First time on an e-bike

In the words of a specialized instagram post: gear on, screens off.

photo by Nick Kova

B’ys, it was a fun ol’ time hanging with Specialized Bicycles for a few days. They hosted me, along with many other more-important-than me writers that flew in from all over the USA (Men’s Health, BikeRadar, Self.com, Motor Trend) to come out to Palo Alto for a few days and test out their newest launch, the Turbo Vado pedal assist electric bike.

This sounds silly, but I feel like I’m living in a magical land of sorts living in Silicon Valley. I’m still in awe of everything I see. The other day I spotted the Netflix headquarters and was all: WHOA! Seriously. The world is changing so quickly, and now I’m on a press-trip with these magazines I’ve always seen on news stands? It’s unreal and it blows my mind.

Having no idea what to expect from an electric bike, I can tell you it’s definitely hard to get back on a regular one after using this one the past few days.

They certainly invited some fantastic people on this trip (totally not patting my back here haha!!) What a great group of press. I had the best time, the best belly laughs, high fives, and good convo’s.

Look, I’m not going to get into the technical details of the ebike because quite frankly you can find better sources out there who will get into greater detail about its construction and how it works. For me, I love telling you stories, about the adventures and the day we had on it.

A day in Silicon Valley, on the Specialized Vado.

It’s kinda weird hopping on an ebike for the first time. A little heavy feeling especially if you want to move the rear of the bike when standing around. However, pedaling you quickly get used to it, and when you hit that turbo button (there’s 4 settings: Eco, Sport, Turbo and… Off), boom you’re off light a light. Start pedaling and there you have it, you’re immediately going 3x faster than you normally would. It’s addictive, and so is the horn.

YES THE BIKE HAS A HORN.

And I might have been a little obnoxious with it, holding down the horn speeding past some of the crew and wanting to say “so long suckerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs!!!!”. One guy suggested I even head back home with it, down the road. Hey, I thought about it! Lol.

photo by Nick Kova

The Vado is definitely capable of serving so many riders. Firstly, you have to think of it as a bike first as it’s still a regular bike with a bit of help from the motor. It rides like a normal bike, only faster. The few hours that we were out, flew by. I didn’t break a sweat, but my arse was definitely sore. Guess it didn’t help that I’m not used to cycling more than an hour at a time, and I wore jeans, too. I have to say, spending time with such an awesome crew, and laughing totally made up for my poor butt being so sore.

The first day on the bikes we took a grand tour of what it’d be like for an average commuter to head out on their bike and head to work. 2 hours in, one journalist dude joked “are we at work yet? This is a long commute”. See what I mean? I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t come across as hilarious when I write it, but when I remember the moment I thought it was the funniest thing ever.

photo by Nick Kova

I totally want to go on that route again so on the ride, I was keeping a mental note in the back of my head of where we traveled all over my new home of Silicon Valley. We cycled through so many fancy neighbourhoods, from tech-hub Palo Alto, to rich-ville Los Altos, and even around the immaculately pristine gardens of Stanford campus.

photo by Nick Kova

Having it on turbo mode the entire time, I felt confident entering intersections as I knew I’d be through it 3x faster than I would on a regular bike. It also feels so much more stable balancing it, so you don’t have to put a foot down immediately at a red light.

What blew my mind, was that we went up a number of hills, but I was still sitting down on the bike seat, and making minimal effort to race up the hill and still maintaining a decent pace. The bike is designed with commuters in mind, for them to allow to get to work quickly without breaking a sweat. On the way home from work if you want a more athletic fitness experience, simply turn off the motor, and away you go. As Mike put it, if you’re a slow cyclists, you’ll be slow on this bike. If you’re a fast cyclist, you’ll be fast on this. Basically:

It’s you, only faster.

Some friggen fun I gotta say. On a trail up in Palo Alto we had 15 second intervals of going down the trail by ourselves (because the photographer was waiting for us, to take individual shots). I tried pedaling as fast as my legs would allow, to see how fast I could make this thing go. 40 clicks! 42km/hr is how fast I flew on the bike. Madness.

Funny story, I was a few minutes late for the product presentation and I showed up and sat in the back with the Specialized folks, rather than the journalists. A man walked in, who I hadn’t seen yet on the trip. I stood up, introduced myself:

“Hi, I’m Nancy! What’s your name?”

Still not knowing it was Specialized Founder, Mike Sinyard I then asked him if he was from around here and where he lived. He chuckled at me a bit and said Morgan Hill (where Specialized HQ is). I said “Oh cool, I’m local too in San Jose.” The convo ended and he headed up to the front to do an intro to the presentation, and low-and-behold he was introduced as CEO, of Specialized. HA!!! Isn’t that nuts? He’s such a wicked and nice guy too, and same with everyone working there regardless of their status at their job.

They definitely hired amazing staff, I tell ya. That same day, we went out on our 30 mile bike ride and at a stop sign at one point, I thought my Vado stopped working (lol) because I couldn’t move! I looked back and here was Mike holding the back of my bike. So, definitely a few jokesters in the group, including the founder.

Thanks for the fun adventure, Specialized!

photo by Nick Kova
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My Favourite Ways To Stay Active

My word for 2017 is “move”, which I blogged about it a few weeks ago. I know. Hi. I have’t been blogging much. Honestly, I’m trying to keep up with keeping much more active this year, than I was last. Being more organized in my life. And a whole buncha other stuff.

