If you love bikes, I don’t need to go on in raptures about it because you know. I can tell you, however, that it brings me many unforeseen adventures. I have been to places I never expected to see; I have met people from all walks of life you engage me in idle conversation when taking a break. Some become friends for life, or at least for a while now. I have been asked to teach kids and adults how to ride and with the latter, it ain’t easy. Why are they so panicky when their feet are off the ground? Bicycles are for everyone at any age, so don’t wait too long to give it a try.

Meanwhile I am riding in the wind, seeking fun. There was only one time when I was caught by surprise and took a nasty fall. I was dirty, a bit miffed about the embarrassment, and a full of scrapes and cuts. At least my bike was okay and no one captured it on Facebook. That was my first concern. I just wanted to take a long, hot shower. I am only telling this story because oddly enough, I didn’t have enough hot water that day to wash off the grit and grime of the roadway. My tank is just not big enough. If I run the dishwasher or do anything requiring hot water, I had better give up on the idea of a shower too. It is time for a change and that means a tankless model from Tankless Center. I don’t know much about them except that they are small, take up little space, save energy and money on utility bills, and are preferable to any old-fashioned appliance. It is going to find a place in my home very soon.

I am assuming that most of you who are reading this post are bike riders, or else you probably would not be reading this blog in the first place. I mean, I’m interesting, but not that interesting. But I am hoping that I can reach at least a few vehicle lovers here on the internet to let you know what’s up.

Bike safety, people! It’s not just up to the people on the bike! I have literally only seen one guy on a bike hit a car, and that guy was an idiot – he was riding on a sidewalk, for one, and secondly, was going way too fast. He made a really wide turn and hit a car sitting at a stop sign. Everybody was ok, but if that guy had been riding the way he should have, none of it would have happened. The overwhelming majority of the time, bicycle riders are just merrily riding along and WHAM. You’re basically in a tank and I’m on some rubber and metal tubing. You will win, every time. So could you pay a little more attention, maybe? K thx.

Here are the things that bike riders really really want you to know:

First, you need to share the road. For real. Yes, we are slower than you but we have every right to be there too. We are supposed to be as far to the right as possible, in the same direction that you’re going (pedestrians are supposed to go against traffic so that they can see you). So don’t get on the shoulder to try and pass people or to get into the turn lane a little earlier. We expect you to pass us, but it would be great if you could slow down a little and also make sure you don’t hit us with your side mirror.  If you’re going straight on a straight road, chances are you are going to see us regardless of what we have on (at least during the day). But if you’re making a turn, it doesn’t matter if I am wearing a neon vest, reflectors, and blinking lights. If you’re not checking behind you before you make that turn, I may be going face first into the passenger side of your car. Take that extra second to look before you turn.

Second, and this is a huge one: you’re a danger even after you’ve stopped the car. When you park on the side of the road, for the love of everything, please look before you open the car door! Your car on the side of the road makes the road narrower for everyone using it to begin with, and then you’re throwing open the door. It could be too late for a biker to avoid. Many countries where bicycles are more common, people are taught to open their door with their opposite hand. It sounds dumb in theory, sure. But your body is turned sideways, which means you are much more likely to see someone coming.

Third, there will be bikers out at night. We’ll do what we can to be seen, but please pay extra attention when approaching intersections and crosswalks. It will make us all a little safer.

Thanks for reading, and please do what you can to make the roads safer for everyone.

This morning was just a lousy morning. I slept through my alarm, then the water wouldn’t get hot enough in my shower, and things snowballed from there. Hideous, I tell you. Anyway, I was hoping that a change of scenery would help so I was stupidly looking forward to going to my job. That didn’t work out the way I was hoping, big surprise! Eleventy billion phone calls, a hundred of those red flagged “important” emails sitting like a time bomb in my inbox, and why oh WHY does the stupid printer never ever have any paper in it? What are these people printing all day long and why can’t they be considerate and put some paper in themselves? Or better yet, don’t. I’d say send it in an email but they’re probably already doing that and printing it too.

