Category Archives: Riding Tips

Cycling is one of the healthiest forms of exercise and when you plan properly it can be a great activity year round! Here are some top tips for staying safe when cycling at times when Mother Nature seems to throw a wrench in your plans

Cycling tips on driving your bike in inclement weather

by Personal Injury Help

Don’t let poor weather conditions stop you from biking. Cycling is one of the healthiest forms of exercise, and when appropriately planned, it can be a great activity year-round! With spring around the corner, here are some tips for staying safe. Especially when Mother Nature throws a wrench in your plans on that next bike adventure.

Inclement weather and the rain

Lighten up

Stay visible by using both headlights and taillight and wearing clothes motorists can see.

Stay visible by using both headlights and taillight and wearing clothes motorists can see.

Visibility is the key, along with staying dry. It is harder for motorists and pedestrians to see you when it’s raining out. You can wear a reflective and fluorescent vest to stand out and attach reflectors to both your bicycle and helmet (which you should always wear!). Flashing lights on the front of your bike and your saddle are also very eye-catching in the rain.

Avoid non-porous surfaces

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Driving your bike on brick, metal, or wood surfaces becomes very slippery when wet. Try to avoid traveling over these surfaces when raining. If you must ride on these smooth exteriors, do so without turning your handlebars to prevent skidding and slow down.

Dress for the temperature

In inclement weather and rain, when cycling, wear a light wicking layer under your rain gear and have a dry layer tucked away if you become wet.

In inclement weather, when cycling, wear a light wicking layer under your rain gear and have a dry layer tucked away if you become wet.

It is tempting to bundle up with multiple layers when you’re cycling in the rain with the hopes of preventing the water from soaking through your clothing to you. Unfortunately, what will probably happen, all your layers will become wet from sweat, and you’ll be stuck wearing multiple layers of wet clothing. When it’s raining out, dress according to the temperature outside, not the volume of rain. If you don’t have any waterproof clothing, a very thin poncho or large trash bag with holes for arms and head to slip through can do wonders.

Inclement weather and the snow

Bikes with low tire pressure offer more stability on slippery roads. Adding studs to the bikes tires adds more control.

Bikes with low tire pressure offer more stability on slippery roads. Adding studs to the tires of the bike adds more control.

Slow down—it’ll take twice as long to stop in the snow than in clear conditions. When approaching stop signs or intersections, give yourself plenty of room to prevent and avoid skidding.

Use fenders—when you put fenders on your bicycle, you not only stop snow from splashing all over yourself and your bike but also keep your cycling neighbors day. A win-win!

Use an old mountain bike—fat tire bicycles are great, especially when it snows or is icy. If you have an old mountain bike gathering dust in your garage, it’s often an excellent and cost-effective way to get outside when you don’t want to use your regular bike. You can also buy winter bike tires with studs if you’re so inclined.

Wet weather and the heat

In hot weather stay hydrated by taking a few sips of water every few miles.

In hot weather, stay hydrated by taking a few sips of water every couple of miles.

Get acclimated, mainly if you are used to going 15-mile, and the temperature suddenly jumps up into the 90s. Add higher humidity to the equation, and it’s not safe to expect to take the same route in the same timeframe. It can take weeks to get used to cycling at high temperatures, so try taking it easy for a while to get used to the heat.

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Stay hydrated—a 150-pound cyclist will need to drink at least one 16-ounce bottle of water per hour. Plus a glass of water about 45 minutes before leaving. If you’re heavier or riding a challenging route, you could need up to four bottles per hour.

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Stay loose—you’ll want to wear loose clothing and keep you cool when you’re sweating. Avoid dark colors, but more importantly, avoid something heavy and form-fitting.

This article was created by Personal Injury Help (www.personalinjury-law.com), an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice, and it is intended for informational use only. Review your local cycling ordinances to ensure you ride safely and legally!

Kid’s 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 kids’ mountain bikes to teach them to love the sport. 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 to determine the overall bike size. Be sure to find the right size at your local bike shop.

Teach to shift kid’s mountain bikes

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 used on the pavement and the lower gears for off-road conditions. Teaching your kid(s) how and when to shift will become more comfortable while riding over varying trail conditions. I find it is easy to train them on the sidewalk, in front of my home. Have your child ride down the sidewalk in one gear, then shift to an easier gear and pedal on the grass when returning. By shifting between gears and conditions, kids can get a great feel for how the gears work.

Teach braking on kid’s mountain bikes

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 you lose control when the wheels skid. I found an easy way to teach this balance: find a short but steep hill with a clear run-out at the bottom. Position yourself below them on 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 down, have them squeeze a little less and feel the difference. Then have them apply the front brakes more, then more rear brakes on each successive trip. After a little while, they will have a good feel for the best way to use their brakes.

