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Friday, March 30, 2007
  Fear keeping kids indoors, fat, and unhealthy
By Yokota Fritz 
There's a lot of talk this year about an increase of bicycle use among adults this year. This sad story in the Los Angeles Times, however, shows we have a long ways to go.

One sunny afternoon as our children played nearby, I asked a neighbor
at what age she would allow her son to bicycle around the block by

"I don't think I would ever do that," she replied. "The world is
a very different place now than it was when we were growing up."

Did she really think the number of child molesters and kidnappers
in the world had increased in the last 20 or 30 years, I asked?
"Oh, yes, I think it is increasing. Because of the Internet."

At a PTA meeting, during a discussion of traffic problems around the
school campus, I asked what we could do to encourage families to walk
or bike to school. Other parents looked at me as if I'd suggested we
stuff the children into barrels and roll them into the nearest active
volcano. One teacher looked at me in shock. "I wouldn't let my
children walk to school alone ... would you?"

"Haven't you heard about all of the predators in this area?" asked
a father.

"No, I haven't," I said. "I think this is a pretty safe

"You'd be surprised," he replied, lowering his eyebrows. "You should
read the Megan's Law website." He continued: "You know how to solve
the traffic problem around this school? Get rid of all the predators.
Then you won't have any more traffic."

Read more.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007
  Fitness tips for cyclists
By Yokota Fritz 
Jesper Therkildsen coaches junior riders for the Danish national team. Because of his interest in cycling training and exercise physiology, Jesper is now a medical student at the University of Aarhus.

He now shares his knowledge of exercise physiology through his blog, Cycling Training Tips. I asked Jesper a few questions about his cycling background and how cyclists and other athletes can benefit from reading his fitness tips for cyclists.

Denmark is famous for its cycling culture. Is there much recreational road riding there in the style of much American road cycling?

Denmark is a good place for recreational cyclists and there are many great roads to ride. Also Denmark is very flat, making it easier for a broad range of cyclists to ride quite fast. Since Bjarne Riis won the Tour de France back in 1996 there have been a great increment in the number of roadcyclists in Denmark.

Why should cyclists read "Cycling Training Tips"? What type of audience benefits the most from your blog?

When serious mtb and road cyclists spend more than 10 hours per week on training, they do it because they have some goals to achieve. I hope that I can make the road to their goals shorter, smoother or at least more enjoyable. By getting some knowledge about basic exercise physiology, training planning and interval training, there is a good chance that they can improve their performance without spending more time or energy on their cycling.

Cyclists at all level from beginners to pro cyclists can benefit from learning how a power meter works and how to train intervals. Clever training is not rocket science, but I try to get more scientific approach into cycling training since there too many myths out in the cycling clubs about how we should train. The tips you get out in the clubs are almost never evidence based knowledge, but often just an old fellow telling stories about how he won races in the 70's.

My power meter project shows that strong cyclists can benefit from a structured training program with significant improvements after only 6 weeks training. These cyclists are absolutely not un-trained, what make these results even more impressing.

Would other athletes benefit? Do you know, for example, of runners, skiers or other fitness enthusiasts who read or link to Cycling Training Tips?

All endurance athletes can benefit from the basic principles about training, recovery, nutrition etc. Actually most athletes can benefit from a structured, well-planned training program. I think we will see more academic coaches in the future.

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

I do some road cycling in the summer time just for fun. I work as a coach for a couple of mtb and road cyclists. I think it is a lot more fun to see them make results than watching pro cycling. I do watch the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix (cool race!), but the rest of the year I don't watch cycling on TV.

Read Cycling Training Tips for fitness tips for cyclists.

See also Jesper's Power Meter Project.

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