The Club ran a modified Spring Century on May 21st. There were
Photographs by Michael Weintraub.
Photographs by John O'Dowd
The Club ran a modified Spring Century on May 21st. There were
Photographs by Michael Weintraub.
Photographs by John O'Dowd
The Gluck Legal Takeaway: The Critical Role of Witnesses to an Accident
If you witness an accident, let the victim and the police know. The role of eyewitnesses is critical to the outcome of a case involving injured cyclists. In many cases, police receive a version of the incident from both the cyclist and from the driver of the motor vehicle. When these versions conflict, as they often do, it can be a toss-up as to who is correct. That is when an independent witness, who has no skin in the game, is critical. That person’s version of what they saw can be the difference maker in the case.
Unfortunately, many people choose not to identify themselves as witnesses. Perhaps they are concerned that their involvement will take too much of their time. They may fear that they might even have to go to court someday to testify in the case, or be involved in a deposition. For many people, the default is to stay uninvolved. For the victim of a serious accident, the witness’s preference to remain uninvolved can have life altering consequences.
Perhaps one way to think of it is to ask yourself the question, “what would I want a person to do if I were the one seriously injured in a bicycle collision?” The answer is obvious: you would want the person to identify themself and convey to the police what they had observed. Since that’s what we all would want people to do, then adopt it as a policy of what to do in the event that you are such a witness.
Let’s look at what is really involved in terms or your time and the interruption in your life if you became a witness in a case that eventually went all the way to trial.
First, at the scene you may be a first responder and can provide comfort to the cyclist and be the first to call 911. Then, after identifying yourself to police, you would briefly give your statement and the police may ask you to submit a written statement which you could do from your home. Many months later, you may be contacted by an attorney to briefly discuss your observations over the telephone and then, perhaps, in the next year you may spend an hour or two giving your observations in a deposition which these days is often done by Zoom. Although many people feel nervous when being questioned by attorneys in the course of litigation, the fact is that a witness who is simply volunteering their observations, and who has no rooting interest for either side, is treated with great respect by attorneys. The attorneys will always help accommodate a witness’s schedule to make the deposition convenient for them. And, if the case ultimately goes to trial and you are called to testify in court, the attorneys and the judge will go out of their collective way to accommodate the schedule of the witness if at all possible. The testimony would take an hour or so of your time.
Having done all of that, over the course of 2 to 3 years, the witness would likely feel good about their participation in the process. They would feel good that they helped the victim achieve justice. They would feel good that they stood up and made their voice heard.
Recently, a witness to a serious collision stepped forward and made his name known to police at the scene. He did not know it at the time, but the driver of the vehicle that struck the cyclist would present a version of accident that was designed to help him escape liability for the collision. The witness told police what he had seen. He then wrote out a statement and gave it to the police. The cyclist, who suffered a brain injury, and who had little recollection of the incident due to the brain injury, achieved justice in the end largely because of the courage and selflessness of the witness to step forward. When I asked the witness why he had stepped forward and spent his time making sure that police understood what he had observed, he replied simply, “it was the right thing to do.” Yes, the right thing to do. Many people live by that credo. This is one more way, in the bicycling and motor vehicle context, that we can all bring it to life in the name of seeing that justice is done.
Enjoy riding and stay safe
If you have questions about a particular incident or more generally about the subject matter of this column, feel free to contact Ron Gluck at gluck [at] bwglaw.com.
Ron Gluck is a founder and principal at Breakstone White and Gluck in Boston. Throughout his 35 year legal career Ron has represented seriously injured individuals in a variety of cases including cycling accidents involving catastrophic injury and wrongful death. Ron is a CRW member.
Do your hands go numb when you’re cycling? In the RBR reader survey a few weeks ago, painful or numb hands was the third most frequent problem cited – afflicting 16% of you as your main physical issue on the bike. (While it may not be main issue for most of us, hand pain or, especially, numbness, happens to almost all of us from time to time.)
I have a cyclist client, Sam, who had completed a series of brevets (200 km / 125 miles, 300 km / 187 miles, 400 km / 250 miles and 600 km / 375 miles). He developed numbness, also known as cyclist’s palsy, and actually damaged his nerves (neuropathy). It took a year of barely riding for his nerves to heal and to recover from the neuropathy. After he could ride again, I started coaching him.
Nerve compression of one of the two nerves in the wrist is usually the culprit.
Although one is more likely to afflict roadies and the other MTBers, they aren’t mutually exclusive.
The compression usually comes from thepositions of the hand and wrist and/or pressure on the handlebars. The more your wrist is bent, the more likely you are to have tingling and potentially numb fingers.
