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I am averaging roughly 50% acknowledgement of my fraternal signal to my fellow cyclists. I have some thoughts on that meager ratio.
Back in the day I used to zip around on a 2000 500cc Kawasaki Vulcan. It was essentially a Ninja engine rotated a few degrees and tied up with a really nice radiator so it wouldn't burn out on those scorching, humid, Midwestern summer rides. I quickly discovered that I had bought my way into a clique on my first ride.
As I nervously repeated "left hand clutch, 1 down for first gear, up for all the rest" I kept seeing other motorcyclists pointing their index and middle fingers diagonal down at the pavement. At first I thought there was something wrong with my motorcycle. I would nervously look down for something leaking from the crankcase and see nothing. I blame my slow uptake on the prevalence of lead in the water. Google it, Missouri has staggering levels of lead in the drinking water, it's a miracle I can type coherent sentences.
I asked my Uncle Joe what was going on and he said that's the biker salute. It's a bit of "I see you out here brother, risking your life to do what you love with all the cagers (a nickname for car drivers, because they're in a rolling cage called a car, get it?) texting on their cell phones, eating cheeseburgers, and applying eye liner all while operating a 1 ton missile of death." I loved it! I would salute every motorcycle rider I saw and get resentful of anyone that didn't return the acknowledgment.
I kept this habit up for many moons, moved to Colorado, as one does these days. Faced with the stark housing reality I settled into a rented room in a townhouse with a nice lady who said I could keep my bicycle or my motorcycle in the garage but not both.
My transition to full cyclist was complete when I parted ways with the Vulcan so that she wouldn’t have to suffer out in the winter. I had given my life to bicycles completely, but the little hint of a biker was still in there. I still gave the salute.
When I am out and about Boulder County I ride in the opposite direction of serious looking men and women. Clenched jaws scream to me “I’m not out here to make an f-ing friend, I’m here to be the best Cat 6 super commuter this bike lane has ever seen!” I am undeterred, they still get a salute. Even though they’re setting a Strava KOM on a relatively pleasant country lane I still know that we are part of an accosted minority. All too frequently cagers buzz us with their mirrors, smog us with their diesel exhaust, or worse yet don’t see us until it's too late.
To often in our society the onus of the weak is to get the out of the way of the strong. That isn’t just a metaphor for cycling either, but I’ll have to detail that on another blog. Cyclists are a unique breed in that we won’t be intimidated off the roads. We stake a claim, actively and loudly at times, to the road. At times we mourn the loss of our brethren. We’re closing in on the one year anniversary of the passing of Charles Crenshaw. One of us, one of our own. I like to think that before his encounter with the suspended license driver of the car that took Mr. Crenshaw from us, perhaps a friendly fellow cyclist gave a wave to him, and that he waved back as well.
If you would, please, as the season ramps up this year spare a few seconds on your Strava wars to give a polite wave to the cyclists you pass. We don’t know what is in store for us just down the road. Acknowledge that reality and show some love to your fellow rider. We are in this together.
In observance of the Easter Holiday the shop will be closed on 4/1/18. Please have a great Easter, have a great time with friends and family, and we'll see you on Monday!
“In this static period even the domestic livestock – horses, sheep, goats, cattle – have sense enough to take it easy, relaxing in the shade. Of all the featherless beasts only man, chained by his self-imposed slavery to the clock, denies the elemental fire and proceeds as best he can about his business, suffering quietly, martyr to his madness. Much to learn.”
At the time of this composition the sun’s rays are beating down on the remnants of what was a lovely winter snow. As the cars of Longmont zip here and there, what was a pristine white blanket over the world is turning into a gray slop of dirt, motor oil, and sand. “So it goes,” as some fellow said once.
Some are more in love with the gray slop than others though. These brave souls are not content to allow the natural course of weather to play itself out. No, these fearless citizens of the Great Auto Majority (GAM) will not be deterred by the nervous chattering of meteorologists, nor the stayed caution of elected public officials urging their fair-minded constituents to stay home and avoid the roads during inclement weather.
“Please,” GAM’rs hear the cowards say, “stay off the roads during this heavy snow fall. Let the snow plow drivers do their work and clear the roads. In this way we can all enjoy plowed, de-iced, safe streets.”
The retort of a GAM’r contains phrases not printable in this family-oriented blog, the gist of the message being “**** *** *******, I gotta live my life.”
And what a life it is! GAMr’s spare no expense when it comes to procuring the latest German engineered traction control, climate control, and bank account control automobile technology. If it was tested on the Bavarian stretch of the Autobahn or was seen being driven in an episode of Alaskan Bush People then its good enough for the GAMr. Only the finest four-wheel drive pickup truck, SUV, or armored personal carrier will do when it comes to helping them check of items on their very crowded to do list. Such important tasks include:
1. Peruse clearance endcaps at Target, buy nothing.
2. Haggle with Bed Bath and Beyond store manager over accepting expired mailer coupons
3. Grande Almond Milk Flat White with two pumps sugar free cinnamon syrup, gotta watch the waist line!
4. Go to Autozone to complain about new winter windshield wipers and how they can’t seem to hack gale force wind during a Colorado blizzard
Whoa! What pressing tasks to be achieved, no matter what the state of weather, road ways, and collective common sense. GAMr’s have to drive because that gas isn’t going to burn itself. So off they go into the winter storm, boldly compressing the snow beneath their tires into an ice skating rink. So what if they have to dodge the grumbling snow plow drivers, so what if a tow truck driver has to winch them out of a ditch, so what if the highway patrol officer catches pneumonia standing in said blizzard while directing other GAMr traffic around the grizzly scene of an overzealous and under performing traction control equipped car.
