Tag Archives: Feature

Education – SECURE BIKE PARKING

As we draw nearer to the cycling season (for many, we never left it), it is time to renew your pledge to secure your bicycle every time you ride it. Here are some tips … including a little hype about Dero products … from the staff at Dero, the bicycle and “fixit stand” manufacturers. Note that this is from the bicycle capital of the USA, Minneapolis, MN.

Read on …

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition posted this (slightly edited) Q&A. Founded in 2009, MBC advocates for a city where bicycling is encouraged and everyone feels comfortable riding and is a big proponent of Protected Bicycle Lanes.

Getting your bicycle stolen is devastating, especially if it’s your primary transportation. While you can minimize risk with a quality lock and increase your chance of getting a stolen bicycle back by registering your bike with the police, where you park your bicycle matters too.

Q: What are the most common reasons bicycles get stolen in Minneapolis?

A: Making the correct bicycle lock is key to deter thieves. Using the wrong type of lock is the most common mistake made by cyclists. We recommend that people only use U-locks or non-cable locks, such as Kryptonite chains or the Abus folding locks. Never use just a cable lock as they are cut quickly and easily. A cable lock should only be used in conjunction with a U-lock or chain. It’s also important to be aware of what you’re locking your bike to and how you’re securing your bicycle.???????????????????????????????

No matter what, always lock yourbicycle. It’s tempting to run into a store and leave the bicycle unlocked for a minute, but it’s just not a good idea. Always lock your bicycle, even if it’s for just 30 seconds. Many thefts occur because of this split-second bad decision.

Q: Recently The Oregonian ran an article about a new trend inbicycle thieves – cutting through bicycle racks to steal bikes. Has that been an issue with racks in Minneapolis? Are the racks Portland uses similar to the Dero racks the City of Minneapolis uses?

A: I think we’ve been lucky in the Twin Cities metro area. We haven’t been contacted much with these types of issues. Based on the photo in the article, a pipe cutter was used to steal the bicycle. (Contrary to the article’s assumption, the cut is too smooth to be a saw.) Portland uses a rack manufacturer in the Northwest that uses a lighter gauge material for their racks. Dero racks use a heavier duty schedule 40 steel pipe. Both racks are susceptible to a pipe cutter, but a heavier duty rack will take longer to cut and may deter bike thieves. Another issue is that the racks use round pipe, which can be cut by a pipe cutter. Any racks that are inverted-U racks or hoop racks made with round pipe are at risk to pipe cutting. The Dero Hitch Rack that the City of Minneapolis uses won’t work with pipe cutters, since the pipe-cutting tool can’t spin all the way around the locking arms

Q: One of the suggestions in that article is filling racks with concrete to make them more secure. Is that something Dero has considered, and what other technologies might work better to stop thieves?

A: We’ve experimented with filling our Hoop Racks internally with concrete and that was a nightmare. It’s not economical, takes a lot of labor and time, and has to be done onsite at the installation location. A better option is to weld a chain on the inside of an inverted-U bike rack from end to end. We have manufactured a large number of racks for the City of Los Angeles and have included a chain welded to the inside. Pipe cutters can cut the outer pipe but won’t be able to get through the interior chain. The chain acts as a separate safety feature.

Q: Beyond locking to a secure rack, what other advice would you give people looking to secure their bicycles in the best manner possible?

A: If a rack isn’t available, make sure the structure you choose is made of steel, is strong and durable, isn’t bolted together (bolts can be removed), and is firmly installed to the ground or a wall. Make sure your bicycle doesn’t impede pedestrian right of ways or access to buildings. For short-term parking, lock to a closed steel structure like a bicycle rack (not a tree or short signpost with no sign). Make sure that you can’t remove your lock from whatever you are locking to. Ensure that at least one wheel is secured (this might not work for mini U-locks). For long-term parking, we recommend using a U-lock to lock the frame and one wheel (this might not work for mini-U-locks) and a cable lock to secure both wheels in place. In addition, if the bicyclist has an expensive seat like a Brooks saddle, we recommend using a short chain to secure the saddle rails to the seat stays. [ED: We disagree with this approach. The first lock installed – even a mini-U – should secure the rear wheel passing between the seat and down tubes. Go here for more info on the many advantages of the “Sheldon Brown Method.”]

