Did you know that the current land speed record for a bicycle is 170 miles per hour? In order to achieve this speed, the bicycle must pace behind a motorized vehicle. The bike is towed for the first mile and then released and the rider cycles in the slip stream of a race car for four miles and the last mile is where the speed is measured. The current speed record was set by a woman on the salt flats of Utah. This story, called The World of Speed, was one of the short films as part of the Bicycle Film Festival Chicago #2.
Let me make it clear I have no intention of riding across the country or the world on a bike if there isn’t a support vehicle or a warm bed and flush toilet involved. But it is a guilty pleasure of mine that I like to read about others who have. I can’t really explain my fascination with long distance cycling because it is a hard, uncomfortable way to see the world with a few moments of wonder from the landscape or encounters with kind people interspersed with lots of drudgery, hardship, danger, and bad weather. But learning about those moments of wonder and figuring out the motivation and perseverance of those who take on the challenge of a multiday long distance bike trip is an opportunity to live vicariously.
Bike lights have two purposes: to see where you are going and to be seen by others. There is a misconception that if you ride a bike in the city you do not need bright lights because there is ambient lighting from street and car lights which allows you to see and be seen. While any small powered bike light is better than nothing, a bright light will improve your safety by extending your ability to be seen from a greater distant and providing better illumination of the road.
We all know we need to be visible when riding a bike so we can be seen by other road users and pedestrians. But when we think about increasing the likelihood of being seen we usually think about bike lights and reflectors, that is, items mounted on the bike. But there is another way a rider can improve visibility—clothing. What you wear when you ride a bike can make a big difference in increasing your visibility and safety.
It is definitely possible to ride our bikes all year around, spring, summer, fall, and winter and a lot of people successfully do it. So we are reluctant to advise people to stop riding and store their bikes for the winter. But sometimes people get busy and don't have time to ride for awhile or live in parts of the country with extreme cold, ice, and snow that makes it uncomfortable and maybe even unsafe to ride. Since some people are going to hang up their bikes they might as well understand what NOT to do when storing a bike for an extended period of time.
While not all ebikes have gears, most do and if your ebike has them you should know how to use them. By shifting gears we’re talking about the gears in the bicycle drivetrain, not shifting the assist level of the electric motor. On a non-assisted bike if you need to ride up a hill, you would shift the lever or grip on the handlebar to a lower gear in the wheel to take advantage of the bike drive train to spin faster with less effort. But on an ebike, you can just switch to a higher assist level and have the motor power you up the hill. So why do ebikes even have gears if you do not need them for different terrain? When should you use them?
It happens to everyone who rides a bike—you’re rolling along and all of a sudden it becomes hard to pedal, maybe you hear the hissing of air leaving your tires, maybe it’s the loud boom of a blowout. Or you go to get on your bike and discover that a tire is flat because somehow the air leaked out during the night. The result ranges from an inconvenience or it could be dangerous but it is always trouble. Not all flat tires can be prevented but there are simple steps you can take to reduce the likelihood.
Wearing a helmet makes sense whenever you ride a bike. With the variety of styles and prices for new bike helmets you might be confused about how to choose one. They provide different head coverage, ventilation, and features, utilize different materials, are available in different sizes and price points and it is valuable to know which of these are important and which are just personal preference. Here are the things you need to know before selecting a helmet to assure you get the safest coverage of your head for your rides.
While wearing gloves in cold weather is a no brainer, did you know that gloves are useful when riding a bike all year around? Gloves offer comfort and protection for any sport, but cycling gloves have many benefits and are the number one clothing item that you can purchase that can help assure your rides are safe and comfortable. Here are the top five reasons cyclists should wear gloves.
The 108th version of the Tour de France (TDF) is now in the history books and as usual, it was filled with memorable moments. Whether you root for the overall winner of the Yellow jersey, winners of the other specialty jerseys, such as the White, Green, or Polka Dot, riders of a particular nationality, such as Americans, Columbians, Slovenians, or French, or the records broken, such as the number of stage wins, there was plenty to keep us interested this year in the world’s greatest cycling event.
Earth Rider Blog about Cycling
Sharon Kaminecki and others comment on adventures in bicycling and other stories