BikeCommuters.com

Author Archive: Big McLargehuge

My name is Big, Big McLargehuge. I'm the Ultra Commuter of BikeCommuters.com. All these other pansies on this site don't commute nearly as much as I do. In fact some of them even own cars! I don't have a car, it's probably because the Law says I'm not allowed to drive on the road...but whatever.

How Riding Can Be a Part of Life for You

Finding a reason not to do something, according to psychology experts, is easier than finding a reason to get involved in something. Cycling has become a sort of fashion in the 21st century, with better models of bikes that make riding as normal as it would be. There are many people who do not ride, simply without no reason. You probably had a negative rumor that scared you off, or you simply do not know how riding can couple up with your life.

 

You Can Avoid the Traffic Jam

In most urban environments, nightmares happen every morning. Traffic jams are one of the most annoying factors that lead to a gloomy day for most people. Misfortunes start on the traffic snarls. The boss yells at you, your workload piles as you try getting to work, your rear lights get bumped by the drunk driver behind you, and you end up with a ticket for driving without your tail lights.

Well this catastrophic phenomenon can be sorted out by a simple solution of paving your way through the thick traffic on your bike. One of the best things that would happen to you. You will pity the guys stuck in traffic, you will get to work feeling refreshed, and your boss will shine his light upon you. The best thing for you is that, you will have a peaceful day, and you will live to see a clean in-tray.

 

You can Lengthen the Lifespan of your Car

The last time you checked, the mileage of your car seemed to be playing tricks on your vision. Every time you start your vehicle, you cannot help but think how nasty the resale will go for you. Well, here is a quick way to help yourself out on this.

A bike will sort the mileage out for you. In case you think riding is not as significant as it can get on your car’s value, do a simple calculation of the distance you cover every day, for 5 years. That way, you will find that a bike to save the lifetime of your car can help you. Furthermore, the maintenance is lessened, the gas prices are not a morning sickness for you, and there won’t be any tickets for a broken tail light.

 

Your Heart Condition Improves

This may strike you as a funny misconception but it is true. The physical strain that your heart endures to keep your circulation during the panting moments while you ride, helps your heart muscles to wax stronger. More to that, you reduce the chances of exposure to cardiovascular diseases, heart failure, or stroke. Your blood circulation remains great, and you enjoy a longer life. You  never thought you could achieve that on your Danish Bike?

 

Know Your Neighborhood

You probably never got to know where the lady you always bump at the grocery store lives. Here is the chance to know who lives around you, security is paramount in times when terror attacks are planned in homes, so you might want to know how safe your neighborhood is. Riding around your neighborhood every day, chances are that you may not miss a chance on one of those rides to know something about a person living near you.

 

Lose Some Weight

Ever thought of shredding some weight without having to face the “no pain, no gain” mantra that most fitness gurus chant? Bike riding is one of the most effective ways that can help you keep fit, without you thinking about it. Your weight just slides off the scale, though it may take a little longer.

 

It Offers Some Quality Family Time

Taking off on a ride, on a dull Saturday evening may be the champagne pop that your family has waited for all this long. Bonding is one of the valuable moments that a family can settle differences. A ride around the neighborhood will ignite a sense of belonging for your family, and chances are that, you will enjoy each other’s company after the ride.

 

Three of the best cycling routes in Tenerife

It may well be a much-loved destination among beach lovers and sun seekers, but Tenerife is also perfect for pedal-power enthusiasts wanting a thigh-burning getaway. Along with its bike-friendly cities, you can also enjoy pleasant temperatures, varying degrees of difficulty, and some stunning landscapes as you pedal your way around this volcanic island.

BikeCommuters.com has previously looked at how Tenerife’s rugged terrain is well suited to mountain biking. But this time around we are going to concentrate on its superb road network, which has played host to the training camps of several pro cycling teams.
la ortava

​​Image by GanMed64, used under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0

La Orotava Valley

  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Distance – 25 miles

A gentle introduction to Tenerife, this route goes through the island’s fertile farming area and includes an overall altitude climb of just under 2,000 feet. You should start at Palo Blanco before heading on the TF-326, which will take you to the village of Benijos. Keep going until El Camino de Chasna and then turn left onto the TF-21, which descends down into La Orotava.

