Friday, July 16, 2010

Ask Atgatt Girl - It's Hot!

Atgatt: All The Gear. All The Time!
Dear Atgatt Girl,

I love riding my own bike and I know that you say I should wear all of my gear all of the time, but during the summer months, it's so hot!  How can I stay safe and cool while I'm riding?

Emma Haught

Dear Emma,

I imagine it is VERY hot there in Arizona during the summer!  But that's no reason not to wear the proper gear.  In fact, sometimes when it's hot, wearing all of the gear is even more important!

Staying safe while riding is, of course, always one of my top priorities, but part of staying safe is dressing appropriately for the weather.  When it's 85 degrees and I am asked if I'm hot in all of my gear, I either simply rolls my eyes or smart-assedly retort, "that's why I have to ride fast!"  There is a kernel of truth to that, but there are better ways to beat the heat than twisting the throttle.

Father and son on an antique motorcycle; both dressed in shorts and T-shirt
Photograph from:

I know we've all seen those riders out there sporting shorts and sandals when it's hot.  They look like they are probably staying cool, but they are actually making themselves warmer by not gearing up.  Sounds wrong, right?  It's not!  When we get hot, we perspire.  When air passes over our damp skin, we cool down a bit.  However, riders who are wearing a short-sleeved shirt may be sweating, but that sweat is being quickly dried off of their skin by the warm air they are riding through.  What we want to do instead is to take advantage of the combination of our sweat and the wind as we ride.  One of the best answers that I've found is mesh gear.  These specialized jackets (and pants) provide protection through a number of strategically placed pads (knees, elbows, shoulders, etc) and they are made of a perforated denier poly mesh which is lightweight and yet stands up fairly well to abrasion (like from skidding across the pavement!).  My favorite mesh gear for women is made by First Gear.  They are well-made, the sizes are accurate and proportionate for women's bodies and they come in caauuute colors!  Prices for these jackets are in the $120 to $140 range.

The mesh gear will go a long way in allowing some air to get through while keeping the sun off of your skin, but there are a few tricks that I've learned that add to my comfort when I'm riding in warm weather:

1)  Stay hydrated!  If your body is low on fluids, it's going to make it harder to sweat and as we discussed already, sweating is the body's air conditioning!  When I am riding in the heat, I make sure to stop about every hour to drink.  I alternate between water and a sports drink like gatorade.

2)  Wet a bandana (or even your shirt) and wrap it around your neck.  When the air passes over the wet bandana, it will help to keep your torso cool.  You can do the same thing with a banadana on your head under your helmet.  It may not be the most attractive look, but you will feel like a new woman!

3)  You know those ice storage units at gas stations?  While you're making your hydration stop, pop your helmet in there.  (Trust me on this one!)   In the 5 - 10 minutes it takes you to fuel up and gulp down some water, your helmet will have cooled off considerably.  When you put it back on your head, I dare you to tell me that angels don't break out into song for you!

4)  Try to avoid riding any distance in the most brutal heat of the day.  When I ride long-distance, I try to schedule things so that I leave early in the morning.  I then stop for lunch (get off of the bike, sit down in an air-conditioned place or at least find some shade and cool grass) during that hour or so during the day when the sun is really heating things up.

5)  Finally, dress in layers.  We've been talking about how to beat the heat, but when you've been riding all day in temperatures in the 80s or 90s, you will be amazed how cool it feels as the sun goes down and the temps drop into the 70s!  Like your mom always told you, "take a sweater!"

Don't forget!  If you have a question for Atgatt Girl, simply leave a comment and she'll get to you soon!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I have found the anti-christ.......

and her name is Betty Crocker!

I've told you a bit about my relatively new habit of couponing.  I don't do it nearly as well as people who have kids and families may, but I've been pretty proud of my savings over the last few months.  A few weeks ago CVS has a discount on the Betty Crocker Warm Delights.  They are on sale for just 88 cents and I had 2 coupons for 75 cents off on 1.  That means this new desserty item from Betty Crocker for just 13 cents!

.............THAT was the good news.

....The bad new is.....these are seriously good!  And CRAZY easy!  2 tablespoons of water and a few minutes in the microwave and you have creamy, chocolatey, fudgy goodness.  If one is an emotional eater and lives alone, this is DANGEROUS!

Not that I know anyone like that........

Just sayin'......

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

There's still time to vote!

