The first Group Commute of the season was a roaring success! We had a fantastic group of cyclists, perfect weather and, of course, plenty of coffee and donuts. A huge thank you to Bike Lakewood & Bike Cleveland for hosting the Lakewood Energizer Station and to everyone who joined us :) Happy Bike to Work Day!Read More
It's here! It's BIKE TO WORK WEEK! We know, we know, the weather has been less than stellar, but don't let that put the kibosh on your plans to start commuting... by the end of the week we should be back to sunshine and blue skies (and temps above 55)!Read More
WOOHOO! You've decided to jump on the bandwagon and start commuting by bike. Go you!
Don't let the title of this post intimidate you, there really isn't that much you need to do in order to prepare yourself (or your bike) for the wonderful world of bike commuting. It's pretty straight forward, but here are a few tips to launch you into this new endeavor:
- Get a Tune Up! Almost any bike shop you go to will have a full service department, fully capable of getting your bike in tip-top shape and ready for the new season. Most standard tune-ups will cover all the basics of your bike: adjusting your brakes, gear shifting, truing your wheels, tightening the bottom bracket, etc. Essentially going over the whole bike and making sure everything is functioning as it should. (Most bike shops do require that you leave your bike for a few days, especially if you drop it off over the weekend. So plan accordingly.) - Aside from the tune up, make sure you check your tire pressure, if not daily, every couple days ;)
- Pack Your "Oh Sh*t Kit". I hope you won't ever need this, but being prepared is key!
- Make Sure You Have the Essentials. I did a little blog post on this very topic awhile back. Go check it out!
- Do a Test Ride. If this really is a completely new endeavor for you, make sure you pick your route and do a test ride first. Get used to the route, know how long it will take you, and make sure you have an alternate route in mind, just in case.
- Enjoy the Ride. I mean this both literally and figuratively. Don't stress out over getting yourself and your bike prepared. The reality is, the first few times you commute, will most likely leave you not only feeling like a bad ass, but also teaching you something to take into account for the next commute. Like not forgetting your deodorant or learning to merge a little sooner than you anticipated, etc. All small things that simply take a little trial and error. And really, you're riding your bike! That in itself is something to celebrate!
As mentioned in an earlier post, May is National Bike Month, and I thought I'd get the gears turning in your head to finally saddle up start commuting to work. I'll talk about how to prep for such an endeavor later, but for now, let me state the case as to why you should be going by bike!
1. It's Cheaper. This is an obvious reason, and lets face it, money is the deal breaker for most people on most issues. Even if you don't already own a bike and the gear you may need to commute, the long term savings are hard to deny (and even more incentive to stick to it!). So how are you saving money? The obvious is gas, and while we've definitely seen the gas prices dip lately, whose to say we won't be seeing another spike? In addition, you're saving on parking, general ware and tear on your car, more frequent oil changes/regular maintenance, etc.
2. Endorphins. Need I say more? But I will. Studies have shown that exercising not only boosts your mood, but it calms the nerves, staves off depression, clears the mind, and boosts brain power. Isn't that exactly what you need before a full day of work? Who knows, maybe your new found productivity will finally give you that boost you've been looking for to climb the corporate ladder!
3. You Can Avoid Traffic Jams. I saw a great billboard once that said, "You aren't stuck in traffic, you ARE traffic." A great humbling reminder. Why sit in traffic when you can cruise on by it? When you take into consideration the amount of time you sit waiting during your commute by car, it more than justifies the minimal addition of time going by bike.
4. Women Reap the Health Benefits Even More! Heart disease is the number one killer of women in America. Sad, isn't it? Reason being, high blood pressure and high LDL Cholesterol. In a recent study, researchers had 32 women ride at a moderate to high intensity level just 3 times a week. And you know what happened? In just one year, their blood pressure AND LDL cholesterol dropped! Drug free solution? Yes please :) Not to mention, women who ride tend to have stronger bone density, meaning less issues with osteoporosis!
5. Go Green: Fresh Air. It's no secret that driving is terrible for the environment. Commuting by bike allows you to be a part of the clean air movement by drastically reducing your driving time and carbon foot print.
6. Skip the Gym. You're getting your workout in before AND after work, meaning you don't need scurry about in order to get to gym. Hello extra time in your day!
7. Skip the Sick Days. A study of more than 1,200 Dutch workers found that cyclists are less likely to take off from work than non-cyclists. Even more impressive, the longer their commute was, all the more likely they were to skip the sick days! Moral of the story, pedal it out on your bicycle, and you'll boost your immune system!
8. There's Actually a Tax Incentive. You read that correct. Ride your bike to work for one more thing to write off at the end of each year!