Granadilla-Arafo

  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Distance – 87 miles

Winding its way along the southeast area of Mount Teide, this route contains plenty of turns and is relatively flat but reaches a height of just over 1,640 feet. From Granadilla de Abona, take the TF-28 through the quaint little villages of Chimiche, Arico, and Fasnia. Just after you pass through Guimar, branch left onto the TF-525 towards Arafano and you’ll soon be back where you started.

The Ascent of Teide

  • Difficulty – Hard
  • Distance – 47 miles

Cycling up Mount Teide isn’t easy, but this is perhaps the most obvious route to climb the 8,000 feet to the island’s highest point. You can take the TF-21 from Puerto de La Cruz straight to the base of the mountain. Along the way, you will bare witness to some stunning sights including pine forests and Teide’s famous lunar-like landscapes. If you need a break, visit the village of Aguamansa before continuing to El Portillo.

 

aguamansa

​Image by S. Rae, used under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0

Advice for cycling in Tenerife

With its consistently mild climate, you are virtually guaranteed good weather all-year round in Tenerife. But soaring temperatures at the height of summer combined with increased traffic on the twisty mountain roads will test even the most accomplished and adept cyclist to set foot on the island.

While the roads of Tenerife cater for all abilities, some prior experience is recommended if you want to ride the mountains. Don’t forget that the weather in the mountains can change quickly too, so remember to take the following:

  • 1 thermal winter jacket
  • 1 rain cape
  • Arm warmers
  • Leg warmers
  • Long fingered gloves
  • Overshoes

There is no reason why you can’t explore Tenerife on your own or with a group of friends, but if you want a little more reassurance, there are plenty of tour operators that can provide everything from bike hire to guided tours and even seminars on how to cycle like a pro.

Five reasons why you should go mountain biking in Tenerife

When it comes to mountain biking, Tenerife has a strong claim to the title, ‘King of the Canary Islands.’ The island’s relatively compact geographical area works only to its advantage, as you don’t have to travel far between areas to find all kinds of biking routes. From winding mountain roads to forest trails to coastal tracks, there is plenty of exciting terrain to choose from.

So, whether you’re looking for a fun way to spend a day on your holidays in Tenerife, or you plan to spend the entire trip exploring on two wheels, you won’t be disappointed. Here are five reasons why the biggest Canary Island is a fantastic place to go mountain biking:

1.The weather won’t let you down

With little variation between summer and winter, Tenerife is warm all year round, so you don’t have to worry about encountering foul weather. Even in the winter months, rain is minimal. The south and the west are the warmest regions, but of course, on Mount Teide, you can expect colder weather and even snow in winter. After all, it is 3,555 metres high!

2.Good views are guaranteed

No matter where you go mountain biking on Tenerife, you’ll encounter incredible views. The north, however, is where you will find some of the most breath-taking, rugged mountain scenery.

The Esperanza forest area is one of the most popular amongst mountain bikers. The trails will take you through gorgeous pine forests, and any uphill climb will end in a worthwhile view over the surrounding area.

3.You don’t need to be a pro to enjoy the best routes

For the more recreational cyclist, the forests in the Vilaflor area in the south of the island are a great place to start out. The trails are wide, the terrain good, and there are few steep inclines. Vilaflor is the perfect place to take the family if you want to go biking with the kids.

Less experienced riders can also take advantage of the island’s bike tour operators, if you’d rather travel with a guide. Lavatrax and Bike Point are two of the most popular operators, offering days out on a range of routes, with bike hire included.

