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Surprising health benefits of cycling

The bicycle is one of the oldest forms of transportation dating back to 18th century, and even today, it is the most popular vehicle used to get around.  The popularity of the bicycle has carried various important milestones throughout history, from giving people independence and the freedom to go faster and further, to paving the way for woman’s civil rights movement and introducing the world to the wonderments of cycling. But beyond being a great transportation vehicle, the two-wheeled locomotive also has many benefits both mentally and physically that might surprise you.

  • Improves everyday activities – The benefits of cycling can be crossed over to even your daily life. With daily cycling, you not only build up your energy level but also fight against fatigue that can help your body get ready for everyday activities such as – balancing, walking, standing, and walking up stairs. Make your daily commute something you look forward to, almost as a form of meditation where you can clear your mind, smell the fresh air, and feel the breeze on your face as you get ready to tackle your day.

 

  • Pedaling builds bones – There is a lot of speculation whether cycling is good for your bones or not, the science of bone density is complicated and convoluted. From reviewing the available research, this is what we found; when you pedal you are essentially pushing, and when you push you simultaneously pull on your muscles, and then the muscles pull on the bone, which increases bone density. The biggest factor that influences body mineral density is body mass, especially muscle mass. Meaning, that you build more bone in the places with more muscle mass and the areas you work hardest, like your legs. So, in order to get a more balanced bone density, it is also important to do your core exercises. A strong core provides a solid foundation to your body which in turn also make you a better biker.

 

  • Stress and anxiety – High levels of physical activity such as cycling have led to a significantly decreased risk of developing clinical depression. As a matter of fact, it is so effective at suppressing stress, anxiety, and depression that some patients have been able to reduce or eliminate the use of medications such as Prozac and Zoloft.

 

 

  • Diabetes and cycling – There are 29.1 million people in the United States that have diabetes while 8.1 million may be undiagnosed and unaware of their conditions. The rate of type 2 diabetes is increasing, which is a serious public health concern. But type 2 diabetes is mainly preventable. Lack of physical activity plays a major role in why people develop this condition. Large-scale research in Finland found that people who cycled for more than 30 minutes per day had a 40% lower risk of developing diabetes. The power of cycling can be related to almost every part of mental and physical health.

 

  • Prevents Cancer – Research from the University of Glasgow, which was conducted over the span of 5 years and included 264,000 commuters, highlight that riding a bike to work was associated with a 45 percent lower risk of cancer and a 46 percent lower risk of heart disease. The cyclists clocked an average of 30 miles per week, but the further they cycled, the greater the health boon. So in a nutshell, if you want to stay healthy, reduce the risk of cancer and live longer then start riding your bike more often!

 

References:
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/20/study-shows-that-cycling-to-work-could-cut-risk-of-cancer-by-45-percent.html
https://momentummag.com/mental-health-benefits-of-cycling/
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39641122
https://www.bicycling.com/training/health-injuries/be-good-your-bones
https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/statistics
http://www.zf.uni-lj.si/data/datoteke/acam21/polonap/NBG%C5%A1tudijskogradivo0708/PRESNOVNEBOLEZNI/Diabetes/1_Physical_Activity_in_the_Prevention_of_Type_2_Diabetes.pdf

Bike culture around the world – impressive overloads

Among the 7.5 billion people that live on this earth, the bicycle is the world’s most popular way of getting around.
Each year, 100 million bikes are manufactured to support the global demand.

The bicycle is a universal symbol of mobility, and for many cultures, it’s a way of life.
We want to use this space to give you a glimpse of the vibrant bike cultures around the world.

This collection of photos is taken by Alain Delorme in Shanghai, China.

 

 

 

Biking Essentials – The Best Gear for Summer Riding

The summer is upon us and we want to share some of our favorite gear this summer to help you beat the heat, stay cool and keep you riding happily all summer long!

 

 

Portable Solar Charges

There is nothing worse than running out of juice on your phone when you finally make it up to that viewpoint ready to take that glorious picture. Don’t worry we got you. Issues like this no longer exist with these portable solar chargers. Simply aim the panel at the sun and all your gadgets will stay fully charged.

 

Sum Bum Signature Performance Sunscreen

With summer riding we get exposed to dangerous UV rays on every bike ride. It’s important that we protect ourselves, and our favorite this summer is – Sun Bum Signature Performance Sunscreen – SPF 50. This handy little container of premium sunscreen is great for stowing in your Camelbak or pocket to reapply during those long summer rides.

