Bicycles

Shopping For New Bicycle Accessories

April 18th, 2014

My son got a new bike for Christmas.  He also received gifts of money from various relatives for purchasing bicycle accessories.  He totaled up his money and we visited a website together to choose which bicycle accessories that he wanted.

My son told me before we even got to the website that he had also been saving his allowance.  He was sure that he could buy all of the bicycle accessories that his heart desired.  I like that he has been saving his money for what he really wants.

I told my son that we need to find all of the bicycle accessories that would make riding safer.  He agreed.  We found a 12v Generator with a Krypton bulb.  I will be a lot happier with him riding his bike when the sun is going down if he has some illumination.

He liked the idea of the headlight and agreed to it.  He found another safety item for his new bicycle accessories.  He found red flashing safety lights.  I think that he said they were cool.

A bell was the third of the bicycle accessories to get picked.  I wish it was as loud as a car horn, but I think it really will be effective for its intended use.  He saw a plastic horn and thought that it was stupid.

I told my son that if he wanted to ride his new bike to school, then two of his new bicycle accessories needed to be a lock and a helmet.  He had trouble finding a helmet that matched the paint on his new bike.  I told him that we could go to a local sporting goods store to find the right one.  He also preferred a different kind of bike lock than this website had to offer.

We had a good time finding the bicycle accessories for his new bike.  I think that he is going to have a lot of fun and some more freedom.  I am thinking that I may want to sign him up for a bike safety class and also a minor bike repairs class.  Both of those would teach him a lot.

 

Posted in Bicycle | No Comments »


Recumbent Bicycles: Faster And More Relaxing

March 13th, 2014

Many bike speed records have been broken by recumbent bikes. Recumbent bicycles were banned from international racing in the year 1934 and they haven’t seen widespread use until during the 20th century.

Recumbent bikers hold many world speed records for human powered, unpaced types of races. Interestingly, tricycles actually fall into the recumbent bike category and for whatever reason are generally accepted into the main ‘upright bike’ category.

Recumbent bikes are typically classified further by the size fo their wheelbase. There are long wheelbase recumbents (LWB), short wheelbase (SWB) recumbent bikes, and (CLWB) compact long wheelbase recumbent bikes.

Each of these types of recumbent also have somewhat different positioning of the pedals and wheels as compared to the seat. With long wheelbase recumbents the pedals are located in between the seat and the front wheel.

Compact wheelbase recumbents have their pedals either above the front wheel or very close to it. And short wheelbase recumbent bicycles have their pedals in front of the front wheel.

Recumbent bikes have several advantages over upright or traditional bikes. Some of these differences are described below:

Health

Recumbent bikes encourage a posture that reduces strain on the body. This makes them great for longer trips, and when a bike is comfortable for long periods of time we’re likely to bike farther, right?

A big plus is lower body circulation too. In a recumbent bike our legs are positioned at nearly the same height as our hearts, thus reducing hydrostatic pressure and the heart’s job of circulating blood through those areas.

Stability

Recumbent bikes are much more stable for obvious reasons: there are more wheels! Also, recumbents are situated closer to the ground.

Variety

When choosing a recumbent bicycle, riders have many more varieties to choose from than with traditional upright bikes. There are al kinds of variations and degrees of uprightness from which to choose.

There are some disadvantages as well. For one, recumbent bikes don’t allow riders to change positions, such as standing on an upright bike while going down a hill. And you’ll have to boost a whole new set of muscles. Recumbent bicycles use different muscle groups to power the bike than do upright bicycles.

Posted in Bicycle | No Comments »


Performance Bicycles: What Is Performance?

February 5th, 2014

In order to talk about performance bicycles, we should define the term. We all know what bicycle means, but what about performance? I think that many people tend to define the word performance as the ability to offer top performance, meaning top  speeds, top maneuverability, top smooth mechanical functioning.

While all of those minor definitions certainly pertain to an overall concept of performance, I’d like to offer another view of performance as related to bicycles. Though we all want to be the next Lance Armstrong, our own best personal performance does not have to reflect world’s records for speed or distance.