“Should have paid for metal studded snow tires bud,” you’ll hear other GAMr’s shout as they floor the accelerator of their respective C-Class past the carnage trying to make up lost time.
Weather be damned, safety be damned, they must drive at all costs.
And what of the humble bicycle commuters? Where are they during the snowpocalypse? Well, generally speaking they are at home on the stationary trainer, maintaining fitness and sensibility in a senseless world. Upon emerging from their home, you will find them gingerly picking lines in the snow pack, dodging the icy patches, and cursing the GAMr’s for not having enough sense to let the plows clear the roads.
It is from this vantage point that I write these words. The avid cyclist, just trying to find the right line for my commute. Today did not go so well as the slowly rising bruise on my hip indicates. GAMr’s tamped down the snow into long shaded swaths of unplowable ice, the likes of which no road salt or sand combination will penetrate. In short, it was a sure-fire biffing and so I did bif it and I am bitter enough about it to write this verbose post.
So, come on friend, do me a solid, stay home during the blizzard, snuggle a loved one, curl up with a good book, hibernate until the snow stops falling. Learn to relax and have a snow day, let the snow plows do their job, and revel in the good karma you’ll reap for making a bike commuter’s life easier.
As I write this its just after hitting publish on a major overhaul of Long Mont Velo's website. The time is close to midnight and a bleary eyed delirium creeps in behind the eyes after staring at a screen this long. This really is no time to be writing.
But write I must, because some sort of note must be made on Long Mont Velo's long neglected blog. It is important to document turning points in one's life and turning points in the life of a bicycle shop are no different. Long Mont Velo is coming up on one year of existence, but in all actuality we are just getting started.
A hole has been left in the Longmont cycling world with the closure of Bike and Hike. A staple and institution of Longmont and North Boulder County for 40 years. They had a run that most bikes shops would kill for. As their doors closed over on Main, over here on Francis we wrestled with big dreams of trying to fill the gap.
It's not that we take pleasure in the closing of Bike and Hike, rather we are extremely sad to see them go because it forces us to up our game a lot faster than anticipated. When you are the little guy in town you can take your time growing and getting good at what you do. When you become the only game in town though you better darn well make sure you are on top of every little detail. Will there be hiccups? Yeah of course, but we are going to keep them to a minimum and strive to eliminate them. We are confident that we can rise to expectations and fill that hole.
To that end we've had to take a look at our website and change a few things. Now you will find the products we carry and the services we offer. If you have questions there is a simple and easy form you can ask those questions on. More importantly we've launched a community tab and a digital presence tab. Here you can see what we are doing and where we are doing it.
Perhaps one of my favorite changes however is the ever present header on every page. Our logo features prominently above our address and phone number. This is by design. We appreciate you checking out the website, but we'd much rather have you in the shop. The header is saying to you "come on over, here is the address, give us a call if you want." Everyone is welcome in the shop and we want you to feel welcome. Come over, sit down on the big green couch, watch a bike race or chat with one of us. I want Long Mont Velo to be more than a bike shop, I want it to be a place where you hangout.
So come on, come hangout with us, come ride with us, and come grow with us.
The holiday season is a beautiful time of year when family and friends gather to reconnect, share stories, and enjoy good times together, but it can also be a stressful time. At Long Mont Velo, we want to help relieve a small amount of that stress by offering some suggestions for gifts and stocking stuffers for the people in your life who love to ride bicycles.
Whether you need a small item to help fill a stocking, or you’re looking to complete your shopping list in one stop, we hope to offer some thoughts on possible gifts.
We love the idea of making an entire basket to give to the cycling enthusiast on your list, so we started with a bicycle basket that can make a wonderful carrier to hold the gifts you have purchased, but is also a practical item that can be used on a rider’s around-town bicycle.
Baskets are an easy way to grab a few items at the grocery or other store, or hold personal items when using a bicycle for transportation. We have wire and wicker baskets (such as the one pictured), and we have them available in both children and adult sizes. If you’re shopping early and have a particular color in mind that isn’t in stock, let us know and we can likely get it into the shop before the upcoming holidays arrive.
What you decide to put in your bicycle gift basket is completely up to you and the needs (or wants) of the individual receiving the gift, but there are items to choose from in the store that range from a few dollars and up that will bring a smile to the face of the recipient.
Does the rider in your life always seem to be cleaning his/her bike or running out of chain lube? Maybe s/he needs a multi-tool to carry when riding? Perhaps getting cleaning or maintenance products is the best bet! While maintenance items may seem a bit unexciting, they are easy items to pick out for any cyclist and are often very much appreciated as they can be forgotten or last on the list of items to pick up.
If maintenance or tools seems a little too dull for your gift giving needs, perhaps you can give the gift of new handlebar tape in a fun color to accent the recipient’s bicycle, or new handlebar grips. C02 cartridges are another great item to pick up that are inexpensive and greatly appreciated, or a new hand pump to carry on the bike for emergencies, or a floor pump to keep tires at recommended levels can be a great choice too.
Perhaps you know someone who is need of some type of bag or other carrying devices? Whether s/he is in need of a rear rack, panniers, trunk bags, a new saddlebag, or even a phone case, we have choices of colors and styles.
Speaking of bags, we have some lovely bike-themed small pouches and slightly larger bags that always bring a smile and tea or hand towels to bring a bit of bike life to the recipient’s home.
Certainly, you cannot go wrong with bike lights (headlight, taillight, or both), a fun bell, or a new cable or u-lock to keep the recipient’s bicycle locked up and secure.
