Category Archives: Shop Local

Ready for the Riding Season?

Unless you are a dedicated year-round cyclist, the condition of your bicycle(s) may be far from your mind. Right now might be the best time to think about how soon spring will arrive and how great it will be to get out for a ride – provided your bicycle is ready to go.

Le vélo de Tati

There are, of course two ways to go – a professional tune up at a local bicycle shop or a do-it-yourself job.

YOUR LOCAL BIKE SHOP – Getting a complete tune up from your bicycle shop makes the bike ride like new again. Even nuisance noises that do not affect the bike mechanically are gone and you can ride carefree. Things you might miss – one brake shoe toed out, a barely noticeable wheel wobble – will not escape the notice of good technicians. They will look over your entire bicycle in the course of doing a pre-season “tune up.”

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Remember that internet retailers will not be there for you when you need advice, repairs, a part in a hurry, or a tune up – your local bicycle shop will be. You may save a bit of change (even after shipping and the hassle of possible returns) and get “next day delivery” (who REALLY needs that?), but you’ll miss all the benefits of a good relationship with your shop’s personnel.

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Here is a list of area shops – see the Albany Bicycle Coalition website for updates. https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/local-bike-shops/

DO IT YOURSELF – If you prefer to do your own work, there are plenty of “how-to” videos – a good place to start is with Park Tool’s at https://www.youtube.com/user/parktoolcompany Just as an example that anyone can use – how to fix a flat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58STtUM-Wow&list=PLGCTGpvdT04SCKR3pm1OsC5mUF9dapUuz

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Speaking of tools, you’ll want to buy the best you can find. For bicycle-specific items, again, Park Tool is a good place to start. Many shops have a display rack of commonly needed tools – by Park and others. For general-purpose tools, Sears Craftsman brand tools are now available at some hardware and home stores. With these or Snap-On, you can’t go wrong.

You can use your multitool for many maintenance and adjustment steps but you’ll be happier and do a better job with regular tools. Save the multitool for on-the-road attention.

tumblr_nn47ut4TWt1t19os5o1_500Another resource for “do it yourself” is “open bike night” at your local community bike rescue. Here you’ll find camaraderie with like-minded cyclists and advice if you get stuck. You might even want to show off your newfound bicycle servicing skills by volunteering at the bike rescue – there’s no better way to learn than to teach someone else.

Bike Rescues – Here is a list of area bike rescues – see the Albany Bicycle Coalition website for updates. Go here – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/albanybikerescue/

  • Albany Bike Rescue – 15 Trinity Pl., Albany 12208, AlbanyBikeRescue@gmail.com, (518) 227-1030 – The Albany Bike Rescue (ABR) hosts community bike repair and educational workshops every Tuesday night from 6:15 to 8:00 PM.
  •  Electric City Bike Rescue189 Jerry St, (off Watt St. at the McGathan Townhouses Community Center) electriccitybikerescue@gmail.com
  • Troy Bike Rescue – 3280 6th Ave., (North) Troy 12180, (518) 328-4827, WINTER HOURS- Wednesday open shop 5-8 pm

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Wheels to Waterford History Ride – Sun, 8/5/18, 9:30 AM, Albany Riverfront Park Boat Launch, $20 Fee

Wheels to Waterford History RideSun, 8/5/18, 9:30 AM, Albany Riverfront Park Boat Launch, $20 Fee

Join with the Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center, the Albany Bicycle Coalition, and the http://www.bikebarncycles.com/ ). for a sponsored ride from Albany to Waterford and return. The ride will feature an exclusive tour of the Waterford Museum, stops at some key canal and local features along the way, and a light lunch on the museum grounds.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The escorted ride will be on the very flat Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike and the Black Bridge trails to Waterford and is mostly “off road” with some quiet on-street sections in Watervliet, Green Island, and Waterford. In Waterford, we will follow the Old Champlain Canal towpath to Lock #4 and the Museum grounds.

The rider fee covers lunch, museum admission, and a donation for Albany Bicycle Coalition’s programs. We will have a monitored bicycle lock-up area at the museum. The “rain-or-shine” ride totals about 23 miles. We will depart promptly at 10:00 AM after sign in and will be back in Albany by around 2:30 PM.

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How to Register? – Send an email to lorenzworden@gmail.com. Use “Waterford” as the first word in your subject line. State the number of riders you are registering and choose a vegetarian or non-vegetarian lunch option for each. A parent or guardian over the age of 18 must accompany children under age 18 who are capable of this ride. Since this ride involves a considerable outlay by the sponsors, please register only if you are committed to attend. Please register by Tuesday, July 31. If you register and are unable to attend, please notify us before that date.

What to Bring? – Helmet, lock, water, $20, and appropriate riding gear. Please check your bicycle over before the ride (air, lube, etc.).

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Filed under Black Bridge, Empire State Trail, Erie Canal Trail, Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, Rides, Shop Local

Big Bar – Small Bell

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat to do when the entire bar bell inventory has only bells too small for your bicycle’s handlebars (or accessory rack)? No – you don’t go on the internet. You go to a local bicycle shop having the largest accessory inventory in the area – the Bike Barn in Cohoes.

