Bicycle tune-ups can make
riding safer while saving on gas
More than just a means of transportation, for some it is a lifestyle.
Lake Stevens Bike Works owner Scott Stuart has made cycling a passion, biking as often as he can when he’s not building, tuning-up, or repairing bikes.
An important component to enjoying a bike ride is making sure the bicycle has been properly tuned-up for riding.
The bike tune-up can be a very involved but necessary process of tightening spokes and repairing flat spots on the wheel.
An inspection and adjustment of the brake system is very important as this is your way of stopping to avoid a collision with other motorists, or pedestrians.
Brake repairs can involve tightening or loosening of the brake cable or the replacement of frayed cables, and the inspection and replacement of the brake pads are just a couple of the brake component.
There are other inspections and adjustments to the front and rear derailleur system which is important for shifting gears.
An easily overlooked part of bicycle maintenance for many riders is simply checking tire pressure, and making sure all nuts and bolts are tight.
As simple as all this sounds, it really is not, and when you have a properly tuned bike it can make a world of difference in a ride with many benefits.
“Number one, it would make the ride much more enjoyable, number two it would make it much safer; if it’s safer, comfortable, and more enjoyable, they’ll ride more,” said Stuart. “If you ride more, you’ll be healthier, you’ll have more fun; guess what, you burn less gas you’ll burn more energy up, the calories go away and you’ll feel better about yourself when you look in the mirror.”
Among other benefits, a bicycle friendly city which provides a trail system for riders can find themselves bringing in revenue for the city and business owners says Stuart.
Lake Stevens can become that destination point bringing riders in from across cities and counties on a regular basis; instead, riders are taking their money elsewhere.
“Now we take our money every weekend to another town,” commented Stuart.Here are some safety tips from the WSDOT
2. Never ride against traffic - Motorists aren't looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.
3. Follow lane markings - Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.”
4. Don’t pass on the right - Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
5. Scan the road behind you - Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.
6. Keep both hands ready to brake - You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since breaks are less efficient when wet.
7. Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones.
8. Dress appropriately - In rain wear a poncho or waterproof suit. Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear bright colored clothing.
9. Use hand signals - Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection.
10. Ride in the middle of the lane in slower traffic - Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic.
11. Choose the best way to turn left There are two choices: (1) Like an auto: signal to move into the left turn lane and then turn left. (2) Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
12. Make eye contact with drivers - Assume that other drivers don't see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver which might pose a threat to your safety.
13. Look out for road hazards - Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, sand or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
14. Use lights at night - The law requires a white headlight (visible from at least 500 feet ahead) and a rear reflector or taillight (visible up to 300 feet from behind).
15. Keep your bike in good repair - Adjust your bike to fit you and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly. Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself.