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Riding With Children

Monday, February 24, 2014 1:36:22 PM Etc/GMT+5


Like many other parents with small children, you may not be riding as much as you would like to.
Here are some hints for increasing your riding time, while introducing your kids to the joy of cycling.

For older kids, a tandem with a child conversion kit is the way to go.
For the price conscious another choice is an attachable bicycle, which turns your bike into a tandem.
These products are engineered for the child that’s too big for a bike carrier and not yet ready for a bicycle.
There are a number of companies that make reliable, well crafted and innovative products that convert an ordinary bike into a Parent Child Tandem.

For young children trailers and child carriers are to best options.
Bicycle balance is not greatly impacted by a trailer, which might make it the best choice for the casual cyclist.
Trailers are very stable. This is important, since safety is the first consideration when cycling with young children.
If you don’t have the best balance in the world, a trailer may be the best solution.

Many trailers can hold two children.
You can also carry toys, food, books, the family dog or packages from the store.
One disadvantage of trailers is the rough ride.
Depending upon the quality of the trailer, a child could get bumped around a lot; this is definitely a place where you get what you pay for.

As with all rules, the exceptions go with the innovators.
The Allen and the InStep trailers are quite impressive.
They are lightweight, feature rich, easily foldable, highly stable and priced competitively.

Child carriers (child seats) are less expensive than trailers and come in several varieties.
Most attach to a rear rack.
If you have a mountain bike or touring bike with eyelets, you should have no trouble putting a rack on the back of the bike.
Some models recline, which may be an advantage for younger children, who might fall asleep or have trouble holding their head up for a long time.
There are even models that put the child in front of the adult, but you might consider the safety implications of this setup.

In our opinion, the best child carriers are produced by Kettler, a German sporting goods and toy company.
Their products are a reflection of German engineering excellence; and are built to the most exacting European standards.
They attach easily to any bike, and have many neat features built-in.
The Italian Company Bellini offers a quality collection of Child Carriers that are easier on the pocket book.

I can’t tell you how often I see children with no helmets or children with helmets but parents without helmets.
I can’t help myself, I yell at them as I ride by imploring them to get helmets!
Your child is not protected in a carrier or a trailer without a helmet!
And you need to set a good example by wearing one.
Plus, if you get hurt, who is going to care for your child?

Children need to be able to hold their heads up while wearing a helmet.
Therefore, it is not a good idea to put a child under age one on a bike – use your best judgment to determine when your child is ready.

Today there is a wide selection of Children’s helmets that will excite your child’s imagination and meet the stringent federal requirements established by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Being physically ready to get on a bike is only the first step.
Before your first joint ride, help your child get used to wearing a helmet and being strapped into a seat.
Buy your child a helmet, weeks before your first joint ride. Start with short rides.
Make it fun. Ride on quiet roads or bike paths.
If you put in the effort, you will both have wonderful life long memories of cycling together.
And as they grow-up, you just may have a shared athletic passion.

© (Descriptions/not image) Bike Highway; Uncle Barn’s Cue Sheet Exchange LLC, 2014 and prior year

Riding in a Group

Monday, February 24, 2014 1:34:26 PM Etc/GMT+5



 Be predictable
In a group, your actions affect those around you, not just yourself.
Other riders and motorist expect you to continue straight, and at a constant speed.
Signal your intention to turn, or slow down, before you do so.

 Use signals
Use hand signals to indicate turns and point out hazards.
Use your Left arm straight out to indicate a Left turn.*
Use your Right arm straight out to indicate a Right turn.*
Use you left arm out and down with palm to the rear to indicate stopping.
Give warnings
Ride leaders should call out right turns; left turns and stops in addition to signaling.
Announce turns before the intersections to give other riders a chance to position themselves.
Try to avoid sudden stops or turns - except for emergencies.

Change positions correctly
When not riding single file, slower moving riders should stay to the right; faster riders to the left.
Pass slower moving riders on the left; announce yourself as you pass other riders by saying "On your left".
Announce passes on the right loudly as this is a highly unusual maneuver.

