GSW Tid-Bits

News, notices, and social events, etc.

Some items printed in our newsletter do not fall into a "defined category" yet they are likely to be of interest to our members. Bicycling advocacy is a prime consideration for this section. For other activities including non-bicycling items, please see our Special Events page. Comments welcome!

Scroll down for articles on Rail Trails, Tandem Bicycles and E-Bikes

Click a link below to go directly to the article you are interested in.

Meetup | Strava |Training_Article_by_Thom_Cormier |
|Cycling_Fitness_Article_by_Lily_Hall | Rail_Trail_Etiquette |
|Linda_Gould's_Lake_Tier_Ride |Early_GSW_Photos |
|Yoga_Tips_by_Laurie_Daley | Cycling_Vocabulary |

Rail Trails Picking Up Steam

Have you noticed all the development of NH rail trails in recent years – and the number of bicyclists, walkers, runners, roller-bladers, and skateboarders using them? Users of all ages from 5 to 95 are seen out there on the non-motorized rail trails. Just getting away from drunk, drugged, distracted, and deliberately-aggressive motorists can be a prime reason in popularity while health, exercise, lack of noise, fumes, and dust pollution are more reasons. Of course, rail trails are not for everyone! They don’t “go everywhere” like public roads as needed for commuting and active transportation, plus some recreational cyclists find them boring – too straight, often “in the woods”, grades not over 4%, and the surface might not be paved. That said, there is a definite up-tick in the sales of hybrid and gravel bikes as more and more people are exploring rail trails and dirt roads. On the flip side, road bike imports and sales have fallen between 7-14% in the past two years based on industry reports. Those of us riding road bikes seem to be dwindling in numbers due to perceived dangers, age, families, health, or general interest. For whatever the reasons, our GSW headcount is declining with loss of about 200 in the past five years now having about 400 active memberships as we enter 2018. Any idea of ways to turn around this trend?

Note that about ten years ago the GSW offered a handful of Off-Road rides that were basically on dirt roads, fire trails, and maybe unimproved rail trails. True Off-Road rides on single-track trails and challenging terrain were, and still are, conducted by multiple chapters of the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA). NEMBA members also do a great job maintaining their trails, building bridges, etc. -- they don’t just “ride in the woods.” For quite a few recent years, the GSW mileage tracking as maintained by Hetty Andrews has not recorded any Off-Road club rides. Starting in early 2017, that unused tracking category was changed to Rail Trail Mileage. Several club rides were scheduled on rail trails in Salem and Concord with low participation – but still more than seen for Off-Road rides. One notion is to promote more rail trail rides around the state in 2018 then see what happens. We might attract a new audience, get some of our “scared roadies” back on a bike, and likewise boost membership. In addition, rail trail groups and NHDOT like to see their investments being used so numbers count.

In August 2017, the Rockingham and Southern NH Planning Commissions worked together and with the Salem and Windham rail trail groups to take user counts on the paved trail over a two-week period. Starting at the Salem/Windham town line, bike-ped traffic heading north to Windham Depot and downtown Derry was much higher for the 7.5 miles having destinations versus the first 1.1-mile Salem section not having a popular destination until Phase-2 is completed in 2018. Even so, the user counts were quite impressive and serve as a baseline measurement for future counts as the trail development continues south toward Methuen MA and more people learn about the trail. Windham averaged about 4,300 users per week, 57% bicyclists. Salem averaged about 3,480 users per week, 75% bikes. Casual personal interviews with trail users indicated that many people heard about the paved 8.6-mile Salem-Windham-Derry via rail trail communication channels and drove a considerable distance just to bike or walk it. Home towns of Brunswick and Portland ME, Boston, Sharon, Worcester, and Plymouth MA, Portsmouth, Concord, Andover and Keene NH plus White River Junction VT were mentioned.

The above interest proves that “if you build it, they will come” and it spurs interest in the Granite State Rail Trail, a 120-mile corridor running from the Methuen MA border through Salem to Lebanon NH and into VT. Major segments totaling about 60% are complete today. A new non-profit corporation is being formed to “bridge the gaps” with signed and mapped on-road detours for this NH “backbone trail” that currently connects to others and a lot more planned. The NH Department of Travel and Tourism has expressed interest in this “GSRT” with some publicity expected in the spring and summer of 2018. The State of New Hampshire has done a great job promoting the OHRV/ATV opportunities which are a source of money from registrations. However, about ten times more people recreate outdoors without motors. The NH Rail Trail Coalition is working hard at multiple levels to bring a balance of State support and attention to the non-motorized community. For more information, visit the New Hampshire Rail Trails Facebook page. Note: The NHRTC is an affiliate of the Bike-Walk Alliance of NH to minimize overhead yet have benefits of being a 501c3 non-profit. Yes, your donations are welcome and are tax deductible!

Submitted by Dave Topham
GSW Office Manager and NHRTC Treasurer

Why do Tandems go Faster Downhill than Single Bikes?

If you answered “gravity” you are only partly correct. Galileo showed in the 1600's that, in the absence of air resistance, two objects of different mass, when simultaneously dropped from the same height, will land at the same time. Did Galileo not ever experience a tandem rolling down hill???

At the risk of readers ignoring this article and going directly to their club mileage, I am going to introduce a little physics. First, the difference between mass and weight. In the imperial system pounds are used for both mass and weight—very confusing. Mass is the amount of matter present. Let’s say you have the mass of 50 kilograms (kg) (at one time I am sure this was your mass). Earth’s gravity will tug at you with a force of about 500 Newtons (N). If you were taken up into deep outer space your mass would still be 50 kg, but your weight or force due to gravity would be 0 N. You would be weightless, but with unchanging mass.

