Bike Your Drive!

Relocated To Yuma, AZ

On great thing about the military besides the pay (insert sarcasm) is being able to travel to different parts of the world. Recently, my family and I relocated from beautiful New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, to the bone dry desert of Yuma, Arizona.


I heard that a couple of my coworkers are bike commuters. I thought that it was pretty interesting because the afternoon highs have been reaching 115 degrees. A tad bit warmer than I’m used to.

I figure there really isn’t an easy way to getting used to commuting in the heat. So this morning, I got up an hour earlier to ride into work. I took the KMX that I picked up from RL this past weekend. That thing is such a blast to ride. Besides having a pretty cool ride, the commute itself sucked! Sure work is only 4 miles away. But it was somewhere around 90 degrees at 7:00 am and it felt like I was going up hill about 80% of the time. My legs were burning about half way there.

Once I got to work, people instantly crowded around the KMX wanting to check it out. One of the comments I heard was “that’s some wild a$$ sh!t?. It’s funny because he kept on saying it for about five minutes.


Besides the 115 degree heat that radiated from the sun and the road, the commute home wasn’t too bad. It was mostly down hill but had to travel into the wind. One very interesting thing I saw on the way home was a coyote. No not one of those guys who smuggles illegal aliens through the border, the less notorious one (the animal). That was an interesting encounter. He was about 10 feet away from me getting ready to cross the road when I rode past him. I didn’t know who was more scared, me or the coyote.

Commuting in the desert is definitely a tough commitment. Hats off to those of you who live in harsh conditions and still insist on being bike commuters.

Clear Your Cookies

In order for us to improve our websites, we often have to install a few doo dads to make things more efficient. So if you’re using Internet Explorer 6 or 7, and you’re getting an error stating “IE cannot open this website, aborting operation,” simply clear your cookies to fix this problem. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to enable Java Script to access the sites.

Better yet, download Firefox Mozilla! I use this at home and absolutely love it. Besides our sites are enhanced for maximum browsing with the use of Mozilla Firefox.


Too many car ads

I got my August edition of a Bicycling magazine. As soon as I open the mag, a 2 page ad about an SUV greets me. As I go through articles and such, I’m being bombarded with more car ads. So I counted them, 13 car ads total. Some of them with 2 page spreads. I find it very ironic that this is a magazine that heavily pushes the concept of having a Bike Town, yet they sell out to the automotive industry.

Fixed gear Mounting/Dismounting Technique

Swobo Sanchez
I ride my Swobo Sanchez to work at least once a week, being a bike tester I have to switch bikes often. Riding a fixed gear bike takes a little be of a different mindset and a few ‘habits’ to break. I occasionally try to coast, but not as often as I used to, but I need more improvement on my mounting/dismounting technique. Here’s what Sheldon Brown has to say:

Mounting Technique

Riding a fixed-gear bicycle requires proper mounting technique. Many cyclists have bad mounting habits, such as swinging the leg over on-the-fly, or starting up by shuffling their feet against the pavement. These techniques work even worse on a fixed-gear bicycle than they do on a freewheel machine.

Getting your first pedal into the proper forward-and-up position is a bit trickier with a fixed gear, since you can’t just spin the pedals backward. The trick is to put your foot on the pedal, then lift the rear end of the bicycle up so that you can turn the pedals.

I used to lift the bicycle up by the edge of the saddle, but I damaged a Brooks Pro that way–the rivets that held the leather top to the saddle frame pulled out from being stressed in this un-anticipated direction!

My friend Osman Isvan recently taught me a much better technique: The trick is to straddle the bike, put one foot on a pedal, lock up the front brake and press forward on the handlebars. The forward force on the bars will lift the rear wheel enough to let you revolve the pedal to where you want it.

Dismount Technique

You can dismount in the normal manner from a fixed-gear bicycle, but advanced fixed-gear riders might enjoy learning a special, very cool-looking dismount that can only be done from a fixed gear:

Instead of getting off to the side of the bicycle, the fixed-gear rider can go straight off the back. This technique works best if you ride with clips & straps, but if you are really proficient in disengaging from clipless pedals, try it at your own risk.

As the bicycle slows to near walking speed, disengage your left foot, then wait for the right pedal to get to the bottom of its circle. As the right pedal starts to rise, straighten your right leg and let the motion of the pedal lift you up. Let go of the handlebars, let the saddle move forward between your legs, and put your left foot on the ground. As the bike goes ahead, grab it by the saddle.

It takes a bit of courage to try this, but it is actually very easy to do. It is also extremely impressive to watch. When executed properly, it is very smooth, and you can go from riding to walking in a single fluid motion, without ever coming to a stop.

Interestingly, I found this video of Nick James demonstrating the one of the latter ways of dismounting from a fixie:

Any other tips on how to mount/dismount from a fixed gear bike?