ABQ by Cycle: National Bike Challenge Prep Pt. 3

Good Morning All,

The National Bike Challenge begins in 3 days. Today I will post the last set of informative tips and videos from the League of American Bicyclist. Now that you have some riding tips and how bicycle better under your belt… is it time to learn a little about bikes and gear.

If you missed part 1 and/or 2 of this series click here for part 1 and here for part 2. Now get out there and ride!

Bikes & Gear

Check out the gear page for some suggestions if you aren’t sure were to begin.

Bike Lock
Your standard equipment should include a good lock—you’ll need it if you are going to leave your bike unattended for even a very short amount of time. For the best security, use a cable lock to loop through your seat and a U-lock to link the bike frame and front wheel to the bike rack.

Personally, I prefer using two u-locks. A large one to lock the frame and front wheel to the bike rack and a small one to lock the rear tire to the frame. It is typically more expensive to have the rear tire stolen that it is a seat and post. Whichever method you choose…Don’t be cheap when it comes to buying a bike lock and don’t just use a cable alone. Why some people will spend $1000-$2000 on a bike and then buy a $15 skinny cable lock that is easily cut with a Letherman tool in less than 30 seconds is beyond me?

Spare Tube

It is a good idea to pre-slime your tubes before you head out, especially if you live anywhere in the southwest (goat-heads anyone?). Slime works best for tires with a PSI of less than 80, MTB, Trailer  and Cruzer tires. Stan’s No-Flat Latex works best for tires with a PSI greater than 80, Road and Commuter tires. Whether you slime the spare tire or not, put it in a zip lock baggie to prevent unwanted wear and possibly tear.

Bike Pump

Be sure to get the right pump for your tires.

There are two main types of hand pumps: High Pressure and High Volume.

  • HP, or high pressure, pumps are most useful for road bike tires, which are typically very small. Because these tires are so small, they need a high pressure to keep their shape. The HP pumps push less air per stroke, but also have a very high maximum rated pressure that allows users to inflate high pressure tires. Look for a pump with a rating of around 120-130 psi. HP pumps are long and skinny.
  • HV, or high volume, pumps are most useful for larger mountain bike tires. These tires are larger than a road bike tire, so the increased pumping volume of a HV pump is helpful. Note that HV pumps have a lower rated maximum pressure. Look for a pump with a rating of  90-100 psi or less. HV Pumps tend are short and fat.

No matter what type of pump you need, it is a good idea to get one that will fill both Presta and Schrader valves.

Two (2) Bike Levers


What to Wear

There is no need to go out and buy special cycling gear – you can ride in your everyday clothes.

Riding in the cold: Wearing layers is the best way to control your body temperature. Gloves and ear warmers are particularly helpful when trying to stay warm.

Riding in the dark or rain: Wear bright clothing as you should make special efforts to see and be seen. Hi-Vis yellow and green are best colors for visibility — you will want to steer clear of dark colors.


Bike Helmets

Fitting a Helmet:
•    Place it on your head without fastening the straps
•    There should be a two-fingers width between your eyebrows and helmet
•    There should be little movement when you shake your head from side to side
•    You will want to start out with the smallest size– you may have to try on different sizes and brands of helmets until you find one that fits

Adjusting Your Helmet:
•    The side straps should come to a point just below your ears forming a “Y” shape
•    When your mouth is closed, there should be about half an inch between the chin strap and your chin


Fitting and Adjusting Your Bike

Steps to Fitting a Bike Frame:
•    Straddle the bike and stand in front of the seat
•    Lift the front and rear wheels off of the ground until it touches you
•    If it is a road bike, there should be 1-2 inches between the tires and the ground
•    For a mountain or hybrid bike, there should s be 3-4 inches
Another way to test the fit of a frame: When you’re sitting on the bike and one pedal is pushed all the way down, there should be a slight bend in your knee.


How to Choose a Bike

Answering these few questions will help you discover what type of bike is best for you:

•Why am I buying a bike?
•How fit am I?
•Where will I ride?
•What kind of terrain will I be riding?
•Will I be carrying anything?
•How much do I want to spend?

Types of bikes:
Road: Dropped handlebars and skinny tires, for racing or touring
Mountain: Flat handlebars with a wide range of gears, large tires and suspension for unpaved terrain
Hybrid/Comfort: Provides an upright position for a more relaxed ride
Recumbent: Have a reclined position and come in a wide variety of styles

until tomorrow




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