If you own a bike, you will crash. Just a matter of time. If you ride with others, you will witness a crash. Again, just a matter of time. Though you can minimize crashing, you can’t stop it, so best to prepare. Below I’m going to go through a few things to think about when you’re in a crash, and when you’re present at a crash.
There are hundreds of videos and how-to’s online that you can look up on how to change a tire. Thing of it is, no matter how many times you watch it done, you’ll never get good at it until you do it yourself. Many, many, many times.
But this post isn’t about changing the tire itself. It’s about the things to remember when you have deal with a flat. These will keep you safe, and get you on your way faster.
1) Clear the road. By far the most important thing you can do. If you get a flat, don’t just stop in the middle of the street or bike path. And don’t start changing your tire there. Move off the path and/or road. Try to find a level patch of grass (if your bike falls over, better on grass or dirt than asphalt or gravel).
Think of the basic riding skills as a slightly out-of-focus image. A little adjustment, and everything comes clear.
As with any sport, there’s a point at which you have to get beyond the mechanics. Some people believe that when you’re beginning, it’s okay to overlook the details. Focus on the basics and get really good at those. This way you’ll be ready for the advanced stuff later on. But this only works up to a point.
Take ballroom dance. Let’s say you learn the basics. Slow, slow, quick, quick. Awesome. Left hand here, right hand there. Hear the music? Yeah, you’re off, try again. After a while, you start to get the hang of the basics. But then you see someone who’s been dancing for years. Somehow, the basic steps that you’re doing don’t look like the basic steps that they do, even when they’re doing the same steps. You try to compensate – change a little here, a little there. But after practicing so long without all those details, all the nuance, you now have to work against what your body thinks is right.
You’ve got your basics in cycling: pedaling, breathing, keeping your cadence up, don’t sway, don’t bounce. Eyes up (don’t get wheel-locked), and keep your line. But there’s more. And though you don’t need to be capable of doing the “more” portions, it is very helpful to understand them.
After several weeks of posting text messages reportedly sent by bikes on his Facebook account, the Tribunal of International Riding Enthusiasts have placed local cyclist and blogging celebrity Tony Diaz under a 72 hour psychiatric observation.
“We didn’t have much choice,” says tribunal elder Sam Jacobian. “To be a cyclist, you’ve already got to be on the edge of sane. Sharing the road with vehicles ten times your size and twenty times your weight. Flying at break-neck speeds wearing less clothing than a Victoria’s Secret model. But this… concerned us.”
When asked for a statement during visiting hours, Mr. Diaz stated, “Ha! If they think that’s crazy, just wait…”
Fearing a little for our safety, we indicated we would return for a follow-up interview, which remains unscheduled.
You’re about to purchase your travel case, and you’re ready to set off on roads unknown. Do you just throw your bike into the case and drop it off at the airline ticket counter? Do you break down the bike into more pieces than it originally arrived at the bike shop? Let’s go through the process of packing and travelling with (or shipping) your bike.
Flying: where both you and the prices they charge are sky-high.
The cost of flying with your bike varies wildly from “This is large and awkward, so I’m going to charge you more,” to “This is the most lethal item on the face of the planet and I’m going to charge you so much you’ll never want to fly with it again.”
From what I can tell, most airlines will count the bike as your first checked back (or second, if you’re checking one already) regardless of size, though only a couple explicitly state this. They all require a hard or soft bike case, and soft cases are considered “fragile” (i.e. “we’re going to charge you a @#$%load more, even if we break it”). Also, if your bike case is smaller than 62 linear inches (L+H+W) and less than 50 lbs (total), then most airlines treat this as a regular checked bag.
As an example, I use the Trico Iron Case, which on it’s own weighs 31 lbs (~55-60 packed) and is ~88 linear inches.
Sunset in Autumn is a beautiful thing. But like poisonous flowers, sports cars, and women, beauty and danger often walk hand in hand.
The heat of Summer has finally broken. Days aren’t starting at 80°. You can ride in the afternoon without looking like a small water delivery truck. Autumn is probably the best time of the year to ride – it’s like Spring without the rain, and the wind is crisp without being cold (until late Autumn, that is).
But, it’s not all changing leaves and colorful skies. Autumn brings with it its own challenges, and like riding in any other season, it’s best to be ready for them.
Not that there’s much to get, since I’m pretty lax in posting consistently, but…
I’ve created a new Facebook page where I’ll try to get more involved conversations going about cycling, cyclists, satire, attire, flat tires, and more. So, head on over, check it out, give us a LIKE, and keep the conversation rolling.