Embrace Forward Motion

Wellness, fitness & personal growth


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Preparing A Bike Emergency Kit

A normal bike ride can quickly turn into an instance of a flat tire, mechanical malfunction, or worse, an injury. Read here on the key tools and items to have in your Bike Emergency Kit:

Repair a Flat Tire

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A. Mini Pump – Not all that useful for inflating a whole tire, but good for shaping new tube for easier insertion back into wheel. Usually can be attached to the bike frame.

B. Spare Tube – Find the size and valve needed for your bike. (Little advice: keep in box to prevent accidental puncture from the other tools in the bag.)

C. Tire Levers – Use these to open up tire to remove tube, and later for getting the tire back on properly.

D. Tube Patch Kit – Sometimes a patch will do the trick on a punctured tube! May come with extra glue or as stickers.

E. CO2 Inflators – Now these will get your repaired tire back to full PSI riding condition! Use if you’re stranded on the road; if at home, save these and use floor pump instead.

Mechanical Adjustments

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F. Allen Tool – These will adjust most, if not all, your bolts and screws on your bike.

G. Swiss Army Knife – Mini screwdriver, a blade, and a few other tools. May come in handy for a variety of needs!

Medical and First-Aid

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H. First-Aid Kit – May include Band-Aids of different sizes, gauze, insect bite relief, alcohol wipes, hand-towelettes, and gloves.

I. Emergency Contacts and Assistance (not pictured) – Paper with your name, allergies, date of birth, as well as names and numbers of emergency contacts. May also carry health-insurance card and AAA Card. (Certain cities, like Minneapolis, offer bike road-side service to cyclists who are AAA members and are stranded.)

Storage and Closing Notes

Most often, bike emergency kits are carried in under-the-seat saddle bags, but may also be stored in backpacks or panniers. These can be purchased in a variety of sizes in local bike shops or online.

Always remember to carry a phone, identification, and money with you. Ride predictably and notify someone of your route if riding alone. Enjoy the ride!

Want to know what else to bring on your ride? Read up on the Essential Bike Accessories.

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DO’s and DON’T’s of Overcoming Injuries: A Personal Discovery

Injuries are unexpected and inconvenient. As a typical 20-something, I sometimes feel like I am invincible. Nevertheless, a recent injury put a halt to my duathlon training. I present to you DO’s and DON’Ts, which I’ve discovered during my recovery, of overcoming injuries, as well as a narrative… because who doesn’t love a good injury story?

Two weeks ago I was out on a training run. Diverting my attention to the side, I stepped where the sidewalk meets the grass. Ungracefully, I fell and sprained my ankle. As I watched my ankle swell up and felt pain in my arch, thoughts of “well, that was stupid” and “there goes my race” flooded in. First lessons:

  • DO watch where you’re going when running.
  • DON’T put yourself down. Recognize mistakes and move past them.

After limping back home a few blocks, I dug up my ankle brace (saved from a previous ankle sprain and foot fracture on my other foot) and RICE’d up my day– Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. And of course, sadly canceled plans and sat at home at a loss of what to do.

  • DO RICE–Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate–the injured limb.
  • DO keep braces, crutches or other injury “accessories”– you may need them again.

A week went by. I used my ankle brace daily, and a crutch the first few days. After talking to trainers and runners, hearing a few “I-wish-I-would-have-taken-care-of-my-injury-when-it-happened-because-now-I’m-doomed-with-weak-joints” stories, and recognizing that I intend to continue running, I set up a visit with the podiatrist.

  • DO go see a doctor if the injury is not improving, getting worse, or you want to figure out what’s wrong exactly and treat the injury accordingly.

Doctor’s advice: Ankle ligaments will take six weeks to heal completely, and the plantar fasciitis should be relieved with stretching. Until then, no running, no biking, no race. Of course I tried to bargain on the biking, but she remained firm with her answer. After giving it some thought, I decided: I’m planning on keeping a well-working ankle for the next 70 years… relatively, six weeks is not that long.

  • DON’T rush your healing time. Cutting off recovery and rehab time will highly increase chances of reinjury.
  • DO think of your recovery time as an investment: one extra week now may translate to an extra year for your limb to properly work years down the road.
  • DO recognize your body has limits. Respect them.
  • DO be realistic about safely resetting goals.

If I had to pick my top two lessons from this experience, these are it:

  • DO stay positive.
  • DO embrace this time as an opportunity to explore new areas of personal growth and wellness.