Insurance Update
June 2016
Issue No. 69
In this issue

Bikeability Checklist



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Dear ,

Albert Einstein is associated with many things in the popular mind, but the bicycle is probably not one of them. Yet, he is credited with the well-known quote, "Life is like riding a bicycle; to keep your balance, you must keep moving."
You may think of the bicycle as a rather ordinary part of everyday reality, but for many it has a kind of mystique, as it apparently did for Einstein. In this issue we are exploring both the down-to-earth realities of bicycling, it's more mystical nature, and many aspects in between.
Are you one of the 50 percent of Americans who rides a bike at least now and then? Or are you one of those who rides for exercise? Do you ride because it is good for your health? Are you a serious rider who rides long and hard as often as you are able? Are you a bike racer? Do you own a mountain bike that you take off the road across rugged and challenging terrain? Are you one of the small but growing number of people who use the bicycle to commute to work? Are you fascinated by the sophisticated technology of biking and willing to spend many hundreds of dollars on it? Or are you satisfied with very basic and inexpensive bike transport? Do you have moments when you are lifted out of yourself as you sail along with the wind in your face and hair (through your helmet, of course)?
Think about it. Why are you able to keep your balance on a two-wheeled vehicle that by all rights should fall over? There is a bit of a mystery here. And maybe Einstein is right. This is like the mystery of life itself. Motion is what keeps us alive, and riding a bike reminds us of this.
As you move through the summer months that offer the greatest opportunity for cycling, may you enjoy thinking about the pleasures and challenges of the bicycle.
The bicycle: Utility, health, pleasure, freedom, and mystique

"Cycling is possibly the greatest and most pleasurable form of transport ever invented. It's like walking only with one-tenth of the effort. Ride through a city and you can understand its geography in a way that no motorist, contained by one-way signs and traffic jams, will ever be able to. You can whiz from one side to the other in minutes. You can overtake sports cars that are going nowhere fast. You can park pretty much anywhere. It truly is one of the greatest feelings of freedom one can have in a metropolitan environment. It's amazing you can feel this free in a modern city."
--Daniel Pemberton,
The Book of Idle Pleasures,  
Do you remember when you first learned to ride? Did you stand on a step to mount your bike and go wobbling down the yard, then stop by falling over before you got to the street? Or did one of your parents run alongside holding you until you suddenly realized you were riding or at least coasting and balancing by yourself?
Or do you remember when you taught your own kids to ride? Do you recall that white-lie moment when you promised your child you would not let go, knowing that you would have to do so in order for him or her to learn? And do you remember the pride you felt when you saw your child teetering away from you and actually staying upright? It's been said that once you learn you never forget how to ride a bike.
Many readers of Insurance Update have family roots in the country and live now in cities, suburbs, or small towns. You may have grown up riding your bicycle on country roads, and you now ride on city streets and sidewalks, and "country" riding takes place on tree-lined bike paths that may once have been rail lines.
If you are of a certain age, you may actually remember when bikes did not have gears or handle-bar brakes, but were large-wheeled clunky things that got you from one place to another without fancy alloys or sophisticated engineering. Back then you could purchase a bike for much less than $100.
The bicycle appears to be about 200 years old and dates from the early 19th century. There are claims that one of Leonardo da Vinci's disciples sketched a bicycle as early as 1534, but these are unsubstantiated and disputed. There is another unverified claim that a Frenchman developed a two-wheeled contraption with a wooden frame in the 1790s. But it was not until 1818 that something called a draisine or velocipede was patented by Baron Karl von Drais in Germany. It was two-wheeled and steerable and was propelled by the rider's feet pushing on the ground.
Throughout the 19th century, two-wheeled vehicles continued to develop, going through various design changes and rising and falling in popularity. They were first called "bicycles" in a French publication in 1847, and the word was used in English print for the first time in 1868. In the 1880s and 1890s, the bicycle took the basic form that continues to this day, and cycling became an everyday transport for ordinary men -- and soon women. The bicycle craze that ensued contributed to the emancipation of women, giving them new mobility and forcing changes of fashion to make cycling possible, liberating them from corsets and ankle-length skirts, and even leading to the shocking introduction of bloomers.
When the bicycle was being developed in the 19th century, its competition was the horse. When it came fully into its own, another sort of competition was developing, and through the 20th century the bicycle's chief rival was the auto. Given the speed, safety, comfort, and reliability of the car, why would people use bicycles at all here in the 21st century? Do people still love to ride?
Though bike riding is increasing in the United States, we are still a car-centered culture far behind other countries. Netherlands, a nation of 16,652,000, has 16,000,000 bicycles, almost one for every citizen. Denmark is second with 5.56 million people and 4.5 million bikes. The U.S. does have 100 million bikes, but for a population of 311 million, that's only one bike per three people. Less than 1 percent of all trips in the U.S. are by bike, and 51 percent of Americans say they don't ride bikes at all.  
In the U.S., less than 1 percent of the population bikes to work, whereas in Europe commuting by bicycle is commonplace. In the Netherlands, for instance, the figure for bike commuters is 27 percent. That's in a country where there are as many bicycles as people. There has been a 40 percent growth in bicycle commuters in the U.S. since the year 2000, but the figure still hovers only around 1 million.