4.If you’re seeking a challenge, you’ll find it

You shouldn’t mistake Tenerife for a tourist-only cycling destination. If you’re an experienced mountain biker and you want to challenge yourself, you could take the winding road to La Masca. This tiny village is nestled high on a mountainside, and it is one of the most picturesque locations on the whole island.

You’ll start the route in Santiago del Teide, in the west of the island. The steep, narrow road to the top is not for the feint hearted, but Masca is worth the ascent.

5.You can cycle to the top of Spain’s highest peak

Most levels of cyclist can manage the route to the summit of El Teide. Despite being the highest mountain in Spain, the trail is not too steep. Cycling is a fun alternative to climbing the mountain on foot. If summiting the peak isn’t enough, you can explore the surrounding Teide National Park by bike as well.

Where are your favourite mountain biking holiday destinations? Let us know in the comments below!

Image by cédric used under Creative Commons licence.

 

Cycling the South East of Spain

Spain is a destination endlessly popular with cyclists. Its excellent climate, beautiful natural landscapes, and bike-friendly cities make it the perfect holiday location for travel hungry cycling nuts all around the world. For a truly special two-wheeled tour, though, head to the south east of Spain and the hip, hot and happening coastal regions of Valencia, Murcia and Andalusia.

And don’t worry: with some careful planning, you won’t have to go through the rigmarole of hiring once you’re there. Pack smart and you can take your own bike with you on your epic Spanish odyssey.

Picture by Martin Cox on Flickr, some rights reserved

Packing your Bike for a Flight

First things first: read the small print. Even if an airline is offering cheap flights, they may charge you a high fee to check your bike, so it’s worth shopping around for the best deals. Though it can be tempting to box up your bike and claim it’s just a regular old piece of luggage, this will prevent you from claiming any insurance if the bike is damaged during transit.

As for the actual packaging, it comes down to three options. Firstly, you could choose a soft bike case or plastic bag. Bags are cheap and flexible but don’t offer much protection from overenthusiastic baggage handlers.

Secondly, you could invest in a sturdy rigid case. This will definitely keep your bike safe, but is also the most expensive option and difficult to transport once you’re off the plane.

Your third option is a cardboard box, which strikes a happy medium between the other two, giving adequate protection to your bike without being too expensive. Best of all, you can maintain your green credentials by recycling it once you get to your destination!

City Biking

Some of the best cycling to be found in this part of the world is in Murcia. This university city boasts numerous cycling trails and fascinating sights in the centre of town, including an ornate cathedral, a large botanical garden and park, and a spectacular world-famous casino in the Sociedad Casino of Murcia.

Further south from Murcia, the coastal cities of Almeria and Cartagena provide ample opportunities for cycling. The notoriously dry Almeria is particularly pleasant for tranquil bike rides during the cooler autumn months. Meanwhile, Cartagena is the place to be if you’re into your historic architecture. The city is home to an ancient Roman theatre, the ruins of a cathedral destroyed in the Spanish Civil War, and a number of striking Art Nouveau buildings.

Cycling Disused Railway Tracks

Around the south east of Spain, there are numerous disused railway tracks, which have been converted into cycling paths. Known as “greenways” or via verdes to the locals, these paths are a secluded and truly unique way of travelling through Spain’s natural landscapes.

If you’re headed for Valencia, take a train down to Gandia and hop on the Safor Greenway, a long straight cycling path that takes you past orange groves, canals and rural villages. From Murcia, you can head west inland on the Greenway of the Northwest, a 78 km line that links Murcia with Caravaca de la Cruz, one of the Holy Cities of the Catholic Church and a place famous for its spectacular 15th century castle.

Coastal Bicycle Paths

For cyclists who want to make the most of Spain’s sandy beaches and warm waters, there are plenty of coastal routes to choose from. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, fly into Valencia and then make your way down the coast to Malaga. You’ll pass through the beach resort towns of Benidorm and Alicante (where you can get your sunbathing and clubbing fix) before reaching the Murcian towns of San Javier, Cartagena and Aguilas.