If you don’t want to fill an entire bicycle basket with gifts, perhaps choosing a smaller item, such as these coffee mugs would be a better jumping off point.
Good things often come in small packages, and while the mug itself can be used every day, it can also hold smaller items for gift giving like tire levers, energy/calorie supplements, jewelry, valve caps and more. We have a variety of necklaces, earrings and bracelets in fun bike themes that work for all ages.
Has the cyclist in your life been hinting that s/he wants a way to track mileage, time, distance, or to help track fitness while riding? We have bike computers from the fairly simple all the way up to Garmin devices that can be special ordered to help your cyclist meet and exceed his/her individual goals.
We also have a wide array of choices when it comes to clothing, helmets, socks, gloves, and other head gear. We have both warm and cold weather items in stock, allowing for choices between headbands or skull caps, full-fingered or fingerless gloves, shoe or toe covers for cold weather, wind jackets, jerseys, shorts, arm warmers, low and tall socks and more! From solid colors to prints, there is likely something that will meet the needs of the cyclist on your list.
Who wouldn’t want this bike-shaped pizza cutter in his/her home, too?! Or, maybe the cyclist on your list would love a piece of handmade art?
Of course, we have complete bicycles on the floor as well. Everyone wants a new bike this holiday season!
For the young kids on your list, we have items that work well for gifts too.
From Strider bikes to streamers, mini-sized bicycle baskets to a new helmet, or even fun animal bells, we can help you pick out something that will make your wee one smile.
If all of this sounds overwhelming or you have no idea what most of these items are, or if you’d like some suggestions or help making your own holiday gift-giving basket, stop by and we’d be happy to help you select items that make sense for the cyclist on your list. And, if you just have no idea what your individual cyclist might need or want, we have gift certificates that allow the recipient to pick out items s/he desires.
Long Mont Velo will be open Friday after Thanksgiving and on Small Business Saturday from 11a-6p, and we look forward to helping you find the right gift(s) for the special people in your life. To help save you a bit during this shopping season, we will be offering 10% off your purchase total up to $200, and 20% off your total purchase amount over $200 on both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday (**Excludes Bianchi bicycles, handmade art, and Garmin products).
Remember to shop locally and take photos to participate in Longmont’s "Gift Local" contest this year. You can find the simple rules for participation here. We look forward to helping you find the perfect cycling gifts this season (and we won’t tell if you pick something up for yourself too). Happy holiday shopping this weekend!
The Longmont Economic Development Partnership is promoting a "Gift Local" Holiday Campaign which includes a social media contest to potentially reward you for shopping and buying local, and Long Mont Velo is one of the shops in Longmont participating in this event.
The rules for the event are simple:
- Post a photo of yourself shopping local
- Include the hashtag #advancelongmont in the post
- Check in or mention the business name in the post
For each post, you will be entered to win a drawing for a "Best of Longmont" prize package that is full of great donated gifts from local Longmont businesses. To see more about what is included in the prize package, visit www.longmont.org.
The contest will run from Saturday, November 26, 2016 through Tuesday, December 20, 2016, and the winner will be announced on December 21 on Longmont EDP's social media sites (www.facebook.com/advancelongmont on Facebook & @advancelongmont on Twitter).
So, beginning with Small Business Saturday after Thanskgiving, stop by Long Mont Velo and get your entries going! We have lots of fun gift items for yourself or others including jewelry, art, clothing and more!
For those who may not know, Longmont has an organization called HOPE that provides services and outreach to the homeless population in our community. This is from HOPE directly:
HOPE meets people where they are. Every night of the year, street outreach teams provide basic needs support, restore dignity and build trust with people experiencing homelessness in Longmont. HOPE is often the first point of contact for people living on the margin and supports people who are falling through the cracks or are not eligible for services at other agencies. Our goal is to provide emergency street outreach for the homeless and working poor population in Longmont and offer supportive follow-through services toward self-sufficiency. HOPE attempts to eliminate barriers of access that keep homeless individuals on the streets.
HOPE also has a program to help get bicycles that have been donated, cleaned, and tuned to those on our streets, and we have enjoyed seeing that service take off.
This tends to be the season when organizations and individuals ask you to open your wallet. This is one of those instances in which you don't need to spend a dime to make a difference, but you do need to take action. Instead, please take a few seconds of your time and go here to vote for HOPE to receive a grant from First Western Trust. These funds would make a tremendous difference in the lives of individuals in our community.
HOPE has made it onto the list of finalists to possibly receive the grant, but they need YOUR votes in order to ensure their place at the top. Individuals can vote once each day through November 10 at 5PM, so please go and vote today, tomorrow and through the 10th, and help spread the word to friends, family, and neighbors. We would love to see this organization take the top spot and get the funds to help here in Longmont!
Recently, we received some surprising news. Long Mont Velo was named runner up for the best new business category by Boulder Weekly!
The news came as quite a surprise because we had no idea the shop had been nominated, but we were thrilled to find out that Long Mont Velo had been written in and the shop came in at the runner up position.
Thank you to any and all of you who voted and we continue to appreciate you bringing your business to the shop. Our first few months have been amazing, and we hope to continue to be your local bike shop choice.
In celebration, we will continue our 10% off weekends, starting today and continuing through Sunday (*Exclusions: bikes, Garmin, handmade art, and special orders). We thank you for your continued support in the community!
Last weekend's sale was such a great success that we've decided to do it again! That's right, if you didn't have the opportunity to stop by the shop to get your savings last week, come by anytime during our regular hours starting tomorrow, Friday, October 14 through Sunday, October 16 and you'll get 10% off just about everything in stock in the shop (*See below for exclusions)!
