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Bike commuting is an easy way to increase fitness, jump start your energy level, and enjoy nature. Read and learn about what you need to commute in comfort.

Bike commuting necessities and niceties to make your ride great

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Bike commuting is an easy way to add miles, increase fitness, jump start your energy level for the day while enjoying nature, especially with warmer weather finally here. Once you start commuting by bike you will find the hassle factor lessen while your overall trip acts as your workout for the day. Saving you hours in the gym. Here is a list of several other beneficial necessities to make commuting by bike that much more enjoyable.

Bike Commuting Necessities

While commuting by bike, there are very few items you need to have to get started. Ultimately, the only thing that you actually have to have is a bike. However, for added comfort and safety here is a list of items that will make your ride safer and a few items that will make easier to function at work or class properly once you are there. Past functioning, you need to stay safe on the bike also, so I consider all these things necessities.

Helmets

First and foremost a helmet is the most important product you can buy after the bike. While typically, self-preservation keeps us upright on our bike, while commuting we need to consider there is a vast amount of other actions we need to protect our self from. Now that you’re commuting, wearing a helmet isn’t just a logical safety choice, but can be very comfortable. Read here to learn how helmets protect you better, have become lighter, fit better, and are more comfortable than ever before.

Lights

While the helmet is a key safety product, it is not the only important one. Lights, no matter if it is day or night or your level of bike riding skill, are essential to make sure you have the safest ride possible. Additionally, sometimes when you’re riding in conditions without optimal visibility, you need a little added illumination. That’s where proper lighting comes in.

Locks

When commuting, you can’t be with your bike at all times. You’ll have to leave it unattended for extended periods of time, which make it susceptible to theft. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help protect it. Here’s some info on the different kinds of bike locks, and other tips to ensure your bike’s safety.

Waterproof Bag

Being caught in the rain is not a possibility when commuting, it is an inevitability. In order to protect your possessions, invest in a waterproof bag. For example, a messenger bag made with a PVC liner can easily carry all your stuff, and keep them dry. For riders looking to carry their things on the bike, there are plenty of waterproof panniers available.

Bike Commuting Niceties

The following items aren’t a necessity for commuting, but make your trip quicker and more comfortable.

Shoes and pedals

Most riders look at clipless pedals as a competitive advantage only, but nothing could be farther from the truth. When riding a bicycle, few things are as effective as clipless pedals and cycling shoes. There is a simple equation that always holds true: control = comfort. In the quest for more control of your bicycle, secure your feet in place on the pedal. By doing this, you can use muscles more efficiently, be connected to your bicycle more directly, and relieve excessive strain on your feet. Read here to see how easy it is to learn to ride “clipless”.

Rain gear

The best way to stay dry is to wear waterproof clothing. While most synthetic fabrics still insulate when wet, being wet diminishes their ability to keep you warm. A jacket and pants are a great way to start, but socks and gloves make the outfit complete. In their most basic form, a lot of materials are waterproof, but as soon as they are perforated with stitching, zipped closed with generic zippers, and left to be loose at all the cuffs, their waterproofing goes out the window. Before you go out and buy anything labeled “waterproof,” understand that all waterproofing is not the same.

Cycling shorts

Shorts come in all shapes and sizes. Tight shorts are popular because they offer great comfort as well as unencumbered movement around the bicycle. Baggy shorts are very popular for their casual look and the advent of pockets. There are even cycling skirts (called skorts) that offer excellent comfort and great off the bike look. Whatever short you decide on, the padding will make your ride more comfortable.

Fenders

Fenders are a standard option for many. They are light, sturdy, and keep you dry when riding in wet conditions. If you don’t want to keep them on your bike at all times, snap on style fenders are available, while a more permanent option is a bolt on the fender.

For winter, studded tires are helpful

Like winter tires for your car, there are also studded tires available for your bike. They usually have a few hundred carbide metal studs inserted in the tire to give you traction in icy conditions. These tires are typically twice as heavy as a non-studded version so be sure to use them only when necessary.

Bike commuting is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while traveling to and from school or work. It is an excellent form of exercise that will give you better attention, higher energy levels, and some free time to critically think without major distraction.

Common cycling mistakes are something we as humans can't escape, but nobody is perfect. That said, consider taking a look below at some of the most common and damaging cycling mistakes

Common cycling mistakes and the ways you can easily solve them

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Mistakes are something we as humans can’t escape, but nobody is perfect. That said,  what we can do is try to eliminate some of the simple errors we may make without ever realizing we are proceeding down the wrong path. Consider taking a look below at some of the most common and damaging cycling mistakes made by both occasional and seasoned cyclists.

