Category Archives: Feature

Pre-Trip Bike Maintenance Check Up from Adventure Cycling

PreambleAdventure Cycling’s Alex Strickland provided the following pre-ride tips for the upcoming “Bike Travel Weekend.” Even if your fall riding plans are a bit less ambitious, you might want to review these reminders. Adventure Cycling leads in with this: “Will you do us a favor and take a few minutes to check your bike before you leave for your Bike Travel Weekend & Bike Your Park Day ride? Here’s a quick checklist to help you stay safe.”

Jacques Tati et sa bicyclette, 1947 or ’49

Touring Basics – Your campground is reserved, your gear is laid out in an Instagram-friendly grid, and tomorrow’s the big day. Before you go, take 30 minutes for a quick run-through of your bike — the old “ounce of prevention” — to make sure your wheels are road-worthy before you strike out on an adventure.

Frame – Start with the frame and give it a good wipe down with a rag. Once the dirt and grime are gone, make a quick check for cracks, especially around the welds.

Tires – With the tires inflated, look for sharp debris or glass embedded in the tire, as well as any cuts that look like they go through the rubber and tire casing. Also check tread wear; if the top tread is starting to become square in shape (as opposed to rounded), or the casing is visible through the tread, it’s time to swap out for a new tire. If you’re running tubeless, adding a little fresh sealant is a good idea.

Wheels – Spin the wheels while straddling the bike and give them a quick spot check to make sure that they are round and true, and that there isn’t any excessive friction in the hubs. Also, give the spokes a quick squeeze to check for consistent tension.

Brakes – Check the pads (some rim brake pads have wear indicators) to ensure there’s enough material left. A quick visual inspection of the braking surface (rim or disc rotor) should uncover any issues there. Finally, check the lever feel and adjust cables or bleed hydraulic brakes if required.

Chain and Cassette – Chain and cassette wear can wreak havoc on your shifting and increase the chance of a broken chain. Looking at the cassette, focus on the teeth. If the cassette teeth come to a sharp point, the cassette should be replaced. As for the chain, you can use a chain checker tool to make sure that it isn’t stretched. If you don’t have one of these tools, you can look at how the chain lies over the front chainrings. If the chain doesn’t seat itself on the chainring properly, it’s probably ready to be replaced. A quick clean and lube of the chain is always a good idea.

Shifting – Run through the gears to make sure that the shifting is dialed in. Check cables and housing to make sure there isn’t any excessive friction or fraying.

Rack – Check for cracks and ensure mounting bolts are tight.

Bolts – Go over the bike from front to back, making sure all of the bolts are snug.

Take a Spin – The last step is to take the bike out of the garage and give it a quick spin around the block. Run through the gears, test the brakes, and listen for any creaks that might require further investigation.

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Filed under Bike Tech, Feature, maintenance

Accessory Obsessing – Brake Lever Covers

In July 2007, the products “Lizard Skins Lever Grips” (for “greater control and comfort’) seemed (at $3.99/pr.) as exactly the right accessory for brake levers on a flat bar. So perfect that, after “testing,” a second pair was obtained and then a third (to replace the first which were worn out) in August 2019 (now $8.00). Here they are worn out . . .

These grips had a nice fabric feel with a sewn seam and a rubberized liner. They mounted easily with the ever-reliable lubricant hairspray.

When both the second a third sets (on two different flat bars) wore out, it seemed like an easy task to get replacements.

Answer: NO.

Lizard Skins  offers all sorts of neat bicycle and sports accessories but brake lever grips no longer. The best result after a lot of web searching was “not available.”

Returning to the search recently, up came “Race Ready Pro Cycling” which leads to EBay  for a similar product in silicone at $8.99 and here they are installed in black.

These would also fit “North Road” handlebars but that seems a little de classe.

Just  ordered another set in red and one in black pair at $3.19 from another vendor . . . who turns out to ship from the “KEP Sorting Center,” Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – where else? Here is the proof:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Filed under Bike Tech, Feature, Product Review

How to Make Cycling in Albany More Affordable

This article provided by Guest Blogger Isabella Lovett

Cycling is a popular sport and pastime in New York, where, in New York City, an estimated 787,000 adult residents enjoy a ride at least once a month, as reported in the annual Mayor’s Management Report last year. Bike riding has a wealth of proven health benefits, including stress reduction and the improvement of cardiovascular fitness and strength. It is also a considerably affordable sport, though a bike coupled with clothing, equipment and additional accessories can demand a pretty sum. If you are keen on taking up this sport and want to keep your expenses down, follow these tips to stay safe and have fun on your bike. Black Fixed-gear Bike Beside Wall

Cycling to Work – You may dream of getting away to a green trail or ultra-smooth cycling lane, but if you want to make the most of biking while reducing transport costs of driving to your chosen spot, consider cycling to work. A 2020 study by researchers at the University of Otago found that those who take their bike to work have a 13% reduced mortality rate compared to those who drive their own cars each day. The study, which analyzed data from some 3.5 million cyclists, is one of the largest ever on the subject, showing the extent to which cycling can improve human lives while resulting in a much smaller carbon footprint.

