Biking will be one of the
best activities that one can enjoy during weekends. Roaming
around your neighborhood is the great thing and it can even
consider as a form of exercise.
If you've ever ridden a
bike before, even as a kid, getting started again is easy.
They say once you learn, you never forget. This section
deals with getting you back on a bike and cruising your
community in safety and comfort.
Better Biking Than Ever
The explosion in popularity
of road biking in the last decade has meant new products and
new technology that have improved biking enormously. For
example, indexed twist shifters mean no more fooling around
with those little levers on the bar stem to find just the
right position - just twist the handle to the next number
and presto- you're shifted! New "flatless" tires reduce the
risk of puncture on the road to absolute minimum. The
emergence of "comfort bikes" and recumbent bicycles with
full backrests and plush seats has totally taken the pain
out of riding for older bodies. And there's so much more.
On the other hand, there's
more traffic and it's going faster. And, in city area,
drivers aren't expecting to see a lot of cyclists. We have
to take more precautions and be more aware of what's going
on around us. However, the recent development of rails to
trails for hiking/biking and the great trails make a
terrific time to get back to bicycling.
Whatever your reasons for
biking, there are a few basics you can't avoid. Like finding
a bike. Like knowing how to keep it running. Like learning
how to ride safely. And there are some ideas and equipment
you'll find helpful in getting the most out of your rides. I
hope this section will help you and your whole family,
including your kids, do just that!
Utility bikers generally
take safety more seriously than road bikers, many of whom
tend to rely on speed and superhero costumes to keep them
from harm. Perhaps carrying a load of groceries, pulling a
trailer or hauling your kids tends to make you feel more
vulnerable on the road. Many riders use one or two flashing
bright blinkies (even in the daytime) and a flag. Another
hint is to avoid rush hour for your shopping trips - bikes
are harder for cars to see when traffic is congested and
drivers are stressed out.
One of the problems you'll
face as a utility cyclist is a lack of secure facilities for
your bike at the stores you visit. Few stores have bike
racks; frequently you'll need to find a tree or pillar to
lock your bike to. Stores in large malls or smaller strip
malls usually have light posts in the parking lot with large
concrete bases you can use. Fortunately, there are
relatively few areas where you can expect vandalism, so
theft and damage problems are really minimal.
Mostly you'll have to
protect yourself against grab and run thieves, and this can
be done by securing your frame. Many cyclists also run a
cable through one or both wheels as well. Some riders also
detach computers, lights, saddles and other valuable
accessories and carry these into the store in their trunk
bags. Your patch kit will be small enough to stow in a seat
or handlebar bag, which can be removed and carried with you.
I leave my accessories in place and have not had a problem,
nor have I ever heard of anyone else's accessories being
lifted locally. However, you should consider the relative
safety of your neighborhood.