Newton ’s second law says that if you divide your force, (weight), by your mass you get your rate of acceleration.

If you compare your acceleration due to gravity versus someone with twice your mass, the person with twice your mass would be acted upon by a force of gravity twice the size of yours. But the ratio of your Force to Mass and their Force to Mass would be identical. For us folks here at sea level on Earth this acceleration would be 32 ft/s2 or 10 m/s2. This means that in every second of free fall your speed will increase by 10 m/s.

At least this is the result with no air resistance. But bicyclists deal with air resistance whenever they are moving! We ride in pace lines in order to reduce the effect of air resistance on us. A pair of riders on a Tandem would have about the same amount of air resistance as a single rider.

Now for an analogy. Let’s say that there was some “financial satisfaction” statistic that was the result of the ratio of your income to wealth. And lets also say that you have the same satisfaction ratio as Bill Gates, your ratio of income to wealth is the same, even though he has a lot more of each. Now let’s further assume that both you and Bill get a $5000 tax on your income. I bet you would notice a tax this size and your satisfaction ratio would take a hit. Bill's ratio would change so little he probably wouldn't notice.

Here is how the financial analogy applies to bikes going down hill. For the force acting on bikes it is the net force that counts; that is, the force of gravity minus the force of air resistance. Since air resistance is about the same for a tandem bike vs a single bike, the net force on the single bike takes a bigger hit than on the tandem. Tandem = Bill Gates. The accelerations, the ratios of net force to mass, on the two types of bikes are no longer equal. The acceleration on the single bike is now less noticeable than the acceleration on the tandem.

The tandem's acceleration is greater and it gets to the bottom of the hill before the single bike!!

Thus the best answer as to why a tandem beats a single bike down a hill is: “Air Resistance”.

Author's note: The steepness of the incline is assumed to be equal for single bike and tandem. As a sign of caring for my readers, I did not go off on a tangent and include this calculation.

Jay Godfrey, GSW member

Is an E-Bike in Your Future?

Yes, e-bikes are here to stay and are becoming more popular in this country every year. There is a lot of controversy about them within bike clubs, trail users, legal circles, transportation agencies, and even insurance companies. However, a general goal of “People for Bikes” and many other organizations is to get more people on more bikes more often. If e-bikes are part of the solution, so be it. They can be a great “equalizer” and allow a user to go further and optionally faster than on a conventional bicycle. That said here is a quick summary of the specs and general / sample laws concerning e-bikes.

Class Type Definitions

"Electric bicycle" shall mean a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor not exceeding 750 watts.

Class 1: Requires pedaling, 750 watt (1 HP) max power, electric assist stops at 20 MPH.

Class 2: Does not require pedaling, 20 MPH top speed under electric power alone.

Class 3: Requires pedaling, 750 watt (1 HP) max, electric assist stops at 28 MPH.

The Class 3 e-bikes are also called ‘Speed Pedelecs’ (usually in Europe) which technically meet the bicycle definition for a 20 MPH e-bike. These e-bikes are designed to max out at 28 MPH. “Pedelecs” are pedal activated, not throttle activated like Class 2. However, the “weasel words” within the definition say, “20 MPH on motor alone”. Thus, a person who adds their leg power to the motor assist and happens to cruise at 28 MPH is NOT doing it by motor alone, and therefore the bike is considered to be compliant with the Federal Law – but maybe not state or local regulations.

General restrictions by Class Type

Rights and duties of electric bicycles: Except as otherwise provided an electric bicycle or an operator of an electric bicycle shall be afforded all the rights and privileges, and be subject to all of the duties, of a bicycle or the operator of a bicycle.

Path use by Class 1 and 2 electric bicycles: A Class 1 or 2 electric bicycle may be used in all places where bicycles are permitted to travel, including, but not limited to bicycle and multi-use paths and trails [use appropriate state specific language to describe paved bike infrastructure; omit trails where they can be interpreted as trails open to mountain bikers]. However, the municipality, local authority or governing body of a public agency having jurisdiction over a path or trail may prohibit, by ordinance, the operation of Class 1 or 2 electric bicycles on that bicycle path or trail.

Path use by Class 3 electric bicycles: A Class 3 electric bicycle shall not be operated on a bicycle or multi-use path or trail [use appropriate state specific language to describe paved bike infrastructure; omit trails where they can be interpreted as trails open to mountain bikers] unless it is within or adjacent to a highway or roadway, or unless the municipality, local authority or governing body of a public agency having jurisdiction over the path or trail permits, by ordinance, that operation.

For more info and references used:

If you are not confused by now, maybe you should be! There is a lot of “gray area” in the use of the three classes of e-bikes. Here in NH they are not marked as Class 1, 2 or 3 and from a distance they all look very similar. While the Class 3 e-bikes with a 28 MPH pedal-assisted top speed might not be “legal” in some areas, who is looking and enforcing any restrictions? The Class 1 e-bikes draw the least controversy. Our NH e-bike law states e-bike riders under 16 are required to wear helmets, minimum rider age is 14, max speed of 20 MPH, and no license or registration required.

