extra layer to add. I never plan to use this specific extra layer. I use a weather app that gives hour by hour temperatures for the day. If the temp is expected to drop 15 degrees when I am at work, I will bring the clothes necessary to ride home. This layer is for when the weather does not follow expectations because let’s be honest, the weather apps are not always accurate.

Finally, Denver provides a relatively mild winter to commute in. If you do not feel comfortable riding in snow a few days a year with your regular tires and do not have a car, then there is always the option of studded tires. Schwable makes their Marathon Plus Tire with metal studs to better grip in snow and ice. However, I find that my regular knobby tires that I use on my gravel bike do just fine in the snow as long as I lightly brake and don’t make too hard of turns. Studded tires are not cheap and are definitely louder on dry pavement, so I do not recommend them unless you plan to ride every snow day and will not feel comfortable or safe otherwise. Besides tires, disc brakes are definitely a better winter setup compared to rim brakes. Again, this is purely due to wet rims in the snow/ice. Cold does not change any of this, so if you are not planning to ride on those bad weather days, do not worry about which brakes you have. While I do not believe you need to change your tires or brakes for basic winter commuting, I would recommend fenders.

Musgard Portable Fenders:

Our snow does not stick like other cities further north, meaning that the paths are often wet with snow or the snow on the sides melting onto the path. Fenders will help keep your feet and back dry and can help prevent ice build up on your cassette, especially in all of our wet, slushy spring snow days. I personally do not have permanent fenders, and I use easily removable fenders (pictured above) that better fit my bike. Overall, you should be able to commute most days of the year, even if you avoid the days it snows, with your current bike because the snow on our paths usually melts quickly.

Winter commuting can be done by anybody who is willing to brave the elements and has a little knowledge. By nature of living in a colder environment already, you should be ready to tackle winter commuting. If you want to buy something, buy wool. To become better at winter commuting, keep riding. The more you ride, the better you will layer and the more your body adjusts to the temperature. If you ever have questions and want to get into it more, feel free to send me an email at neal@goodturncycles.org. This is my third winter without a car, and I have had the pleasure of riding to work during every major snow storm we have had this year.

List of top gear I would recommend:

Merino Wool Midweight Leggings by Minus 33

Midweight Base Layer by MeriWool

Pearl Izumi Lobster Gloves

Wool Neck Gaiter

Darn Tough Socks

Castinelli Windproof Cycling Cap  

Musguard Fenders

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Winter Health: Seasonal Affective Disorder & Pursuing Mental Health http://goodturncycles.org/2019/02/15/winter-health-seasonal-affective-disorder-pursuing-mental-health/ Fri, 15 Feb 2019 16:00:44 +0000 http://goodturncycles.org/?p=1310 Three Ways to Feel Better, Despite the Winter Blahs

To me, the month of January feels a bit like one extended Monday. A dark, dreary, cold, uninspired, depressing, neverending Monday. The good news is, we’ve made it through. Each day gets longer as we creep ever-so-slowly toward spring, when things begin to feel lighter, brighter, and easier.

As someone who struggled with depression that ebbs and flows with the seasons, I’ve received a lot of value in medications and therapy. But over time I’ve also found value in making tiny, in-the-moment shifts and choices that help immensely. Here are three ways I’ve helped myself, and that I hope might help you too.

  1. Greet your body every day. I was so busy in my 20s and 30s that I only thought about my body when it failed me through illness or injury. It took getting diagnosed with a life-changing autoimmune disorder to teach me how to listen to the subtle ways my body talked to me. Try this: breath in for 3 counts; exhale for 5; repeat 5 times. Mentally scan how your body feels: Are you clenching your jaw? Do you need to stretch your lower back? Sometimes my body is screaming and what it needs is a nap. Sometimes its screaming and it needs to go for a run. I used to make plans for a stringent workout schedule to attempt to combat my depression, then beat myself up when I inevitably missed a few days. Now my only habit is checking in, sometimes hourly, to see how my body feels and giving it what it needs in that moment.
  2. Chase light that doesn’t come from a screen. I grew up in Iowa. I will never move back, because the Colorado sunshine is something I crave. You probably do, too. Don’t overthink it. Open your blinds first thing in the morning. Go for a walk around the block at lunch. Sit by a sunlight filled window and close your eyes and pretend you’re on a beach in Mexico for a few minutes this afternoon. Also, if you’re experiencing a lot of fatigue, talk to you doctor. Just last January my vitamin D levels were so low that my doctor was “surprised I could leave the house.” And if you talk to your doctor, she may prescribe actual light therapy, one of the best ways we know to combat seasonal affective disorder.   
  3. Remember how to have fun. We live under the constant pressure of doing more, being more, and getting more. But trust me on this, you can’t live with good mental health if you don’t slow down and have some fun. The founder of GoodTurn Cycles rediscovered her own personal joy riding an e-bike up Vail mountain. I recently rediscovered joy via a Prince cover band — singing and dancing and acting-a-fool with a good friend. Just be careful in your thinking, because fun shouldn’t be reserved for big moments like these. I find a lot of joy comes from being grateful for small moments — a laugh shared with a co-worker, a snuggle from my dog, or even a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. Start saying Thank You to these tiny moments of your day–I bet you’ll be surprised by just how much fun you truly have.