 

 

Smith Drake Sunglasses

Another important area that we need to protect from the sun is our eyes, but it serves more than one purpose. A pair of cycling glasses can also serve as a protective barrier against flying objects when riding and who says bicycle glasses can’t look cool? We beg to differ with these Smith Drake shades that come in various colors.

 

Bell Zephyr Mips

Regardless of how warm it gets, one item that we can never take off is the helmet while riding. For those that are looking for a great summer helmet that hep keep your head cool with great ventilation, we highly recommend the – Bell Zephyr Mips

 

 

Camelbak

The heat has its way of draining your energy, so it’s essential that you keep hydrated folks! This Camelbak– can store up to 2.5L water, with two external pockets for small items like keys, wallet and your phone.

The rules of electric bikes in California

Sometimes the rules of electric bikes can seem complicated, so we wanted to clarify and answer some of our most asked questions. Please note that these electric bike rules are specific to California only. Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding electric bicycles.

Something all states follow are the federal regulations regarding eBikes. Electric bike manufacturers offer a wide variety of styles, types, colors, and utility, but at their base, all electric bikes must produce less than 750 watts of power and have a speed limit of 20MPH on the motor alone (though California has some exceptions as you’ll see below). Most eBike manufacturers meet these specifications for their own liability.

 

So where do electric bikes fall legally? Do we use bike lanes, follow traffic laws, etc?

Electric bikes are considered “motorized bicycles” in California. And for the most part, they are subject to the same laws as bicycles. Stopping at traffic lights, using bike lanes, using hand signals to alert nearby drivers, all of the rules regarding bicycles also apply to electric bikes.

What are the California specific laws regarding different classes of eBikes?

On October 7, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 1096, legislation that clarifies the regulation of eBikes in California. There are three types of electric bikes that are described in more detail in the chart below.

 

This new CA legislation clarifies the state’s laws on electric bikes that travel in excess of 20MPH and allows for the use of 28MPH-capable Class 3 electric bikes on public roads. Before the law’s passing, federal law stated that the maximum assisted speed for an electric bike was 20MPH. Helmet use for Class 3 electric bikes is required, and helmets will also be required for any electric bike rider under the age of 18.

Class 3 electric bikes cannot be ridden by anyone under the age of 16, and Class 3 electric bikes will also be banned from using Class 1 bike paths (a.k.a. ‘multi-use paths’) but may use bike lanes and protected bike lanes on public roadways.

Class 2 electric bikes that are equipped with a throttle and that can function even without pedaling will be limited to a top assisted speed of 20MPH, however, they will be permitted on bike paths, unlike their faster Class 3 counterparts.

 

What are the age limits?

There is no minimum age requirement for Type 1 and Type 2 eBikes. For Type 3 eBikes, the minimum age to ride is 16.

 

Are helmets required?

Helmets are required on all types of electric bikes for children under the age of 17. For adults, they are only required for Type 3 eBikes.

 

Do you need a driver’s license to ride an electric bike?

No. Driver’s licenses, registration, insurance, and license plat requirements do not apply. An electric bicycle is not a motor vehicle. Though drinking and driving laws do apply.  

 

How does it work on buses and BART?

You can transport your eBike on buses and BART just like you would a traditional bicycle.

 

How to stay safe on your bike in the city

As daily commuters ourselves, we know the road can be a bit intimidating, especially for a new rider. In fact, we’ve come to notice that many of the bicycle accidents that occur, actually happen for the same reasons! So we put together some of the most frequent bike accidents and a few “rules for the road” to make sure that you know how to stay safe when you ride.

It’s important to know the most common types of bicycle accidents so you can avoid them. We’ve listed them below.

  1. The driver makes a right turn across the cyclist’s lane of travel

  2. The driver makes a left at an unprotected left-turn

  3. The driver fails to stop at a red light or stop sign

  4. A vehicle or a bicycle passes on the right

  5. The car “doors” the bicycle, essentially meaning a driver opens the door in a cyclist’s path

  6. The cyclist runs into road issues

Now that you’ve identified the most common types of bike accidents, follow our tips to stay safe.

 

Get the gear

This is a given, but you’d be surprised at how often it is overlooked. To make sure that you’ve covered your bases, think first about yourself, then your eBike.

 

Helmet? Check. You can also choose to wear gloves. They can be especially helpful in cold weather to make sure that you can continue to grip the handles. And for your bike, make sure you have a horn or bell, headlights, reflectors, and working brakes!

Follow the rules

  • When you bike on the road, ride in the same direction as traffic (cyclists under 12 are the only ones allowed to ride on sidewalks!).

  • Stay on the right side of the lane, in a single-file line with other cyclists. If the street is too narrow for cars to pass, cyclists are allowed to ride in the middle of the lane to increase visibility.