On a recent visit to solve the above problem, there must have been 20-25 different bells from which to select. Amongst them was the Japanese-made “INCREDIBELL XL – A LITTLE BIGGER – A LITTLE LOUDER.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo provide flexibility, it comes with a shim thus offering two sizes – or, in Army Quartermaster parlance, “too small, too large, and ridiculous.” A couple warps of electrical tape made the fit “just right.”

 

 

Other features of this bell include a pivoting dinger to position the thumb (or finger) lever in a convenient location. The standard screw mount features a metal threaded insert so the mounting will likely not be stripped.

List is $10.95 less a 10 percent discount for Bike Barn Meetup membership.

Ding Ding!

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Wonderful, Pretty Good, So-So, and Not So Good . . .

CAUTION: Never rely on your mirror(s) when pulling into traffic or changing lanes. Use you mirror to “keep an eye” on the situation to the rear. Before changing lanes (or turning), scan … and then scan again.

The need for mirrors … With increased age comes decreased head/neck rotational ability. The remedy is good bicycle mirrors.

The hands-down best for flat-bars is the THIRD EYE MIRROR ($10-12 Amazon). Key features of the Third Eye Mirror are ease of adjustment, resistance to going out of adjustment, and lifetime guarantee – even if your mirror breaks from a fall or other incident. This is a quality glass mirror with plastic mountings, so a tip over is likely terminal.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor “North Road” bars, a modified SUNLITE HEAVY DUTY MIRROR ($11.77 – 2013) works well and looks great – giving that “king of the road” feel. (Be certain of the model you are ordering as there are a bunch of poorly engineered (i.e., lower quality) “Sunlites” out there.) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA For drop bars, the MOUNTAIN MIRRYCLE ($12-18 Amazon) which is oddly marketed for flat bars – wrong choice) works well. This is a drop-bar mirror. It has good optics and holds its adjustment well. A 3 mm hex wrench (included) is needed for installation and basic adjustment.

Now the catch – what about a bicycle with bar-end shifters?

Here’s a report on some options:

  1. BIKE-EYE – THE BICYCLE MIRROR
  2. ULTA-LIGHT BIKE MIRROR
  3. BLACKBURN ROAD MIRROR.

The BIKE-EYE mounts at the head tube/top tube junction using zip ties. Since the entire mirror body is fixed, the only adjustment is up and down meaning that the rear view is a narrow slot between the bicycle frame (and whatever accessories extend beyond the frame and the rider’s left leg (assuming a roadside mounting). The optical quality is good and the vibration minimal. And that summarizes the good points. Unless you are interested in a long-term study of your inner thigh, calf and knee, this mirror has little value. In a pace line, a rider could keep track of those to the rear. For an assist in keeping track of traffic, not so good. Relying on this mirror to monitor on-coming motor vehicles in the near lane would be a dangerous error.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The ULTA LIGHT BIKE MIRROR ($24 Adventure Cycling) is, in fact, light (2 ozs.) and has a parabolic lens for a nice wide look of goings on to the rear. Set up is a series of experiments consisting of adjustment to the hose-clamp-style mounting clamp and the ball-and-socket mirror adjustment. The ball-and-socket has about 80 degrees of adjustment but it entire mirror has to be moved back and forth and around the drop bars to get the basic position – lots of tweaking required. For drop bars (the point of this article), the clamp chews up the bar tape while doing adjustments at the ball joint (e.g., a mid-ride tweak of the mirror). Both screw heads take some hunting for a screw driver tip that fits. For on-the-road adjustment, a screwdriver is generally required. (The ball-and-socket 4 mm screw dropped off somewhere between Albany and Buffalo, so the mirror went into retirement.) For an Ortlieb product, it seems below standard.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The BLACKBURN ROAD MIRROR ($18 Amazon) mounts on the brake hood with a hook-and-loop strap – unique. The mirror has good optics and is easy to mount and adjust. It’s not a “bolt on” so it’s more theft prone than most. This was the mirror suggested by the bicycle manufacturer and, of the three, it’s the best. The downside is inability to hold a setting. No matter how hard one cranks on the lock ring, it needs almost constant re-adjustment – say, every 15 minutes. This complaint was voiced by reviewers on Amazon. Maybe someday, it’ll stop moving out of adjustment …OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Helmet Mirrors – if that’s your thing fine but they are fragile and require your wearing your helmet all the time. A benefit is the need to buy only one as opposed to many bicycle-specific mounted mirrors.

SOURCE: Except for the ULTRA-LIGHT and the SUNLITE, all the above mirrors are available at local bicycle shops. The Amazon price notations are for reference only.

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Where’d it come from … ?

  • 130,000,000 bicycles produced worldwide (2007)
  • 67% of the worldwide production of bicycles comes from China
  • 56,000 bicycles were produced in the USA (2014)
  • 99% of the bicycles sold in the USA were imported (16.2 million bicycles)(2013)
  • Top global producers of bicycles:

1 – China

2 – India

3 – EU

4 – Taiwan

5 – Japan

SOURCE: Momentum, May-Jun 2015

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