Monday, April 29, 2013

Bike Night Advice: Be Safe, Well Lubed and Stylish

This week you get a two for one on the advice.

 Here. We. Go!

So far we’ve talked a little bit about safety and the Bike Night Rules. Please continue to remind your kids about safe cycling. Especially taking the time to talk safety with your family and what they can do to stay safe during Bike Night and on the road.

Now that you’re an expert with the safety and such, let’s look at your bike(s). Are your brakes working? Are your tires holding air? Is your chain rusty? Are your wheel bolts or skewers tight? If you have gears do they shift properly?

Like windex – grease or lubricant can fix a lot of woes. Make plans to go to one of Longmont’s bike shops and pick yourself up some chain lube, or if you’re cheap, like me, you can run over to your neighbor’s car and siphon out some motor oil, or, better yet, use your own from that `10-w40 quart sliding around in your trunk.

OK – now that you’re back from the store, your trunk, or the neighbor’s, apply a generous amount to your chain  while turning your crank. DO NOT APPLY LUBE directly to your derailleur (that thing dangling from your rear wheel). This could botch things up inside of the housing/mechanism.

Did you hear that? Your bike’s drivetrain just sighed with relief.

(BTW – you’re better off spending the money to buy chain lube – if you use motor oil, the oil will collect dust and ultimately you’ll need to “de-grease” your bike, which sucks).

Next – tires.

Like you (and me), your tires don’t like winter much, and like us if your tires aren’t used regularly they get flat and saggy. SO – grab your air pump and get busy. You’ve got miles to ride and there’s fun to be had!

Grab an air gauge and check your PSI. The proper tire pressure can be found on the sidewall of your tire. On 26inch cruiser and mountain bike tires, they usually clock in around 35 – 45psi. Road tires and 700c wheels often have much higher psi’s. BUT – I’m guessing if you have a road bike you might already know that.

There are two kinds of air valves – Presta & Shraeder. Shraeder valves are the ones everyone is accustomed too. They’re used on your car, on just about anything that requires air. So if you have shraeder valve stems you’re in business.

However, if you have PRESTA valves, well, you can do two things 1. Blame the French and 2. Buy a cheater. A cheater is a handy brass fitting available at any bike shop. A cheater converts your presta valve into a common shraeder valve. I highly recommend buying one for your bike(s).

Otherwise, with most cycling related pumps there are presta options and/or shraeder valve options. You shouldn’t have a problem finding a pump that has either or both.
Uh oh – you’ve got a hole in your tube. Good thing you went to the Bike shop and picked up that handy dandy patch kit, right? Patch kits are awesome, especially when they work. To find out the quick and easy way to change your tire and patch your tube – go to “You Tube” and search for changing a bike tube/tire fix a flat etc. There are a lot of great tutorials out there.
Now that you’ve successfully reinstalled, tightened, and aired your tires up, lubed your chain and things are shifting properly.  

Do you feel like something’s missing?

That’s right! A headlight, tail light and a bell. All three can be had at a bike shop or by going to any of the big box stores. However, the one headlight I like is one sold at Bike N Hike. It’s an LED light and has a rubber mount that stretches and fits any handlebar out there. It’s great for quickly swapping between bikes. I forget the name. But Dave or Rick will know what you’re describing.

Bells are great and I think they help you to make your bike your own. There are a lot of options and I’d search online and find one that fits your personality.
Speaking of customizing your ride – This week is all about that. Do yourself a favor and troll pinterest or google or whatever, and find some cool baskets, basket liners, stickers and helmets. has great accessories is probably the cadilac of cruisers and they have a lot of really nice bike corture.  AWESOME Helmets! 

You don't have to wear a helmet on Bike Night, but if your bike is a statement about you and who you are, why not have a helmet that says as much?

Right now much of the bike industry is scurrying to figure out what women want, and by-and-large- women are more likely to customize their bikes with items that are style driven and not-so-much functional.  So what I’m saying is there are a lot of cute things out there for your bike. 

This designer is local and her basket liners are awesome. Check em out.  Especially if you're into going to the Farmer's Market! 

Like a good little blogger I should have a ton of links for you – but I don’t. Except this one . You can find just about anything there.

I hope this installment is helpful and you and yours will be safe, well lubed, and stylish. Bike Night is only 2 weeks away!

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