You can reduce or eliminate the compression through better technique. You have five different hand positions on the bars, which vary in terms of how bent your wrists are:
On the hoods is the best position — I use a variation I learned years ago from a pro. Instead of my thumbs on the inside of the brake hoods and my hands on the outside of the hoods, the hoods are between my index and second fingers. My wrists are much straighter and more comfortable. Some riders think this isn’t safe since you can’t grab the brakes as fast. This has never been a problem for me over 40 years of defensive riding.
However, riding on the hoods may not be comfortable if your bike isn’t fitted correctly; for example, if your bars are too far away (your reach is too great) or too low.
Learn the positions in which your wrists are the straightest.
Although #3 is the best position:
I’ve developed the habit of changing positions literally every few minutes among all five of the positions, although I primarily use #3 and #5 (in the drops), in which my wrists are the straightest.
Make it a habit yourself to switch positions regularly!
Compression of the nerves can also come from the weight of your upper body on the bars. Lon Haldeman advises that your hands should rest lightly on the bars just like they do when typing or playing the piano! It also helps to ride with “soft” elbows.
Even if you change your hand positions frequently, you’re still exerting pressure on your hands against the bars, and on a longer ride the cumulative effect may cause problems. Here are some suggestions:
The key is to get a good bike fit. If hand pain / numbness is a chronic problem, try padding as well.
Every roadie I know is pressed for time to work out, and core strength exercises are often skipped to make time to ride. Here’s how to strength your core without adding workout time once you learn how to engage your core.
In order for your hands to rest lightly on the bars, you need to have a strong core to support your upper body. You have two sets of abdominal muscles. The fibers in the surface muscles run up and down your abdomen — think six-pack abs (which almost none of us ever had, let alone as we age).
Your deeper core muscles are underneath the surface muscles. The fibers in your core muscles run horizontally around your trunk, forming a girdle around your core that supports your upper body weight so that your hands can rest lightly on the bars. The core muscles hold your back in neutral, the flat back described in last week’s column on upper back, shoulder and neck pain. These muscles provide a stable platform to anchor your leg muscles so that you produce more power.
The action of the core muscles working is subtle. Here’s how to find them. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Rest your fingers tips on the soft tissues just inside your pelvic bones. Then pull your navel in so that your abdomen becomes flat or even concave. Here are several ways to visualize engaging your deeper core muscles:
Now that you’ve found your core muscles, spend a just a few minutes daily for a week practicing activating those muscles so that your abdomen becomes flat.
We spend way too much time sitting at home, at work and in the car. Even in the most ergonomic chair, you’re not using your core muscles. To strengthen them just sit up straight away from the chair back and pull your abdomen in. Do this for about 5 minutes every hour or two. I sit on an exercise ball — to keep the ball stable, I have to use my core muscles.
On the bike, practice engaging your core and flattening your back. Can you rest your hands lightly on the bars? You’ve got it!
Practice core training made simple! Make it a habit, just like switching positions on the bar.
Because numb or tingling hands can get worse if not nipped in the bud, and persist off the bike in your daily life — prevention is vital. The problem cost my client Sam a year of riding.
While he was off the bike, Sam diligently worked on strengthening his core. When his neuropathy was finally healed and he started riding again — no numb fingers! He successfully completed the full brevet series and the 1200 km (750-mile) Paris-Brest-Paris.
The lesson is to address the problem through a combination of improved riding technique (regularly moving your hand placement on the bars), a proper fit and equipment, and keeping your core strong. Doing so will keep the issue from getting worse if it is already bothersome, and will help keep it from ever becoming an issue if you’re one of us who gets tingly only on occasion.
Coach John Hughes earned coaching certifications from USA Cycling and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. John’s cycling career includes course records in the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200-km randonnée and the Furnace Creek 508, a Race Across AMerica (RAAM) qualifier. He has ridden solo RAAM twice and is a 5-time finisher of the 1200-km Paris-Brest-Paris.
My eBook Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process includes chapters on how to meet the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations on aerobic, high intensity aerobic, strength training, weight-bearing exercises, balance and flexibility. I include sample weeks and months for different types and amounts of exercise. I give you plans to build up to 100 km and 100 mile rides. I include a plan to increase over two years your annual riding from around 4,000 miles (6,500 km) to over 5,000 miles (8,000 km) a year. You can easily modify the plans for different annual amounts of riding. I discuss the importance of recovery and how to gauge if you are getting enough recovery. I combine the different kinds of training into programs that balance training and recovery. The 106-page is available here Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process
The Athlete’s Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSS June 2022
Once You Lose Weight, Can You Keep It Off?
