There are three points of contact between you and your bike: hands, feet, and seat. Of these three, the bike seat or saddle is the area with the most options for customization. All bikes come with a saddle, but if you experience pain or discomfort on rides it is time to swap out the saddle that came with the bike for another one.
The bike saddle should support your bones, not your flesh and it is hard to know just by looking at a saddle if it will fit your bone structure. Also, if you want to give a new saddle a try, it takes more than just a ride around the block to know if it is right your you—you need to take it on a long ride of at least 1 hour so you can settle in and determine how it accommodates your pressure points.
You’ve discovered that cycling improves cardio-vascular and aerobic fitness, lowers blood pressure, boosts energy, builds muscle, and improves coordination and is just plain fun, so now you need a bike. But with so many styles, options, and places to buy, how do you know what is the right bike for you?
Cycling is a diverse world and there is a bike for everyone regardless of age, fitness level or riding style. You can increase your chance of finding your best ride ever by answering a few questions.
With all the non-profit bike organizations in Chicago such as Working Bikes, West Town Bikes, the Recyclery, Bikes N’ Roses, and Blackstone Bicycle Works, is there room for another non-profit devoted to bikes? Free Bikes 4 Kidz, a national non-profit that focuses on collecting and donating bikes for kids, now has a Chicago chapter that promises to fill a void with their focus on bikes for kids.
The idea behind Free Bikes 4 Kidz comes from these marketplace facts:
If you are like many other people coming out of a COVID-19 lockdown, you are wanting to enjoy the warmer weather on a bicycle. Riding a bike is a way to get outside while being socially distant, get exercise, run errands to the grocery store, pick up take-out food, and commute to work, without the expense of operation and parking of a car or risky public transportation. In many cities including Chicago space is being reclaimed on streets with pop-up cycleways making safer cycling infrastructure. But unless you already have a bike or acted a month ago, you have probably found it difficult to purchase a new bike today that costs under $1000. The shortage also includes kids bikes and some bike components like tires and tubes. Why is there a short supply at this time?
To have the best possible experience on your bike you need accessories. Some are essential for safety, like a helmet or lights, some will help you keep your bike working smoothly, such as an air pump and tire repair kit, and others will increase your comfort and convenience if you have the budget and do enough riding to justify the expense.
How to prioritize accessories?
If you are getting ready to outfit a new bike, or have a bike you have taken out of storage that has not been ridden in a while, there are a lot of accessories available to purchase so what criteria should you use to begin the selection process?
If you are new to cycling and shopping for your first bike as an adult you may wonder why a bike from a major brand in specialty retail sold at a bike shop or online is so expensive. To get you from point A to B a new bike will cost you a lot less than a new car, but it may seem that $400 or more is still a lot to pay to own two wheels. To get a handle on the costs it helps to know a little about the current state of bicycle manufacturing:
Image you have a superpower traveling around the streets of Chicago—flying down the streets, feeling the breeze on your face, watching the pavement rush past underneath, while making all the traffic lights, and not breaking a sweat. If you are a food delivery person during this time of COVID-19, imagine experiencing all these benefits AND tripling the number of deliveries you can do in a day and your income? All of this is possible on an ebike.
Electric bikes (ebikes) have been popular in Europe for over 10 years, but they are now growing in popularity in the United States. They have traditional bicycle components like wheels, chain, saddle, and a handlebar but they also have a motor, battery and display that provides a boost, also called pedal assist. This assist can be a huge benefit then trying to haul goods, go long distances, or travel at a faster pace.
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of Earth Day. Every year billions of people all over the world call for action to protect the environment on this global day of observance. Due to COVID-19 this year’s call to action is not marked by gatherings, rallies, or group bike rides, but the sentiment still applies.
With a stay at home order in affect and less fossil fuel vehicles on the road, scientists have reported a significant reduction in air pollution in the last month. If we could only figure out a way to sustain this trend when our lives return to normal!
One way is to expand cycling as the preferred mode for everyday transportation. Cities where residents bike, walk, and use public transportation have significantly lower CO2 transport emissions than those that rely on private vehicles even when factoring in the footprint of a bike’s manufacture and maintenance.
Last fall Troy Henikoff and his daughter made the trip from Evanston to Toronto where she was going to begin her first year of college—on a bicycle built for two! To even think of undertaking such a trip on a bike indicates they are a “cycling” family AND they are not afraid of a challenge. At the April 21 Evanston Bicycle Club virtual meeting they reported that the trip was a success, after they overcame a few unplanned challenges along the way.
Today we feature a guest post from Barbara Miller reprising her excellent collection of cycling resources originally published in the Evanston Bicycle Club newsletter of Feb. 2020.
The sun is shining. Grass is greening up. Buds on shrubs and trees are swelling. Spring bulbs are blooming. And we’re being asked to behave like we’re in the middle of the polar vortex and hunker down indoors. Bummer.
Rather than choosing to ride this we may have to "ride" this
Those of us lucky enough to have a trainer can pedal a bit indoors, which provides exercise but not much inspiration; it may only serve to remind us that we’re “in here” alone rather than “out there” with friends where we’d rather be.
Sharon Kaminecki and others comment on adventures in bicycling and other stories