Cycling Mistakes #1 – Only wear a helmet when you think it’s needed

Many riders make the mistake of thinking “I don’t need to wear a helmet, I’m only going around the block with the kids”. This mentality is often responsible for the catastrophe. The truth is you never know when an accident can happen, so you should always be prepared. As an example, the worst crash I have ever had was when riding from a campsite, down a straight gravel path to the washroom. Before I knew it, I was smack dab on the ground faster than I could get my hands up to catch myself. Moral of the story Is to wear your helmet any time you ride your bike.

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Helmets are always in style

#2 – Believing you have plenty of air in the tires without checking

Frequently, I see riders headed down the trail with tires so low you can hear the rim bouncing off the ground with each pedal stroke. Low tire pressure can lead to pinch flats, and more importantly, loss of control. The inner tube that holds the air in your tire is naturally porous and lose air naturally over time. In fact, a tube can lose between 3-5 PSI a day. At its extreme, your tire could go from full pressure to less than half pressure in the span of one week. Be sure to protect your ride by checking tire pressure before each ride.

#3 – Lube the Chain After Every Ride

Believe it or not, an over lubed chain is more damaging than an under the lubed chain. While I am not recommending that you ride around with a dry chain, knowing when to lube is important. Having a ton of lube on your chain will not protect it any better. In fact, too much lube will attract dirt and debris, creating a harsh slurry that covers and wears your drivetrain. The best way to lubricate your chain is to apply lube to the chain, allowing it to soak in for a minute and then use a rag to wipe off as much excess as possible. When done, the chain should feel almost dry to the touch.

The right amount of lube is a great thing

#4 – Use the water hose to clean your bike

After a dusty or wet ride, many riders reach for the hose to spray dirt off the bike. Sadly, while the bike may look clean, the bike will be in worse shape than if it hadn’t been cleaned at all. Pressured water that comes from a hose, can displace grease and leave nothing behind. Now, with no grease, the bike wears out at an accelerated rate. Instead of using a hose, try instead a warm bucket of soapy water and a big sponge.

#5 – Bring water along only on some rides

Many times, riders will assume that because the weather is cool, or a ride is short, they don’t need to bring water with them on a ride. Truth be told, the biggest drain to your energy while riding can be related to dehydration. Stay hydrated by bringing water or a sports drink along on all rides.

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Yay Water!

#6 – Assume cycling shoes are only good for clipless pedals

If you don’t want to ride clipless pedals, I get that. There are tons of reasons clipless pedals are great, but at least as many reasons why they aren’t right for everybody. What you can do is use a cycling specific shoe with your flat pedals. A cycling shoe has a stiff sole and additional arch support to disperse pedaling forces over the entire length of your foot. Therefore, you have more efficiency and less discomfort.

Mistakes in general

Overall, it is a good idea to think about what you are doing before you ride your bike. Make sure your bike is ready for the ride, be equipped to take care of yourself during the ride and be sure you are prepared to reach out for help if needed. Once you go through that mental exercise you will see the common cycling mistakes melt away. Have Fun!

Kids mountain bikes: tips and tricks to get them on the trail

by John Brown,

I love riding my Mountain bike and want to share that passion with my boys. I am dedicating weekends to kid’s mountain bikes, to teach them to love the sport too. The sense of freedom and excitement it gives me has been amazing to experience through their eyes. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

Kid’s mountain bikes

Dozens of companies produce kid’s mountain bikes. They often have suspension, brakes, and gears similar to adult versions. The kid’s bikes usually have either 20″ or 24″ wheels that will determine the overall bike size. Be sure to find the right size at your local bike shop.

Teach to shift

One big difference between riding around the neighborhood and on trails is the need to shift quickly and frequently. Most kid’s mountain bikes have between six and 21 gears with the higher gears being used on the pavement and the lower gears for off-road conditions. By teaching your kid(s) how and when to shift will them become more comfortable while riding over varying trail conditions. I find it is easy to teach this on the sidewalks in front of my home. Have your child ride down the sidewalk in one gear, then shift to an easier gear and ride on the grass back. By shifting between gears and conditions, kids can get a great feel for how the gears work.

Teach to brake

Stopping on kid’s mountain bikes is about balancing two things; stopping power and control. Most brakes can easily produce enough stopping power to skid the wheels, but when the wheels skid, you lose control. I found an easy way to teach this balance is to find a short but steep hill with a clear run-out at the bottom. Stand at the bottom of the hill as a safety precaution and have your kid head down. The first time down, tell them to squeeze the brakes (front and rear) as hard as they can.  On the second trip squeeze a little less and feel the difference. Have them apply the front brakes more or more rear brake on each successive trip. After a little while, they will have a good feel for the way the brakes work.

