Category Archives: riding tips

If you like the idea of taking your road bike or a slight version of it off the pavement and onto a designated park area, cycle-cross may be for you. The actual name is cyclocross and is a form of bicycle racing and parallels with mountain bike racing, cross-country cycling and criterium racing.

An intro into cycle-cross may extend your summer of biking fun

If you like the idea of taking your road bike, or a slight version of it, off the pavement and onto a designated park area, cycle-cross may be for you. Also called CX, cyclo-X, or just ‘cross the actual name is cyclocross and is a form of bicycle racing known worldwide. Cyclo-cross has parallels with mountain bike racing, cross-country cycling, and criterium racing. The CX course is normally set up temporarily in a city park.

The cycle-cross course is marked with yellow tape.

The cycle-cross course is marked with yellow tape.

Marked by plastic tape that goes up, over, and around rolling, grassy and forested terrain. If you want to try cyclocross most states welcome amateurs to come out and try. If nothing else it’s a fun spectator sport the whole family will enjoy.

The right cycle-cross bike for you

With lower gears a cyclocross bike frame is fitted so the rider sit more upright.

With lower gears, a cyclocross bike frame is fitted to the rider so they sit more upright.

Cyclocross bicycles are similar to road racing bicycles. They are lightweight, with somewhat narrow tires and drop handlebars. However, if you are just starting out, a mountain bike or road bike with a few modifications will do. Stop by your local bike shop and they can assist you in preparation so you can try this exciting sport.

Looking closer at the CX bike there are greater tire clearances, lower gearing, stronger frames, disc brakes, and a more upright riding position than standard bikes. They also share characteristics with mountain bicycles in that they use knobby tread tires for traction. The main reason for being lightweight, ‘cross riders need to occasionally carry their bicycle over barriers.

The ideal terrain for a CX course

The ideal course, offers many twists and turn, some short uphill and downhill juants along with a few well placed barriers.

The ideal course offers many twists and turn, some short uphill and downhill jaunts along with a few well-placed barriers.

A cycle-cross race consists of many laps on a short (2.5–3.5  km or 1.5–2 miles) course. The race route is usually on the grass and can incorporate pavement, wooded trails. Obstacles along the way can include steps, steep hills, and other barriers requiring the rider to bunny hop or quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount. As a result, cyclocross is also known as the “steeplechase of cycling.” The sight of racers struggling up a muddy slope with bicycles on their shoulders is the classic image of the sport. Normally there are only a few un-rideable sections of the racecourse. For a spectator, they make a great place to stand on the sidelines and cheer.

Cycle-cross racing tactics

Compared with other forms of racing, cyclocross tactics are fairly straightforward and the emphasis is on the rider’s aerobic endurance and bike-handling ability. Although cyclocross courses are less technical than mountain biking, obstacles can require a specific technical ability of a rider.

Here in the forefront a amateur rider tests out the muddy cycle-cross course with a fat bike.

Here in the forefront, an amateur rider tests out the muddy cycle-cross course with a fat bike.

For example, rider experience and technique come into play on course sections that are extremely muddy, wet, or even snow. Normally too extreme to be ridden on a standard road bike tire, the challenge in cyclocross lies in maintaining traction in loose or slippery terrain at fast speeds. The power of the rider is generally higher over the duration of the race to overcome greater amounts of rolling resistance from loose dirt or grass.

Overcoming the cycle-cross barriers

Although getting off and on a bike sounds simple, doing so in the middle of a quick-paced race is difficult. Often, when sections become extremely technical racer will carry the bike and jog for an extended time to save energy. Being able to fluidly dismount, pick up and carry the bike, then put it back down requires practice and skill. In competition, CX riders may do this many times throughout the race.

Here a rider dismounts, jumps over the barrier, then hops back on to resume her position in the race.

Here a rider dismounts and jumps over the barrier, then hops back on to resume her position in the race.

Now with the leaves changing colors and cool crisp days of fall are upon us here are some links to the race schedule that welcome new riders – in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and other states in the U.S. Visit your local bike shop for more information and extend your summer fun with cyclocross.

Remember if it rains you just play harder!

Here in this bike pic, digging through our summer archives, we captured this biker dude pedaling along the East River Road or Mississippi River Trail on the Saint Paul Bicycle Classic course this fall.