 

Please remember, it’s normal to feel down from time to time. But if you’re feeling low for weeks on end, or if you’re considering hurting yourself, talk to someone you trust. There’s no shame in needing to see a doctor or therapist; my depression has been with me my entire adult life and I’ve needed medication and talk therapy at various times.  So be encouraged that if your struggling there are ways to help, and if you know someone who is struggling you have some ways to encourage them. 

Carie Behounek

OneGoodTurn Marketing & Development Director

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Winter Health Series: Staying Active http://goodturncycles.org/2019/02/01/winter-health-series-staying-active/ Fri, 01 Feb 2019 16:00:45 +0000 http://goodturncycles.org/?p=1267 Winter is a hard season to stay active. Days are short, weather is cold and motivation is lacking. Not to mention the indulgence of holiday treats makes us feel sluggish. Luckily for us though, we live in such an active environment which eases the difficulty of the winter workout blues. So it’s too cold or dark to ride outside, don’t fret in this blog I’ll discuss a few fitness alternatives to keep moving this Winter season!

Alternative 1: Trainer

Bike trainers have been the tool of Winter training for cyclists for a long time. A trainer is a device that you attach to the rear wheel of you bike that transforms your personal bike to a stationary bike.

 

 

Trainers come in a few different styles, which are indicative of how friction is applied to your rear wheel. Below are the 4 main types of trainers and from LOWEST investment to HIGHEST investment.

  • Wind Trainers

 

These trainers use the air resistance of a fan attached to the trainer to provide resistance for the rider. Wind trainers provide a progressive resistance so as you pedal harder the resistance increases.

PROS: Low investment, Progressive resistance

CONS: Very noisy, Hard pedaling can max out resistance

 

 

  • Magnetic Trainers

 

These trainers use the resistance of magnets to provide resistance for the rider. Resistance on these trainers can only be adjusted by changing gears or adjusting the resistance setting on the trainer.

PROS: Low investment, Less noisy than wind

CONS: Not as natural of a pedaling experience

 

  • Fluid Trainers

 

These trainers have a small fluid chamber that provides the resistance to the rider. These trainers provide a very realistic road feel.

PROS: Very realistic ride feel, Very quiet

CONS: High investment

** I will say that this is what I train on in the Winter.

 

 

  • Direct Drive Trainers

 

These trainers are the latest and greatest in indoor training. They require the removal of the rear wheel to be directly mounted to the trainer. They provide almost identical ride feel to cycling outdoors, can be paired with electronic training applications and do not allow for any “wheel slip” to happen if doing sprint intervals.

PROS: Most realistic ride feel, Pair to training applications, High resistance output to allow for sprint training, No “wheel slip”

CONS: Very very high investment, Rider must remove rear wheel

 

Riding on a trainer, similar to running or walking on a treadmill, can be a mind numbing experience. Many people who do train on a trainer will watch movies, listen to music or even read a book if your workout so suits. For me it’s nice to have something on the TV to distract me visually, and a predetermined workout to keep me mentally engaged. Workouts don’t need to be anything too fancy. They can be as easy as:

10 minute WARM UP

30 minute WORKOUT

1 min HARD

1 min REST

5 minute COOL DOWN

Speaking of “cool down” it is going to be hot when you ride on a trainer. To stay cool, I suggest having a fan blowing on you. It makes a world of difference. Along with that be prepared with a sweat towel and plenty of water!

*Note that not all eBikes are compatible with trainers, consult us before making any purchases and we can help!

 

Alternative 2: Snow Activities

 

We are surrounded by world renowned ski mountains that provide a great opportunity to enjoy the cold weather, but you don’t have to have the need for speed to enjoy those same mountains. While downhill skiing can be fun, it isn’t for everyone. Maybe this Winter you try a few other snow activities!