Q: Do you have any advice for installing new secure parking on how to place it to minimize theft?

A: The best place for exterior parking is right next to the front entrance of a business. These locations usually offer window sight lines, lighting, and customer foot traffic, all of which help to keep thieves away. For interior settings (parking garages, bicycle rooms, and bike shelters), secure bicycle parking areas are the way to go. These facilities should consist of a fully enclosed room or cage with user key access, good lighting, and cameras. For home garages, locking it at night isn’t enough. Be sure to anchor a bicycle rack to the wall or ground and then lock to it. Also, install motion sensor lighting if you can. Dero along with other local retailers sell these types of products for home users. I highly recommend investing in these measures.

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Filed under Bike Tech, Locking Bicycle

Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.

Title:     Taming the Bicycle

(In the early eighties (eighteen eighties, that is) Mark Twain learned to ride – a high wheel, of course.)

SOURCE: http://readbookonline.net/readOnLine/888/

Courtesy: Alert rider Frank

Author: Mark Twain

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I thought the matter over, and concluded I could do it. So I went down a bought a barrel of Pond’s Extract and a bicycle. The Expert came home with me to instruct me. We chose the back yard, for the sake of privacy, and went to work.

Mine was not a full-grown bicycle, but only a colt–a fifty-inch, with the pedals shortened up to forty-eight–and skittish, like any other colt. The Expert explained the thing’s points briefly, then he got on its back and rode around a little, to show me how easy it was to do. He said that the dismounting was perhaps the hardest thing to learn, and so we would leave that to the last. But he was in error there. He found, to his surprise and joy, that all that he needed to do was to get me on to the machine and stand out of the way; I could get off, myself. Although I was wholly inexperienced, I dismounted in the best time on record. He was on that side, shoving up the machine; we all came down with a crash, he at the bottom, I next, and the machine on top.

We examined the machine, but it was not in the least injured. This was hardly believable. Yet the Expert assured me that it was true; in fact, the examination proved it. I was partly to realize, then, how admirably these things are constructed. We applied some Pond’s Extract, and resumed. The Expert got on the OTHER side to shove up this time, but I dismounted on that side; so the result was as before.

The machine was not hurt. We oiled ourselves again, and resumed. This time the Expert took up a sheltered position behind, but somehow or other we landed on him again.

He was full of admiration; said it was abnormal. She was all right, not a scratch on her, not a timber started anywhere. I said it was wonderful, while we were greasing up, but he said that when I came to know these steel spider-webs I would realize that nothing but dynamite could cripple them. Then he limped out to position, and we resumed once more. This time the Expert took up the position of short-stop, and got a man to shove up behind. We got up a handsome speed, and presently traversed a brick, and I went out over the top of the tiller and landed, head down, on the instructor’s back, and saw the machine fluttering in the air between me and the sun. It was well it came down on us, for that broke the fall, and it was not injured.

Five days later I got out and was carried down to the hospital, and found the Expert doing pretty fairly. In a few more days I was quite sound. I attribute this to my prudence in always dismounting on something soft. Some recommend a feather bed, but I think an Expert is better.

The Expert got out at last, brought four assistants with him. It was a good idea. These four held the graceful cobweb upright while I climbed into the saddle; then they formed in column and marched on either side of me while the Expert pushed behind; all hands assisted at the dismount.

The bicycle had what is called the “wabbles,” and had them very badly. In order to keep my position, a good many things were required of me, and in every instance the thing required was against nature. That is to say, that whatever the needed thing might be, my nature, habit, and breeding moved me to attempt it in one way, while some immutable and unsuspected law of physics required that it be done in just the other way. I perceived by this how radically and grotesquely wrong had been the life-long education of my body and members. They were steeped in ignorance; they knew nothing–nothing which it could profit them to know. For instance, if I found myself falling to the right, I put the tiller hard down the other way, by a quite natural impulse, and so violated a law, and kept on going down. The law required the opposite thing–the big wheel must be turned in the direction in which you are falling. It is hard to believe this, when you are told it. And not merely hard to believe it, but impossible; it is opposed to all your notions. And it is just as hard to do it, after you do come to believe it. Believing it, and knowing by the most convincing proof that it is true, does not help it: you can’t any more DO it than you could before; you can neither force nor persuade yourself to do it at first. The intellect has to come to the front, now. It has to teach the limbs to discard their old education and adopt the new.

