What Kind of Bicycle Should I Buy? – A Few Tips to Choose your Bike

One of the first questions we ask ourselves when we start rolling our bicycles, feeling that first enthusiasm and thinking “I love this!”, is well, what kind of bicycle should I buy?

We have to be clear about what we are going to use our bicycles for, as this will define the type of bike we are going to choose. For example, will we use it to go to work every day? Do we want to exercise, and achieve good health? Do we want to use it for competitions and races? And of course, something no less important, how much money we are willing to invest.

Responding to these answers, our decision will be easier and more precise.

We Want our Bike to Go for a Ride. A Leisure Activity

In this case, our option is clear and the cost will not necessarily be very high. Basic or “normal” equipment will do the job.

Cycling in Amsterdam

It is important that theriding position is as upright as possible, since it is the most comfortable position when riding. We don’t want to be in the position of a bike racer imitating a bullet! 🙂 When you have drop handlebars.

An Angled-back handlebars will help to be in a more upright and more comfortable position. And it will even allow us to see traffic more clear, a better view of the landscape and the city since we will have a better viewing angle. (That’s what we want when we go for a ride and relax, right?)

The Bike as a Means of Transportation. Bicycle Commuting

If our main activity with the bicycle will be as a means of transport, we have to take into account when deciding, on which terrain we will travel. We will also have to take into account whether we will complement the bicycle with another transport, for example the train, where we will have to carry it out.

Bicycle commuting – Vienna

It is also important to define the distances. Will they be short or long? For example, If we will use our bicycle as a means of transport with children or other loads (that did not sound too good :D, but you know what I mean, right?).

These types of bicycles, used to transport us, should be mainly comfortable, lightweight and that allows us to ride in a smoother way.

It will be under greater stress, soy they should be especially strong

One point to keep in mind is that in bicycles used as a means of transport and also bicycles for leisure, they should have fenders and chain protectors.

Possibly we will need some accessories to transport, for example rear rack and front basket

Using our Faithful Partner for Bicycle Touring.

Perhaps our main objective is to go out in a group when we do bicycle touring. In this case it is good to know what kind of level the bike of other members of the group will use for the trip.

It is better to have bike characteristics similar to those of the group. This will help us not to be left out of technical issues, for example.

bicycle touring for begginers

The main characteristics of a bicycle for Touring should be strong and reliable. It is also important that you have low and easy maintenance. And pay attention to the characteristics of the parts and make sure they are easy to get in most places where we will ride.

One question we must ask ourselves is: Will we use it only on paved roads? Will we use it only on the mountain? Or will it be a mixed use?

Generally speaking, perhaps the optimal bicycle for touring is the bicycle called “Hybrid”. That is, a mountain bike frame with large wheels and semi-smooth or light tread pattern that will help us a lot on the road

My Main Objective is to Get in Shape (Bring it on!).

It is important first that we know clearly the cycling style which we want to exercise with, since in general and luckily, any bicycle will be good for this!

But we will have to take into account the terrain that we will have available to exercise.

Logically the mountain bike is ideal for the mountain, and is also an excellent companion for bicycle touring in most cases.

But if the terrain on which we are going to exercise does not have many slopes, or dirt road, and is mostly a smooth road, it would be convenient to choose a road bike.

I want to Win this Race!

If you want to compete, it would be good to consider a slightly larger investment. Maybe this will be the first bike you want to buy. In this case it is good to start testing borrowed bike to see which one is right for you, and also to get to know the subject of competencies.

This practice is recommended since we will be investing in a bicycle of intensive use and it is ideal that it lasts for a long time. You don’t want to realize that you need to change it after try it a couple of competitions.

To summarize, if the idea is to compete and you are thinking of buying your first bicycle for this, invest a little more and acquire a bicycle according to the use. Keep in mind the stem should allow us a more aerodynamic position.

Tires

If you live in a city, most of the time you will be using your bicycle on paved terrain, I recommend you not to use tire larger than 1.8 inch wide and if possible semi-slick.

A clincher bicycle tire mounted on a wheel

But if you live in more mountainous terrain or use the bike on dirt roads and gravel roads it will surely be better to use mountain bike tires with treads.

Well, I’m just starting …

In this case our limit is still quite far. We will just feel the difference between a bicycle, say “common”, and a higher level bicycle when we are improving our performance and when we already have a good pedaling pace.

The last thing to keep in mind, and it is not extremely important is

Brand

The brand, is definitely not the greatest of the features. Today the equivalences between brands meet most of the requirements, and the choice of a brand will depend more on the person’s taste than on technical needs.

The measure

Since we do not have standard measurements in our body, that is, two people who measure equal 5.5 feet will surely have different measurements of legs, and arms. That is why we cannot say “for a person who measures x feet, he must have a square 16 with stem of 8 and straight handle”

That is why we should first see this frame measurement, for example if we measure 5.6 feet we can buy a frame 18, and after this, we have to see the other measures. Since, as we said recently, some people, with the same height, have the shorter torso and longer legs. We will improve this difference with the size of the stem and the location (forward / backward) of our seat.

