How NOT to Lock Your Bike

almost stolen_1

When out walking today in Philadelphia I saw this bike. Don’t lock your bike like this. A bike thief could remove that front wheel and the bike is gone. Judging by the rust, though, I’m not sure this bike is too valuable.

How do you lock your bike? Use two locks (a cable lock and a U-Lock). I mostly travel with one lock these days, and lock it “around the rear rim and tire, somewhere inside the rear triangle of the frame.” There’s also this method.

Bike Stolen? Bike Theft Discount at Community Bikes And Boards

Bike Thieves are Scum!Having your bike stolen is devestating. I’ve heard way too many times from friends, and had a close call myself, to take bike theft lightly. One time in Brooklyn, NY I was eating dinner with a friend, with our bikes locked up outside, and when we came out her bike was gone. Bike theft is gut wrenching.

So it’s nice to see a bike shop like Community Bikes and Boards in Philadelphia, PA offer a discount if you had your bike stolen.

Bring your Police Report into Community Bikes and Boards and receive 15% off any in-stock bike AND a Kryptonite U-lock.

That’s not a bad deal at all from a bike shop in Philadelphia, PA. Give Community Bikes And Boards a call (267-861-0544) and check out their other “hook ups.”

Community Bikes And Boards
712 S 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Long Distance Biking on a 34 Year Old Bike

77018072Sometimes you just don’t need a brand new bike. Maybe the dusty old bike in the garage is enough!

From New Orleans to Slatington, as the crow flies, is a distance of 1,102 miles, but Fritzinger is not a crow, so by the time he arrives in the Lehigh Valley — sometime Thursday, he thinks — he will have put many more miles than that on his vintage 1979 Columbia bicycle.

From New Orleans, LA to the Lehigh Valley, in PA. That’s a long way to bike, and on a 34 year old bike.

Fancy Bike Parking

While it’d be nice if we had parking like this in the US, a trusty U-Lock is sometimes all you need.

Locking your bike up is a bit like outrunning a bear, you only need to run faster than your friends. If your bike is secured with two locks next to a bike with just one flimsy cable lock, well, your bike probably won’t get stolen.

That said – no bike is ever safe. No seat, no bike lights, no front-wheel.

Ride in What You Got

bike wear

You don’t need lycra, you don’t need wool. You don’t need to wear jerseys or fancy shoes. I used to do 125 miles a week wearing just what you see here: cut-off jean shorts and a tshirt. About the only “fancy gear” I wore was a pair of Chrome Kursk shoes (about $75).

Yes, those fancy bike shorts feel good. A $125 helmet feels better than a $35 one. Let your adventures, the miles you ride, be the reward. A pair of cut-off jean shorts can take you on just as many adventures as those pricy Rapha duds.

Ride the Straight Path

straight line

Maintaining a straight line while riding in the street is important. The green path (above) is predictable, while the path in red is dicey.

How far out will your swing to get back in the road?
Are you pulling over?

Simply riding in a straight line is safe, but can take some getting used to. As a beginner cyclist you may feel that “getting out of the way” of cars makes sense, but it’s okay to be in the way! You are part of traffic, and you have a right to the road. Riding in a controlled and predictable manner is best for everyone!

Bicycling in Heavy Rain

rain biking

Riding in showers is one thing, but biking in heavy rain can be dangerous.

Unless you’re a messenger or bike racer (or someone else who’s getting paid to bike in bad weather), it’s best to pull over, get under some shelter, and wait it out.

Roads are slick, which could lead to a wipe-out.
Rain fills (and covers) pot holes (meaning you can’t see ‘em).
Visibility is reduced for motorists, which increases the danger even more!

You can have all the rain gear in the world and waterproof lights, but it won’t make any difference if you hit a pot-hole, fall to the street, and a car runs you over.

Yes – you have 100% legal right to the road in all weather conditions, but there’s being right and being alive. Take your time, find some shelter, and wait for it to clear up.

That Pain in the Ass

bike nerd riding

If you’re not used to biking, prepare for a sore butt. While it’s not really your butt, and more your “nether region” that gets sore, the cure is pretty simple.

Ride more.

A guitar player endures sore fingers for months.
A runner has to walk a bit before they run a full mile.

Same with the bike. Your butt is gonna be sore when you start riding, so be prepared. When sore, take a break. Give your tush ten minutes, walk around a bit, then get back on the bike.

To “toughen” up that area, try to ride a few times a week. You don’t have to ride 10 miles a day, but get some time in the saddle each week, and within a few weeks you should feel fine.

Help Your Bike Shop Help You

bike shop bike nerd

The bike shop, the heart of the bicycling community, is not a friendly place. Yep, I said it.

Many of my friends know me as “the bike nerd,” or at least a “bike guy.” The subject that comes up most often when they’re trying to purchase a bike for the first time is how snobby, arrogant, and quite un-helpful their local bike shop can be. It’s like the snobby clerk at the record store, except what you’re buying is 10x more expensive.

For me, the best way to have a good experience is to know what you want. I’m not saying you have to commandeer the conversation, but being able to tell the sales clerk the simplest of things – what you’re looking for – helps everybody.

Are you looking to commute to work?
Short trips on bike paths in the park?
Weekend trips in the mountains?

If you know what kind of biking you want to do, the bike shop can better help you figure out what sort of bike is best for you.

Getting Started with Bike Accessories

Biker Couple Bike Nerd

You can buy a bicycle from Craigslist for $100, or spend $600 at your local bike shop. But even when after you’ve spent that money, your spending has just started! Bike accessories are big business, and for good reason, since they protect your body and your investment!

Bike Helmet: $35+
Generally the more expensive the helmet, the more comfortable. A $35 bike helmet provides just as much protection as one costing twice as much, but the pricy bike helmets have more air holes in them, meaning your head will stay cooler during the summer.

Bike Lock: $50
You don’t want your new bicycle to get stolen, so you need a bike lock! My favorite is the Kryptonite Evolution Mini-5 Bicycle U-Lock, which costs around $50 online, sometimes $65 in a bike shop. This bike lock is small, light, and works like a charm.

Bike Lights: $50
Useful if you’ll ever be riding past sunset. For bike lights it makes sense to buy two: a front flasher is so people and other bikers to see you, and a rear flasher helps cars see you at night. Bike lights can save your life!

Bike Gloves: $25
I’m a big fan of gloves! It’s not a matter of if you might crash, just a matter of when. And the first thing that will hit the ground? Your hands! So cover them up with a decent pair of bike gloves gloves.

As you can see, all these bike accessories can add $100 or more to the cost of simply owning a bike, but they’re all pretty important!

Used Bikes are Good Bikes

black iro

When searching for a used bicycle in Philadelphia, I visited several bike shops. Probably seven. The search for a good used bicycle, though, isn’t about a particular shop. It’s about visiting a good number of shops until you find something you like.

Why buy a used bicycle from a shop, and not just from Craigslist?

1) Many shops clean and tune-up the used bikes they sell.

2) You’re dealing with an actual business, and not some shady stranger from the internet.

3) If something needs fixing, returning to the shop where you bought it goes smoothly!

I found this bike above, an IRO in my exact size, for just $250 in South Philadelphia. I could sell a few parts from this bike on eBay and make my money back (which I don’t think I’ll be doing, but I could).

If you’re just getting into biking, or you’ve been biking for 25+ years (like me!), there is NOTHING wrong with buying a used bicycle! With proper care and love almost any bike can last a few decades.

Used Bike Adventures