Standing position

When kids learn to ride a bike they do so sitting down. While sitting is fine for smooth roads, it can become uncomfortable when riding over rocky trails. Try to teach your kid to stand while riding, using your legs to absorb bumps. You want to encourage them to have some bend in their knees and elbows and keep their weight back over the seat. This position lets them absorb all the rough terrain they might encounter.

L-r: Matt Johnson and his sons Jack 10, and Cole, 9, mountain bike in Salem Park in Inver Grove Heights on Sunday, June 12, 2011. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

Board trick

A fun trick to teach some skills involves nothing other than a board. A 1×6 piece of wood that’s about six feet long works best. All you need to do is set it on the ground and have the kids ride over it. Riding perpendicular helps them work on absorbing impact in the standing position while trying to ride along its length, helps teach control. A great part about the Board trick is that it gives a visual indication of where to ride without any penalty if they can’t stay on.

Up and Over

Once they get comfortable with the standing position you will want to teach them how to get over objects. To start, find an object on the trail that might be challenging for your kid to ride over. Take a minute to show them where to ride to get over it. Have them back up, get a moving start, and take a run at the object. By standing over that object, you can be a safety net in case it doesn’t go too well. Reach out, straighten them out, and congratulate their try. If your trails don’t have a good place to practice this, you can build an obstacle with a pair of two by fours and some lengths of PVC (see picture below).

Short and sweet

Do your best to keep it fun. Pack treats, snacks and drinks and take a lot of breaks. If a section of trail was super fun, turn around and do it again. Keep the pace slow and have fun. If you meet a puppy, stop and pet it. Do anything you can to keep it fun and a big part of that is keeping it short. Rides over an hour can start to wear out new riders, and take some of the joy out of it. And regardless of the duration, be sure to encourage the things they did well.

Bribery

Kids are like politicians, in that they aren’t above bribes. I always take my son for a treat after the ride (our current favorite is a Smoothy from Wendy’s). This Pavlovian exercise can do wonders to reinforce the fun experience that is a mountain bike ride and encouraging the fun is the most important part.

Biking into New Orleans on the Mississippi River Trail in April the flowers are blooming.

New Orleans on two wheels at the end of the Mississippi River Trail

by Russ Lowthian

New Orleans, A Fun Biking Haven

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Driving your bike around New Orleans, bike lanes and low traffic one-way streets make it easy and safe to get around.

Seeing the city of New Orleans and its parishes on two wheels can be a fun way to experience the last section of the Mississippi River Trail (MRT). So if you are a northerner like me and need a brief reprieve from the cool spring elements the upper Midwest can dish out, this is a bike destination to consider. As the area continues to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina, the city has quadrupled its miles of bike-ways making it easy for both residents and visitors to take to the streets by bike.

Even the League of American Bicyclists has recently taken note, awarding this city the Silver, bicycle friendly community designation. So, if you looking for a fun time, here are some ideas and opportunities for that #nextbikeadventure to the Big Easy.

New Orleans – Culture and Area

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Some of New Orleans parks draw visitors for both the art objects and wildlife in the background.

In the springtime the fragrance of jasmine whispering through the air. Because of this, on our last visit, we wanted to experience the city, only using bikes and public transportation. Besides the non-stop fun in the French Quarter, touring on two wheels we were able to find many other community pockets to enhance our visit. This included places with delicious meals, art, and music hotspots. Along the bike-friendly streets we rode, many were influenced by Creole and French cultures. This gave the homes in the area a wide array of tropical colors which is different from what we usually see in most northern states.

We discovered that driving your bike was the best way to see all the neighborhoods and experience, New Orleans.  Thanks to the NOLA printable bike friendly map and the Big Easy Bike Coalition at BikeEasy.org, getting around New Orleans was straightforward. Besides, the miles of bike lanes, bike sharrows (painted V-shaped arrows that are stacked like sergeants stripes on a shirt sleeve that point in the direction of traffic flow of a bike route) and trails, the majority of the city is laid out with one-way streets alternating back and forth, North/South and East/West to get around.

Beginning a Bike Adventure in New Orleans

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Bicyclists tend to stroll along with pedestrians while taking in the music and fun along the French Quarters in New Orleans.

First, we downloaded Joey’s digital version of the map for planning. After that, finding a printed edition at a local bike shop or one of the tour companies listed below – was a bonus!

