Category Archives: Bike News

New Year, New Ride: Best Cycling Accessories

If you’re planning to start this new year on two wheels, make sure you’re doing it right. You can update your ride without purchasing an expensive new bike. In 2016, treat yourself to the little things; get the best accessories and ride to your fullest.

Bike Accessories

  • Water Bottle: We all know hydration is key, but keeping a bottle of water within reach while you’re pedaling can be tricky. I like to use a Water Bottle Bag to keep my H2O accessible. The one I have has an adjustable strap, a clip for keys and even a front pocket to hold my cellphone and ID. I snagged it for about twenty bucks and have definitely got my money out of it.
  • Handlebar Bag: I like to go for long rides on local trails during the summer and I always end up toting around a lot of stuff. I am known to pack up a small backpack and ride with that, but it can be uncomfortable for long periods of time. I recently found a really great Handlebar Bag and now I cannot bike without it. The on-the-go organizer is designed to clip around bike handlebars, stroller handles and more. It has four zippered pockets inside that have clear front windows so you can easily find you stuff. Plus, the outside has a mesh, elastic pouch so you can keep your phone or MP3 player handy while you ride. I love this a lot — I can’t ride without my music and I’m not a fan of the arm bands most bikers opt for.
  • Bungee Cords: This one is just as much for serious riders as it is for casual riders. Bungee Cords are great to keep on you just in case; You never know what you’re going to come across on your ride when you’re far away from your car or home. Once, while on a ride by myself, my seat came lose. I grabbed a bungee cord out of my bag and wrapped it around, securing it to the frame of my bike. The spontaneous hodge-podge fix wasn’t a long term answer, but it helped me get through my ride and back to the car. Bungee cords are also great to have in case you stop somewhere along the way and end up toting goods back home. (I’m a fan of hitting the cider mill on my bike in the fall).
  • Anti-Fog: If you’re riding during the colder months, you may not have consider my last recommendation: Anti-Fog Spray. I do a lot of biking near busy roads, so I have added mirrors to both sides of my handlebars. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it’s colder outside they have fogged up on me, which can be dangerous. As a cyclist, it is so important to know what is going on around you. While we know the rules of the road are in our favor, not every driver obeys them. One afternoon I grabbed my anti-fog spray that I use in my car and tried it out on my bike — it was life changing! No more second guessing while riding near traffic. For less than $5, there’s no reason not to pick this up. Safety first!

What are your must-have cycling accessories?

Cycling in the winter is still fun

Well, winter is here. Time to put away the bike and stare longingly out the window until spring arrives. Right?

Nope! Don’t let a little snow slow you down.

Here is a simple trick: If you want to keep on biking trough the winter, adding cable ties to your tires will give you traction to get through the snow and ice. Just make sure you bundle up properly — protect your feet, hands, face and wear your sunglasses — that snow is bright!

Bike trails are best in the winter. Stay away from icy roads and traffic if you can. Of course, the right bike rack will make traveling to your local bike trails a cinch. Happy cycling!

DIY Studded Snow Tires from Zip Ties

Photo courtesy greencupboards.com.

Bike Share Programs Revolutionize Cities

A new trend many large cities across the country are seeing are the adoption of bike share programs. This is a new concept for most United States cities. The idea behind bike sharing is that members pay a monthly fee in order to use bicycles  located at kiosks across the city. This is a great idea for many reasons. Many people are unable to afford their own car, or even afford the fees that are involved with car-share programs. This makes a great alternative.

Additionally, apartments just do not have enough room to store an entire bicycle. Other buildings do not provide convenient bicycle parking. If you find yourself in such a situation, I would highly recommend checking to see if your city currently offers any bike share programs.

Does my city offer bike share programs?

Bike Share Programs

Image Via inhabitat.com

Right now the list of cities in the United States is quite impressive, and continually growing. Boston, Washington DC, Denver and Minneapolis are some early-adopter cities, installing bike share programs as early as 2009. Many other cities have jumped on board, most notably New York City which just installed its much-publicized Citibike program.  Chicago and Los Angeles also have bike share programs that are in the works.

