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Get Your Free Bike Tune-Up This Week!

Written on May 10, 2012 at 11:43 am , by

You're ready to hit the paths. Is your bike? (Photo by Michael Kraus)

Many of us take to indoor cycling bikes for the long months between October and April, seeing a reprieve from the harsh, biting winds and slick, icy conditions that accompany cold weather workouts. But as we peek out our window today, we can see the sun shining down—plus the weekend forecast looks ideal for a ride (and why not bring mom along?)! But don’t just pull that bike out from the back of the garage or storage space and expect it to run on all cylinders.

Just like your car needs periodic oil changes, your bike needs safety inspections. And through Sunday, May 13, you can get one FREE at Performance Bicycle locations nationwide! Gears, brakes, tires and wheels will all get a once-over by one of the store specialists so you’ll be ready to ride safely during Bike to Work Week (May 14-18). The best news? Anyone—regardless of where you purchased your wheels—can take advantage of the Performance Bicycle safety inspections, and they usually last less than five minutes. That leaves more time to ride!

Now that your bike is geared up, check out these links to help you get in good shape to cycle, too:

Lessons Learned from a Girl Scout

Written on March 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm , by

Badges earned represent little life lessons Scouts remember for the rest of their lives. (Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts of the USA)

We’re just as amped up for St. Patrick’s Day as the next girl, but there’s one other celebration we definitely didn’t want to let slip by without noticing: today is the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts! They’re known for their delectable cookies, but a lot of valuable tips are taught to young girls in between the sales. I spoke with our health editor, Lisa Haney (a Scout until her senior year in high school!), to steal some of the life lessons she learned during her 10 years as a Girl Scout.

Be prepared. “As a Scout, this meant I traveled with a huge, heavy trunk to summer camp,” Haney says. “Today, it means I completely overpack but am ready for any possible weather (or fashion) scenario.”

Sneaky switch. Haney learned the quick trick many young girls master when faced with changing in front of others for the first time: “Removing my bra without taking off my shirt to change. We were a modest bunch at my sleepover camp. I still use the same technique in the gym locker room.”

Little things matter. “There’s a simple, pure joy of receiving a handwritten letter in the mail,” Haney says. Although we live in a world driven by technology, we’re still big fans of snail mail.

Leaves of three, let it be. Safety 101, my friends. Great tip for all of our hiking lovers!

Cop a squat. “It’s really not that big of a deal to go to the bathroom in the woods,” Haney says. “Unless you disobey the above rule.”

Buddy up. Haney’s friendly philosophy: why go it alone when a pal can tag along? “There’s safety (and fun!) in numbers, whether you’re doing something scary at night or going for a run.”

Get crafty. Facing a dreary day indoors? Haney still falls back on Scout traditions and blasts those blues away with arts and crafts on a rainy afternoon.

Golden rule. “I still think this rhyme is great advice,” Haney says: ‘Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.’ Then again, shouldn’t they both be gold?”

Bonus! Our associate beauty editor, April Franzino, was a Brownie in grade school and took away a few life lessons herself. “I really learned how to interact and work with my peers in a more personal way,” she says. “All of our outdoor activities helped hone a love of nature, too. I love being outside!”

Now you tell us: Were you a Girl Scout growing up? What tricks of the trade do you still use today?

Safe Driving: Is There an App for That?

Written on September 14, 2011 at 10:49 am , by

If your speed is up, the phone powers down. (Image courtesy of Sprint)

It’s a shocking reality: using a cell phone of any kind (even with a headset!) while driving impairs your reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol level at the legal limit of .08, according to a University of Utah study. And nearly one in five car accidents can be attributed to distracted driving. But besides tossing your phone in the back seat, what can you do to steer clear of the temptation of calls, texts or tweets at a red light—or help your teens do the same?

Sprint launched an app yesterday called “Drive First” that automatically locks the phone when the car’s speed exceeds 10 miles per hour. All calls and text conversations will be forced to end and the phone will be locked on the home screen, customized by the account holder (this can include just a 911 button or specific apps that the user deems necessary, such as weather and music). After the car stops moving for a few minutes, it fully unlocks. Considering many of us (myself included!) have a massive multitasking habit, this app could be a lifesaver.

Drive First is now available for Sprint android phones for $2 per month and in the near future, Blackberry and other phone users will be able to use the app as well. Learn more and sign up for a free trial or the app here.

Now tell us: What are your top safe driving tips?

Categories: Health, The Fit Stop | Tags: , , ,
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