The bike map gave us a great chart to maneuver through the neighborhoods when the main bike routes were detoured by one of the many events going on or construction updates. Using a combination of the above map options made it convenient to go from the French Quarter: up to City Park, one day; to the Garden District and Audubon Park another day; and then across the Mississippi River and back, by ferry, to Algiers for another New Orleans bike adventure. Plus, in April, the humidity is still relatively low.

Lakeview Area and City Park

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Here Marcy Kelash found the outdoor scale model railroad setting, amongst the flower gardens in Lakeview Park quite exquisite.

Well worth a 15-mile round trip from the French Quarter, we found the Lakeview Area breathtaking. We even spent several hours at the City Park – that turned out to be one of the highlights of our visit.  Here the gardens and sculptures in the park were impressive. Plus, in April, you will find many varieties of roses and several exotic flowers in bloom in the area. Into trains? The outdoor scale model railroad exhibit in the park was quite extraordinary, detailed with authentic replicas of buildings and tracks of the southern Louisiana area.

Lake Pontchartrain Area

In the Garden District you will find several walking tours and stately homes to bike by.

In the Garden District, you will find several walking tours and stately homes to bike by.

Also, being so close to Lake Pontchartrain, we added several more miles to our day of riding through this section of town. This part of the Big Easy is quite different from the colorful Creole-influenced shotgun houses we biked past near the French Quarters. It was picture perfect riding in the area. Riding through the high-end neighborhoods where sycamore trees shade the architecturally present and pristine lanes there an enjoyable adventure touring the northeast section of the Big Easy.

Algergers Neighborhood and the Last Section of the Mississippi River Trail

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Crossing the Mississippi River to the Algergers neighborhood by ferry is free for the passage for bikers and walkers.

In the Algergers neighborhood, after crossing the Mississippi River by ferry, (free passage for bikers and walkers) you will find a bike trail that follows the river up steam. This is the last section of the MRT before the Gulf of Mexico. Here, riding along the river, you can view some of the big boats coming in from the Gulf and the skyline view of Downtown New Orleans. Plus, if you are lucky when passing by the warehouses along the trail, you may see some of the Mardi Gras floats – sometimes open for a tour.

Marigny/Bywater Area

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Dr. Bob is a New Orleans self-taught folk artist who has made the phrase “Be Nice or Leave” a part of his identity.

A ride back on the ferry, another Creole-influenced neighborhood is the Marigny/Bywater area. This is a great place to discover the soul of New Orleans. Here you will find many artists and several hole-in-the-wall places offering great food and music. For ribs, some of the best we have ever feasted on, try the “Joint.” For other great entrees, check out Elizabeth’s on Chartres Street.  And don’t forget to stop at Dr. Bob’s Art Gallery.

Dr. Bob is a New Orleans self-taught folk artist who has made the phrase “Be Nice or Leave” a part of his identity. Here we found objects many everyday objects he has transformed into his artwork.  You’re sure to be interested in the eclectic mix of Southern Louisiana influenced art that you can find in his gallery of fun objects. Just pull into the double gates of the complex, pass the lumber yard, park your bike back by the trailer, and introduce yourself.

Other Areas in New Orleans

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Around New Orleans, several other guided biking and walking are available, with recommendations for places to visit on your own.

Visiting the Carrollton, Garden District, and Irish Channel Area from the French Quarter, discover the ease of riding the new bike lane on Magazine Street. Once you arrive in the Garden District, several guided biking and walking tours are available. The tours are well worth signing up for, to maximize your Big Easy bike experience. I would recommend taking one or several of these tours on the front end of your visit to maximize your time pedaling around this area. Plus, you will get the inside scoop to good places to eat and local music that showcases the soul of the New Orleans.

Bike Rental in New Orleans

A fun print displayed in one of the art shops in the French Quarters, in New Orleans.

A fun print displayed in one of the art shops in the French Quarters, in New Orleans.

If this is your first time planning a trip to the Big Easy and exploring the city on two wheels, leave your own bike at home – unless you are serious about packing on the miles. Most points of interest are less than a 20-mile meandering round trip from the French Quarter area. If you choose to rent and plan to cover more than 10-miles in a day, pay a couple of extra bucks for a bike with five-to-seven-gears. Though the terrain is fairly flat, it is not uncommon to encounter a headwind – coming or going – in or out of the different neighborhoods. For shorter distance sightseeing opportunities or when combining public transportation (bus/cable car with bike racks) on your excursion, single speed cruisers bikes work well.

Our Bike Rental Picks

Biking near the French Quarters you will notice the colorful Creole and French influenced shotgun homes there.