There's still time to vote for Sasha and to register for the Target gift cards!  Just a reminder that this is a fundraiser for the Indianapolis Humane Society.

Currently, they are at capacity and desperately in need of donations to make sure that the 550(!) dogs and cats in their care are fed and sheltered well.  The average cost for an animal's stay at the shelter is $600 and the facility operates on donations alone.  I know that any donation (and/or vote for Sasha) would be greatly appreciated.

If you are unable to give money and are in the area, there is also a list of supplies that are needed.  For the shelter's wish list, click here.

My heart breaks that I can do no more than spread the word to you about their plight.  I've attached a news release being sent out by the facility about their needs.

Humane Society of Indianapolis reaches limit of animals it can care for with current resources.

IndyHumane’s budget and staff stretched to capacity as shelter cares for more animals than ever.

INDIANAPOLIS (July 7, 2010) – The Humane Society of Indianapolis (IndyHumane), currently caring for more than 500 kittens, puppies and mature cats and dogs, has reached the limit of the number of animals it can care for with its current financial and staffing resources and is asking the public for support of its mission, services and animals.

IndyHumane has a balanced budget for 2010 that allows it to care for 300 animals at any given time. Due to the dramatic increase in the number of homeless and unwanted animals in the Indianapolis area in recent months, though, the shelter is currently caring for 550 cats and dogs and must take measures to reduce the intake of more animals.

The Humane Society of Indianapolis typically asks people who wish to surrender pets and strays to call for an appointment to bring cats and dogs to the shelter. This allows staff to ensure proper care and adequate space for every animal that comes in. However, due to the large number of animals currently in the shelter’s care and its limited resources, it cannot currently take walk-in owner surrenders. The shelter’s schedule for people wishing to surrender animals is full until the first week of August, and appointments from then on will be scheduled as resources become available.

The Indy-based and independent shelter does not euthanize for space or time. It currently has 150 animals available for adoption, with a total of 400 living at the 7929 N. Michigan Road facility and 150 more in foster homes. Though IndyHumane invests, on average, $600 in medical, behavioral and shelter services per animal, regular adoption fees remain low: $35 for some cats, and $150 at the highest, for puppies.

“An army of 250 animal lovers sponsoring an animal for $600 each will help us alleviate financial strains, though any gift will help the animals and our mission,” said John Aleshire, Humane Society of Indianapolis CEO.

The current situation reflects general economic circumstances, as well as a recently updated mission and change of culture. The Humane Society of Indianapolis revised its mission in 2009 to better reflect new life-saving initiatives and an increased focus on public services, in addition to its traditional pet-adoption programs. In 2009, the shelter saved the lives of 85% of incoming stray and surrendered animals – 30% more than in 2008. IndyHumane also works with other local animal-welfare groups to save more animals, though these groups have experienced similar pressures, according to Christine Jeschke, Humane Society of Indianapolis Director of Operations. “We’re contacted daily with pleas from local rescues and shelters asking us to help their animals. It breaks my heart to have to turn them away.”

The shelter’s leadership recognizes that its current life-saving programs rely on donor support and the efforts of a small staff. “As hard as we are striving to be one of the nation’s premier animal shelters, we also have to be fiscally responsible and live within our means,” said Aleshire. “That has not always been the case in years past. We’re now a very lean and frugal organization. We’re caring for more animals than we ever have with much less staff than two years ago, and they continue to find ways to make every dollar stretch and be used responsibly.”

Larger economic concerns have impacted the non-profit. The shelter’s intake area has seen more people than ever surrender their pets due to financial difficulties, as people have lost their jobs or their homes and have had to focus greater resources on caring for their families. Other financial concerns have affected the shelter as well. IndyHumane’s veterinary team has seen the price of an antibiotic used daily to save the lives of kittens with severe eye infections skyrocket from $2 to nearly $20.

“When people tour IndyHumane, they are always moved by the scope and depth of our services,” Aleshire said. “I invite any member of the community to contact us and arrange for a behind-the-scenes tour to see all of our services in action. They’ll see that the overwhelming need in our community far surpasses our resources, and that their charitable contributions and support are used wisely.”

Aleshire says that the public can help the animals in IndyHumane’s care by lending financial support, by donating items found on the organization’s wish list, or by utilizing a number of IndyHumane’s services, including a recently opened low-cost vaccine clinic. To sponsor an animal’s care, call the Humane Society of Indianapolis at 317-872-5650 ext. 125. For more information, visit


Blog Widget by LinkWithin