May is National Bike Month in the U.S. — when cyclists around the country commit to commuting to and from work, school and even locales such as the grocery store via bicycle as much as possible. Seeing as it hits in May, the month known for flowers rather than showers, Bike Month is the perfect opportunity to dust off or dry off your bike and simply pedal!
Bike enthusiasts and photographers Stan Engelbrecht & Nic Grobler spent two years traveling in and around South Africa — capturing portraits of people and their beloved bikes along the way. The culmination of their project is a book, Bicycle Portraits, divided into three parts that encompass the portraits, stories and essays about the South African people they encountered during their journey. As stated on the home page of the Bicycle Portraits website, “Bicycle Portraits has turned into a portrait of a nation through the bicycles that they own and ride every day —revealing all manner of social, class, historical and cultural nuances never imagined.”
Okay, maybe we should restate that: Don’t Try Bicycle Ballet at home. The man in the above video, Keelan Phillips, is a professional freestyle BMX rider who’s been doing what he does best since grade school — and whose passion is the originality, style and finesse of the skill.
When you’re hopping on your bike to ride to work or to meet up with friends, often the last thing you want to do is check your tire pressure. Sure, taking the time to inflate bike tires can sometimes slow you down and if you admit to filling your tires to less than their proper pressure for whatever reason, you’re probably not alone (but you are reducing your bike’s full performance capacity).
While it might take time, it’s important to keep your tires properly inflated to guard against flat tires and rim damage, especially if you hit a curb or pothole. Taking the time to inflate your tires is a lot less frustrating than realizing your tire is flat halfway to your destination, in the pouring rain and without a spare… you get the gist. Added bonus: properly inflated tires make your bike easier to pedal, and increases the life of your tires.
How often you need to pump up your tires depends on the tire, but as a rule of thumb: high pressure road bike tires should be pumped up at least once a week, hybrid tires every two weeks, and mountain bike tires at least every two to three weeks.
With bike commuting on the rise, we’re seeing a boost in bike-focused repair stations and most recently a Free Air Station — a unit that prompts riders to first, find and enter their tire’s correct pressure reading and, next, inflate their tire to its perfect level in a super speedy five seconds. What’s more, if you get to a station with over-inflated tires, it’ll let you know and take the extra air out.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see Free Air Stations popping up in cycle traffic-heavy locations like bike shops, coffee shops, breweries and the like in the near future; it only seems a matter of time before retailers realize the benefit of providing an easy space for riders to fill up, so to speak, and potentially stop in during the process. What better way to show your support for cycling than by offering riders with an easy way to increase their bike’s performance and the enjoyment of their ride?
Since the Free Air Stations haven’t hit neighborhoods quite yet, you still want to make sure you’ve got those tires inflated correctly. Here’s a quick rundown of how to do it yourself…
- Identify if you have a Schrader or Presta valve. Schrader valves are typically wider in diameter and shorter than Presta valves and inflating the tires will be a bit different for each valve.
- Find the recommended PSI for your tires. This number range is usually on the side of your bike tires.
- Find a pump. Having your own pump is crucial if you’re going to be a frequent commuter or cyclist, so in our opinion it’s worth picking one up from the get-go. If you don’t have one, borrow one from a friend or swing by your local bicycle shop.
- Inflate the tire. Unscrew the rubber cap on top of the valve and put it somewhere safe so you don’t lose it. Put the pump on the valve. If there’s a lever near the nozzle, make sure it’s in the open position (parallel to the nozzle) when you’re putting it on the valve. Snap the lever down into the closed position (perpendicular to the nozzle) when it’s on. Keep an eye on the PSI as you pump. Flip the lever back up to remove the pump, then return the cap to the valve.
Presto! You’ve got yourself a tire that’s ready to ride. If you have questions, just ride into your local bike shop. The community holds a wealth of knowledge and is usually more than willing to help you out.
How to Inflate a Bicycle Tire — powered by ehow
PHOTO via: Bike World News
Every Monday on Lane Love, we’ll be featuring bicycling news, stories and photos from around the world. Have a lane that you love? Send us a photo! You can post it to our Facebook page or upload to our Flickr group and we might just feature it here on Lane Love.
If you can get over the looks of the bike (pictured above), which in all its oddness evokes images of über dorky segues, you just might agree with us when we say it’s an exciting bicycle engineering feat. Exaggerations aside, this prototype was developed by French carmaker Peugeot to be an urban ride that’s equipped for carrying a laptop (or even a small laptop backpack) in its very own frame.
When we learned of the new ticketing policies taking place in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, we couldn’t help but wonder if it’s bound to become a microcosm of the bicycling in the U.S.: relatively un-policed, but for how long?
Prospect Park offers those in Brooklyn with 585 acres of natural land and — more importantly — a popular roadway for cyclists and pedestrians alike. And until about four months ago, says neighborhood news source The Brooklyn Paper, this roadway presented cyclists both hardcore and recreational with a paved place outside of the dangers of New York’s roadways with a place to ride without inhibition. Now, tickets ranging from $50 to $200 are being doled out by park police, stopping bicyclists from running red lights, riding against traffic and even speeding. The neighborhood news source says 188 tickets have been handed out to cyclists in the last four months.
Three years ago, Russ Roca and Laura Crawford left their home in Long Beach, California, on what would turn out to be a fateful bike trip to Joshua Tree. By the time they returned, began plans to sell everything they owned to take off on an incredible adventure — on two wheels.
Instead of investing in a corporate job, a mortgage, a retirement plan, we decided to invest in ourselves. We took the value off of our stuff and put it on the opportunity to live deeply, to follow our dreams, to create everyday adventures. We stopped wondering about the rest of the world, and went out to experience it.
Now after three years and thousands of miles traveled, Russ and Laura are settling down for now in the bike mecca of Portland, Oregon to better share their story of the path less pedaled…
After 4,000 loaded touring miles on our Bromptons, we also want to share all that we’ve learned about adventure travel on these sturdy little bikes… we’ve taken some time to think about why bicycle travel is such an incredible way of exploring a place and why someone should consider it. What is bicycle travel? Watch and see.
Every Wednesday on Ditch Your Car we’ll be bringing you just another reason to spend more time on two wheels. Be it a photo, a statistic or an inspirational video, we want to keep reminding you about why riding is great!
This story was originally posted on GOOD Magazine’s website in partnership with CLIF Bar’s 2-Mile Challenge.
Maybe it’s that story you heard once about a friend-of-a-friend who got hit by a crazy driver while biking? Or the nervous calculation when you compare a 25 pound bike to a several ton car? Whatever their source, there are plenty of urban legends and misconceptions when it comes to bicycle safety and how hard it is to share the road. We’ve talked to cyclists and experts alike to reveal what’s truth and what’s fiction in common biking myths.
The 2012 season is already underway, crazy. So far so good, the SRMs say I am more powerful than last year and with 2.2 minutes per lap off of last year’s first Cyprus race I am starting to believe it! It feels like I have been going 100 percent since October putting together everything required to pull off a great International race season and now it’s all coming together.
More than 1,000 cyclists showed up to demo the wares of 40+ vendors at the inaugural Southeast Bike Expo. Things looked dicey during setup on Friday as heavy rains, high winds and tornado warnings threatened to put a serious damper on the weekends festivities. Fortunately, the rains subsided and the winds let down a bit for Saturday’s opening with conditions improving throughout the day leading into a beautiful Sunday. Much hard work and preparation went into making this a world class event and the dividends paid off as participants were all smiles both days.