looking for advice for blog topic.

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Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 5:15pm #

Hey guys

as you may know I have a blog that I use to try and promote cycling among the more giantish of us.

on of the topics I am working on is titled

“The 5 things you should know”

I plan on covering things like changing a tire, cleaning your bike and keeping the chain well lubed. with the idea that if people can do more of these kind of things they will feel more comfortable with their bikes and more willing to ride them.

so I was wondering what you consider the 5 things that a person should know how to do.

these may be mechanical things like fixing a flat or adjusting the brakes

or skill based things like

knowing how to corner safetly, or how to cross tracks.


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 5:18pm #

I think people should know about bicycle directions on Google Maps. It really helps when planning a ride in unfamiliar territory, and helps keep you away from dangerous roads.

Oh yeah, 5 things.

1. How to fix a flat.

2. How to know if your bike fit is close to right.

3. How to ride in traffic.

4. Google bicycle directions.

5. Simple maintenance — tire inflation, brakes, shifting adjustment.


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 5:21pm #

How to use Rack and Roll

How to Lock your Bike

Awareness of the Door Zone


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 5:29pm #

i find that lots of new bicyclists and even a fair amount of experienced ones have trouble just starting and stopping. even on the dirty dozen, i saw people trying to push off the ground with one foot to hopefully go fast enough that they could remain upright.


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 5:38pm #

In the just starting out category of things, I’d recommend that they do a couple of bike safety checks before they head out.

1. Check that all QR elements are securely latched. This includes wheels and seat.

2. Check tire pressure (at least do the thumb press test)

3. Learn how to test stem and bottom bracket for excess wiggle, do test periodically (monthly? Some people do it before every ride.)

4. Do tire/wheel spin test to check wheel for trueness

Collectively, these tasks will take about 3 minutes to complete. But, any one of them could identify a serious equipment problem.


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 6:03pm #

How to lock your bike.

How to lock your bike.

How to lock your bike.

How to lock your bike.

and last but not least, how to lock your bike.

Also, slicks instead of knobby mtb tires for city bikes!

Proper fit/seat hight, reach.

Lights and motorist visibility.

Maybe a warning about chains eating pant-legs.


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 6:06pm #

^agree with all above & would add

1) Looking over your shoulder while maintaining a straight line (this still requires effort on my behalf)

2) Riding relaxed; not gripping the handlebars like you’re about to go over a cliff, and not making sudden movements.

3) You don’t always have to change gears so often. (I’ve seen people on group rides constantly changing gears while pedaling on flat ground in through the strip. Find a gear and stay with it for awhile)

edit: also -find a ride buddy that you get along with, it makes riding much more fun.


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 6:07pm #

coming off what Marko just said, mashing vs. spinning, and the benefits and liabilities of each.


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 6:11pm #

DBackLover, I really enjoy your blog.

One of my pet “people don’t knows” is: people don’t know what to do with three rings up front and 7/8/9 rings in back, and imo I think the noob safe starting place is –

up front. middle ring and leave it there,

in back, middle ring and shift the rear up and down if they want.

Industry sells bikes as if more is always better and I’ve never seen use of gears explained to a purchaser.

Hard to nail it down to 5 Things. It almost seems like there’d be 5 FirstTimer Things, 5 Noob Adult Things, 5 Commuter Things, 5 RoadBike Things, 5 Urban Things, 5 Night Things, Etc. Could be a series?


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 6:20pm #

hmm, while my inner j@ck@$$ wants to suggest things like..

– How to Wheelie w/o Spilling your PBR Tallboy.

– Proper Traffic Navigation when the iPod is on 11.

– Hand Signaling: 4 Down / 1 Up.

– Sidewalk Surfing thru Congested Pedestrian Areas.

– Fringed Hotpants: The Evolution of Skinny Jean Riding.

I have the feeling that these may be best suited for early April instead of when the intent is to actually be constructive & informational.


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 6:29pm #

@marko 1) Looking over your shoulder while maintaining a straight line


I practice at this sometimes. And I do neck stretches.

Some folks think that if they have mirrors they don’t need this skill, but I believe they are wrong.


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 6:46pm #

Not sure what you are looking for but off the top of my head:

Bike Basics

– Types

– Buying

Bike safety

– Pre-ride check

– During the ride

– Post ride check/mtce

Bike Security – locking

Bike Handling

– drills that can be done to learn better handling techniques.

– techniques needed to ride well/safely.

Bike information

– where to get your questions answered

– advocacy (pass it on!!)

– community (groups, msg board, etc)


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 7:05pm #

Van brings up a good point about gears and shifting. I was a full adult before anyone explained the “stretcher gear” concept, and why you don’t want to, or need to, ride in that particular gear comdination of large ring, and large ring (which can wreak havoc on your chain….)


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 7:09pm #

My initial instinct would echo Vannevar’s.

To that, I’d add:

* Rear brake for anticipated stops, front for quick ones

* Proper lighting and reflectivity and visibility

* What equipment to have on the bike (lights, bell, fenders, toolbag)

* What tools and supplies to carry on the bike (drink bottle, patch kit, ability to get a wheel off and back on, tightened, some way to pump up a tire).

* Why and how to take the lane (and how to smile and/or not panic when you get honked at).


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 7:09pm #

Mick, Marko agreed on looking over the shoulder (I’m still lousy at this). I have a mirror and once missed something in my blind spot anyway.

Fortunately I was fine because I was merging back into lane gradually, but on the basis of that experience perhaps let me add to the list “AVOID SUDDEN MOVES!”.


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 7:26pm #

To the bike safety checks, add checking the brakes. Easy to forget to reconnect them after fixing a flat.

Make sure How To Lock Your Bike includes How To Choose a Bike Lock.


Private Message

Dec 17 2012 at 9:49pm #

How to do a panic stop without flying over the handlebars or going into an uncontrolled skid.


Private Message

Dec 18 2012 at 12:34am #

@Roadkillen – that’s possible? Really? I think I might have to read Terry’s blog more regularly to find out how.


Private Message

Dec 18 2012 at 12:59am #

It’s Pittsburgh, so, “How to Attack a Hill.” Maybe remind beginners that there’s no shame in pushing the bike up the last bit if need be–if they keep at it, they’ll get stronger!


Private Message

Dec 18 2012 at 7:32pm #

I thought of a couple more. Maybe not for the beginning cyclist, but worthy of a paragraph and/or a link:

* Mounting your bike on a bus bike rack

* Carrying your bike up and down a staircase

* Maybe a quick list of the better known or more useful staircases —

— Davis Ave by Termon Ave, PA65 & McKees Rocks Bridge,

— 2nd Ave by 10th St Bridge up to Blvd of the Allies & Duquesne U

— 6th, 7th, 9th St Bridges to river trails on both ends

— Bigelow St off of Greenfield

— James St behind Allegheny General Hospital

— Harding Street series, bisecting Herron Ave

— behind McDonalds in West View

— Duquesne Incline walkway at West Carson St

I’m sure I’m missing a few — there are 713 in the city alone — but being able to use them makes it a lot easier to get up a hill if your bike is geared fairly high, and/or you don’t have the pedaling power to mash your way up.

buffalo buffalo

Private Message

Dec 18 2012 at 11:49pm #

— not a stairway, but Allegheny Cemetery is a fabulous low stress alternative to riding up 44th or Main.

— Boundary & Joncaire to near Schenley Dr, behind Pitt’s Frick Fine Arts Building across from Carnegie Library


Private Message

Dec 20 2012 at 11:28pm #

Specifically, add to know how to use the chain tool…

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