Bike Your Drive!

Rodeo will promote bike safety

The Shoals Cycling Club, Shoals Optimist Club and Muscle Shoals Education Foundation are joining forces to make sure area youths who ride bicycles do so safely.

The groups will sponsor the Rhys Hammock Memorial Bicycle Safety Rodeo from 10 a.m.-noon March 24 at Howell-Graves Elementary School in Muscle Shoals.

Hammock, 9, of Tuscumbia was killed when hit by a vehicle while riding his bicycle June 23. 2006.

Shoals Cycling Club president William Bonee said members of the organization will talk to rodeo participants about bicycle safety and offer tips for sharing the road with vehicles.

They will also inspect the bikes and identify any safety concerns with the brakes, crank, reflectors, tires and other equipment.

Cyclists will not make repairs, but will point out any parts of the bicycles that need attention.

The youths will be able to test their safety skills in the parking lot of the school, which has miniature traffic signs and road markings that provide a sense of riding on city streets without having to contend with traffic.

In addition to their bicycle, participants will need their safety helmet so cycle club members can inspect it and make sure it fits properly. Poorly fitting helmets will be adjusted or the purchase of a replacement recommended so youths can protect their head while riding. Bonee said a properly fitted safety helmet is a must for cycling.

Alabama law requires youths under 16 to wear a safety helmet when riding a bicycle on public roadways, bicycle paths or in parks.

While the rodeo is geared toward youths, parents and other adults can also learn a lot about bicycle safety.

Bonee said the rodeo is a way for the cycling club, Optimists and education foundation to give something back to the Shoals.

Everybody helping with the rodeo likely has other things they could be doing that day. Instead, they are willing to give up their time to try to make this year’s biking season safe.

Those of us with children should take advantage of this opportunity for them to learn how to make their cycling adventures safer.

Dennis Sherer can be reached at 740-5746 or

If you HAD to ride your bike everyday…

I got to thinking a while back and asked my self this question, “If I had to ride my bike everyday, would I get tired of it?” Here’s why I got to this revelation. The other day I was on my way to a local home improvement store. As I was driving my car (yes I drove) I noticed about a dozen real bike commuters. You know who I’m talking about, the day laborers that are looking for work. These guys had their Wally World bikes locked up to a tree, no helmets and had a back pack full of food for the day.

As I was leaving I noticed the conditions of their bikes. Some had flats, others didn’t even have brakes and yet quite a few of them were spray painted a different color to hide its original look.

Anyhow, my point is, when you and I bike commute, we try to get the best “commuting” clothing and gear. Heck they even have “commuter bikes” that people can buy to make their ride to work more pleasant. But with all of those things we think we need just to ride our bikes, doesn’t that make us a bit trendy? I mean think about it, the guys at the Home Depot had the basic necessities, bike, back pack and their hats.

But I’ve been guilty of making sure I have Slime tubes, wearing wicking clothing, SPD pedals and shoes as well as an expensive light set. Perhaps my thoughts made me feel guilty because I was indulging in bicycle gear while the day laborer was stuck making a few bucks a day and riding his beat up bike every where he needed to go.

Think about it, there’s a smaller amount of bike commuters that HAVE to ride their bikes than there are that decide that morning if they should ride to work or not. Most families have cars, at least one. But those guys don’t have the luxury of having a air conditioned car to drive around in.

I heard from a friend of mine that his father, who is Chinese and rode bikes everywhere he went in China, didn’t understand his son’s obsession with cycling. My buddy was born and raised in America. His father’s point of view, “I rode bikes all my life, the moment I got to America and had the opportunity to buy a car, I never got on another bicycle in my life!”

So here’s where it comes to. If you HAD to ride your bike every day because it was your main source of transportation, would you get tired of it? Just think of it as having your favorite meal….everyday for the rest of your life….

Xtracycle Is Xtra-useful

Today I had to run out to the grocery store to get some water. So I took my Xtracycle out to fetch me a pail of water. Actually it came out to 5 gallons total.

Here’s my load. 2.5 gallons of water on each side. As long as I am loaded up evenly, the Xtracycle does just great. If I wasn’t even, I’d have to compensate by leaning as I ride.

The challenge I have with the Xtracycle is storing it. I have a Tandem-Two Car garage. Basically its 1 car wide, but its 2 cars deep. So I have make use of space the best I can.

Other than leaving the Xtracycle on its kickstand, the only way to store the bike is upright. I used a basic bicycle hook and mount it as high as I do my other bicycle hooks. Mount the bike!


Just make sure the rear end of the Xtracycle is flushed to the ground, this should help it stay stable.

Here’s how it looks once mounted.

My Redline 925, the Xtracycle are my favorite bikes to ride. I take the 925 when ever I am doing errands around the city. But when I need to carry anything big or heavy, the Xtracycle is what I use. Funny how the actual bike is an IBEX Alpine, but once I installed the Xtracycle, I automatically started calling it by it’s rear end… 🙂

Trek Lime Up Close

When you check out the Trek Lime website, its all happy and fun! They market the lime with a tag line, “Ride at your speed.”

Jax Bicycles
of Fullerton offers the Trek Lime. You can come in and test out any of the bikes and experience the freedom and easy of Shimano Coasting.

A Ladies Lime. You see that seat? You can open it up and stash your stuff in it!

Here’s a close up on the rear hub. Basically it uses a Shimano Nexus 3 speed coaster hub.

Here’s the little gizmo that automatically shifts the Nexus on the fly.

The front hub is what indicates to the gizmo when to shift. Basically it works as a sensor. When you are traveling at a faster speed, the gizmo will shift the Nexus to the next gear. When you start to slow down, it will down shift automatically.

Bicycle Alliance of Washington

Are you looking for advice about commuting by bicycle? The Bicycle Alliance of Washington has resources to help you choose a route and learn the basics of riding in traffic. The alliance also can help you select a bike and learn basic repair skills.

Every Friday afternoon in March, April and May, from 1 to 5 p.m., Kent Peterson, the Bicycle Alliance commute-program director, will answer commuting questions at the Seattle Bike Station, 311 Third Ave. S. He’ll also be giving away bike maps.

For bike-commute advice anytime, call the Bicycle Alliance at 206-224-9252 , or e-mail: