Tag Archives: bicycle safety

Your favorite music keeps you pedaling in high spirits through the toughest rides like nothing else. So how do you bring your favorite tunes along with limited space while riding a bike? Take a look at these few tips below about some of the most popular options.

Bike Pic Oct 26, things not to do while biking on wise Wednesday

Things not to do while biking on this Bike Pic #Wise Wednesday or any other day of the week.  In this photo, we caught a young lad turned around doing everything he shouldn’t do, making his bicycle ride unsafe (P.S. – the rider is OK, he did miss the car!).

Also, check out our latest article on places to ride in the upper Midwest, including destinations and peak color links. Then, get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking destinations. And now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing our latest bike pic

Now rolling through our 18th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

Do you have a fun bicycle-related photo of yourself or someone you may know we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Please Include a brief caption for the image, who shot it, and where. Photo(s) sent to us should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide to be considered. You will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram if we use your photo.

As we continue encouraging more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure. Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile-friendly, as we enter our 13th year of producing this handy information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends, and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have a great day with a safe and memorable year ahead!

A safety list for bike touring around the world

from Fat Bike Tours                                                                                                                                          

A bike is the top form of transit around the world and for good reason: they’re relatively inexpensive to acquire and maintain; they don’t pollute, and they keep their users healthy. You don’t even need to own one! Bike share programs are on the rise globally, making them accessible to everyone.

World travelers benefit from not needing to worry about renting a vehicle or having an international driver’s license and insurance. Instead, they can focus on a more immersive, full-contact experience of their destination.

This increased exposure does require that riders be careful, taking precautions to remain safe in their surroundings. Below you’ll find recommendations on what to bring with you so you can make the most of your ride, as well as some regional-specific tips to help make your trip easy and fulfilling – no matter where you travel.

Personal Safety Gear and Bike Accessories to Carry With You

Between scenic paths in the countryside and jam-packed urban streets, you’ll likely experience a wide range of environments on your bike. Smart cyclists make sure they can get by, even when seemingly stranded in the middle of nowhere. Here are some items you want to make sure you bring:

  • ID – Whether you’re making a quick trip to the corner store or riding on a remote mountain trail, you want to make sure you have a way to identify yourself. Even though you don’t need a license to ride a bike, you are still subject to traffic laws and ticketing – including bicycle DWIs in some areas. The safest choice of ID to carry with you internationally is your passport. Be very protective of it, and familiarize yourself with common passport scams. It is good practice to carry a photocopy of your passport in case it gets stolen.
  • Credit card, traveler’s checks, or other forms of secure payment – Carrying cash is generally considered to be a poor choice since it makes you an easy target for theft with little you can do to protect yourself should something happen. Many tout credit cards as being the safest form of payment to carry, since most have zero-liability policies in case they get lost or stolen. Many cards don’t charge a foreign transaction fee when used abroad. Traveler’s checks – which are now packaged as prepaid credit cards, sometimes even with chip-and-PIN features – can be replaced within 24 hours if they are lost or stolen.
  • Bike helmet – If you are renting/borrowing a bike, check with your provider to see if you can rent a helmet. Many cities around the world are now requiring bikers to wear a helmet, so you should check the laws in your destination. Even if it’s not the law, you should still wear protection since you will be riding on completely unfamiliar terrain as well as likely distracted by the novel sights. If you cannot borrow a helmet, make sure you either pack one in your luggage or else buy one when you get to your destination.
  • Cell phone – In case of an emergency, you’ll want to have your cell phone on you. Before you set out, save the number for the local police and emergency services. Make sure your phone is fully charged; consider bringing a back-up battery or even a charger.
  • Camera – Many phones come with a built-in camera, so make sure it’s functional or else bring one. Not only will you want to take pictures to remember your trip, but in case something happens – such as you encounter a strange plant or animal, or get into some sort of accident – you’ll want to have a way to document it for later reference. Bonus points if you can capture video (hello, GoPro!). That said, always ask before you take a picture of local people.
  • Translation device – Ask Siri or Cortana for help translating on your iPhone or Android phone, consult with any number of translation apps available online, use Google Translate, or refer to a designated translation device (and make sure it’s fully charged!). Make sure you have a way to speak to the local natives in case something happens.
  • Water bottle or canteen – This might not be absolutely necessary on a quick city trip, but it’s definitely essential for nature rides of any length. Newer stainless steel models keep your water cold for as long as a day while still being lightweight.
  • First aid kit – Even a skinned knee can quickly turn nasty if not tended to quickly! Some of the most common bike injuries are minor cuts and scrapes, as well as bug bites or rashes. Always carry bandages, ibuprofen, duct tape, Benadryl (for strings and allergic reactions), and safety pins with you in your first aid kit, just in case. A common injury on mountain bike rides is a broken clavicle, which you can identify when you feel pain upon touching a lump that appeared on your collarbone after a fall; if this happens to you, move your bike to safety, then fasten your shirt over your elbow using a safety pin, bending your elbow at a right angle. Use your phone to get help before you aggravate the injury further. Whatever the injury, make sure the first thing you do is pull off the road to get to safety.
  • For cyclists as well as cars, here is more information on road safety, thanks to our friends at http://teens4safety.com/

