Category Archives: Riding Tips

Reflectors are forms of passive visibility, while lights are great for active visibility. Read on to see where each one is helpful and most efficient.

Top 5 tips for a very rewarding fall bike ride

by Jess Leong, HaveFunBiking.com

Bike riding in the fall can come with many challenges. However, it can also be gratifying. While bicycle season is winding down for some, for many other cyclists, their two wheels are a favorite mode of transportation to explore the incredible autumn landscape. Pedaling along the colorful autumn roads or trails is so breathtaking that I will admit that fall bike riding is one of my favorite times to ride. Not too hot, not too cold, and there are fewer insects once the first frost hits.

If you’re planning to ride around this fall, check out these top tips before heading out.

Fall Bike Ride Tip 1: Layer It Up

For fall bike riding layering your clothing is key.

For fall bike riding layering your clothing is critical.

The temperature fluctuation can be confusing when you want to get dressed and go biking. The morning can look like 47 or 48 degrees Fahrenheit, but by the afternoon, it could be in the lower to mid-70s! The best way to combat this is by wearing multiple layers that you can easily remove and put back on to find your perfect temperature. When layering, a good rule of thumb is to make sure that whatever you decide to put on last will b the first thing you’d want to take off!

Pro Tip: Start while still slightly chilly. As you ride, you’ll warm up, and that chilliness will go away. However, bring an extra layer in case you stop along the way! You want to stay warm when you’re not riding.

Not sure what to do for layering? Check out our article about how to layer, why it’s beneficial, and what to wear.

Fall Bike Riding Tip 2: Beware of Wet Leaf Piles

The falling leaves are gorgeous, and leaf piles can be fun. However, a wet, crunchy leaf pile can be a hazard when riding your bike through it. Not only can water splash upwards onto your bike and legs, but the bike tires can slip on the leaves. When leaves are wet, they become slick or slippery. With a regular bike tire being thinner, it has less surface area for surface tension. A bike can slip out from under you if a leaf gives away or gets stuck onto the tire.

Luckily, this is less of a problem if you have a fat bike. The larger tires add more traction to the surface and, therefore, is less likely to slip. Even with the lesser likelihood of slipping, caution should still be used.

Also, wet leaf piles can conceal several different items. This can include nails, glass, or other objects that can puncture your tires. No one wants a flat while out riding. Sometimes you can’t avoid riding through the piles, but you can ride around the leaves.

Fall Bike Riding Tip 3: Stay Visible

For fall bike riding high visible clothing and saddle bag gear are easier for motorists to see.

For fall bike riding, high-visible clothing and saddle bag gear are more accessible for motorists.

Dusk is coming earlier and earlier as the season continues. This means the evening intrudes on some great riding opportunities in the daylight. While some days will be saved temporarily when we fall backward an hour on November 6th this year, the time change can still negatively affect cyclists.

When times change, it affects a person’s sleeping routine leading to a lack of sleep. This sleep deprivation makes people less attentive while driving. While November 6th is a Sunday this year, you would think that people will most likely sleep in, decreasing the number of accidents. However, cyclists and other pedestrians should be aware and be extra cautious that day and the day following. Why? Because people need time to adjust to the time change. According to a study done in Sleep Medicine and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, it has been found that there is a significant increase in fatal accidents following the changes in daylight savings time when it occurs on a Sunday or Monday.

This means that staying visible is even more critical than usual. This isn’t limited to the morning but throughout the day, whether on the road or trail.

You can do this in several ways, depending on what you are comfortable doing. Plus, the more you do, the more you increase your visibility.

Wear Light or Neon Colored Clothing

Wearing bright colors will make you stand out. If someone doesn’t see you begin with, the color will catch their attention, and they will find it easier to keep tabs on where you are. On the other hand, wearing dark colors isn’t recommended. Dark colors can blend into the dark and reduce your visibility. Natural dyes can also blend you into the background or sidelines, making you less visible.

