Sunday, May 4, 2014
Monday, March 19, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Anonymous said: what is the best cheap bike from someone trying out bike commuting?
Any working bike you may already have that fits you.
Best things to add to it: fenders, rear rack and bag for it, a good lock. Knobby tires are also a pain in the neck for longer rides, smoother tires will reduce the amount of effort you’ll exert.
A chaincase or chainguard or bashguard is also a fantastic way to ride in the clothes that you wear (if you can’t get this to work, try a strap for your right pant leg to avoid the chain grabbing it and/or dirtying it).
Stop in at your local bike shop and see what they have, or find a local utilitarian rider (bike commuter) who can help you out with some tips and tricks local to you.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
We’re getting ready to close on our new house.
As a result, I’ll have ample storage space for all things bike. I’m already in the pre-buying stages. How do I know? I’ve been salivated at the sight of pictures of the 2012 Lexa SLX and ogled a fresh from the box Cannondale Synapse 7.
I already have my sweet Trek Belleville WSD. It’s all I need, right?
Well, maybe the townie isn’t the best for those recreational distance rides that I just know I can take on like a champ. C’mon, I haul all kinds of crap on my steel framed steed on a regular basis. Put me on a lightweight aluminum frame meant for distance and I just may whoop you.
I had a fling with a road bike (drop style handlebars or ram’s horn handlebars - or a ‘10-speed’) in college. I was just experimenting, as we all do as undergrads. My entry-level recreational mountain bike was stolen the first week in the big city, and walking around my never-ending campus took soooo lonnnng.
Going from rapid fire shifters to friction shifters was like going from CDs to 8-tracks. I had no idea how to shift friction shifters and my tires were severely underinflated.
This time around, I know I can make it work. I can make this commitment. I have a sweet Bontrager (no, I swear Trek isn’t paying me to drop names) air pump that has a “smart head” and can fill the weird Presta valves commonly found on road bike tubes or the standard Schrader valve without any adjustments. Oh, built in pressure gauge is a bonus.
And now I know about fit and all the adjustments I can make to the bike that’ll make it comfortable. Feeling hunched forward (too aggressive)? Swap out the stem for a higher angle. Saddle not comfortable? It’s on rails, adjust it backwards or forwards. Drops too low? Try short and shallow handlebars. Stripe of dirt up your back from post-rain rides? They actually make fenders(!) for road bikes. Oh, and friction shifters have pretty much disappeared.
Maybe I’ll even put a rear rack on my new baby. When I find her, that is…
Jeez. Maybe I’ll even try clipless pedals. No rush on the Lycra, though.
(No, I don’t get paid by Trek or Cannondale or any other brand to drop names. But I do work at a bike shop that sells these brands.)
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Most Americans Want a Walkable Neighborhood, Not a Big House
The symbol of American success often involves having the biggest house possible, but our outsized fantasies seem to be shifting. It turns out most of us value nearby stores and parks rather than McMansions. Luckily, that’s probably where we’re headed.
Read it on GOOD→
Yup. Our home search was highly dependent on location. We’re really close to a grocery store (with pharmacy…oooh), a very nice furniture store, pizza chain, a couple of great Mexican restaurants. It’s near a high school, a middle school, and an elementary school - and a private school!
When I tell people where it is, they either aren’t familiar with it or say something like “ooh, that’s a nice central location!” You bet it is. Central = especially bikeable and walkable. Maybe we’ll finally get rid of one of our 2 cars… :)
Thursday, January 19, 2012
I feel dirty, but I have a confession.
I fell off the wagon. You know, the “I ride my bike instead of drive my car” wagon.
But I hopped back on just in time for the most recent local gas price jump. $3.59/gallon for the cheap stuff.
Life is busy at the moment. Buying a house (you know you have picked the right realtor when he arrives to a showing in his BMW with a Thule roof rack and Share the Road license plate. You also know you picked the right mortgage guy when he has a binder of your city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian plan on his shelf.
For the first time, my husband and I will have a garage in which to store our bikes! And we will again live in a bike-able neighborhood. Location, location, location.
Oh, and Bike Month is creeping up on us. Time to start planning! It’s going to be amazing…
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Winter riding rule number 1: always check the weather before you leave. Bring cold weather gear even if it’s gorgeous in the morning. My poor baby is sitting at work because the hubby bailed me out during last Thursday’s Winter Weather Advisory (aka why did my awesome morning ride turn into a frigid night ride?). Balaclava-less and full of regret, I climbed in the cozy car.
I’ll come back for you, baby. I promise. I’ll give you a real good bath, too. And of course we’ll have some real good times together. Just like The Muppets.
Muppets on Bikes! <3
Friday, January 13, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Saturday, January 7, 2012
The bike move looks like a lot of fun.
It’d be one hell of a way to introduce ourselves to the new neighbors.
Try driving less; Go walking, biking
[Here’s a letter to the editor that I wrote, basically elaborating on the message: “This one runs on fat and saves you money; this one runs on money and makes you fat.”]
The cost of gasoline has risen, and new numbers that you published Dec. 19 indicate the average American household spent $4,155 filling up their tank in 2011. That alone is 8.4 percent of the median family income. This doesn’t even consider the cost of maintenance, insurance, depreciation, loan payments, parking fees and other costs.
Those hours spent burning the $4,155 worth of gas? It’s a bit difficult to exercise while driving or being driven.
Sixty-six percent of adults in our country are overweight or obese, and that number is true for our community, as well. The rising challenge of maintaining a healthy weight is due in large part to lack of physical activity. One third of our children are overweight or obese, and are more likely to be pre-diabetic than previous generations. Again, this is in large part due to a lack of physical activity.
But there’s an opportunity to change all of that. 40 percent of all trips are within two miles of the home, and 50 percent of the working population commutes five miles or less to work. Yet 82 percent of trips five miles or less are made by personal motor vehicle.
Committing to walking or biking instead of driving, even just on nice days, can provide some of the exercise needed to keep those also-rising health care costs under control.
Oh, and that $4,155 we spent on fuel for our cars? Much of it went to our top three foreign oil suppliers — Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico. It did not go into creating local jobs or investments in our community.
Looking for a New Year’s resolution? Each month in 2012 try making at least one trip of less than 2 miles on your bicycle or feet, instead of your car. It’s a small step, but you may find you like the fresh air and activity more than you thought you would!