  • Stop at red lights and stop signs, and obey all other traffic signs just as you would in a car.

  • Used marked bike paths whenever they are available.

  • Check out local municipal and state traffic laws. Rules may differ from state to state, and even amongst major cities! So make sure you are well versed before you hit the road.

Put down your phone

We shouldn’t have to say this, but we’ve seen it too many times to not mention.  Don’t. Touch. Your. Phone. This includes talking, texting, and checking Instagram. We also suggest that you refrain from listening to headphones because they can make it more difficult to hear approaching cars and pedestrians.

 

 

 

Keep an eye on cars

This applies to both moving and parked cars. Have you heard of the concept of getting “doored?” That’s when you ride near a parked car and they open the door right in front of you. Ouch.

 

 

Keeping an eye on moving cars is more obvious. But to stay safe, stay out of the drivers’ blind spots, especially at traffic lights and stop signs.

 

Signal

Learn the proper signals to tell other drivers and riders what you’re doing and where you’re headed.

  • To turn left, extend the left arm straight out from your side, parallel to the ground.

  • To turn right, extend the left arm out straight from the shoulder with the elbow bent and the left hand pointing straight up. The arm should form an “L” shape.

  • To slow down, extend the left arm out straight from the shoulder with the elbow bent and the left hand pointing straight down. It’s the opposite of the right-hand turn.

 

If you stick to these rules, you’re good to go. Have fun and stay safe!

Are eBikes cheating?

We get this question a lot. It’s evident that there are many misconceptions about electric bikes. So we decided to share why it is clear that no, in fact, eBikes are not cheating. An eBike is actually an enhanced riding experience. According to our founders, Josh and Yina “Just like a digital camera is more convenient than a film camera, and a word processor is more convenient than a typewriter, an eBike makes riding much more convenient than a traditional bicycle.”

The level of effort is one primary reason people claim that eBikes are “cheating.” Yes, riding an eBike is generally easier than riding a normal bike. Though this may have more to it than you think. A study from the University of Nebraska found that eBike cyclists expended the same amount of energy as manual bike riders, but they completed the circuit faster and felt like they exerted less effort. According to the study, the riders rated their “perceived exertion” and rated a bike in manual mode at a 15, and a pedal-assisted eBike at a 10 on the scale.

 

Our Espin eBike batteries are inside of the frame, creating a look and feel similar to standard bikes.

 

 

The clearest difference between normal bikes and eBikes is the motor. Our Espin eBikes are pedal-assisted, meaning that you still need to pedal when you ride it, the motor simply boosts your own power. This makes riding more convenient, and cycling, therefore, more accessible. Actually, 59% of people with disabilities that normally have a reduced ability to ride a standard bike can ride an eBike.

The ease of riding an eBike allows you to ride for longer without worrying as much about fatigue or exhaustion. Even experienced cyclists can reach for the car keys when confronted with a long distance. eBikes help you commute, run errands, climb steep hills – all while keeping cars off the road.

eBikes are especially helpful for urban commuters. With an eBike, you can pedal to work without breaking a sweat, you can ride longer distances while avoiding those crazy parking fees in the lot near your office. It’s still you, just with more power.

 

Ride to work without breaking a sweat.

 

 

eBikes help remove barriers that stop people from cycling. They aren’t cheating, they let you have more fun and encourage you to ride faster and more often. It’s no wonder everyone gets hooked. According to data collected for E-Bikes in North America shown in the infographic below, 55% percent of people surveyed rode bikes weekly before getting an eBike while 93% did after.

 

Why do people use e-bikes? By the Portland State Transportation Research and Education Center

 

You don’t need to give up your normal bike to ride an eBike, you can choose both. Just like you will have one pair of shoes for working out, one pair of shoes for hiking, and one pair of shoes that you wear to work that looks professional yet comfortable, they all fit different needs. There are so many great benefits of riding an eBike like the ability to flatten any hill, getting to work without being sweaty, being able to cut traffic and save money in the long run. What makes an electrical bicycle so powerful is that it combines the efficiency of transportation while working on your fitness and health, and it’s so much fun! Doesn’t get much better than that!
Curious about an eBike? Book a demo with one of our Espin eBikes today.

Spring Cleaning – Tuning up your eBike

It’s Spring Cleaning time, and in the cycling world that means it’s time to tune up your bike. We’ve put together some suggestions for best practices to tune up and maintain your eBike.

 

To take care of our Espin eBikes, you need to check for a series of things on a regular basis.