Wear Reflective Clothing

Reflective clothing is a must when cycling in the early morning before there’s much daylight or in the evening. This way, when the headlights on a car shine on you, you’re immediately recognized.

Add Lights to Your Bike

For fall bike riding add bike light front and back to be more noticeable.

Add bike light front and back for fall bike riding to be more noticeable.

Did you know it’s a law to have lights on your bike? You have to do it, but you should also do it because you’re interested in staying safe.

It’s important to note that lights aren’t required for daytime riding. However, since we never know when it might get dark out, and we can’t plan for all those times when we ride late at night, it’s essential to have a light handy. If it’s already attached to your bike, then it’s something you don’t have to worry about!

Unfortunately, there are no excuses if you get pulled over by a police officer for riding in dark conditions without one. Every state might have slightly different bike-light laws (with many similarities). For bike laws and more about lighting here in Minnesota, The Department of Transportation has a condensed document to review.

Fall Bike Riding Tip  4: Check Your Tire Pressure and Tires

As discussed earlier, leaves can hide different items that can puncture your tire. It’s not always avoidable, so you must check your tires occasionally. This shouldn’t be limited to the fall and winter but should be checked every time before you begin riding. Doing this allows you to catch any problems sooner rather than later.

Another thing to check is tire pressure. While fall isn’t as cold as winter, the cold can still alter the tire pressure. So, checking to ensure the tire pressure is perfect before going out for your ride is best.

Fall Bike Riding Tip 5: The Usual Tools

Remember to bring the usual tools you usually get for your bike adventures! If anything happens, you want to ensure you have all the materials you need to fix it. To know these, check out our article about the tools you should have for any ride.

With these tips, you’re sure to have a great and safe extended season as you continue to ride your bike through autumn.

Keep safe, have fun, and ride on!

 

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. Once you start commuting by bike, you will find the hassle factor lessens while your overall trip acts as your workout for the day. You are saving yourself hours in the gym. Here is a list of other beneficial necessities to make commuting by bike 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 have to have is a bike. However, here is a list of items that will make your ride safer and a few that will make it easier to function at work or class properly once you are there for added comfort and safety. 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 an essential product you can buy after the bike. While self-preservation typically keeps us upright on our bikes, while commuting, we need to consider many other actions we need to protect ourselves 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, become lighter, fit better, and are more comfortable than ever.

Lights

While the helmet is a crucial safety product, it is not the only important one. Lights, whether it is day or night or your level of bike riding skill, are essential to ensure you have the safest ride possible. Sometimes, when 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, making it susceptible to theft. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help protect it. Here’s some info on the different bike locks and other tips to ensure your bike’s safety.

Waterproof Bag

Being caught in the rain is not possible when commuting; it is inevitable. 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. Plenty of waterproof panniers are available for riders looking to take their things on the bike.

Bike Commuting Niceties

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

Shoes and pedals

Most riders only consider clipless pedals a competitive advantage, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Few things are as practical as clipless pedals and cycling shoes when riding a bicycle. There is a simple equation that always holds: control = comfort. In the quest for more control of your bike, 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, many 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 comfort and unencumbered movement around the bicycle. Baggy shorts are trendy for their casual look and the advent of pockets. Even cycling skirts (called skorts) offer excellent comfort and a tremendous off-the-bike look. The padding will make your ride more comfortable, whatever short you decide.

Fenders

Fenders are a standard option for many. They are light and 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 fender.

For winter, studded tires are helpful.

Like winter tires for your car, studded tires are 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 exercise that will give you better attention, higher energy levels, and some free time to think without critical or significant distractions.

About John Brown, the author

As a lifelong cyclist and consummate tinkerer, John operates Browns Bicycle in Richfield, MN. It all started for him in grade school when the bike bug bit, and that particular fever was still there. Now, and over the past thirty years, he has worked at every level in the bike industry. He is starting, like most, sweeping floors and learning anything he could about bikes. He eventually graduated as a service manager and then as a store manager. Through the years, he has spent extensive time designing and sourcing bicycles and parts for some of the largest bike companies in the world. All the while focusing on helping as many people as possible enjoy the love of riding a bike. In that pursuit, he has taught classes (both scheduled and impromptu) on all things bikes. John also believes in helping every rider attain their optimal fit on the cycle of their dreams. Please feel free to stop in any time and talk about bikes, fit, and parts, or share your latest ride. You can also see John’s tricks and tips on the Brown Bicycle Facebook Page.