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 more than using a plank. A 2×6 piece of wood that’s about six feet long works best. You need to 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 riding along its length, which helps teach control. A significant part of the board trick is that it gives a person a visual indication of where to ride without 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. Please take a minute to show them where to ride to get over it. Have them back up, get a moving start, and run at the object. You can be a safety net by standing over that object if it doesn’t go too well. Reach out, straighten them out, and congratulate their try. If your trails don’t have an excellent 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

Please 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, as they aren’t above bribes. After the ride, I always take my son for a treat (our current favorite is a smoothy from Wendy’s). This Pavlovian exercise can do wonders to reinforce the fun experience of a mountain bike ride, and encouraging the fun is an essential part.

What started as way to get more people active, the "30 Days of Biking" campaign has grown in popularity and show 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. For many, biking in April leaves much to be desired unless there are above normal spring conditions. But it doesn’t have to be a significant ordeal. With 30 Days of Biking, you sign up with your own 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 for riding 30 days in April. 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 body’s comfort level no matter if it’s in April or any other month 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 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 bike 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  #30dayikisofbng.  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 thousands of  bicyclists from St. Paul to San Diego, to Düsseldorf, Germany, join this “community of joyful cyclists.” Will you join them?

It’s easy, just pledge to ride your bike every day in April, no matter, what the weather or if it is 30-feet 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, 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 when the weather is wet.

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.

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

If you are in the Twin Cities, plan on participating in the 30-Days of Biking Kickoff Ride, on      April 1st at 5 p.m.

I recently spent some time in Philadelphia. While there I enjoyed a few rides, but the most enjoyable one was Trek of Philadelphia’s Doughnut Ride.

Consider a casual doughnut ride with your friends over 30 Days of Biking

by John Brown

Recently I spent some time in the cradle of liberty, Philadelphia. While there I enjoyed a few rides, but the most enjoyable one was the Trek of Philadelphia’s Doughnut Ride. I was reminded of the joys of simple rides and good company, rather than difficult efforts and a competitive pace. Now with 30 days of Biking a little over a month away here is a fun idea you may want to consider with friends, as warmer weather moves our way.

The Doughnut Ride

We left the shop at 7:30 a.m. with a group of eight. Our bikes were a mishmash of road bikes, commuter rigs, single-speed, and an e-bike. When we departed the shop and headed toward the center city, it was immediately clear the pace would be conversational. Our cruise headed out on the river drive bike path, through Fairmount Park, and toward the center city. Rather than stay on the path, we crossed the falls bridge and onto West River Drive. On the weekends, Philadelphia closes West River Drive so we had our run of the entire roadway. After a bit of riding and a lot of talking, we found ourselves at the end of West River Drive and at the base of the Art Museum.

At the Art Museum, our ride began to slip through the surrounding neighborhoods until we reached our hallowed destination – Federal Doughnuts.

After stuffing our faces with warm doughnuts we hopped back on our bikes. Full of sugar and fat, we made our way back to the bike shop along the same route. Ultimately, the ride took a little under two hours, including the time eating. Everyone had fun, the conversation was great, and we all got the chance to meet new people.

Why does this ride work?

The ride was great because the pace and route are clearly stated in advance. Therefore, everyone knew what to expect and where to go. The route itself was carefully chosen to promote great conversation and a casual pace. By including traffic-free paths and streets and a casual destination, every rider could enjoy the trip stress-free. Additionally, the pace is controlled by the ride’s start time. As an example, a competitive-minded rider has a list of fast-paced rides leaving on Saturday morning, so there would be no need to come to the Doughnut Ride to try and get a killer workout with so many other options. From start to finish, this ride is a winner.

How to plan your own ride

If you already lead rides for a local club or shop, then setting up a casual ride should be easy for you. If this is your first attempt at leading an organized ride then there are a few things to keep in mind. First off, you want people to be at your ride! To make sure you have attendees, start talking about and advertising (if you’re working with a local club or shop) a minimum of two weeks in advance. Also, make sure all your information explains the pace as well as the payoff (in this case doughnuts) for your ride to build interest. Finally, make sure your route is friendly to a group of riders. As an example, I’ve been on a few rides that required riders to be single file almost the entire time due to narrow roadways. in contrast, the Doughnut ride promoted conversation with wide paths and clear roads.

According to Paul T. at Perennial Cycle, Minneapolis does a great job with these types of rides and has a lot of them. Watch for the upcoming events there this season.