Whether you need some new gloves, a helmet, socks, or even items as the weather starts to turn, we have lots of choices in the shop. We look forward to helping you find what you need soon!
*Exclusions include: Bicycles, Garmin products, handmade art, and any special orders.
As a reminder, Long Mont Velo will be closed this weekend, specifically, from Friday, September 30 through Sunday, October 2, but we will re-open on Monday the 3rd with regular business hours.
To offer some good news, after the return from our short break, beginning Friday, October 7 through Sunday, October 9, we will be offering an additional 10% off all in-stock merchandise as a post-summer sale (*see below for exclusions).
We are still having some terrific riding weather and want to help you continue to ride, so if you've been waiting to buy gloves, socks, a new helmet, cycling shorts or anything we have in stock today, come by and get some savings!
Keep riding and we'll see you back in the shop on Monday, October 3!
*Exclusions from Sale: bicycles, special orders, Garmin products, and handmade art
Long Mont Velo carries a variety of parts and accessories for your bicycle, but did you know that we also sell a variety of bicycle art and gifts for that bicycle-lover in your life, or as something for your own home?
We have drink coasters, small pouches and bags, mugs, towels, jewelry, glass art, recycled metal art, and paintings available in the shop. Not to mention small items that can make a great gift such as new handlebar tape, a fun bell, unique valve caps, mirrors, cycling bags, and more. Several of the items are made by local craftspeople or artists as well.
The next time you aren't sure what to get the cyclist in your life, come by and take a look at all the great offerings available... and remember, the holiday season is fast approaching and many of these items make great stocking stuffers or straight up gifts.
Stop by and see us and we'd be happy to help you hunt down the perfect gift!
It's September. The air is slightly cooler, but not yet cold, and we all want to enjoy everything that this part of the year has to offer on our bicycles. Unfortunately, this time of the season we can find ourselves spinning along when suddenly that dreaded sound of goathead smacking on pavement is heard, or worse yet, the horrible hiss of air rushing from a puncture to the tube.
In order to help make the most out of this time of year, we thought we'd offer some tips and hints to help keep you riding, rather than fixing a flat on the side of the road.
If you haven't experienced a goathead in a bike tire, count yourself lucky, but most of us who ride in Colorado have at one time or another experienced a flat due to these spikey-looking thorns. By the number of individuals who've come by the shop with flats due to goatheads recently, we suspect there are many dealing with similar situations right now. So, how do we prevent getting them in the first place?
Avoidance: These pesky thorns seem to magically find their way into tires because their coloring blends with both paved surfaces and dirt paths pretty easily, or they are often mistaken for small pebbles/rocks on asphalt. If you are riding in an area that is prone to goatheads, when you stop or take breaks, use the opportunity to check your tires to be sure they are clear. It can be challenging to see these thorns at all while riding, but if you are able to, the obvious first solution is to avoid running over them.
Even the most cautious rider can have difficulty avoiding goatheads though, so there are preventative measure that can be taken to help ensure you make it to the end of your ride without a flat.
Inflation: Keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure can help with flats (both in reference to goatheads and in general). If you don't know what your tire pressure should be, you can almost always find it on the sidewall of your tire. Check your tires every time you ride as many factors can change pressure from day to day.
Tires: How old are your tires? If they've seen more miles than they were designed to travel or if they've been sitting unridden for a number of years, it may be time for a new set. The rubber degrades over time and with use, so in either case, fitting a new set to your bicycle may be a great way to reduce your chances of goathead-related flats.
Kevlar-lined tires also provide additional protection. As pictured above, Kevlar basically provides another layer of protection within the tire that can help keep thorns from getting through the tread to your tube and releasing all of the air.
Tubes: Tubes come in different varieties and some are of better quality than others. Tubes are not the place to try to save money. They play a vital role in keeping your bicycle moving, so spending an extra dollar or two may make sense if you've bought cheap models and have continued to experience flats.
Some tubes even come in thorn-resistant types. Thorn-resistant tubes are heavier than regular versions, but offer extra protection to help keep goatheads and other debris from penetrating the tube. If you've tried puncture-resistant tires or you don't want to invest in a new set of tires and are still getting flats from thorns, perhaps tougher tubes may be a consideration.
Supplemental Protection: If you're already using puncture-resistant tires and quality tubes, it may be time to look at some alternative or additional solutions. Adding a tire sealant or slime to your tube can provide an extra layer of protection. Should you run over an item that penetrates the tire and tube, the sealant moves over the area to seal off the leak and keeps air in your tube.
Tire liners are also available for added insurance. These strips of protection are added between the inside of the tire and the outside of the tube. The benefit of a liner versus sealant is that the liner will usually weigh less and isn't nearly as messy as a sealant can be. Be sure to get the right size for your wheel and tire when purchasing so that you have the best coverage for your needs.
Another alternative for some situations is to go tubeless. If you have wheels that are tubeless-compatible, you don't need tubes at all which can help lower the threat of goatheads because the tires run with no tubes inside. Lest one think going tubeless is the miracle answer, flats are still possible with this set up, and the tires tend to be a bit heavier than pneumatic tires found on most bicycles today. Additionally, repairing punctures can be a bit more tedious with this set up, and not every bicycle is appropriate for a tubeless tire configuration.
Leave It Be: In some instances, you may stop and find a goathead attached to your tire. Sometimes, the instinctual response is to want to pull out the thorn because we know it shouldn't be there. However, if the goathead has been sitting in the tire while you've been riding and it's remained in place, it may make more sense to leave it in until you are home and able to deal with a puncture, especially if you don't have the tools with you to repair a potential flat.