Biking near the French Quarters you will notice the colorful Creole and French-influenced shotgun homes there.

I found several bike rental shops, most around the French Quarter.  Rental options, I checked out and was impressed with included: Michaels Bicycle Sales, Rental and Service on Frenchman Street and Ride This Bike Rental and Folding Bike Sales on Dauphine Street. Both places had Joey’s Bike Map, were friendly, and they were helpful with tips on riding around the Big Easy.

Looking for neighborhood bike tours that include a rental (most have single speed bikes with coaster brakes?). We enjoyed a tour of the Marigny/Bywater area led by the staff of the Confederacy of Cruisers Tour Company.  Not only was the tour fun, but our guide also offered many suggestions on food and music hot spots, that we checked out later on in the day and fully enjoyed.

Places to Stay in New Orleans

For lodging options throughout the city,  places to eat, events and festivals to see, the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau web site is a great place to look for more information when planning a bike visit to the Big Easy – the last city on the Mississippi River Trail.

Bike clubs progressive ride series cheats Mother Nature last Saturday

As last Saturday’s rain, sleet, and snow hindered many to the north and south of the Twin Cities, the first of twelve progressive ride series scathed Mother Nature’s ill mood.  With partially cloudy skies and temps hovering in the low 50’s the Hiawatha Bike Progressive Ride Series held its first ride in Roseville MN. An effort by Hiawatha Bicycling Club (HBC) and D’ Amico’s Restaurants to help more get in shape with upcoming bike activities and the club’s annual Tour D’Amico (TDA), 4th of July bike ride. The HBC Series offers three complimentary rides in four locations, Wayzata, Golden Valley, Edina, and Roseville. The first of three in Wayzata, MN starts this Saturday.

Participants on the HBC Progressive Ride I in Roseville leaving the Bicycle Chain Bike Shop

Participants on the HBC Progressive Ride I in Roseville leaving the Bicycle Chain Bike Shop

About the Progressive Ride Series

The total miles of the first ride of each ride location is approximately 12 to 14 miles. The second Ride will be approximately 16 to 18 miles and Ride III at each location will be approximately 22 to 24 miles. Each progressive group rides is carefully planned and ridden by HBC members that use these routes regularly, using a combination of trails and quiet neighborhood streets to give you a sampling of fun ways to get around each area.

Riders on the HBC Progressive Ride I, in Roseville, leaving D' Amico's who provided some delicious snacks

Riders on the HBC Progressive Ride I, in Roseville, leaving D’ Amico & Sons who provided some delicious snacks

Halfway through the ride participants will enjoy a scheduled rest stop at D’ Amico & Sons Restaurant. Those on the ride will enjoy a complimentary ‘tour salad sampler’ and a chance to taste D’ Amico’s Gelato Ice Cream. The terrain on these rides is rolling with a few modest hills, to test your stamina. Don’t worry, no one will be left behind as a ride leader will follow from behind to make sure everyone arrive back to the start, safely.  Kids under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate.

Hiawatha Bike Wayzata/Long Lake Progressive Ride I (this Saturday)

On Saturday, May 4, 2019, at 1 p.m. sharp, Ride I will offer you a chance to meet some new riding friends. With the opportunity to discover some new route options HBC offers through the year in the Wayzata area. The rides will start at Gear West Bike Shop, 1786 Wayzata Blvd, Long Lake, MN (parking one block north in the park). Remember to bring your helmet and if you need air for your tires or minor bike adjustments, please come early so the staff at the bike shop has time to help you before the ride.

HBC Progressive Ride II will be on May 18 and Ride III will be on June 8, see more details on the HBC Ride Events Calendar and RSVP.

Hiawatha Bike Golden Valley/Hopkins Progressive Ride I  

On Saturday, May 11, 2019, at 1 p.m. sharp, Ride I will offer you a chance to meet some new riding friends. With the opportunity to discover some new route options HBC offers through the year in the Golden Valley/Hopkins area. The rides will start at Tonka Cycle Bike Shop, 16 Shady Oak Rd, Hopkins, MN (parking one block north). Remember to bring your helmet and if you need air for your tires or minor bike adjustments, please come early so the staff at the bike shop has time to help you before the ride.

HBC Progressive Ride II will be on June 11 and Ride III will be on June 29, see more details on the HBC Ride Events Calendar and RSVP.

Hiawatha Bike Edina/Richfield Progressive Ride I  

On Saturday, May 18, 2019, at 1 p.m. sharp, Ride I will offer you a chance to meet some new riding friends. With the opportunity to discover some new route options HBC offers through the year in the Edina/Richfield area. The rides will start at Brown Cycle, 2323 W 66th St, Richfield, MN (parking lot rear of store). Remember to bring your helmet and if you need air for your tires or minor bike adjustments, please come early so the staff at the bike shop has time to help you before the ride.

