Thanks to Reno folks. Our ride goes on!

After strolling around Reno, Nevada to do what we’re here for and appreciate the World’s Biggest Little City at the same time, we are finally ready to move on.

But what are we supposed to do now that we’re two bicycles short?

“Bike-less” in Reno

Although it is very easy to get around Reno because of its wide roads, a smaller number of private vehicles[G1]  and average travel time of 20 minutes tops, travelling, in general, can be a hassle if you’re used to having bicycles.

Considering that we are a group of five cyclists with only three bikes, there is indeed a problem, mathematically speaking.

If you can recall, I wrote about how Ryan and I lost our bikes while we were out for a refreshing drink at a convenience store in Portland. At the time, we were only cycling for leisure while we await our departure from the biggest city in Oregon and head to Reno.

Although we were able to arrive at the Nevada township and go about without much hassle along the way, it still pains me to think that my bike is being handled by a crook out there, probably being disassembled and sold for scraps.

While it may just be a minor thing for most people, there are certain people, like me, who cherish their bicycles very much.

What Happened After the Bike Theft

To bring you up to speed about what happened, we basically just moved on. Sad as it may be, we never found our precious bikes and were prepared to make do with what we have left.

Upon our arrival in Reno via our service trailer, we decided to visit some of the local bike shops in town. Although this isn’t part of the plan, being “bikeless” while pursuing the Long Road Home Project is unacceptable so I’ve decided to see if I can purchase a new one.

We visited a neighborhood bike shop across Virginia Street from the University of Nevada-Reno. The shop is practically a haven for bike lovers such as myself, so upon entering, I was immediately sucked into shopping for bikes and accessories.

After a while, I didn’t realize that Glenn had been looking for me. Assisted by his wheelchair, he approached me and brought me back to Earth—which, in this case, is the Long Road Home.

It was during this time that the kind lady who seems to be the one in charge of the cash register took notice of us. Asking what kind of bike I’m looking for, she suddenly stopped mid-sentence and inquired about our identities.

After confirming that we are part of the Long Road Home Project, she did something unexpected: she gave me two bicycles from their shop, free of charge.

When I asked if she forgot that she was supposed to payment, she shook her head and explained that it is how she wanted to help with our cause. I was very grateful for this lady and her crew who pumped up our new rides and helped us prepare for the continuation of our 4,200-mile-long journey.

What To Do After A Bike Theft

Bike theft is definitely an event that can bring a cyclist’s spirit down. We at the Long Road Home Project were devastated that such an instance would happen during our quest to deliver awareness and raise funds for our war heroes.

Even so, it is important to know that it isn’t the end of the world. What you need to do, instead, is to pull yourself together and follow these steps for a chance to get your bike back:

Step #1: Report to the Police

Although bike theft isn’t the top of most local enforcement’s priority list, you should still let them know about what transpired to ensure that if they find the bike, it can be returned to you. Be as detailed as you can when reporting the bike theft and include its serial number and description. A photo of the stolen item would help, too.

Step #2: Register Your Stolen Bike to Bike Index

The Bike Index is a non-profit online registry that is very helpful when finding stolen bicycles around the U.S. They are based in Chicago, Illinois, but they have a fully-accessible API that can be used securely.

The best part is, it’s free. So far, the Bike Index has recorded over 60,000 bicycles and aided in the return of almost 3,000 with the help of their partners, including bike shops, bike advocacy groups, and the police.

Step #3: Alert People Through Social Media and Google

After doing the first two steps, it is time to take matters into your own hands by putting up an alert about your stolen bike on social media. This will hinder the thief from selling it nearby or within your online friendship circles.

Also, putting up Google alerts can help in case the crook decides to put it up for sale online. All you need to do is indicate all pertinent information about your bike and switch on several alerts. The search engine will notify you should anything come up.

Safety is the top priority in the Long Road Home Project. Although there are unavoidable instances like this, we are lucky to have a caring and highly-dedicated crew with us on the road. What we can do during such situations is look for the silver lining which, in this case, is the emergence of good Samaritans who support our cause. But before you start to take rides on your bike read this heart disease essay so you’ll make sure that it’s not only fun activity but really healthy.