Go snow shoeing – Snow shoeing can be a great way to get in nature, enjoy the snowy landscapes and GET EXERCISE! Snow shoeing is an inexpensive, easy, fun and can extend your hiking season through the cold months.

Below are some more tips from the experts at REI on how to get prepared to get out on the snow.

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/snowshoeing-first-steps.html

 

Go cross country skiing – Looking for something a bit more aerobic? Try cross country skiing!

Cross country skiing is used by cyclists across the world as a way to stay in shape for cycling. Cross country skiing will keep your heart pumping, your metabolism working and those winter pounds off.

Below are some more tips from REI on where to start.

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/quick-tips-crosscountry-skiing.html

With so many places around the Denver area to ski, you can keep your skiing fresh and give an excuse to see more of our beautiful state! Below is an article from the Denver Post which dives a bit deeper into where exactly to ski.

https://theknow.denverpost.com/2017/02/10/get-started-cross-country-skiing-colorado/136027/

If you are feeling up, go soak up some of the best skiing in North America here in CO!

 

Alternative 3: Try Something New!

Getting out of normal exercise routines in the Winter is normal. Use this change of routine to try a new activity! Again, with so many options around us there is no excuse to keep moving!

Curling –  Yes, you read that correctly I did say CURLING. Remember that sport you think about once every four years when the Winter Olympics happens. With a curling club at our doorstep in Golden, grab some friends and give it a try!

https://denvercurlingclub.com/

Rowing – Rowing is a great full body and low impact exercise. You can find rowing machines at most gyms and can find workout plans online. Since it is a whole body exercise, be sure that you are using proper technique to avoid injury. Below is a video discussing proper rowing technique.

https://www.concept2.com/indoor-rowers/training/technique-videos

Exercise classes – Taking exercise classes at your local gym or recreation center can be a great way to stay active during the Winter! The social interaction and accountability can give motivation to show up and work hard. Classes vary from location to location and most will have course listings on their websites.

 

If you are searching for a gym to call home there are several in our area to choose from:

Buck Recreation Center – http://www.ssprd.org/Buck-Recreation-Center

Lilley Gulch Recreation Center – https://www.ifoothills.org/facilities/#lilley-gulch

Peak Community & Wellness Center – https://www.ifoothills.org/facilities/#peak-community

Ridge Recreation Center – https://www.ifoothills.org/facilities/#ridge-cntr

Littleton Family YMCA – https://www.denverymca.org/littleton

Englewood Recreation Center – https://www.englewoodco.gov/parks-recreation-library/recreation-center

 

As you can see, there are a lot of options as to how to stay active this Winter. It’s not how you stay moving, but that you do stay active! Whether that’s taking the stairs not the elevator, or parking a few spots further from the store or adding a couple blocks to the nightly dog walk.

Just stay moving!

Adam

 

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Winter Health: Seasonal Cooking http://goodturncycles.org/2019/01/15/winter-health-seasonal-cooking/ Tue, 15 Jan 2019 16:00:06 +0000 http://goodturncycles.org/?p=1227 In our last blog we talked a bit about how to maintain health through eating with moderation and meal prepping. At the end of the blog I talked a bit about how a good diet should be plant based. In this blog I wanted to talk a little bit about how we should go about planning our meals surrounding the seasons. With the modern American Supermarket the notion of eating with the seasons has seemed to disappear except for a few special foods, like pumpkins in the fall or watermelon in the summer. With produce being supplied from all over the world in order for us to sustain our normal food choices we often don’t even think about the impracticality of eating apples in Michigan in the dead of winter. But if you look close or pay attention to the price you can see the natural fluctuation of food seasons for certain products. So if you are like me and your trying to stay healthy while also maintaining a balanced budget it is important to be aware of what foods are in season, and therefore at a lower cost.

If I were to summarize the foods in season during the winter it would be “roots” for the most part. Potatoes, onions and beets are just a few of the foods that make it onto the “in season” list for winter fruits and vegetables.

Here is a list of in season fruits and vegetables:

  • Cabbage
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Winter Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Radicchio
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Pomegranates
  • Kale
  • Collard Greens

These foods are packed with nutrition even though they might not be the “go to” raw salad veggies most people think about when it comes to eating healthy. Knowing what’s available isn’t enough, it’s important to know what to make as well. So I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes with you.

Pork, Butternut and Kale Stew:

This is the kind of meal that I love to make during the winter. With a few simple steps all that’s required is a little bit of waiting to make this delicious meal that can warm you up on the cold days and freeze easy for continued meals throughout the week or month. Check out the recipe from the link above.

