Intro to Bicycles and Bicycling June 5, 2008
What we’ll cover • Benefits of bicycling • Types of bikes • Gear • Safety • Technique • Etiquette • Energy/Recovery • Where to bike
Benefits of Bicycling • Improved cardiovascular health • Improved mood; decreased stress • Spend less on gas (commute, run errands) • Save the planet • Meet new people-spend more time with friends/family (social health!) • Lots and lots more benefits
Lots of bikes to choose from Ask yourself some questions to figure out what kind of bike is right for you: • What are your goals? • How do you intend to use the bike? • What is your budget? • How often will you realistically use it? Road-Hybrid-Mountain-Commuter-Recumbent, etc
Road Bikes Used to be known as the "ten-speed“. Now range from 12 to 21 speed. • Touring Bikedesigned to provide comfort for the long haul. Excellent for long distances. Drop handlebars for comfort, good control and allow for multiple hand positions. Twenty one speeds for different inclines cantilever brakes can stop you even when you’re heavily loaded down.
Road Bikes • Racing Bike. Built for speed with an aerodynamic, thin and ultralight frame. A short wheelbase allows the bike to respond to the slightest movements and 12 or 18 gears will get you, and keep you, at top speed. Great for racing or speed demons!
Mountain or All Terrain Bikes • Rugged/heavier. Built with a sturdy frame, straight handlebars and fat, knobby tires. Good for off road riding—trails, mountains, single track, etc. Upright riding position makes it comfortable while giving you leverage for steep inclines
Hybrid • Cross between the road bike and mountain bike. Lighter than a mountain bike, but not as fast as a road bike. Straight handlebars, medium-width tires, 21 gears, and upright riding position. Perfect for short distances, running errands or commuting.
Recumbent • Designed to maximize comfort and minimize wind resistance. Use a “boom” and rear triangle combination with the pedals and chainset located at the front of the boom and the handlebars are located either “over seat” or “underseat” in the centre.
BMX • Designed for stunts and tricks. They are very advanced and may even be made of titanium to make the parts lightweight and strong.
Cruiser • Heavy framed balloon tired bicycles. Also called beach bikes or boulevardiers and are designed for comfortable travel over a variety of terrain. Cruisers were the bicycle standard from the 30's until the 50's. Recently returned to popularity. The traditional cruiser is single-speed with coaster brakes, but modern cruisers come with 3 or seven speeds, the latter with rim brakes. Aluminum frames have recently been used in Cruiser construction, cutting the weight in half.
Tandem • Designed to be ridden by more than one person. The term tandem refers to the seating arrangement (fore to aft, not side-by-side) instead of the number of riders.
Fit • Once you choose the right bike, get it fit properly. • If you regularly experience pain and have been riding a while, there is probably a simple adjustment that can be made to fix it. • For about $50 a bike shop can fit you. This may prevent injury, soreness, aches, pain and make your riding more enjoyable.
Properly Fitting Helmet • Properly Fitting Helmet • Snug around head • EYES: See the edge of your helmet with you look up past your eyebrows • EARS: Straps should meet right under your ear lobes to form a “Y” • MOUTH: Strap loose enough to breathe and insert a finger between buckle and skin. Tight enough that if you drop your jaw you feel it pull down on the top of your head
Glasses • Glasses to protect your eyes from the sun, bugs, sand, debris, rain, etc. Many sport glasses have interchangeable lenses for varying amounts of daylight.
Gloves • Padded or gel gloves help to relieve pressure/numbness in hands. • Many have a terry cloth patch to wipe away sweat for hot days.
You can use a toe clip and strap with sneakers/regular shoes. You can also use a regular flat pedal (mostly for cruisers) but it is less efficient than clipless pedals. Shoes-Pedals
Shoes-Cleats • Some bikes have clipless pedals that you clip into for speed and efficiency. Pedals and cleats must be compatible.
Clothing • Wear bright or light colored clothing so that you can be seen • Tuck away shoelaces or other strings/cords so they don’t tangle in your bike • Wear snug clothing (spandex!) • Never wear headphones
Tools and Stuff to Bring Always carry: • Spare tube • Pump and/or CO2 cartridge • Tire levers • Tool set • Cash
Tools and Stuff to Bring You may also want to consider: • Cell phone • Rain gear • Windbreaker/jacket • Energy bars, Gatorade if going for a longer ride
Safety Check • Before you ride—do ABC Quick check: • A is for AIR—make sure your tires are properly inflated • B is for BRAKES—make sure they work and are not rubbing the tire • C is for CRANK/CHAIN—check your chain. If it is loose or there are problems with your gears, take to a bike shop. Lube regularly. • Quick—check quick release levers and other bolts to make sure they are tight
Road Rules By law, bicycles are vehicles and have the same rights, duties, and responsibilities as other vehicles on the road. • Ride on the right, with traffic • Ride single file; maintain a straight line • Obey all traffic signs, signals and laws • Signal before turning • Yield to people in cross walks • Must lights at night (head and tail)
Road Rules In 2007 the Maine Legislature passed a Bicycle Safety Bill • Motorists must give a 3 foot, side-by-side clearance when passing bicycles • Allows bicycles to move from the right portion of the road to avoid obstacles or to proceed straight near a right turn lane or for turning left
Road Rules • New law also waives liability for businesses with drive-up windows that serve cyclists.
Cycling Etiquette • When passing another cyclist—pass them on the left. Upon approach, ring your bell if you have one or call out, “On your left”. • When riding in groups: • Keep a straight line • Signal and call out stops and turns • Yell “car back” or “car up” to alert fellow cyclists of approaching vehicles • If riding pace line, point out pot holes, debris, or other hazards (e.g. road kill) • Take your turn at the front of the line
Technique • Upper body should be relaxed—legs do the work • Focus on making smooth circles—not just the push down • Slide your body back slightly for going down hills • Lift up very slightly off the seat for going over bumps/pot holes (avoids pinch flats)
Technique • Relax your hands on bars—thumbs under bar and not resting on top • Turn with your body, not your handlebars • Sit up straighter on hills-push back on seat slightly to allow more oxygen into your lungs • Go at your own pace
Energy/Recovery • 1-2 hour rides, bring water and stay hydrated. Eat protein and carbohydrate w/in one hour of finishing (e.g. apple w/PB) • 3+ hour rides, consider Gatorade in addition to water to maintain electrolytes. Bring a snack and eat before you are hungry; drink before you are thirsty. Eat protein and carb w/in one hour of finishing.
Have Fun! • Don’t stress about all the details—just get out and pedal and enjoy the freedom, the wind, nature, and the physical activity!
Where to Ride • Ask fellow bicyclists in your area • Join a group ride • Map your own ride using mapmyrun.com or google maps • Maine DOT bicycle tour maps (http://www.exploremaine.org/bike/bike_tours.html) • Just get out and pedal—dare to get lost!