Cycling tips for the upcoming season by UNITED SPOKES
1. Get a good pair of lights on your bike. As New Yorkers, it is required on all of our bicycles. Any on duty police officer should be happy to write a ticket for not having them on your bike. And with each light being a seperate ticket, the city thanks you as well.
The best reason for owning lights is safety. With cycling fatalities on the rise in NYC this year it is a solid way to be safer. The brighter the better.
2. Check your helmet. Helmets should all be replaced after 3 years of use no matter what. So, look inside your helmet because there is a manufacturing date. If the date is older than 3 years, it is time to get new one. If you cant find it, it is most likely a good time to replace it as well.
Especially if it has saved your brain once already. Therefore, if you crashed with it, and you landed on it, it is time to replace the helmet also.
3. Storing your bike in NYC requires space and as we all know that means a balcony, terrace or backyard all too often. Buying a bike cover that is meant to protect your bike from the elememts is a great way to save money on future repairs and keep your bike looking like new.
4. Check your brake pads and tires for wear, especially after riding all Summer.
Tires that are worn may have a few defects keeping them from riding optimal. Check for worn out tire treads and splits or cracks on the tire. Check the integrity of the rubber as well, sometimes they may look fine but start to fall apart when you touch them. If your tire displays any of these problems its a good time to replace them.
Brake pads come in many shapes and forms. On most brakes it is easy to see the pads and check for wear but disc brakes are more difficult to gauge and often require more than dads tools to work on. See a bike shop in our opinion for a free estimate. Brakes are not something to second guess and even if its only been a season of riding they could be completely worn.
5. Lube your chain! Its easy. Doesn’t cost much and you have to. So buy whatever the bike shop recommends and have them show you how to put it on.
In most cases, Tri Flow wet lube in a 2.oz squeeze bottle is just perfect. It is usually about $6.00 a bottle and will work on everything from mtb’s to road bikes. But there are differences and some lubes are better suited to certain riding conditions. Make sure you trust the bike shop you ask to make a recommendation on this.
6. With shorter hours and all too often wet weather in the off season here, it can be nice to extend our rides and the comfort we carry by getting a few good pieces of what I call “gear”…
or some good proper “cycling clothes”.
One of my favorite pieces of gear are base layers. Base Layers are cycling shirts that go under jerseys and keep us dry by constantly wicking moisture off us. That greatly helps to keep you comfortable, warm and toasty when its cool out. Another key piece can be a water proof cycling jacket. A proper cycling jacket will make a huge difference once the temperature heads below 60 degrees. They block wind, insulate heat and some are water proof. Also, the main difference is that they have extra material which covers your lower back. A good one will have zippers under the armpits to vent actual steam when you’re really chugging and you have to stop to wait up for your friend.
Again, its all about being comfortable out there as we all know and with few pieces of gear its easy to stay out longer in the year and enjoy the perks of the seasons.
7. If you are thinking about commuting to work .. do it. Cycling to work is freakin awesome. People will think you are an athelete or likely crazy. In the off season, it’s a great way to keep up morale and fitness as the days get shorter. You may even thank me at New Years because losing that 10 to 15 lbs won’t be a problem.
8. Make it a point to get out and see the leaves change in NY on a bike with some friends or someone special. There are a ton of destinations on the Metro North that are bike friendly and we have Van Cortlandt park here in the Bronx as well.
The Tour De Bronx is the last official ride of the season here and is free for all. Check it out below
9. Even though it is not 98 degrees anymore you still need to drink the same or in some cases more water than in warmer weather. Stay hydrated and sneak at least a brownie along with you. If your bike has the ability to put a water bottle cage on it that’s a great start. For long rides people use hydration packs like a Camel Back. I cant say enough about a good hydration pack, especially when you are 5 hours into a ride and can still drink.
10. Get off the couch and stay out of the bar, the coffee shop, trivia night with team “gogo danger” or whatever it is you do and just make sometime to ride. The last days of riding are here soon and we will have snow and ice…
there’s ways to ride that too these days… stay tuned and stay vertical!