 Bike Safety Rules By Region Around the World

Fat Bike Tours provides safe, fun and unforgettable bicycle experiences through superior customer service that creates memories and smiles that last a lifetime. Learn more about their tours and company here.  

Family or group bike outings to nearby events adds to the fun

With so many summer festivals and attractions for a family to take in, commuting by bike can add to the fun. Especially if the event is within three to seven miles of your home or the lodge you are staying at. By leaving the car behind and traveling by bike everyone in your group can spend more time having fun with less of the hassle factor of driving and finding parking at the event.

This bike photo shows a family riding a trail that parallels a road that will take them to a local community celebration five miles away.

This bike photo shows a family riding a trail next to a busy road that will take them to a local community celebration.

In most cases by using trails, quiet roads and bike friendly streets to reach a community event is much faster. Plus, it will allow everyone in your group a more unique and unforgettable adventures. To make your next family or group outing safe and fun please consider these suggestions when planning on driving your the bike to the event and leave the car behind:

Plan your bike route before heading out with family and friends

If you are not familiar with the area you plan to ride, look at city and county maps. Most are available online and Google Maps is a good backup option. Most cities offer maps available at the tourism center, library or city office which show both the streets and trails in an area.

When planning a route is a lot easier when you know where the quiet secondary streets are. Especially when trails are not always connected to the destination you want to ride. When trails or bike designated routes are not available look for parallel streets and avenues that are a block or two off the main auto route to the event. Usually these streets offer low traffic shaded lanes to get you to the destination desired.

For the first few outings, a six to fourteen mile round trip by bike is plenty. If the festival is further away and your family is new to biking to events consider multi-modal commuting. Using a car or public transportation to travel part of the distance and then bicycling the rest of the way).

Before leaving, instruct all family members that they have to abide by the rules of the road when biking on roadways and trail. Remind them they need to, “Drive their bike”, obeying all rules as if they are driving a car.” That means riding on the right side of the road or trail  signaling their turns, stopping at stop lights and giving pedestrians the right of way.

When the temperature is hot while riding a bike it good to find shade periodically and hydrate.

When the temperature is hot while riding a bike it good to find shade and drink some water periodically.

If younger children are riding, allow plenty of time. When it is hot make frequent stops every couple miles to take a drink of water, rest, stretch, etc.

Check your bike gear so everything is ready for a fun journey

Before heading out, check that all the tires are properly inflated, brakes are working and chain is lubed (the ABC’s). You don’t want to worry about any mechanical issues when the family is riding. Especially on the bike trip home, when everyone is a little tired.

To freshen the air in your tires you can find the recommended tire pressure on the sidewall of the tire. Here you will find the recommended PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) behind it as your ideal pressure.

Is everyone carrying plenty of water or are there frequent hydration stops planned where water is available? On a hot day taking a sip or two of water every couple miles a good idea.

Bike safety and visibility

How visible is your clothing? Check to see that everyone is wearing highly noticeable – bright clothing so your group is seen by traffic from a distance. If your return trip is later in the day have rear flashers and reflectors on each bike will help to be seen by others on the road. If you plan to return after dark a front headlight should be a part of your bike equipment.

For more information on bicycle safety when riding alone or with the family check out the Walk! Bike! Fun! Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety curriculum. Brought to you by the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, it is free for you to download and use.

In this bike photo the family has gathered together at a busy intersection to cross on their way to the local fair.

In this bike photo the family has gathered together at a busy intersection to cross on their way to the local fair.