A Silent Friend. Bicycle

Bicycle

Somebody can tell you that it is a common thing.  Somebody can write college essay about sports  and convince that cycling is just a hobby. But not for passionate cyclist. A bicycle is not just a thing. It is not a ride. Nobody wants to mistreat it, and everyone loves it. A bike comes with so much; the connection is that of a friend. A bicycle is a silent friend that will always have your best interests. You might be asking yourself what this is all about but the truth does not change, I can say this a hundred times and never feel weird about it.

A good friend is there whenever you are ready to go

I have friends that will bring up an idea of a day out and never show up. They will say sorry, and you will move on. They will repeat the same mistake, and you will forgive and move on. They will give an excuse on the third day; you will feel angry, forgive and move. What if a friend that says, “I will be waiting when you are ready.” The bicycle is the always-ready silent friend. They are ready anytime, any day to any place.

A good friend ensures you are in good shape; you keep fit all the time

Some friends go to the gym without you. They go without you, and it does not break their heart to see you having fitness issues, others will say, “Hit the gym bro!” others will pull you to the gym. The bicycle is the friend that will always keep you fit. They will still want you to carry some water, some glucose, some energizer, to keep your steam as you maintain a good body shape.

A good friend is ready to be fixed when they have a problem

Friends listen to you when they ask for help; they heed your advice. They follow the path you advise them too. It does get personal whenever they have a problem, and they feel they need help. The bicycle is just but one of those friends. You can change them, and they will be happy with what they have become after following your advice. Whatever solution you will provide them, they are ready to consider for their good.

Good friends do not care if you are late

Man is a busy being. Something always comes up. If you had plans for the day, then Mr. / Mrs. Bicycle will wait. They will not whine about how long it took you to get there. They will not reschedule on such a special arrangement even if the night out goes till late. They will not care if you are late, they will go when you are ready.

A good friend makes you happy

 Not all the days will you be a happy person. Those days you need the right company. You need the friend that will get the best out of you. You need the friend that will awake that hidden smile. A bicycle is that friend. You can go to it and talk to it, not crazy at all. You can go out with and sing together with it. You can get back to your good spirits.

A good bike introduces you to its other friends

I have walked with friends that will keep you at some shed to see a friend just around the corner. They do not want you to see their friends. The bicycle is the not always jealous friend. On it, you can meet its friends, introduce yourself to these friends and never worry about waiting for an hour when you could be seated together learning and knowing about other new friends.

 

 

Physiological and Psychological Effects of Anabolic Steroids

The desire to win sometimes takes over the morality of a sportsperson, making them take the risk of being caught. It has been proven in innumerable studies that, in the long run, AAS use and abuse causes extensive physiological and psychological damage, not limited to the reproductive, endocrinal, digestive and circulatory systems.

Physiological Effects

The liver is the most affected due to steroid abuse due to inability to get alkalised if taken orally and due to direct entry into the bloodstream in aces of injection. The effects are more jarring in adolescents and thus young players must be stopped from getting addicted.

The most typical cardiac abnormality in AAS abusers is left ventricular hypertrophy, associated with fibrosis and myocytolysis. Users of steroid, when compared to nonusers, in the long term, have been found to have twice the probability for a cardiovascular issue leading to death, infertility issues due to nuroendocrinological imbalance and increased chances of brain damage.

Another facet of abuse is increased risk of tearing of the tendons, due to reduced collagen production and this affects normal skeletal movement. Extensive acne is reported as a common side effect across studies.

Long term use, though initially causes high libido, has been linked to impotency due to high levels of testosterone limiting natural sperm production. Some players report heightened aggressiveness, diminished fatigue and speedy recovery of damaged muscles. Probably the most apparent change in a female athlete is the masculinization of features.

Injection users usually oversee the risk of infection due to shared or non-sterile devices and poor methods and are thus susceptible to disease like HIV and Hepatitis.

Psychological Effects

There is not much difference between AAS users and non users with respect to response speed, sustained attention, and verbal memory but research has \confirmed extensive damage to memory, especially to the part of the brain dealing with Visio spatial memory.

There are extensive mood swings, increased aggression, reduced sleep, increased self-motivation, oscillating with higher anxiety and depression. At least 20% of the abusers had sought medical help for mental problems.