Staying cool while biking in the hot, humid weather

The return of summer is especially welcoming to most of us here in the upper Midwest. But with the warmer temps staying cool takes a little thought in reacquainting ourselves to a hydration routine.

100_0548Now with the temperature fluctuating up into the high nineties this coming week and the humidity levels on the rise, it’s important to know how to keep your body cool while staying active in the heat.

Staying cool while biking or playing in hot weather

If your favorite summer sport is cycling, knowing how to keep cool is crucial. According to a study done by Galloway and Maughan, the perfect temperature for running and cycling is 10º C (52 º F). So, unless you live in far northern regions of Canada you are probably biking in temperatures that are frequently above 30º C (92 º F) during the summer months. So, to enjoy your outdoor summer activities safely, when the weather is hot, requires taking a few precautions. Exercising in the heat raises your internal body temperature, putting additional stress on your heart and lungs, which can affect your performance and your health.

How Your Body Stays Cool

When your body temperature goes above normal 37º C (or 98.6º F) two processes, vasodilation (or widening of the blood vessels) and sweating kicks in to remove heat from the body. In vasodilation, veins and capillaries expand, and the heart pumps harder to send blood to the outer layers of the skin where it can be cooled. When the outside air is warmer than your body temperature you start to sweat. The evaporation of the sweat from your body helps cool it. But on hot, humid days, evaporation is reduced and this cooling process is slowed down.

So What You Can Do to Keep Cool While Cycling On a Hot Day

100_3408Wear clothing that will allow for quick evaporation is the best choice. Fabric that wicks the sweat away from your skin, allowing it to quickly evaporate, like the material cycling jerseys are made of is best. Any light material, other than cotton, with a zipper at the front is a good way to go. A damp hand towel or a purchased neck wrap will also help to keep you cooler by dropping the temperature of the blood vessels going through your neck.

Make sure you hydrate well and use electrolyte fluids.

100_3259Drinking water frequently and in the right amounts will help replace the fluid you lose during your ride. Because everybody perspires a little differently to find out how much fluid you need to replace during a ride: (1) weigh yourself before and after a ride (without clothes)—one pound of weight loss equals 500 ml (16 ounces) of fluid. (2) then, factor in the amount you drank during that ride and (3) on your next ride drink approximately 1.5 times this amount during your rides by making frequent stops (7 to 15 mile apart depending on the length of your ride) preferably under the cover of shade.

The more the better

If you have two water bottle cages, use them both by mixing one water bottle with a sports drink that has electrolytes and the other with water. Electrolytes are chemicals that form ions in body fluids. They help make sure specific bodily functions run at optimal levels. Too few electrolytes will cause the body to cramp up. There are many brands and flavors of electrolyte supplements available in premixed liquid, powder or tablet form that is easy to add to a water bottle or a water-bladder backpack to help stay hydrated and healthy. A natural source of electrolyte for after your ride, or if you stop at a grocery store along the way that sells it by the slice, is watermelon.

When the temperature soars like it is predicted this week, try to stay out of the mid-day sun. Plan your ride during the cooler times of the day—in the early morning or early evening.

Danger Signs to Watch For

If you overdo it and experience any of these symptoms:  weakness, headache, dizziness,  muscle cramps, nausea/ vomiting or rapid heartbeat while riding in the heat, stop and find some shade to lay down in, and replenish your fluids. You should feel better within 60-minutes. These are the warning signs to look out for to avoid heatstroke when you exercise in the heat. If any of these symptoms persist longer, call for medical help.

Finding where the irrigation spray is hitting the road is the ultimate why to cool down!

Finding where the irrigation spray is hitting the road is the ultimate way to cool down!

We hope you take the tips above and incorporate them into your next ride for staying cool when the heat index climbs. Remember, there are less than three months until the end of summer. Fall officially begins on September 22.

Have Fun and Enjoy!

 

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.

Planning a casual doughnut ride for you and your friends

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking

Recently I spent some time in the cradle of liberty, Philadelphia. While there I enjoyed a few rides, but the most enjoyable one was 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 few weeks 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 face 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 this ride works

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 than 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., Perennial Cycle in Minneapolis does a great job with these types of rides and has a lot of them. Watch for the upcoming events there this season.

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 inclement weather stop you from biking. Cycling is one of the healthiest forms of exercise and when planned properly it can be a great activity year-round! With spring around the corner, here are some tips for staying safe. Especially at times when Mother Nature seems to throw 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 a lot harder for both 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 bicycle and on your saddle are also very eye-catching in the rain.