The position of the seat post must be taken into account. It is necessary to verify that is inside the frame at least one third of its length since otherwise this could be dangerous for us. It is also dangerous for the frame as it could be broken

Conclusion.

We all know that each person is unique, and different from the rest of us. Many times it has happened to us that what is perfect for us, for another person can be absolutely uncomfortable or unbearable.

There is a bicycle for everyone

The amount of money we can invest, the terrain where we ride our bike, the age, the strength, the skill, the attitude we face the challenge (even if we really see it as a challenge or not), the weather conditions, the city or place conditions, experience, and many other small things that add to our idea and response are unique.

You cannot transfer the sensations. This is why my advice is to discover yourself, the bicycle and your world, in a healthy way and in the best way you can.

So you can find the best bike that will accompany you in your exclusive adventure.

So, there you have it! Let me know what bike do you have and where you enjoy riding!

Best Riding

Jason

 

Should I Buy an Electric Bicycle? A few tips to help you making a decision

The electric bikes are here to stay. We remember not so very long ago that this kind of bicycles was rare and if you saw somebody riding one with apparently no effort —you were thinking “Look, I bet that bike has something else…!”

You heard that they help you (assist you?) pedaling, that the battery has a long durability, that you can go to your office not all sweated, and you start to ask your self… Should I buy and Electric Bicycle, right?

So,you will need to know a bit more about what an Electric Bike is, its components, the techy language, and get some advises.

So, Why Should I Buy an Electric Bicycle Anyway?


Let´s be honest, at least once,you saw a clicyst passing beside you riding an electric bike and you thought: “Lazy”…right?

Let me tell you that there is more than just “assistant” for an electric bicycle. This great partner can help you with these issues:

Maybe you are not in a good shape or your level of fitness is not at its 100%, and you appreciate that little “push” for uphills. You can do that trip you want to do this year, or this vacations and not really spend a lot of time and effort trying to get to the fitness level that this could demand.

When you are a busy grown man/woman, having to go pick up the children at school (maybe carrying a little trailer), or picking some food at the grocery store, and doing those daily routines. Or even you have a small business that demands to transport some equipment (tools, hardware, testers, etc…). For this extra-weight activities, the help that you can receive for you electric assistant could me more that welcome!

Do you have a Car? Keep Reading…

If you are considering a car alternative…this is a great choice. Did you know that a car driving through a city can travel as slow as 20 mph?. Electric bikes can ride at 15 mph, and most of the time you will not be stuck at traffic. It´s like a motorcycle, only “greener” option.

And don´t even think about the saving your make when you run an electric bike instead of a car. Do you know that an annual cost to maintain a car running is around u$s9.000?! And costing an electric bike will be no more that u$s400!

Doing some basic Math… A full tank of gas cost $30. And full charge of an electric bike around 50 cents. I know, I know,you could say that a full tank of a car can get you further….but not 60 times further!!!

How it works

So, in order to know if you should buy an electric bike, let`s try to understand how it works

There is 3 main component in an electric bicycle:

  1. Motor
  2. Battery,
  3. Drivetrain

Apart from this, it`s pretty much a “normal” bike.

Where the Motor goes?

This is the main component of an electric bike, and of course it`s the one that turn the bike into an “electric” bike ;). You should find 3 types of motors: Front Hub, Rear Hub, and Mid-Drive. Let`s show this with a picture (well..three)

When the Motor is located on the front wheel, it`s kind of a feeling that the bike is “pulled” forward. This kind of motors tend to give a filling that the bike is not quite balanced. At least this is happened to me when I tried it. But hey, I can be a little bit picky 😀

Having the motor at the back wheel gives you a more natural “push” feeling. Of course, this motor provides the power to the back tire.

And finally the motor located in the middle of the bike, gives the power, not to the well but directly to the drivetrain. This really provide a more natural feeling for riding. Personally, I believe that his kind of arrangement is the best for an electric bicycle.

I am starting to get this. So, what it’s really an electric bike again?

It is essentially a bicycle. As in traditional models,you have to pedal, but in that case with the help of an electric motor that assists you when pedaling

As We´ve already mantioned, the electric motor can be located on the front or rear wheel (direct hub motors) or in the bottom bracket (central motor). These ones, the central motors, are the most modern technologically speaking, since they have twice the torque than the wheel motors, which considerably increases their efficiency, autonomy and ability to climb slopes with the same horsepower and energy use

The Battery, the Fuel of your Ebike

The motor of the ebike is powered by a battery that is charged in the same way you charge your computer or your cell phone (no,you don’t have to carry the charger everywhere: D) The batteries are usually lithium ions, with a durability of 800 charge cycles, which provide a range between 25 and 65 miles per charge, depending on its capacity. That is like, during the life of the battery,you will be able to travel between 30,000 and 50,000 miles. Not bad!!

