Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Commuting Ideas

Two days ago I was riding around with my best pal Jeff when I realized that riding in the snow takes some considerable preparation. It wasn't until my tires slipped out from under me sending me crashing to the ground that I remembered that my helmet was still sitting on the couch where I left it. Unharmed, I vowed to remember it when I ride my bike, especially in the winter. As I laid there, Jeff looking at me curiously, I thought that it might be nice to try a video blog to help the emerging winter warriors get safely from point A, to point B on a bicycle. So here is my first attempt at Video Blogging;

Though, It seems to be of better quality on youtube. Enjoy, and I hope it was helpful information.

Monday, December 20, 2010

What to buy?

SO,...with the big Holiday just around the corner, I thought it might be a good idea to post a few gift ideas for that special cyclist in your life. The first thing you have to ask yourself is; "What type of cyclist am I buying for?" Sure you have Roadies, Mountain Bikers, Commuters, BMXers, Fixie Riders, Utility Riders, Touring Riders, Recumbent Riders, Or Cruiser Riders. It can be really intimidating when you start trying to figure all this out. But it isn't really all that hard if you break them down into the following three groups;

1. Emerging Cyclist. A person who fits into this category can ride any of the above styles of bikes. This type of rider is just getting into riding a bike, and to be honest, maybe they are trying it out but won't stick with it. The goal here should be to get them something that will make their lives easier to increase the chances of them becoming a full time cyclist. If you have a cyclist who has decided to start riding to work, even when it is cold and wet, the first gift that comes to my mind is Fenders. The likelihood of riding is increased greatly when you can stay dry. Planet Bike makes some great full coverage fenders for all types of bicycles that don't break the bank. Don't forget lights for the front and rear, or a good wind jacket.

For someone getting into mountain biking I would recommend a new bike! But if you don't have the funds for something that big, you can always get them a Big Air "CO2" contraption. (It is actually filled with Propane.) They are nice to have during mosquito season, and most Mountain bikers won't buy them for themselves for some reason.

A good gift for a begginer into any type of cycling is the good old fashioned cycling sock.
2. Intermediate Cyclist. This type of cyclist is usually a seasonal cyclist with many interests, like snowshoeing, climbing, backpacking, and/or rafting. They have a genuine desire to be outside, truly enjoy cycling, but aren't in the saddle every day. This is where it gets tricky. These guys and gals know good gear when they see it. And they probably have enough experience to know what they like. T-Shirts and Sweatshirts from your favorite local shop always hit home with this group. Consider it something to wear in the off season so they still feel connected to their bikes. A trail bell is also a creative way to spice up the handlebar, and help keep the cyclist in question safe. Simple tools are always nice, and so are helmets and water bottles.
3. Hard Core! This is by far the toughest group to shop for. They usually have everything they need. The key here is to look at their stuff, and try to find something that needs replaced. Tires on their favorite bicycle are usually a good place to start. Just copy down all of the information on the sidewall, (the side of the tire) and take it to your local bike shop. Inner tubes are another great item, because if you ride enough, you will go through them. The same sidewall information will be pertinent. And don't forget about the good old fashionedgift certificate for a Tune-Up. Even if they always care for their own bicycles, it is sometimes nice to let someone else do the dirty work. Cycling clothing is always a good idea, as long as you have access to the items they currently have and can check the size and styles they like. Roadies go through cycling hats like crazy, and they are always in need of a new hat to soak up their sweat.
No matter what type of cyclist you are buying for, it is always helpful to know a few things. Make sure you know what type of cyclist you are buying for. If you can take a picture of her/his bicycle to help with sizing and specifics for buying. It will help save time when talking to the trained professionals at your local bicycle shop. ...And yeah, he is one of the best mechanics I have ever worked with,...Happy Holidays from the Pedal House.