Announce hazards
Most riders do not have a full view of the road while riding in a group.
Announce potholes and other hazards, so others can avoid them.
As you call out the hazard, point to it.

Watch for traffic from the rear
The last rider should frequently check for overtaking cars - buy a rear view mirror – it could save your life!
Announce “car back” clearly and loudly.
It is also helpful for to announce “car up” on narrow roads or when riding two abreast.

Watch out at intersections
The leader should announce slowing or stopping.
Cyclists should not follow others through intersections without scanning left and right.
Each cyclist is responsible for checking cross traffic; if you must stop, then signal.

Leave room for cars
Good relations with motorists are the responsibility of every cyclist.

Stop off road
When stopping for mechanical repairs or regrouping, always move clear off the road.
Only if conditions permit, should you move back onto the road as a group. Always yield to traffic in the roadway.

Ride single file
It is illegal in some areas to ride more than two abreast – some communities require single file riding.
When taking the lane, take the whole lane – only experienced riders with a rear view mirror, should “take a lane”.

* Some cycling safety experts still recommend using formal car turning signals
Others believe that most motorists and cyclists will not quickly understand these signals since they are so rarely used.

© (Descriptions/not image) Bike Highway; Uncle Barn’s Cue Sheet Exchange LLC, 2014 and prior year

How To Fix A Flat Tire

Monday, February 24, 2014 1:28:55 PM Etc/GMT+5


First things first, let’s get the wheel off the bike.  Just like fixing the flat, there is a preferred method to removing the wheel that make the process go smoother and quicker.

Rear Wheel

Keep your bike upright and shift into the smallest cog, open up the brakes using either the quick release mechanism or by releasing the v-brake.  Open up the rear skewer via the quick release lever.  Hold the bike with one hand, lift the bike off the ground, grab the wheel and gently guide the wheel out from the bike.

Front Wheel

Open up the brakes using either the quick release mechanism or by releasing the v-brake.  With one hand hold the bike firmly from the handlebar or the stem and the lift the bike off the ground.  With the other hand gently guide the wheel out of the fork.

Now Let’s Fix the flat

1. Take your time – do not rush. A mistake can cost you more time, and damage your spare tube.

2. Completely deflate the tube.

3. Use tire levers to pry one bead off the rim until you can remove the tube by hand.

4. If you intend to patch the tube, be careful not to pinch it during the removal process.

5. Carefully work your fingers around the inside of the tire to find and remove the flat causing debris.*
With folding tires, you can turn the tire inside out to facilitate your search

6. Make sure that the Rimstrip is in place and is covering all of the nipple holes.

7. Put a slight amount of air into the new or patched tube, evening out the wrinkles and/or folds.

8. Insert the tube into the tire, placing the valve at the tires label, so you will have a reference point for future flats. You want to know if you are getting flats in the same spot. This would indicate that you either missed the debris or you have a rim problem.

9. Insert the valve in the rim and mount one tire bead.

10. Make sure the tube remains inside the tire.

11. Start at the valve and work the other bead into the rim.

12. Make sure that the tube is not “pinched / wedged between the tire bead and the rim” anywhere along the rim.

13. The valve should create a 90 degree angle with the rim.

14. If you need to use a tire lever to position the tire bead onto the rim, be very careful not the pinch the tube.

15. Inflate the tire; and check again to see if the tube is pinched.

Now Let’s Put Your Wheel Back on Your Bike


With the quick release level opposite the chain side, place the wheel in the dropouts, line up the wheel so the chain falls on the smallest cog, with a hand on each side of the skewer pull the wheel until it is fully engaged in the dropouts and centered.  Then “lock” the skewer. Close the brakes, lift the wheel off the ground and spin the wheel.  If it gooks centered and does not rub against the brake pads you are done.  If it rubs against the pads release the QR lever and re-center the wheel and re-lock the skewer.  Check again and if correct, continue on your ride.