A Side of Brussels Sprouts:

One of the foods that i think is almost always despised and dreaded by children everywhere, the Brussel sprout, has turned into one of my absolute most favorite foods. I really think that they get a bad rap because of poor cooking methods. For a simple and easy side dish cut the brussels sprouts in half and heat some olive oil in a large pan. Add the brussels sprouts and saute until they are fork tender. Season with salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice.

Corned Beef and Cabbage:

Cabbage can be a little challenging to find good ways to cook it up. My favorite way is the throw some corned beef, potatoes, and onions in a slow cooker, let it sit for 6-8 hours on low heat and then finish it off by adding some cabbage at the end. This is another easy meal during the winter that only takes a bit of prep and can cook while your at work.

Adam’s Favorite Roasted Vegetable Salad:

Our Manager at here at GoodTurn is a man who likes his vegetables. I’d be lying if said this recipe doesn’t look absolutely amazing. Check out this recipe for a different take on a dinner entree for the whole family!

With a little bit of intention and time we can use the foods that are the most readily available and still create healthy meals. Winter doesn’t have to be a season of preservative filled foods and forced non seasonal vegetables. I hope this has encouraged you to think more about what your eating, where our food comes from and how to better support local agriculture by eating in season foods. Keep following our winter health series and let us know any comments or questions! 

Kyle Freeman

 

**The title image was borrowed from a recipe found on Dishing up the Dirt an excellent blog devoted to agriculture and health** 

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Winter Health: Food Moderation and Meal Prep http://goodturncycles.org/2019/01/01/winter-health-food-moderation-and-meal-prep/ Tue, 01 Jan 2019 16:00:55 +0000 http://goodturncycles.org/?p=1223 Here at GoodTurn Cycles we are much more than just a standard sales focused bike shop. If you didn’t already know, we are a nonprofit social enterprise dedicated not only to helping people achieve better health, but also to providing job training to young people. GoodTurn Cycles operates in a way that puts the community first, always. Our nonprofit shines through our job training program with our apprentice’s but as a staff we wanted to make sure that our other values of better health and community first operation were given a spot light. So for the next few weeks we have decided to put out a winter health blog series that will hopefully be helpful to you, the reader, in achieving or learning more about ways to be healthier than ever this winter season.  

To kick of the blog series were going to be talking a little bit about food during the winter. Many people find it hard during the coldest time of year to be active and during times of less activity, what we eat becomes vital to our continual health. We have all heard the cliche of having to “get ready for swimsuit season” after the winter months. I personally think that with some minimal changes there could be less stress about gaining weight around the holiday and winter season. Here are some tips that I have found extremely helpful to keep me motivated to stay healthy even when it would be easier to grab some takeout, lay on the couch and binge a good show on Netflix. 

My Current Favorite Show

My current favorite show is The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a new take on the commonly known show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Both are based off of the Archie Comics. https://www.netflix.com/title/80223989?source=35
 

Number 1: Moderation

In my experience the best first step to staying healthy during the winter is having realistic expectations. With two major holidays on the American calendar, both often centered on large meals, we shouldn’t try to completely exclude any “comfort” food from our diets. Instead, focus on eating only a portion of all those sweets and other things that we love so much. Let yourself enjoy the food that is served just don’t over indulge in a way that causes feelings of regret or remorse. When maintaining health it’s important to not operate as a pendulum, swinging from one extreme to another. Often when people try to live under extreme restriction excluding anything unhealthy they can fall into a complete unhealthy junk/sweet/fast food binge during which they eat more than they probably would have eaten if they had just had a couple items in moderation. So if I had only one piece of advice, don’t be too hard on yourself. Let yourself experience enjoyable food and be apart of community celebrations, while being mindful of your own body. And if you found that as the holidays were ending that you didn’t have even a bit of moderation, it’s not too late to start as we enter into the new year.

Number 2: Preparation

This has been one of the bigger learning curves for myself when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. I find that most the time when I am running out to just grab something to eat from somewhere i know isn’t healthy it is because I have done a poor job at stocking my fridge with meals to eat. Healthy eating is all about preparation both in meal planning and preparing. The first step is to outline 4-5 different meals you want to make throughout the week for dinner. It seems in my experience that everyone comes to a point during the week where they either don’t have the energy or will to cook yet another dinner. So make sure that you have some leftovers available to eat something quick when your not feeling up to the task of cooking another meal. That way you have something healthy to eat at all times.

I will say that this advice only works if you are the type of person, like myself, who doesn’t mind eating the same thing a few meals/days in a row. My wonderful wife has opened my eyes to the reality that not everyone is capable of eating this way. So for those of you who struggle with eating the same meal for dinner, then lunch, and then dinner again, I wish I knew exactly how to help but unfortunately I do not. My best suggestion would be to prepare a few different meals at one time so that you always have some options available.