There have been some concerns about the extra e-bike weight and maybe having to pedal it home if the battery is totally discharged when on a long ride. Advice: Charge the battery before starting your ride and know the specs – usually 20+ miles can be expected on a charge. Speed, terrain, and wind can make a big difference on your “assisted” mileage. One estimate is 20 watts from the battery for an “average” low-power mile. The extra weight also prompts questions about braking capabilities, even with hydraulic disk brakes. Reportedly a 170-pound rider on a mid-motor e-bike will find the balance and handling quite similar to a conventional bicycle. Some local dealers including Electric Bikes of New England in Londonderry and S&W Sports in Concord allow short demo rides for a “hands-on” experience. Better yet, rent one for a day to get a better feel if an e-bike is for you. With prices ranging from $2,000 to $8,000, there are many choices between the 106 brands now being sold in this country.

Controversy between e-Bikes and conventional bikes will persist for some time but there is little doubt that e-bikes are here to stay and are becoming more popular every year. Advances in battery and motor technology combined with lower prices, better rider controls, and more acceptance by trail managers, law enforcement agencies, and even by the bicycling community will result in more e-bikes on our roads, trails, and rail trails.

The NH Rail Trails Coalition is working hard at multiple levels to bring a balance of State support and attention to the non-motorized community. For more information, visit the New Hampshire Rail Trails Coalition Facebook page. Note: The NHRTC is an affiliate of the Bike-Walk Alliance of NH to minimize overhead yet have benefits of being a 501c3 non-profit. Yes, your donations are welcome and are tax deductible!

Submitted by:
Dave Topham
GSW Office Manager
NHRTC Treasurer

Update on e-bikes used on GSW rides
September 2018

While not many GSW members currently use e-bikes on GSW rides, they are showing up more frequently and some questions have been raised. Are they “an unfair advantage” over using a conventional bike? Since we are not conducting races, so does anyone care? If someone is riding a 20 pound carbon fiber bike, are they taking “an unfair advantage” over someone on a 35 pound touring bike? If we get more people on bikes more often to enjoy the sport, get some fresh air and exercise, does it make a difference if they have a little “pedal assist” from a small electric motor? These are just some of the questions we have heard recently as e-bikes become more and more popular, especially with older members and folks with disabilities.

That said, the current NH laws are contradictory and plans are underway by the Bike-Walk Alliance of NH to have them updated in the 2018-2019 legislative session. One law on the books (RSA 259-6) written in 1982, long before e-bikes existed, states a bicycle must be exclusively human powered. Meanwhile, RSA 259-65 written in 2010 states an electric bike with less than a 750 watt (1 HP) motor, has functional pedals, and has a maximum pedal-assist speed of 20 MPH is considered a bicycle. This means current Class 1 and 2 e-bikes, maybe Class 3 based on Federal language, are all “bicycles” and should be allowed wherever bikes are allowed. Some places like the Town of Goffstown are said to enforce the “No Motor Vehicle” law on their rail trail with fines up to $1,000.00 – any motor is said to be in violation of their 2005 ordinance. We feel it is past time for laws to be consistent and catch up with technology that people are using today.

The “high-end e-bikes” called e-mountain bikes (e-MTBs) are a totally different story. The manufacturers and dealers rate them as Off-Highway Recreational Vehicles (OHRVs) like the OHRV side-by-sides, ATVs, and motorcycle dirt bikes. These e-MTBs are not allowed on the road, rail trails, and many mountain bike trails as their motors can be 1,000 watts (or more) with speeds over 40 MPH and “knobby tires” that can do a lot of damage to trail surfaces. If used on true OHRV trails like the “Ride the Wilds” network in northern NH or private property with permission, they fit right into the mix of OHRV and ATV users. However, with no registration, license requirement, and not using any gas, the State is not making any money from them to help maintain the OHRV trail network. Some bike shops refuse to sell e-MTBs as there are so few “legal” places to use them.

Bottom line, there are many factors to be considered about e-bike identification, sales, education, use, regulations, and enforcement. We feel this complex subject will require many hours of discussion with many organizations and state agencies to draft meaningful legislation – but we will try! Stay tuned for the next update to learn what progress is being made.

Dave Topham BWANH / GSW Board member 603.898.9926

“Meetup” Now used to help GSW ride scheduling

In an effort to make our GSW ride scheduling easier, faster, more convenient for members, and to attract new members, the club has started using an on-line “electronic rides calendar” called “Meetup”. This service runs on any modern PC, Mac, or Smartphone.

Rides can be scheduled and conducted by GSW members at any time, maybe just hours before a ride starts. The ride leader will know who is planning to attend and be able to post last-minute notices if desired. Public messaging between group members is an option. Everyone who enjoys “modern gadgets” along with social media will likely appreciate using this system.

All GSW rides will not be posted on “Meetup” but club mileage credit will be allowed for members in good standing. The complete ride schedule available in our bi-monthly printed or electronic newsletter will inform paid GSW members of ll routine rides and events while the “ad-hoc rides” will only be known by those using the GSW Meetup Group. Last-minute ride delays because of weather can also be posted via Meetup.

There is no cost to access the GSW Meetup Group. Rides are posted by the GSW Rides Coordinator or the Meetup Group leaders.

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How to Access Meetup Ride Notices

Go To:
The GSW Home page displays a button that says “JOIN US” under the red banner. After the sign-up process and log-in, always go to the activity page where the rides and messages are listed as long as you are logged in.

Several guidelines may answer some common questions.

- All rides must be conducted by a GSW member in good standing. At least two people including the ride leader are needed to comprise a club ride.

- Rides should be posted at least 24 hours before the starting time to ensure GSW Meetup members have a chance to be informed about the ride.