Basically, the planet Earth has a circumference of around 25,000 miles, so We could travel around the planet Earth twice! … I think is enough for a bicycle touring lifetime plans: D

In addition to this, manufacturers are focusing on improving the general user interface, designing and developing ebikes that can be integrated with users’ smartphones (of course…right? Nowadays seems that everything needs to be smartphones-integreated…) and provide them with real-time information about their trip and battery status. More compact motors, lighter and more efficient use of the power. Higher capacity battery and shorter charging time. ABS braking solutions, among many other innovations

Setting Trends for Ebikes

In markets such as European and Asian, electric bicycles have been growing at two-year inter annual rates since the last five years, with great technological innovations and the emergence of new brands specializing in electric bicycles. The demand for electric bicycles is increasing especially among young people, since their lifestyle and an environment commitment and adventure lean them towards practical solutions of low maintenance and minimal environmental impact

Categories

There are three main categories of electric bicycles depending on the user’s need.

Urban: With the increase in city, ebikes are starting to be seen as a very interesting and convenient transportation solution for short and medium distance. In addition, ebikes can be used as a complement to public transport or car, particularly solving the problem of parking near the workplace. Or when public transport does not arrive exactly where we want to (We´ve all been there, right?)

Mountain: This category (recreation and sports) have also been incorporated into electric bicycles, both road and mountain bikes. Mountain bikes in particularly, have been developed strongly because of their great versatility, allowing leveling the pedaling groups and reaching places that previously seemed impossible to reach, and in a very enjoyable way! (I mean, not getting there half dead and literally with no more air in your lungs :D).

Cargo: This category is the most benefited, as we said before, at a carrying-loads level, since the electric motor is really a great help when carrying a heavy load on the ebike, basket, cart, trailer, etc. In some Asian countries they have completely replaced traditional bicycles and combustion motorcycles in this category

Benefits of ebikes

  • Urban Mobility: Traveling in the city from here to there avoiding traffic jams, stress, wasted time behind the steering wheel, public transport and the search for a free parking space (this last one could be a nightmare!)

  • Environmental care They produce no noise or pollution from combustion of hydrocarbons. The electric motors used have a high efficiency, greater than 80%.
  • Enjoyment. The experience of riding an electric bicycle is unique, making the rides very relaxed. It allows you to get to work quickly, comfortably and fun. (oh … and dry)
  • Versatility. The assistance provided helps pedaling according to your needs. Are you tired? Increase assistance. Do you want to exercise more? Lower the level of assisted pedaling
  • Power Range. Greater than 25 miles, which allows you to move with no worries for a long period. And when you need it you can charge the battery in a couple of hours.
  • Economy. The cost is very low and only 0.002 u$s/mile (versus 0.13 u$s/mile for a car). This saves a lot of money. Not to mention the costs of insurance, taxes, maintenance.

Tips for Choosing an Electric Bike

  • Quality First. Since an ebike has many mechanical and electrical components, look for the best quality options and have certification stamps.
  • Choose brands that have representation in your region, since this way you can ensure a good after-sales service and availability of spare parts and accessories.
  • Check the battery. The battery is very important and the quality of its cells will define its useful life. Some brands of good quality cells are Panasonic and Samsung
  • For city, always choose an ebike that is comfortable and has an upright and comfortable driving posture. A folding bike is not always the best solution for the city, unless you really have a space restriction or have to load it daily in a car trunk. A 28 shot is a much better option in comfort and walking.
  • For mountain, look for an ebike with a central motor, since they have twice the torque of wheel motors with equal power. For example, if the power is 250W: 40Nw.m wheel motor; central engine 85Nw.m. It also uses torque sensor technology, which delivers engine power based on the ground requirement
  • Choose bicycles with disc brake systems and hydraulic disc brake if possible, since the ebikes develop greater speed and accelation and therefore you will need a more powerful brake system
  • Models with the engine and battery integrated into the frame generate less noise and provide better performance
  • The spirit of an ebike is assisting you when you pedal. We would not recommend using high power motors (> 500W), as they will put your safety at risk, in addition to making the ebike more expensive, heavy and with greater consumption

That´s it for a brief introduction to the Ebikes world and I hope you have some clearer information if you are thinking is should bike an electric bike.

Leave your comments if you liked this, or share your experience about ebikes!

Talk to you soon.

Jason

Bicycle Shoes: A Quick Guide

When we talk about bicycle shoes, we are referring to shoes that are built with the purpose of increasing the transfer of energy in the pedal-cyclist system, comfort, weight, how the shoe is attached to the pedal, and the flexibility to use them either riding the bicycle or walking (when you stop to see the beautiful landscape.:) or to go to the bathroom!)

Bicycle Shoes Gears and GadgetsSo, let´s talk about some points here that can help you to have a whole idea about the options and types for bicycle shoes

How the pedal system works

How the Pedal System Works

These days, the bicycle shoes are manufactured to be able to work with the clip-in system. The great thing about these systems is that they are similar

Clipless Pedal – By Shimano

to the ski systems, that connects the boots and the ski table. This allows the shoe (like the ski) to be unlocked to the pedal when the heel is twisted outward. Having the shoe attached to the pedal helps to have a better transfer of energy.