Avoid non-porous surfaces

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Driving your bike on brick, metal and wood surfaces when wet all become very slippery. 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 all the way 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 soggy 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 you twice as long to stop in the snow than in clear conditions. When approaching stop signs or intersections, give yourself plenty of room to stop and avoid skidding.

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

Use an old mountain bike—fat tire bicycles are great, but they often cost more than $3,000. If you have an old mountain bike gathering dust in your garage, it’s often a great and cost-effective option if you want to get outside in the snow. 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 miles.

Get acclimated, especially 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 in easy for a while so you can 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 if you’re riding a challenging route, you could need up to four bottles per hour.

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Stay loose—you’ll want to wear clothing that’s loose and keeps you cool when you’re sweating. Avoid dark colors, but more importantly, avoid something that’s 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. Be sure to review your local cycling ordinances to ensure you ride safely and legally!

No bicycle discomfort is as debilitating as back pain. Luckily, back pain is usually caused by a few, simple to fix issues.

Searching for the cause of back pain and finding the solution for biking

by John Brown

Over the past quarter-century, I have helped all manner of riders get going on their bikes. I’ve been lucky to see the life-changing power of a bicycle. Sadly, I have also seen riders walk away from the sport forever due to simple discomforts. No discomfort is as debilitating as back pain. Luckily, back pain is usually caused by a few, easy to fix issues. These issues manifest themselves in lower back pain and upper back pain. See below for the causes and fixes.

Lower back

The sky-high seat rider can result in back pain

The #1 cause for lower back pain is saddle height. Not only is this problem common and painful, but also easily fixed. Many riders, while trying to get a more efficient pedal stroke, will raise their saddle too high. If your saddle is too high, you will tilt your hips at the bottom of each pedal stroke, trying to reach the pedals. That tilting forces the very small muscles in your back to do the job that the very large muscles in your leg should be doing. To find a proper saddle height, check out our bike setup article, or visit your local shop for a bike fit.

The shocking truth

Another frequent cause of lower back discomfort is road shock. While riding, it is common for the small imperfections in the road to send vibrations through the bicycle and into your body. After some time, this constant vibration can fatigue the muscles in your back. There are a few quick fixes for this problem. The first and easiest solution is tire pressure. Rather than maxing out your tire’s pressure, lower the tire pressure in 5 psi increments until you find a pressure that works for you. Another quick way to squelch road vibration is by adding a suspension seat post. A suspension seat posts absorb the shock before it gets to you.

How is your reach?

Finally, the last common cause of lower back discomfort is your reach. If the distance from your seat to bars is too great, you begin relying on small muscles in your lower back to support the weight of your upper body, instead of your core and arms. Look into having your bike properly fit at a local shop or follow our simple fit guide.

Upper back

Shrugging off your responsibilities

The leading cause of upper back pain is riding position. More specifically, the shrugging of one’s shoulders. In my experience, many riders don’t know they are lifting their shoulders when they ride. It is just a tense habit they formed somewhere along the way. Paying attention to where your shoulders are typically helps you relax them, alleviating pain. Additionally, try moving your hands to different positions on the bars. That change in grip does wonders to rest different muscle groups. In some cases, a proper bike fit is needed to remedy shrugged shoulders, so if the problem persists, visit your local shop for a fitting.

Don’t become a pack mule

Be careful how much weight you carry on your shoulders. Riding with a backpack is a great way to carry the things you need, but be careful not to overdo it. If you use a pack to commute, try leaving heavier items like shoes at work. If you absolutely need to carry a lot of weight, install a rack with panniers and move that weight onto your bike frame and off your body.

Keep on going

Like I stated before, I have seen riders get off their bikes forever due to discomfort. It’s always sad to see, especially because I know that their pains can most likely be eliminated with some simple adjustments. Be vigilant about eliminating discomforts. After all, small pains today can manifest into serious problems later. Find a bike fitting professional you feel comfortable with and talk about your issues. Your back will thank you.

Fun biking, skiing or walking on water with these ice safety tips

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

For many, not familiar with the bold north, biking or walking on water is a fun winter tradition when incorporating a few ice safety tips into the experience. Here in the upper Midwest, Mother Nature’s annual temperature swing allows many to safely move or frolic on frozen water, by December. Then, typically for three to four months, riding a bike across a body of frozen water is a regular occurrence. This year, with below-normal temp’s early, ice is already forming and the fun may begin sooner and extend the season.