- Registering for GSW Meetup Group access is not a GSW membership. The annual fee is $15.00 for emailed newsletters and $25.00 for paper. A membership application and a payment via credit card option are available on the Membership Page

- All riders, both GSW members and guests, are to sign a GSW ride sheet to cover liability, personal accident insurance, and club mileage tracking. Guest rider insurance coverage applies only to their first ride.

- Paper ride sign-in sheets are available from the Rides Coordinator and the GSW Office while the on-line PDF version may be downloaded from the Ride Info Page or the GSW Meetup home page “More” tab then “Files”.

- After each ride, the mileage for each person is to be recorded on the sign-in sheet. The ride leader will then mail or scan/email (PDF or JPG file format) the sheet to the GSW Mileage Coordinator, Hetty Andrews, at All sheets will be retained by Hetty for at least one year. Mileage logged by current GSW members will be entered into the tracking system by Hetty.

This new GSW Meetup service has already proven to be a useful tool for the club. Many thanks go to David Ross and Gordon Rhodes who did the initial set-up work and they are the primary Meetup organizers to post GSW rides and events.

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What is Strava?

Strava (it means “Strive” in Swedish) lets cyclists experience social fitness, sharing with others their routes and riding info. What’s unique about Strava is its social features. Users can follow other members, give them “kudos” for their rides and exchange comments. Think of it as virtually riding with hundreds of other riders, even if they rode your route in April at 7am and you rode it in June at 6pm.

Strava has a great explore tool where you can do an activity search finding new routes, via distance, elevations, etc. All you need to get started is a GPS enabled device or smartphone, Strava has a free phone app for both Android and iPhone. At it’s core, Strava logs your rides that are recorded via GPS saves and translate your route into a friendly map as an entry for that day. Then you can explore all sorts of data about your ride; total miles, feet climbed, calories burned, heart rate if you have a heart monitor, etc.

Find Cycling Partners

Finding someone to ride with can be challenging. Whether you’re new to an area or having trouble just finding someone that rides at your level, it can be difficult to find the right person. Strava brings cycling enthusiasts with similar skills, availability and geographic proximity together. You can easily search other riders in your area and see their average distance, speed, etc. and then connect with them or even join in on one of the many club rides. Even if you don’t know each other well when you begin riding, you’re sure to create connections and enjoy great conversations when you share a passion for cycling.

Granite State Wheelmen has a separate group/club page on Strava, so you can connect easier with other local active riders. Anyone can join the group and also stay informed with the latest GSW announcements as well. Just go to:

Also the Seacoast Century, September 26-27, 2015 is posted as an upcoming event in this group as well, so if you are trying to connect with other riders with a similar ability level that plan on riding the Seacoast Century, this is a great place to connect with them. Best of all, Strava is free. Sign up and experience social fitness for yourself.

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Training Article
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail - Periodization and Planning
by Thom Cormier NSCA-CPT
USACycling Level 1 Coach

Whenever you get a group of cyclists together whether they are racers or serious recreational riders the conversation invariably turns to training. During these discussions you’ll often hear terms that are related to something known as Periodization.

So what is Periodization? This is probably the best and simplest definition it’s from Dr. Tudor Bompa who is regarded as the father of the theory of Periodization (he has written many books on the subject and if you’re really interested in the subject they are a great resource). Periodization: is the systematic planning of athletic or physical training . It involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period. It is a way of alternating training to its peak during season. The aim of periodization is to introduce new movements as one progresses through the macrocycle to specify one's training right up until the start of the season. Periodization is basically a way to break down your training into smaller more manageable parts. Periodization is all about maximizing your training. By varying the timing and intensity of your workouts, to get the greatest gains in strength, speed, power, and endurance.


Microcycle – Shortest period of training – usually one week but can vary from 4 to 10 days
Mesocycle – A group of Microcycles – usually one month but can vary from 2 to 4 weeks
Macrocycle – A small group of Mesocycles – usually three months but can vary considerably

Terminology/ Friel

Transition: Recovery period from previous training year.1-6weeks
Preparation: Preparing the body to train.3-4weeks
Base/Foundation: Establish speed strength, basic endurance and preparing for the harder work to come. 8-12 weeks(longer is better for newer athletes)
Build : Increasing intensity, improving weaknesses 6-10 weeks
Peak: Tapering and consolidation of race (event) fitness
Race: Maintenance of race strengths.

Champions Don’t Train Aimlessly, They Train Smart

Training is based on individual condition, goals and time.
Each training load triggers biological signals.
Organized load of physical and physiological stressors.
Improve weaknesses.
It’s not an exact science

Why Should I use Periodization?

Periodization allows the Athlete/Coach to plan in rest periods and periods of peak performance.
It can add variety while breaking plateaus and helping to prevent injury by overtraining.
Eliminates guess work as you know what you’re going to do prior to starting a workout session.
Better use of training time.

You have to ask yourself what type of cyclist do I want to be?

Do you want to “do well” all season long or do you want to be “unbeatable and super fit” for shorter periods of time, peaking for your key events?

Where to begin?

Set SMART Goals

S pecific
M easurable
A chievable
R ealistic
T ime-phased

Pick an event(s)!

