aedifica: Drawing of a bicycle with the logo "Put the fun between your legs." (Bike fun)
[personal profile] aedifica
Disclaimer: this may be valid only in the US, I don't know about other countries.

I recently learned that if one has a Giro (or presumably also Bell) helmet with old scuzzy pads inside, one can call the phone number listed inside the helmet and get free replacement helmet pads! I called a couple weeks ago and my new helmet pads arrived sometime during the weekend.
roadrunnertwice: Wrecked bicyclist. Dialogue: "I am fucking broken." (NeverAsBad - Fucking broken)
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice
Link-wander resulted in rediscovering JWZ's epically bitchy bike advice post from '08, so I'm sharing. Fun game: send it to a friend and try to guess how much of it they'll violently disagree with!

(I actually quite like the post, except for the part about riding on sidewalks. An oft-overlooked virtue of the abrasive geek textual aesthetic is its implicit assertion that the problem at hand is a: knowable and b: not too many levels harder than whatever else you have to deal with on a regular basis. It's reassuring, if that's what you're wired for.)
roadrunnertwice: Silhouette of a person carrying a bike up a hill (Bikeluggin')
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice
Sing calloo and callay for overhaul season, and for grease under my nails again! My bike was getting a little wobbly and uncertain-feeling after the winter, and yesterday was a nice cloudy Saturday that I didn't mind blowing on some DIY, so I hied me to A Better Cycle and overhauled both hubs and my headset. (My bike is more than twenty years old, and I'm pretty sure most of the parts are about the same age; those three bearing assemblies have built up some pitting, and they slowly wear out their BBs and get looser over the course of a half-year or so. I mean, like all such do, but I really do think they need a re-up more often than a fresher kit would.)

Anyway, vive la difference -- Brigadelle feels *much* faster and more responsive, like it was a bear that just shook off the last haze of hibernation.

I love doing that work. Honestly, it would make way more sense to have the shop handle it, since they can work a lot faster and I'm not broke like I was when I learned it. But it makes me happy. I like the smell of worn-out grease and that orange pumice soap; I like keeping my own eye on those cups and cones as they deteriorate. (One more season, I keep saying, but they keep holding up just fine.) I like listening to music and singing while I polish away the old grease. I like the satisfaction of getting the cones locked down juuuust right, freely spinning but with no play. I like the way beer tastes after an afternoon of virtuous tinkering.

Hurray for overhaul season, and hurray for life.

(x-posted from my journal.)
rivenwanderer: (Default)
[personal profile] rivenwanderer
I don't know if I'm unusual in that I almost always wear knee-high socks unless it's really really warm outside. But I do, and sometimes I wear A-line skirts that are a bit longer than knee-length, and I want to bicycle without flashing my underwear. I've found that a great solution is to clip the hem my skirt to the tops of the socks! I got a pair of these double grip clips from Sockdreams, but you could probably improvise something from smallish clothespins or binder clips or something. I rode around all night without worrying once about the breeze flipping my skirt up into my face, it was glorious :) I'm considering making little elastic garters to go around my knees just to clip my skirt to when it's too warm for kneesocks. I especially like this method because it doesn't restrict your movement at all, unlike strategies that involve bundling your skirt to one side or tucking it under you to sit on it.
sara: photo of a bicyclist (bicycle)
[personal profile] sara

I have nothing particularly coherent in mind for 3W4DW, but I do have these pix of a neat cargo bike I saw out and about a few days ago. Should you have other interesting cycling stuff to share, please do feel free to do so over the next three weeks.

And from another angle... )
temve: Detail of my green bastard randonneur (Randy)
[personal profile] temve
Because I saw one of the new models in the street today and because it so perfectly illustrates the European attitude towards cycling as a mode of transport rather than a sport, have a picture of a German Post Office cargo bike.

Given the colour and the swooping step-through frame design, I dare you not to think 'banana'.

I love how the front wheel is smaller to accommodate the massive rack that is custom-sized to fit exactly two standard-size mail crates. Other than that, this one's built for maximum comfort and durability: huge wide seat, really comprehensive chain guard, internal hub gearing, and a pair of baby wheels in lieu of a kickstand because anyone who's ever tried to park a loaded bike on a kickstand knows that thislevel of cargo requires serious steel to keep it upright, and no way would you want to tilt it.