In my opinion, for the non-professional bike rider, even the more serious bike rider, performance should really be an issue of finding the bike that best fits your lifestyle and this is going to include things other than top, high speed racing performance.\

The best bike for the more common user has many non-race related factors to take under consideration. How much can I spend on a bike? I have to carry my bike upstairs, will the bike be heavy to lift? There are many practical concerns that may end up making more of a difference than shaving a couple seconds of your mile.

One thing to consider is where you will be storing your bike, and where it will be kept when you ride it to various destinations. You may not want to have a flashy top of the line bike in particular parts of town anyway.

And if you want to get into the topic of non-flashy bikes, boy, could I talk your ear off. There are so many awesome things about recycling old bikes into fabulously functional and affordable new bikes!

Sustainability is the way to go. Every time we’re able to use what already exists we’re giving someone a new bike that may not be able to afford one otherwise. Or perhaps we’re merely saving a spot in a landfill where stuff he haven’t figured out how to recycle can go.

Consider all your concerns and interests surrounding the type of bike that will best fit into your lifestyle and your community. You may learn something about yourself and the other people like you living just next door.

Posted in Bicycle | No Comments »


Folding Bicycles

January 18th, 2014

The folder or folding bicycle is a kind of bike that has several joints and / or hinges that can be unlocked in order to fold the bike into a compact size and shape. The folding typically involves the main frame of the bicycle, thought there have been some folding bicycles where only lesser portions fold.

Folding bikes are much more popular in the United Kingdom and East Asia than in the United States, and have many beneficial features that make them more suitable for taking onto public transportation.

Since many of the most rich American’s dislike public transportation and want to spend as much money as possible on a bike, they are not likely to opt for a folding bike, whereas those in other countries where public transportation is ‘cooler’ see the advantages of using folding bikes.

Many races and even records have been won or broken by riders using folding bikes, most notably Moulton folding bicycles. Though many people think that folding bicycles can’t stand up to the same standards of speed and performance, this is more of a myth than an actuality.

Folding bikes generally have smaller wheels though the ratios that determine how a bike will fit a rider seem to be nearly identical to no-folding bikes. Though folding bikes tend to cost more than non-folding bikes with similar features, many people find they are very suitable for their mixed transit lifestyles.

The biggest challenge to changing popular opinion of folding bikes in places like the US is to dissuade people of the notion that folding bikes go more slowly than regular non-folding bikes, when that’s simply not the case.

Posted in Bicycle | No Comments »


Used Bicycles: Sustainability Anyone?

December 18th, 2013

So you’re thinking about finding a used bicycles shop? Way to go. Buying a used bike will save you money, keep the environment cleaner, as well as encourage the recycling process in general, which leads to more people being able to helps themselves and their environment.

Used bicycles are a win / win proposition. I’ve heard people voice their concerns that used bicycles are not likely to last as long, that they’ll break down sooner just because they’ve been used more.

But anyone that rides bikes regularly knows that there are just going to be repairs to have done from time to time, whether the bike is second hand or brand spanking new.

If you live in a larger city there are whole sub-cultures of bike riding enthusiasts and these people can be some of your best allies in finding out where the best bike shops are, which bike shops deal in used bikes and / or offer reasonably priced and quality bicycle repair services.

If you live in an area that has some independent publications next to the major newspapers, pick up a few. Chances are you’ll find some ads for some of the cooler bike shops.

And nearly every town or city has Salvation Army centers and other resale shops like that. These are wonderful places to find used bicycles. Just be sure to call ahead  and find out if they have any bikes. Sometimes, especially in larger cities, certain types of items will all be at one particular location. It’s better to know ahead of time if you’re going to the right location for the best chances of finding a bicycle.

There are also online auction websites where you can search auctions by location. This way you can search all the new and used bikes for sale from auction sellers that live close to you. When you take shipping costs out of the online shopping experience, many viable items and options come to light.

Then there’s also the good old classified ads in the local newspaper. If you don’t see something right away, keep checking back every week and you’re sure to come across some used bicycle ads eventually.

Posted in Bicycle | No Comments »


My Love Of Bicycles

November 15th, 2013

I have owned many different bicycles in my life.  I decided in my early twenties that I could live just fine with just a few bicycles and without a car.  I have different bicycles for different uses.

I live in Houston and use the Houston streets for my transportation.  I regularly use one of my light duty mountain bicycles for grocery shopping.  The light duty mountain bicycles are not as tough as my mountain bicycles.  Light duty mountain bikes are also referred to as trail bikes.