Visibility can add to a memorable ride in fall’s limited light

by John Brown

With school now in session and Fall in full swing, using gear that is passively bright is a critical component to being better seen while riding our bikes. The two primary forms of visibility we need to focus on are passive and active visibility. Things like reflectors and bright colors are forms of passive visibility. In contrast, lights and blinkers are great examples of operational visibility. Read on to see where each one is helpful and most efficient.

Using visibility passively

Most autumn rides start in the light and only devolve into darkness as the ride stretches. Most riders rely on passive visibility to get them home in these cases. Provided your ride is under street lamps or some form of light, that passive visibility will get you home safely. The most common form of passive visibility is a lowly reflector. The CPSC requires these plastic devices to be installed on all bicycles sold in the united states. You will find glasses in two colors, white (front and wheels) and Red (rear).

Additionally, many apparel companies install reflective materials on their products. Like the reflector on your bike, these reflective materials will take any light thrown at you and return it to the source of the morning. Passive reflectivity falls short when there is no light source to activate visibility.

This jacket offers excellent visibility through color and reflective materials.

Sealing makes some excellent winter gloves that are both visible and insulated.

Using visibility Actively

When the area lacks a light source, you must create that light to keep yourself safe as a rider. For cyclists, Lights and blinkers are the most common devices for light. The light and the blinker differ because blinkers are designed to be seen, while lights allow a rider to see and be seen.

Great lights are usually rechargeable and use an LED bulb. These lights are necessary for riders who spend much time off-road or on unlit paths. While most mount onto the bars or helmet, a few companies integrate lights into the bike or your helmet.

MagicShine Bike Helmet and remote (inset)

Several bike helmets offer lights with a remote (inset)

Blinkers are usually battery operated and use an LED to flash intermittently. These blinkers can easily be mounted to your bicycle. In some cases, blinkers are incorporated into helmets, gloves, shoes, saddles, and handlebars.

The Omni Bike Helmet, with photo receptor covered and lights on.

The Omni Bike Helmet, with a photoreceptor, is covered and lights on.

What to use this Fall

Mount a pair of blinkers to the bike (one front and one back). Switch on the blinkers when you get stuck in low light and high traffic. A front light makes things safer if your route will be unlit for any portion. Overall, think ahead before your next ride and pack to ensure you can see in the dark while others can see you.

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.

Bicycle maintenance will keep your bike in optimal condition

by John Brown

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

Tip 1: For optimal bicycle maintenance, stay away from the hose

Bike running smooth hose and bucket
Angry hose and happy bucket

Every moving part on your bicycle needs lubrication to stay in optimal condition. The pressure of water coming from a hose will force water into areas that need to be lubricated. The water will displace grease and leave your bicycle susceptible to corrosion and excess wear. Instead of a hose, fill a bucket with warm, soapy water (Dawn dish detergent works well) and use a large sponge to clean all the parts of your bicycle. Rinse all the soap and gunk off with fresh water, and let the bicycle air dry.

Tip 2: Focusing on the drivetrain

If you have a particularly dirty drivetrain* and want to get it clean, you will need the following:Bike running smooth supplies

• Degreaser
• A stiff-bristled brush
• Rubber gloves
• Protective eyewear

 

*(the gears, chain, and the little pulley wheels on your derailleur)

  • First: Start by applying a liberal amount of degreaser to the chain, gears, and derailleur pulleys. Also, pay close attention not to direct the degreaser toward the center of either gear set. Doing so will drive the degreaser into bearings that need to remain lubricated.
  • Second: Once well saturated, begin freeing up dirt and debris by scrubbing back and forth with the stiff-bristled brush.
  • Third: After you have broken up all the contaminants, rinse the drivetrain with a warm soap/water solution.

