Thank you for stopping by!
While at the Bike Expo this weekend, I volunteered at the League of American Bicyclists’s booth – #1007 if you’re going – and on my way out, I ran across two really cool items on the market.
These helmets have LED directional signals on the back! Now, I must share that I was a donor for their Kickstarter campaign a couple of seasons ago. I bought two – and have not yet taken them out of the box. But, seeing them in action at the Expo put their awesome-ness into perspective for me.
If all goes well, I’ll be meeting with Zane from the Lumos team soon to interview them and share more information.
Brilliant Stick-On Strips
Um, can I just share that I am a FANATIC when it comes to reflective safety tape? This obsession comes from my days as a motorcyclist and wanting to be seen at all times, especially at night.
So, when the Brilliant Reflective table caught my eye, I just HAD to stop and inquire…
I met Chuck, and he was gracious enough to forward a sample for me to try and review. (I never mentioned the part about my obsession.) But these reflective strips have uses outside of cycling. For example, I have reflective tape on my messenger bag to be seen as a pedestrian at night. They’re also great on shoes and children’s jackets to increase visibility.
League of American Bicyclists
Just a special note about the LAB: it’s the oldest national advocacy group in the country. Back in the 1880s, the group lobbied for paved roads. Now, they’re the backers of Bicycle Friendly America, bike-friendly cities all across America.
Did you know that the League is also the sponsor of National Bike Month – it’s May, by the way.
So please consider supporting LAB if you’re wondering which national membership to obtain.
And, locally here in New York City, the organization to join is Transportation Alternatives, which advocates for better bicycling, walking, and public transit for all New Yorkers. Their flagship ride is the NYC Century Tour, where you can ride from 15 miles to 100 miles. This year’s ride is on September 9th.
Who else is tired of the back-and-forth of this year’s weather pattern here in the Northeast?
I know I am.
Well. Maybe just a little bit.
I say this because it’s nice to have brisk temperatures to decrease the sweat factor – who’s with me? But riding in the snow? Not so much.
Anyway, while we’re all waiting for some decent riding weather to come and stay, make sure your bicycle is ready to go!
Bike Prep Made Easy
1. So, while the weather is gettin’ it together, go ahead and get your eco-friendly spray cleaner and chain oil to get your bike prepped for the upcoming warmer temps we’re expecting shortly!
2. Make sure your brakes are working properly and that they’re not too worn out.
3. Then check your tires’ air pressure and fill according to the recommended PSI.
4. And check your bicycle chain’s lubrication level. If it’s bone dry – poor baby – then give it some fresh chain oil/lube. But before you add the fresh, give the chain a quick wipe or two with some cleaner to remove whatever grime there may be from last season (!). Hey, we’ve all been there.
5. Then, check the batteries in your front AND rear bike lights!
So riding non-stop from New York City to Philadelphia, 100 miles, takes ALL day. LOL.
“But how do I ride 100 miles non-stop?,” you ask.
I’ll tell you how: One. Revolution. At. A. Time.
That’s the main answer!
And for all the other answers to those questions you must be thinking about, I’m working on a video to explain it all to you.
So I’ll leave you with just a couple of questions to get your wheels turning:
So once you have the answers to those questions, set a date!
Then, consider these things:
– How will you strengthen your quads, calves, and triceps?
– How will you break-in your hands to keep from blistering?
– How will you break-in your groin and butt to keep from getting saddle sore?
– How will you prevent blisters on your feet and ankles?
– How/When will you go for a dry run? How far do you need to go?
– How will you keep your smartphone charged so you can use it continuously?
– How will you document your ride?
– What energy supplies will you use?
– How much water and electrolytes will you need?
– What do you need if nature calls somewhere without a bathroom?
– How will you repair your tires if they get flats?
– How will you plan out your route?
– How will you prepare for the elements? Are you comfortable riding in the rain?
– Will you take a first-aid kit?
– Will you ride alone, with someone else, or in a group?
– What considerations do you need to keep in mind based on who will accompany you?
While I’ll have those answers for you shortly, know this: You. Can. Do. This. Really.