I would never take a trail bike off-road.  I have a really tough mountain bike with a full suspension system for taking camping.  I try to get out and really ride on my mountain bicycle at least once per month.  I usually know at least one person that is going cycling every weekend.  It is easy to hitch a ride with them.

Some of the most expensive bicycles are recumbent.  I bought one for myself and I love it.  It allows me to sit in a reclined position and pedal with my feet forward.  My recumbent bicycle seat feels like a lounge chair.  My model is one of the faster ones and I love it.

I had a boyfriend once that was also interested in bicycles.  We rode together everywhere and he talked me into buying a tandem bicycle.  That was a huge mistake.  We just could not work together on that bicycle and it amplified the problems in our relationship that were just below the surface.  We broke up about two months after the purchase of that tandem bike.

I was on one of my bicycles just getting some exercise last week and I rode past a retirement community and saw something amazing.  I thought I was up on all of the available bicycles, but I had never seen an adult tricycle before.  They were amazing.  I stopped and chatted with one of the women riders and she told me that she hadn’t been able to ride bicycles in about twenty years.  She needed the stability that the adult tricycle had to offer and felt like she had new freedom.

My nephew has recently become interested in bicycles.  He wants a BMX bicycle for his birthday.  He asked me for it because, as the most enthusiastic bicycle rider he knows, I am most likely to indulge his desire.  I think that I am going to try to talk him into a free style bike instead.  If I can’t talk him into a free style bike, I may end up buying both bicycles for him.  I want him to love cycling as much as I do.

 

Posted in Bicycle | No Comments »


My Bicycle Tour In Vermont

October 18th, 2013

Several years ago, a friend took me on a bicycle tour in the Sonoma Valley.  Ever since that trip, I have been hooked on the idea of active vacationing.  I save money every year specifically earmarked for a bicycle tour.

Last year, I chose to do my yearly excursion to Vermont.  I found a company that specialized in bicycle tours of the villages in Southeast Vermont.  I am so glad that I chose this trip.  I think that it exceeded my every expectation and was quite possibly the best cycling experience that I’ve ever had.

Bicycle tours are really great only if the support team is helpful and courteous.  The scenery will fade away if the breakfast is bad or the beds are lumpy.  It is a lot of work to cycle around to see sights instead of driving around to see them in a rental car.  After this bicycle tour, I will recommend the company that ran it to anyone.

I think that Vermont may be the prettiest state I’ve ever visited.  While I was on my bicycle tour, I saw so many lovely villages.  There were white churches and picket fences.  I saw a brick federalist mansion that took my breath away.  I stopped to shop at several craft shops and even a general store.

I somehow felt connected to a past I wasn’t a part of.  There were people sitting on their front porches waving as our bicycle tour pedaled by.  I was most surprised by the excellent accommodations that we were provided.  We stayed two nights at the Kedron Valley Inn.  That inn is 168 years old and has been selected by travel writers as one of the top ten inns in America.

The next inn that we stayed at was considerably newer and had a few more amenities than the Kedron Valley Inn.  I enjoyed the proprietors so much.  They sat on the porch with us after sundown and told stories about various people that had stayed there over the years.  I think I could have listened to them for hours, but I was tired from the day’s riding on the bicycle tour and turned in early.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bicycle | No Comments »


I Love Exercise Bicycles

October 15th, 2013

I love exercise bicycles.  I have been using one every day for the last ten years.  I currently have four exercise bicycles in my house and use the three that work all the time.  I have found that the best time of day for me to exercise is when I first get up in the morning and before I’ve had a cup of coffee.

I searched for a long time before I found the exercise bicycles that were built the best and lasted the longest.  I have several friends that used my research to buy exercise bicycles that ended up being a place to hang towels and laundry.  What a waste!  Good exercise bicycles can be inspiring and liberating.

My favorite one of my exercise bicycles is my Keys CardioMax 550.  I bought the optional wireless heart rate monitor and it was a great addition.  I also like to read sometimes while I am using my exercise bicycles and this model has an acrylic reading rack.  I am hard pressed to come up with any flaws with this machine.