Anyway, I went home and wanted to set all of my work clothes on fire. Which, while satisfying, would have been a pretty terrible decision. A lot of it is synthetic, so it probably wouldn’t burn anyway, it would just melt and release toxic fumes or something. So instead, I decided to go for a ride. What better way to deal with your feelings than literally getting on a bike and ride as far as you possibly could away from them? So I changed my clothes – without burning them, I promise – and got out of my house.

I gave it away a little in the title of this post, but let me tell you that riding a bicycle when I am angry is apparently the thing that I am second best at, behind my actual job. I headed over to the trail near my house, where I do my best riding. I guess everyone else had such a crummy day too and they were off doing normal things like drinking away their problems, because I had the trail all to myself. OK, it wasn’t a nice day, but it wasn’t too hot or too cold, and it wasn’t raining or anything. It was sort of nice that I didn’t have to keep yelling, “On your left!” as I passed by a bunch of people walking and looking at the weeds or something.

I had my headphones in and great music playing. I just found the perfect groove and kept going. The trail is a five-mile loop if you travel the main branch, which is great. It is long enough that I don’t feel like I am riding some sort of terrible loop, but circular so I don’t ride 5 miles and then have to turn around and ride all the way back just to get home. Sometimes I just want to do five miles, you know? Anyway, I was angry cycling and listening to my music. Before I knew it, I was at the beginning of the path again. I looked at my watch and it had been about 18 minutes. Man I wish I had checked the exact time before I started. I was just so mad that all I did was start my playlist!

Oh well, I’m sure that there will be another day where everything pisses me off. Next time I’ll be ready with a stopwatch.

If you don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to taking care of your bike, don’t worry. I was once like you and I am here to tell you that you do have the ability to change. You can learn how to keep your ride in really good shape even if you are non-mechanically inclined. Really! The easiest way is to spend some time in bike shops. You’ll get the best information out of people who build and sell bikes every single day. Plus, it is always better to have a human to talk to. But it can be hard to do that all the time, so there are a few things you need to know just for yourself.

Before every ride, keep the ABCs in mind: “A” stands for air. Make sure your tires are inflated properly. If you don’t know what the correct pressure is, it should be written on the sidewall of each tire. Check for cracking or holes, then tighten the valve caps. Also be sure that your patch kit and pump are with you and in working condition. “B” means brakes. Test the front and back breaks to make sure that they are working properly. You really don’t want to find that there is a problem when you actually need them to work.  “C” is the chain. Check it and all the gears. Make sure it is lubricated and clean.

Depending on how often you ride, you’re going to want to check the nuts and bolts to make sure they’re tight enough. Most things, you’re trying to tighten as much as you can, but that can be bad for bikes. Look in your owner’s manual to see your torque specs. Being too tight can be just as bad as being too loose. Buy a torque wrench or bring it to a bike shop to be sure you’re doing it right.

If you’ve been riding in inclement weather or on a muddy or dusty trail, you obviously want to clean your bike. There are special cleaners made specifically for bikes, or you can use dishwashing liquid diluted by water to clean off the frame. Small brushes, like an old toothbrush, are great at getting in all the tiny places dirt and crud can accumulate. If your chain is really gross, they do make chain cleaning devices. Otherwise some degreaser and a rag should be able to handle it.

Even if you didn’t get the bike really dirty, regularly wiping it down with a damp cloth is a good idea. Lubricants attract dirt, which can make the gears and chain a real mess. Make sure you keep your bike’s moving parts lubricated but wipe off any excess before you hop on. If you’re going to rinse it with water, be very careful. Don’t use a high-pressure hose and be sure to dry everything well to avoid rust and corrosion.

By following these basic tips and taking good care of your ride, it should last you a long time. I hope this post helped and you feel more confident in handling some routine maintenance tasks!