These shoes come with different types of holes so that they can be used with different brands of pedals

Different Material and Quality

Well, regardless sole, of course, the good friend “carbon fiber” is present in this topic :D! Basically the more carbon fiber the shoe sole is made of, the better the sole. I mean, cheap sole shoes are made of plastic injected in a model. Middle quality have a mixture of both plastic and carbo fiber. And the best shoes for competition are made entirely of fiber carbon (specially post 2002. Of course the material affect the weight. You can have 400 grams high-quality shoe, while a regular shoe could go up to 900 grams. So, if the weight is an issue for you, you can consider choosing a light shoe. (or, just left half of that dessert, or the last donut, and you´ll have it, with out spending a dime :D)

By the way, some shoes for mountain bike have a flex around the toe area that could help when you need to climb obstacle carrying the bike 😉

Shoes for any Type of Bicycling

Because our bicycle world is full of different variants, same happens with the bicycle shoes. There are shoes for all types according the activity you are performing on a bike. Take in account that most of the shoes are measured in European units. Some supplier will have a conversion chart but be aware of this. So, in European sizing the size range is 35 to 52 in most cases.

I recently knew that with some bicycles shoe manufacture you can have custom sizing! That´s cool…;) So, let´s see the different bike activities and the proper shoe:

Road

The main characteristics of the road cycling shoes is that the sole is smoother, rigid and no really flexible. This kind of shoes are designed mainly for the cyclist being on the bike most of the time, and not too much for walking. In fact the climb attached to the shoe bottom will make you walk with short steps and a clumsy swaying motion :D.

1980 Road Cycling Shoes

Today, almost every road bicycles shoe comes with a system of three holes that allow you to attache the cleat, called “Look Pattern”.

The quality of these shoes can be define for:

  • Shoe´s fit
  • Rigidity
  • Durabiliy
  • Lightness

Triathlon

In this kind of activity you´ll need a shoe that fit the 3 phases of the Triathlon, so 3 main keys are defined:

The ability to exit and entry the foot with minimum effort: When you change activities you´ll need to be fast! Usually the shoes is already clipped at pedals, and you just slide you foot on the shoe after you already mount the beast 🙂

Having a good drainage: Imagine you are coming from swimming or kayak and you put your shoes on, you need to be dried as fast as you can.

Being able to wear the shoes with no socks: This will add an extra step and time, and that is a treasure you cannot spend on this at competitive levels

Track Ciclying

This is referred to a Velodrome Race. Velodromes consist of two straights and slightly banked turns. Their characteristic is speed (It can be above 53 mph!) and keep pedaling most of the time. In fact the bike does not have any brakes, and just one fixed rear gear, which does not freewheel by the way.

2019 UCI Track World Cup Berlin

So, this kind of shoes tend to be simple. The even use lace closures so that it fits better. And the pedals come with straps. Of course the kind of material for these shoes tend to be the lightest and most rigid ones. This way the cyclist can apply all the energy directly to the pedal and not being worry about shoes getting stretched or slipping out. Anything that can use some power of the cyclist.

Bicycle Touring

The “standard” way for bicycle touring is with clip and strap. But now there are several models that can be used with clipless pedals.

They are designed with cleats more “hidden” so you can walk normally. This kind of shoes tend to be more flexible and because the traction needed for different roads, uphills and downhills came with more robust treads. Some kind of “off-road” shoe 😀

Everyday Riding

Well, this is of course, a kind of mixture between a sport shoe and a mountain bike shoe. It has an internal sole which is softer that fits the foot. Also, have a midsole that protects the rider´s foor from the pressure on the pedal. And can spread the pressure more even. You can also attach a cleat for a clipless pedal

Mountain Bike

This type of shoes, like the touring shoes, has a two-slot cleat mounting system that allows you to use with clipless pedals. But since the rider hast to get off the bike more often, the outsole is more aggressive, lugged-type outsole. It´s also possible to add spikes in the front for more traction on mud, for example.

Northwave Rebel MTB 2018 Shoes

Because here you need to walk, some time a lot, pushing your bike (up, generally) the cleats are also shorter that the treads of the sole so that it´s posible to walk normally.

Spinning

This is an indoor bicycle shoe, which it was not really well accepted because the small market.

Booties?

This is not exactly a shoe. It´s more a cover for a shoe, specially for wet weather. The material it´s usually rubber or neopren, witch has the advantage of being stretchy.

For closing, they came with a zip

It´s not a “shoe” designed for walking (altough the boot continues under the sole). If you try to walk, the would not last for a couple of adventures.

You can use it with clipless systems since they have a hole in the sole

Shoes for every Step of the Ride

So, there you have it. Every type of shoe has his own advantages (and disadvantages. Try to ride at 50 mph with sandals :D). So, next time you choose a shoe, take in consideration what will be using the for.

Pay attention to soles, rigidity, isolation. Put them on, and go for a ride!

Happy Ride

Jason

How to Choose a Bicycle Seat – Taking Care of your Pal

How is the Ideal Seat: Soft or Hard, Wide or Narrow? Their components and how they fit together when we want to know how to choose a bicycle seat. The important points to take in account when you are looking for a good seat that will allow you to do a comfortable trip

Looking for the Ultimate Seat

Most of us spend our lives looking for THE seat. That one that you won´t even notice you have your butt on it. It´s like going for the Holy Grail for Catholics sometimes.

Like them who can´t really say what the Holy Grail is, We, the cyclists, are not really sure what and how the “Holly” Seat is 🙂

This is because the level of confort is not the same for you and me and also using the same seat for long time , We can misunderstand comfort and being accustomed to it.

Something that could happen, for example. is you stopped cycling for a while at winter season (yes, I know, It could be hard, right!?) and next spring you are ready to start riding again but then, something funny happens.

That beautiful and “great” seat you bought last year, and of course it cost a lot because “hey…I need a good seat, and the more expensive, the better”, right?, start to not feel “so good” and the tenderness and soft touch of its shapes and forms are not exactly how you remember it.

May be the Seat is Innocent

Can we blame the seat in this case? Maybe if we start riding again, in a few days everything will get to normal and our butt will feel the “love ” again?

A cyclist that went off the bike for a few months, therefore out of shape…will start, at the beginning, with enthusiasm and giving all his/her power, but over time, the legs will start to get tired, the muscles will burn, they will ask for help, so…sooner or later, your body will let it fall weightily on the seat…

Conclusion: Never bought a new seat, when the issue is, at first, US and not the Seat. If we are not in shape, let´s put our self in shape and then, if it is necessarily, go and get the bicycle seat.

So, once we are in that stage, the worst way to get a seat, is for the advice of others. The seat that might be conformable for hi/her won´t necessarily confortable for you. Every body is different, every way of riding is different, and so on..

The best way for this is get to know how your seat is, what can it offer and to value every benefit the seat can give us.

(NOTE: We are not talking about the professional cyclist and the technical rider, who needs a special treatment here. We are talking about the guy/gal that spend a lot o time on the bike, but he/she not on a competition)

SO…Soft or Hard?

The first impulse a cyclist have when he´s not confortable with his seat, is going for a “softer” seat. Something that, most of the time, is not correct. Everybody knows, for example,  that a softer mattress or a softer pillow is usually a bad decision for trying to get a better night. Well, our bicycle seat is the same. Let´s see why

Your Butt is Unique (Yes, I know you know…)

If we seat straight on a wooden board, we will notice that our sit-bones get all the our weight. They are designed for this and they won´t complain about that, except injuries.

In contrast with this, the “valley” ,that will formed between sit-bones, are not prepared to get your body weight at all. So most of the time, the main reason what you feel uncomfortable with your seat is exactly because this zone is getting most of your body weight and not the sit-bones

So, getting back to our example, let´s come back to seat straight  on the wooden, but put a pillow between you and the board. So, now We´ll have not just our sit-bones on the pillow but also the region between them, which is not the situation we need.

So, now We´ll have less body weight on the zone we need more, and more body weight when we need less. This is the same situation with a bicycle seat.

It´s funny to see people pushing their thumbs to the seat to “feel how soft it is”  with a yeah-this-is-the-stuff-I-need face 🙂

By the way…seat manufacturers know this…so, when they want to sell you a seat, they will put the effort in making it soft…The softer, the easier to sell it.

People that feel or perceive this kind of really soft seat as “more confortable” are those ones that ride for short periods, like 1 or 2 miles. On the other hand, this is the worst kind of seat to long-distance riders

“This is What will Solve all my Problems”

The other element that the seat manufacturers use as a marketing magnet, the “final solution” the “hearing prays” is GEL…which is a kind of hallo for the amateur seat seeker 🙂

But don´t get me wrong using gel (“super soft gel”!!) for stuffing the seat it´s a good thing. What I am saying is that this is not a one-way ticket to the seat heaven. And it won´t guarantee you a confortable ride. Because the main characteristic above the “softness” is the design.

And the last player in the the softer the better world, is the Gel Cover..(yeah…) The thing is if you have a bad seat in the first place, adding a gel cover will give you a…well…a bad seat with a gel cover on it :). You will continue to feel uncomfortable on your seat  because the design will still be there. Oh, by the way, you´ll have the same seat as we commented, only more expensive now.

The Seat Rules

If the seat it´s uncomfortable, change the seat. And after you get a good seat for you, you could start to thing if it´s worth it to add a gel cover or not.

Thank you for reading this, and if you have comments or any new idea to write about, just let me know if the comments!

Jason

Tips for Bicycle Touring: 6 Mistakes That´ll Take Out the Fun

I bet you are like most of us, just the idea of jumping onto the road will burn inside you, looking for adventure, discovering new places and landscapes, adrenalin, and be part of this road community, saying hi to every cyclist like you on the road.