With these helpful bike commuting tips, we hope you and your family will find the next festival or event you participate in, twice as fun. Especially when incorporating your bike into the adventure. Remember, with less parking and traffic hassles a family or group of friends has more time to bond and have fun.

Bike Pic Nov 18, traffic congestion is universal

A little bit of traffic congestion near a local Minnesota mountain bike trail head, as everyone is having fun.

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!


My ABUS U-Lock Review

Tyler Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

Granit X-Plus 540 U lock

Parts that come with ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U lock

If you are looking for a secure way to attach your cherished investment to a bike rack, fence, or sign post; checkout the ABUS line of U-Locks. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been testing both the Granit X-Plus 540 and the Granit X-Plus U54 Mini. Both U-Locks are somewhat new to the market and as I have found are top of the line and worth the price.

ABUS U54 Mini

ABUS Granit U54 Mini U lock

My first thought when receiving these locks for review was their weight! The X-Plus 540 weighs 3.20 pounds, while the U54 Mini weighs 2.70 pounds. It could be caused by the “13mm temper hardened steel”, but regardless, these locks are tanks! After my review of these bike locks, I wouldn’t feel safe with some of the other U-Locks that I have looked at. They feel light and breakable. The extra weight of these ABUS locks was a small trade off in knowing that when I return to my bike, it will be ready to go.

IMG_20140807_192239_889There are a number of different ways in using both these ABUS U-Locks. For me, I found it best to lock the bike through the back tire and bike frame. My front tire was still vulnerable, but the back wheel and frame were secured. I found that the U54 Mini also had a wide enough build, that the back tire and frame could easily be locked, in most cases, like the X-Plus 540 model.


If you’re someone that primarily goes on long distance rides, or pedals around on the weekends, I’d suggest purchasing the U54 Mini vs. the Granit X-Plus 540. The primary reason for this is its size; the U54 Mini is smaller and lighter making it easier to transport. With the Granit X-Plus 540 mounted on my Red Line road bike, I was not able to utilize my second water bottle cage. For someone biking long distance, making room for extra water storage will be priority over this mounted U-Lock. However, if theft is a major concern, the Granit X-Plus 540 is the way to go.

ABUS U lock key

ABUS U lock key

ABUS key LED light

ABUS key LED light

Both of these ABUS locks come with two sets of keys. What’s nice is both sets of keys have an LED light at the end. This makes it easy to lock/unlock while riding in dark conditions. Personally, I’ve used this LED light more as a light on my keychain than just for my bike. The battery is also very easy to exchange. It takes one coin cell battery that just slides out from the back of the key. Along with the keys, a code card comes with these lock. If I were to lose or break both keys, ABUS will be able to make new ones just by receiving the code on the card.

All ABUS locks feature industry leading corrosion resistance – perfect for wet, rainy and snowy climates. The keyhole itself has a metal cover that opens from the middle when pushed on by the key. This will secure water and road grime from entering the lock. 

Mounted ABUS U lock

ABUS U lock mounted on Red Line road bike

The X-Plus 540 also included a convenient mounting bracket that could be placed in a number of spots. For me, the best place was right under the top cross bar. Unfortunately, the instructions to this mounting bracket were in German. Looking at the pictures and guessing what parts go where, I ended up mounting the lock and to my surprise, the lock flew off my bike while riding!

Luckily there were YouTube videos that walked me through the proper way in mounting this lock. Once this lock is properly mounted (you will have to physically unlock the lock in order to remove it from the mount) it will not fall off your bike. This assures the lock is secured safely on the bike, as a 3 pound lock doesn’t feel too good on the foot!

ABUS U 54 Mini

Bianchi road bike with ABUS 54 mini

With the X-Plus U54 Mini, there was no mounting bracket, so I had to be creative and search for a place to store it while riding. If you’re someone that carries a backpack or rides with a luggage rack bag or pannier, storing the lock there will be the easiest. Otherwise, I locked it under my bike seat as it was resting on the back seat post bag.

ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U lock

ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U lock

More on the ABUS’ Granit X-Plus 540:
The ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 has a 15/15 security rating, and is ideal for urban areas. If you need a secure safeguard when making stops where you have to leave your bike, the X-Plus 540 provides strong protection with a patented 13mm temper hardened steel square, parabolic shackle, and a double bolting shackle/lock body.