Tip 3: reapply lubricant

Most areas of a bicycle are protected from the elements with rubber seals. Those rubber seals do a good job of keeping lubricants where they are supposed to be. Furthermore, it also means that the only bicycle areas that can be lubricated without disassembly are the chain and cables.

Lubricating the chain

bicycle maintenance
Proper lubrication is essential to keep your bike in optimal condition.
  • First: To lube the chain, prop your bicycle up so you can freely backpedal. While backpedaling, coat the chain evenly with a lubricant like in the image above.
  • Second: Fold a rag around the chain between the lowest pully and the chainrings. Next, backpedal with your right hand while holding the rag in place with your left. You want to try and remove all the excess lubricant you can. When complete, the chain will feel almost dry to the touch, and that’s OK. Even though the outside of the chain seems under-lubricated, there is still ample lubricant between the chain’s links and within the rollers.

Lubricating the cables

If shifting of braking feels rough at the lever, you may need to lube the cables. Here’s how to do that:

  • First: Apply lubricant in small doses where the cable enters the housing (see below).
  • Second: Cycle the gears, or squeeze the brakes until capillary action draws the lube into the cable housing.

bicycle maintenance

Ensuring your bicycle is clean and properly lubricated is essential to make sure your bike is in optimal condition.

About John Brown, the author

As a lifelong cyclist and consummate tinkerer, John operates Browns Bicycle in Richfield, MN. It all started for him in grade school when the bike bug bit and that particular fever is still there. Now, and over the past thirty years, he has worked at every level in the bike industry. Started, like most, sweeping floors and learning anything he could about bikes. He eventually graduated as a service manager and then store manager.  Through the years, he has spent extensive time designing and sourcing bicycles and parts for some of the largest bike companies in the world. All the while focusing on helping as many people as possible enjoy the love of riding a bike. In that pursuit, he has taught classes (both scheduled and impromptu) on all things bikes. John also believes in helping every rider attain their optimal fit on the bike of their dreams. Please feel free to stop in any time and talk about bikes, fit, and parts, or share your latest ride. You can also see more of John’s tricks and tips on the Brown Bicycle Facebook Page.

E-bike assistance after hip or knee surgery

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

Recovering from hip or knee surgery can be fun when adding an electric-assist bike to the post-rehab process. After my second hip replacement and talking to others with hip and knee procedures, the e-bike made the rehab process easier. I achieved full-joint motion and an active lifestyle after surgery and physical therapy (PT). Especially with the improvements in electric bike technologies in the last few years.

The Tern HSD p-9 E-bike I used for my rehab.

This time, I used an e-bike from Tern Bicycles that helped me keep a comfortable cadence regardless of the terrain. A massive help in low-impact exercise to aid both the hip and knee rehabilitation process.

Incorporating an e-bike into your post-rehab process

Using an e-bike in the post-rehab process can be a great exercise. Ask your doctor or physical therapist if it is suitable for your specific condition. Then, once you move on a stationary bike, add some light resistance with an outdoor e-bike. Usually, within four to six weeks post, this will help improve the strength around the joint(s) you had replaced. Your therapist can help you determine the right amount of resistance settings when it’s time to convert to an e-bike. Just remember, if you are feeling any abnormal pain, inform your therapist and decrease the resistance or stop.

Going from a stationary bike to an e-bike in the post-rehab process

Using the Tern e-bike in my post-rehab schedule.

During my hip rehabilitation, I talked to several physical therapists at Twin Cities Orthopedics. They all recommended using a stationary bicycle for two to three weeks to help reduce the swelling. For a knee replacement, you may need to wait an additional week or two before starting to ride outdoors.

After six weeks of using a stationary bike and a regular walking regimen, I was able to start riding my bike outside.