With this option, there is the potential that while riding the goathead may break off or come out of the tire on its own, but leaving it in the tire may provide you enough time to get to a location to fix the issue.
If you do end up with a flat and have to patch or change the tube during your ride, make sure to check the inside and outside of the tire to see what has caused the intrusion. If a goathead, thorn, piece of glass, or other debris is still sticking through the tire, putting in a fresh tube will only result in another flat after re-inflation. You can use your tire lever to run over the inside of the tire to check for debris, or, if you are very careful (definitely use caution with this option as it's easy to end up with a cut or puncture to your hand), lightly run your fingers across the inside of the tube to feel for any foreign object and remove it.
As always, if you have questions or concerns, or you need any of the above items to get rolling again, stop by the shop and we'll get you set up.
We live in a fantastic city that is full of great places to ride and to grab a drink with friends. We have wanted to put together a more social, casual ride for those interested in a little slower pace that allows us to get to know each other. Although we're running a bit late in the season, we're hoping to get a few of these rides in before the weather turns.
Come one, come all to our first cruiser ride! No special requirements for your ride or your clothing, but we will meet on Friday, September 9, at 6:15p.m. and leave the shop (located at 1111 Francis Street, Suite B) where we'll head over to Wibby Brewing. The total distance should be less than 5 miles.
We'd love to have you join us, so bring your wheels and a smile and we'll see you at the shop!
Part of the plan when opening Long Mont Velo was to be able to provide products and services to the cycling community that are sometimes found only online or with a drive to a larger city. We wanted to make product available to everyone who rides, or at least as best we can, without the need for our customer to have to leave town to find the product to suit his/her needs.
In regard to women-specific items, we knew we wanted to carry a variety of sizes in apparel, and we thought that SheBeest had some lovely options for all the ladies. From colorful-but-not-obnoxious jerseys to shorts that fit just right, we stock cycling clothing in a range of sizes that will fit the most petite riders, those in the middle, and those who wear plus sizes.
Whether you take a small, a 3XL, or something in between, when you're looking for a new jersey or a new pair of shorts, stop by and take a look at our offerings. If we don’t have your size on the rack, just ask, and we can likely get it ordered and in the shop within a relatively short span of time!
Venus de Miles is almost here, and if you don't know what it is, just ask the slew of female riders you'll soon be encountering on the roads. On Saturday, August 27, women will gather together in Prospect on the south end of Longmont to ride between 33 and 100 miles in an effort to raise funds for Greenhouse Scholars, and, of course, to have a good time with one another on their bicycles.
In celebration of the day of sisterhood, we would like to offer 10% off to any Venus de Miles riders. Just bring in your bib to Long Mont Velo anytime between Friday, August 26 and Monday August 29, 2016 to receive the discount, which is applicable toward the purchase of parts, accessories, and nutrition (Sorry, bicycles are excluded from the discount).
Stop by and see us at 1111 Francis Street, Suite B (just south of Anytime Fitness). We look forward to seeing many Venus de Miles riders soon!
As promised, yoga classes are on the way! The first class is scheduled at Long Mont Velo (1111 Francis St, Suite B, at the corner of 11th and Francis, just south of Anytime Fitness), Monday evening, August 22, 2016 at 6:00PM (class will begin by 6:15p). Mondays at 6:15PM will be the standard day/time for yoga classes (Though this will be confirmed after the initial class).
One of the major benefits for cyclists who do yoga is strength and endurance. More specifically back, core and upper body are areas that can get neglected by those who focus regularly on cycling-only activities. Cyclists can also gain flexibility from yoga as most who cycle tend to stay in the same position for hours a time. Having increased flexibility can aid back, hips, and hamstrings which can get tight while riding.
Adding balance and injury prevention to your regular cycling routine can be beneficial, and yoga is a perfect way to do so. The cost of attendance for these yoga classes are being set and collected by the yoga-certified instructor. Currently the cost of attendance is $5/class. If you have any questions, please message, call, or stop by the shop and we'll do our best to get an answer as quickly as possible. We look forward to seeing many of you in class on the 22nd!
For our first “Ask the Mechanic” question, we are delving into a seemingly simple, but important question. Our inquirer writes:
I’m kind of embarrassed about this, but I’ve ridden bicycles for a long time and when I go on group rides or I’m around people who talk about various bicycle parts, most of the time, I don’t know what they’re talking about. Do you think you could provide a diagram and an explanation of the major parts of a bicycle and what they do?
Your question is a great one. It’s definitely good to have an understanding of your bicycle, how it works, and the parts that comprise it. This response may be a bit more than you were seeking, but hopefully it will provide a starting point for anyone who is looking to gain information about the various parts of a bicycle.
The diagrams below are provided as a jumping off point with letters and numbers corresponding to the part name below the images. After the component/part name, you will find a more detailed description and/or explanation.
A – Top Tube: This is the horizontal or semi-horizontal tube on the frame of your bicycle that runs between the saddle and the handlebars. A complete frame consists of a top tube, down tube, head tube, seat tube, seat stays and chain stays (Each of these will be described as we move forward).
B – Steerer and Spacers: These are two separate parts of the bicycle, but we'll talk about them both here. The steerer is the upper portion of the bicycle fork that is inserted into the head tube of the bicycle’s frame. Most modern bicycles use spacers over this portion which covers the steerer from view above the head tube. More spacers and a taller steerer have a rider sitting higher while a shorter steerer and fewer spacers will have a rider sitting lower on the handlebars. The fork steerer can be cut down; however, once it’s cut, it cannot be reattached.