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. Starting, like most, sweeping floors and learning anything he could about bikes. He eventually graduated as a service manager and then to 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 bike of their dreams. Please feel free to stop in any time and talk about bikes, fit, parts, or just share your latest ride. You can also see more of John’s tricks and tips on the Brown Bicycle Facebook Page.

Tips on charging your electric bike to maximize the batteries life

Having a fully charged battery is important. The most expensive component of an electric bike is the battery and the motor. Today most ready-to-go e-bikes use a lithium-ion battery pack and the size of the bikes makes a difference in the price you will pay.

These lithium-ion batteries are now used in all types of applications. So it’s no surprise to find them powering electric bikes. What you will discover, more expensive e-bikes have higher-tech batteries that are lighter, charge quickly, and last longer. Batteries degrade over time, holding less charge as they age.

The quality of an electric bike battery makes a difference

The better the battery is will help you maximize the distance (range) you expect to achieve, so look for a reputable named battery manufacturer. Then make sure the warranty covers the battery for at least two years. Conservatively lithium-ion batteries are typically said to last for 1,000 full charge cycles. That’s about three years of daily with five to seven charging periods a week. With careful use, the battery can survive longer, so you could possibly double its life with half-charge cycles. In practice, battery life of several years is quite easy to achieve depending on how often you charge and store the battery.

A centerpost battery for an electric bike

A center post battery unit for an electric bike

To maximize the life of your electric bike battery

  • Ride your bike a lot and charge it often
  • If your bike comes with a smart charger, faithfully disconnect the charger within 24 hours
  • When not in use, for a week or more, charge the battery to only 40% to 70% of its capacity
  • Then store the battery or bike and battery in a cool dry place, above freezing, Checking and the charge every two to three weeks to keep it in that range.

For more information

Be sure to mark your calendar for the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis or visit a local bike shop in your area that sells and services electric bikes.

There have been many improvements to electric bikes over the last few years and before checking them out here are a couple questions that should be asked.

Choosing an electric bike for your style of bicycle riding

You have probably heard about electric bikes (e-bikes) and the improvements the industry has made over the past couple of years. If you are curious, ask a couple of questions before purchasing an e-bike and the fun adventures ahead.

First, ask yourself, how will I use an electric bike

  • maybe commuting to work, running errands, and/or hauling cargo
  • bike touring or just some recreational riding to stay active
  • spending more time on off-road trails
  • assist me while rehabbing after a sports injury?

Then ask

  • will an e-bike make it easier for me to stay active
  • make it more enjoyable, especially when dealing with hills and headwinds
  • help so I can keep up with my friends who ride faster?

As electric bike technology continues to progress quickly, with lighter batteries and offer you a better range between charges, the options are endless. Today there are bikes for every conceivable application, from hauling cargo to making a climb on a mountain bike a breeze.

Geared to accommodate different kinds of activities (cargo-hauling; relaxed cruising; trail riding; mountain biking; child transportation; road biking; fat bike riding; touring; and urban commuting), they make biking fun. With so many e-bikes on the market today, you will find design options that vary to fit different people and their preferred use. It’s up to you to decide what is most important. Is it the ease of riding, the cost; maintenance; dependability; range – or the above? With so many models on the market to choose from, first, figure out where you will be riding, and then how often?

Now that you have a list visit a few bike shops to see the brands they carry. Or, attend the e-Bike Challenge on April 2 & 3, or see the video below.

 

Has the idea of using an electric bike, called an e-bike, piqued your interest? If so you are in luck, the E-bike Challenge is coming to Minneapolis, MN.

Selecting the right type of electric bike motor for your style if riding

Electric bike motors have technically come a long way in the last few years. Typically these motors are located in three different areas of an e-bike. The first two locations are found in either the front or rear wheel, called hub motors. In recent years the center mount motor, in the crank area has gained in popularity.

Electric bikes wheels with hub motors

Rear motor system for an electric bike

Rear motor system for an electric bike

The hub motor is in the center of either bicycle wheel, and for many years was the most common. This e-bike power source was known to be quieter. The biggest negative, if you are off-road, a hub motor doesn’t handle hills like a motor that’s directly connected to the crank.

Front motor system for an electric bike

Front motor system for an electric bike

E-bikes motors in the center crank area

Center motor system for an electric bike

Center crank motor system for an electric bike

Becoming more standard, the motor in the center crank/pedal area is at the bottom of the frame. It transfers the motor’s power to the rear wheel via the bicycle’s chain or belt. That means the electronic controls can include a sensor that detects how hard you’re pedaling. It can also measure the electric assistance needs, accordingly. Generally, a crank/drive motor will take advantage of your gears. Helping you to keep your weight distribution low and near the center of your bike, especially when climbing steep hills.

The voltage output of the electric bike motor you choose

When it comes to voltage output and power of the motor, here again, you need to assess your style of riding to figure out what is best. To meet government regulations, as a legal pedal-assist bike, the top speed is generally capped at 28 mph depending on the system. If you are riding relatively flat areas around town lower power motors may be enough when you only need a boost, from fatigue or headwinds. More power is best if you plan to tow a load or are a larger rider.

On the plus side,  a higher voltage motor will allow you to extend your batteries life by drawing less current for the same amount of power, minimizing potential overheating problems. However, if you don’t need to sustain maximum power, a lower voltage system will work just fine and cost you less.

Overall, both motors have some unique advantages and disadvantages. So choosing the right power module for your e-bike will largely depend on your requirements and which advantages seem more useful to your needs. Generally, look for a brand with a good reputation, such as Bosch, Brose, Panasonic, Shimano, or Yamaha.

So first define your riding style to select the right motor for an electric bike. Then test ride several options as you narrow down your selection. Be sure to mark your calendar for the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis here. Or visit a couple of local bike shops in your area to define your choice.

 

Has the idea of using an electric bike piqued your interest? If so the e-bike Challenge is coming to Minneapolis March 23-24.

Maximizing the range your electric bike can travel per charge

The distance an electric bike will go on a battery charge is called range. This is an important specification to pay attention to when comparing e-bikes with your desired riding style. For example, if your commute involves steep climbs, you don’t want to run the battery low halfway up the hill. Without power, an e-bike can be an uncomfortable mode of transportation that demands more energy for the cyclist to pedal. So the range of an electric bike generally depends on the following.

The electric bikes battery capacity or volts

Lithium-ion batteries typically last for 1,000 complete charge cycles, adding back depleted volts. Maybe more with these helpful tips. Now think of a volt as the “force” pushing an Amp through the system. The higher the voltage, the more energy the motor can move. So, a higher voltage system can send more power through the circuits to the motor. Most common are 36-volt batteries, but more bikes use 48-volt batteries and some high-performance bikes with additional voltage. All else being equal, a higher voltage system will deliver more torque for quicker starts, but it will drain your battery faster.

The voltage output of the motor

Because most e-bike systems are standardized, what you want to look for to maximize your total range, is the time it takes before you need to recharge the battery. To do that, look for an e-bike battery with a high Watt-Hour rating.

The average speed you travel and cadence

The average riding speed is a part of the equation to your preferred riding style, factoring in varying conditions (hills, paved to unpaved or irregular surfaces, and wind resistance). If your overall comfort level, riding a bike, is at 13-miles per hour (mph) on average. Your speed range may vary down to six mph on a climb and 20 mph, with a tailwind zooming downhill.

For maximizing your e-bike range – knowing how much pedal-assist to apply to your favored cadence is essential to your average speed riding an e-bike.

A better understanding of cadence

Commonly talked about for measuring performance rather than the actual speed, cadence can also benefit your e-bike range. Counting the number of times your pedal rotates per minute (RPM), the rhythm for the average cyclist is somewhere between 70 and 100 RPM. With a regular none-motorized) bike, this is achieved by using the bicycle’s gears so your cadence stays in the desired range. Using this same practice on an electric bike will decrease the demand on the motor, as it assists you for a longer sustained range.

Use your gears to make it easier

There will be less resistance on the pedal when shifting into lower gears, so it turns faster (called spinning). Moving into a higher gear to go more quickly will give you greater resistance to the pedals. This will also slow your cadence down, making the pedal-to-wheel ratio closer to even. So, by shifting your gears appropriately, your legs will maintain the same average pace, regardless of how fast or slow you are physically moving. The end result of keeping your cadence on the e-bike will be less strain on the motor, which will extend your pedal assist range from the battery.

Your weight

The load your e-bike is expected to carry or pull will also be a factor in the range you can expect from a trip.

Plan your ride to extend your range

If you can define a specific route you want to use for the commute, it will help you better predict the distance you will travel between charges safely. Then, knowing how many hills there are to climb will further help you define the workload you will put on the motor.

Properly inflated tires

Regardless, if you are driving a regular bike, electric bike, or automobile, having your tires properly inflated will improve your performance. An under-inflated tire adds more friction against the road or trail surface. For an e-bike, the motor will work harder and decrease your range.

If you are only going to commute six to ten miles daily, you don’t need a battery and motor system that goes a long distance. However, a bike that goes longer distances than you currently need could be a good investment because the range will drop as the battery ages and loses capacity.

