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Bicycles languish in police warehouse

Here’s a story that caught our eye recently…from the San Francisco Chronicle, a story about stolen bicycles and the sprawling police warehouse that stores the recovered ones:

There are rows of mountain bikes, road bikes, rusted clunkers, fat-tired cruisers, fancy carbon fiber, and new and old frames of every color.

The cycling cache, which recently stood at more than 800, is the fruit of the San Francisco Police Department’s labor – the bicycles were recovered in stings, raids, stakeouts and chop shop busts – yet none of the bicycles has been claimed.

The problem, according to Officer Matt Friedman, the department’s point man on bicycle theft, is that there’s no way to find the rightful owners.

Read the full article by visiting the SFGate page.

A couple things in the article left me shaking my head:

1) Do bike owners really not write down their serial numbers or take photos of their two-wheeled friends? If you don’t, you really should. In fact, go and do it RIGHT NOW. Having a serial number and a couple of photos helps tremendously in recovering stolen bicycles…how else might you prove that the bike is yours if you manage to locate it?

2) In the article, the author states, “…no coordinated bicycle registry program exists that officers could refer to when they recover a bike.” Does no one use the National Bike Registry anymore? The NBR is cheap (about a dollar a year per bike) and from what I’ve heard, pretty effective. It’s the big kid on the block in terms of bike registry; there are others, including ones done locally, but the NBR is really the one that should spring to mind for anyone looking to protect their bike/recover a lost or stolen one.

We’ve written about bike security a bit over the years. Take a look at our articles:

Lock Considerations (the comments are a treasure trove of good info)

Wheel Security

Snack tips for commuters on the go

Great snacks to keep you energized on your commute to and from work

Being a cyclist is hungry work. Whether you’re making your morning commute or going on extended rides, you need to stay properly energized. The key to success is by eating the right snacks at the right time. A lot of cyclists are stuck in the past and still base their diet on outdated nutritional fads. After reading our guide, your backpack will be full of snacks to keep you energized and on track for the finish line.

Carbohydrates vs. fats and protein

If you’re partial to going on more strenuous rides, you’ll need a source of glucose to keep your muscles fuelled. What’s the best source of glucose I hear you ask? Carbohydrates. Thanks to their chemical structure, they can be quickly and efficiently turned into useable glucose.

Fats and protein are a source of glucose too, but the time it takes to convert those into usable energy make them a poor choice for cyclists. If you’re eating foods packed with fats and protein before a ride, you’ll probably not see the benefits until after the ride is over. Here’s a good article to help you choose the best carbs to eat before cycling.

What should I eat?

As you’ve probably figured out already, foods high in carbohydrates aren’t easy to eat on the go. You don’t often see cyclists chowing down a bowl of pasta mid-way through a race. You want to look for high-carb, low-fat snacks that are easy to carry and eat while riding. Low-fat cookies, raisins, dates and energy bars are all perfect examples of this. It’s important these snacks are partnered with plenty of water though, so that they don’t sit at the bottom of your stomach doing nothing. A regular supply of H20 will ensure that the carbs are quickly transferred into blood glucose that you can use.

When should I eat?

Eating on the go isn’t easy, but the temptation to skip it entirely is. Don’t do this. If you’re not supplying your body with a sufficient amount of food and water, then you’re going to have a terrible ride. You’ll experience a loss of energy, strength and general awareness before inevitably becoming frustrated and irritable. As a rule, eat before you’re hungry and drink before you’re thirsty.

If the reason you’re not eating is because the energy bar you picked up tastes like sawdust then you need to explore alternative snacks. The most nutritional food in the world is of zero use to you if you don’t like the taste of it; so find something you like.

Read the nutritional information, fill up your basket and begin experimenting. Strike the perfect balance between high carbs, low fats/proteins and good taste. Ethical Superstore supply a fantastic selection of organic food that will be right at home in a cyclist’s backpack and stomach.

Tips for choosing a good helmet

What makes a good helmet?
Everyone has a different budget when it comes to buying a cycle helmet. If you’re willing to cough up the extra coin then you can expect the helmets to become lighter, better ventilated or have a better adjustable retention system.

But never fear! You don’t have to spend a fortune to get something that will keep you safe. All helmets must conform to standards that guarantee a certain level of protection. The debate on whether helmets should be compulsory continues to rage on. No matter what side of the fence you’re on, it’s undeniable that you’re better protected in some circumstances when wearing a helmet. Have a read through this guide to get an idea of what you should be looking for.

Fit
You want your helmet to strike that perfect balance between snug and secure. It doesn’t want to be so tight that it’s pinching you around the face. Meanwhile, if the helmet is too loose and you get into a crash, your head will still be moving around inside it. So you don’t want that either. Don’t be afraid to go into a shop to try some on. After all, it’s vitally important to get one that’s comfortable and safe.

helmet_wear

Main/outer shell
The main shell of most helmets is made out of expanded polystyrene. This will absorb the force of an impact if you ever hit one of those inconspicuous pot-holes. The outer shell holds the inner shell together and will also help to disperse the shock of a crash.

Padding
Inside every helmet are pads and cloth that are designed to keep your head comfortable and absorb sweat on those more challenging rides. As you can probably guess, your helmet will not smell like a bed of roses after extensive use. You’ll want to ensure that the padding is removable so that it can be washed as necessary.