HBC Progressive Ride II will be on June 2 and Ride III will be on June 22, see more details on the HBC Ride Events Calendar and RSVP.

Hiawatha Bike Roseville/N. St Paul Progressive Ride II 

On Saturday, May 18, 2019, at 1 p.m. sharp, Ride II will offer you another chance to meet some new riding friends. With the opportunity to discover some new route options HBC offers through the year in the north St. Paul area. The rides will start at Bicycle Chain (parking lot near the street at 1712 Lexington Ave North). Remember to bring your helmet and if you need air for your tires or minor bike adjustments, please come early so the staff at the bike shop has time to help you before the ride.

HBC Progressive Ride III will be on June 8 see more details on the HBC Ride Events Calendar and RSVP.

About the Tour D’ Amico

Find old and new friends on the Tour D'Amico Bike Ride

Find old and new friends on the Tour D’Amico Bike Ride

For more information on the Tour D’ Amico on the 4th of July, check out their website here.

If you are looking for a gently used bike in the south Twin City Metro, you may be in luck if you are in town on Saturday, May 11th.

Rick’s gently used bike sale benefits Kids ‘n Kinship Youth Program

Are you looking for a gently used bike? If you are and you are in the south Twin City Metro on Saturday, May 11th, you may be in luck. For the eleventh year, Rick’s annual used bike sale benefits a kid’s youth program and you can find a deal on a used bike. This year Rick Anderson has over 500 bicycles primed and ready for that #NextBikeAdventure.

Rick Anderson working in his garage so a wide assortment of gently used bikes are ready for the sale

Gently Used bike sale details

The public bike sale will be held Saturday, May 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Superior Service Center in Apple Valley, MN at 14580 Glenda Drive (Located at the Red
Line’s 147th Street bus stop.) S

There are models for all ages and skill levels, including some top-quality cycles from Trek,
Specialized, Cannondale, Schwinn, Raleigh, Giant, and Fuji. There will be road bikes, mountain
bikes, cross bikes, city bikes, cruisers, hybrids, BMX, vintage, classics and even a recumbent tandem. With 400 bikes for sale, they will range in price from $30 to $500 dollars.  Much more
information and a map to the sale are at www.ricksbikesale.com.

Used Bike Sale Benefits Youth Program

The bikes generally sell fast. Anderson recommends arriving promptly at 9 a.m. Monetary
donations to Kids ‘n Kinship and DARTS will be accepted on site. Anyone who purchases a bike
can register to win one of two $25 gift certificates for Famous Dave’s BBQ restaurant in Apple
Valley.

For additional information about the Kids ‘n Kinship mentoring program, visit
www.Kidsnkinship.org. For additional information about DARTS, visit https://www.darts1.org/

The Dakota County Kids ‘n Kinship is a private non-profit organization that matches children who have a need for an additional supportive relationship with carefully screened adult volunteers. Once a match is made, volunteers spend 1-4 hours per week with the child. Typical activities might include picnicking, attending sporting events, sharing interests or going to the movies.

A fun event drawing in professional bicycle racers for some great blood, sweat, and gear competition around every turn, the North Star Grand Prix (NSGP).

Last week to save Minnesota’s North Star Grand Prix and bike festival

Do you like the idea of having the excitement of bicycle racing here in Minnesota? A fun bike event drawing in professional bicycle racers for some great blood, sweat, and gear competition around every turn? If so, the organizers of the North Star Grand Prix (NSGP) would appreciate any and all assistance in the final week to help them save the event.

Racing around a tight corner on the popular Minneapolis Uptown course (photo Stephanie Williams)

 

 

 

A fun bike event since 1999

The North Star Grand Prix volunteers have worked for the last year to upgrade the twentieth annual event to a Women’s 2.2 UCI Stage Race and ‘Bring the World’ to the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. They have secured three great venues and race courses to showcase high-quality professional bicycle racing for fans, athletes, and host communities.

An all-out sprint to the finish line in Downtown St Paul (photo Stephanie Williams)

The North Star Grand Prix faces a budget shortfall for 2019 and has set a May 3rd deadline to raise the necessary funds. If at that time the funds are not secured the event will be canceled for 2019 and the organization will make no further efforts to host the event in the future. The North Star Grand Prix is still open to any and all sponsorship discussions and also has created a GoFundMe page to raise the necessary funds to host the 2019 event.

Can you help?

