Winter is the perfect time to think about those projects and repairs you’ve been wanting to do, but just couldn’t tear yourself away from riding long enough to get done. Don’t wait until spring, when the workshop schedule fills up with tune ups! Winter is the best time to bring your bike into the shop for major repairs, overhauls, and upgrades.
Fixed gear bikes don’t allow coasting, therefore the slower you pedal, the slower the bike goes. Think of how a tricycle works. Your rear wheel is directly linked to your legs, and as a result, this cheesy zen feeling occurs. Your bike is now an extension of yourself, a graceful expression of your body gliding through traffic. The momentum you invest into your drivetrain doesn’t dissipate into the ether, but instead returns back from your wheel into your cranks to help keep you moving forward forever and ever. Your bike suddenly feels animate, more like an animal than a steel machine under you. And yes, I am fully aware of how bonkers this sounds, but trust me, it’s true.
Clipless pedals allow you to connect your feet to the pedals, meaning there is not time where you’re not engaged with your drivetrain. You get more power because your powerful legs can be working at almost every part of the pedal stroke—making you faster and building fun new muscles you weren’t working before!
Tires should be checked at least twice a month, depending on how much you ride and how much pressure the tires require. Higher pressure tires lose air faster. To figure out how much pressure your tire requires, check the side of the tire! It might be hard to read because usually it’s printed in raised, vulcanized letters, but it’s on there. It will be listed as a range. In general, wider tires take lower pressure, like between 40 and 65 psi (pounds per square inch) and narrower tires take higher pressure, often between 80 and 120 psi. Be sure to at least keep your tires at the minimum; any lower, and you are at risk of a pinch flat!
If you come in to get a tube, we’re going to ask you, “presta or schrader?” These are the two most common valve types for tubes. Here is an explanation of the differences, with pictures. Schrader valves are the same valves that cars have. Presta valves are sometimes called European valves.
If your dashboard display has adjustable lighting, try dimming the display while driving at night. Lower light inside means you can see more outside – including cyclists! Not sure if the dashboard lights adjust? Check your owners manual.
Ask anyone who rides with them—fenders are sweet! We recommend them for all bike commuters. Full-coverage fenders (which need to be installed) help stop water from splashing onto your feet, your back, and prevent that notorious soggy butt you hate all day. Added bonus: they keep your chain, brakes, and derailleurs cleaner and thus working better and lasting longer.
Sorry you had a crash! You might feel a rush of adrenaline, especially if there was a car involved. Try to stay calm and take your time, carefully assessing your body for injuries and your bike for damage. Even if you don’t think there is any damage to you or your bike, be sure to get the contact and insurance information of the driver. After your body calms down from the adrenaline rush, you might notice injuries you didn’t before. Similarly, when you bring your bike to the shop, we might notice damage you didn’t notice on first inspection. We have these handy little accident report cards you can carry around with you that prompt you to fill out the important details from an accident, compliments of Bike Safe Boston.
Ride as far to the LEFT in a bike lane as possible to avoid car doors that might open suddenly, aka the door zone. Check out this video for a demonstration on exactly how far that needs to be. Getting doored is unfortunately very common. Drivers often do not check their rear-view mirrors before swinging their doors open; legally if you get doored, it is always the driver’s fault (unless it’s dark out and you don’t have a front light and they say they didn’t see you). Don’t forget: cyclists have the legal right to take up the full lane of traffic if conditions are unsafe! That means that even if there is a bike lane on a street, you are not legally obligated to ride in it. Especially when the bike lane is being obstructed.
When you see a bike that says that it’s 21” (or 56cm; usually road bikes are measured in cm and mountain, hybrid and kids bikes in inches), that measurement refers to the distance from the top of the seat tube (rather than the seat) to the center of the bottom bracket. The first step in figuring out if a bike fits you is to stand over the top tube (as though you were riding the bike and stopped at a light). You should have 1-2 inches of clearance between you and the top tube. There are many aspects of bike fit, standover height is just the beginning. This article goes into depth about different fits for different types of bikes. If you’re wondering how you can get your bike to fit better, bring it in and talk to one of us!