Have you mastered the basic skills to riding effectively on the road? Perhaps you have just purchased your first road bike, plan to enter a few fun rides this summer, or you have been riding with friends and decided to take your cycling a little more serious but are unsure of technique. Consider the following tips to riding better.
1. Shifting gears
The key to smooth shifting is anticipation. Shift a few seconds ahead of time. It makes taking on a hill more effective. At the bottom of a hill, shift to easier gears while you still have momentum. The shift should occur during one crank revolution.
Ease up pedal pressure as you move the lever, time it right, and you shouldn’t lose significant speed. Until you have mastered the timing, simply push a bit harder for several strokes before lightening the pressure on the shift stroke.
2. Maintain on uphills
The goal here is to maintain your current work level and to conserve energy. Shift gears to maintain your cadence. By staying in your seat you will save energy for the long ride, but don’t be afraid to get up out of the saddle if you’re looking for more of a workout, it’s great for strengthening your core.
Don’t “ride” your brakes. Your tires and rim could overheat which will cause a blowout. The safest technique is to tap the brakes, applying small amounts of pressure. When riding in wet weather, this technique works best.
4. Braking matters
For quick stops, slide your fanny to the very back of the saddle and apply firm pressure the brakes. This keeps the rear of the bike down so that you don’t flip over the handlebars. Always, always brake evenly. Never grab only your front brake. If you find yourself inclined to do that (dominant hand or for other reasons), you need to spend you miles of riding training yourself out of that bad habit.
5. Know your gears to protect your knees
Avoid pedaling in high gear for long periods. The best cadence for most cyclists is 60 to 80 revolutions per minute (rpm). Racers rpm will range 80 to 100 rpm. Pedaling for long periods of time in a high gear can develop injuries such as biker’s knee. It can increase the pressure on your knees and lead to overuse. Protect you knees by shifting to a lower gear and faster revolutions (rpm).
6. Mix it up for a happy body
Change your body and hands position frequently. Different muscles will take on the pressure as you shift your body. You will change the angles of your neck, back, and arms. This is important for any ride over 5 miles. If you ride regularly but never think to change positions, think again. Just because you’re comfortable in a certain position doesn’t mean your body wants to sustain that position day in and day out.
7. Downhills need pedaling, too
Avoid coasting downhill. Lactic acid has been building in your muscles as you climbed up hill. By pedaling constantly with some resistance (even just a little) while coasting downhill you will help remove the lactic acid and reduce cramping.
8. Learn from other riders
Seek out someone experienced to go riding with. Experienced riders or group of riders can teach you so much about how to ride different terrain and how to be a defensive cyclist. See the ORbike calendar for listings of free rides that are open to the public and organized rides that provide support and guidance.
Now you’re ready to ride!
Guest article by Carla Dawson
Technology and Innovation are Bike Necessities Nowadays
Digital transformation, the incorporation of new technology, is no longer an option in current business culture – it is a necessity. As information transcends continents across fiber optic cables at the speed of light, the sole way of staying competitive is to undergo constant processes innovation. The digital era is disrupting the way the world does business and incorporating new technology into products and services is essential to survival. Take bikes, for example. Bikes embody childhood. They form part of the familial foundation and act as the metaphorical vehicle transmitting lessons from parent to son and daughter. Yet even bicycles, which we might think of as being the simplest ways of getting around, have changed. Two wheels connected via a rusty chain is just no longer enough for the modern traveler. The ways in which the bicycle industry is adapting to the digital era exemplifies how even the most elementary of products are incorporating technology and innovation to meet the demands of today’
People are now looking for really specific bicycles like e-bikes.
With the digital era comes massive segmentation. Consumers have an overwhelming amount of options. Purchases are decisions informed by hours of research. Consumers don’t just search for “bicycles,” but for “e-bikes,” “folding bikes” and even “electric folding bikes.” These types of searches did not exists even just 10 years ago. While people have always been interested in niche products, it was only with the age of the digital era that people were given unprecedented access to these markets. Prior to the internet people had to settle for “massive consumer products” found at their local stores. The world wide web and technology have simplified getting niche products because now consumers can get as specific as finding “red electric bikes” with little effort.
