7 Tips For Staying Motivated

Have you ever started a fitness program and then quit?  If you answered yes, you’re not alone.  Many people start fitness programs but stop when they get bored or results come too slowly — but it doesn’t need to be that way.  Here are seven tips to help you stay motivated.

1. Set goals

Start with simple goals and then progress to longer range goals.  Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable.  It’s easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious.  For example, if you haven’t exercised in a while, a short-term goal might be to walk five minutes once or twice a day.  An intermediate goal might be to walk 20 minutes three or four times a week.  A long-term goal might be to complete a 5K walk.

2. Make it fun

Find sports or activities that you enjoy, then vary the routine to keep you on your toes.  If you’re not enjoying your workouts, try something different.  Join a volleyball or softball league.  Take a ballroom dancing class.  Check out a health club or martial arts center. Discover your hidden athletic talent.  Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery — and you’re more likely to stick with a fitness program if you’re having fun.

3. Make physical activity part of your daily routine

If it’s hard to find time for exercise, don’t fall back on excuses.  Schedule workouts as you would any other important activity.  You can also slip in physical activity throughout the day.  Be creative!  Take a walk during your child’s music lesson.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work.  Pedal a stationary bike or do strength training exercises with resistance tubing while you watch TV at night.

4. Put it on paper

Are you hoping to lose weight?  Boost your energy?  Sleep better?  Manage a chronic condition?  Write it down!  Seeing the benefits of regular exercise on paper may help you stay motivated.  It may also help to keep an exercise diary.  Record what you did during each exercise session, how long you exercised and how you felt afterward.  Recording your efforts can help you work toward your goals — and remind you that you’re making progress.

5. Join forces with friends, neighbors or others

You’re not in this alone.  Invite friends or co-workers to join you when you exercise.  Work out with your partner or other loved ones. Play soccer with your kids.  Organize a group of neighbors to take fitness classes at a local health club.

6. Reward yourself

After each exercise session, take a few minutes to savor the good feelings that exercise gives you.  This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise.  External rewards can help, too.  When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of walking shoes or new tunes to enjoy while you exercise.

7. Be flexible

If you’re too busy to work out or simply don’t feel up to it, take a day or two off.  Be gentle with yourself if you need a break.  The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.

Now that you’re enthusiastic again, get moving!  Set your goals, make it fun and pat yourself on the back from time to time.  Remember, physical activity is for life.  Review these tips whenever you feel your motivation sliding.


Bicycle Maintenance

Routinely checking your beloved bicycle shouldn’t take long.  Some of the most basic checks can even be done while walking from the garage to the front gate.  Just a couple of minutes is all it takes to check tire pressure, handle bar and stem alignment, brakes and to make sure the wheel skewers are nice and tight.

If you discover one or more of your bicycle parts is damaged or requires repair, ensure the repair has been completed by a qualified bicycle mechanic and is safe to use before you continue riding.

The Daily Checks

  • Tires should feel very firm to the touch.  The correct pressure is written on the sidewall of each tire.
  • Check that the seat is at the correct height and the seat post is tightly inserted into the frame.
  • Brakes should be secure.  Brake levers should engage when gripped.
  • Gears and brakes operate smoothly and directly.
  • Handlebars should be tight.
  • Lift the handlebars, spin the front wheel, apply the brakes and check that the:
    • Wheel is properly secured in the forks.
    • Quick release levers are secure.
    • Wheel rotates freely without rubbing on the brakes.
    • Gears and brakes operate smoothly and directly.

The Weekly Checks

  • Brakes should contact the rim squarely.  Levers should not touch the handlebar when squeezed hard.  Cables should not be frayed or damaged.
  • Check wheel axle nuts are tight.
  • Clean and lubricate the chain.
  • Steering bearings – apply the front brake and rock the bike back and forward.  If loose, there will be a ‘knocking’ sound.
  • Check that fittings such as racks, front and rear lights, wheel reflectors and kick stands are firmly secured.
  • Clean mud from lights and reflectors, including pedal reflectors.  Check that front and rear reflectors are aligned vertically

The Monthly Checks

  • Check the tires for wear or splits in the rubber.
  • Check wheel bearings, chain, gear cluster, chain rings and head stem (handlebars).
  • Check that pedals are intact and spin freely.
  • Check that derailleur gears are not bent and that they do not travel too far and jam the chain.
  • Check wheels for rust, buckles, bulges, rims with dents, and broken spokes. Check for loose hub bearings by wiggling wheel sideways.
  • Make sure your bell is in good working order.
  • Check that front and rear lights are bright when operating.
  • Wipe down your bike with a damp rag.