 

 

Each time you ride

First, a 60 second check for each time you ride. Most experienced riders know to do a safety check before each ride. But to review, be diligent about:

  • Checking your tire pressure
  • Making sure your brakes work
  • Checking your lights
  • Ensuring all your bolts are tight
  • Checking your battery range

 

Every Month

To keep your bike in top shape, you should completely clean your eBike every month (hint hint using an old toothbrush is a great way to clean the links!). Check for any wear and tear and any issues with the alignment.

 

 

Every 90 Days

Inspect the frame and fork for paint cracks or bulges that could be an indication of damage. Check for wear and tear on tires, make sure they are fully inflated, and look at the range of your battery.

 

 

Every 180 Days

It’s important to be very thorough on this check. If you’ve been diligent about regularly tuning up your eBike, you shouldn’t find too many surprises. Every 180 days you should inspect all the components of your eBike. Look at the battery life, check the plugs, and review each nut and bolt of your Espin!

 

For your convenience, we’ve made a printable checklist for you to fill in the dates you’ve completed each task. If you follow our tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your Espin eBike for years to come!

 

Bike Month Events in Northern California

It’s National Bike Month! And for us Bay Area locals, things can get pretty confusing. For example May 11th was San Francisco’s annual Bike to Work Day, but the National Bike to Work Day is actually May 19th. To help clear the confusion, we’ve created a list of some of the coolest National Bike Month events across Northern California so you can celebrate the month properly.

Wednesday, May 17 at 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM in San Francisco

Ride of Silence

San Francisco’s annual Ride of Silence is to honor those that have been injured or killed while biking. The ride will take place in over 50 countries around the world the third Wednesday of May. The ride will have thousands of participants, and will be a silent 11 mile ride that will visit high injury cycling routes and sites of recent cycling fatalities.

5:30 pm: Refreshments and Program

7:00 pm: The ride begins

More information here

Thursday, May 18 at 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM in San Francisco

#RaiseAGlass Fundraiser

Laughing Monk’s May #RaiseAGlass fundraiser will honor National Bike Month! $1 from every beer sold will be donated to the SF Bicycle Coalition and the California Bicycle Coalition. Plus there will be awesome grilled cheese from the Grilled Cheese Guy.

Click here for details

Friday, May 19, 2017 at 8:00 pm in San Jose

San Jose Bike Party

San Jose Bike Party is a place to ride bikes, make friends, and have a good time. It happens the every third Friday of each month at 8 pm. San Jose is HUGE, but spread out. So enjoy the city and make it feel a little bit smaller.

There will be food vendors, music, and lots of bikes.

Learn more here!

Saturday, May 20 at 8:30 AM – 2:30 PM in San Francisco

Women Bike SF ride to Marin Museum of Bicycling

Ladies, this one is for you! Meet at Flywheel coffee for a quick cup of joe. From there you will take off at 9am, ride 21 miles to the Marin Museum of Bicycling in Fairfax.

Take a brown bag lunch break in the museum’s courtyard and bike to the Larkspur ferry terminal to arrive back in San Francisco by 2:30pm.

Sign up here

Sunday, May 21 at 9:30 AM in Dublin

Community Bike Ride Dublin

Join in on a fun local bike ride through Dublin and Pleasanton, led by Mike’s Bikes of Pleasanton. Riders will meet at Mike’s Bikes, located at 6754 Bernal Avenue in the Pleasanton Gateway Center, at 9:30 a.m. to get checked in and enjoy refreshments. This event is for all skill levels and will begin at 10am.

Please sign the online waiver on the Mike’s Bikes website and RSVP to: Lisa Adamos by Email

Phone: 925-931-5039

Friday, May 26, 2017 at 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm in Albany

Bike-In Movie Night: “Cool Runnings” & Free Popcorn

Learn more here!

Location: Albany Community Center | 1249 Marin Ave, Albany, CA

Join them at the Albany Community Center for a “Bike in Movie.” They will be showing “Cool Runnings,” a film that will spark your quest for the ultimate drive.

Saturday, May 27 at 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM in San Francisco

Bike to Books

The best of what San Francisco has to offer! Combining history, art, literature, cycling, and urban exploration, “Bikes to Books” began as an homage to the 1988 street-naming project spearheaded by City Lights founder and former San Francisco Poet Laureate, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The project renamed 12 San Francisco streets after famous artists and authors who had once made San Francisco their home. The 7.1-mile tour is a unique way to celebrate both the literary and adventurous spirit of this great city. Learn about the authors and neighborhoods that made San Francisco a literary hub, from Jack London to Jack Kerouac.