“I lost 10 pounds and vowed to keep them off, but no such luck. I’m so discouraged.”
“I reached my goal weight, then BOOM, I regained it once I stopped dieting.
“This is my 3rd time losing 40 pounds...”
If any of those stories sound familiar, you are not alone. Research suggests dieters tend to regain lost weight within five years, if not sooner. This includes many fitness exercisers and athletes who struggle to stay at a goal weight.
If you are fearful of regaining your hard-lost weight, this article will help you understand why maintaining lost weight takes effort. Paul MacLean PhD, Professor of Medicine & Pathology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, has carefully studied weight regain. He notes three reasons why dieters regain weight: biology, behavior, and environment:
- 1. Biology: The body has a strong biological drive to regain lost weight, as noted with increased appetite and a slowed metabolic rate. As backlash from dieting, the body learns to store fuel very efficiently as fat.
2. Behavior: After three to nine months, dieters tend to be less strict with their low-calorie diets; they often report they have hit a weight plateau. Despite self-reported claims they are diligently dieting (yet only maintaining weight), these dieters can become discouraged and less adherent. (Note: Diligently dieting anecdotes are hard to verify.)
3. Environment: We live in an obesogenic environment with easy access to ultra-processed foods, a sedentary lifestyle, and chemicals that contribute to weight gain including those found in upholstered furniture, pesticides, cosmetics, and who knows where else. Weight is far more complex than self-induced over-eating and under-exercising!
• When adding on exercise, some people lose weight and some gain weight. Exercise alone does not guarantee fat loss. Exercisers who lose weight tend to keep the weight off if they stick with their exercise program. High levels of exercise are linked with greater success. That’s good news for athletes who train regularly! That said, a fine line exists between compulsive exercisers (who exercise to burn off calories) and athletes (who train to improve their performance). Fear of weight gain can impact both groups.
• Questions arise:
1) Is weight maintenance more about being compliant to a restrictive eating plan than to exercise?
2) Do those who comply with a strict diet escape weight-regain?
3) Are exercisers more likely to stay on their diet?
4) Does exercise create metabolic adaptations that favor maintaining lost weight?
Research with rodents
Finding answers to these questions is hard to do in humans because of biology, behaviors, and environment. So MacLean turned to studying formerly obese rodents who had lost weight by being put “on a diet”and then were allowed to eat as desired for 8 weeks. Some weight-reduced rodents stayed sedentary while others got exercised.
• Fancy cages accurately measured the rodents’ energy intake and energy expenditure. MacLean was able to see how many calories the rodents burned and if they prefer-entially burned carbohydrate, protein, or fat for fuel.
• The exercised reduced-obese rodents ate less than the sedentary rodents and they regained less weight. Exercise seemed to curb their drive to overeat, meaning they felt less biological pressure to go off the diet. With exercise, their appetites more closely matched their energy needs.
• Exercise promoted the burning of dietary fat for fuel. Hence, the exercised rodents converted less dietary fat into body fat. They used carbohydrate to replenish depleted glycogen stores. Note: Carbohydrate inefficiently converts into body fat. That is, converting carb (and also protein) into body fat uses ~25% of ingested calories to pay for that energy deposition. To convert dietary fat into body fat requires only ~2% of ingested calories. Given the calorie-burn of exercise plus the metabolic cost of converting carbs into body fat, the exercised rodents regained less weight.
• The sedentary rodents ate heartily and were content to be inactive. Their bodies efficiently converted dietary fat into body fat; they used carb & protein to support their limited energy needs. They easily regained weight.
The Depressing News
When followed over time, the longer the rodents were weight-reduced, the stronger their appetites and drive to eat got. When allowed to eat as desired, they quickly regained the weight. “At least people, as compared to rodents, can be taught to change their eating behaviors to help counter those biological pressures” noted MacLean. For example, people who have lost weight can stop buying fried foods, store snacks out of sight, limit restaurant eating, etc..
More depressing news. Most of MacLean’s data is from reduced-obese male rodents. Exercised males showed less weight regain than did exercised females. The female rodents seemed to know they needed extra energy to exercise, so they ate more and regained weight. MacLean states we need more research to understand the clear differences in the biological drive to regain weight.
A glimmer of hope
The best way to maintain weight is to not gain it in the first place. Yes, easier said than done (as stated upfront), but at least athletic people who maintain a consistent exercise program can curb weight regain. We can also change our behaviors to minimize weight regain by prioritizing sleep, curbing mindless eating, and choosing minimally processed foods.