Life Insurance that Covers Cycling – If you do cycle to work, know that most life insurance policies cover cycling. [Ed Note: This is a UK reference] Check any policies you have and if they don’t cover this sport, consider switching to one that does. If, after signing your policy, you decide to take up a sport that is considered riskier — such as BMX riding or downhill mountain biking — you may be under the obligation to let your insurer know. Try to keep your expenses low by obtaining various quotes and receive guidance regarding the type of policy (whole life or term-length) is best for your situation.

Opting for Affordable Gear – There are 20 cool bike trails in Albany, making cross-country and mountain biking popular sports. Because mountain bikes require quality suspension systems, their price can run into the thousands. Lighter carbon-based frames also up the price of bikes compared to traditional alloy. The truth is that for many riders (especially those who enjoy jumps and fast downhill rides), a good bike should be considered an investment. Try to save on gear like, for example, your shoes. There are many excellent cycling shoes that cost less than $100. Gloves, clothing and protective gear can also be bought from budget stores. Some items (e.g. a helmet and good knee and elbow pads) should at the very least have features such as ventilated exoskeletons, so your skin remains dry even during tough workouts.

Flexibility Matters When it Comes to Technology – Some bikes come with incorporated GPS in their handlebars. This is a crucial feature that will ensure you don’t get lost, even when you are negotiating a whole new route. Your phone can double up as a computer. Just use a trustable mount that will keep your phone stable and visible. This gadget is actually an ideal device to have around in the even that you need help and you need to provide a precise location to friends or emergency services.

Cycling is a sport that requires a small investment. Costs include a bike itself, plus protective gear and any device you may need to bring along. Try cutting corners on items like shoes and gadgets, but don’t crimp on suspension or lightness. You will thank yourself every time your ride involves a little uphill work. Finally, don’t leave Albany to enjoy a workout; try urban cycling to work every day to boost longevity and your overall quality of life.

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Filed under Activisim, Article, City Review, Feature, Riding in Albany

Demo – One Up Bicycle Rack

At the September 2018 Albany Bicycle Coalition meeting we were pleased to have a complete installation and use demo of the One Up bicycle carrier by renowned cyclist David. See https://www.1up-usa.com/. This made-in-USA carrier is trailer hitch mounted and can carry bicycles weighing as much as 75 lbs. (Think e-bike.) The carrier – with loaded bicycle – tips to allow trunk access, can have as many as three additional “add on” racks, and is made of cast and stamped aluminum (to reduce weight and eliminate corrosion).

This rack is most impressive for it ingenious design and impeccable execution.

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Urban Tribe Cargo Bicycles Opens for Business

Cargo Bike startup Urban Tribe Cargo Bicycles officially launched their website www.urbantribecargobicycles.com on 7/12/17. Urban Tribe will be building cargo bikes locally in Denton, TX to ship nationwide. The Danish-inspired family cargo bike design is one of the first of its kind to be sold in the United States.

Urban Tribe Cargo 8-29-17

The idea for the business came during a family trip to Copenhagen, Denmark. Commonly known as the Bicycle Capital of the World, where 50 percent of residents commute daily by bicycle on 250 miles of bicycle lanes. Aaron Powell, Urban Tribe founder observed, “Not only were there no SUVs on the road, there were large 3-wheeled cargo bikes everywhere that were transporting children to school, grocery stores, and playgrounds. I knew our family needed to get one when we came back home! We found that no one was selling a bike like this anywhere in the country, so Urban Tribe was born.”

Urban Tribe’s flagship cargo bike model “The Gatherer”, stands out from typical bike trailers and child bicycle seats with the following features:

  • Cargo box is in front of the handlebars, allowing parents to talk to their children
  • Can carry up to 4 children and 220 pounds
  • Equipped with an electric assist motor for with hills and heavy loads.
  • Shipped assembled and ready to ride.

On launching the website, Urban Tribe founder Aaron Powell commented: “Our cargo bikes are going to change how the American family travels with their kids. For those living in the city, it is a true car-killer. After months of preparation, I am thrilled to finally show off our bikes to the world!”

About Urban Tribe Cargo Bicycles:

  • Founded in 2017 to make cargo bicycle for urban families.
  • The first batch are in production and are available for pre-order at www.urbantribecargobicycles.com .
  • The bikes will be ready to ship, and be available for local pickup in Denton, TX at the end of September 2017.

Press release here: https://urbantribecargobicycles.com/pages/denton-tx-based-cargo-bike-company-opens-for-business

The Albany Bicycle Coalition provides the above information solely as a service to our members and the public.

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Filed under Bike Tech, Feature, Press Release