Number 3: Be Healthy

This is less of a tip and more of an encouragement. I think it is foolish to assume that there is a single type of diet that every single person should eat in order to maintain “perfect” health. As human beings we are all different and each one of us reacts differently to different foods. So I would challenge you to get to know your body. Learn what foods make you feel good and which foods make you feel sluggish. I personally started that process by partaking in the Whole 30, which has become a fad of its own and which enlightened a curiosity in me for what is “healthy.” If you want my own advice I believe that the healthiest diet is majority plant based, excluding anything processed, with some meat. I am currently trying to move away from the American ideal of meat as the main dish and even necessary to make a meal. And if for some reason you want to know more about why I think we need to eat less meat come by the shop or shoot me an email, kyle@goodturncycles.org,  and I’d love to share my thoughts about the American meat industry!

If health is something that you are interested in I hope you will continue to follow along with this blog series!

If you could care less about health, then maybe you would still be interested to see what some of the staff likes to eat in our next blog!

Thanks for reading,

Kyle Freeman

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Kyle’s Six Week eBike Commuting Update http://goodturncycles.org/2018/10/17/kyles-six-week-ebike-commuting-update/ Wed, 17 Oct 2018 13:00:38 +0000 http://goodturncycles.org/?p=1034 Six weeks of commuting by bike and I can definitely say that my life will never be the same. eBike commuting has been so beneficial to both my mental and physical health that I can’t imagine not continuing to commute by bike. I think the biggest challenge will be learning to overcome the weather issues. The second week of October it has been rainy and in the mid 30’s, not ideal biking conditions. But I have the resolve to continuing biking as much as weather will allow.

If you have been following the blog you might be tracking that my six weeks was up at the end of September. The first week of October I took time off of work for my wedding which was a major success. I bring up my wedding for two reasons. The first is that I am just completely overjoyed by the day and I just want to share it with whoever I can. The second, more pertinent, reason being that I believe my lack of continued weight loss was due to the stressful lifestyle leading up to the day. So while the first half of my commuting experiment resulted in weight loss the second half highlighted the psychological benefits of daily exercise.

Here are some photos of my wedding day:

Here are my up to date riding statistics. If you have any interest in following my rides or seeing my full commute feel free to check out my Strava

To show the full progress of my journey I am including the first 3 weeks of data to this update:

  1. Week 0: 8/12
    1. RHR: 80bpm
    2. Weight: 259 lbs
  2. Week 1: 8/13-8/21
    1. Days Commuting: 4
    2. Fun Rides: 0
    3. Miles: 142.3
    4. Avg MPH: 19.5
    5. Avg HR: 138 bpm
    6. RHR: 76 bpm
    7. Weight: 254 lbs
  3. Week 2: 8/22-8/28
    1. Days Commuting: 4
    2. Fun Rides: 1
    3. Miles: 159.2
    4. Avg MPH: 19.6
    5. Avg HR: 139 bpm
    6. RHR: 76 bpm
    7. Weight: 250 lbs
  4. Week 3: 8/29-9/4
    1. Days Commuting: 4
    2. Fun Rides: 0
    3. Miles: 138.3
    4. Avg MPH: 20
    5. Avg HR: 144 bpm
    6. RHR: 76 bpm
    7. Weight: 248 lbs
  5. Week 4: 9/5-9/11
    1. Days Commuting: 4
    2. Fun Rides: 1
    3. Miles: 176.9
    4. Avg MPH: 19.5
    5. Avg HR: 140.7 bpm
    6. RHR: 78 bpm
    7. Weight: 246 lbs
  6. Week 5: 9/12-9/25
    1. Days Commuting: 5
    2. Fun Rides: 0
    3. Miles: 173.6
    4. Avg MPH: 20.5
    5. Avg HR: 136 bpm
    6. RHR: 74 bpm
    7. Weight: 245 lbs
  7. Week 6: 9/26-10/2
    1. Days Commuting: 3
    2. Fun Rides: 0
    3. Miles: 98.8
    4. Avg MPH: 19.8
    5. Avg HR: 139
    6. RHR: 76 bpm
    7. Weight: 246 lbs

The last three weeks of eBike commuting show that during a time in my life of great stress (wedding prep & planning) I wasn’t gaining weight. And while I wish I could say that I was eating a balanced diet, that was definitely not the case. Like many Americans I have a history of succumbing to “comfort foods.” I fully expected to be gaining weight and losing progress during the few weeks before my wedding but instead the opposite happened. Rather than gaining weight during a stressful period, bike commuting allowed me to maintain the weight loss.