I can say that these systems are a great convenience after using the system in Boston while I lived there. Most of the kiosks are located in prominent areas throughout the city – in Back Bay, the North End, the Boston Common. Since they are so easy to find and quite ubiquitous, they are very user friendly.

Instead of worrying about renting a car or figuring out the mass transit system of a city you have never been to before, simply hop on a bike and you are ready to go! The bikes are designed to be relatively maintenance-free, with puncture-proof tires and gear that do not use chains.

So next time you are on vacation in a city with bike share, or if your own city has it – I would definitely recommend taking a look at these unique and useful programs!

Bicycle Commuting for Mental and Physical Health

One of the biggest crises facing the United States is the obesity epidemic. Popular food items seem to just get worse and worse, and people are exercising less and less. This is leading to all sorts of problems for our nation, including rising health-care costs and a lowered life-expectancy. Bicycle commuting is a great way to get some built-in exercise while avoiding the frustration of the morning commute.

Many people do not realize that riding a bike to work can often be more time-efficient than driving. While you definitely sacrifice the comfort of an air-conditioner and cushioned seats, in return you will get a free work-out (no gym membership required!) and perhaps shorter commute times.

My father in law recently started to make a point of using his car as little as possible. Instead of driving the 3 miles to work every single day, he has begun to walk or use his bicycle. Not only does he feel better about his carbon footprint and mark on our environment, but he has started to shed some weight as well!

And unlike publBicycle Commutingic transportation where you are at the mercy of the bus driver or rely on the train coming on time, bicycle commuting allows you to be in charge of where and when you go. And instead of being stuck on a fixed route like a bus or train, a bicycle provides just as much freedom as a passenger vehicle (okay, maybe you should not try to ride on the freeway).

If you are working a full time job, it can be pretty difficult to find time to make it to the gym. But if you are bicycle commuting, there is no need to worry about getting to the gym every day. Instead, every single day you will have at least two free work-outs!

Bicycle commuting can be a pretty strenuous activity. If you are like me and tend to get sweaty really easily, I would recommend bringing a change of clothes for your ride.

After you are done bicycle commuting, get an appropriate bike rack!

If you don’t have a reliable bicycle rack at home, I would recommend something simple like the Grandstand Single Bike Rack. This rack takes up very little space in the home, and is perfect for keeping your bicycle upright and in good condition.

Special Cargo : Car Racks

Going on a car trip is always difficult to pack for. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or camping trip, there never seems to be enough storage space in your car. Adding storage to the exterior of your car can be an easy way to gain the room you need. From rooftop cargo carriers to bike racks, there’s bound to be storage for all your favorite toys.

HitchMate Cargo Carrier

HitchMate Cargo Carrier

 

For easy to reach storage make the most of your hitch with the HitchMate Cargo Carrier. Adding cargo space to the back of your car by attaching to your hitch, this platform has a guardrail surround to help keep things in place. Fill it up with camping gear, a cooler or whatever else you might need, secure it in place with straps and you’re ready to go!

 

 

 

Advantage tiltAWAY 4-Bike Carrier by Heininger

Advantage tiltAWAY 4-Bike Carrier by Heininger

 

For any avid biker a bike car rack is a must. The Advantage tiltAWAY 4-Bike Carrier holds up to four bikes, enough room for the whole family. This design works with a variety of cars, including hatchbacks as it provides plenty of clearance.

 

 

 

 

 

Advantage SofTop Roof Cargo Bag by Heininger

Advantage SofTop Roof Cargo Bag by Heininger

 

 

Looking for even more storage? Then just look up! By adding a rooftop carrier like the Advantage SofTop Roof Cargo Bag you can gain lots of storage when you need it most. With a weather resistant design, this bag keeps your luggage safe from the elements, while freeing up storage room inside your car.