It really is a fine workhorse. But I'm shallow. I like its curves. :)
roadrunnertwice: DTWOF's Lois in drag. Dialogue: "Dude, just rub a little Castrol 30 weight into it. Works for me." (DTWOF.Lois - Castrol)
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice
The cover of Butler's <em>Gender Trouble,</em> with bike helmets badly Photoshopped onto the kids.
I realize I'm the only person who's going to find this picture funny, but since I went to the trouble of making it before that occurred to me, it's going on up.

I decided this was the year I was finally going to bother equipping my bike with fenders, and immediately ran into a brick wall. >:[

See, Brigadelle (my epic mount) is a late '80s Schwinn road bike, and it does not have a whole lot of clearance. And I kind of maxed out what clearance IS there by equipping it with a pair of Schwalbe Marathons. (I haven't had a flat since the previous Panaracers gave up the ghost, BTW, so I can't regret that.) And also the frame is only like 49cm, which means we're basically operating at the frozen limit of what you can get away with putting a 27" wheel on. (In fact, we're probably past it, but I don't think anyone making bikes in the '80s had yet realized that shrinking the front wheel was a viable approach.)

This is what we're dealing with, basically: )

I've only poked at one shop's supply so far, and what I learned is that full fenders are just plain out of the question, the fattitude of the Schwalbes rules out the more common size of those Planet Bike halfsies that attach to the fork blades with zipties, and even if I can get ahold of the wider "hybrid" size of halfsies, the minuscule distance between the tire and the down tube will make it a challenge anyway.

Has anyone come up with any brilliant fender solutions for smaller bikes with clearance issues? Any brands that you've found work better than others? It seems like this might require some creativity.
sara: photo of a bicyclist (bicycle)
[personal profile] sara
A review of office-friendly bike clothes -- but the cost is pretty steep!

What do you find works well for you as bike-to-work (or meetings, or school, or whatever) clothing? I wear a lot of skirts and pants with a high synthetic content, myself, but would welcome other suggestions.
roadrunnertwice: Silhouette of a person carrying a bike up a hill (Bikeluggin')
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice
New wrap job, Dracula!



So anyway, when I bought this bike back in 2007, the handlebar "tape" was actually just a pair of sliced-up innertubes: Cut for photos and meandering )

The other thing I did recently was put some reflective tape on each spoke, but I haven't had a chance to rig a flash photo while moving, yet. If I can pull that off, I'll post it. (Does anyone else do that spoke-tape thing? I put mine kind of scattered using a stepped pattern, but now I'm wondering whether the wheels spin fast enough to make that look semi-solid, which was my goal. If the stepped pattern just ends up looking kind of razzle-dazzle, I'll probably go for a narrower band on my next wheel, because the increased brightness and solidity seems worth the trade-off of a smaller lit surface area.)
sara: photo of a bicyclist (bicycle)
[personal profile] sara
So the weather report finally promised me two consecutive non-school days without precipitation, for the first time in I don't even know how long, and yesterday morning I said to the kid, "This is it, get your bike pants out, we're going camping." I've been promising her a bike-camping trip on the tandem since we bought it last September.

How the trip went. )
alien8: (Default)
[personal profile] alien8
We've got a big campaign against bike theft here in London. Here's one video produced showing good/bad locking techniques etc.


May. 2nd, 2010 03:28 am
vlion: (tree)
[personal profile] vlion
After reading over the discussion on my prior request for thoughts, I went with the low-end Giant Cypress, and I will report here after a while how it works.

Basic setup:

The Cypress is a 700c bike; relatively thin wheels with a large diameter. This improves efficiency somewhat, which is what I want for the long commuting on a bike path I intend to use it on (for the town, I have a cruiser). Standalone, it is $380.

I added better pedals, panniers/rack, basic fenders, lock, ordered magnetic lights, and most expensively, a leather saddle. Comfort is a huge point with me, and the shop had a Brook's leather saddle which I took the plunge on. According to the information I could find, it should be comfortable... after breaking in!

After all that, the final cost will be about $730. The other bikes I was looking at would have pushed me up to well over $800, if not $900, after my customizations.

One of the 'wow' things for me is the handlebar adjustment ability this bike has. I can maneuver the handlebars up or down and alter my geometry as needed. I'd never encountered this before.

The shop owner who helped me said I need to come in after about 50 miles or so to tweak the bike after it's been broken in.

One downside is that the tires need about 75 psi to operate well; I'll need to get a pressure gauge and pump them up weekly or so.

I took it out for a spin in some hideously wet weather and it performed quite marvelously - it zoomed along without much effort, which is exactly what I was looking for.