Straps and head retention system

The straps should be adjustable and easy to use so that you can keep the helmet in the correct position. The ‘Y’ piece straps will help you adjust the position of the helmet on each side of your head so that you can comfortably clip it all together at the chin strap.

The head retention system is an adjustable harness at the back of the helmet that improves stability by grabbing the occipital bone at the back of your head. They are usually controlled by a wheel at the back of the helmet that can turned either way to tighten or loosen your back support.

Ventilation
As you go up in price you can get varying levels of ventilation. Strategically placed vents are cut into the helmet so that your head can remain cool as you ride. If you find yourself becoming hot headed during a ride – and it’s not a result of road rage – then you may wish to get a well-ventilated helmet.

If you’re shopping online, you can get a lot of great deals on bicycle helmets from retailers like Koo Bikes. They also supply a number of bike accessories such as locks, lights and air pumps if you’re in the market for something new. One final tip before you buy a helmet online; make sure that the helmet size matches your own head measurement to guarantee a helmet that ticks all the boxes.

We’d like to interrupt your Interbike Goodness with some Dip

Sorry to interject this article on you handsome and beautiful BikeCommuters.com readers. But I wanted to share a project I recently did over at our sister-site, MtnBikeRiders.com

I have given one of my mountain bikes a new moniker, Burt Reynolds. I’ve written a whole series of articles about his transformation and through out the months he’s gone through some major changes. I originally named him Burt Reynolds because the OEM paint scheme on the Redline D600 reminded me of the Trans Am in the movie Smokey and the Bandit. If you’ve been following us on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen a status update that stated I was able to strip one of my bikes down to the frame in less than 8 minutes, well this is the frame that I was talking about.
Burt Reynolds
I used 1.5 cans of Plasti-Dip that I bought at my local Home Depot. Things didn’t turn out so well the first time around. I had to peel off the first 5 coats and start over. The end result is what you see below.
Plasti dip bicycle

You can read up on all the steps that I took to get it what you see above. What’s great about Plasti-Dip is that you can over spray it and to remove that excess, all you have to do is peel it off.

Buying Second-Hand Bikes

Bicycles are fast becoming one of the most popular forms of transport among business commuters, and it’s easy to see why. Bikes are a low-cost alternative to cars and public transport in terms of maintenance, running costs, and their impact on the environment. The only real price tag associated with bike riding is the set-up costs. With a brand new bicycle ranging anywhere from $250 – $2,500 you might decide you’re better off riding the bus. This article explains how you can avoid some of these initial costs by buying your bike second hand, and introduces some of the best-known second hand bike shops from around the world.

The first places to look for a secondhand machine is online. Online classifieds have a massive range of second-hand bikes and accessories available for sale. If you’re looking for a bargain, this is where you’re going to find it. If you’re patient you can easily pick up a great deal on a bike that’s had low-usage, especially if it’s a must sell. If possible you’ll want to inspect the bike before you buy, to ensure you’re getting what you pay for. Also, beware of sellers trying to fence stolen property online, if you suspect something might be a bit dodgy, probably best to steer clear. Be sure to check for frame/component cracks, paint bubbles, excessive rust, or any other flaw that sets off alarm bells. Bikes are readily repairable, but remember that you’re looking for a bargain, not a restoration project.

www.quicksales.com.au
www.ebay.com
www.craigslist.com

Re-cyclery (California, US)
One of the very few second-hand bike stores located on America’s West Coast, the Re-cyclery offers thrift store prices on new and used bikes, parts, and accessories. Their knowledgeable and friendly staff can help you get the perfect set up including lights, tubes, and even clothing.
www.yelp.com.au/biz/re-cyclery-bike-thrift-shop-san-rafael

Greenpoint Bikes (New York, US)
Your standard neighborhood bike store, Greenpoint Bikes is located just off Manhattan Avenue in the heart of Brooklyn. These guys do great work repairing and selling second-hand bikes and offer a nice selection of parts and accessories to boot.
www.yelp.com/biz/greenpoint-bikes-brooklyn-2

Bicycle Recycle (Melbourne, AU)
Located in Moorabin, the Bicycle Recycle has been supplying Australians with second-hand bikes and accessories for over 25 years. With more than 100 second-hand bikes in-store, their range is sure to include a cycle that meets your needs, and their friendly staff are always there to answer any questions you might have.
www.bicyclerecycle.com.au

CERES Bike Shed (Melbourne, AU)
If you’re interested in getting your hands dirty why not build your own bike from quality second-hand parts? CERES Bike Shed is located in Melbourne’s trendy northern suburbs and offers you the chance to do just that. Great for anyone who like rummaging through various bits and pieces looking for that perfect part.
www.thebikeshed.org.au

Remember also to look in your area for a bike co-op; this can be a good, yet inexpensive, way to build up a secondhand bike and also learn some maintenance/assembly in the process. Take a look at this worldwide list of community bicycle organizations to see if there’s a co-op near you.

These are just a few of the options available for anyone looking to buy a second-hand bicycle in the US or Australia. If you live outside these areas and have some more places to add to the list please share them in the comments below.