 Lift the fork, place the wheel between the fork blades and gently guide the skewer into the group outs.  Center the wheel and use the lever to “lock” the skewer.  Close the brakes, lift the wheel off the ground and spin the wheel.  If it gooks centered and does not rub against the brake pads you are done.  If it rubs against the pads release the QR lever and re-center the wheel and re-lock the skewer.  Check again and if correct, continue on your ride.

* By examining the tube, you can often find the location of the flat.
By comparing that location of the hole on the tube to the tire, using your reference point, you can more easily locate any thorn, wire, glass, etc that remains in the tire.




© (Descriptions/not image) Bike Highway; Uncle Barn’s Cue Sheet Exchange LLC, 2014 and prior year

Quick Tips on Bike Commuting

Monday, February 24, 2014 1:23:39 PM Etc/GMT+5


Commute with BikeHighway

 I commute, therefore I am!

Outfit Your Bike

1. Make sure your bike has a white reflector on front, and a red reflector on back.
It is also helpful to have flashing pedal lightsand reflectors or reflective tape on your wheels.

2. If you ride at night, install a white headlight, and a red taillight on your bike.
Although you get what you pay for, a cheap light is better than none, but isn’t your safety worth top dollar?

3. Get a pump, patch kit, and tire levers to fix a flat.
Make sure you know how to do this before you need to!

4. Consider installing a rack and buying panniers to carry your clothes, laptop, books and other items.
Moving the load off of your back and onto a bike rack makes riding more comfortable and more stable as the center of gravity is lowered.
Make sure the panniers you are buying are made specifically for commuting and are easy to mount and remove from your bike, as you will need to do this often.
Rain covers or rain-proof panniers are a must in most areas.

5. Consider installing fenders on your bike.
They nearly eliminate the spray your wheels make on wet roads, keeping you drier, cleaner, and more comfortable.
Full fenders are more effective than partial ones as they cover more of the wheel.

6. Consider a mirror (glasses, helmet or bike mounted) to help you see traffic.
Cyclists often have a tendency to swerve when they look behind them!

 Outfit Yourself

7. Always wear a helmet.
Make sure the helmet fits you well and that the straps are snug enough to keep the helmet on you in a crash (with the helmet on and straps buckled, try to push the helmet off from the front and the sides.
If the helmet moves significantly, the straps are not tight enough.
Although it may be frustrating to get the straps adjusted correctly, or the helmet may be a little uncomfortable when you first put it on, it’s worth it.
Remember: A new helmet is cheaper than a new skull.

 8. Consider getting cycling gloves.
They can reduce road vibration, give you a better grip, and will help protect your hands in a crash.

9. Wear comfortable clothing.
Cycling shorts are very comfortable (they reduce friction, especially in the crotch) and may provide some cushioning.

10. Get raingear for rainy days, or at least, wear something like polypropylene fleece that stays warm when wet and dries out quickly. Cotton is a no-no.

Other Tips

11. Plan your route before you ride it, and leave a little early the first few times until you get used to how long the ride takes you.
Cyclists are responsible to follow all traffic laws that motorists are, including stopping for lights and signs, and using turning lanes.
You will be safest if you follow your state and local ordinances.

12. If your commute is sizable, get a water bottle and drink from it frequently to avoid dehydration.

13. On rainy days, dry off your bike and your chain to avoid corrosion.

© (Descriptions/not image) Bike Highway; Uncle Barn’s Cue Sheet Exchange LLC, 2014 and prior year