I went to Paradise Creek Bicycles in my town (web, facebook), and they have always been very friendly and helpful, without trying to upsell hardly at all.
roadrunnertwice: Wrecked bicyclist. Dialogue: "I am fucking broken." (NeverAsBad - Fucking broken)
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice
I do this book thing? And this bit is going to be in the next batch, but I'm posting it here first.

Gerd Schraner - The Art of Wheelbuilding (3/?)


Jobst Brandt - The Bicycle Wheel (3rd Edition) (4/?)

Probably the biggest thing I learned during March's adventure with the busted spoke was how much I didn't know about bike wheels. Research time, Dracula!

The two books are about as different as two books written by the type of person who would write a whole book about wheelbuilding can be. )
uhhuhlex: Me posing by my isight with new glasses. (Default)
[personal profile] uhhuhlex
So, I've been pondering panniers for Doolittle for, like, ages. With a folding bike, a kindly and more knowledgeable man told me, they have to be small enough to avoid catching your foot as you pedal. I've looked at all sorts of options but yesterday I finally stopped dithering and ordered a double rear pannier. It was advertised on a folding bike site, so I crossed my fingers and hoped it would do the job. It was also rather cheap considering the prices I've seen for some types, coming in under £20.

I thought this might be a good opportunity to ask about if other people's experience of cycle luggage. Do you have panniers? What kind? Do you love or loathe them? I notice a lot of people park up with the pannier still attached - have you ever had anything pilfered, including the luggage itself?

Read on for a photo of Doolittle's bangs and my experience... )


Apr. 27th, 2010 02:24 pm
vlion: (wizard)
[personal profile] vlion
As I am rummaging around the net, I found this site, which seems to be knowledgeably written regarding bikes.
vlion: cut of the flammarion woodcut, colored (Default)
[personal profile] vlion

I'm looking at getting a decent long-range bike. The companies that make the bikes are...

  • Raleigh
  • Kona
  • Giant
  • Specialized
  • Trek
  • Gary Fisher

In no order of preference. I'm looking for a bike that won't break down randomly, is comfortable, and goes decently fast, and isn't going to cost an arm and a leg. Does anyone have experience with these companies?
sara: photo of a bicyclist (bicycle)
[personal profile] sara
So a couple of weeks ago I said to someone here who was thinking of buying new equipment, hey, I just saw a buyer's guide that Bicycling put out, you could take a look at that, and not long after that I was at the library and they had a copy and I thought hey self, you could read this thing before you rec it to other people.

Which I have! And here are my thoughts.

Mostly, what I think is that I am so not the target audience. More than half the 128-page issue is devoted to men's road-riding and racing gear, which is, yes, kind of spiffy and shiny and stuff, but entirely unrelated to what I do on bikes. There's one and a half pages of touring equipment (including, I will admit, a Rivendell mixte I have been known to drool over, plus a rec for one of the Schwalbe Marathon line of tires, which I have on the tandem and think are dandy) and five pages of reviews of women-specific road and mountain biking equipment. There's a single page of kids' and tandem bikes (although, again, the tandem they picture is the entirely drool-worthy Co-Motion Periscope,, yeah, if I win the lottery and my stoker gets big enough that her rear wouldn't be below the top of the back wheel, I would love to roll one into my garage). There are no recumbents. There are no hand-crank bikes or anything adaptive.

They seem to do a little better on reviews of urban-type bikes, but most of what they're covering with any degree of comprehensiveness is strictly for the carbon-fiber-and-spandex crowd.

I checked some other issues of Bicycling out of the library and read those, too, this past weekend, which was interesting in a semi-anthropological way. There are usually one or two items each issue that I enjoy reading -- a piece on bicycling as a therapy for ADHD, which as someone who was diagnosed-hyperactive as a kid and has spent time lately throwing my own a-lot-like-me kid on the back of a bike, er, yep; a piece on bike touring with kids -- and a lot more that seem to have nothing to do with me or what I do on bicycles.

Maybe I'm too mellow on long rides, but I don't exactly go out to ride fifty miles and fret about...I can't even remember what they call it, but I think it's some sort of metabolic crash. And it has its own term, which isn't "borking" but is something sort of like that (you can tell how much of the vocabulary I have failed to pick up, here). If you feel like crap or start to worry that you aren't going to be able to get home from your bike ride, the thing to do is find a nice spot next to the road and not go anywhere until you stop feeling like you're going to barf or whatever. You don't need to overthink this. Also, tips for how to have a snack without stopping moving? Honestly, I think having a granola bar and a bottle of Gatorade and talking to some cows is one of the nicest parts of taking a long ride in the countryside.