From a stationary trainer to an e-bike outdoors

Once your physician clears you to start riding, take it slow and stop if you feel any sharp pain. Most e-bikes allow you to control the amount of electric assistance you use to gain a steady pedal rhythm or cadence. Start with the highest pedal assist level in a low gear and gently spin. This will ensure that you don’t stress your rehabilitated joint. As you progress, you can gradually decrease the level of assistance for a more robust workout.

The advantages of using e-bikes as compared to other activities

As you can see in this video, riding an e-bike after knee replacement surgery provides the perfect balance to make a complete recovery. This is because a bicycle can strengthen your muscles and increase your mobility without putting too much strain on your joints when exercising. With the pedal assist of electric power, the e-bike requires less physical intensity and allows you to retain an average cadence level to heal faster.

Finding the perfect gear for cadence

There are many e-bikes to choose from when selecting the right one.

Finding the perfect e-bicycle that allows you to pedal comfortably after surgery can be challenging. We all have a natural cadence pace, and the body performs best as the bicycle’s crank spins with steady yet comfortable resistance. The goal of an e-bike is to allow you to shift gears and motor speed to allow you to pedal at a stable and comfortable pace even as the topography changes.

Plus, stopping, starting, or accelerating with an e-bike maximizes your chances of a full recovery and a rapid return to regular activity.

Electric bike technologies will improve the post-rehab process.

As I mention above, e-bikes are continuously changing for the better. After replacing my right hip in 2014, very few e-bikes are available on the market. At the time, they either came with a front or rear hub motor.

Look for an e-bike with reputable parts and a 3 to 5-year warranty.

Now, with mid-drive motors mounted directly into the crank, you have a balanced power movement from the pedals to the drivetrain. The Tern HSD E-bike with a class 1 Bosch motor system was perfect for my recent hip post-rehab process. Thanks to Perennial Cycles, in Minneapolis, for their assistance.

Some added e-bike buying tips for the post-rehab process.

After talking to others who have used an e-bike in the post-rehab process, here are a few more suggestions when looking for an e-bike that fits your needs and budget:

  1. Make sure the e-bike has a dropper seat post (especially for knee rehab), as adjustments will need to be made throughout the rehab process
  2. Also recommended is having a riser or adjustable handlebar setup, so you sit upright instead of leaning forward
  3. Use a non-slip pedal – a Chester pedal with pins works excellent and allows you to quickly dismount to move your foot to the ground and stabilize your balance.

    Enjoy the post-rehab process with an e-bike.

 

E-bike-maintenance, and what if it needs a repair?

Just like a regular bicycle, doing an ABC (Air, Brake & Chain) check regularly can help you avoid any unnecessary repairs and maximize your e-bike investment. E-bikes aren’t a one-and-done kind of purchase. You’ll need to consider the maintenance costs or have a good warranty because repairs can a shocker.

E-bike maintenance and repair

Here are some general maintenance tips to help you avoid those costly repairs.

Regularly, do an ABC (Air, Brake & Chain) check

Before you go out for a ride, always remember your ABC’s

A is for air – check the tire pressure regularly

B is for brakes – are they soft have them adjusted

C is for Cranks, Chain, and Cassette – make sure they are clean and lubed.

Check = take a quick ride to check it all before you go on your next e-bike adventure!

Schedule a tune-up

Having an e-bike in good working order is a pleasure to ride

On average, you should schedule a tune-up with your local bike shop every six months or every 1,000 miles you have ridden. To protect your warranty, check their recommendations for service as they may differ.

A savings $$$ hint – bringing your e-bike in for a tune-up in the winter months is a good time to visit, learn, and get a good repair rate.

Other Maintainance costs

These tune-ups can range in cost depending on each e-bike’s condition, from $70 up to $250. This price can increase if they need to replace any worn components.

Having said that, maintenance costs don’t just stop there. A flat tire could cost you between $10 and $20. A tire replacement can cost up to $80 per tire. New tire tubes cost between $5 and $20.

Another maintenance factor worth considering is brake adjustments. Your brakes are likely to get misaligned from constant use. This repair can cost between $20 and $35. However, if you have a good relationship with a bike shop, some of the smaller charges may be waived, especially if you bought your bike from their shop.