It's easy to guess some of the reasons people do not want to bike to work. You expect to arrive hot and sweaty and in need of a shower. It's difficult and unpleasant to bike in a business suit or skirt. You could be exposed to sudden rain and wind. There may be no good bike routes. Where are you supposed to put your attaché case or messenger bag so that it will be secure? The bike helmet gives you helmet hair. Sometimes you have errands to run after work, which makes it inconvenient. You can't -- or shouldn't -- listen to music while riding a bike. And finally, maybe cycling seems unpleasant because you like the sense of control, privacy, and safety you have in your car.
Of course, all of these reasons are easily addressed. And there are still many reasons people love to bike -- health, energy, attitude, community, convenience. Think of the huge savings in gas, car expense, and parking.  
And then, there are health benefits. Biking is aerobic exercise. Your energy level and efficiency throughout the day will be elevated. Bicycling builds your strength, increases your balance and flexibility, builds endurance, and controls weight by burning calories. And it does not stress the joints, as jogging does.
Second, cycling lifts your spirits and improves your state of mind by relieving stress, releasing energy, and giving simple pleasure.
The third reason is that it is good for your community. When riding your bike, you are not isolated as you are in your car; you can see people in the street, wave at them, interact with them.  
Fourth, cycling is convenient. You don't need a parking space on the street, nor are you forced to pay for a parking garage. If you ride to work, you may even be able to park your bike in your office or in a utility room. If you are going to an event like a ball game or concert or festival, where there are large crowds, you can zip in and out easily.
Finally, biking is inexpensive. According to AAA, it costs approximately $9,000 a year to own a car, while it costs about $300 to own a bike. And that's if you are a hardened bike enthusiast. If you are more casual, the cost is next to nothing. In one of those enticing proclamations, the Sierra Club asserts, "If American drivers were to make just one four-mile round trip each week with a bicycle instead of in a car, they would save nearly 2 billion gallons of gas." (For an interesting and exhaustive account of why people ride bikes, click on 101 Things We Love about Cycling.)
No discussion of bicycling would be complete without reference to the bikes themselves and biking technology. From the velocipede of 200 years ago to today's high-end racing bikes, there has been an explosion in bikes.
There are road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, comfort bikes, and bicycles designed especially for commuting. There are racing bikes, folding bikes, tandem bikes, adult tricycles, and recumbent bikes. 

And, of course, all these options involve many different kinds of bike technology. You may have to choose how many gears you need (from one to 27), what style of handlebars, or what kind of brakes and shifters. Bikes usually come with reflectors, but you might want to choose a good light for your bike. You might also want to add racks or saddle bags, a water bottle holder, an attachable air pump, or a set of special biking tools. You can shop for a digital speedometer/odometer, or if you're super high-tech, a GPS unit for your bike. What about special biking clothes? In addition to the sleek (and often padded) bike shorts and jerseys, there are special bike pedals and shoes, and of course, you need a well-fitted helmet.
Maybe the most interesting thing about new bicycle technology is the materials used to make bike frames. They range from steel and aluminum through chrome and molybdenum alloys and titanium to various kinds of carbon-fiber blends.