I am clearly not well-suited for the high-speed Bicycling lifestyle. But, like I say, there's often something sort of interesting in each issue. I wouldn't run out and buy a subscription, but it's not all bad if I'm in a mood to sit down and read a stack of mags from the library (although frankly, Fortean Times is more fun, and will provide pointers for what to do if you're cycling through the English countryside and a panther walks up and asks to eat your granola bar).
killing_rose: Abby from NCIS asleep next to a caf-Pow with the text "Goth Genius at Work" (Abby)
[personal profile] killing_rose
This is Hunk o' Junk, lovingly referred to as Hunk. Amazingly, my school bike, which is 15 years old if it's a day and looks (and usually handles) like a POS bought at Walmart, pisses me off a lot less. And, other than adding air to its poor tires, is worlds less fussy.

The first is a cleaner, mildly newer version of Hunk; the second is a vaguely blurry comparison of where my hips come up to on him. I'd have just added in the images, but I was having Issues with that today.

Hunk is a Diamondback Mountain Bike, a 26" Topanga. I ended up with him by accident last year; I was actually in the middle of transitioning to a road bike and wound up with him instead. He is a wonderful, wonderful bike. He's just...well, he's not the bike for me. When I call him Hunk o' Junk, it's more out of frustration because we are Not Bicycle Soulmates. My last two mountain bikes, both Schwinn bikes, were the right weight and height for me. Hunk is definitely not.

Hunk is not made for a 5'2", 130 pound female. He really isn't made a petite female who's riding him as an everyday bike in lieu of buying a car. But I got him for mostly free because he's on permanent loan from my 5'10", 170+ pound brother who stopped riding him when he bought a car. I really should buy a new bike that fits me, but I'm trying to hold off until graduation. (And then I have my eye on a folder.)

Hunk is nice for the off-trail biking I do in the summer, holds up well to the "oh look--three feet of snow and ice, but it's 46* and everyone should be outside!" thing that's occurring right now, and handles well when I decide that biking down a 70 or 80 degree hill is fun.

At the same time, I've wound up twisting an ankle, slammed into a tree, and nearly ended up in a lake. He may be great for off-trail, but he's not the best at dodging dogs and children on some of the trails. To say nothing of how persnickety his gears can be, which isn't helpful when I slam on the brakes to avoid a moose or the Wildlife Of The Day. He's too heavy and huge for me, and biking on him two days ago reminded me of that.

Besides which, I have never encountered a bike who is this particular about his tires. If you don't fill him up at the gas station, I swear to god, he sulks. Really. I can't make this up.

(And besides, I want a bike with fenders next time. I don't actually appreciate being mud-spattered and/or drenched on the really fun weather days.)

On the other hand, when I finally replace him, I will have to compare different models. This means that I will actually have to acquaint myself with the local bike shops. Grr. There are only two or three places in town, and I haven't really heard fabulous things about any of them.

darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
It was bound to happen eventually: today I rode another bike to work.

Poor Clyde had to go into the shop for a pair of new shifters. Since this was warranty work, I took him to the Wrong For Me bike shop that sold him to me.

That shop has no loaner or rental program, presumably because their customers either own multiple bikes or don't ride daily. Clever Cycles, the Just Right For Me bike shop that I discovered last week, does rent bikes, and is a short walk from Wrong Bikes.

So to Clever Cycles I walked, and from Clever Cycles I rode away on a rented Dutch Workcycles Oma bicycle, in the glorious sunshine of April.

Dutch Bike Review! )

Riding a Dutch Workcycle has made me feel very differently about riding bikes. It completely removes any sport-competitive-touring nuance and puts me squarely into "what if I were to give up my car?" territory. It is not an incidental bike. It's a bike for people who rideg a bike every day for every purpose, and never think of themselves as "cyclists".

I'm seriously considering making this my next bike.


Apr. 1st, 2010 04:59 pm
wychwood: Fraser and RayK pulling a sledge in snow (due South - Fraser and RayK hauling sled)
[personal profile] wychwood
Does anyone here have experience with using a dynamo lamp on their bike? It looks like I'm going to have to replace my bike-lights again, and I was considering going for a dynamo as a better option ecologically and also over the longer term, but my mother claims that it makes the bike twice as hard to ride, and the lamp stops working if you're waiting to pull out or whatever so they're less safe. I suspect she's exaggerating, but I've never actually used one - I'm hoping some of you have!

Does it make riding noticeably harder? Is the extra expense (vs buying battery lights) worth it? Are there other considerations that I should bear in mind?
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