Please consider supporting this event on their GoFundMe page and share the link on your social media platforms.

For sponsor opportunities, contact sponsorship@northstargrandprix.com

A victory crossing the finish line (photo Stephanie Williams)

The NSGP Minnesota stage race was first held in 1999 and was known as the Nature Valley Grand Prix up until 2014. … Originally, organizers planned a five-day stage race, June 12-16. However, they have since scaled back plans, making it a three-day event. It is tentatively scheduled for June 14-16 if funding can be secured.

Iowa and Minnesota bike guides are available online

With summer just around the curve, both Iowa and the Minnesota Bike Guides are digitally available to download. In our 10th year of printing and distributing the Iowa Bike/Hike Guide and the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide, enjoy!

Where to find a printed copy of the Iowa or Minnesota bike guides

If you enjoy the digital version of either the Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guides we have a limited quantity of both available in the handy printed format. Please click here!

Like the e-version, each print copy is full of bike-friendly maps, bike events, and helpful tip sheets. In a handy pocket-sized format, they are perfect to page through and jot down a few notes when planning your #NextBikeAdventure.

Help us by sharing your comments on this year’s Bike/Hike Guides

As we wrap up our 9th year of printing these handy, pocket-size booklets we would like to hear, what you like about the guide and how we can make it better. So we can continue to add more links and helpful information to assist you in finding your next adventure. Please page through the Guide’s events, maps, and helpful tips sections and give us your comments at poke@havefunbiking.com – Thanks!

Check out our ‘Pic of the Day’

Have you seen our daily feature picture at HaveFunBiking.com, on Facebook, or at #nextbikeadventure on Instagram? If not, moving into our 10th year as a bicycle tourism media, check them out, like us and or follow us. If you have a good photo with a caption, send it our way.

Along with a good caption, photo(s) should be a minimum of 800 pixels wide and deep or larger for us to consider using them. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

So check out the guides, have fun and keep riding!

What started as way to get more people active, the "30 Days of Biking" campaign has grown in popularity and shows added heart-health value.

Have fun, stay healthy with 30 Days of Biking in April

What started as a way to get more people active, the “30 Days of Biking” campaign has grown in popularity and shows added heart-healthy values as the drive moves forward. For many, biking in April leaves much to be desired, unless there is above normal spring conditions. But it doesn’t have to be a major ordeal. With 30 Days of Biking, you sign up with your own set of rules on how far and where you want to ride each day. It might be as little as a spin around the block, a few laps around the underground parking garage or spinning at the gym, all depending on the weather. Then as May approaches you will not only have bragging rights, you will feel a lot better and be at your peak ready for the summer bike season.

The only rule, dress to meet your own bodies comfort level no matter if its in April any any other time of the year.

The only rule, dress to meet your own bodies comfort level no matter if it’s in April or any other time of the year.

Cycling can improve your health keeping you on top of your game.

 Did you know that just 20 minutes of cycling in a day can cut in half your risk of dying from a heart-related disease? You will also feel better and may help improve your muscle for walking, general balance, and climbing stairs according to a recent study conducted by Purdue University, in Indiana. The study concluded that regular cycling can cut your risk of heart disease by a whopping 50 percent. Let’s see now, besides bragging rights, if I turn my bikes crank each day in April I will feel better – where do I sign up?

Signing up and pledging to ride 30 Days in April biking, it’s free!

The 30-day campaign is a pledge to ride your bike every day in April, any distance, any destination and share your adventures online at  #30daysofbiking.  So tell your friends, sign up and ride together and make sure your bike is ready to roll.

Join 30 Days of Biking through April, wearing this tee-shirt and feeling good about yourself.

Join 30 Days of Biking through April, wearing this tee-shirt and feeling good about yourself.

30 Days of Biking is a springtime tradition founded in 2010 by two avid cyclists in Minneapolis. Last year over 10,000 bicyclists from St. Paul, to San Diego, to Düsseldorf, Germany, join this “community of joyful cyclists.” Will you join them?

Very simply, it’s a pledge to ride your bike every day in April, no matter, what the weather or if it is one or thirty-miles each day and trainer bike miles count too!

Join 30 Days of Biking biking, April 1 through 30 and be a winner.

Join 30 Days of Biking, April 1 through 30 and be a winner with better health and more friends.

Sometimes you have to bike in the rain as spring arrives, so make it fun!

Depending on the weather, you sign up and set your own rules as to how far you ride. It might be as little as a spin around the block.Depending on the weather, you sign up and set your own rules as to how far you ride. It might be as little as a spin around the block.