Once in Andalusia, head south along the coast to spots such as Carboneras, home of the famous Playa de los Muertos beach. Move on through the fishing village of San Jose, before finishing up in Almeria. Trust us – the journey will be tough on the legs but easy on the eyes!

The real beauty of taking a cycling tour of south east Spain is that it’s very easy to get budget flight deals, particularly if you travel off-peak. If you take your bike as well, your travel costs once you arrive will be dramatically reduced, which means more money for sightseeing, tapas and lots of cold Spanish beers.

Muy bueno!

Becoming a Bike Messenger in NYC: Abstract Tips from a Former Courier

messenger1

The fast-paced hustle of New York City is alluring to outsiders, but oftentimes hectic for those already living in the city that never seems to sleep. The miles and miles of sidewalks brimming with people, the tide of yellow taxi cabs merging into a sea of endless traffic, and the stoplights appearing every twenty yards can make commuting even the shortest of distances into a time-consuming affair. However, there are some who thrive in this environment, weaving in and out of traffic with speed and precision. Who are these people you ask? They’re your friendly neighborhood bike messengers!

You probably already knew that though since you’re reading this post. While some experienced cyclists make it look effortless, being a bike messenger in one of the busiest cities in the country isn’t as easy as you may think. These guys likely grew up pedaling back and forth through parks and back alleys learning every shortcut along the way. With that being said, if you’re still interested in establishing your own career as a bike courier, then hopefully my advice will help.

I’m not going to waste your time with the basic stuff; you obviously already know that you need a decent bike, as well as a helmet to even consider being a bike messenger. Instead, I’m going to pass along some knowledge I have picked up in my own experience as a bike courier.

No Couch Potatoes

messnger2In other words, you can’t expect to be a successful courier if you don’t live an active lifestyle. Most bike messengers train quite regularly to keep their physique in top shape. A good bike messenger is defined in terms of speed, precision, agility, and stamina. The ability to deliver packages quickly is what weeds out the less efficient messengers. NYC is filled with people, cars, and obstacles, all of which can cause serious damage to your bike, the item being delivered, and most importantly, you!

 

The Hunt

Being a bike messenger makes you quite versatile. In fact, most NYC bike messengers are always on the move, working for more than one delivery service on any given day. For instance, a messenger may deliver flowers for an online florist every other morning, and then transition into ferrying food for a small corner café at lunch time. For the most part, working for one delivery service usually won’t yield a large income. However, I have met several couriers who were pulling in upwards of $50,000 by holding three or more jobs.

Sell Yourself

While you may be one of the best riders in NYC, nobody is going to know that unless you tell them. Sure you could pick up the yellow pages and call around about possible employment, but that can be extremely tedious and time-consuming. When I first started out, I had one job that was barely paying the bills, so I decided to put myself out there a little more. For starters, I had a few black t-shirts and a couple baseball hats made that promoted my services. Because the information was printed on the back of the shirt, I was advertising every time I got on my bike.

The Commute

messenger3One of the first things I learned as a bike messenger was to stop as little as possible. Yes, blowing through stop signs and red lights can be dangerous and I’m not saying you shouldn’t slow down, but a lot of research lately has shown that excessive stopping can actually be more dangerous. Aside from that, you should also go against your instincts to ride towards traffic, riding with the flow of traffic instead. The last little tidbit of commuting knowledge I’m going to give you pertains to the subway. While the subway can shorten a commute significantly, you’re going to want to avoid it whenever possible (especially during rush hour). However, the one exception to this would be if the weather is just downright terrible and/or creates hazardous riding conditions.

Thieves Are Everywhere

That may not be “breaking news” for you, but you would be amazed how lightly some messengers take theft. When you think about it, a bike is an easy target that can be used to escape on once stolen. I have had one bike stolen because I was naive enough to think my simple U-Lock was indestructible. That experience led me to purchase a heavy duty cable lock that could be looped through the entire bike (front wheel, frame, back wheel). You can also couple your cable lock with a standard U-Lock for added security.