All of the above! Each works complimentary to each other; in some conditions lights are most visible. some things work better at different times of day or with different weather conditions. For example, on an overcast day, reflectors won’t help unless it’s really dark/rainy and cars have their lights on. can’t hurt when it’s daytime and the weather is gray, but high visibility clothing (neon colors, not just light colors) is the best way to go for being seen. Reflectors won’t do anything for you unless cars have their lights on.
Preventative riding. Helmets are like seatbelts—really effective as a back up, but you never really want to need them. There’s no substitute to learning how to ride safely. Of course, we still strongly encourage helmets—a well-fitted helmet that is replaced every 3-5 years, or after a crash, whichever comes first.
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.