Monday, March 31, 2014

Things You Should Know When You Begin Cycling

When you begin cycling you should do your best to be as assertive and to ride as safely as possible. There are a number of things to keep in mind, and as boring as cycling safety may be, it is what will help prevent accidents.

Lock it up

Always lock up your bike. Even if you are just popping into a shop for five minutes, lock your bike up. You might even want to use two different locks.

Be assertive

Take a cycling training course if you haven’t done so already. OK, so you may have learnt to ride a bike when you were small and how hard is it to remember?  It’s literally like riding a bike again. But, you will be surprised what a two hour course can do. It will change the way you think about cycling and the way you cycle, forever. Understand the rules of the road and exercise good cycling proficiency. This will help to keep you safe on the roads.

Traffic lights

When you get to a traffic light what should you do? Gear down. Pedalling in high gear once the lights have turned green is for fools. Gear down and give yourself a head start.

Punctures and bike maintenance

Part of being a cyclist is knowing your instrument; your bike. Get to know your bike inside and out. You shouldn’t set off on a ride if you don’t know how to fix a puncture. A puncture repair kit will help you, so will puncture-proof tyres. Be wise, and know how to fix one, just in case.

It is also important that you carry out essential bike maintenance. There is plenty of advice on the internet; apps, YouTube are all there with helpful tips. By learning these handy tips yourself you will be able to save yourself money by not constantly checking your bike in for regular maintenance and fixes. Make sure that your tyres are always firmly pumped before heading out on your bike, a flat tyre can be extremely dangerous.

Take your time

It can be tempting to cycle fast and not take the time to practice proper cycling proficiency. Take your time, look before you signal to manoeuvre, glance back before you place your arm out to turn.  

You will find that pedestrians do walk out in front of you, cars forget to look and people in general will irritate you. Take a deep breath, sometimes you need to take an extremely deep breath, and focus on the task at hand. Try your best not to get angry, cycling should not be stressful, despite what can happen sometimes.

Bicycle accidents sadly do happen. If they do it is important that you speak to a bike solicitor to file a bicycle accident claim. Do what you can to be as safe as possible on the roads, but if you are involved in a bike accident then take the necessary steps to claim the compensation that you deserve.

Carry on Cycling can help you with your claim. Get in touch with the specialists today.
To learn more about cycling in Wales click here.

About the author:
Sarah Mcarthy is a writer for Carry on Cycling. You can find her on Google Plus here.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Cleat Positioning on New Shoes: A Bike Fitter's Perspective

Honestly; I'm a little reluctant to "ask a mechanic" about something so closely related to your positioning on your bike; but this video pretty much hits the nail on the head. Mostly for their emphasis on the fact that this achieves an "approximation" and will not be a precise method of replicating the cleat position from shoe-to-shoe.

The tips in the video will help you achieve a starting point - but for fine tuning; you must treat every pair of shoes individually - especially if different brands and models are involved.

Other things to consider:
  • The markings on the sole should not be treated as precise either. These are merely a guide for approximate purposes. Differences in stencil or decal position or how the sole is joined to the upper from shoe to shoe can influence their accuracy significantly.
  • Getting new shoes is an excellent time to have your bike fit checked if not re-evaluated - especially if it has been a few years since your last comprehensive fitting. Aside from physiological changes that occur in that time from changes in fitness, flexibility, or injury; new shoes will position your foot differently relative to the pedal in the X, Y, and "Z" planes (3-dimensional) and pain, discomfort, or injury may result if not done properly.
  • A new pedal system (change in brand or model) is also a good time to re-evaluate your fitting. These above guidelines apply even more loosely when a change in pedals/cleats is involved. Different brand/model pedals have different "stack" which effects leg extension. They also may need to be positioned differently in terms of fore/aft, left/right, and rotation to account for float and other positional differences.
Be kind to your knees and take your foot/shoe/pedal interface seriously. It makes a difference!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Zipp Looks to Educate Buyers on Counterfeits

I have well documented the bike industry's battle against counterfeit product here on the blog. (Here and here specifically, with other references throughout.)

Aside from the obvious effect it has on manufacturer/distributor bottom lines and brand perception; counterfeit product presents a dangerous safety risk. Authentic products are tested to extreme levels of performance by the brand which designs and produces them to ensure they deliver on the promises they make but also to protect the end users - us - in this inherently dangerous sport we love.

Have you ever experienced a component failure? I know from my years behind a bike shop counter that those experiences are few. But; the ones I have seen are scary and often quite injurious to the user as well.

Counterfeit products can be hard to spot (except from the often accompanying "too good to be true" price); but the downside to the risk is huge. Learn to identify some of the warning signs that a product may not be what it is represented to be and be an advocate for your own safety.

Finally - buying authentic product is also a way of saying that you want these companies that produce the best gear in the world to stick around and continue doing what they do best - serve up two-wheeled joy! Buying fake goods puts money in the hands of cheaters instead of those doing the hard work as well as delivers an often inferior and unsafe product to you.

Zipp posted some photos on their Facebook page that are helpful - not only for their products - but as a guide for what to look for on many bands.

Ride real!


All content - except where otherwise noted - copyright 2006 - 2013 Matthew Magee. Do not use without permission.

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