When I was a motorcycle instructor, students would come up to me all the time asking this classic question. And, with a smile, I would say — as would my co-instructors: “The one you can afford.”
The same holds true for any new tool you need for a new interest. Right? So now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into a little more detail about what kind of bike you should get!
First, if you have no idea where to start and you live in the city, figure out how you’re going to store the bicycle. If space is a concern, perhaps a folding bike is the way to go. There are many types on the market today, and at different price points. If you can hang it on the wall or suspend it from a high ceiling (really), then you’ve just opened up a whole world of choices.
Type of Riding
Second, think about the type of riding you would ultimately like to do a couple of years from now. Are you what I call the Mary Poppins-type rider? You know, easy-going, with a basket on the handlebars?
Will you want to do triathlons and ride in the city? Perhaps a hybrid bike is the way to go. And, yes, it could happen, because my philosophy is that anyone who can walk, swim, and ride a bike can do a sprint tri, so don’t rule out the idea! (I’m a coach, remember.)
Maybe you’re just like a bat outta heck and wanna go fast all the time, so a road bike and some spandex/lycra could do the trick.
Do you envision yourself riding trails? Then a mountain bike is something to look at. Do you want to race on the trails? Then a cyclocross bike could be just the thing for you.
Or do you like an upright position but want speed? Then maybe a mountain bike frame with city slicks, tires with less tread, will suit you just fine.
Finally, most experienced riders will tell you to avoid big box stores because the bikes there are, well, crap. And maybe they are, but if a “Good Enough For Now Bike” is what’s in your budget — and you cannot find a good quality used one at that price — then there’s no shame in getting one. Just know that you could spend more money at your local bike shop getting stuff repaired more often than with a higher quality bicycle.
Not All Bells Are Created Equally
Just so you know, in NYC, it is the law to have a bell (the “brrring-brrring”, not “ding-ding” are better), front headlight, and a rear taillight.
My recommendation is that whichever awesome ride you find, you’ll be happier if it has some gears, handbrakes, and a place for a water bottle. While we’re on the subject, please, please, please, invest in a good bike lock! Other add-ons to consider: kickstand, rear rack, front basket.
Welcome to City Bike Coach!
I’m so glad you could stop by today.
Today’s topic is about the one thing you need to ask out loud before registering a loved one for a Learn-to-Ride session.
The one thing that comes up so frequently is….drum roll, please….: Rider Readiness!
Just how ready to learn is your loved one?
Often, folks will call – either for their children or a significant other – to schedule a Learn-to-Ride session.
For parents of children, ages 4 years to 7 years, the main theme is, “It’s time that Johnny and Susie learn to ride! What’s the earliest appointment available?”
For significant others, I hear a lot of this: “I want him/her to ride with me on the weekends. It’ll be so much fun to be able to spend more time together doing what I love!”
Sometimes, the same people will have already booked a session online and then call for the details.
But here’s the thing: Are you the one who wants the student to ride? Or, has the student stated a strong desire to learn? In most cases, when the targeted student does not want to learn a session can be a disaster. Truly.
You may ask, “But how can learning to ride a bike be that hard? Get outta here! That’s just what you do when you’re a kid. I did it, I fell, I got over it, and look how I turned out!”
Well, let me tell you.
First, if a student – no matter the age – has a real fear of riding, that fear must be addressed first. Maybe you were forced to do it, too, but was that fun?
Second, perhaps the student has no interest in learning. In our worlds, this can be unfathomable, but think of all the things your family and friends love to do yet you have no desire to even try. Um, baking with cricket flour, anyone?
Third, maybe the student is not ready developmentally. For children, there is no set time for physical fluency. For example, a four-year-old who is flying on her balance bike may find that her legs shut down once pedals are introduced.
Now, if a student has fear and/or physical fluency factors but really wants to learn how to ride a bicycle, then there’s your green light! We’ll take it one session at time until the student is rolling on two wheels.
This is why at City Bike Coach, we must know and feel that the following is true: The student must state a desire to learn – or at least be curious enough to try. It’ll be the first thing I’ll ask anyone calling for a session. So please ask your loved one first; it will save you unnecessary stress, time, and money. Trust me :).