Tag Archives: Adventure Cycling

Although these Adventure Bikes may look like a road bike, they offer features that allows for ridding off road trails.

Adventure bikes are super capable. Are they the right bike for you?

John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Over the past few years, a new category of bicycle has been developing – The Adventure Bike. Although these Adventure Bikes may look like a road bike, they offer features that allows for ridding off road trails. With such versatility, could these bikes really do it all?

Why are these adventure bikes different?

Where adventure bikes differ from a road bike is the overall position. adventure bikes typically have a higher bar and shorter top tube than its road counterpart. Also, some Adventure bikes can handle a mountain bike tire. Now you may be wondering “if you can fit mountain bike tires in these bikes, what makes them different from a mountain bike?” I’m glad you asked. Rather than a mountain bike geometry that is focused on quick handling and maneuverability, Adventure bikes geometries focus on stability.

Where can you ride an adventure bike?

Adventure bikes can be ridden anywhere. The general position on these bikes allows the rider to be comfortable and in control on all types of surfaces. Therefore, riding off road can be as manageable as riding on the pavement. Additionally, adventure bikes can accept narrow road tires, large mountain bike tires, and every size in between. These tire options lend to the Adventure bikes versatility. Also, keep in mind that Adventure bikes all use disc brakes as well, so stopping won’t be an issue even if conditions get poor.

Can You Carry All Your Stuff?

The adaptability of an Adventure bike is another great reason to own one. Assuming you want to take multi day trips and need to carry camping equipment, food, clothing, etc. Adventure bikes are built with dozens of braze-ons (threaded inserts that allow you to bolt racks, bottles and fenders to your bike). Many adventure bikes come stock with front and rear racks, so carrying your gear is never an issue. Don’t be concerned if you aren’t into the rack and fender look, all these bikes still look great unloaded.

Is There Anything an Adventure Bicycle Can’t Do?

Yes and no. Technically, an Adventure bike is stable enough to be ridden on almost any surface, but it won’t excel on all of them. For instance, while they look like a road bike, they don’t have the same efficiencies. In the same fashion, Adventure bikes are not as nimble as a mountain bike and won’t offer the quick handling you would want to attack your local singletrack riding. Therefore, while an Adventure bike may be the best choice to tackle all terrains, it won’t offer the same ride as a bike built with a more specific purpose.

Has your interest been piqued? If so, I encourage you to head over to your local bike shop and take a test ride. Because of the versatility, efficiency, and comfort of the Adventure bike, more shops are stocking them than ever.

Road bikes have been popular in cycling for longer than any other type of bicycle.

New road bikes are more comfortable and more capable than ever before

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Road bikes have been popular in cycling for longer than any other type of bicycle. For example, many would remember the iconic dark green colored Schwinn Varsity, as the bike that hung in the garage 50 years ago. As time went on Schwinn road bikes made way for the lighter European and Japanese bikes. Furthermore, thanks to celebrity involvement and exceptional product, road cycling has seen a resurgence in the last quarter century. Read on to wade through a century of history and countless products for the right road bike for you.

What’s New In Road Bikes

Road bike fit

A professional bike fitter dials in the position for a rider (left). The typical aggressive position in this vintage image on the right.

For too long, road bikes were designed with tradition in mind rather than riders needs. Regrettably, it was the job of the rider to conform to the bike rather than the other way around. Thanks to a lot of market requests and a lot of work by manufacturers, we now have road bikes with drop bars that fit all types of riders.

SMOOTH AND COMFORTABLE

Newer road bikes are far more efficient and comfortable than ever before. Newer road bikes have more lateral stiffness than older bikes and transfer more force into forward motion. They do this through intelligent design and updated materials. Additionally, while being laterally stiff, newer bikes are also vertically compliant. This vertical compliance limits the amount of vibration that is transferred from the road into you. So a new bike will go faster and be more comfortable than anything from even 10 years ago.

MORE POSSIBILITIES

road bike adventure

As bicycles have become more efficient and comfortable, people are seeking new and more difficult terrain. Wider tires are being used to add traction as these new territories are being explored. Additionally, braking systems have become more powerful to aid in control. No longer are you confined to paved roads, now all those amazing dirt and gravel roads are available to you as well.

Materials

Steel tubes have been used for making bicycles since the late 1800’s. Steel was an ideal material because of its strength and cost. Currently, steel frames are usually found on high end frames built by custom builders. As a matter of fact, steel frames today use high quality tubes that are very strong and light. With that in mind, the benefits to steel frames are that they are very strong and naturally flex to absorb vibration. This makes steel bikes incredibly durable and comfortable.

Aluminum has gained prominence in frame construction because it is light and stiff. Being light helps the bike accelerate under the rider and being stiff transfers your energy efficiently. The downside of aluminum is that it can transfer vibration effectively from the road into the rider. Happily, bicycle designers have found ways to manipulate the tube shapes to offer a more compliant ride with current aluminum than bikes made in the past.

The newest material used in bicycle frames is carbon fiber. Carbon fiber frames can be laterally stiff, very efficient, vertically compliant, comfortable, and incredibly light. These characteristics make carbon an ideal material for bicycle frame designs. The only downside to carbon fiber bike frames is that they are more expensive than steel or aluminum bikes, and less durable to impact.

Types of Road Bikes

Competition road bicycles position the rider in the most efficient orientation possible. The rider’s position on these bikes is focused on aerodynamics and bio mechanical efficiency. Typically positioned with the hands and back low, this position is an effort to cheat the wind. Competition bikes also incorporate design features that transfer as much of the riders effort to forward motion as possible.