Companies now have to learn to give people/consumer what they really want and to use technology and the internet to market their products. So what do people want these days? Here is one way to look at it;
Consumers want what they have always wanted except now they don’t have to settle for what’s found at their local stores. They can now choose almost any product in the world and technology is something consumers want these days.
Gi FlyBike and Go Pro are great examples of extremely innovative technology products that provide detailed features that make them more than simply a bike or a camera.
GoPro is a fantastic example of how a small innovative company launched a successful niche product because it included technology and innovation. GoPro is only a 10 years old company yet it quickly managed to excel past large camera brands thanks to great product development, a niche focus, marketing and timing. There are many mainstream camera companies that should have beat GoPro to market but they didn’t. Surviving the digital revolution is a huge challenge for bike companies – and it is all about being innovative.
In a world that is changing more quickly than ever before, companies that adopt cultures of innovation to keep their products fresh, relevant and interesting will be the ones to succeed in the modern market. We love that the bike industry is a big part of this innovation.
In the cycling world, a century ride (100 miles) is the pinnacle distance to achieve – a crowning moment of pride. If you’ve never completed a century but think you’re up for the challenge, we’re here to be the tailwind that helps you cruise through those miles.
Organized rides are a great way to achieve a century. Support along the way means you don’t have to carry much of anything and rest stops will keep you well fueled. And the finish line parties most rides have are a great motivator to keep you cranking.
It’s easiest to reach your 100 mile goal with solid riding and some training. Start by riding nearly daily, even if it’s just to work and back. Head out on the weekends of for longer rides. Going the distance doesn’t require going fast, but it does require stamina. Keep riding and push yourself to go further than you have before.
Reward yourself! This means your muscles, body and your mind. Stretch gently after your ride, nourish yourself with healthy foods and reward yourself with tasty treats. Don’t be shy about taking an extra serving of pie.
Consider rides in other places. Traveling for a bike ride is a very fun way to see a new part of the country while riding your bike. You’re sure to meet all sorts of interesting people. Once you sign up for the ride and make your travel plans, you’re committed. That means you’re more likely to train and get ready for the ride.
Riding in another location can also be more interesting. If you ride a lot in your hometown, the same routes can start to become mundane. A new location gives you the opportunity to explore a new area and see new sights. This can make the 100 miles much more intriguing.
And here’s the dirty little secret no one wants to admit: 100 miles can be boring. It’s true, though not for everyone. A course that varies with hills, curves, vistas and descents helps keep things interesting. Rest stops placed frequently on course (every 20 miles or so) can make it easy to break up the ride. But sometimes you hit that 75 mile mark and start to dread the fact that you still have 25 more to go. And while we can’t tell you one magic technique for making those final 25 miles fly by, we can offer some tips.
Think through a project. What’s that kitchen remodel going to look like? How are you going to save for your grand adventure? What should your business plan look like? What should you do to celebrate your anniversary? What’s going in the garden this year? Is is time to quit your job?
Time spent on the bike is often a uniquely clear-headed time, free of the clutter of daily life. This can be a great time to brainstorm. And that brainstorming can be an incredible distraction from the miles ahead. They might just fly by!
You can also focus on the scenery. What are you seeing? How does that differ from where you usually ride? Don’t be afraid to stop and take pictures – capture those awesome scenes and settings so you can later share them with others.
Focus on the finish line. Will you enjoy an amazing smoothie, a piece of pie, a burger or a massage? How will you relax afterward? Thinking about those pleasurable moments can do wonders for keeping you motivated!
And don’t beat yourself up for struggling through the final miles. Most of us do, and that’s all part of the experience.
PHOTO CREDIT: Arthritis Bike Classic
This year has been a great year to be a cyclists. There are more supported rides than ever in our region. The weather has been good. The hot days were bearable, the rain was mild and quite often there was a tailwind. Well, that was my experience, anyway.
Where did your riding and travel adventures take you this summer?
