I don’t want to give too much details, but here’s a hint…
There’s a few things we need to do to ensure that when you’re bike commuting you’re not going to lose. Today we’re going to go over some things that can help you start learning more about betting odds. Losing could come in the form of a mechanical breakdown, physical limitations or even unforeseen events.
So here’s what I recommend that you do before getting on your bike:
Bring 2 tubes, patch kit and a pump: The last thing you need is a flat, or two. By having the extra tube, you could have peace of mind and the ability to change out two flats. The patch kit could be used if both of your spare tubes get punctured again. Of course you can’t fix that problem unless you have a pump. By the way don’t forget the tire levers!
Hydrate: No matter if your commute is only 2 miles or 30 miles, make sure you have some hydration on your bike. Carrying a water bottle can help you beat out cramps in your muscles and if it gets too hot, you could simply cool off by dousing yourself with water.
Tools: One can never bring enough tools with them when riding. I recommend a multi-tool that has all sorts of goodies on it. I prefer the Crank Brothers Multi Tool 19, it even has a chain tool, and you never know when you’ll need that! It’s small enough to put in your bag and it can be a life saver.
Locks: Bring a lock! Bet the odds of theft by making sure you have decent lock for your bicycle. I’d go with a U-lock that has a cable that can look around onto your front wheels. Here’s what I mean, I lock the frame and rear wheel with my big u-lock, and then I take an cable to lock the front wheel, that cable is attached to my u-lock. That way I don’t have to remove the front wheel when I park my bike to secure it with the u-lock, make sense?
Cell phone: I’m not sure of anyone who doesn’t have a cell phone in this day and age. Having a phone can be your literal Phone-A-Friend situation where you can get help if you needed it. I never leave home without my phone. There have been a few occasions where I’ve used up both tubes, my patch kit was all gone and or my pump broke. I ended up calling my wife to pick me up. I’ve also used my cell phone to call 911 when I witnessed an accident. You never know when you’ll need it.
I’m sure many of you already do the things I’ve mentioned. But some of us may think, “It won’t happen to me.” You’d be surprised on how well Murphy’s Law works…when things hit the fan, they HIT the fan. Prepare yourself each time you ride so in the event of something bad happening during your ride you can be ready to deal with that situation.
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Up-front confession: this book was not featured (so far as we know) at Interbike!
However, it DOES chronicle pretty much all the innovations throughout bicycling history, so rest assured that the predecessors to many of the “new” things there are mentioned in it!
Bicycle Design: An Illustrated History is by Tony Hadland and Hans-Erhard Lessing, and in the authors’ words seeks to fill the neglected gap addressing the technical aspects of the history of the bicycle. It starts out with… well, actually it starts out with ice skating and wheelbarrows… but it quickly moves on to velocipedes and draisines, the predecessors of the bicycle.
Another confession: I haven’t read the whole thing. I did read all the bits about velocipedes and high-wheel bikes and wire wheels and the development of the safety bicycle (aka a bike having 2 wheels of the same size), but after that concluded that this wasn’t really meant to be read straight through – and yeah, it took me a bit longer to figure that out than it might take most people, but what can I say… I’m a bit of a bike nerd!
So after some deliberation, I’d consider this more of a reference book: the next time you wonder, “when WAS the first bamboo frame made?” rest assured that this is the place you can find that answer! (page 178: 1890’s, patented in 1896. Calfee wasn’t exactly the first!).
The first 5 chapters of the book detail the history up to the invention of the diamond-frame steel bicycle. After that point, it diverges into chapters on different aspects of bikes, such as transmission, braking, and lighting. It also – at the end – includes specific sections on “racing” bicycles and mountain bikes, folding bikes, and military bikes (an interesting chapter!).
Overall this is a very informative book, and I say kudos should go to the authors for assembling all of the information in a scholarly fashion, complete with TONS of references at the back (if anyone out there needs to write a term paper on anything about bicycles, this should be your starting point!).
My one minor (major?) complaint about it is that it reminds me of several of my history classes in high school. How so? No, not because I fell asleep… I like history, and this book is written pretty well, so I didn’t do that during either high school or while reading this! It’s because in high school I had several years of history classes where we spent a ton of time on something early in the semester… and then gradually less and less time per topic, until by the end we rushed through the 1960’s on in only a couple weeks (I don’t think I had a history class that ever made it to the decade we were in!). Bicycle Design reminds me of this: it spends a lot of time on early development, but we get to the end and there are a scant 10 pages on mountain bikes. Two paragraphs on disc brakes. Two pages on suspension. Etc. etc. Yes, these are relatively recent in the scheme of things – but they’re BIG things right now, they involve some pretty neat increases in bicycle capabilities, and they deserve to be included… not lumped together in a hash that includes everything from the 1970’s til now in a handful of paragraphs.
Gripes regarding recent history aside, this is something every serious bicyclist should at least flip through sooner or later. I highly doubt many people (apart from the authors) have a good grip on all of the developments mentioned in its pages, so you’re guaranteed to learn something (and probably something interesting!). At $20-something on Amazon (for a nice hardcover), it’s definitely worth picking up for the coffee table, or for the bike-themed coffee shop, or for the bike shop, or for a stocking stuffer, if Santa’s real nice and someone you know has a stocking that can accommodate a 564-page volume.
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