TIps for Bicycle Touring

But be careful, you will need some tips for bicycle touring, because if you are not well-prepared for certain things, it´s likely that you will finally understand the concept of …” I told you.” 😀 can ruin your plans

Just a few examples, and maybe you can relate to…

The Sun is almost set and you started to look for the camp out, that “somebody” told you once…

For some reasons you start to feel dizzy, your mouth it has being dry one hour ago, and oops, you water bottle is already empty. I personally like to have an 2 liters hydration backpack for extra water supply

You are “almost” getting to the destination of your day, just 4 hours more…and your brand new seat that you are using for the first time on this trip it´s killing you (well, not you..your “behind”)

You were picked up by a truck driver that smoke like a chimney, and his CD is playing heavy metal so loud that your ears are bleeding. The good news it´s you´re gonna be 5 hours earlier that your friends riding out there…”yeah, who needs to enjoy the fresh air, right?”

You ensure that your fatigued legs, starvation, and a butt turned into a rock with no line between won´t demolish your so-hard-to-earn 15 days of vacation for this year, I will give 5 common mistakes that We all did at least once in our bike touring career 😀

Mistake Number 1

Starting your training on the road

Some people will believe that it´s possible to get in shape while they are doing the actual trip.”Yeah, I´ll be awesome after 5 days on the road, I will grow my legs pedaling, and all will be great”. It does not work that way. You´ll realize soon that You should have done it before.Tips for Bicycle

If you were not riding for a while before your trip, I would suggest to start 2-3 months before.

Start with 15 Miles daily, 3 days a week. After 5 trips like this…

Go for 20 Miles daily, 3 days a week. Just continue add miles little by little, it´s the bes way.

See the longest distance you will ride, and try to reach this as we already mentioned above. And you can even extend this 20% once your are really conformable with this, to check how your body will respond to this.

Mistake Number 2

Prepare your Mind

A lot of people that can´t continue the trip are not mentally prepared for this kind of adventure. Very often, it your head, more that you body that doesn´t allow you to keep going. You will must to be ready for face challenges and problems (wind, rain, storms, pain, fatigue) and work through them. You´ll have to be able to convince yourself that, even really slow, you´ll get there.

Mistake Number 3

To Train without the Equipment

Tips for Bicycle Touring
Train with the Equipment you will carry

If you are planning to do bicyletouring and camping you´ll have to train with all your camping equimpment at maximum load. Specially if this will be your first trip with saddlebags. You´ll need to know that your bike will be kind of transformed “into another bike”. What I am trying to say here is that you will be riding in other terms of stability, driving, and of course energy and water consumption.

You will need to break before than you are used to, since your bike is more heavy now and more momentum. Be careful when you turn, you won´t be able to lin the same way, cause your saddlebags could touch the road.

Mistake Number 4

To Forget to Take Care of Your Butt and Hands

You should pick up a comfortable seat but pay attention to the disign. Some time the big one looks really comfortable but they are made for short trips and from-time-to-time trips on bike with a more upright position

Some riders use specific creams in order to prevent skin irritation due to seat-butt friction. Using baby powder at night is a great option. This will keep the zone dry and clean. Also, change your short every day 😉

But sometimes, the only choice is standing the situation, and perhaps…wait for a few days. If you are going to rent the bike, carrying your own seat could be a good idea.

For you hands, of course a pair of globes is recommended. Do not for get to move your hands, changing the position from time to time around the handlebars. In a nutshell, The more positions your handlebars allows for your hands, the better.

Mistake Number 5

Carrying Too Much Stuff

Take the minimum for your trip. Wearing or using something once a week is not a reason to take it with you for the tour. If you are going to go for a 2-weeks long adventure with no other support than yourself all what you will need should not be heavier than 30-40 pounds.

Do not forget that being prepared for 3 weeks, it the same of being prepared for 3 months 😉

People tend to think to carry a lot of clothes because the weather changes. But here is when the “wearing layers” concept appears. You can combine the same clothes and make it ready for rain and wind, or rain and hot, cold and win. You get the point. You can even regulate your temperature just zipping in and zipping out your jacket 😉

The good news is that the technical advances in fabrics (specially underwear) can reduce the amount of clothes you´ll need to put in your bags

Mistake Number 6

Getting Obsessed with Diet

Let me be clear here: You´ll need energy, you´ll need to EAT. We saw vegans doing a great trip, and we also see people eating fast food doing a great trip. We are not going deep here into nutrition.

But please, don´t go for a bicyling tour for loosing weight, because the only thing you´ll get it getting out of fuel at the very most important moment when you need it most, trust me. Would you enjoy a vacation being tired all the time?

You´ll need carbs as you main source of energy, but also fat (saturated or non-saturated? JUST FAT! For the name of God!) and protein. And of course, a lot of liquids

So, Plan Ahead.

Taking this mistake in account, will help you to have a more enjoyable trip. You can “fix” them the best way for you.

And please, I will love to hear about your experiences, and how you handle this issues

Happy Trip!

Jason

BICYCLE TOURING FOR BEGINNERS: An Essencial Check List

bicycle touring for begginers

So, You were planning this since you remember. You´ve read all the Bicycle Touring for Beginners (and Dummies) Books out there (and you looked even more bike touring covers books). You were thinking about this anytime you see a cyclist on the road full of gears. You see the tent and how cool it looks, and how freedom he/she must be feeling right now. But You are kind of afraid because it´s a whole new world out there. So, where should I start to look at.

Here, I will try to help you to Check 5 Essential Points for Bicycle Touring.

First, Where the Heck are You Gonna Go To

I bet you already have an idea, right? Or maybe you are just thinking, “I don´t really care so much, as long as I have mountains in front of me”. Well, that´s me. You may want beaches all the way, or the dessert, or even ice all around you! I know some crazy and brave cyclists that went on a ride to Antarctica!

Anyway, either you choose it long time ago or just picked a place with eyes close on a map, you should start to define some points:

Is the starting point the same as the finish line? This will really simplify the organization of your trip. So that You could let bags, boxes or even containers you may had used for getting there at the starting point.

Extra Help?

http://<a href=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D2LFHQ8/ref=as_li_ss_il?aaxitk=luQPdoHAuhZrtYz4Lv03fg&pd_rd_i=B07D2LFHQ8&pf_rd_p=44fc3e0f-4b9e-4ed8-b33b-363a7257163d&hsa_cr_id=6646964830701&sb-ci-n=productDescription&sb-ci-v=Bike%20Phone%20Mount%20Holder:%20Best%20Universal%20Handlebar%20Cradle%20for%20All%20Cell%20Phones%20&%20Bikes.%20Clamp%20Fits%20Road%20Motorcycle%20&%20Mountain%20Bicycle%20Handlebars.%20Cycling%20Accessories%20for%20iPhone%20X%208%207%206%20Plus%20Galaxy%20ETC.&linkCode=li2&tag=pablop-20&linkId=bd31e499807726bf2ed575bc3a524018&language=en_US” target=”_blank”><img border=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07D2LFHQ8&Format=_SL160_&ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=pablop-20&language=en_US” ></a><img src=”https://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=pablop-20&language=en_US&l=li2&o=1&a=B07D2LFHQ8″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

Knowing your trip beforehand will allow you to check the slopes and to consider before how much fast (or slow) you will be riding. For a rough calculation you could set 4 miles/hour to 9 miles/hour uphill and 11 miles/hour to 17 miles/hour downhill (ohooo!!)

Check the weather for the day and place you will be. Specially rain seasons and melt seasons. A good tip is that, early in the morning, thaw rivers have less flow, but this won´t avoid that you will get wet when you need to cross that river!

Other tips is to check the direction of the predominant winds (trust me, I know!) that could really be a big problem if it´s strong. We should even reconsider to do the trip to the other direction we thought originally.

We must verify the schedule of our transportation to get to our starting point. This could sound not a big deal, but arriving too late, or too early could add extra issues to, for example, put up the tent.

To know how many hours of sun light you´ll have check the sunset and sunrise time. This will help you to plan how much distance you will be able to make per day.

Define how many “check points” with water and food for supplying you can get per stage. You may need to divide stages if you believe that you won´t have enough water or food. Remember: 3 liters (0.89 gallon) it´s a very good number to take in account.

Bike Equipment: 4 Must-Haves

First of all. Are you riding alone or with a partner/team? This is really crucial because you can share the load and the equipment (you don´t need 3 tents if you are 3, right? Maybe yes, but I assume that these ones are good and trusty fellows :D)

Bicycle touring for begginers

If you travel solo, you should need to keep more space for the whole equipment.

Stove: There is 2 types of stoves (with all their own world of alternative). First, you have the one that uses a Butane/IsoButane/Propane Fuel Cartridge (“Liquid Gas” for the rest of the mortals). Advantages are that the actual stove it tends to be less expensive, but the cartridge is more expensive. And you will be generating more residuals with this empty cartridges. By the way, they do not work too well at high locations.

The other type of stove uses liquid fuel. Could be alcohol, gasoline, etc. They are more expensive but the actual fuel it´s cheaper. And you can get it in most of the places you´ll (“oh…the places you´ll go :D)

Pot Sets: This is really a great choice since they are light and do not take too much space when you put them one into the other. An option is just pick up a small pot max capacity 1.5 to 2 liters. Don´t forget to add the fork, a knife and a spoon!

Tent: Should be light for carrying it and have a good “habitability”. Personally I prefer the igloo-type tents. They have more space and you can set them up really quick. Do not forget to check win resistance and water resistance! I remember when I realized that my tent was not rain-proof…once started to rain inside…oh mama.

Sleeping Bag. First and most important tip: Never get cold! If you are traveling in summer you may be fine (although take in account the places you will be camping: even in summer, nights can be really cold!).

Remember: You CANNOT sleep when you are cold.

Check for different stuffing: feathers and synthetics. The sleep bags stuffed with feathers are more expensive but smaller. Synthetics tends to be cheaper but they are more voluminous. Try to put a foam or aluminum mat under your bag in order to isolate a bit the cold of the floor.