Like I mentioned previously the last three weeks of bike commuting illuminated the mental benefits of daily exercise. I started to notice that when I came home from work I was happier and generally in a better mood. The ability to take the stress, problems, and general “weight” of a work day and shed that as I was riding home made a noticeable difference in my attitude. Coming back from my wedding and not being able to ride due the weather has been difficult. Even though commuting by car can be 10-30 minutes shorter it is much “harder” than eBike commuting.

Considering the success I have already had with eBike commuting I am planning on continuing with this commuting experiment. At the beginning I had committed to riding at least 3 days a week. The weather this last week has showed me that I might not be able to ride as many days per week during the winter, so I am committing to ride every day that the weather will allow. As I learn how to dress for cold riding the amount of days I ride will be able to increase. I am hopeful that through eBike commuting I can continue to improve my health, and with the stress of wedding planning being over continue to lose weight.

As I learn more, I will continue to share my experience. I will also continue to put out health updates for 1 month intervals. Thanks for reading and supporting my journey to better health through eBike commuting!

Kyle

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eBike Commuting In Denver http://goodturncycles.org/2018/10/03/ebike-commuting-in-denver/ Wed, 03 Oct 2018 15:00:08 +0000 https://goodturncycles.org/?p=1020 When I started this eBike commuting journey I really had no idea what it was like to commute on a bike regularly.  I had heard the other guys in the shop talk about what it was like but I didn’t have any hands on experience. Being fresh to the bike commuting community I had many questions surrounding what it would be like. How tired was I going to be once I got to work? Would I be able to sit in the saddle (bike seat) for 30 miles each time I rode to work? I know I see cyclists decked out in spandex, what should I be wearing? How do I get biking directions? These were some of the questions I had surrounding bike commuting and if anyone else is interested in starting to commute by bike, specifically eBike, you might have some of these questions too. So I wanted to give a summary of my experience of what it’s like to commute by bike and hopefully pass along some tips that will be helpful for those who are starting to commute by eBike.

Number 1: You will be out in the elements.

In a strange way the biggest thing I didn’t think about is that by biking you will be outside, which means there will be bugs and smells… My first time riding home from work I was completely unprepared for the amount of gnats that come out in the evening and hang around the path. Most of my commute, and many bike trails in the Denver metro area, follow rivers and creeks which means that many bugs and gnats are flying around at dusk. I was getting pelted in the face by bugs and had a hard time seeing and breathing. So the first thing I would recommend is having a face cover and appropriate eyewear so that you don’t get obliterated by bugs as your trying to have a fun time riding. For night riding I was able to pick up a pair of safety glasses to protect from bugs. Another product I have enjoyed are these face masks. Also, be prepared that riding will not always smell the best as you’re traversing the city. One spot that is always a challenge is along the south platte before downtown Littleton where there is a waste management plant, which often has a tendency to smell quite unpleasant. To keep riding it’s important to be prepared for what the experience can be like, and though there are some unpleasantries, I often find myself enjoying the wind, beautiful views and time to just think as I ride along.

Number 2: If it starts to hurt, you need to make a change.

One thing that seems to often get overlooked in the eBike world is making sure that your bike is fit well to you. It’s something I didn’t really consider too much until the second week riding when I felt a sharp pain in my knee that made it hard to keep going and get into work. By talking with the guys at the shop and doing some internet searching i learned that my foot positioning on the pedals and how close my seat was to the handlebars was causing the pain. A couple adjustments and I was back to riding without pain. It taught me that listening to your body while riding is very important. If I had continued to ride without making adjustments it’s possible that I could have injured myself in a way that would have put me out of commission. As you continue to commute by bike, make sure that you pay close attention to your body, instead of maintaining and servicing a vehicle motor your now maintaining and servicing yourself in order to keep riding.

Click here (https://youtu.be/1VYhyppWTDc) for a basic idea of how to set your initial bike fit.

Number 3: Wear what’s comfortable for you.

The cycling world is vast and there are a lot of different opinions on what you should wear in order to optimize riding ability and performance. The major article of clothing being cycling shorts with extra padding (chamois). I have personally found that the specific clothing items you can purchase have not been necessary for me. I’m the type of person that likes simplicity, I don’t want to have to bring extra clothes or change when I get to work if I don’t have to. One benefit of commuting on an eBike is that it seems to make riding in regular attire easier, but if you are starting your own commuting journey and are discovering that you have issues with saddle sores, then wear something with some extra padding. I can get away with wearing jeans on my rides, but our shop manager Adam needs to wear cycling shorts with a chamois to stay in the saddle longer. I would say it’s all preference, but don’t feel like you have to “have the right clothes” to start biking. Wear what you have and adjust if necessary.

