Perspective

After work today I unlocked my bike, packed up my locks and prepared to get home when I noticed my brakes were not working very well at all. I thought, “someone has tripped a quick release” or something and rolled to a stop. It was only then that I noticed that some genius/friend had removed two of my brake pads, one from both the back and front brake on the right side.

I had to bite my lip as I am always telling people, “people will steal ANYTHING”. I was angry, it seemed more like sabotage than, a theft. To try to make sense out this is foolish, so I have to just let it go.

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Posted in Safety, Tips | 6 Comments

Bring the Kids along

Riding Bikes with children in a Chariot Trailer

If you have small children, it’s great to start biking with them. Even when they are babies, there are plenty of options that allow you to get your bike on.
You definitely want to consider the extra weight and safety precautions, but the joy it can bring to you and your little one are priceless.

Let’s start at the beginning
You might have just had a baby, you’re an avid biker or just a person who likes to get around by bike.

  • • Inspect your bike for wear, balance and overall condition. Do you need to replace your tires?
  • • Check your brakes, stopping power is crucial. Not having it can be deadly
  • • Check your bike for eyelets (those are little holes in your dropouts). These come in handy for mounting racks and child seats.

When your baby is old enough
Around six months old, or when they can sit up on their own.

Child in a Bike Seat
  • • Attach your baby seat setup. I used the Topeak Child Seat and Rack system
  • • Practice with the additional gear. You can if you are not experienced, put a sack of potatoes in the seat to simulate the added weight of the baby
  • • Helmet check. You AND the little one. “It’s dorky” yes, and so is parenting in general, suck it up.
  • • Test ride with the baby. Choose a route, keep it slow and safe. Avoid high traffic or hairy, pothole ridden places.
  • • Check in with the baby often. This is new for them, they probably can’t speak very well, so check for smiles, check the straps/seatbelts, check the overall seat/rack setup for wobbles, things coming loose, baby sliding out of the seat.

As the Children get older…
You will outgrow the child seat. Pay attention to the weight limit on your model. I htink most of them top out at around 40lbs.
Depending on how strong you are and how many hills you ride, you may opt out sooner. Once you do, you still have options.

I recommend:

a Trail a Bike

This is the exact model Trail a Bike that I have, It is made of aluminum. The weight difference between this one and the steel one is only a few pounds (2-3).
The steel one is listed as cheaper. And only the steel one has it’s weight limit listed on the site (85lbs). I assume the missing weight limit was an error of omission.

The shop I got it at is:

Spokesman Cycles

Glendale
The Shops at Atlas Park
8000 Cooper Avenue
(718) 366-0450

mail@spokesmancycles.com

I paid around $127 bucks for it. I have not seen a better price.

Posted in Biking With Kids | 5 Comments

Biking to Work in the Hot Weather

Bike to work month is May. That is well before the dog days of Summer. I try to ride my bike to work all year round and the big question I get in the summertime is: “What about the sweat, dude?” Well… What about it? I don’t think I am a particularly sweaty or stinky person and I am very sensitive to smell. So I am using those, very unscientific data points to inform my decisions. I’ve used a few different strategies for trying to avoid showing up at the office soaked and stinky. Here are some ideas:

  • Keep some work clothes at work to change into.
  • Ride in a T shirt, get to work, wash a bit with COLD water, put on a fresh T shirt.
  • Don’t ride fast or hard – keep it cool it’s safer and cooler

Hot Weather

Pay attention to heat wave warnings. Make sure you are riding to your level. If you are in good shape and are often active in the hot weather, you’ll be more familiar with your limits. Don’t overdo it.

Clothing
Apparently cotton is NOT the coolest fabric to be riding in. There are a multitude of unpronounceable synthetic “moisture wicking” fabrics out there.

You could ride in shorts and t shirt then change into “work clothes” in the office bathroom. Cool off with a cold watered towel while you are at it. It does make for interesting “good mornings” with your co-workers.

But beware! Synthetics will trap stink like nobody’s business. There are a few special cleanser products to combat this very specific issue.

You still have to wear your helmet. Sorry, I know it’s hot and the thing doesn’t breathe well.

Water

You probably have a water bottle “cage” (a place to hold a water bottle, usually on the downtube of your frame) or at least water bottle “bosses” (the place where the “cage” bolts into you frame) if you do, be thankful and exploit these resources by mounting up a bottle and filling it with cold water (or other refresher of your choice.)

If you don’t have a place to mount the bottle built right onto your frame, there are a few options for adding a bottle holder in the form of strap on bottle holders, handlebar mounted systems and even these “camelback” options.

Water will help you stay cool and hydrated, don’t leave home without it in the hot weather.

Baggage

Try to get all the weight you are carrying onto the bike, instead of your body. Messenger bags are great for hauling lots of stuff, but most of them are black and almost all of them are some kind of “ballistic nylon” which means it’s kind of like wearing a black plastic bag ON YOUR BACK in the hot summer sun. You back is actually a great heat sink for your body, so don’t cover it up. Let it breathe.

Posted in Clothing, Weather | 9 Comments