If you escaped this summer without major aches, pains or injuries, you’re one of the lucky ones. Riding a bike is a sport just like any other. And while it’s generally extremely gentle on our bodies, injuries do still happen. This time of year is when you want to assess how things went for your body this summer. If you have pains, of your shoulders became fatigued at mile 70, if something just wasn’t quite right with your left knee, if you developed back pain or if any other ailments crept up on you, a bike fit is in order. An expert fitter can help assess what’s happening in your body on your bike over hour and miles.
Biking is a delicious sport because the gentle motion means we can ride blissfully into our older years. Those of us who are stubborn often feel that a little pain is par for the course, but it doesn’t have to be. Specifically sharp pain. A bike fit expert can help eliminate discomfort and keep you happy on your bike.
Yes, it’s going to cost you. A very good bike fit should run $125-$300. And I’ve never encountered anyone who regretted his or her bike fit afterwards.
Once you get your initial assessment, you should be prepared to make some adjustments to your bike. This may be as simple as moving your saddle and adjusting your cleats, but chances are you may need to swap out handlebars or buy new parts.
You ride. You love to ride. You want to ride more. You want to go further. And you want to be more comfortable.
A bike fit is well worth the expense. You very well may get quite a while out of your bike fit before it’s time for another. So take the plunge! Invest in this expert service that’s going to give you a more comfortable ride.
I learned something when I moved to Portland: Portlanders love to move stuff on their bikes!
One summer my husband and I were invited to take part in a friend’s bike move (it was a total blast), but my little rack didn’t do much compared to the impressive cargo contraptions other people had. I mean, there was even a guy on a cargo tall bike who could carry way more than me.
Cargo bikes are comfortable, handy and extremely affordable for all the convenience they offer. But if you’re not yet ready to invest in a cargo bike, or simply don’t have room for one, here are some simple ways to easily turn your commuter bike into a hauling machine. I’ve rounded up some of the best accessories to beef up your current bike’s cargo capacity and give you the freedom to haul (just about) whatever you need to haul.
Special thanks to the PDX Cargo Bike Gang for their recommendations!
Detachable bike trailers are a fantastic way to turn your everyday commuter bike into a cargo-hauling machine. Many of the companies listed below design trailers for kids, too, but I’ve just included a roundup of cargo-specific trailers here.
THE BURLEY FLATBED can easily haul up to 100 pounds, with an open front and back for hauling long loads. It weighs in at 14.5 lbs, and folds away so you can store it easily.
WIKE, THE WALK AND BIKE COMPANY, also makes a variety of sturdy trailers. They’re a bit heftier (the flatbed weighs 18 lbs, and doesn’t collapse), but have gotten good reviews. In addition to their open trailers, they also make a suitcase trailer (pictured) which would be amazingly useful for Bolt Bus trips with your bike.
THE MAYA CYCLES BICYCLE TRAILER has a cool wheelbarrow-like design that makes it easy to carry cargo while off the bike, too.
THE BOB YAK has a similar design, and gets great reviews. It’s a classic trailer that is light weight, tracks nicely and is sleeker than most others. This trailer is generally preferred among people who tour with a trailer. Due to the size, it’s not the best option for all around town hauling.
If you’re not looking for a full-on bike trailer, there are a couple other light-duty options that can still help you carry your load.
THE BURLEY TRAVOY is amazing! When not on the bike, it acts like a dolly to haul groceries or luggage (up to 60 lbs). It then attaches to the seatpost when you’re ready to roll. It’s very lightweight (less than 10 lbs), and folds up for easy storage.
TOPEAK MAKES a TROLLEY TOTE that is carried on the bicycle’s rear rack. It can carry just under 20 lbs – making it great for light-duty shopping – and it has a telescoping handle for wheeling around the market. It also collapses for storage.
How do You Fake Having a Cargo Bike?
What’s your favorite way to carry cargo? Leave your recommendations in the comments below.
Jessie Kwak is a writer who loves to type about the good life: travel, outdoor adventures, food and drink, and (of course) cycling. You can find her at Bictoro: Bikes and Crafts.