What are the demands of the event?
While cycling in general relies mostly on Aerobic metabolism
Different types of events will rely on help from the other Energy systems for fuel.
They do not switch on & off.
All 3 are active. 1 is dominate under different conditions

Energy Systems

Creatine Phosphate- ATP-PC Fastest acting, short duration, high intensity, limited stores-anaerobic. All out sprint
Lactic Acid/Anaerobic Glycolysis-Metabolizes glucose, carbohydrates from muscle glycogen, high intensity.
Aerobic – Slow, oxygen used in the final step of reaction from metabolization of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

All can be enhanced by specific training. Specificity is the key

Once you pick your event(s)

Work Backwards.10-16 Weeks prior to your event should give you enough time to build your plan. Less time is required for more experienced athletes, and if you’re planning a second peak period/event. But you must remember to plan significant rest time.
That way you can plan for Rest and Testing Along the way.
If Possible Plan a Test Event around 4-6Weeks Prior to you Goal Events.
Make it Similar to your Goal Event(s).
That way you have time to modify your training

Putting it All Together

The type of event you pick and the type of Athlete you are combined with your strengths and weaknesses will have an impact on how you organize your training plan.

What Type of Athlete are You?

Sprinter – more sprint training, less focus on climbing at or above threshold.
Time -Trialist – heavy threshold training, little sprint training
Break away rider – heavy threshold training with some sprint interspersed.
Climber – heavy threshold training with hill repeats, little sprint training.

Things to Think about

As you plan for competitions, you should plan to avoid their strain, staleness, and the undesirable state of overtraining. There are certain methods to accomplish that, such as:

Never plan a challenging workout immediately following a stressful competition! Give yourself time to remove the fatigue, relax mentally, rest and recover before you train hard again.

Throughout a week of training constantly alternate high with medium and low intensity workouts. This is a build-in strategy to avoid critical levels of fatigue.

After each competitive phase, make sure you have at least two weeks of transition, so that you can replenish the energy stores, remove fatigue, relax mentally, and regenerate from

The step loading method; the progression of increasing the intensity and volume of training per week.

Use the step loading method, as the best progression training adaptation: one week of low intensity, followed by a medium, and then by a high intensity week. Every time you’ll start again with low intensity week, this will be an opportunity for you to replenish energy stores, recover and regenerate physically and mentally before they’ll be exposed to more difficult weeks.

Short-duration preparatory phases

Influenced by professional sports, some coaches/athletes attempt to imitate heir heavy competitive schedule, and as such accept the notion; the more event, the better my athletes will improve. In reality the opposite is true: the more you compete the less time you have for training. As demonstrate d by sports science, well designed training programs and not high number of competitions led to higher adaptation, and as a result, to higher performance improvement.

To play/compete more means in reality to have a longer competitive phase, a situation which is possible only by reducing the duration of the preparatory phase, with all its negative repercussions: less time to acquire / perfect skills, reduced time to improve general conditioning (such as during the general preparatory phase), and shorter time to work on improving the sport-specific speed, power and endurance. Reduced time to train but increased time to compete means in reality to train and over train just the same exercises, same specific parts of the body, joints and muscles, and as a result, increase the incidents of injuries. On a long-term basis, shorter duration preparatory phases will reduce training time, lower the rate of adaptation, and ultimately result in a stagnation of performance improvement.  

 If you have questions or would like to suggest a subject please contact me at

Thom Cormier NSCA-CPT
USACycling Level 1 Coach

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Health Benefits of Gaining and Maintaining Cycling Fitness
submitted by Lily Hall

It is widely acknowledged that cycling is one of the best ways for people to achieve good health and fitness. According to numerous scientific studies and research papers (notably a New England Journal of Medicine paper by Paffenbarger, Hyde, Wing and Hsieh, 1986) people who cycle regularly live longer and healthier lives than people who don't. Of course, it needs to be considered that people who cycle are generally likely to be more active and health conscious in other ares of their lives, but the health benefits of cycling are rarely in doubt.

Cycling regularly has been proven to be an effective way of improving health, even for those who are active in other sports and physical activities. Even cycling to work can have dramatic health benefits, with some active cyclists typically having fitness levels equivalent to being ten years younger. Regular cycling has been shown to help people maintain or lose weight, reduce high blood pressure, reduce the risk of diabetes, reduce arthritis pain even reduce the risk of stress and anxiety.

The exercise cycle

Starting cycling from scratch will have rapid and dramatic effects on your fitness levels, especially if you're starting from a position of doing little or no other exercise. Although, you have to remember that when starting a new exercise, the muscles first undergo a phase of when they become weaker or atrophy. This is normal and the result of putting strain on muscles that have otherwise not been used to any great extent. This is called the exhaustion stage.

After a couple of weeks of repeated performance the muscles repair and return to baseline strength, known as the recovery stage. With continued performance the muscles will quickly begin to become stronger or hypertrophy, during a process called positive adaptation. With repeated performance of frequency and intensity, the muscles may then reach a plateau stage and for many cyclists looking to improve upon fitness levels this is where the problems arise.

Pushing through

Cyclists who reach a plateau after six to eight weeks of repeated exercise can often feel frustrated by the lack of perceived improvement. You may maintain this level of fitness without making any great strides or muscle strength can even begin to trail off and return to the baseline rate. Stagnation or a perceived lack of improvement can often result in people quitting the sport or not pushing on to the next level. It's here when you have to try and vary the activity, in terms of both frequency and intensity as well as applying other means to improve performance.

This could include a more thorough stretching routine which has been shown to enhance performance. It can also involve utilizing opposing muscle groups, increasing exercise volume and working both 'local' and 'global' energy stores. It should also include a more diverse exercise regime, including lifting free weights, other cardiovascular exercise and anaerobic strength conditioning. It may also include looking at nutrition and diet and taking a more holistic approach to your cycling fitness levels. For more information, it might be a good idea to join a cycling club, which is a great place to share training tips and it helps to maintain motivation.