 

 

 

 

 Rack Sack - Cargo Carrier Bag

Rack Sack – Cargo Carrier Bag

 

 

The Rack Sack is another great choice for rooftop storage. Holding up t0 13 cubic feet, this carrier is the perfect place to stash sleeping bags or duffel bags.

 

 

 

 

HitchMate TireStep by Heininger

HitchMate TireStep by Heininger

 

Don’t think you can reach storage up on top of your car? Give yourself a lift with the HitchMate TireStep. When you don’t have running boards or they don’t give you enough reach the HitchMate TireStep gives you the added height you need.

 

Home Safety

Staying safe everywhere from at home to on the road is always a concern. By being prepared and having the things you need to keep yourself safe you can cut out some of the worry.

Bio-Matic Fingerprint Lock by Itouchless by Itouchless

When it comes to protecting your home your first defense should be locks that are secure. Using a high tech finger print scanner this door lock keeps your home safe while ensuring that your whole family can get inside, even when they don’t have a key on hand, perfect for anyone with kids.

 Solar Security Light - Centurion

At night keeping the exterior of your home well lit is a great way to keep intruders at bay. The Solar Security Light – Centurion has an eco friendly solar design that allows this flood light to provide its own power.

Power Dome - Portable Power Station

At home or on the go, having back up power on hand is always useful in case of a car battery that needs a jump or a power outage. The Power Dome – Portable Power Station provides portable power so you can bring it with you.

Tool Box - Mastercraft Lantern

Whether you’re running errands or going on a long car trip, you should never leave home without a car safety kit. Coming complete with a lantern and built in tool kit the Tool Box – Mastercraft Lantern has a compact design perfect for leaving in your trunk in case of emergencies.

53 Piece Roadside Tool Kit in Soft Sided Bag with Air Compressor

For even more roadside assistance the 53 Piece Roadside Tool Kit in Soft Sided Bag with Air Compressor has every scenario covered. Coming with an air compressor, booster cables, a flash light and other tools, this set has everything you need in case you have car trouble. A bag provides storage for all the tools, so all you have to remember to do is throw it in the car.

With a little planning you can be ready for any emergency.

Making the Garage Eco Friendly : Recycling Bins

Making your home more eco friendly is just a matter of getting things sorted. By adding recycling bins to your home you can make it easy to make sure paper, plastic and aluminum end up recycled, rather than in a landfill.

SimpleHuman Upright Grocery Bag Holder - KT1013

 

Find yourself at a loss as to what to do with all those plastic grocery bags? Use the SimpleHuman Upright Grocery Bag Holder – KT1013 to stow plastic bags when you get home from the grocery store and then use them to line trash cans everywhere from the bathroom to the office. With a compact design this bag holder can be stored under the sink or in the pantry.

Middleman by Harleman Products

For occasional recycling storage the Middleman Hamper by Harleman Products has a folding design that allows this recycling bin to be easily stored when not in use. If you need to presort your recycling then you can buy a bin for each type.

Recycling Bin Container - 3 Compartment

 

For classic and convenient recycling storage the Recycling Bin Container – 3 Compartment fits the bill. These stacking bins come in different colors so you can identify the right bin and have built in flaps for helping to keep everything contained. Place these bins with your other trash containers or in the garage for easy access.

15" Triple Slot RT Recycler by Witt Industries

 

For kitchen recycling the 15″ Triple Slot RT Recycler by Witt Industries has a compact design that sorts all your recycling in one convenient location. Individual, labeled slots make clear what goes where.

16 Gallon Dual Compartment Touchless Recycle Bin - by Itouchless - IT16RES

 

For a high tech touch to the kitchen the 16 Gallon Dual Compartment Touchless Recycle Bin – by Itouchless has a touch free design and a stainless steel exterior that looks right at home in any modern kitchen. With ample space for two kinds of recycling and set on casters so it can be moved wherever it is needed most, this trash bin makes a great choice.

Bike Maintenance Basics

If you’re just getting into biking, keeping up your bike, with all the various parts and different tools can seem overwhelming. Here are a few tips for keeping your bike in good shape.