Ideally, the sports culture will change so that athletes can focus less on weight and more on performance. It’s time to acknowledge that athletes, like dogs, come in many sizes and shapes. Some athletes are like St. Bernards, others are like Greyhounds. A starved St. Bernard does not become a Greyhound, but rather a miserable St. Bernard.
By fueling your genetic body type and focusing on how well you can perform, you can enjoy being stronger, more powerful—and likely can still meet your sports goals. When being leaner comes with a life-long sentence to Food & Exercise Jail, you might want to think again?
Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). Her Sports Nutrition Guidebook can help you eat to win. For more information about her books and online workshop, visit NancyClarkRD.com.
In the March Safety Corner, https://www.crw.org/content/winter-street-bridge-westbound, I addressed how to use traffic-signal timing when entering the east end of the Winter Street bridge in Waltham. My attention was drawn to this bridge when the CRW Ride Leaders’ Ride in December crossed it both ways. The ride started and finished at the Craft Food Halls on one side of the bridge. Pleasant rural roads are beyond the bridge. It is seven lanes wide and built to interstate highway standards.
Intimidating? Not necessarily, using CyclingSavvy strategy. The March Safety Corner included a video of the full traffic-signal sequence when entering from Third Avenue in Waltham. I showed that there was a time when no more traffic would enter the bridge for a full minute.
And here is a follow-up video of a ride, crossing the bridge and continuing past it – into the five-lane Winter-Street Oval. Mostly, this is a forward view, but from time to time I expand a rear view.
In this ride, my lane choice gave motorists another lane in which to overtake, no matter what their destination. Making my left turn from Third Avenue, I chose the lane that led to the one I would to take across the bridge. On the Winter Street Oval, I rode in a middle lane and motorists could pass me on either side. And throughout the ride, I controlled the lane: I rode in its center. This may seem counterintuitive but it is safer. Riding between lanes invites close passes on both sides.
So, was this ride perfect? No. It was of an exploratory ride, and I’d do a couple things differently next time. There is always something to learn.
One thing I’d do differently is obvious, and I explain it in the video: Even though I was at the end of the queue on Third Avenue, a driver was able to make the left turn behind me, late enough not to see me until after turning onto the bridge. A solution, as I explained, would be to pull to the right-hand curb after turning and wait until the signal changed. Also, a closer examination of traffic-signal timing might reveal how long the light allowed the left turn, so I could slip in at the end.
The other thing I might do differently is less obvious: change lanes to the right earlier before exiting the Winter Street Oval. That would get me out from in front of motorists turning left onto First Avenue, which leads to a big Home Depot store. But this time, there was nobody heading for Home Depot, as I could see in my rear-view mirror.
On Sunday, June 5, 2022, at 9 am, NECCD (New England Cycling Coalition for Diversity) and MassBike will host a community bike ride around Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, and Waltham to celebrate Katherine “Kittie” Knox, a bi-racial woman cyclist and barrier-breaker in the 1890s.
Bikes Not Bombs
Biogen - Rolling Clones
Black Girls Do Bike
Blue Hills Cycling Club
City of Cambridge
Charles River Wheelers
Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts
Friends, Bicycling History Collection, UMass Boston Archives
League of American Bicyclists
Major Taylor Association
NAACP, New England Area Conference
Nashoba Valley Pedalers
New England Chinese American Alliance
North Shore Cyclists
Roxbury Bike Brigade
Seven Hills Wheelmen
Tour de Cure - American Diabetes Association
Urban Cycling Club
West End Museum
Women on Wheels Boston
There's nothing better than getting out for a ride, but on a rest day a video can almost take us there. Enjoy our monthly virtual film fest.
Alex Post is a CRW member who lives in Virginia, but regularly visits MA to bike with his dad. He has also led rides for the club
My article last month on acquiring a trike generated a lot of interest. Some thought it might be a good step for them to take, while others had a family member or friend in mind. Others just enjoy reading my articles.
In any case, I took possession of my trike on May 2 and am sharing my initial observations and experiences.
Generally, I am happy with the purchase. It’s given me additional, precious time on the roads. However, there is a downside: Toting the three-wheeled monster around is a definite chore.
So far, I’ve only done short test rides to familiarize myself with the controls, especially the electric-assist ones. Here’s what I have to report.
The article was edited by Tim Wilson.
This is a view along the Cranberry Harvest Century, which will return in the fall. It is also a reminder of the scenic rewards we enjoy riding in New England.