Thursday, April 24, 2014

The ABC Check

Recently I have been volunteering with a local youth organization leading Saturday rides. The kids in the program are riding bicycles that might be referred to as "vintage" or "refurbished." These are bikes, and bike components, that have seen some wear. The first ride that I went on, we saw one flat tire and two busted chains. We also have had cranks fall off. 

Ideally, these are things to be avoided. A good habit to get into before you go for a bike ride is your ABC check: air, brakes, and chain. 

Check your air: Mountain bike tire pressure can be around 30 to 50 psi, hybrids can be 50 to 80 psi, and road bikes can be 80 to 110 psi. Good floor pumps come with gauges. You should also come to know when your tires are properly inflated simply by squeezing them. On bicycle rides, I always carry tire irons, a patch kit, a portable pump, a spare tube, and tire boots (and have used them many times). I also carry a wrench for those bikes without quick releases. You should also check the tire for wear. 

Check your brakes: both front and rear brakes should be in good working order. Most modern brakes have adjusters in the lever to increase the braking power as the brake wears. Never ride with worn out brakes. I carry a multitool that includes allen wrenches that can be used to make adjustments. 

Check your chain, cassette, and crank. Your chain should be properly lubed and clean. Without lube your chain will not move properly, can rust, and jam. Too much lube and it becomes a dirt magnet. Too much dirt and the chain will not shift properly, and may cause "chain suck" where it fails to properly come off the flywheel. Depending on weather conditions, I clean my chain everyone one to two weeks. This can be as simply as wiping it down with a rag. I also carry a chain breaker and a few quick links. 

It is good to teach new riders to deliberately go over a quick ABC check of their bike. After a while, it becomes instinctive. Walk up to a bike, give it a quick look over, squeeze the tires, squeeze the brake lever, and go. 

Source: The ABC Quick Check, NHTSA (crediting the League of American Bicyclists); Basic Bike Check, League of American Bicyclists; ABC Quick Check, Bike Collective.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Phoenix Derby May 17! #bikedc #arlingtonva

The Phoenix Derby is around the corner!  Perhaps one of the zaniest bicycle races in the area, it involves a course that flies through the garages of Crystal City, includes hopping bails of hay, people dressed in unusual outfits, stopping and playing quick games of cards, and all types of mayhem.  It is a festival of the bi-zar.
The Crystal City Phoenix Derby is a unique cycling event that combines speed and high-energy fun in a cool urban environment while showcasing the D.C. region’s only youth-oriented bike nonprofit organization. We invite riders of all abilities to test their skills on our race course designed and built in an underground parking garage. The Crystal City Phoenix Derby features a variety of race formats including a non-competitive open course ride, a head-to-head stationary sprint race, team relays, and a special kid’s course. The general public is also invited to try out the course or just watch the action from the chic confines of the Phoenix Lounge, a display area of bikes build by Phoenix Bikes youth and bar built in the center of the action!
There will be all types of races, including kid races - and lots of volunteer opportunities.

The Phoenix Derby helps support local youth cycling organization Phoenix Bikes.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Intersection of Doom - Another Near Miss @arlingtonva @arlingtonDES #bikedc

Arlington County said that fixing the Intersection of Doom was not in the Future of Rosslyn Plan because no one had brought it up in a while.  Besides that being baloney with a slice of pickle, it appears prudent to document any known Doom incidents.

Today at ~5:45 pm a woman was standing on the west corner of Lee Hwy and Ft Myer Dr.  The cross walk light turned white, indicating her turn to go.  She stepped into her peddles and proceeded into the intersection not but barely.  A station wagon going south on Ft Myer ran the red light several seconds after it had turned red, swung right, and proceeded west on Lee Hwy.  The station wag missed the cyclists by not but barely.

Every cyclist and every pedestrian standing on the corners yelled at the station wagon which sped (and I mean sped) away.

Arlington: Fix the Intersection of Doom

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

This weekend is the ACCC Collegiate Virginia Tech Cycling Classic

Virginia Tech Cycling Classic
Join the VT Cycling Team April 5th and 6th for a weekend of great racing in SW Virginia! Come race with us on Saturday in the open RR categories and watch the Virginia Tech Cycling Team take on the rest of the ACCC.
Saturday 5th April: 
Road Races with OPEN CATEGORIESCollegiate Team Time Trial
Sunday 6th April:
Collegiate Criterium races at the CRC in Blacksburg

Learn more about the ACCC

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Libraries Bike Tour: Tour des Bibliothèques–Begins at Central

From Arlington Libraries

When:April 19, 2014 @ 9:30 am - 1:15 pm
Where:Central Library (Quincy Side Doors)
1015 North Quincy Street
Arlington,VA 22201

Cost:Free but registration required
 Tags:@ Aurora Hills @ Central @ Cherrydale @ Columbia Pike @ Glencarlyn @ Shirlington @ Westover

The Seventh Annual Tour des Bibliothèques is an Arlington Public Library staff and community volunteer bicycle tour of seven of the county’s eight library sites (Plaza Branch Library is closed weekends).

It’s a great way to cap National Library Week.
The tour will start at Central LibraryFor safety purposes, registration is required and the tour group will be limited to 25 riders. Helmets are required.
To register, email
Meet on the Quincy Street side near the front doors at 9:30 a.m. Ride begins at 10 a.m. The total circular route will cover some 30 miles and take between three and four hours but there will be several options for riding shorter portions.
PLEASE NOTE: The bicycle tour will not be held in the event of bad weather.