The steps of one’s progress are distinctly marked. At the end of each lesson he knows he has acquired something, and he also knows what that something is, and likewise that it will stay with him. It is not like studying German, where you mull along, in a groping, uncertain way, for thirty years; and at last, just as you think you’ve got it, they spring the subjunctive on you, and there you are. No–and I see now, plainly enough, that the great pity about the German language is, that you can’t fall off it and hurt yourself. There is nothing like that feature to make you attend strictly to business. But I also see, by what I have learned of bicycling, that the right and only sure way to learn German is by the bicycling method. That is to say, take a grip on one villainy of it at a time, leaving that one half learned.

When you have reached the point in bicycling where you can balance the machine tolerably fairly and propel it and steer it, then comes your next task–how to mount it. You do it in this way: you hop along behind it on your right foot, resting the other on the mounting-peg, and grasping the tiller with your hands. At the word, you rise on the peg, stiffen your left leg, hang your other one around in the air in a general in indefinite way, lean your stomach against the rear of the saddle, and then fall off, maybe on one side, maybe on the other; but you fall off. You get up and do it again; and once more; and then several times.

By this time you have learned to keep your balance; and also to steer without wrenching the tiller out by the roots (I say tiller because it IS a tiller; “handle-bar” is a lamely descriptive phrase). So you steer along, straight ahead, a little while, then you rise forward, with a steady strain, bringing your right leg, and then your body, into the saddle, catch your breath, fetch a violent hitch this way and then that, and down you go again.

But you have ceased to mind the going down by this time; you are getting to light on one foot or the other with considerable certainty. Six more attempts and six more falls make you perfect. You land in the saddle comfortably, next time, and stay there–that is, if you can be content to let your legs dangle, and leave the pedals alone a while; but if you grab at once for the pedals, you are gone again. You soon learn to wait a little and perfect your balance before reaching for the pedals; then the mounting-art is acquired, is complete, and a little practice will make it simple and easy to you, though spectators ought to keep off a rod or two to one side, along at first, if you have nothing against them.

And now you come to the voluntary dismount; you learned the other kind first of all. It is quite easy to tell one how to do the voluntary dismount; the words are few, the requirement simple, and apparently undifficult; let your left pedal go down till your left leg is nearly straight, turn your wheel to the left, and get off as you would from a horse. It certainly does sound exceedingly easy; but it isn’t. I don’t know why it isn’t but it isn’t. Try as you may, you don’t get down as you would from a horse, you get down as you would from a house afire. You make a spectacle of yourself every time.

During the eight days I took a daily lesson an hour and a half. At the end of this twelve working-hours’ apprenticeship I was graduated–in the rough. I was pronounced competent to paddle my own bicycle without outside help. It seems incredible, this celerity of acquirement. It takes considerably longer than that to learn horseback-riding in the rough.

Now it is true that I could have learned without a teacher, but it would have been risky for me, because of my natural clumsiness. The self-taught man seldom knows anything accurately, and he does not know a tenth as much as he could have known if he had worked under teachers; and, besides, he brags, and is the means of fooling other thoughtless people into going and doing as he himself has done. There are those who imagine that the unlucky accidents of life–life’s “experiences”–are in some way useful to us. I wish I could find out how. I never knew one of them to happen twice. They always change off and swap around and catch you on your inexperienced side. If personal experience can be worth anything as an education, it wouldn’t seem likely that you could trip Methuselah; and yet if that old person could come back here it is more that likely that one of the first things he would do would be to take hold of one of these electric wires and tie himself all up in a knot. Now the surer thing and the wiser thing would be for him to ask somebody whether it was a good thing to take hold of. But that would not suit him; he would be one of the self-taught kind that go by experience; he would want to examine for himself. And he would find, for his instruction, that the coiled patriarch shuns the electric wire; and it would be useful to him, too, and would leave his education in quite a complete and rounded-out condition, till he should come again, some day, and go to bouncing a dynamite-can around to find out what was in it.

But we wander from the point. However, get a teacher; it saves much time and Pond’s Extract.

Before taking final leave of me, my instructor inquired concerning my physical strength, and I was able to inform him that I hadn’t any. He said that that was a defect which would make up-hill wheeling pretty difficult for me at first; but he also said the bicycle would soon remove it. The contrast between his muscles and mine was quite marked. He wanted to test mine, so I offered my biceps–which was my best. It almost made him smile. He said, “It is pulpy, and soft, and yielding, and rounded; it evades pressure, and glides from under the fingers; in the dark a body might think it was an oyster in a rag.” Perhaps this made me look grieved, for he added, briskly: “Oh, that’s all right, you needn’t worry about that; in a little while you can’t tell it from a petrified kidney. Just go right along with your practice; you’re all right.”

Then he left me, and I started out alone to seek adventures. You don’t really have to seek them–that is nothing but a phrase –they come to you.

I chose a reposeful Sabbath-day sort of a back street which was about thirty yards wide between the curbstones. I knew it was not wide enough; still, I thought that by keeping strict watch and wasting no space unnecessarily I could crowd through.

Of course I had trouble mounting the machine, entirely on my own responsibility, with no encouraging moral support from the outside, no sympathetic instructor to say, “Good! now you’re doing well–good again–don’t hurry–there, now, you’re all right –brace up, go ahead.” In place of this I had some other support. This was a boy, who was perched on a gate-post munching a hunk of maple sugar.

He was full of interest and comment. The first time I failed and went down he said that if he was me he would dress up in pillows, that’s what he would do. The next time I went down he advised me to go and learn to ride a tricycle first. The third time I collapsed he said he didn’t believe I could stay on a horse-car. But the next time I succeeded, and got clumsily under way in a weaving, tottering, uncertain fashion, and occupying pretty much all of the street. My slow and lumbering gait filled the boy to the chin with scorn, and he sung out, “My, but don’t he rip along!” Then he got down from his post and loafed along the sidewalk, still observing and occasionally commenting. Presently he dropped into my wake and followed along behind. A little girl passed by, balancing a wash-board on her head, and giggled, and seemed about to make a remark, but the boy said, rebukingly, “Let him alone, he’s going to a funeral.”

I have been familiar with that street for years, and had always supposed it was a dead level; but it was not, as the bicycle now informed me, to my surprise. The bicycle, in the hands of a novice, is as alert and acute as a spirit-level in the detecting the delicate and vanishing shades of difference in these matters. It notices a rise where your untrained eye would not observe that one existed; it notices any decline which water will run down. I was toiling up a slight rise, but was not aware of it. It made me tug and pant and perspire; and still, labor as I might, the machine came almost to a standstill every little while. At such times the boy would say: “That’s it! take a rest– there ain’t no hurry. They can’t hold the funeral without YOU.”

Stones were a bother to me. Even the smallest ones gave me a panic when I went over them. I could hit any kind of a stone, no matter how small, if I tried to miss it; and of course at first I couldn’t help trying to do that. It is but natural. It is part of the ass that is put in us all, for some inscrutable reason.

It was at the end of my course, at last, and it was necessary for me to round to. This is not a pleasant thing, when you undertake it for the first time on your own responsibility, and neither is it likely to succeed. Your confidence oozes away, you fill steadily up with nameless apprehensions, every fiber of you is tense with a watchful strain, you start a cautious and gradual curve, but your squirmy nerves are all full of electric anxieties, so the curve is quickly demoralized into a jerky and perilous zigzag; then suddenly the nickel-clad horse takes the bit in its mouth and goes slanting for the curbstone, defying all prayers and all your powers to change its mind–your heart stands still, your breath hangs fire, your legs forget to work, straight on you go, and there are but a couple of feet between you and the curb now. And now is the desperate moment, the last chance to save yourself; of course all your instructions fly out of your head, and you whirl your wheel AWAY from the curb instead of TOWARD it, and so you go sprawling on that granite-bound inhospitable shore. That was my luck; that was my experience. I dragged myself out from under the indestructible bicycle and sat down on the curb to examine.