Major research study on AAS

The period from 60s to 90s saw a lot of controversy on the physiological and psychological effects of steroids on the human body. A lot of what we know on the effect of steroids comes from the work of Shalender Bhasin, whose path breaking experiment of 1996 is cited by Griffiths, Murray, Mitchison, & Mond. The paper was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine and detailed a study of 43 men divided into groups and administered with varying amounts of steroids, with all other factors being constant, for a span of 10 weeks. He found that a weekly dose of 600 gm of Testosterone Enanthate caused hypertrophy of the skeletal muscles and weight gain of over 6 kilograms with exercise and 3 kilograms without exercise, during the study period. His study also found no saturation limit found for the said weight gain and that all of the 3 and 6 kilograms mentioned above was put on within the last 6 to 7 weeks of the study alone.

The reason of inaccurate results is due to the fact that there are many variables affecting the muscle strength of a player like diet, performance anxiety and genetics. It is very important that more research on the negative impact of steroids is conducted and all information thereof is made available to the public. It is required that the new generation of sportsmen and students stay away from these drugs and putting their lives in peril. 

Anabolic Steroids (AAS) in Sports

The quest for performance enhancing drugs has been there since many centuries with many old civilisations each having their own version of substances they considered improved stamina, built or both. Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) are any synthetic or naturally occurring chemicals that introduce and/or modify the molecular structure of testosterone and enhancing the body’s muscle building. Unfortunately due to this characteristic, these drugs are being used, and in most cases abused, by users, mostly in the field of sports and media, especially with athletes and weight lifting professionals.

The most common reason one hears for the use of anabolic steroids is to quickly put on mass and muscle and to improve strength and physical looks. However, research abounds on the detrimental effects of steroid use in the long run, including masculinities in women and gynocomastia in men and even reduced life expectancy in both genders.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) defines doping as the “use of endogenous or exogenous substances in abnormal amounts intended to increase the performance of athletes in competition”. The rule was passed in 1964 and athletes were tested starting 1968. Anabolic steroids are very much part of this list along with other substances like narcotics, peptide hormones and other stimulants and are therefore prohibited for use by sportsmen.

The first case of doping and abuse of steroids was reported in 1950 with Russian athletes and the first documented fatality as a result of doping was during the 1960 Olympics. The IOC banned doping in 1964 and adopted testing from 1967. However, reports of medicines being used to work around the tests were found in 1970 and a more stringent test was initiated in 1976 Olympics. 1988 saw Ben Johnson become the first Olympic gold medal winner in track and field to be stripped of his medal after testing positive for AAS, followed by Marion Jones, being stripped of 5 gold medals. The most recent case is that of Lance Armstrong, who in 2013, was stripped of all seven Tour de France titles won from 1999, given a lifetime ban by the International Cycling Union and later being tripped of Olympic bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Games.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), requires all sportsmen to adhere to a revised code against use of prohibited substances and has five standards – testing, laboratories, exceptions for medical use, list of prohibited substances and confidentiality of information. Anyone thus found using AAS is said to have violated the code.

The biochemistry of steroids

Steroids are essentially lipids and are produced by various organs in the human body from cholesterol. The three essential types of steroids in the body are – androgens or male hormones, oestrogen or female hormones and cortisone, a hormone produced by both sexes to control critical bodily functions, including cardiovascular and skeletal muscles. The two main types of synthetic steroids include corticosteroids, variants of cortisone, used for treatment of conditions like asthma and AAS, variants of testosterone with very little true medical use.

The most common method of administering steroids is orally or through intramuscular injections, though commercially, skin attachments and sprays are also available. It depends on the synthesis of the drug and the manner in which the testosterone molecule has been modified. When used, testosterone molecules enter the cell and attach themselves to a testosterone receptor and move to penetrate the nucleus where they bind to specific portions of the DNA to release RNam. They then detach themselves and become inactive. Since the upper half of the human body has significantly more number of such receptors for the steroid to attach to, there is better muscle accumulation in the torso due to the drug.

Three is also a practice of ‘stacking’, using multiple variants simultaneously based on their different effects and ‘cycling’, wherein the process is put through a cycle of a few weeks.