It's a question of balance

Finding the right balance in your cycling program can be difficult, with the frustrations of the plateau effect being common amongst new cyclists. The euphoria of the positive adaptation stage - which comes with enhanced endorphin flow, a sense of achievement and overall sense of well being - can quickly dissipate and it takes effort to push on through and experience the further benefits. You also need to be aware of the existence of exercise addiction, a problem that can affect athletes and cyclists eager to recapture the initial buzz of the positive adaptation stage. For those seeking the rewards of exercise and increased fitness levels, it is easy to suffer from addiction or addictive traits. Therefore being aware of the signs and symptoms of exercise addiction and is very important.

However, for the most part, getting fit through cycling is an enjoyable and exhilarating experience. For the initial period of improved fitness it is very exciting and will leave you felling great. Even for those that do reach the plateau stage, making changes to your regime and pushing on through can be immensely rewarding. Although we should also point out that consistent exercise by cycling, even if it's just riding to work or enjoying a weekly ride has immense benefits for health. The most important thing is to get out there and active on two wheels. 

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Rail Trail Etiquette

With more and more people using the rail trails in New Hampshire thanks to on-going development and a lot of hard work by volunteers, we hear of incidents which make biking or walking on the trails less than the best experience. Sometimes guidelines are posted at trailheads, parking lots, etc. but they are commonly not seen or ignored if they are seen and read – unfortunately. The following list has been compiled from various on-line sources and might provide some guidance for the next time you are using a rail trail – or at least you could tell someone else about established guidelines. Just like on-road cycling, a little common sense and courtesy goes a long way!

All users of trails

Show courtesy to other trail users at all times.

Use the right side of the trail except when otherwise designated.

Always pass on the left. When overtaking someone, let them know you are approaching and will be passing on their left. You may hear a biker call out, "On your Left!" as he comes up from behind. That means you should stay to your right.

Respect the rights of property owners.

Stay on the trail. Do not cut switchbacks or take shortcuts.

Whenever you stop for a view, a rest, or to yield, move off the trail so it is clear for others.

Keep dogs on leash (maximum length 8 feet) and remove pet feces from trail.

Greet people you meet. This makes sure they know you are there and is polite.
A simple "Howdy" or "Nice Day" is fine.

When in a group, travel single file or take no more than half of a wide trail. Make sure everyone in your group understands what actions to take when encountering walkers, bikers, and horses.

Horses always have the right of way. If you encounter a horseback rider, get off the trail on the downhill side. Horses will tend to bolt uphill when spooked. Also, to the horse you waiting on the uphill side makes you look more like a predator waiting to pounce. Quietly greet the rider and ask if you are ok where you are. Stand quietly while the horse passes.

If you approach a horse from behind it’s critical that you announce yourself loudly but calmly so you do not scare the animal. Let the rider know you’d like to pass at the next safe location. Do NOT approach quickly -- it’s dangerous for you and the rider.

Use the trails quietly. Shouting may be fun for kids, but keep conversations low and enjoy the lack of horns, engines, and city noises. There is such a thing as noise pollution – and cell phones are included.

Carry-in, carry-out – do not litter. It just does not make sense that someone spending time to get out into nature would purposely destroy it.

Take a picture. A pretty rock or a bunch of flowers deserve to remain where they are. We have a need for mementos of our adventures, but picture in your mind what the place would look like if the group before you had taken what you are about to put in your pocket.

Report vandalism. If there is contact information at the trailhead, tell the managing agency of any destruction or management needs you notice.

You will run into some people that feel they have a right to do whatever they want outdoors. You may see wide, detours around muddy spots with footprints, hoof prints, and tire tracks all adding to the damage. You'll see washed out gullies created by mountain bikers having fun tearing up the turf. You'll have a biker fly past you with no warning.
These are the people that make a negative impression. Keep your eyes open for them for your own safety, but also recognize the many others that are courteous and polite. And, make sure people put you into the courteous and polite category after they've met you on the trail.


You are responsible for the safe operation of your vehicle.

Yield to pedestrians and horses

Give audible warning when passing pedestrians or other bicyclists on their left.

Ride at a safe speed. Slow down and form a single file in congested conditions, reduced visibility, and other hazardous conditions.


Stay to the right side of the trail except when otherwise designated.

Watch for other trail users.

Be especially alert when running.

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Congratulations to Dave Topham!

June 1st, Dave Topham received the NH Governor's Council on Physical Activity and Health's Outstanding Achievement Award!  Most of you know Dave as one of the founders of Granite State Wheelmen and Bike-Walk Alliance of NH.  As Scot Foster, Community Strategies Coordinator, NH Department of Health and Human Services said in his introduction of  Dave, "he is everything cycling, but he's also a great person and a true professdional."  Dave has been on virtually every committee related to walking and biking in New Hampshire. Among many other accomplishments, Dave was instrumental in getting the "3-foot law" passed that requires motorists to keep a safe distance from cyclists.  You would be hard-pressed to find a bicycle and/or a pedestrian advocacy-related activity that Dave Topham did not have a hand in or in some way helped make successful.
The NH Governor's Council on Physical Activity & Health was formed in 1991 by Executive Order of Governor Judd Gregg and has been continued by those holding the Governor's office since then.

                              Keep on pedaling Dave!