What New Cyclists Need To Know

Monday, February 24, 2014 11:23:37 AM Etc/GMT+5

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Safe Positions on the Road
Ride with the flow of traffic.
Ride on the right with the flow of traffic so vehicles know where to look for you.
It’s the law, and it’s the safest way to ride!
Be Prepared
Carry a seat bag, repair kit with spare tubes, a frame pump, tools, a water bottle, energy bars, money, cue sheet holder, identification, and wear cycling glasses.
Obey All Stop Signs and Traffic Lights
Be Predictable and Communicate
Do not make sudden turns!
Use hand signals to indicate turns, lane changes and stops.
Eye contact is an important communication tool.
Do a Bicycle Safety Check Regularly
Handle bars and seat tight, brakes work, tires inflated, good tire tread, no loose parts, wheels straight with no wobble.
 Insure Visibility - BE SEEN!
Wear bright colored clothing.
Keep it Safe and Single
Ride single file so there is room for cars and trucks to pass safely.
Use the right side of the lane when turning right.
Use left side of the lane when turning left.
Remember, Helmets Save Lives
Most injuries on bicycles occur from falls, not from being hit by a car.
Helmets should be worn by all bicyclists regardless of age or ability.
Never carry a passenger unless the bicycle has a passenger seat.
© (Descriptions/not image) Bike Highway; Uncle Barn’s Cue Sheet Exchange LLC, 2014 and prior year

How To Ride In A Paceline

Monday, February 24, 2014 11:12:44 AM Etc/GMT+5

 The primary advantage of riding in a paceline is increasing your speed without expending additional energy.

However pacelines also enhance, safety, camaraderie, and the ability to ride longer distances.

The essence of a paceline is to take turns at the front of a single file line of cyclists, push hard or maintain an agreed upon speed, and then move to the left as the other riders pass you. You then “grab on” to the last rider’s wheel and rest in the “draft”. Cycling in the “slipstream” of another rider, is much easier than “breaking the wind” all by yourself. At 13 mph, or faster, a paceline is an effective way to cover ground with higher speeds and lower energy out put. A paceline is also useful when “riding into the wind”, as it gives you a periodic rest from the work of pushing through a headwind. A paceline also enhances safety, as it forces the riders into a single line along the right side of the road.

To participate in a paceline, you must be able to ride in a straight line, maintain a steady pace, and have good bike handling skills.

Keep the distance between bikes at 12 to 24 inches. The closer the better – but a tighter line requires more practice, skill and concentration. While professional racers often ride within a few inches of each other, it is neither practical nor safe for most of us. At 12 to 24 inches you can maintain an effective. yet safe, margin. Never get closer to the wheel in front of you, than your ability to respond to any situation allows. If your wheel “kisses” the wheel in front of you, you (and some of the riders behind you) will “go down”. The rider in front of you usually does not.

Beginners should not ride directly behind a wheel; stay an inch or two to the side. That way, if there’s a sudden deceleration, you can avoid kissing the wheel in front of you. You will also have a better view of the up coming road. Don’t make sudden moves! They endanger others. Minimize the use of your brakes, by watching and planning ahead. Braking slows down the line Then you, and everyone behind you, must expend energy to close the gap with the front of the line. This wastes energy – instead of braking, anticipate. PLUS sudden braking can cause the riders behind you to go down”.

Never overlap another rider’s rear wheel. If the rider swerves and catches your front wheel, you may go down. If you begin to pass the wheel in front of you, “soft pedal” until you regain the correct distance.

After gaining steady experience as a paceliner, try looking down the road about fifty yards instead of focusing solely on the wheel in front of you. This is sometimes referred to as “looking through” the rider in front of you. Try to use your peripheral vision to keep track of the distance between you and the wheel you are following

Experienced riders often us the Echelon technique when riding in windy condition on roads with very little vehicular traffic. When riding in an Echelon, you ride slightly to the left or right of the wheel of the rider in front of you. You want to be on the side opposite of the prevailing wind – wind from the right – you ride on the left. This creates a diagonal line of cyclists stretched across the road. NEVER overlap the rear wheel of the rider in front of you!

It is the lead rider’s responsibility to avoid road problems, as the rest of the group follows his/her line. The leader can either point to a problem, or call out the nature of the obstacle, while avoiding it. Common call outs include “glass, hole, rough road, stopping, and runner up”. When the line passes a single rider, or another group, the lead rider and the rest of the paceline should announce themselves as they pass by calling out “left” or “on your left”.