C – Stem Cap: The stem cap is the cover bolted onto the top of the steerer above the head tube. This helps compress this portion of the bike and prevents your handlebar stem, and therefore your handlebars from coming off of the bicycle while riding.
D – Stem or Handlebar Stem: This is the portion on a bicycle extending from the steerer to the handlebars. These come in various lengths and move the handlebars closer or farther from the rider and also come in a variety of degrees to place the handlebars lower or higher.
Older and some specialty bicycles use what is called a quill stem. These are most commonly found on pre -1990s bicycles. In this case, the entire piece is inserted into the head tube and extends out in front of the rider as a single unit.
E – Hoods: This is the rubbery area of the handlebar that extends out in front of the rider toward the brake levers.
F – Brake Levers/Shifters (sometimes called “brifters”): These are the levers used to brake and shift on the handlebars. In the case of this particular photo example, the single part has two different functions: braking and shifting (hence the term brifters). Each brand works slightly different from one another, but they all have the same purpose.
There are other varieties of shifters and brakes however that are not a combination of both functions. Thumb shifters, downtube shifters (which are also sometimes used as or called bar-end shifters), twist shifters, and trigger shifters. When using any of these, the brake lever is a separate part attached to the handlebar.
Depending on the handlebar used, some of these are more useful and/or effective than others.
G – Handlebar: On a road bike, most commonly found are “drop” bars like those pictured on the Bianchi image above, but there are all different types of handlebars (too many really to list here). A few different types include: flat bars, moustache bars, albatross bars, trekking bars, northroad bars, and so on. Handlebars come in different shapes and styles to suit different types of riding and riders and there are variations in size and angles even among the same designation. Depending on the bike ridden and individual preferences, you may find one style to be the best for a particular type of bike or riding.
For road biking, the most common type of handlebar is a drop bar which consists of four different areas: the flats/tops, the ramps, the hooks, and the drops.
H – Brake/Shifter Cables and Housing: These are the cables running from the shift levers to the derailleur and from the brake levers to the brakes. The portion that is generally seen on the bicycle is housing covering the actual brake cable.
I – Brakes: Brakes are generally separated into two categories: Rim or Disc brakes (Not as common, there are also drum brakes sometimes found on older bicycles or cruiser bikes). In the case of the photo example of the Bianchi, it is set up to use rim brakes, meaning that the caliper squeezes the rim in order to stop the bike. When using disc brakes, the caliper squeezes onto the rotor to stop the bike, as is illustrated in the KHS city bicycle photo.
Brakes come in a few different varieties (cantilever, v-brakes, caliper, roller, disc, etc.). Both rim and disc brakes require pads that need to be replaced as they wear out. Disc brakes come in mechanical or hydraulic varieties. Generally, the bicycle frame dictates which type of brake can be used.
J – Head Tube: The head tube is the semi-vertical portion of the frame at the front (or the farthest point of the frame while standing over the bicycle). The head tube houses the fork steerer and keeps the fork and frame together via a headset.
K – Fork: This is the part that connects the frame to the front wheel. Like frames, they come in a variety of materials including steel, aluminum and carbon.
L – Hub: This is the portion at the center of a wheel that allows the wheel to turn. The hub is also the point of attachment for the fork and rear dropouts.
M – Down Tube: The diagonal portion of the frame that connects the head tube to the seat tube.
N – Bottle Cage Mount: Generally, there are two bottle cage mount locations: top of the down tube and the inside portion of the bottom or middle of the seat tube used to mount water bottle cages to the frame. Some frames have these in other or additional locations, such as on the bottom side of the down tube, while other bicycles, such as some very small frames or mixte frames can be manufactured with only one mount on the upper side of the down tube.
O – Crank or specifically pointed out here, Crank Arm: The crank consists of two arms, a spindle, and 1-3 chainrings. The arms are the long portion of a bicycle’s crankset that connect via a spindle through the bottom bracket and allows for pedal attachment. Available in a variety of lengths, the most commonly found are 165mm, 170mm, 172.5mm or 175mm. Less commonly, a range of lengths from 150-200mm can be found.
P – Front Derailleur: Found near the bottom of a bicycle’s seat tube, this part will be found on bicycles with more than one chainring. Its function is to allow the chain to move between chainrings. These come in different sizes, primarily dependent on the diameter of the frame’s seat tube. Usually front derailleurs are either a clamp-on or a braze-on unit.
Q – Chain: Consisting of small links that connect to each other, this allows power to transfer from the human pushing the pedals to the drivetrain which then propels the bicycle forward.
R – Valve Stem: This is the small stem protruding from a hole in the rim of a bicycle’s wheel. The size of this pre-drilled hole determines the type of valve that is used. The valve itself is used to put air into the tube to inflate the tires, and each type of valve requires a different inflation head on the bicycle pump. In the U.S., the two most common valve-types are Schrader or Presta (In other countries, you may find Dunlop valves which look like a thicker version of a Presta valve).
S – Chainstays: The chainstays connect the rear wheel to the bicycle’s frame. These are the two arms that go around the rear wheel and extend from the bottom bracket shell to the hub of the rear wheel.
T – Rear Derailleur: The mechanical unit found toward the rear of the drive-side of a bicycle that moves the chain to each cog on the cassette. It is only found on non-internally geared bicycles (It’s unnecessary for single speed or fixed gear bicycles and internally geared bicycles have a sealed hub that permits shifting. An example of an internally geared bicycle is found on the second bicycle image. You will note that no derailleur exists on this bike because it is geared internally).
