Welcome to the new year! Take a gander at these ten ways to hit the pavement rolling!
Give your bike a mini check before every ride!
Checking your bike before you ride is the best way to avoid a scary descent with unhooked brakes. Maybe you just finished a ride with a friend and had to take your wheel off to fit in their car and in the rush to get home, didn’t tighten your skewer all the way. This can be really dangerous if left unchecked. I find that a simple pinch of the tires, squeeze of the brakes, tap of the skewers (hub axle) and bounce of the bike can alert you to any pressing problems that could affect your ride. Also, do this little check before you get out the door. I can't tell you how many times I was all ready to leave and go to work, only to find out my bike needed its tires inflated, causing me to be late (I swear!).
Keep a flat kit on your bike!
This is a great way to save yourself the embarrassment of walking after you get a flat, which is already a bummer. And you will get one, it is only a matter of time on these Seattle streets. Keeping a minimum of a tire lever, patch kit (or spare tube) and inflation method can save you heartbreak and shame and make you feel like a superhero when you get that fresh tube in there. Come by the shop anytime and we can help you set one up! And if it isn’t too busy, we can even walk you through the process of fixing a flat yourself.
Change your soundscape!
Whether you bike with music all of the time or none of the time, switch it up! Listening to a swelling orchestra as you attack a steep climb can be a sublime experience. Alternatively, the zen-like focus that comes with the gentle whir of rubber on pavement can elicit a feeling of peace that is unequaled. Plus, it frees up your ears to pick up the small noises that alert you that something might be loose.
Think hydration! Keep a water bottle on your bike!
Hydration is important in any physical activity and cycling is no different. It won't weigh you down too much (weight training!) and it will make your insides feel much better after some climb-induced heavy breathing. If you already hydrate, try one of the many refreshing Nuun flavors we carry at the shop! Half a lemon lime tab with half a pink lemonade tab is my favorite Nuun cocktail! Also, check out our one-of-a-kind painted bottle cages in the shop!
Bike without a destination!
This is one that really exemplifies the best part of bike ownership. That wonderful, delicious spontaneity! Taking your bike outside without a destination will allow your wandering mind to follow your wandering wheels to parts unknown! I’ve come upon countless random little parks I would have missed had I not just let the winds lead me. For extra effectiveness, leave your phone at home to get your mind in the right space for exploration. #outside.
Treat your bike to something nice!
Your bike works really hard to get you where you want to go and rarely speaks out in protest. Get it something nice like a new set of tires or new tape. One of the oldest bike tricks to get your bike to feel new is to re-wrap your bars with some fresh tape. It may be only a minor change but when you peel off your old, crusty wrap and compare it to the shiny new tape, you’ll be surprised you didn’t do it sooner.
Get a Bicycle Benefits sticker!
If you do any of the things on this list, make it this one. Almost every business in the area manages to offer some sort of discount or deal. Ten percent off your purchase is the most common discount, but other cool places will offer you coupons ($2 free at any Seattle farmers market!) or free coffee (Seven coffee in Ravenna). More businesses are being added by the day so just ask any place you bike to if they offer something. We offer 10% off all parts and accessories when you show us the sticker! We also sell the sticker for five dollars! Come start the year off right with discounts everywhere!
Try a new type of cycling!
Maybe you are like me and love to ride on the smoothest paved roads or maybe you only like to commute on your bike. Whatever you normally do, try some other style! The difference in riding on roads vs. the feel of riding in a mountain are as different as can be. You develop your bike handling skills by cycling outside your comfort zone and it can easily spark a new hobby! If you are looking for suggestions, check out our bike packing article this month! Don’t forget, we also rent mountain bikes and road bikes! You can always call to make a reservation.
Ride in a group!
Riding alone is great but riding in a group is a whole other level of party mobility. Aside from drafting people to get a little more speed, riding in a group can feel like you are part of a mobile party unit. Talking from experience, you might even pick up more members to your party at each stop.
Give your bike a scrub!
This is one of those things where you already know what I’m going to say, don’t you? Cleaning your bike twice a year (at the least) can make your bike run better and it will greatly extend the life of your drive train. When gunk and grit pile up, it eats up your components at a much faster rate and will probably make your pants dirty (not the trousers!). Ride that wave of the new year resolutions and get into the habit of giving your bike a scrub every once in a while! And remember, when you clean your chain, you will want to re-apply lube. Bike Radar has a little write up here that goes over a quick bike scrub.