Wordless Wednesday

Bike Commuting Tips

As Bike to Work Week is fast approaching (this year it falls on May 16-20), it’s time to refresh your commuting knowledge, or maybe just share some tips with those folks who have yet to try commuting by bike.

Bike Commuting Tips

  1. Plan your route. With a little forethought, you can avoid heavy traffic and construction zones. Use a tool such as the biking directions in Google Maps or ask other bike commuters or your local bike shop to suggest the best routes.
  2. Watch the weather. Know what to expect so you can plan ahead and dress appropriately. Always keep packable raingear in your bag, just in case.
  3. Maintain your bike. Check tire pressure often. Inspect tires for wear at least once a week. Tighten quick releases, bolts and screws regularly. Ensure that brakes are working properly prior to every ride. Keep chain, pedals and other moving parts properly lubricated. 
  4. Be prepared. Carry an extra tube or patch kit, tire levers and a pump or CO2 inflator. Pack a small multi-tool or set of basic hex wrenches for emergency repairs.
  5. Keep extra clothes and clean-up essentials at the office. Instead of toting your change of clothes and personal hygiene essentials such as towels, wipes and deodorant every time you commute, store a week’s worth of clothes and clean-up essentials at work.

But you should always be comfortable when you ride in to work. If there’s a part of your commute where you don’t feel safe riding your bike, you can always drive part of the way, park your car and then ride the rest. If there’s nowhere to change or store spare clothes at your office, just leave yourself some extra time and ride slowly so that you can wear your normal work clothes (plenty of folks around the world do just this, and manage to look quite stylish while commuting). 

With these few simple tips you can make Bike to Work Week fun and enjoyable, and hopefully part of your regular routine in the future (if it isn’t already)!

2011 Giro d’Italia Preview

The 2011 Giro d’Italia, the first of the 3 Grand Tours of the cycling season, starts on Saturday.  Known for its unpredictability and excitement, not to mention the rabid tifosi, last year’s Giro will be a tough one to outdo.  Don’t remember the crashes, lead changes and climbing exploits that led to Ivan Basso’s victory of the final pink jersey last year? Then check out this race highlight reel to get caught up on what happened:

This year’s route promises more outstanding bike racing, with a route celebrating the Risorgimento, or unification of Italy in the 19th century.  This year’s Giro will roam all over Italy, in a wide-ranging route from the Alps all the way down to the slopes of Mount Etna on Sicily.

Many people are proclaiming this edition of the Giro as one of the toughest Grand Tours in history, and one look at the stage profiles bears out that assessment.  With 8 mountain stages on tap, including an uphill time trial, this is a Giro for the climbers (not that Tyler Farrar, Mark Cavendish and Alessandro Petacchi won’t battle it out in the sprints when they get the chance!).  Alberto Contador has said that this Giro would be the hardest 21-stage race of his life.

And yes, and we did say Alberto Contador; participating in his first Grand Tour since his infamous drug test during the Tour de France, Contador will be vying for his 6th Grand Tour title.  But he’s not the only one with a shot at the final maglia rosa in Milan this year.  Ivan Basso may have opted not to defend his title this year, but his young teammate Vincenzo Nibali (seen below in the pink jersey) will try to build on his triumph at the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, while Italian Michele Scarponi and former winner Denis Menchov will also be contenders for the overall (and don’t rule out Menchov’s Geox-TMC teammate and 2008 Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre).

But knowing the Giro, all we can be sure of is that the race will be filled with the twists, turns and surprises that make the Giro d’Italia so entertaining.  If you want to dress the part while watching the race, you can always pick up a pro jersey from Katusha, Vacansoleil or (a personal favorite) the always distinctive Lampre-ISD kit:

And you might as well pick up a pro-level helmet while you’re at it, like the sleek Lazer Helium or the brand new, and super-light, Giro Aeon:

Or you could just go all out and pick up a pro-level ride in honor of the Giro, such as the Fuji Altamira 3.0 road bike, or the race-tested Focus Izalco Team Replica road bike:

So are you excited for this year’s Giro d’Italia yet?  We sure are, and we hope to have so extra-special, behind-the-scenes footage and stories to share with you during the second week of the race!  Stay tuned for details!

National Bike Month

National Bike Month is here! May is a month-long celebration of all things cycling, and the League of American Bicyclists has made it easy to find out what is happening in your area with their guide to Bike Month Special Events.  They also have a handy Bike Month Guide to help you create a successful National Bike Month Event in your community, workplace, city or state (it’s never too late to plan an event).

But really National Bike Month should be an easy sell for cyclists everywhere.  It’s an excuse to ride your bike more, plus bring along some friends for the ride! Get your friends to dust off that old bike, or  pick up a new one, and remind them why they used to love to ride.  As a cyclist yourself, you know that:

  • Biking burns calories and boosts your metabolism
  • It increases your cardiovascular fitness
  • It strengthens and tones your muscles
  • It improves flexibility, balance, endurance and stamina
  • It relieves stress
  • Cycling is FUN (even when you’re grinding up that last hill)!

Invite someone new to your next group ride, or try one out for yourself at your local shop. Get your riding buddies together and go exploring on that new trail you’ve been meaning to try, or that road you’ve always ridden past. Ride slow and just enjoy the view.  Enjoy the fact that the only fuel you’re burning comes from your own 2 legs! Even car maker Audi has realized that maybe bicycles aren’t such a bad idea (what with $4 a gallon gas), and has partnered with handbuilt hardwood bicycle specialists Renovo to create a line of Audi-branded bikes.

Whatever you do, just get out there and ride! National Bike Month is a time to let everyone know that you’re a cyclist, and that they should be too.  So what are you waiting for… let’s go for a ride!

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