I love bicycling and I love my friends. You with think combining the two would make for some happy, awesome times. Maybe for other people, this is what happens. I don’t know if it is me or if it is my friends, but I kind of hate riding with them. Somebody always ends up mad, or too tired, or something. It is no fun. So I avoid riding with people whenever possible.

I mean, there’s a major flaw with a bunch of people getting on bikes together. It is awkward riding next to somebody, for one. Sometimes the path is too narrow and you can’t ride next to someone even if you wanted to. Then there is the speed issue: I like to ride fast. I mean, my nickname is Velocity for a reason. Not all of my friends are capable of, or interested in, going as fast as I do. That’s fine. However, I also don’t want to get to our destination fifteen minutes before you do and then be forced to entertain myself until you get there. Other people are competitive, which again is fine with me in any other situation, but then it’s like we’re racing. Somebody loses and then is grumpy (not me, I am gracious as all get out when I win), and we’re not enjoying time together. So that’s bad. I can try to slow down but that can kind of ruin the fun for me as well. And if it’s not fun, I don’t want to do it. Let’s just drive there or take a walk or something.

Another thing that comes up a lot is that I like listening to music when I ride. Other people might think that’s “rude” because they want to “talk to me.”  I don’t want to have a conversation while we’re riding. First, we often will have to travel single file, and I can’t hear you all that great when you’re yelling at my back. And how am I supposed to answer you? Turn around? Second, I like to ride faster, which makes conversation a little more challenging than I would like – I am used to being silent except to yell, “On your left!” as I pass people going slower than me. If I want to chat with you, I’m not going to do it while we’re riding. Don’t misunderstand me, I love talking to my friends. However, I would much rather sit down with them at a coffee shop or something like civilized people and have a real conversation.

I know other people who have no problems going on long rides even with significant others or kids, and they somehow do everything like sane people. I have no idea how that’s possible, and more power to those people. I don’t know if it is me (it probably is) or my friends (not ruling it out) that makes it hard. For now, I would rather keep biking and hanging out with friends as two separate things, which suits me and my life just fine.

OK, before I say anything else: riding any kind of bike is good exercise. Seriously. It’s good for you. You should just get on a bike and go. I mean it. Like, right now. Just stop reading and go. It’s better for you than running and it is more fun, too.

Alright. I got that out of the way. Now I will tell you my real opinion: I don’t like stationary bikes. Not using the word “hate” here is me showing restraint, just for the record. You need to know how much I can’t stand them. Why put in all that effort and not feel a fresh breeze? I absolutely do not get it. What is the appeal there? I don’t care how fancy and high tech the bike is or where you can virtually pretend you are. You look like a hamster on a wheel! Where are you going? Nowhere, man! Absolutely nowhere! Maybe you’re going nowhere really fast, but you are still in the same place, aren’t you? I guess unless the bike breaks or you fall off. And let’s face it, if you fall off a bike that is not moving, honestly you have no business being on an actual bike around other people and nature and stuff anyway.

I guess it is fine if you are in physical rehab for an injury. Actually, now that I am thinking about it, it is a really great idea for knee surgery or whatever. Oh, maybe if you have bad allergies or have that thing where you’re afraid of being outside. Then I totally apologize and biking in a spin class or just riding one that doesn’t go anywhere in your basement is totally fine. Good for you, as a matter of fact. I guess if it has been raining for days and all the trails are flooded or your real bike is busted, then it’s way better than just sitting on the couch.

OK, now about your spin class. Um, I love biking and that stuff is hard. People who go to spin class regularly sort of crush it and I admire that. But if you’re going to hurt your butt on those uncomfortable bike seat, why not actually get somewhere? Why do you want to be in a room with some instructor yelling at you over and over and making you sweat like a crazy person? Wouldn’t you rather be riding away from a person like that? Seriously?!? You can get just as great of a figure by actually riding a real bike where you actually go someplace and see things other than the butt of the person in front of you in class.

Now, I’m not knocking you if stationary bikes or spin classes are your jam. Do whatever makes you feel good. I just want you to know that doing the same physical activity where you are actually outside is way better. Just saying’.