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10 Bike Commuting Myths Dispelled

From my friend Alan Snel’s blog…republished from a League of American Bicyclists/Bikingbis tweet:

Busting the 10 bicycling myths:

1. I’m out of shape

— Ride an easy pace, in a few months you will be in great shape
— Ride your route on a weekend to find the easiest way to work
— You will improve your fitness level when you become a regular bike commuter

2. It takes too long

— The average commuter travels at 10 mph; the more you ride, the faster you become
— Trips of less than 3 miles will be quicker by bike
— Trips of 5 to 7 miles in urban areas take the same or less by car

3. It’s too far

— Try riding to work and taking mass transit home, then alternating the next day
— Combine riding and mass transit to shorten your route
— Ride to a coworker’s house and carpool to work

4. No bike parking

— Look around for a storage area in your building or office
— Stash your bike in a covered, secure place such as a closet or even your office
— Formally request that your employer provide bike parking or lock it up outside

5. My bike is beat up

— Tell a reputable bike shop that you are commuting and have them tune up your bike
— If you can’t maintain your bike yourself, identify bike shops near your route
— Make sure that your bike is reliable and in good working order before you ride

6. No showers

— Most commuters don’t shower at wor; ride at an easy pace to stay cool and dry
— Ride home at a fast pace if you want a workout; shower when you get there
— Health clubs offer showers; get a discounted membership for showers only

7. I have to dress up

— Keep multiple sets of clothing at work; rotate them on days you drive
— Have work clothes cleaned at nearby laundromats or dry cleaners
— Pack clothes with you and change at work; try rolling clothes instead of folding

8. It’s raining

— Fenders for your bike and raingear for your body will keep you dry
— If you are at work, take transit or carpool to get home; ride home the next day
— Take transit or drive if you don’t have the gear to ride comfortably in the rain

9. The roads aren’t safe

— Obey traffic signs, ride on the right, signal turns, and stop at lights
— Wear bright clothing
— You are at no greater risk than driving a car
— Wear a helmet everytime you ride

10. I have to run errands

— Bolt a rack to the back of your bike to add carrying capacity
— Make sure that you have a lock to secure your bike while you are in a building
— Allow extra time to get to scheduled appointments and find parking
— Encourage your employer to provide a bicycle fleet for office use

Bike Trade-In Bonus

Forwarded to me by reader Tom Hewitt, this is an article from the online edition of the German magazine Der Spiegel — the premise behind the program is to boost local bicycle sales and get more people out of cars:

Germany’s scrapping bonus for old cars has proved so popular that the city of Mannheim is offering it for old bicycles. Campaigners hope the move will encourage people to ditch their cars and hop on bikes to help save the environment.

Inspired by the controversial “scrapping bonus” for old cars that the German government launched in January, up to 200 Mannheim residents can collect a bounty on their old bikes starting May 2.

The program is a joint initiative between the city government and nonprofit organization Biotopia, which offers job training for the unemployed and for disadvantaged youth.

The old bikes, which have to be in more or less rideable condition, will be collected at Biotopia’s workshop at the Mannheim main train station and refurbished. The money for the premium comes out of the Mannheim municipal budget.

To read the rest of the article, please visit Spiegel Online.

An Interesting Bike Storage Idea

Our friends over at Palm Beach Bike Tours posted a review of a very interesting bike storage idea…a device called a “Cycle Tree”:

cycle tree

Check out their full review and additional photos of the Cycle Tree by clicking here.

For those of us who are bike hoarders, this looks to be a great way to free up floor space in your storage area!

Tool Review: Pedro’s Vise Whip

Several weeks ago, Pedro’s USA sent us a couple of tools to review. The first is their “Vise Whip“, an ingenious tool that eliminates the hassle and potential breakage of using a traditional chainwhip.

vise whip

Here’s a little about the tool from the Pedro’s USA website:

–Locking jaws that won’t slip
–Fits cogs from 11T to 23T*
–Compact enough for the toolbox
–Heat-treated steel tough enough for everyday use

Anyone who has used a traditional chainwhip to hold a cassette or freewheel in place while cogs or lockrings are unscrewed knows that such tools can be tough to manage. They’re fiddly and they have a tendency to snap retaining pins just when you’ve got a lot of torque on the tool. The Pedro’s Vise Whip eliminates all of this hassle…it locks solidly onto cassette or singlespeed cogs and will not move if set correctly.

Based on the toolbox staple known as Vise Grips, this Pedro’s tool adjusts with the same style of threaded screw and locking lever. Clamp it onto the cassette and apply lockring remover/wrench to unscrew the lockring. Simple as that!

clamp

The Vise Whip works wonderfully for folks who run singlespeed bikes, too. For singlespeed MTB riders who want to change up their gearing for specific conditions or people who run 3/32″ fixed cogs on the street or track, this tool makes such gearing swaps very simple.

singlespeed

The people who run 1/8″ track cogs are out of luck, though…the Vise Whip’s jaws are listed as not big enough to fit over the larger cog width. I haven’t tried this myself, though, as I had no 1/8″ cogs around. Perhaps if the demand is there, Pedro’s will make a version for 1/8″ cogs?

Overall, the tool is sturdy, easy to use and really ingenious…why didn’t anyone think of this before? I’ve used it about a dozen times since I got it in the mail — everything from replacing 8- and 9-speed MTB cassettes to fine-tuning the gearing on my singlespeed MTB/Road “Frankenbike” (tentatively named Craptain America).

This tool has a permanent home in my toolbox — it’s that useful.