When I think of exercising I admit when I get a little stressed as I picture myself doing all these activities I don’t enjoy. But let me tell ya folks, when you find an activity that can get your heart rate goin’ that you enjoy – keep at’er. Although always super fun to me, I consciously remind myself that climbing is a workout. I’m in my 30’s now guys and I’m noticing I have to be more active, a lot more regularly than usual.

Today I’m here to share some of my favourite ways to stay active. Do you think you can make a list of your own? Leave me a note in the comments!

Climbing| Climbing has and always will have a piece of my heart. As of 2017, it marks 22 years of my climbing journey. Nuts right? Although I don’t go as often as I’d like (I don’t have a membership anymore because it costs a lot!), I do like to pop in one a week for a bouldering session.

Yoga| More specifically, yin yoga only. I attend a yoga class at the climbing gym, and I prefer to attend a yin yoga with a certain instructor since I feel like I can totally mellow out with her voice, and really sink in what she’s suggesting we do. Plus, those deep hip stretches are perfect for climbers as a warm-up for a good bouldering sesh.

Riding my bike| Those that know me here in California understand to never ask me to hang out after dark. But there are times lately that I’ve been cycling around come dusk (and peddling back home fast to beat the sunset lol). Specialized hooked me up with some bike lights that I totally appreciate.

Running| I have a love-hate with running. I’ve always found it difficult (minus the sprinting, I love those lol). I don’t love going for longer runs, and anything past 6km is crazy long for me. Alfie, my Husband and I go out for a weekly 6km run together every weekend. I hate it, but I love it at the same time. I used to run outside solo, but I had a scare with some random strangers who creeped me out, so now I stick to the treadmill at our complex.

Hiking| I don’t mean hiking up mountains in Alberta and British Columbia, because I’ve done that and cried all along the way (hopefully it went unnoticed!). Hiking up a steep ass mountain for hours on end with my husband before we were married was rough. Can’t beat the views, that’s for sure. But what I’m talking about is going out in the woods here in California and hiking with my husband, and Alfie… on a not-so steep incline ;)

Lifting Weights| Guys, I miss CrossFit so bad. I miss the community, I miss my workout buddies, and I miss being told what to do when I enter the gym for a workout. Lifting weights on your own or not knowing what to do is rough. I prefer someone telling me what to do, in a gym! Lol. This is another thing that isn’t so regular on my radar, but I hope to do more weights in the upcoming future. Halp.

Blogilates| I know Blogilates has a huge YouTube following, and I knew about her for years. But I’ve only recently subscribed to her for some quick and not-so-easy workouts when I know I’m sitting at my computer too much. I really love doing the workouts that don’t require weights (because we don’t have any in the house, even though I suppose I could use cans of soup to lift.. lol). Plus, it’s free! Or if you’re not the biggest fan of Blogilates, enter into YouTube any sort of workout you want to do (I usually enter in “20 minute workout” and scroll til I find something appealing).

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HIIT at Fit36

Holy SMOKES as much as I hate to admit, it’s been a long long time since I did anything quite like this. Guys, I’ve told you before — I miss going to CrossFit so much but it’s too expensive down here for the gym membership and I’m not willing to fork out that kind of dough anymore. So for the past 3 years of living here in California I’ve been doing my own thing, lacking structure and not entirely sure what I’m doing with my workouts anymore. I don’t sweat like I used to.

welcome-spiffykermsFit36 reached out to me and mentioned they will be opening a high intensity interval training / HIIT studio in Cupertino and invited me to try them out. Since I knew my pal Lauren likes these types of workouts too, I suggested they reach out to her as well.

workout-outfitI regret wearing an athletic JACKET to workout in.

The studio literally just opened up, and late October is when I went to check it all out. First dibs! Ha!

Fit36-CupertinoAs much as I thought it was going to be similar to a CrossFit workout — it kinda reminded me of it. You know those days at CrossFit when it’s all about a HIIT cardio workout? Well, that’s the way Fit36 is all the time. Lol. To be honest though, I love a structured workout class that is always changing, like CrossFit or Fit36. I was never a huge fan of going to the gym by myself and not really knowing what I was doing. I miss the small class atmosphere. I do miss my CrossFit classes though. I attended a gym in Canada for close to 4 years! It’s just really expensive down here and I don’t have the budget for it.

purple-faceThe crazy intense workouts that make you sweat buckets (you can prob tell. Due to my purple-sweat-face… sorry! Lol). The hard work everyone puts in and cheers one another on. It really is a community. Although only been to one Fit36 class, I can already tell I love the style of the class.

Calories-burnedBasically the jist of it all is a 36 minute workout (hence the name Fit36, right?). There’s 12 stations set up and you do the entire 12 stations twice in those 36 minutes (60 seconds on, 30 seconds rest). You’re wearing a heart rate monitor too, which is pushed up on the big screen as is everyone elses. That alone will motivate you between those strength workouts and cardio intervals. And if you’re afraid you’re not bold enough to try something like this, everyone there is all sorts of ages, all different sizes. Any workout can be modified and trainers are always around to make sure you’re performing correctly to get that total body workout in.

Fit36And if you’re worried you’ll get bored of it? Ya won’t! Because the workout is on a cycle and it changes entirely every two weeks (with 2 workouts to choose from in those 2 weeks). So, you keep making progress on that bod of yours.

UGH I’m stoked. Sign ME up.

Disclaimer: I received a free class courtesy of Fit36 to try out their studios.
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