Of all the upkeep you’re going to have to do on your bike, it’s your tires that you’ll probably work on most. All tires lose air, so having a tire pump is a must. Thinner tires probably need air daily, while thicker tires only need to be filled up about once a week.

When going out for a ride it’s important to be prepared for whatever types of accidents or repairs you might need to do. Going on a long ride? Then you should carry with you whatever key tools you might need to make a repair since you might find yourself far away from help. Usually find yourself riding in the city? City streets are more likely to have broken pieces of glass on them, so think about bringing along what you need to patch a tire.

Keeping your bike clean is another way to ensure it stays in top shape. While you don’t need to clean it after every ride, a wipe down with a dry cloth once a month is a good way to keep your bike looking good as well as riding well.

Giving your bike a through tune up once or twice a year is a good idea for anyone who bikes regularly. You can either check out your bike yourself or bring it in to your local bike shop, either way regular maintenance is the best way to prevent any serious issues with your bike that could lead to accidents.

When learning how to tune up or fix your bike the most important rule is to stick to what you know. Never try to fix something on your bike unless you’re sure what you’re doing, if you ever need help there’s always your local bike shop to help you get your bike back in top shop.

Tips for Safe Biking

Whether you’re an old pro or just starting to get into biking, it’s nice to review a few tips and tricks for staying safe while enjoying your favorite hobby. There are different rules to follow depending on the kind of biking you’re doing. Use your bike for your daily commute? Then you’re going to need to be aware of all the ways you can stay safe while riding your bike in traffic. Only take your bike out for the weekends? Then you should know the best ways to prevent an injury when going off road.

When commuting around town it’s always best to think like you would if you’re driving a car. That means riding your bike in the street as opposed to on the sidewalk, always riding with traffic and yielding to pedestrians. Obeying signs and red lights like a car is also key to preventing accidents. It’s also just as important to make sure you aren’t in a driver’s blind spot, this is especially true for trucks and other large vehicles.

When riding a dirt bike you’re dealing with a completely different set of rules. In order to stay safe you should always maintain a speed that allows you to react to unforeseen obstacles. Scoping out particularly hard sections of the trail beforehand can be a smart way to give yourself an edge when riding a trail you’re unfamiliar with.

Before any ride you should always double-check your equipment. This doesn’t just mean your bike, but everything from your car bike rack to your shoelaces. No matter where you’re riding, whether it’s a long trek or a ride down the block it’s always best to wear a helmet, you never know what’s around the corner and a helmet can be the difference between a minor bike accident and a serious one. With a few steps you can have a ride that’s just as safe as it is fun.

Outdoor Bike Storage

When it comes to storing bikes outdoors, there are two factors to take into consideration, the weather and safety. In many rainy places your bike can get damaged by rust, even making it difficult to unlock your bike lock. It’s important to shield you bike from the elements when storing it outside so you don’t end up with an unusable bike. Keeping your bike from getting stolen is also important, which is why having a safe place to lock up a bike outside is a great way to keep them safe.

 
Adding a compact bike rack like the Indoor/Outdoor Poly Lumber Bike Rack to the side of the house or backyard can be a convenient way to store a bike outside.
For an outdoor bike rack with storage for everything from bikes to helmets the Bicycle Stand – Floor Storage System is just the ticket. This bike rack has space for bikes for the whole family.
Further protect bikes when stored outdoors by camouflaging them in style. The Outdoor Screen adds an elegant touch to any outdoor space, while keeping bikes out of view.
For keeping your bike dry while stored outdoors the Esterna Bicycle Cover is just what you need. This cover can be used at home or brought on a trip to help keep your bike high and dry.
Keeping your bikes protected is a must for ensuring that you have it for many rides down the road. Whether you want to keep your bike safe from the weather or robbers, there is a clever way to add outdoor bike storage to your home. This holiday season when everyone is getting a new bike, think about giving a gift that helps protect that bike for years to come.