Staying dry is the most important and difficult part of riding. The best way to keep dry is to wear waterproof clothing. While most synthetic fabrics still insulate when wet, being wet diminishes their ability to keep you warm. Therefore, a waterproof jacket and pants are a great way to start, but waterproof socks and gloves make the outfit complete. While a lot of materials are naturally waterproof, once perforated with stitching, zipped closed with generic zippers, and left to be loose at all the cuffs, their waterproofing goes out the window. Before you go out and buy anything labeled “waterproof,” read on to understand that all waterproofing is not the same.

Quick and easy bicycle maintenance tips for 30 Days of Biking

Like any other mechanical device, routine bicycle maintenance and cleaning will keep your bike in optimal condition when riding 30 Days in April. Additionally, routine bicycle maintenance will make your bike safe to ride whenever you need it. Where do you start? What do you use? Well, here are a few tips to put you on the right track!

After finishing your daily 30 Days challenge here are a few more tips to prepare your bike for the next day.

Get ready, make a pledge to 30 Days of Biking today!

 It’s easy and no monetary costs to you. Then you share your adventures online with #30daysofbiking #nextbikeadventure and have fun while supporting a good cause, your health!

The best way to stay dry is to wear waterproof clothing. While most synthetic fabrics still insulate when wet, being wet diminishes their ability to keep you warm.

Staying dry with waterproof clothing is a sure fire way to stay comfortable

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Biking in the rain as spring arrives, staying dry is the most important and difficult part of riding. The best way to keep dry is to wear waterproof clothing. While most synthetic fabrics still insulate when wet, being wet diminishes their ability to keep you warm. Therefore, a waterproof jacket and pants are a great way to start, but waterproof socks and gloves make the outfit complete. While a lot of materials are naturally waterproof, once perforated with stitching, zipped closed with generic zippers, and left to be loose at all the cuffs, their waterproofing goes out the window. Before you go out and buy anything labeled “waterproof,” read on to understand that all waterproofing is not the same.

Waterproof Clothing and Gear for Staying Dry

To keep water out, look for waterproof clothes that have sealed or welded seams (see image). Also, look for waterproof zippers (pictured) or large flaps that prevent water from driving through the zipper. Make sure all the cuffs are adjustable enough to be snugged tight against your skin.

Examples of cycling clothes with taped seams (Left), welded seams (Center), and a waterproof zipper (Right)

A waterproof garment is measured in mm of fluid. For example, a fabric that was 5,000  mm waterproof is tested as follows. The fabric is placed over the end of a long tube. Following that, the tube is filled with 5,000 mm of water and the fabric needs to support the pressure without leaking. Take a look at the table below for a quick reference.

Rating Resistance Weather Conditions
0 mm – 1,500 mm Water resistant/snowproof Dry conditions or very light rain
1,500 mm – 5,000 mm Waterproof Light to average rain
5,000 mm – 10,000 mm Very Waterproof Moderate to heavy rain
10,000 mm- 20,000 mm Highly Waterproof Heavy rain

 Breathe Sweat Out

In addition to measuring waterproofness, textiles are also measured for their ability to breath water vapor out. Breathable means that water vapor (sweat) being produced by your body can escape through the fabric. Breathable fabrics work because water vapor is smaller than water droplets. In order to breath, the material will be perforated with holes small enough to stop water droplets from getting in, but large enough to allow water vapor to escape.

Breathability is important because, as far as insulation is concerned, it’s just as bad to get soaked with sweat as with rain. Therefore, using a breathable material in tandem with base layers designed to pull moisture off your skin is a sure fire way to stay dry and warm.

Breathability is expressed in terms of how many grams (g) of water vapor can pass through a square meter (m2) of the fabric from the inside to the outside in a 24 hour period. To that effect, the larger the number, the more breathable the fabric. For example, a coat with 5,000 gsm breathability, 5,000 grams of water pass through a square meter of the fabric.

Waterproof even when it isn’t raining

During the spring thaw snow melts during the day and freezes again at night. In my commutes, during the thaw, I focus on wearing waterproof clothing to keep warm. The rivers of salty water I end up riding through would soak any non-waterproof clothing rendering it useless.

When Waterproof is Not Important

As the temperature rises, waterproofing becomes less and less important. It’s less important because, at a certain temperature, waterproof materials cannot breathe enough to keep you dry. Therefore, if it rains hard enough, and it’s warm enough, you’re going to get wet.

In the spring and fall, be sure to have your waterproof gear ready. The cool temps and wet conditions can be very dangerous if you aren’t prepared. Being dry is the #1 way to maintain your comfort and safety while riding in inclement conditions.