Need a tuneup before the 24h of Mass Destruction race? Northwest Epic Series is having their 2nd race of the season, the Echo Valley 30/60Mile MTB Race in Chelan on June 8th. Great trails with panoramic views, fully stocked aid stations, onsite camping, indoor HQ at the Ski Lodge, and huge post race party with Beer/BBQ/Music and great raffle including Vintages from Vin Du Lac.
Friday, May 31, 2013
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
This article isn’t for the detail-oriented bike commuters. It’s also not for the hardcore, race-to-work riders either. This one is for those of us that don’t like to plan ahead. Bike maintenance isn’t our thing. We consider rain showers wash-day for our bikes. And we certainly aren’t using our daily commute as training for a race.Commuting by bike is first and foremost supposed to be fun. Gas prices, ‘going green’ and health reasons can get people into bike commuting, but it’s the daily enjoyment that keeps us in the saddle day after day. And let’s face it, planning ahead and wearing Lycra doesn’t sound much like fun to a good many of us.
So for my fellow slackers, here’s your guide to bike commuting:
- Ditch the patch kit, grab the cell phone – The worst thing about bike commuting is dealing with flat tires; standing on the road next to your bike with a tiny, frustrating mini-pump trying to force air into your tire. So forget the patch kit and use your cell phone. If you get stranded on the way to work, call a buddy at the office to come get you. If you’re on the way home, call the significant other. It’ll take less time than fixing the flat on the side of the road and you’ll get to use your floor pump in the comfort of your own workshop.
- Check the weather, consider the car or bus – Let’s face it, riding to work in a downpour causes a lot of problems. It soaks you and everything you brought. Takes a lot more time to get ready for work. All in all, zaps all the fun right out of bike commuting. So if the weather sucks, don’t feel bad about grabbing your keys or walking to the nearest bus stop.
- Leave the lycra, wear your normal clothes – When I see another bike commuter on their way to work in full body spandex, it just looks difficult. The time changing, the extra cargo to carry, etc. My normal commuting attire is what I work in everyday. I roll up my pants and head out the door. Simple and comfortable.
- Use lights that run on generators – Dealing with batteries in your lights can be frustrating and dangerous. They will always go out on you right at the darkest point in your ride home. Consider spending the extra money on some Reelights or Pedalites. Both are great options for adding visibility to your bike without ever worrying about batteries.
- Don’t be ashamed to walk the bike – Your morning bike commute is not the Tour de France. There’s no grand prize and yellow jersey at the finish line. There’s no reason to grind up those hills if you stayed up until 3AM last night watching X-files reruns and eating cereal. (Am I the only one that does that?). Feel free to get off the bike and walk up some of those hills. We’re trying to keep this fun, folks.
- Take the flattest route possible – Remember that the shortest route is not necessarily the best. By using a tool like www.mapmyride.com you can view the elevation map of your route. Play around with different variations to see what makes for the easiest way to the office.
- For a long commute, consider driving part of it – If you’ve got a commute that’s too long for your physical condition or time restraints, try finding a public parking lot where you can stash your car. Drive halfway and then bike the rest.
Article written by Commute by Bike
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Summertime, and the livin' is easy -- especially on the the Larry Scott Trail on a beautiful day, where the nettles are as high as an elephant's eye!
To celebrate National Trails Day (June 1st), please consider giving a couple of hours to help beat back the spring brush growth on this great trail that we all know and love so much. Meet at 10am, for as little or as much as you can (a couple hours).
Most of the work is related to the secondary trail, affectionately known as the “horse trail” but also the off-leash dog trail, runner trail, and “this is nice” trail. The LSMT is under the ownership and management of Jefferson County.
The work entails brushing back the assorted vegetation, both invasives and naturals, that persistently close in from the trail shoulders. We need string trimmer operators and clippers. This is a community work party to show how much we appreciate having the trail.
There will be a safety meeting and sign up at Mill Road where the LSMT crosses this road at 10 am. If coming into Port Townsend from the south, turn right on Mill Road at the light by the Honda dealer and Welcome to Port Townsend sign. We will be parked about 1000’ feet down the road from the intersection. If we have time we will be starting the construction of a new segment of the horse trail near the Milo Curry trailhead.
This work party is posted on the American Hiking Society website as a National Trails Day event in Washington State.
Wear good gloves and shoes/boots. All power operators need to wear property head and hearing protection. We have 3 trimmers/brush cutters. If you have your own, please bring it.
Designing your bike commute to be as minimalistic as possible will make it easier to opt for your carbon free, two wheeled transportation on a more regular basis. It will also reduce the daily stress of between waking up and walking out the door. The tips in this article take more planning to implement, but are well worth the extra effort.