2012 - Lake Tier Ride

Linda Gould

Another heart warming and heart improving solo self-contained ride by your BWA-NH Executive Director during this past hot July. Last year my ride on my Trek 520 on the Adventure Cycling Southern Tier was so rewarding that I decided to ride the Great Lakes/Northern tier route from Buffalo, NY/ Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The 900 miles offered gentle hills and moderate headwinds. On the northern shore of Lake Erie, I saw agricultural farms, wind farms, fishing harbors and views of Lake Erie. After ferrying across the St. Clair River from Ontario to Michigan, pedaling across the state and visiting with two friends, I took the 4 hour ferry across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin- renown for it dairy products. The route in Wisconsin went through countryside of abundant lakes with flora similar to that in northern New Hampshire. There were several beautiful, well-built bike paths that would make us envious here in New Hampshire.

Shortly after I arrived in Minnesota I was pedaling on a bike trail that leads into the heart of bike friendly Minneapolis - how easy!

On these trips I definitely believe that my guardian angel is helping me. Whenever there was a lightening storm or I needed some kind of help, something good would happen. When lightning struck the TV tower of the house in which I was waiting out a storm, the electricity traveled from the tower to the house and blew off the door jam. Fire trucks rushed to the scene and all the firemen dashed out to check the premises; but I was safe and sound sitting in a lovely kitchen overlooking Lake Erie, drinking coffee, and enjoying a hamburger for lunch!

These are the types of simple adventures a person has while touring (and I had no flats- again). Since having no time constraints gives a bicycle tourist more opportunity for these experiences, I highly recommend planning a generous allotment of time for the distance of the trip.

I used the Adventure Cycling maps to lead me on my merry, carefree way. May you have the opportunity to plan and experience a self-contained tour. The rewards are many and you may discover, as I did, that the people you meet are what makes a trip so memorable.

Linda Gould
BWA-NH Director at Large

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Link to Early GSW photos by Linda and Bob Harvey

Do you recognize any of the people or places in these early photos?
Please let me know so I can add to the captions. (web publisher)

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GSW mileage and commuter mileage tracking ends September 30 of the current year
October 1 starts the mileage tracking season of the following year.

What is Commuter Mileage?

Commuter mileage includes using your bicycle, rather than a motor vehicle, for transportation on any errand or to reach any destination such as work, school, shopping, to pay a bill, or to reach a GSW ride site, etc. The GSW encourages commuting and recognizes high mileage commuters at the Annual Fall Banquet.

Note: Mileage may be submitted by mail or email and must be received by the first of every even-numbered month to appear in the next issue of Pedal Talk.

Road and Tandem Mileage are now recorded separately If a “T” is added along with your signature and printed name, you will get Tandem Mileage.

If you would rather have Road Mileage, just leave off the “T”.
Send commuter mileage to:

Hetty Andrews
44 Deerhaven Dr.
Nashua , NH 03064

Can I do Yoga? - Yoga Is For Every Body!
You don’t have to be a pretzel to try Yoga

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a combination of physical postures, breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation. Yoga has been practiced for over 4000 years and it can be done standing, sitting or even lying down. The word Yoga comes from the ancient Sanskrit word meaning “yoke” or “union”. The practice of yoga helps quiet the mind and increase self awareness. When the mind and body work together as one, your breathing slows down, excess stress and tensions are relieved and balance, coordination and overall health improves. Your quality of life is enhanced when you feel more at ease.

Why do Yoga?

There are many rewards that come with a regular practice of yoga. Even if you are unable to get up from a chair, you can still enjoy the health benefits that come from yoga. The aging body is caused by stress, poor diet and ingestion of toxins. Stress motivates us into action, but if it is not released, stress chemicals (adrenaline, and cortisol) stay in the body obstructing digestive and immune systems. Over time the body is depleted of energy and that can cause disease.

Yoga helps to release the stress chemicals that age us by increasing oxygen intake, which cleanses the systems creating more energy to move the body. When the body moves into and out of stretches and postures, joints stay lubricated, muscles get longer and stronger, and balance and concentration are a result. Working within your own limitations in a non-competitive environment allows you to focus on and listen to the hints your body may be giving you. A regular practice compliments any workout, recreational or competitive sport and even the couch potato can benefit. There are a multitude of benefits produced by yoga and below you will find just a few. Try it for yourself and see.

For your Body: Physical postures and gentle stretches:

Strengthen and tone muscles and bones to reduce the risk of injury

Lengthen muscles and lubricate joints to increase flexibility

Improve balance and posture with spinal alignment and body awareness

Tone and massage internal organs aiding digestion and healthy weight loss

Cleanse the blood stream and increase energy levels by removing toxins and decreasing blood pressure

For your Mind: Breathing techniques:

Increase oxygen intake to improve circulation and enhance the immune system

Increase lung strength and capacity

Calm the mind and improve attention and concentration

Balance emotions and relax the body in stressful situations

For your Spirit: Meditation and Relaxation:

Improves attitude, mood and emotions

Encourages self acceptance and self confidence

Creates mindfulness to be fully present and aware

Promotes a positive, healthy outlook on life

Life gains new meaning by improving all senses

How do I find an instructor?

It is important to work with a teacher who is certified in their particular style of yoga to be sure you get the safest, most accurate information. Certification typically consists of 200 to 500 hours of training and includes basic anatomy and physiology. There are many different styles of yoga. The focus of each style may vary, but most incorporate breathing (pranayama) and posture (asana) or flow (vinyasa).

How do I start?

