By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell, St. Ambrose communications professor, RAGBRAI-er, pizza lover and longtime weight watcher.
I am what Olympian, Jeff Bradley, calls “an injured runner.”
Today, the owner of Davenport’s Trek Store, Jeff says he sees lots of “my type” in the shop: knees and hips needing replacement if not already replaced, painful ankles and feet. He says biking is the perfect replacement.
“Cycling is a great rebound sport,” he says. “It’s fun, it’s gentle on your body and you can get places and see things.”
He should know. Jeff raced in the Tour de France, competed on the 1984 Olympic cycling team and was an original member of the famed 7-11 cycling team.
Up until just a few years ago, he was still dabbling in competitive racing. These days, though, Jeff counsels us lesser mortals on what we should ride, and bikes just for fun.
Bikes for Every Purpose
Jeff’s been selling bikes here for more than 30 years, and has seen lots of changes.
“My Tour de France bike weighed 22 pounds,” Jeff says. “Today that bike might weigh 13 pounds.”
Bikes today are lighter, but also are made for many different purposes: racing, mountain, trail, hybrid, fat and street among others.
And for those who want to take the road less traveled?
Jeff says gravel bikes would be their cup of tea. You can lower the tire pressure on these bikes to 20 PSI (pounds per square inch) so they can really grip country roads.
Not only are the rural roads often prettier, they can be a lot safer.
“It’s scary on the roads in town these days,” he says, “with people looking at their phones.”
Electric-assist bikes appeal to some folks.
Jeff says couples who don’t ride at the same speed but want to ride together (without quarreling) are among those who are attracted to them.
They still require pedaling and therefore the benefit of exercise, but they allow the slower rider to keep up.
QC Bike Culture
As for local bike culture, Jeff says it’s got a lot of support, as the Quad City Bicycle Club is one of the 5 biggest bike clubs in the country. Another, newer club is called River Benders Cycling Group.
Jeff credits the Friends of Off Road Cycling (F.O.R.C.) for their hard work on Quad-City area dirt trails.
“20 years ago, there was no place to ride other than Sugar Bottom in Iowa City,” Jeff says. “Now, thanks to F.O.R.C., holy cow, there are 6 or 7 spots to ride, like Illiniwek, Sunderbruch, Scott County Park.”
Paved bike paths continue to be developed in the area, as well. Jeff is especially complimentary of Bettendorf as a city that is doing it right with its bike-friendly sidewalk project.
Next month, I’ll talk to longtime Bettendorf City Administrator, Decker Ploehn, about what got the city going on that project and what the plans are going forward.
|Meet Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell. Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life. Read Alan’s other blog posts.|