Benefits of Simplifying
A few of the reasons this is important…
- Minimizes morning excuses – Let’s all be honest, we’ve had those mornings that we woke up with the full intention of riding the bike to work and once we saw the flat tire or realized we hadn’t packed the night before, we grabbed for the keys instead. By simplifying your commute, you’ll reduce the amount of excuses that can crop up to keep you off the bike.
- Reduces stress – Along the same lines as minimizing your excuses, nothing causes more stress than running around trying to do everything before work, especially if you overslept. When you wake up in the morning and everything you need is in place, it’s a much more relaxing way to get on the bike.
- Helps you enjoy the ride – If you’re frazzled when you jump on the bike it’s much more likely you won’t enjoy the ride. Once you implement these methods to simplify your commute you’ll be freed to enjoy your commute. That’s really why we do this anyway, right?
There are several ways to simplify your bike commute. Even if you implement a few of these, you’ll see a huge difference in your daily ride quality and an increase in your frequency of opting for the bike.
- Ride a simple bike – Ride a bike that has tried and true technology that’s not going to cause a lot of mechanical problems. A steel, fixed geared bike will probably go for years without major mechanical problems that will leave your stranded. Opt for a bike without all the bells and whistles.
- Check your bike every weekend- regular riding will cause wear on the consumable parts of your bike and you’ll want to make sure you catch any problems early:
- Tire pressure
- Tire wear and damage
- Tightness of quick releases and other fastenings
- Brakes for wear and stopping power
- Chain for stiff links, rust and dryness
- Clean your bike regularly – At least once a month, or after a particularly dirty commute, you’ll want to to clean your bike of any dirt and grime that can cause problems in the long term.
- Always carry flat repair materials – Invest in a saddle bag, pack it with an extra tube, tire levers, patch kit, pump and hex wrenches and always keep it on your bike. This way you always know you have what you need to fix a flat and keep moving.
- Store hygienic necessities at the office – Keep an extra of everything you need to clean up from your commute (deodorant, towels, wipes, etc) at your office. No need to daily carry them back and forth.
- Leave a pair of shoes at the office – If you ride with clipless pedals or need to wear more dressy shoes at work, store a pair at the office. Again, no need to carry them back and forth each day.
- Take all your clothes for the week on Monday – I’ve heard suggestions of driving on Monday to take everything in for commuting the rest of the week. However if your bulkier items (shoes, towels, etc) are already at the office, then five changes of clothes will easily fit inside a normal sized backpack or panniers.
- Always keep an extra set of clothes at the office – Keep an extra belt, pair of pants, shirt, pair of socks, bra, underwear, etc at your office at all times. There’s nothing worse than being halfway into your commute when you remember you forgot an essential.
- Pack the night before – By packing your clothes and lunch the night before you’ll reduce your stress the next morning. You’ll also be in a better state of mind so not to forget something.
- Only pack the essentials – Do you really need three tubes, the Sam’s club bottle of gel and an extra helmet? When packing your bag the night before, ask yourself if each item is a necessity.
- Carry smaller sizes – If you don’t have a place to store your hygienic items at the office, try going smaller. Put your liquids like gel and shampoo in smaller bottles. Purchase travel sized deodorant and toothpaste. This will reduce your daily bulk to carry.
- Plan your route ahead of time – For most commutes there are several different ways to get from your house to the office. Use a tool such as Google Maps to plan a route that is more scenic, avoids dangerous roads and skips road work.
- Check the weather nightly – Keep an eye on your local weather so you can plan to dress for the temperature and precipitation.
If you like this article, please Digg It or give it a thumbs up on StumbleUpon.
This article was inspired by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, the guru of simplifying your life.
Article written by Commute by Bike
Monday, May 20, 2013
The Bicycle is one of the most efficient vehicles ever built. It will take an individual farther for a given amount of energy than any other form of transportation. One reason for this is the chain drive.
Basically unchanged for one hundred years, the chain drive allows only two percent of energy to be lost between the chainrings and the cassette. By comparison, even the most fuel efficient car loses about 80 percent of the engine's energy before it moves the car. Complementing its ability to conserve power, a bicycle is one of the most frugal forms of transportation, requiring less than two cents per mile to operate.
The modern bicycle chain has a half inch pitch, meaning it is one half inch, pin to pin. One link consists of two inner plates, two outer plates, two pins and two rollers. While the pins fit tightly into the outer plates, both the inner plates and the rollers pivot freely on the pins.
As a chain wears out, so do the chainrings on your cranks and the cogs on your rear wheel. How do you prevent such damage? Well, there are a few theories about how to keep the drivetrain of your bike in good working order without spending too much money.
One is the "Replace Your Chain Before It Wears Out" theory. Keeping constant vigil over your chain by checking it monthly and replacing it as soon as it wears out will make your other parts last much longer. If you ride regularly, you may require as many as three to four chains each year. Estimated cost: $30 to $150, depending on quality of chain and labor costs.