What if my e-bike needs any major repairs?

First, if you have a warranty, it may cover those repairs. Then schedule a time to take it into your local shop.

If you’re buying an e-bike online, see what sort of repair service or online support the company provides. Then make sure your local or favorite bike shop can fix the electrical components of the e-bike you are selecting.

Bike tune-up tricks for better cycling performance

Do you want your bike to go faster, ride more effortlessly, and shift smoother after your annual bike shop check-up? Here are some bike tune-up tricks that you may want to keep handy.

Bike tune-up tricks to remember.

Improvements in these areas are often relatively easy to accomplish with just a few simple steps. Try out these four simple tune-up tasks below, which don’t require any special knowledge or tools, and you should see a long-lasting improvement in your bikes performance and ease of riding:

1. Clean your chain and lubricate often

Light lubrication is the key, wiping off excess to prevent dirt build up.

Light lubrication on your bike chain is the key; wipe off excess to prevent dirt build-up.

The chain and sprockets on your bike play a key part in the transfer of power from your legs to your wheels, making them go round and round. When the crank and gears collect dirt and grit and get gummy, not only does it slow you down, but they also wear out faster. Keeping your chain clean and lubricated is one of the best ways to keep your bike working well.
• How to clean your chain – quick and easy check out this video.

Tip: Use lightweight oil specially designed for bikes. Please avoid motor oil as it is too heavy and will quickly attract dirt and crud. Want a big greasy chainring mark on your leg? Using too much oil or the wrong kind is a guaranteed way to get one. Light lubrication is the key, and wipe off excess at the end.  

2. Lubricate the moving parts of your derailleurs.

Keep your derailleurs clean for smooth shifting.

Keep the derailleur on your bike clean for smooth shifting.

Your bike has quite a few moving metal parts that are vulnerable to dirt and moisture and should be lubricated regularly to keep your bike happy and is in good working condition.

Pivot points on the brakes and derailleurs are good examples of places you should target because they are vulnerable to attracting dirt and grit due to their placement on your bike. You can spot many of these places by watching your bike in action and seeing where metal parts move against and around each other.

For instance, think about your brakes. Most road bikes are mounted on a bolt on the frame above your wheel. Then, when you squeeze the lever, the brake pivots around this bolt as it contracts. These places where you want to apply a couple of drops of oil.

3. Inspect your brake pads.

check your brakes to see that the pads are clean and aligned correctly.

Check your brakes on your bike to see that the pads are clean and aligned correctly.

A quick check of your brake pads will often reveal potential problems that are easy to fix. You want to check:
• Are your brake pads adequately aligned? Brake pads are the little rubber things that clamp down on your rims to slow you when you squeeze the brake levers. Make sure they are hitting the rims evenly and aren’t either rubbing the tire or missing your rim partially or entirely.

• Are the brake pads toed in? The bike brake pads should also be “toed-in,” which means the leading edge of the pads should touch the bike rim first when you lightly apply the brakes. The pads squish a little, and you should get complete contact to the rim when you squeeze down hard – This helps prevent squeaking.

• Check for junk embedded in the brake pads. Inspect the surface of the brake pads where they meet the rims, and using a sharp pointy instrument like a knife, pick out any bits of sand or metal that may have become embedded in the pad. Removing this grit prevents the pads from wearing and scratching your rims and helps them provide more even and consistent stopping power. Need more info, check out this video.

4. Check the pressure on your tires.

Always check your tires air pressure.

Always check your bike tires’ air pressure.

Checking the tire pressure is one of the simplest things you can do to have the best results. And surprisingly, most people overlook this both on their bikes and car. Paying attention to keeping the proper level of air pressure in your tires accomplishes many things, including:
 Makes pedaling easier
• Protects your rims from damage
• Prolongs the life of your tires
• And it makes it much less likely that you will get a flat
.

And, checking for proper air pressure in your tires before every ride is quick and easy to do.