How long you stay on the front depends on your comfort level and/or an agreed upon limit among the riders. But never stay out front to the point of exhaustion. You must retain enough energy to both catch on to the line when you “peal off”, and to hold on afterwards. When you are ready to drop off the front, move to the left (first check for cars *). With a new leader, the group will maintain speed as it overtakes you. When you are parallel to the last rider, accelerate slightly so you can move to the right and grab onto the line without expending additional energy. Now you can safely REST while being “carried along”.

It is not poor etiquette for weaker riders to skip a turn or to avoid “pulling” completely. The stronger riders will understand that you are doing all you can to just “hold on”. However, if you are capable of taking your turn and fail to do so, you have committed a major breach of etiquette. This will annoy the other riders big time.

The best way to get good at “following a wheel”, is to ride with experienced cyclists. Only practice pacelining when you trust the ability of the rider in front of you. All it takes to become an effect paseliner is practice, practice and more practice.

* Buy a rearview mirror, if you don’t already own one.

© (Descriptions/not image) Bike Highway; Uncle Barn`s Cue Sheet Exchange LLC, 2014 and prior years

What Do I Need in My Bicycle Seat Bag?

Monday, February 24, 2014 10:29:45 AM Etc/GMT+5


 On this question, the world gets divided into two groups – the minimalists and everyone else.

If you are a minimalists you will only want the absolute essentials – two tubes and two tire irons.
So if you are a minimalist / gram counter, then buy one of those itsy bitsy tiny bags that practically fit under your seat, and you are done.

Done assumes you have a frame pump on your bike.
If not, you may need a slightly larger bag to accommodate a CO2 cartridge or two and an inflator.

Now for the other 99.9% of cyclists, there is a list of items that you will decide are either needed or desirable.
The range between needed and desirable will depend totally on your personality and your specific needs.

Let’s start with a patch kit in case things get ugly and you flat more than twice.
A boot* could be a ride saver if your tire gets cut.
A mini tool for emergency repairs could come in real handy.
Space for a cycling wallet to hold a credit card, cash, an ID, emergency medical information, etc might be a smart move.
Some folks might want room for a mini first aid kit or a medication holder.
Including a hand wipe or two for folks who like the gunk off their hands after a flat repair or emergency repair would be nice.
You will be thankful you added a packet of chamois cream if you need to keep yourself friction free on a long ride.
If you do not feel comfortable carrying your cell phone in a rear pocket, then you will want to make room for it in your bag.

If you choose not to use a frame pump, then you will want a bag that can accommodate a mini pump and/or an inflator and 1 or 2 CO2 cartridges.

On days when you are shedding clothing (arm warmers, vests, jackets, glove liners, etc) you might find it more comfortable to roll them up and put them in your bag, rather than in your rear pockets.

And you might want some extra room for power bars, drink powder packets, power gel, etc.

So you need to make a list.
Then you are ready to purchase your seat bag. 

Do we have a recommendation?

There are a really good collection of well made, well designed bags for those selecting mini to medium bags.
For those wanting more space – we highly recommend the Moots Tailgator.
The Tailgator is really two independent bags that share a single hollow core titanium rail.
This set up gives you three separate compartments, a cord system for storing stuff on top of the tailgator, and a sleeve for cash inside the top bag.
PLUS there is almost no weight trade off against a smaller bag – the ti rail is super light and the sturdy bags add practically no weight to the total.
You can use both bags simultaneously or just the top or bottom bag.

If you think we left an important item off the list, please drop us a line.

* A boot is placed between your tube and a hole in your tire to keep the tube from bulging out.
This is an emergency fix only; change the tire when you get home.
There are lots of materials that can be used as a boot.

For example:

A dollar bill
An old piece of tire
commercial boot kit
Energy bar wrapper

© (Descriptions/not image) Bike Highway; Uncle Barn’s Cue Sheet Exchange LLC, 2014 and prior year

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