It's a long way from your tiny first bike to the Italian-made Bianchi Specialissima that prices out at more than $10,000. It's a long way from occasional rides on the local bike paths to the Tour de France. And it's a long way from the U.S., where very few people bike to work, to the Netherlands where many people do. But it is all within the same universe using the basic structure of two wheels, a frame, handle bars, pedals, and a chain to send the rotation of the pedals to the rear wheel. Strip away everything else and the bicycle is a simple device that is powered by the motive of one person. A bicycle, no matter what kind or where, provides that exhilarating, almost mystical feeling that elevates you beyond life as a two-legged walking creature, making it not about the destination, but about the ride. 
Like the flight of birds
Quotes about cycling

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.
-- Arthur Conan Doyle
There is beauty in silence and there is silence in beauty and you can find both in a bicycle!
-- Mehmet Murat ildan
My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.
-- Peter Golkin
[A bicycle is] an unparalleled merger of a toy, a utilitarian vehicle, and sporting equipment. The bicycle can be used in so many ways and approaches perfection in each use. For instance, the bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created: Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon. A person pedaling a bike uses energy more efficiently than a gazelle or an eagle. And a triangle-framed bicycle can easily carry 10 times its own weight -- a capacity no automobile, airplane, or bridge can match.
-- Bill Strickland
Next to a leisurely walk, I enjoy a spin on my tandem bicycle. It is splendid to feel the wind blowing in my face and the springy motion of my iron steed. The rapid rush through the air gives me a delicious sense of strength and buoyancy, and the exercise makes my pulse dance and my heart sing.
-- Helen Keller, who was both deaf and blind
Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel ... the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.
-- Susan B. Anthony
In the context of the great debates about identity politics - are you gay or straight, nationalist or republican, British or English and so on -- I would ask, "Do you ride a bike?" I love everything about the machine -- the sensation of the tyres on the road, the mobility -- and I love the fact that you have this intimate relationship with the elements, and the landscape.
-- Beatrix Campbell
Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring.
-- Desmond Tutu
Brain Puzzles
The staff of Insurance Update is excited to bring you a new, regular monthly feature -- BRAIN PUZZLES!

Caleb's Cantaloupes
Caleb Smathers was walking home from the market with three nice ripe cantaloupes, when he was faced with a problem. On the footbridge that he had to cross, there was a sign announcing that the bridge's capacity was 200 pounds. Caleb himself weighed a 196 pounds and the cantaloupes weighed two pounds each. What to do. He could, of course, make two trips, but a moment's reflection enabled him to figure out a way of getting himself and his three cantaloupes across safely in one trip. How did he do it?

Click here for the answer.

Downhill mountain bike race At the recent Brainteasers downhill mountain bike race, four guys entered the challenging slalom event. You must determine the position where each finished and the color and number of each entrant's jersey, using the following information. 
  • Alan came in first
  • The entrant wearing number 2 wore red, whereas John didn't wear yellow.
  • The loser wore blue and Steve wore No. 1.
  • Kev beat Steve and the person who came in second wore No. 3.
  • The entrant in yellow beat the entrant in green.
  • Only one of the entrants wore the same number as his final position.
Click here for the answers.
 LTCILong-Term Care Insurance
Keep cycling, but just in case ...
Let us hope that you will still be cycling well into your later years. But in case unexpected illness strikes or worse - you have an accident and your ability to make a living or care for yourself is impaired, you will be grateful to have long-term care insurance.
Despite your best efforts, there is always the chance you might suffer a debilitating condition or a disabling injury. And, of course, if you live long enough, the time will come when you will need some extra care. long-term  are insurance makes sure that you will get the care you need. It assures that your medical bills will not eat up your savings. Finally, and this is one of the best things about LTCI, it protects your children and other relatives from having to use their resources to care for you.
Brethren Insurance Services offers Long-Term Care Insurance for all members and employees of the Church of the Brethren and their family and friends; and also for employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities and their families and friends.
If you are interested in obtaining this coverage, contact Brethren Insurance Services at or 800-746-1505 for a free, no-obligation proposal or click here to request more information.