I originally found my CardioMax while I was researching exercise bicycles in ConsumerGuide magazine.  They rated this machine to be a great “Budget Buy”.  I took advantage of a sale price at an online store and had it shipped free to my home.

I already had a machine that I was using a lot and loved, but I thought that having even more exercise bicycles would be a good plan.  I am so glad that I bought it.  I was surprised by how smooth and silent the belt drive was.  This machine even has a fully electromagnetic resistance system.

I know that I can’t afford it, but I sure would like to add a Monark 894E Ergomedic Peak bike to my collection of exercise bicycles.  The price tag is over three thousand dollars and well past my price range.  I found a dealer in a neighboring city that had one on display.

The dealer that let me ride on the Monark was very nice.  His exercise bicycles were all so expensive.  He said that he sells a lot of units to rich, bored housewives and also to health clubs.  Health clubs like to have super nice exercise bicycles to lure in potential clients and to keep clients they already have.

There aren’t any health clubs near me that have a Monark.  I regularly call health clubs within about a fifty mile radius of my home inquiring about their exercise bicycles.  I will join the first club that buys a Monark.

 

Posted in Bicycle | No Comments »


The Best Kinds of Bicycle Shops

March 18th, 2012

I love bikes. Bicycles of every shape, color, type and size will draw me like a fly to honey, so it took me a few years to discover that I do have a preference for particular kinds of bicycle shops.

So, you have your trendy, high volume bike shop, where you can find all the latest models from the cutting edge of bike technology and design. These types of bicycle shop are also likely to offer some type of repair service.

Then you have your smaller, perhaps family operated bicycle shop. In my experience this type of bicycle shop is even more likely to offer reasonably priced repair services.

You may have guessed that one thing I tend to notice about a given bike shop is the types and cost of their repair services. After riding bicycles for years now, there’s one thing that always eventually happens again: bikes need to be repaired.

Most people pick up repair skills over months or years of riding, but if you need a repair done by someone else, it’s nice to have a local bike shop that’s prepared to assist you and your situation.

By far, the best bicycle shops out there are the ones that offer repair services at reasonable prices and deal in second hand bikes. Bike shops that are really good at one of these, are generally good at providing the other type of service.

Call around and find out which bicycle shops refurbish used bicycles. You may be surprised at just how nice a refurbished bike can be. Think about it, instead of adding to a landfill somewhere, an old bike can be made perfectly new and functional again… and become yours!

Of course refurbished bikes are also a great way to get a good bike while saving a lot of money as compared to a brand new bicycle. The more bicycle shops that deal with recycled bikes, the more people can afford to own bicycles. Less car exhaust and more exercise and human interaction is good all around.

When I visit bicycles shops that don’t like to work with recycling bicycles, I like to voice my opinion about what a great service that is, how attractive it is to be as a customer. It’s the little encounters in our daily lives that change the world everyday. Take part in bicycle recycling and help your little corner of the world!

Posted in Bicycle | No Comments »


Advice About Bicycle Insurance

January 15th, 2012

I thought that I needed to insure my bicycle against theft.  I’ve heard that bikes get stolen every day in my city and I want bicycle insurance to cover my investment.  I am very careful about locking my bike up every time I get off of it.  I use a really nice U-Lock and wear the key on a chain around my neck.  I found out that one of my friends was dating an insurance salesman and contacted him with my questions.

I asked him about bicycle insurance and he said that my homeowners or renters insurance policy would cover my bicycle if it was stolen.  He said that there were a lot of limitations and exclusions, though.  He said that my bike would probably have to be stolen from my home to be fully insured.

I was thinking that if I had bicycle insurance and my bike was stolen, insurance money would buy me a new one.  That turned out to be untrue.  The agent I talked to told me that if my bike was covered, I would be reimbursed for the value of a new model, less depreciation for every year old my bicycle was.  I’m thinking that, depending on the rate of depreciation, I may end up owing money if my old bike was stolen!

The agent I talked to told me that I had to maintain good records for bicycle insurance.  He told me to take a photo inventory of my possessions and to keep receipts.  He also said that any time I am making a claim against an insurance policy for theft; I need to have a police report attached to the form.  It is also very important to be accurate when declaring the value of the property stolen.

 

 

 

Posted in Bicycle | No Comments »