Biking across a lake opening up new places to explore and view the shoreline from a different angle.

Biking across a lake opens up new places to ride and view the shoreline from a different angle.

Along with the proper clothing for a comfortable ride in the winter, here are some ice safety tips you need to know to ensure a safe time pedaling across a lake or stream frozen over.

Ice safety tips – First and foremost know the thickness of the ice

There’s no way around it. While many visual cues can help you determine if it is safe to roll out or step onto the ice, the most reliable way to find out is to measure the thickness.

There are a few tools you can use to measure the ice. An ice chisel can be stabbed into the ice until it penetrates all the way through. A cordless drill with a wood bit also works well to auger a hole to measure the thickness.

What is a safe thickness?

Any ice thickness less than four inches, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources states on ice thickness, should be avoided at all costs. At four inches the ice can support activities like bicycling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and walking. At five to seven inches the ice can sustain the weight of a snowmobile or an ATV, while eight to twelve inches is needed to support the weight of a small car. And while these guidelines are generic, ice conditions vary, and the above is for newly formed ice. Make sure to read more on thickness before going out there.

Measuring in one place is not enough. Take measurements in several different areas (approximately 150 feet apart) to ensure that the entire area is safe. Ice thickness can vary, even over a relatively small area—especially over moving water.

Asses the area visually

A visual assessment can help supplement your measurement, and can also help if you’re relying on someone else’s measurements.

Visually keep an eye out hazards that may be developing in the ice.

Visually keep an eye out hazards that may be developing in the ice, especially through connecting lake channels.

Watch for signs of danger like cracks, seams, pressure ridges, dark areas (where the ice is thinner) and slushy areas—even slight slush signals that the icing isn’t freezing at the bottom anymore, which means it’s getting progressively weaker.

The color of the ice

Check out the color of the ice. Clear, blue or green ice that is thicker than four inches should be ok enough to bike on. White ice typically has air or snow trapped inside, weakening it. Dark ice might be an indication that the ice is quite thin—probably not thick enough for biking or hiking.

The Fresher, the better

New ice is typically stronger than older ice. As time passes, the bond between ice crystals decays even in freezing temperatures. When the spring thaw begins, the ice weakens considerably. It can be tempting to head out for one last ride across the ice, but it is safest to say no. Even if ice fits the measurement criteria, it can still be hazardous.

No ice can ever be considered “safe ice”

Along with knowledge of the thickness of the ice and a visual assessment here are four more suggestions to help minimize the risk when biking on the ice:

  • Carry ice picks and a rope
  • Have a cell phone or personal locator beacon along
  • Don’t go out alone; let someone know about trip plans and expected return time
  • Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.

Know the proper rescue techniques

Anyone doing anything on the ice outdoors should know the ice rescue technique. Even kids should be familiar with the protocol, so be sure to educate them ahead of time. If someone in your party falls through the ice, the first thing to do is call 911. Anyone still on the ice should slowly lie down, distributing their weight over a larger area.

Reach the person in the water using a long-reaching assist—a large stick, a rope or a ladder if available. The person in the water should be instructed to kick and slowly ease their way out of the water. Once they make it to the surface, they should crawl or roll away from the broken ice area.

Anyone on the ice, including the victim and rescuer, should avoid standing up until they are far away from the broken ice. As soon as possible, get the victim into dry clothing and treat them for hypothermia.

Now have some fun!

Enjoy the ice safety tips for a safer true north experience!

Tips on cleaning and storing your summer bike gloves for next year

As winter soon approaches it’s time to store away your summer gear. Especially your bike gloves which shouldn’t be ignored when putting them away. Besides their intended use, gloves are often used for wiping the sweat away and worse as a tissue. That makes them disgusting bacteria collectors if not cleaned regularly and before storing. So what is the best way to clean them, as a good pair of gloves can be a bit expensive and may not be machine washable?

A gentle washing with a little bacterial soap and /or white vinegar may clean and sanitize them.