The Yearly Checks

  • Check the frame and components for hairline cracks and excessive wear.  If you find a crack, contact a professional bike mechanic immediately.
  • Remove handlebar tape to check for rust and weakness.
  • When purchasing new tires, make sure they are the right size.
  • When replacing the chain, also change the freewheel/cassette as both generally wear out evenly.
  • Cables can becomes stretched over time so it might be a good idea to change all gear and brake cables.  For those cyclists running hydraulic brakes, get your brakes bled and replace the fluid.
  • Replace brake pads
  • Check seals on suspension forks – get an expert opinion on whether the seals need replacing.  A tell tale sign is excessive oil leaking out of the seals.

10 Tips For Riding Your Bicycle Safely

  1. Always wear an approved bicycle helmet, properly fitted and fastened to your head.
  2. Increase your visibility with bright, light clothing which also keeps you cool while being comfortable. Use reflective clothing especially at night and in poor conditions.
  3. Be prepared for bad weather and always protect your eyes. Display a white light at the front of your bike and a red light at the back. Your bike must have a red rear reflector.
  4. Always obey the road rules, including traffic lights, Stop signs and Give Way signs. You must use the bike lane where one is available, ride in Transit Lanes and Bus Lanes, but not Bus Only Lanes. Give way to pedestrians and other vehicles when entering a road.
  5. Ride in a predictable manner that does not require other road users to react suddenly to your movements.
  6. Give hand signals when changing lanes or turning right.
  7. Plan your route using quieter streets, bicycle paths or shared paths, wherever possible. When using a shared pedestrian/bicycle path keep to the left and give way to pedestrians.
  8. Maintain control of your bike at all times. It is an offence to ride with both hands off the handlebars, feet off the pedals or to carry anything which prevents you from having control.
  9. Keep your bicycle in good condition by performing regular maintenance checks that will enhance your cycling experience and the longevity of your bike.
  10. Carry out a 2 minute check every time you ride your bike.

Nebraska Bicycle Laws

Bicycle Laws in the State of Nebraska

The following is a summary of bicycle laws in Nebraska. This is not an inclusive listing of laws for bicyclists. For more details, see Nebraska Revised Statutes §60-611, §60-680, §60-6,177, §60-6,142-144, and §60-6,314-319. Local authorities may have additional regulations within their jurisdictions.

In Nebraska, bicyclists are required to follow the same rules of the road as motorists. A bicyclist riding on a highway generally has all of the rights of a vehicle and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle (some exceptions do exist).  Parents or guardians are responsible for the actions of children under the age of 16.

Restricted Highways (Interstate & Freeway)
Bicyclists are not allowed to ride on interstate highways or freeways in Nebraska (a freeway is defined as a fully access controlled highway with “no” at-grade crossings).

Mandatory Side Path Law
Nebraska has a mandatory side path law that states that you should not ride your bicycle on the highway if a usable bikepath is adjacent. This does not apply when riding on surface (paved) shoulders.

Equipment on Bicycles
● Have brakes that can stop your bicycle within 25 feet at 10 mph. (based on ideal conditions)
● Have a red reflector on the rear of your bike when riding at night. (City of Lincoln requires a rear red light)
● Have an attached light on the front of your bike for night riding.
● Have side reflectors on your bicycle wheels when riding at night.
● Have reflectors on your pedals (or shoes) when riding at night.

State Patrol Advice
Although Nebraska has laws that require reflectors and a light on bicycles for riding at night, the Nebraska State Patrol does not recommend riding a bicycle on rural state highways at night due to the higher speeds and reduced visibility.