The other is the "Lazy Person's Wait Until It's Finished" theory. This follows the idea that your bike will tell you when it's ready to have its chain replaced. As chains stretch, cog sets wear out and so do small chainrings. When you pedal under load, (uphill, for example) and your chain 'skips,' you are seeing the end of the road for most of your drivetrain. At this point, you need a new chain, cassette and quite possibly a new small chainring. Under normal road conditions, you might realistically expect to get two years out of these parts.
In order to get the maximum life from your chain, you should consider three things:
- Quality of the Chain: The differences between less expensive and more expensive chains are the shape of the plates, quality of materials and the riveting of the pins. Chain side plates are designed to help the chain shift better, so better quality equals smoother shifts. Higher quality materials are used on more expensive chains increase chain life. In addition, pins are 'mushroomed' in the higher quality chains after they are pushed into the plates at the factory. This process increases the tolerances of the chain plates and makes for a stronger, longer lasting chain.
- Maintaining Your Chain: Regular maintenance of your chain need not be a lengthy or messy process. Simply put: If you can see dirt on the outside of your chain you should to wipe it down with a clean rag. If your chain squeaks or is excessively noisy, it needs lubrication. Remember-- if you can see the lube on the chain, there is too much. Wipe it down with a clean rag. Only the inside of the chain needs to be lubricated. There are many types of lubricants out there for bike chains-- dry, wet, self-cleaning, etc. Find one that works for you and learn how to use it properly. Telling someone what type of lube to use is like telling them what kind of underwear to buy. As a general rule, if you ride where it's wet, use a wet lube. If you ride where it's dry, use a dry lube. You should avoid spray applicators as they tend to be very messy. To apply lube to your chain, pedal the cranks backwards about four times and drip the lube onto the chain. It helps to rest your hand with the lube on your chainstay and contact the lube applicator to the chain, squeezing as you backpedal. After you are finished applying the lube, back pedal about six more times, then wipe off the excess using a clean rag. If your chain is dirty, the rag will soak up dirt and excess lube. Use a cleaner side of the rag and continue wiping excess lube and dirt off the chain by pedaling backwards with one hand, holding the chain with the rag in the other.
- Riding on the Chain: Your riding style will affect how long your chain will last. If you ride in a high gear, the lower cadence loads the chain more than if you spin in a lower gear. The less the chain is loaded, the longer it will last. Reducing the amount of cross gearing (large chainring and large cog in the rear or small chainring and small cog in the rear) will also help improve the life of your chain. If you ride a tandem, your chain will most definitely wear faster.
It is important to remember that your new chain be compatible with the drivetrain on your bike. There are multi-speed and singlespeed chains. Check with your local bike shop about which chains they carry and which one will work with your bike. With bikes from a single gear all the way to 30 gears, getting the right chain is very important as one might not work with the other.
Understanding your drivetrain is valuable knowledge for all cyclists. Taking a little extra time to understand how it works will make you a more confident and knowledgeable cyclist and an asset to your riding partners. If you are interested in learning more or having some hands-on experience with your drivetrain, The Broke Spoke does maintenance classes that are catered to you. Minimum participants for a 3 hour class is 2 at $20 a person. Call or email The Broken Spoke for more information or to schedule your class.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The League's six Rules of the Road will prepare you for a safe and fun bike commute this Bike Month (MAY!) We're working hard putting together our may events, let us know if you're interested in helping or leading anything. But, onto the League of American Bicyclists' rules of the road.
1. Follow the law.Your safety and the image of bicyclists depend on you. You have the same rights and duties as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.
2. Be predictable.Make your intentions clear to motorists and other road users. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Signal turns, and check behind you well before turning or changing lanes.
3. Be conspicuous.Ride where drivers can see you; wear bright clothing. Use a front white light and red rear light and reflectors at night or when visibility is poor. Make eye contact with drivers. Don’t ride on sidewalks.
4. Think ahead.Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other bicyclists will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes, and utility covers. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
5. Ride Ready.Check your tires have sufficient air, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release wheel levers are closed. Carry repair and emergency supplies appropriate for your ride. Wear a helmet.
6. Keep your cool.Road rage benefits no-one and always makes a bad situation worse.
Monday, May 13, 2013
We will be opening around 11:30am because of our involvement in the Rhody Run. We will see you then!
• Ride with traffic and obey the same laws as motorists.
• Use the rightmost lane that heads in the direction
that you are traveling.
• Obey all traffic control devices, such as stop signs,
lights, and lane markings.
• Always look back and use hand and arm signals
to indicate your intention to stop, merge or turn.
2. Be Visible
• Ride where drivers can see you.
• Wear brightly colored clothing at all times.
• At night, use a white front light and red rear light
or reflector. Wear reflective tape or clothing.
