So its raining, or youre wiped out from a weekend of long rides, and you just dont have it in you to climb on the bike. Or youre pregnant, injured or just plain lazy. Heres the answer to wasting the three or four hours youd otherwise spend on your bike: cyber cycling.
Thats right, surf the net on two wheels. Through the wonder of the World Wide Web, theres no end to the places you can go for virtual rides, tours, races or virtually anything related to bikes.
A Lycos search for cycling turns up 47,126 related sites. Scrolling those alone could take an entire season. Yahoo, Excite, Infoseek, AOLNetFind and (insert your favorite search engine here) further enhance the list of sites to check out. You might as well deflate those tires and abandon plans to clean your chain. With cyberspace, theres no need to suffer saddlesores ever again.
Heres a sampler of whats out there. You can access fitness plans and workout logs (though theres no longer the need, really, if your future ridings going to be done on-line). You can pick up bike handling tips, steal anti-theft ideas, study state cycling laws, buy bicycle books, bone up on nutrition, map bike routes, plan tours, sign up for camps, peruse a bicyclopedia, tour a bicycle museum, research new technologies and max out your credit card on equipment and products.
The ambitious can get advice on bike repairs and even visit actual and virtual bike shops. One of the latters found at www.uidaho.edu/~baile934/. Disclaimer: As with all such sites you find listed here, I claim no responsibility for what you find on these sites or experience through them; just as with a real ride, do so at your own risk. End disclaimer.
As might be expected, just about every bike club on the face of the earth has a site you can visit, from the biking bimbos of Brazil to the dain-bramaged daredevils dedicated to suicide slalom. Theres also a plethora of fan pages out there for the likes of Jan Ullrich, Rolf Sorensen, Laurent Jalabert, et al. My favorites Paola Pezzos official site with steamy photos that make her infamous VeloNews cleavage cover look like a Disney poster.
Youll find special interest sites dedicated to your favorite cycle: road, mountain, tandem, recumbent, vintage, wacky, menstrualthis isnt a smart search engine. Youll also find sites devoted to their own special interests, such as Georgia Spoke, dedicated to exposing cyclists to the love and grace of Jesus Christ so that they may want to have a personal relationship with him.
There are even places where men cant go. Among the many female zones, Womens Cycling at http://perso.infonie.fr/prelate/rmb-idx.htmsomeone tell these women about the webyoull find gender-specific articles, photos and info.
And if you dont want to find it yourself, there are services to help you find what youre looking for. Cyber Cycling (www.cycling.org) is one of those search engines with headings for e-mail lists, websites, directories, forums, cyber mart, shop, classifieds, job board, happenings and subscriptions.
You dont want to ride solo? Find a message board. In Cyber Cyclings Forum, under the Rant heading, for instance, Trev recently posted a plea for ways to cope with prostate pain and received a variety of suggestions from well-intentioned Abby wannabes advising switching saddles, checking his position, riding a recumbent and trying fatter tires. They, of course, missed the obvious solution: ditch the bike, ride the net.
And what would the web be without its humor offerings? If nothing else, the Internets the worlds leading source of recycled jokes. How about this gem from the wheelman site: You know youre a biker when: You pull up hard on the steering wheel trying to jump your car over a pot hole; you actually move farther from work to log more miles on your bike commute; your legs are tan only to mid-thigh.
Should you fail to get your USRDA of humor from this column, you can visit www.bikesite.com for jokes between issues of Twin Cities Sports.
Two more practical sites:
Adventure Cycling Association (www.parentsoup.com/library/
organizations/jsp024.html): Formerly Bikecentennial (established in 1973 to celebrate the centennial of bicycles), its Americas largest nonprofit recreational bicycling organization. With more than 400,000 members, it offers info and subscriptions.
Minnesota Cycling Federation (www.mcf.net): information about the youth cycling league, member clubs, the NSC velodrome, road racing academy and the local race calendar with results; links to clubs, news and organizations, including USA Cycling (www.usacycling.org).
The Upper Midwest Cycling site (www.winternet.com/~motoman) reports regional news and the U.S. Postal Service (www.nashbar.com/usps) delivers profiles, race schedules and other info about Americas team. The true fan can assemble his/her own team of pro riders in Cycling Fanatics fantasy cycling league (http://188.8.131.52/) and follow them throughout the pro season.
My two personal favorites are Bills Cycle Racing Results and News Service, (www.cyclingnews.com) where the Aussie fans an excellent source for news of pro cycling, and the Lance Armstrong Federation (www.laf.org).
In addition to educational information and coverage of the benefit Ride for the Roses, you can link to lancearmstrong.com or his wife Kristins Corner for a personal glimpse into the miracles of Lances Tour win and son Lukes birth. Youll also learn Kristins working on a childrens book scheduled for fall publication.
You wondered why you havent seen Rocinante and me out on the road lately? Well, lets just say it never rains in cyberspace. n