Number 4: Google Maps is a great place to start for biking directions.

If you’re new to biking then you probably didn’t even realize that Google Maps has a bike directions feature. It is just about the only true bike direction service that I know of besides just looking at a map and trying to plan routes. Using the bike directions that Google provides is a great start but don’t feel like you need to follow them exactly. Many of the routes provided follow standard biking lanes, so while they are great for the biking trails, the system can sometimes take you on busy streets that technically have a bike lane but aren’t the best for riding. It also doesn’t necessarily tell you if there are any issues with a specific route. The first day I was biking into work I ran into some construction on the bike path that forced me onto surface streets. Luckily I was able to follow some detour signs to until I could get back onto the path. I have to admit that when I saw that I was going to be forced of the route I thought I was taking I panicked just a little. It taught me early on that just like driving, sometimes the routes we plan don’t work out and adjustments are necessary. So don’t be afraid to stray from the trail and see if maybe there is a better or maybe just more enjoyable way to get where you’re going.

For a bit more information on how to use Google Maps Biking feature click here (Google Bike Map Instructions).

Here is a screen shot of Google’s map system showing biking routes around our shop.

I am still very new to bike commuting, but I can’t imagine going back to commuting by car everyday. I have no doubts that my bike commuting journey will continue, and as it does I will have to navigate new challenges, colder weather, night riding, and more routine bicycle maintenance are the three that first come to mind. If your new to commuting and have any questions or want to know more about my eBike commuting journey feel free to shoot me an email to kyle@goodturncycles.org.

Thanks for reading! Make sure you stay tuned for my sixth week riding health update.

Kyle

 

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eBike Commuting Health Effects http://goodturncycles.org/2018/09/10/ebike-commuting-health-effects/ Mon, 10 Sep 2018 14:40:02 +0000 https://goodturncycles.org/?p=1016 There were many different reasons that I wanted to start commuting to work by bike instead of with my car. Reducing my carbon footprint, working at a bike shop and wanting to test out our bikes, not wanting to sit in forty minutes of Denver traffic, but the reason that motivated me the most and pushed me over into the bike commuting world was my health. Being recently engaged I started to think about the kind of life i was living and the kind of life I wanted to have with my Wife to be. One thing I knew I wanted was to be healthy, to live without fear of various overweight health related issues, and to be able to be more than capable, physically, of playing and interacting with my future kids.

My soon to be wife

A visit to the doctor for a physical revealed news that I was dreading and yet expecting. Sure, I am relatively healthy now and not having any major issues, but if i didn’t start to lose weight I am on a trajectory for heart, blood and joint problems. When I went to the doctor I weighed in at 264 lbs, the heaviest I had ever been. The doctor told me that I should theoretically weigh under two hundred pounds. I wasn’t sure if I weighed under 200 since before high school. So I knew that to save my knees and prepare for my future I had no choice but to make a change.

At the time I was living fairly close to the bike shop and so I decided to pull out the old steel mountain bike I had purchased used almost a year previously and start biking to work. That doctors visit was in May, the next couple months I think I rode into work by bike twice, maybe four times tops. While I desired to ride to work there were obstacles that I just couldn’t overcome. It was 7 miles each way, which was doable but only barely with the couple hills I had to climb. I learned that one way 7-10 miles was my distance limit before I was exhausted. Not only was I physically struggling with the ride but I had a hard time mentally. Riding on roads with cars, and bike paths with hardcore road-cyclists just made me feel even slower than I already did. Not only was I battling a physical struggle to bike more than a few miles, I was battling a mental struggle as well. I desired so greatly to get on my bike and cruise into work while getting exercise, but riding beat me down and it would take a couple weeks before I was ready to try again.

Fast forward to August, two months before my wedding. I had recently moved into a new apartment that was right next to the Lakewood Gulch bike path, so my inspiration to ride into work peaked once again. I knew I was farther but I was right next to the path, I figured it wouldn’t be too far of a ride. Checking the route I saw that it was 17 miles …one way… but I was determined to get into work by bike and so I came up with an idea, what if I rode an electric bike?