3. Be Predictable
• Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between
• Make eye contact with motorists to let them
know you are there.
• Do not ride on the sidewalk.
4. Anticipate Conflicts
• Be aware of traffic around you and be prepared
to take evasive action.
• Learn braking and turning techniques to
• Be extra alert at intersections.
5. Wear a Helmet
• Make sure that the helmet fits on top of your
head, not tipped back or forward.
• After a crash or any impact that affects your
helmet, visible or not, replace it immediately.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Having the proper attire for biking can make a huge difference in the experience you have while riding. Correct clothing material and the right amount of layering keeps you warm and dry. Here is a little information on some materials used in cycling clothing:
- Shorts and tights are usually made of this combination of materials
- Stretches with your body and supports muscle groups
- Smooth material prevents chafing from saddle
- Wicks moisture away from skin to surface where it evaporates
- Great for warm riding or as a first layer for cold days; light and compressible
- Usually used in jerseys, headbands and hats
- Merino wool is soft but expensive; natural anti-bacterial properties
- Wool is great for socks, jerseys, leg and arm warmers, shorts and tights
- Wool keeps you warm even when wet; tends to get heavy when full of moisture
- Waterproof, windproof and breathable material used in a lot of raingear
- Socks, hats, jackets, rain pants, shoes; almost everything can be made with it
- Expensive; ventilation and layering are still important in cold, wet conditions
- Used in shell of most baggy-style shorts; durable, lightweight and dries quickly
- Can be soft and flexible or rugged and durable; used for panniers and seat bags
- Used in shoes for ventilation and hydration packs for durability; many uses
Monday, May 6, 2013
Overcoming Bike Commuting Excuses
- I’m out of shape
- Ride at an easy pace; in a few months you will be in great shape.
- Ride your route on a weekend to find the easiest way to work.
- You will improve your fitness level when you become a regular bike commuter.
- It takes too long
- The average commuter travels at 10 mph; the more you ride, the faster you will become.
- Trips of less than three miles will be quicker by bike.
- Trips of five to seven miles in urban areas may take the same time or less as by car.
- It’s too far
- Try riding to work and taking mass transit home, then alternating the next day.
- Combine riding and mass transit to shorten your commute.
- Ride to a coworker’s house and carpool to work.
- No bike parking
- Look around for a storage area in your building or office.
- Stash your bike in a covered, secure place such as a closet or even your office.
- Formally request that your employer provide bike parking or lock it up outside.
- My bike is beat up
- Tell a reputable bike shop that you are commuting and have them tune up your bike.
- If you can’t maintain your bike yourself, identify bike shops near your route.
- Make sure that your bike is reliable and in good working order before you ride.
- No showers
- Most commuters don’t shower at work; ride at an easy pace to stay cool and dry.
- Ride home at a fast pace if you want a workout; shower when you get there.
- Health clubs offer showers; get a discounted membership for showers only.
- I have to dress up
- Keep multiple sets of clothing at work; rotate them on days you drive.
- Have work clothes cleaned at nearby laundromats or dry cleaners.
- Pack clothes with you and change at work; try rolling clothes instead of folding.
- It’s raining
- Fenders for your bike and raingear for your body will keep you dry.
- If you are at work, take transit or carpool to get home; ride home the next day.
- Take transit or drive if you don’t have the gear to ride comfortably in the rain.
- The roads aren’t safe
- Obey traffic signs, ride on the right, signal turns, and stop at lights.
- Wear bright clothing.
- You are at no greater risk than driving a car.
- Wear a helmet every time you ride.
- I have to run errands
- Bolt a rack to the back of your bike to add carrying capacity.
- Make sure that you have a lock to secure your bike while you are in a building.
- Allow extra time to get to scheduled appointments and find parking.
- Encourage your employer to provide a bicycle fleet for office use.
Information from League of American Cyclists
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Friday, May 3, 2013
Bike to Work Week is May 13-17 and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 17.
Bike to School Day is May 8.
To encourage everyone to get out on their bikes, The Broken Spoke will have a 10% discount on EVERYTHING in the store for Bike to Work Week. Make sure to get in to get everything you need to be prepared, safe, and happy every time you are on your bike.
Since Bike to School day is within a different week, we will have the 10% off EVERYTHING in the store sale May 6 - May 10 for everyone under 18.
(The discount will also apply if the purchase is for someone under the age of 18.)
Happy Bike Month, everyone!
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The League of American Bicyclists is an organization dedicated to improving all riding conditions so that we all might better enjoy the sport we love. Their mission is to promote bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation and work through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America and we want to help promote then and their cause.
When is Bike to Work Week and Day?
Bike to Work Week will be May 13-17 and Bike to Work Day will be Friday, May 17.
When is Bike to School Day?
Bike to School Day will be Wednesday, May 8.