Gentle washing with a little bacterial soap and/or white vinegar may clean and sanitize them

Preparing bike gloves for storage

Thankfully, like shorts, jerseys and other articles for bicycling, most bike gloves are made from materials that can be machine washed. By using a little care and hanging them up to air dry, many gloves can easily be machine cleaned. So, before packing away your summer bike gloves follow these steps for healthy and extended use – whether they are cloth and leather.

Supplies you may already have on hand for cleaning your cycling gloves:

  • Antibacterial hand soap
  • Detergent
  • Leather conditioner
  • White vinegar

Cloth Gloves (handwashing)

Step 1 – Close the Velcro or other glove fasteners.

Step 2 – Wash the bicycle gloves using cool water and mild liquid soap in a sink. If the gloves are dirty/smelly, add 1/8 cup white vinegar to your wash water.

Step 3 – Rinse the gloves well and inspect them for soap suds. Rinse again if necessary.

Step 4 – Lay the gloves flat or hang them up to dry. If you can hang them out in the sun, that is even better. The sun is a “natural sanitizer” and can also disinfect your clothes. Plus, if you dry your gloves under the sun they will smell cleaner and fresher.

Cloth Gloves (machine wash)

Step 1 – Close the Velcro, snap, or button that is on your gloves.

Step 2 – Put the gloves in your washing machine, set it on cold water and add laundry detergent. Do not use bleach. You may wash other items with the gloves. If your gloves are particularly smelly, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener slot of your washing machine.

Step 3 – Rinse the bike gloves by hand after the wash if any soap suds remain.

Step 4 – Lay the gloves flat or hang to dry. Again, if you can hang them out in the sun, that is even better. The sun’s ultraviolet rays will help kill bacteria on your workout clothes, but only if your clothes dry completely in the sun.

Leather Gloves (handwash only)

Step 1 – Put on the bicycle gloves. Then, run some cool water over your hands and then apply a very mild soap, such as castile soap or leather soap, into the dirtiest parts of the glove.

Step 2 – Rinse the gloves well, spending two to three times as long on the rinsing as you did on washing to make sure all the soap is gone. Do not wring the moisture in the gloves. Squeeze gently to remove water.

Step 3 – Remove the gloves from your hand and place them between layers of a bath towel. Then press to remove excess water.

Step 4 – Put the gloves back on and flex your fingers a few times to mold the gloves back into shape. Then, remove and lay the gloves flat to dry without pressing them again.

Step 5 – If desired, massage your cycling gloves with a pea-sized amount of leather conditioner when almost dry – use less conditioner if only part of the glove is leather.

Other Helpful Tips

  • In between washing your gloves in the steps above, if they become smelly and damp while on the go, keep a small bottle of white vinegar close by. While wearing the gloves, lightly rub some vinegar into them and let them dry as you ride.
  • Both leather and cloth gloves may be stiff once dry, but they will soften up with a little use.
  • Wash leather gloves as infrequently as possible. If you are a dedicated long-distance rider, they may not last more than one season regardless of how often you clean them.

by Sommer Adams, a HavefunBiking contributor

Being visible and noticed doesn’t end when the sun comes up

by John Brown

With summer in full swing, consider taking center stage by wearing clothing that makes you more visible to others while riding your bike or walking. Being noticed by others is the key to avoiding accidents. There are two forms, passive and active visibility to focus on. Things like reflectors and bright colors especially in patterns that make you stand out are forms of passive visibility. While lights and blinkers are great examples of active visibility, most people focus on nighttime visibility. Though, far more hours on the spent under the sun while riding a bike. Here are a few tips to keep you safe and visible whenever you ride.

Clothing that makes you more visible

Read on to see where each one is helpful and most efficient.

If you were driving a car which cyclist would grab your attention first?

The easiest way to be visible is to wear highly visible clothing. Whereas black may be slimming, it doesn’t offer others the best chance to see you. The most visible color available is high visibility (hi-vis) yellow. It is bright yellow not found naturally and sticks out against the backdrops on most normal roads and paths. If hi-vis yellow isn’t for you, try to wear other colors that would stand out, like bright blue, red, or orange. Better yet, an obnoxious pattern of several above mentioned color, so you are sure to be noticed.

The most visible color available is high visibility (hi-vis) yellow.

Lights

Many companies are recommending riders use their lights during the day as well as at night for a great reason. Active forms of visibility like blinking lights do a lot to attract the attention of others. For best visibility and longest battery life, use your lights in “blink mode” rather than a steady beam.