Start out with a beginner class even if you are a professional athlete. There is a difference between strength and flexibility, so start slow and always proceed at your own pace. Refrain from comparing yourself to the instructor or others in the class. Be non-judgmental when you find yourself challenged by a stretch or posture. Instead of thinking, “I can’t do this,” be compassionate and aware of what you can do: “I can do this !” By practicing yoga regularly you will notice a gradual improvement.

How do I know which yoga class is appropriate for me?

Yoga classes that tend to be easier, or more focused on relaxation, may be described using these words: gentle, restorative, easy, beginner.

Yoga classes that are vigorous or challenging may be described using these words: hot, power, vinyasa (flow), Ashtanga, Bikram, Kundalini, Forrest.

Depending upon how the teacher directs it, a yoga class could include a combination of beginner and advanced stretches and may be identified by these names:

Kripalu, Iyengar, Viniyoga, Anusara.

Before starting any exercise program, please check with your doctor if you have any major health issues or concerns. For more information, please feel free to call (603) 801-8624, or email your questions to: .

If your sport or job creates imbalances and / or chronic tight muscles in your body;

I can help you. Call for more information.

Laurie A. Daley is a Certified teacher in the Kripalu Yoga and LV Chair Yoga tradition. Laurie has studied with many yoga masters in North America including Yoganand Michael Carroll, Todd Norian, Ann Green, Lakshmi Voelker and many others. Laurie has been practicing and studying yoga for more than 18 years. Laurie has been teaching yoga full time since 2005, when she completed her 200 hour certification. She teaches classes at several studios in New Hampshire and can also be found at Catholic Medical Center’s Prime Time, the Veterans Hospital in Manchester, and Parkhurst Place in Amherst.

Laurie offers private and group sessions as well as classes to corporate clients. Laurie is currently studying to complete her Professional level certification. Laurie presents classes to people of all ages and levels of flexibility. Her unique way of teaching provides a safe environment to practice and allows all people to participate, no matter what physical or mental challenges are presented. Special instructions and modifications are given so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of yoga.

Helping people achieve their natural born flexibility and peace of mind.


Yoga for the Cyclist

Spending time in the saddle? You may notice that your quadriceps, hamstrings, and hips rarely rest. Over time, you may obtain overdeveloped quadriceps and tight hamstrings, which may put the hips out of alignment. The posture of cycling also keeps the spine constantly flexed forward. Strain in the muscles of your back and shoulders is common if proper form is not maintained. Practicing Yoga helps to promote alignment of the spine, increases core strength and relieves tight and unbalanced muscles.

The focus on breathing and mind-body awareness in a yoga practice helps you bring the same to your ride. Increased lung capacity helps you when climbing hills or enduring long rides. Always check with your doctor before starting new activities if you have any health concerns AND modify as needed.

Give these three poses a try before and after your next ride.

"Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch or Pyramid)
To relieve tight hamstrings and the illiotibial bands this pose also promotes balance.

Stand in Mountain pose with your feet hip distance apart. Step your left foot back about three feet and angle the back foot out slightly. Keep both hips facing front and square your hips. Place your hands on your hips. Inhale as you look up. Open your chest and exhale. Hinging from the hips, keep your spine long as you fold forward over your straight right leg. Modify by slightly bending the front knee and place your hands for support on your leg. Work toward straightening the front knee. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on second side.

Dolphin Pose
Open up the chest, shoulders and hamstrings. This pose reflects the proper alignment for your upper body while cycling.

Start on your hands and knees, with your knees directly beneath the hips and hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Exhale and tuck your toes under, pressing your tailbone toward the sky. Keep your knees slightly bent to start. Press your heels toward the ground. It is okay if they don't reach it. Lower down onto your forearms, with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Broaden your shoulder blades away from each other. Breathe deeply and hold for one to two minutes.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

To open and stretch the front of your body, this pose will strengthen your spine too. It is a natural counter pose to your riding posture.

Start on your back with your knees bent. Place your feet about six inches away from your hips, hip distance apart. Make sure that your feet point straight ahead. Inhale and as you exhale press your feet into the floor and lift your pelvis up as high as you can comfortably. Slide your shoulders underneath you, clasping the hands. Breathe evenly. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Slowly lower down, one vertebra at a time.

Laurie Daley
GSW Newsletter Editor
Certified Yoga Instructor

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Cycling Vocabulary Words 101
Have you heard of this Term?
Words provided by Exeter Cycles

A'Bloc: French Expression for going at maximum or flat out speed.

Attack: To increase speed quickly in attempt to drop other riders.

Baby heads: Popular term in mountain biking for a section full of rocks the size of a baby's head.

Bonk: Is the term when a rider / athlete runs out of energy due to low blood sugar or a lack of fuel.

Dirt rocket: This is a local term for going head first into the ground while mountain biking. We first heard it from Mark Ouellette, former GSW president.

Drafting: To stay in another rider's slipstream.

Echelon: A pace line at an angle that is caused by a side wind.

Full Gas: Pro's use this word for going at maximum or flat out.

Half Wheeling: Long time expression for when someone is riding side by side and keeps his or her wheel slightly in front of the other person's, forcing the pace a little more than is wanted or is comfortable with.

Nuber: A term John learned in Toronto in the early 70's for cable end crimps. Probably only used by us.

Pace line: A group of cyclists who take turns at the front setting the pace and breaking the wind.

Peloton: Is the word for the pack of cyclists.

Sitting in: Means staying in the pack without going to the front.

Sitting on: Is to be following someone's wheel.

Shelled: Common term for getting dropped when the pace is high.

Sleigh riding: Term from road racing in the 60's for not doing any work.

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