Simply look for the recommended air pressure for your bike’s tires. It will be printed on the sidewall of the tire in both English and/or metric units. When you know what that number is, inflate the tire, and check the air pressure as you pump go to ensure that you’re on target. You’ll need a tire gauge, either built into your pump or a separate gauge, to measure the tires’ air pressure. Be sure to check the pressure frequently as you pump up the tire so that you do not overinflate your tire. See this video for more information.

Also, take a quick moment to check your tires for proper inflation before each ride and add more air if needed. It is not uncommon for tires to gradually lose air over several days, even without having a flat that needs to be replaced. Taking just this simple and easy step will prove to be a valuable one to you in the long run.

If you are still having problems, need to adjust the derailleurs, or get some new tires if the ones on your bike are several years old, visit your local bike shop, they will fix you up and share some more easy maintenance tips.

Now go out and have fun riding!

5-tips to extend a Lithium battery life for e-Bikes and lights

by Jonathon Monk

Electric bicycles are an increasingly common sight in cities throughout the world.

Lithium_Battery-1

Tips for charging your new Lithium Battery

With more and more people choosing to take to two wheels, these bikes offer the perfect opportunity to enhance fitness while playing an important role in helping to reduce the carbon emissions generated by other forms of transport. These bikes are helping to persuade many non-cyclists to start pedaling. However, it is essential to understand that making your purchase of a new e-Bike or light with a lithium battery is just the first step.

Extend the life of your Lithium battery

Once you have bought your e-bike or light, it is crucial that you take the necessary steps to ensure that it continues to run at its optimum level, and few aspects of an e-bike are more critical than its battery.

Enhanced technology has seen many electric bike manufacturers utilize the benefits of long-life lithium batteries. While these batteries offer a significant upgrade over their predecessors, it is still essential that specific guidelines are followed to maximize the batteries’ lifespan and run time.

5 Lithium battery life tips

Below I have outlined several e-bike battery care tips that will help you along the way.
1. Owners Manual – Read and follow your bike’s accompanying manual and warning stickers. If you have any questions, call your bike dealer or the company directly and ask.

2. The Charger – Only use the charger supplied with your electric bike or light. Using a different charger can be very dangerous, possibly resulting in fire and/or explosion. So use the charger that came with the item you purchased.

3. Fully Charge – When you get a new e-battery, fully charge the battery per the instructions before you ride the bike.

4. Avoid Extreme Temperatures – Very hot or cold temperatures can negatively affect the battery’s performance and shorten its expected life. Avoid storing and charging your battery in a garage or shed that could be subject to really hot or cold temperatures. Instead, charge and store your battery in a moderate temperature area. (Recommended storage temperatures are 32F – 77F. Avoid exposing the battery to extreme heat, 104F +, for long periods.

5. Storing a Lithium Battery – If you will not be riding your electric bike for an extended period, it is a good idea to store your lithium battery with a full charge. At the three-month point, check the state of charge and recharge to top it off if necessary.

Two more bonus tips!

6. Charging Location – When charging your bike or battery, do so in a dry location where a hot battery or hot charger (should there be a malfunction) will not cause a damaging fire.

7. Avoid Humidity – Store your bike, battery, and charger in a dry location. Water and humidity are not suitable for any electrical device.

Author Bio
Jonathon Monk is an enthusiastic cyclist and works for Cycling Made Easy. Cycling Made Easy are the regional stockists for SCOTT and can give advice and guidance, plus accompanied test rides to make sure that customers feel comfortable and can experience E-Bikes first-hand before looking to buy.

 

With these tips, wood ticks won’t haunt your next outdoor adventure

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

Unless you enter the annual Cuyuna Woodtick Races, these bloodthirsty wood ticks are annoying and could be hazardous to your health. If you are biking or hiking on trails through the woods or in tall grass, beware as you have fun! These little critters, especially if they are deer ticks, can be nasty. Like the wood tick, the deer tick also lurks in any natural wilderness setting. However, they are small as a freckle, have tiny black legs, and you may find them loaded with disease-causing pathogens or Lyme Disease.