Reflectors

Most cars sold in the US are equipped with daytime running lights. For that reason, the reflectors on your bike will shine back at drivers during the day and alert them to your presence. Beyond the standard reflectors, your bicycle comes with, think about adding adhesive reflective tape to bags, helmets as well as your bike.

Position

Being visible while riding can be as simple as your position on the road to be noticed. In situations where there isn’t enough room for a bike and car, be sure to take up enough space as to ensure no driver could miss seeing you and try to “squeeze” past. Also, ride at a controlled speed where there may be blind corners, driveways, or crosswalks. Additionally, don’t stop in places where others can’t see you until it’s too late.

When making a lane change, signaling your turn and try to make eye contact with those you are approaching.

Signal

No amount of visibility will make up for erratic riding. Be sure to signal where you are going so auto drivers, other cyclists and/or pedestrians know where you are headed. When overtaking riders or walkers from behind, be sure to let them know where you are going with a simple “on your left” or “on your right”. Then, give them a moment before passing and ring a bell if you have one.

Kids

Kids riding bikes is something we need to preserve in this digital world. The best way to keep kids on bikes is to keep it fun and safe. Try to have two adults riding with kids if possible, one leading and one following. Be sure to remind children of how and when to signal, and dress them colorful clothing. Because kids bikes are lower to the ground than an adult bike, they can go unnoticed, a flag mounted to the bike reminds drivers that there is a bike below.

Following these tips will limit the chance of accident and keep your ride fun and safe.

Sadly, it is sometimes unavoidable to ride in the rain. So, when you do get caught in the rain, use these bike maintenance tips to protect your equipment.

Quick and easy post bike maintenance tips after riding in the rain

by John Brown

Sadly, it is sometimes unavoidable to ride in the rain. In my experience, the rain actually waits for me to get as far from home as possible before starting. So, when you do get caught in the wet weather, how do you protect your bicycle from the damages of water? Read on for a few helpful bike maintenance tips.

The First Step In Bike Maintenance Tips Is Get It Clean!

The first step after riding in the rain is to get your bike clean. Road grime, mud, and other muck that has accumulated on your bike will hold moisture and encourage corrosion. A bucket of warm soapy water and a sponge is the best way to clean out that crud. Try to resist the urge to point a hose at the bike because pressured water gets into bearings promoting wear.

The Second Tip – Get It Dry

Once your bike is clean, use an old towel to get it dry. Rubber parts like tires and grips don’t need a lot of attention, rather focus on all the metal parts. Really try to address the steel hardware and make sure it’s dry to the touch before you’re done.

Then, Clean The Rims

Unless you have disc brakes, riding in the rain takes a toll on both the rims and brake pads. All the road grime that attaches itself to the rim works like sandpaper, wearing both the rim and the brake pads when you stop. Therefore, after riding in wet weather you will want to focus on getting all that abrasive grime off the rims and pads. If the dirt is left in place, your brakes can start making noise, be less efficient, and wear out quicker.

Lube The Chain

Water and motion will do a good job of scouring all the lubricant off your chain. Additionally, the same road grime that wears rims and brake pads will wear your chain. Additionally, that wear leaves your chain particularly susceptible to rust. To lube your chain, start by propping the bike up so you can rotate the cranks backward freely. Next, Backpedal the bike, while dripping lubricant onto each chain link. Once the chain is well saturated, give a few moments for the lubricant to penetrate the chain. Finally, wrap a rag around the chain, backpedal, and remove all the excess lubricant. Done!

Lube The Cables

Like the chain, cables will lose lubricant and wear quicker in the rain. To keep your bike shifting and braking well, drip a small amount of lubricant onto the cables where they enter the housing. Once capillary action carries a few drops of lubricant into the housing, shift through your gears a few times and squeeze the brakes repeatedly to help the lubricant find its way.

Drain The Bike

A bicycle may appear to be sealed from the elements, but it is, in fact, able to take on water when you ride in the rain. The water that collects inside the frame of your bicycle can destroy bearings, rust a frame from the inside, or freeze in the winter and burst frame tubes. To drain a frame, pull the seat and seat post out of the bike, and turn the bike upside down. Leave the bike for a few hours to drain and then replace the seat and post.

Overall, when servicing your bike after you ride in the rain be aware of the corrosion and wear rain can cause. Focus on getting the bike clean and re-lubricated, ready for your next ride.