With its patented ABUS Power Cell technology your bicycle investment will be provided the highest protection against hitting and pulling attacks. Plus, the 540 features the most advanced technology available for lock picking prevention with the X-Plus Key cylinder in a U-Lock.

ABUS U lock

Commuter using ABUS U54 Mini

More on the ABUS’ the Granit X-Plus U54 Mini:
The U54 Mini features the most advanced technology (the same as the U540) but in a short shackle version. The lock retains the wide profile of its full size siblings in the Granit X-Plus U lock family, making it ideal for use in cities that have reinforced parking meters available for bike parking and where a narrow shackle profile won’t fit.

The lock is double bolting, meaning that if any thief attacks the lock with a grinder will have to make two cuts, as opposed to one cut for other brands whose locks are single-bolting.

All in all, I’m a fan of these ABUS U-Locks and would suggest purchasing one of these two models. Suggested retail price of the Granit X-Plus 540 is $149.99 for the 9” shackle, and $159.99 for the 11” shackle. Suggested retail price of the Granit X-Plus U54 Mini is $109.00. Yes, they’re heavier and a bit more expensive than many other U-locks on the market, but the trade-off is security.

Be sure to visit your local bike shop to find these products to safeguard your bicycle investment! Or, for more on ABUS bike locks, visit: Keeping Your Bicycle Safe With ABUS Bike Locks.


Keeping Your Bicycle Safe With ABUS Bike Locks

Tyler Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com  

With thousands of bicycles stolen yearly, what are you doing to ensure your bicycle’s safety?

20140123-FS8A0220-2The most important aspect of a safe and secured bike is having a reliable bike lock. Securely lock it in a well-lit – high-traffic area and have photo(s) along with your bike’s serial number and information on where it was purchased on file.

ABUS bike locks to choose

Here we found ABUS, a long-time industry leader in security, with numerous products to protect your equipment when you are not riding. Here are a few ABUS Bike Locks:\

01_111617_540_160 HB230_aGranit X-Plus 540

The ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 has a 15/15 security rating and is ideal for urban areas. If you need protection on high-quality bicycles, the 540 provides strong protection with a patented 13mm temper hardened steel square, parabolic shackle, and a double bolting shackle/lock body.

With its patented ABUS Power Cell technology providing the highest protection against hitting and pulling attacks and the X-Plus Key cylinder offering extremely high protection from lock picking- the 540 features the most advanced technology available in a U-Lock.


Granit X-Plus U54 Mini Processed with VSCOcam with k2 preset

The U54 Mini features the most advanced technology (the same as the U540) but in a short shackle version. The lock retains the wide profile of its full-size siblings in the Granit X-Plus U lock family, making it ideal for use in cities with reinforced parking meters available for bike parking and where a narrow shackle profile won’t fit.

The lock is double-bolting, meaning that any thief attacking the lock with a grinder will have to make two cuts, as opposed to one cut for other brands whose locks are single-bolting.

uGrip Bordo 5700 uGripBordo5700_IMG_3741

Designed in a range of 5 bright colors (black, orange, blue, lime, and pink), the new uGrip Bordo is the perfect locking solution for suburban or low-theft risk locking needs.

An updated, rotating lock body and “snap” closure make the uGrip tremendously easy to use. The rattle-free carrying case mounts quickly to the bike by using the provided Velcro straps or can be screwed directly into the bottle cage mounts, making transportation incredibly easy. A one-touch button frees the lock from its pouch, and a color-coded link and lock body make it simpler to identify the locking side of this lock.

The uGrip Bordo can also be ordered “keyed” with specific coil cables via special order.

Ultimateultimatestd 420

Made of high-quality, temper-hardened steel, the Ultimate 420 has a slightly narrower inner width and lock body than the beefier Super Ultimate. The 14mm shackle double bolts into the lock body for robust protection against cutting and torsion attacks.

All ABUS locks feature industry-leading corrosion resistance-perfect for wet, rainy, and snowy climates!

Check with your local bike shop for these models and other products to safeguard your bicycle investment.

It’s also a smart idea to register your bicycle through the Minneapolis Police Department or the city you live in. Then, if your bicycle gets taken, call your local precinct and make a formal report. Be sure to include color, manufacturer, model, serial number, or any other identifiable features.

 Pictures and information provided by Joan Hanscom,  ABUS Marketing and PR Manager