For more information

Be sure to mark your calendar for the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis. Or visit a local bike shop in your area that sells and services electric bikes.

 

Discover micro-mobility on the massive E-bike Challenge test track

With the Omicron-fueled surge declining, enjoy an eco-friendly experience at the E-bike Challenge, discovering the latest in micro-mobility on April 2 & 3. The event will offer those attending a comfortable place to compare and ride the latest electric bike technology, testing the latest bikes on a mammoth indoor test track in the Minneapolis Convention Center. With several social distancing procedures in place, visitors can discover the advantages of e-bikes bikes for hauling cargo, health, and ecological purposes. Making it easy to compare the latest brands and models to learn how micro-mobility can be incorporated into a person’s daily life.

Enjoy the E-bike Challenge and be a part of micro-mobility

Micro-mobility and the return of the E-bike Challenge

Hicle, Inc., the organizers of hike and cycle fairs in Europe, held the first E-bike Challenge here in 2019, with much interest. At this year’s Challenge, those who visit can discover why the electric bikes and trikes are perfect for family activities. Perfect equipment for running errands, hauling cargo, commuting to work without working up a sweat. Then, enjoy a fun cardio workout on the return trip. Even if you can’t replace a car entirely, the event demonstrates why most trips within a 10-mile range can be less expensive with an e-bike. And, in many cases, taking less time than a carbon-fueled vehicle for the same journey.

Find a huge selection to fit your riding style.

E-bikes to ride on the large test track

Some brands already registered for the Challenge include Giant, Serial 1 by Harley Davidson, Pedego, Riese & Muller, and Skyl Power Bikes. Along with e-bikes from Erik’s Bikes, Now Bikes, and Trailhead Cycle, to name a few of the shops that will be there. The event will also feature several breakout sessions, a kids’ bike test track, fun family activities, and free maps of fun places to explore by bike.

Find micro-mobility options from around the world, returning.

Fun for the whole family

Along with a chance to compare and test ride the latest e-bikes on the mammoth indoor track. Find featured breakout sessions on Easy commuting by e-bike, E-biking back to health, and more. Also, find a kids’ bike test track, an e-bike theater, and other fun family activities. Plus, visitors will receive a complimentary 2022 Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide, full of bicycling maps of popular Minnesota destinations to explore, at the door.

For more information about the E-bike Challenge in Minneapolis on April 2 & 3, visit www.ebikechallenge.com.

Making yourself heard with a bicycle bell, vs voice command

By Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

With spring riding only a few months away it may be time to look for a new bicycle bell. Personally, I prefer using a bell, rather than my voice and the Compact Bell from SpurCycle is perfect. The bell offers the same high-frequency ping as their original bell, just smaller with fewer moving parts.

However, with more people walking and biking, is it better to use a bicycle bell or your voice command to bring attention as you approach?

The SpurCycle Compact Bicycle Bell

In a recent test of the SpurCycle Compact Bell, I found the ring lasts longer than most bells. I found the high-frequency ping with a rich aftermath tone helps those, as you approach, of your on-coming presents.

The perfect brass bell housing holds a ring longer, starting with a very hard “ping.”

This compact bell is plenty loud for off-road riding and suburban commuting but won’t win against car horns and heavy street traffic in a metropolitan area. This bell’s true advantage is how long the ring lasts (or “sustains”), ending at the same frequency.

From its package, test out the high-quality ping this bicycle bell makes.

It’s great for commuters or mountain bikers because you can start the ring 10-15 seconds before passing a biker or pedestrian. Letting let them know where you’re approaching from and how far away you are. With the SpurCycle Bell, there’s no need to ring your bell 20-times like the inexpensive department store models. The initial ring offers enough of a shrill to get the attention of even the most hardcore earbud rockers if you do choose to hit it repeatedly.

If your bike has a larger diameter handlebar (22.2 to 31.8 mm), consider the SpurCycle Original.

Mastering the use of your voice or the use of a bicycle bell

In a recent article published by CyclingSavvy, on should you use a bicycle bell or your voice? For many, it’s a cultural issue. In this in-depth article, John Brooking discusses how you can use a bell or your voice to alert people and what to check for after sending an audible signal. He also touches on the other sounds bicycles make and how these extend your pre-ride safety check. Mastering the use of your voice or bell when riding is a call-and-response. Musicians use this so the audience can sing along; you can use it, so your passage is predictable and safe.

Personally, I prefer the bell to voice commands. Especially if you are in an urban area with heavy pedestrian foot traffic. Spending time in Amsterdam on a bicycle made me a true believer that the bell’s sound was mightier than the voice.