U – Spokes: The thin, long, rods that connect the hub to the rim of the wheel. The spokes, hub and rim of a wheel combine to create structural strength and flexibility.
V – Cassette: Generally mounted to the rear bicycle hub, the cassette consists of several, varying sized sprockets that, combined with the chainrings on the crank allow the bicycle to move with more or less difficulty.
W – Tire: The rubber portion around the exterior of the wheel that has actual contact with the road surface being ridden.
X – Rim: The outer portion of the wheel that holds the tire in place. The rim is connected to the hub of the wheel via spokes.
Y – Seat stays: Seat stays run diagonally down the rear of a bicycle frame and connect the seat tube to the chainstays/rear dropouts.
Z – Seat tube: The seat tube is the semi-vertical tube on the frame that connects the top tube to the down tube and chain/seat stays.
1 – Seat collar/clamp: This is a small, circular, metal clamp that is used to hold the seat post in place and prevent the saddle from moving or slipping into the seat tube.
2 – Saddle/Seat: The portion of the bicycle that the rider sits on to pedal a bicycle. It is connected via rails/clamp to the seat post and can be positioned at different degrees of tilt and can be moved up and down via the seat post.
3 – Headset: The headset is a set of small pieces that are installed at the head tube to allow the fork to rotate.
4 – Chainrings: Part of a crank, a chainring is an individual, circular piece with teeth that allows the chain to rotate without falling.
5 – Bottom Bracket: Mounted inside the bottom bracket shell at the connection point of the seat tube, down tube and chainstays, the bottom bracket allows the crank to attach to the bicycle. The bearings inside allow the cranks to rotate.
6 – Inner Tube (or just Tube): Placed between the wheel rim and the outer tire, the tube holds air as it is inflated with a pump or other device. When you get a flat, unless it is quite severe (in which case the entire tire may need replacement), this is the portion that will be patched or replaced to get you moving again.
7 – Seat post: The metal rod that connects the saddle to the bicycle and is inserted into the seat tube. The size is dependent upon the seat tube diameter, and they are available in a variety of setbacks.
8 – Rear Rack: A rack mounted to the rear of the bicycle that allows for transport of items. Sometimes, a front rack is used instead (found on the front of the bicycle, rather than the rear) or in addition to a rear rack. Often times, riders will attach panniers or baskets to these to aid with transporting larger or extra goods.
9 – Fenders: The half-circular metal or plastic piece found at the top of the tires, this piece allows the rider to keep most water, dirt and grime from splashing onto the riders’ body while in motion. Some people use them on road bikes when the weather turns to rain or snow, while others leave them on year round.
10 – Chainguard: Not found on all bicycles, the chainguard can assist with keeping pants and/or legs free of grime and grease from the bicycle’s chain. Generally, these are used on non-sport type bicycles to allow for everyday clothing use on the bike.
11 – Wheel: Composed of a hub, spokes, and a rim, the wheel is the portion of your bicycle shaped like a big circle. The come in tubular and clincher varieties (Tubular wheels do not require inner tubes, while a clincher will use both the inner tube and tire).
12 - Pedals: Pedals are connected to the ends of the crank arms and allow the rider to push and provide the necessary energy to move the bicycle. They come in many different types and varieties. Some require special shoes and cleats and can be quite small, while others can be ridden in any type of shoe. Rider preference and the type of bicycle generally help choose which type will be used.
For a fairly simple machine, there are actually quite a few parts that make up an entire bicycle. There are also a variety of other small parts and pieces that could be discussed, but these are the most likely to come up when conversing about bicycles. As always, if you ever have questions about a part or component on your bicycle, feel free to call or stop by Long Mont Velo and we can have a chat.
If you have your own “Ask the Mechanic” questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your inquiry.
Are you an experienced yogi looking for a local class, or perhaps you have interest in trying out yoga for the first time? Maybe you ride quite a bit but are looking for core strength and balance?
We will be hosting yoga classes at the Long Mont Velo shop after business hours, beginning Monday, August 22, 2016. There is an instructor ready to go and we are looking forward to having classes begin very soon. Hours will be determined (we'll definitely let you know soon).
Get ready to Downward Dog like a pro!
A bicycle is a relatively simple machine that has experienced little in the way of extreme evolution over the last 100+ years. Fads come and go through the decades, but the machine itself remains fairly constant and consistent.
There has been a fair amount of press about a new commuter bicycle from Volata. This bicycle comes equipped with a built in horn, a dynamo hub that powers the head and taillight, has built in GPS and some other often used/requested features for a commuter bicycle. When something like this comes along, there is always a level of interest and curiosity about such a machine. I couldn’t help but take a glance and wonder if this is the future of commuter bicycles – having built in capabilities just like a modern automobile.
While many of these features may be a necessity or simply good options for a commuter bike, they don't necessarily need to be built in to a bicycle. This bike from Volata is somewhat questionable as a commuter bike anyway as it is missing components for a truly commute-focused bicycle (such as fenders, a chainguard, carrying capacity for daily needs, etc).
As technology changes and becomes more a part of everyday life, it is easier to look at possessions as throw away items when newer tech becomes available. Is creating a bicycle with technology such as built in GPS a good idea? What happens in 6 months or a year when something more efficient becomes available? Is the bike then a throw-away item?