Two wood ticks and a deer tick pose with Roosevelt dime for reference. photo by David Bosshart

Two wood ticks on the left pose with a deer tick next to a Roosevelt dime for reference. photo by David Bosshart

There is a remote possibility that you could get a deer or wood tick in a city park or on a paved bicycle trail, but the probability is very low. Especially on paths with the grass mowed along the edges. Generally, these blood-sucking critters are only a problem if you are off biking or walking through tall grass and brushy wooded areas. Ticks tend to crawl up on vegetation, tall grass, and wood and wait to grab onto a passing animal or human.

Once attached to people or pets, deer ticks can be hard to find. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), their numbers are on the rise and carry harmful pathogens. Thanks to the CDC’s website, there are several things everyone should know about ticks to stay disease-free.

Wood Tick Bite Prevention

Before You Go Outdoors

  • Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, wooded areas or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, biking, camping, or hiking could bring you close contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their yard or neighborhood, in rain gardens, and natural areas
  • Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing, and camping gear and remain protective through several cleanings
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanoate. EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. Always follow product instructions
  • Another option is the Tickless Active we are testing. This rechargeable device emits a series of ultrasonic pulses undetectable to people, pets, or wildlife but interferes with the ability of ticks and fleas to orient themselves
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than two months old
  • Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under three years old
  • Avoid contact with ticks, especially in wooded or brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter
  • Ride and walk in the center of the off-road trail.

After You Come Indoors

Diagram from the Center for Disease Control

Diagram from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • When out in the wilderness, check your clothing and gear for ticks. They may be carried into the house, your car, or on clothing and gear if not careful. Any ticks that are found should be removed. At home, tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, they may need additional drying time. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks
  • Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, hydration saddle packs
  • Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may effectively reduce the risk of other tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks, and it is an excellent opportunity to do a tick check
  • Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full-body assessment upon returning from potentially tick-infested areas, including your backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. If you are comfortable, another set of eyes to check is a good idea. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
  • Under the arms
  • In and around the ears
  • Inside belly button
  • Back of the knees
  • In and around the hair
  • Between the legs
  • Around the waist

Now that you know more about these vampire-like blood-sucking parasites plan your #NextBikeAdventure and have some fun!

Use protection, it could save your skin….

from Barry H. Oberholzer Jr.
We have all heard it before….use protection! In the late 1990’s Baz Luhrmann released a song called “Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen…”

If you have never heard it or can’t recall the song – EnjoyI

We all get caught up in preparing for all those fun summer outings. We check our equipment; focus on nutrition; work out and stay hydrated. However, after my last couple of triathlons, I realized I had forgotten one of the most important things. You need to apply sunscreen, something I didn’t do at my last couple of outdoor events.

Reapply sunscreen throughout the day for added protection

Whether doing a race or touring the countryside, you will spend the better part of your day in the sun. Suppose you remembered to start the day off with sunscreen applied. In that case, as you head into the second part of the day’s adventure, the lotion has started to disappear from rubbing, sweating, or maybe from a swim incorporated into your day’s activities. This is where you should take the time to reapply. Believe me, 30- seconds is all it takes to make sure you are covered. And it will protect you from the worst UV rays you will encounter on the second leg of your day’s activities.

I learned this the hard way. I always knew you should apply sunscreen thoroughly before any outing or race, but I didn’t think about it while participating in my last Triathlon. The time I spent in the direct sunlight, over the course of the day, adding the change from a wet suit to a tri-suit took a toll on my skin. Not reapplying lotion – I really got burned.

AS I mentioned earlier, we focus intensely on our nutrition and how we will fuel, hydrate, and keep our body going. Still, we sometimes forget that our biggest organ is exposed to direct sunlight for many hours. That is why one of my newest additions to my transition bag is SPF 50+ water/sweatproof lotion. It is just as important as that banana/GU Gel and a bottle of water.

So if I could give you advice from one newbie to another newbie, wear sunscreen!