9. Help Make a Difference in Your Community. One of the biggest hurdles people have with wrapping their heads around commuting by bike is the safety aspect. They fear what the road conditions will be like and how drivers will perceive them on the road. BUT, the more bikes we have the road, the less surprising they are to drivers. "It's a virtuous cycle," Dr. Julie Hatfield, an injury expert from UNSW, says. "The likelihood that an individual cyclist will be struck by a motorist falls with increasing rate of bicycling in a community. And the safer cycling is perceived to be, the more people are prepared to cycle." Not to mention, when your city sees that there are more cyclists on the roads, the more incentive they have to build more cycling friendly infrastructure.
10. Calm Your Brain. We already discussed the benefits of endorphins, but how about the simple act of calming our brain? We live in an insanely fast paced world, with news being thrown at us in record speed. We jam pack our days, and feel the pressure to race from one commitment to another. Use this as an excuse to take a mental break on a daily basis. Ditch the radio, put your phone in your bag, enjoy the slower pace, and decompress. By the time you get arrive, I'm willing to bet your stress level has decreased, your mind is a little more clear, and your happiness level is a little bit higher. Oh the joys of mixing endorphins with simply tuning out :)
Can you believe we are already in MAY?! On the one hand I can’t believe we are already here, but on the other, I’m thrilled to kick off another great cycling season.
A lot is going on this month, both locally and nationally, so we thought we’d bring you up to speed and get you as excited for the season ahead as we are….
TODAY is Slow Roll Cleveland’s Season Opener! We’ve closed the shop and are hanging out with the Squad to celebrate. Definitely cancel any other plans you’ve already made for today and come join us and Slow Roll instead! (Don’t forget to check out Slow Roll’s Full Season Schedule!)
- The RUST BELT BATTLE has officially begun! From May 1st - September 30th, we Clevelander’s are tracking every mile we ride to claim the Rust Cup. Check out the link for more details and register today!
- May 20th is National BIKE TO WORK DAY! Get your bike into the shop asap (if you haven’t already done so) to get it tuned up and ready for a full season of bicycle commuting.
- May 22nd is the 5th Annual BIKE FOR BECK! This morning cycling event begins at Beck Center for the Arts, and features a variety of routes for riders of all ages and abilities.
12-Mile MetroParks ride | 8:30-9:30 a.m. departure
25-Mile MetroParks ride | 7:30-8:30 a.m. departure
60-Mile MetroParks ride | 7-7:30 a.m. departure
NEW THIS YEAR! Slow Roll - Family ride through Lakewood's neighborhoods | 11 a.m. departure | Can be combined with other rides. (CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!)
Looking for more rides this month? Check out the Community Calendar :)
(Not to mention, we are frequently offering/featuring shop rides that may not be on the above calendar, so check back frequently)
With Cleveland becoming more and more bike friendly, we've been seeing a lot more people using their bicycle as their main form of transportation, especially to and from the office. It's a simple concept, really, but can quickly become overwhelming when figuring out what exactly you need as a new bicycle commuter.
So what do you really need and where do you begin?
1. Bicycle Tune Up: It's always a good idea to make sure your bike is functioning as it should. A tune up will go over everything on the bike, such as checking the breaks, adjusting the gear shifting and making sure the wheels are nice and true. The sooner you get your bike in to the shop, the sooner you can get it back, but expect to leave your beloved two wheeler for at least a day or two (a few more if the shop is a little backed up).
2. Helmet: Ahhh, the helmet! The single most important accessory in my opinion. Cheeper than an E.R. visit and far more stylish than bandages. There are a ton of different helmets out there, and the biggest difference between them is going to be fit, weight and ventilation. The more comfortable your helmet is, the more likely you are to wear it. So try some on and find the right one for you!
4. Lights: White headlight and red tail light. Again, these can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. Obviously, the brighter the better. (We have some awesome rechargeable lights from Light & Motion!)
6. Bags (!): Finding the right bag may take some time, especially when deciding which style will work best for you and your commute. The simplest form is to get a messenger bag/back pack. We love our Chrome Industry messenger bags, as they have a perfect fit, are water proof and come in a few different sizes.
If you need more cargo space, investing in a rack and a pannier set is a must! You can get single panniers or a set that comes as a connected pair. We have several options, from waterproof Chrome panniers, to a simple and economical pair made by Blackburn. Each one/set offers it's own benefits, so feel free to stop in and check them out!
3. Hydration: A bottle cage and a bottle. Of course, like everything else, there are many options (including hydration packs) but go with whatever fits your budget. As long as you have water on you in some way, you're good to go :)
5. Lock: Stopping for any errands on your way? Can't take your bike into the office? Don't get stuck without the proper security measures for your beloved two wheeled friend. Again, options, options, options. Cable locks are the most convenient as they are long, compact, and come with either a key or combination. U-locks are the most secure, for sure, and with that security comes a bit more weight. But hey, that just means you'll burn more calories, right?!
7. Flat Repair Kit: Spare tube, tire levers, hand pump OR CO2 cartridge and something to carry it all in.
So those are the essentials... Stay tuned for our Luxury List!