One of the great things about a bicycle without any special technological advances is that items can often be added and changed easily if/when the need arises. If a commuter rides in pre- or post-sun hours, a headlight and taillight can be added inexpensively to an existing bicycle. Bells are an easy to install accessory for those times when a cyclist needs to be heard. GPS units are available from just a few dollars up to several hundred dollar price tags, depending on the needs or wants of the user.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting or buying a new bicycle, but when a good portion of a bicycle is centered on technology, is it a wise investment and is it practical? Should bicycles be built as though they are automobiles with built in lights and other technology? Does it make sense to use a bicycle already owned, a second-hand bicycle, or even a new bicycle at a lower price point that can be made to work for commuting purposes?
While not every commuter will have the same needs, here is a list of possible items you may want to consider for your bicycle commute:
- Bicycle (the most important item)
Whether riding a couple of miles or 20+ miles for your commute, your bicycle should be comfortable to go the distance. If it isn’t, perhaps there is a simple fix such as an adjustment to your handlebars or the seat post. It may be that it just doesn’t fit properly too, but we can help you figure that out.
Your helmet should fit securely and be positioned properly on your head for maximum protection. Also, if you have ever fallen or crashed on your helmet, it should be replaced immediately.
- Bike Lock
Fairly self-explanatory, but if you aren’t able to keep your bicycle with you at your destination, you’ll probably want to lock it up to prevent theft.
- Eye protection (such as sun glasses)
The sun can be quite damaging to our eyes, not to mention it can be really difficult to see with the sun shining directly at us while riding. What’s more, glasses can provide some protection from extreme wind, or even flying insects that could end up in your eye.
- Water bottles or a hydration pack
Hydration is important and if your commute is longer than a few miles, you should probably consider having water with you, especially in summer’s sweltering heat. Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Headlight and Taillight
If you ride at all in the early morning or late afternoon/evening hours, lights should be at the top of your list. Being visible to others and being able to see possible debris in the road is crucial to keep you upright on your bicycle.
- A Bell
This may be one of the most over looked accessories for a commuter, but it can come in handy when your voice can’t be heard or you don’t want to alarm walkers, joggers, or others that may come into your path.
A mirror, just as on a motorized vehicle, can help you see who is around you or approaching from behind.
- Fenders (especially for those riding in rain or snow)
Not everyone loves fenders, but they can definitely keep your bottom half dry when riding in rain or snow. If you’ll be changing once you reach your destination, this may not be as concerning for you, but having these means you’ll stay drier and therefore also a little warmer in colder conditions.
- Rear or Front Rack
Depending on your bicycle, you may be able to add a front or rear rack (or maybe both) to help carry items. Not every bicycle is capable of this attachment and there are usually weight limits to be considered with the load carried on each of these racks, but if you aren’t sure, bring your bike by the shop and we can take a quick look for you.
- Panniers/Messenger Bag/Backpack
Panniers are a great option for those with front or rear racks to carry items needed for your destination (such as a change of clothes, a laptop, lunch, etc). They are also handy for picking up a few items at the grocery store on your way home. If you don’t like panniers or your bike isn’t fitted with a rack for these to hang, you might consider a messenger bag or backpack to carry extra items on your commute.
- Straps or Bungee Cords
Being able to secure extra items on your rack(s) or to your bag can be invaluable. These really can be a life saver when there’s an unexpected item to get to or from your destination.
- Saddlebag/Handlebar bag
A saddlebag is attached under the saddle while a handlebar bag straps to your handlebars, but they are each great for storing smaller items you may need such as a spare tube, tire levers, a pump and so on. These can vary significantly in size, depending on your needs and the size of your bicycle.
- Spare tube and/or a Patch Kit
No one likes to deal with a flat tire on the side of the road, but when you don’t have a way to fix the problem, it can be even worse. Always carry a spare tube and/or patch kit to make repairs for those unforeseen issues.
- Pump and/or CO2 cartridge and inflator
If you have a spare tube or patch kit, but you can’t re-inflate your tube/tire, it won’t do you any good. Some people like to use a pump while others prefer CO2 and still others carry both. What you need will depend on your preferences and likely distance traveled as well.
- Tire Levers
These are handy for removing your tire to get the tube out for repair or replacement.
- Bike Multi-Tool
This is a small item that can help significantly. These come in all different sizes and with different options, but even having the simplest multi-tool on the side of the road can come in handy. Make sure the tools are the right ones for your bike and needs.
Sun, skin, a long commute – this can be a tough combination, especially in summer. Make sure to protect your skin to keep from burning.
- Lip balm
Colorado can dry out lips quicker than anything, and having some lip balm handy on your commute can keep those lips from cracking.
- Cell Phone
Today, most people have a cell phone and having it for your commute may be a last-resort savior. On rare occasions, there are just those times when something goes wrong and you just can’t fix your bike on the side of the road.
- ID/Credit Card/Cash
In a pinch, you could need any of these items and they are usually items we need when we get to our destination regardless of where we are heading.
- Bus Pass/Map/Schedule
Having an alternate plan if something should go wrong on your bike will make your commute less stressful. Knowing where the nearest bus stop is and having the schedule handy could prove invaluable if you find yourself stranded on your bike commute.
If you are a bicycle commuter or you’re thinking about cycling to work and aren’t sure how to get your bike ready to handle your needs, come by and see us. Each person can have unique requirements and while some choose to use a mountain bike, others use road bikes, and some have specifically dedicated commute bicycles. Whatever you ride to get you where you need to go, and whether you just need a replacement for your handlebar headlight or you’re thinking about adding a rear rack or panniers, we can help you find the right pieces to make your bicycle and your commute work for you.
Although there are plenty of other possible needs, the list above is intended to get you started with planning your bicycle commute. If there’s ever anything we can do to help, please stop by and see us in person. We are here to offer thoughts and feedback, and to provide the accessories for your bike commute.