Endurance road bikes are designed for long miles and maximum comfort. To that end, they use all the same efficiency designs as the competition road bicycles, but incorporate a higher bar position to be more comfortable. In addition to efficiency features, endurance road bikes use design features to increase the comfort of the rider. These designs absorb exceptional amounts of road vibration, leaving the rider feeling better after a day in the saddle.

Adventure and touring bicycles are a growing category rooted in the most traditional aspects of cycling. With that in mind, these bicycles are ridden through terrains not possible for competition or endurance road bikes. Some are equipped with tires typically found on mountain bikes, creating greater traction and stability. These bikes are capable of long rides well past the end of the pavement. If you plan an overnight adventure, these bikes are capable of being loaded with racks to ensure you can bring everything you need to enjoy your adventure.

How Do I Figure Out What’s the Right Bike for Me?

Try them out. Test ride as many bikes as possible by going to your local bike shop ready to ride. If you have them, bring your helmet, shoes, pedals, and wear your cycling clothes. The difference in road bikes can be very subtle, so only by riding many bikes can you discern the difference.

Start off with a bike that is your correct size. In brief, take a 10-15 minute test ride to get a very good feeling of how the bike handles. A good course for a test ride will include some hills, a long flat section, and some turns that can be taken at speed. Focus on how the bike accelerates, climbs, descends, and turns. After you ride enough bikes, the right choice should present itself to you.

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The summer is prime time for fun in the sun. Take a look at how to plan for an enjoyable, safe, and prepared bike trip this summer.

A Guide To Planning a Safe and Fun Bike Trip This Summer

By John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Now that summer is in its prime, for fun in the sun, lets plan a fun bike trip. While hundreds of people flock to the lakes and local pools for refreshment many, like myself, will find refreshing the soul on two wheels the best way to go. Take a look below at how I plan for an enjoyable bike trip through the summer.

A Short Bike Trip

Just because you are limited on time doesn’t mean you need to miss out on riding your bike. You can have fun right around your neighborhood! I have found that a great way to plan a short ride is to first determine a destination point. That destination can be an ice cream parlor, a road you have driven down but never seen up close or maybe a nearby water park? Once you pick your destination, try to link in some sections of bike path, rail trail, or some quite back streets or road, even though they may not be the most direct route to your destination. After you pick a destination and a route the rest of the planned excursion tends to materialize easily.

What To Bring Along

For a short trip just pack water and the tools to fix a flat. These rides usually only last an hour or so but can do a lot to help your peace of mind.

Bike Trip

Ice cream is always a great mid-ride snack no mater if its a long or short bike trip.

A Long Bike Trip

On a longer bike trip it takes a bit more planning, though it follows the same order as above. Pick your destination with several attractions or points of interest close to one-another. Then, add some bike friendly routes and the rest of the planned  bike trip will materialize. On longer trips, it is also important to make sure your bike Is working well. Lube the chain, adjust the brakes, check your fit, or drop it off at your local shop for service at least two weeks before you plan to depart.

For longer trips, I like to employ the use of guide books (Like our Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide) to find the best places to ride. Once you determine the location, reach out to local businesses like bike shops, hotels, business associations, or tourism boards to find out more details about the area. As I mentioned before, a bike guide is a great place to start planning, but also reach out to local tourism bureau’s. Bike paths and trails have become a popular attraction for most towns and visitors centers are more than happy to talk about their bike friendly amenities and usually have the most up to date information. Also consider using software programs like: Ride with GPS, Map My Ride and Strava for more route ideas.

Packing For A Longer Trip

Packing for a long trip is more involved than what a short trip normally requires. If you will be driving a long distance or flying to get to the ride you don’t want poor weather to keep you off your bike – so pack for the worst! As an example, I once did a 24-hour long mountain bike race in West Virginia in July and while the race started under sunny skies at 95 degrees, it was snowing on the top of the mountain, that night. Take a look at our comprehensive bike trip list for all the items you may be forgetting.

Bike safety

A great bike trip is a safe bike trip. There is no more important part of bike safety than a helmet that fits. While crashes are uncommon, they do happen and a helmet is the best way to protect yourself from serious damage. Other than the helmet, practice riding safely with hand signals, situational awareness and limited distractions to keep you out of trouble. If you are on a family trip, it’s also important to talk to your kids about bike riding safety.

Bring The Bike Lock

If your ride involves time stopping, maybe at a restaurant or ice cream parlor, be sure to lock your bike securely. Follow these three rules when locking your bike. One, Lock it to something secure. If the bike rack or a sign post you plan to lock your bike to isn’t secure, you are making a would-be bike thief’s job easier. Two, Lock the frame and at least one wheel of your bike. Locking just a rear wheel or front wheel makes it easy for someone to walk away with the rest of your bike. Three, Lock your bike in a well trafficked area. Bike thieves will be less likely to try and take your bike with witnesses around.

Its All About The Fun

Most important part about making a bike trip fun is to remember, it I all about fun. We all have days that start late, roads that get closed, out of the blue rain falls, and generally stuff that happens. Remember that the bike trip is all about the ride, not necessarily the destination so enjoy your time in the saddle.

Bike Trip

Always keep it fun!

 

Bike Pic Dec.16, making a complete stop

Here Arlen Hall, from Adventure Cycling Association, poses for the HaveFunBiking camera after making a complete stop with a city bike at an intersection while on a ride in Downtown Denver, CO., after a Bicycle Tourism Network Conference.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB). 

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and present more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to [email protected] with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to use them. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Bike/Hike Guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated – At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for in the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile devices where you may see some additional bike pics – maybe of yourself so.

Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!

#FindYourNextAdventure