There was a study that we had come across, at the shop, testing to see if commuting on an eBike would still provide health benefits. If you want to read that study you can find it here. To summarize, the study found that the health of the participants was beginning to increase and they were riding the bikes more than was even required of them. I knew I that I didn’t have the income to buy a bike while trying to pay for a wedding. So what if I could be a type of study within GoodTurn. I would commit to riding on an eBike for 6 weeks at least 3 days a week. This would allow me to test out the claims that riding an eBike still improved health while being able to finally bike to work. We worked out that in order to measure my own health we would record two things, first my weight and second my resting heart rate as these are both common indicators of overall health.

So my journey commuting on an eBike began. Before I started I needed to measure my weight and RHR(resting heart rate). On August 12th I weighed in at 259 lbs, and thanks to the Fitbit Blaze that I had been wearing for a couple months I knew that my RHR was at 80bpm. With my baseline stats and an eBike to ride, my commuting experiment began. Below are my mid journey health statistics (the weight measurement is taken from the last day of the week that I rode):

  1. Week 0: 8/12
    1. RHR: 80bpm
    2. Weight: 259 lbs
  2. Week 1: 8/13-8/21
    1. Days Commuting: 4
    2. Fun Rides: 0
    3. Miles: 142.3
    4. Avg MPH: 19.5
    5. Avg HR: 138 bpm
    6. RHR: 76 bpm
    7. Weight: 254 lbs
  3. Week 2: 8/22-8/28
    1. Days Commuting: 4
    2. Fun Rides: 1
    3. Miles: 159.2
    4. Avg MPH: 19.6
    5. Avg HR: 139 bpm
    6. RHR: 76 bpm
    7. Weight: 250 lbs
  4. Week 3: 8/29-9/4
    1. Days Commuting: 4
    2. Fun Rides: 0
    3. Miles: 138.3
    4. Avg MPH: 20
    5. Avg HR: 144 bpm
    6. RHR: 76 bpm
    7. Weight: 248 lbs

If I had to give a summary of this information it would be that commuting on an eBike definitely still has health benefits. And if anyone wants to say that an eBike is cheating i would challenge them to look at my heart rate while riding an eBike compared to a traditional bike. I took a look at my average heart rate on a group of six rides that i did on a traditional bike and my average HR came out to 138 bpm. This shows that while riding an eBike (at least a Stromer) I am getting the same level of physical activity as a regular bike only I can go twice as far at a greater constant rate of speed than I am capable on my own.

I am about halfway through my six week journey and so far it has been greatly beneficial to my health, not only physical but mental. As the data shows I have lost 11 pounds in the last 3 weeks and my RHR has seemed to drop 4 bpm. Beside these starting health gains I have also noticed a difference in my own mental state. I have been more joyful the last couple weeks and it’s something I could only attribute to biking a couple hours a few days a week. An eBike is providing me a better commute to work, better physical and mental health, a way to reduce my carbon footprint, and most importantly encouragement that I can achieve my health goals.

I will keep blogging about my commuting experience as well! So if you want to just know more about commuting on an eBike keep an eye out!

Thanks for reading! 

Kyle

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Jobs180 Partnership with Project ReCycle http://goodturncycles.org/2018/07/11/jobs180-partnership-with-project-recycle/ Wed, 11 Jul 2018 15:00:08 +0000 https://goodturncycles.org/?p=956 A key component of our bicycle mechanic apprenticeship at GoodTurn Cycles is our ability to provide practice opportunities. Each apprentice in our program receives multiple chances to practice bike repair skills on various kinds of bikes.

We couldn’t provide this opportunity without our valuable partnership with an organization called Project ReCycle.

A nonprofit based in Douglas County, Colorado, Project ReCycle runs various programs that revolve around providing bicycles to young people who display academic and personal growth. Project ReCycle collects and refurbishes thousands of bicycles each year, then works with schools and organizations — both locally and internationally — to get quality bikes into the hands of students who earn them as a reward for hard work in school.

Below is a picture of a bike give away event set up. 

For the past year, Project ReCycle has provided our apprentices with between five to seven donated bikes per week. Our apprentices then perform repairs and tune up these bikes, and give them back to the folks at Project ReCycle who in turn prepare them for excited students. It’s a great win-win situation.

Here is another photo of kids who have received bikes from them. 

Recently, some of our apprentices had the opportunity to participate in a Project ReCycle bike distribution event. On May 17th, 75 students at Federal Heights Elementary School received bicycles due to their exemplary grades and attendance. Three of our apprentices — James, Elnaz, and Tyler — were on hand to ensure that seats were adjusted to the correct height and happy third graders were riding safely and in style.

If you have a bike you’d like to donate or want to get more involved as a volunteer with a great organization, we highly recommend Project ReCycle. Also, check them out on the Project ReCycle Facebook page.

 

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