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.


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Essential Bike Accessories

The spring weather is beautiful and it’s biking season! Here are some essential items and accesories that will ensure you have a smooth, comfortable and safe bike ride!

Need To Have

Bicycle – Most common types are road bikes (specialized for slick paved surfaces), mountain bikes (best for rugged terrain) and hybrid bikes (considered great commuter bikes).

Helmet – Safety first: protect your head, you only have one. Make sure the helmet fits right according to the instructions. IMPORTANT: Once a helmet has been in a crash, you MUST replace it. The material compresses only once (often not visibly) and it will no longer protect you in the future.

Lights – If you are going to do any riding during dark hours, you need a front white light and a back red light. Not only do they improve your visibility to drivers at night, but also they are required by law in many cities. Additionally, the front light will help you see where you are going and avoid potholes or rough bumps on the road.

U-Lock – Lock your bike whenever you make a stop and leave it unattended. U-Locks are harder to break than cables or chains. The better the lock, the less chance your bike will get stolen.

Nice To Have

Bike Emergency Kit – May include tools and items to repair a flat tire, make mechanical adjustments, and tend to minor medical needs and first-aid. Follow link for more information on what to pack.

Road ID – In case you become unconscious due to a collision or another circumstance, this handy wristband can list your name, city, emergency contacts and phone numbers, allergies or other critical information that may assist others (including EMTs) to help you when you are not able speak for yourself. You can get it for a good price in different colors and in different varieties (ankle bracelets, shoe attachments, etc.). Explore the RoadID website for more details.

Phone – For safety, in case you need to make emergency phone calls, and to track your route and progress. Fitness apps with GPS like Endomondo and MapMyRide can measure your speed, riding time, elevation, time splits, and map your route, among others. See Resources for more details.

Sports Watch – It’s nice to keep track of time in a visually accessible place.

Water Bottle – Stay hydrated during longer rides. Bottles can be mounted onto most frames for easy access while riding.

Gloves – Great for slightly chillier rides. There are also variety of sweat-wicking athletic gloves with good grip.

Windbreaker/Raincoat – Nice for the windy and rainy days.

Obviously there are a variety of other gadgets and accessories you can invest in depending on what kind of riding you do. Hope this list helps you get started on the basics; be sure to visit local bike shops or chat with cyclist friends for other useful accessory ideas!