Meet at 12:45 pm at Jack London Alley, Northside of South Park in San Francisco

Ride will begin at 1 pm sharp

Ride will end at approximately 4 pm in North Beach, outside City Lights Books.

Know of an event we haven’t mentioned? Send us a message and we’ll add it to the calendar! Happy National Bike Month from the Espin team!

 

5 Executives Who Cycle

Sure you have friends who cycle, for us laymen it makes sense. It’s healthy, you save money, and you protect the environment. But I bet you didn’t realize that some of the top CEO’s and business executives agree with you. We’ve created a list of 5 executives who bike.

 

Larry Page

A little known fact about our favorite Googler is that a few years ago he laid out his vision for the world and in it, everyone rode bikes. Page is actually interested in a whole different type of cycling, the kind in the sky… Aerial Cycling. He wants to separate bikes from traffic, and we’ll just say that his goals are a little “high.”

 

 

 

Eric Schmidt

Ok we admit it, we have two favorite Googlers. Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, Eric Schmidt, is not only a big fan of Artificial Intelligence, Burning Man, and collecting art, but he is also a cyclist! Here he is on his Google bike.

 

 

Tim Cook

Apple’s CEO is also an avid cyclist. He likes to experiment and it helps that he is not afraid of failure. In fact, he said “If you start fearing things, then you don’t try anything new or different,” he once said in an interview with his alumni magazine. “If it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of my world. I’ll go ride my bike.”

 

 

Arianna Huffington

The powerhouse founder of the Huffington Post is a big fan of morning routines. She wakes up, meditates, and then hops on her bike for about 30 minutes of exercise. When asked about the importance of her morning routine, Huffington said “I’m a big proponent of silencing the voice of self-judgement and self-doubt in our heads, which I call the obnoxious roommate. It’s the voice that feeds on putting us down and strengthening our insecurities and doubts. I have spent many years trying to evict my obnoxious roommate and have now managed to relegate her to only occasional guest appearances in my head!”

 

 

Mark Zuckerberg

In June of 2016, Zuckerberg broke his arm. When he was asked what happened in a Facebook Live call he shared that he had been on his first ride training for a triathlon when he stopped at a stop sign and didn’t unclip. He laughed and said “I think I need to ease into this triathlon thing.”

 

 

Who knows, maybe your next business meeting will be on two wheels.

Biking For Change: Use Your Favorite Hobby to Make a Difference

Love to bike? Want to make a difference? We created a list of some charity cycling events coming up in California in the next few months. Pick one or two, rally your community, and ride your heart out while supporting a cause you believe in.

April 22 – Cycle for Sight – Napa, California

The event will raise money for Saving Lives, a veteran rehabilitation program, and Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind. The ride has three different routes, for 50, 25, and 15 miles of riding.

The ride will start off at Justin Seina High School, will wind along the vineyards and hills of Napa Valley, and will finish back at the school. The event will feature wine and beer tasting sessions (wouldn’t be Napa without it) coupled with local cuisines coming from various Napa Valley restaurants. The overall goal of the ride is to raise $100,000. Sign up today!

http://www.cycle4sight.com/

May 6 – Tour of Novato & FunFair – Novato, CA

This Saturday bike ride is a fundraiser to support local schools. The ride will go along five routes and will showcase student talent! Participate and help raise money to support education and the development of local schools. It will be a day of fun, family, and fitness!

http://www.tourofnovato.org

May 13 – The Endue Classic – San Mateo, CA

Celebrate life and all the good things it has to offer by riding at the Endue Classic event – held in San Mateo. Cycle alongside the natural beauty of the San Francisco Bay Peninsula while raising awareness about disabilities like Autism and Down’s syndrome.

 

Call 650-349-9879 to learn more about the event!

http://enduefoundation.org/

June 10 – Incarnation 100 – Santa Rosa, CA

A benefit for the Homeless Services – The Incarnation is an event that will be featuring bike rides along three different routes of 45 miles, 100 km, and 100 miles. The routes will start and end in Downtown Santa Rosa. This fundraiser will be raising money for three homeless service organizations based in California. Visit the website for more details.

http://incarnation100.org/


August 26 – Ride4Diabetes – Cupertino, CA


Here’s an event for everyone from occasional riders to the most experienced cyclists. Not to mention it’s for a great cause! 14 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. The Ride4Diabetes is comprised of multiple routes for different types of cyclists. There will also be a walk/run for your non-cyclist friends to join! A day of fun, food, and a whole lot of miles.

http://ride4diabetes.org/

Pick your cause, grab your eBike, and make a difference today! And say hello to the Espin team when you see us there.