I started on the return trip. It was now that I saw a farmer’s wagon poking along down toward me, loaded with cabbages. If I needed anything to perfect the precariousness of my steering, it was just that. The farmer was occupying the middle of the road with his wagon, leaving barely fourteen or fifteen yards of space on either side. I couldn’t shout at him–a beginner can’t shout; if he opens his mouth he is gone; he must keep all his attention on his business. But in this grisly emergency, the boy came to the rescue, and for once I had to be grateful to him. He kept a sharp lookout on the swiftly varying impulses and inspirations of my bicycle, and shouted to the man accordingly:

“To the left! Turn to the left, or this jackass ‘ll run over you!” The man started to do it. “No, to the right, to the right! Hold on! THAT won’t do!–to the left!–to the right!–to the LEFT–right! left–ri– Stay where you ARE, or you’re a goner!”

And just then I caught the off horse in the starboard and went down in a pile. I said, “Hang it! Couldn’t you SEE I was coming?”

“Yes, I see you was coming, but I couldn’t tell which WAY you was coming. Nobody could–now, COULD they? You couldn’t yourself–now, COULD you? So what could _I_ do?”

There was something in that, and so I had the magnanimity to say so. I said I was no doubt as much to blame as he was.

Within the next five days I achieved so much progress that the boy couldn’t keep up with me. He had to go back to his gate- post, and content himself with watching me fall at long range.

There was a row of low stepping-stones across one end of the street, a measured yard apart. Even after I got so I could steer pretty fairly I was so afraid of those stones that I always hit them. They gave me the worst falls I ever got in that street, except those which I got from dogs. I have seen it stated that no expert is quick enough to run over a dog; that a dog is always able to skip out of his way. I think that that may be true: but I think that the reason he couldn’t run over the dog was because he was trying to. I did not try to run over any dog. But I ran over every dog that came along. I think it makes a great deal of difference. If you try to run over the dog he knows how to calculate, but if you are trying to miss him he does not know how to calculate, and is liable to jump the wrong way every time. It was always so in my experience. Even when I could not hit a wagon I could hit a dog that came to see me practice. They all liked to see me practice, and they all came, for there was very little going on in our neighborhood to entertain a dog. It took time to learn to miss a dog, but I achieved even that.

I can steer as well as I want to, now, and I will catch that boy one of these days and run over HIM if he doesn’t reform.

Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.

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Schuylerville to Fort Edward Bicycle Tour – August 11, 2013, 9:30 am-4:00 pm.

Schuylerville to Fort Edward Bicycle Tour
CONTACT: John Vendetti
(518) 225-4209, hardworkinjohn@aol.com
This 28-mile tour between Schuylerville and Fort Edward along the Hudson River with stops at historic sites from the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War.

Where: Hudson Crossing Park, Champlain Canal Lock 5, Schuylerville, NY
When: August 11, 2013, 9:30 am-4:00 pm.

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On Sunday August 11, enjoy a 28-mile guided bicycle tour along the Champlain Canalway Trail between Hudson Crossing Park in Northumberland and Fort Edward. This tour will take bikers past historic sites of interest related to the Revolutionary War and the Champlain Canal. Learn about Rogers Rangers, Jane McCrea, the route that General John Burgoyne’s army took on the way to the Battles of Saratoga, and the development of the Champlain Canal.

Tour departs at 9:30 AM at Hudson Crossing Park and returns by 4:00 PM. Pre-register by August 8 by calling John Vendetti at 518-225-4209 or email at hardworkinjohn@aol.com with your name, e-mail, phone number, and number in your party. Suggested $10 donation payable at check-in. Tour limited to the first 50 registrants. Terrain is flat to rolling with one climb. Helmet required. Dining opportunities in Fort Edward or bring your own lunch.
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Second Annual Bike Expo – May 6th, 2012

Thank you to all our sponsors of the 2012 Bike EXPO! We Love You!!

Special Thanks to the Following:

New York State Canal Corporation

University at Albany Office of Sustainability

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