Clothing for Your Trip

Personally I prefer using cyclist clothes (Jersey sets, shorts, long sleeve pants, depending on the weather) since I think is more comfortable. For the rest of your clothing, you know what they say “treat your self like an onion” (well I am not really sure if people give that kind of advice, but you get the idea). Wear clothes in layers. You start with a thermal shirt, softshell vest, a micro polar o polar jacket and finally a windshield jacket.

The advantage of this “stacking” is that you can combine them based on the temperature. Of course, try no to put the windshield jacket before the shirt 😀

And this is really personal, I love using cargo pants above the thermal pants. I feel like I am in a real adventure. And I love the extra pockets of course

Having you Bicycle in good conditions

I would not recommend doing a trip with a bicycle with just one single Speed. 18 and above is ideal. Remember that you will be conquering the top of the mountain! Well, maybe not so extreme, but you will be going up hill and down hill most of the time. And it´s not only for up hill, it´s really nice when you are going dowhill, and you can speed the bike up!

To be honest, I never had any problem when I had the bike in conditions. On the other hand, I faced some issues when I did not. So, get you partner to the workshop! Also consider learning a bit about bike repairing too ;). More than the basic of repairing a flat tire.

OK, but how do I carry all this bike gears?

This is my advice to you. A good 50 liters panniers for back seat and a 36 liters bag to set it on the panniers will be good enough and will allow you to ride comfortable. Consider adding a 6 liters front bag.bicyle touring for beginners

For a nice distribution, you can use this as a guide.

  • Panniers: All you need mostly for you. Clothes, sleep bag
  • Back Bag: tent, isolation matt and more equipment
  • Bag at the Front: First, food! 😀 Something you could be picking while you drive. Nuts, Cereals, a Fruit (maybe for the next post!), a windshield, flashlight and Sun Cream

I hope you like this post, and I want to wish you a great first (or not) bike touring trip!

Regards

Jason

Bicycle Tail Lights – Safety First

It is always surprising how bicycle riders are sometime unaware of how little are seen by cars drivers at night. Recognizing an object when the Sun is out, takes more time, and the driver has to be closer to see it.

bicycle tail lights

So when somebody drives a car in the middle of the night, the bikes suddenly appear in front of them and it can end up in a crash accident, that can be fatal. And We know who is the most likely victim. On your bike you are the most fragile part of this equation. A friend of my used to say. “You are the only soft part here”. Clever Guy. So, how is the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way to minimize this? Star with a loyal friend: Bicycle Tail Lights

You have to see your self like a pedestrian. We tent to feel like we are another vehicle in the same situation, same rules, same right. We should, I really believe this

But in the are, We are not. Specially if you do not live in those bicycle-friendly cities out there in the world.

We have to take care of our selves

Saving your Life could be as Simple as This

Knowing that this is not the only thing you should do, it´s a really importan part of all this: Being Seen!

We are not talking here about wear bicycle gears here, plasma auras (even there is some cool bicycle plasma tail lights!) force shields, o even hiring Captain America (maybe also his clone, just to have both side of the bicycle covered) to protect our bikes and us from the cars at night. It´s a bit simpler, its just a light. Even a small led light can make the whole different, even though I personally recommend a minimum of 3 lights, and even better if they are leds lights. Also, try to have those that have flashing lights, because it´ll say to car drivers: “Hey, this is not a normal car light. Could be something else so pay attention, be careful”

It´s Cool, Come on!

Being Flashing in the middle of the night like a cool U.F.O. some advantages. Today´s Bicycle tail lights “dress up” your friend for adventures in many different ways, with many different colors, giving it some kind of great glow. (nice glow man!). We can almost feel like one of the actors from The Fast and the Furious movie!

bicycle tail lights

Well I am not completely sure about that but you get the point. There are even some tail lights with lasers, come on! It´s that cool or not?

Treat your Bicycle like a Car

Would you go out with your car if lights are now working properly? With not light at all? Probably not because it is a potential accident. If we also think that We have no chance, no defense or we´re just simply “the defense”, We would NEVER go out without the red light on our bikes.

We should treat the lack of lights the same way We would treat having a flat tire. We simply cannot ride it. I know it might sound too extreme, but once you turn this into a habit, a must, it would turn into something really normal, and you will feel unconfortable if you don´t have that tail lights. It will save your LIFE.

Some Tips for Tail Lights

Personally I prefer led flashing lights. Minimum of 3 leds. They are so bright that is almost impossible to see them directly (yes, I did that haha) There is another type of lights also, like laser. They generate some kind of square shape-like on the road that surrounds you while you ride, this is really awesome.

And crazy things like plasma-type light. They display some kind of crazy rays like those Tesla coil glass spheres. I bet a car will do pay attention to you in the night when he/she sees you riding like a crazy scientist who just got a great idea in his lab and had to go out in the middle of the night to “shape it out” 😀

Some useful type of tail lights are the rechargeable one, they tent to be a more expensive though. They normally have USB ports, so that you can charge them not only with a normal plug at home, but also with a computer. The advantage of these ones is that you do not have to carry extra batteries when you ride in the night. Or not knowing when their charge will be zero.

Before a long ride at night, you can plug your light in and you are ready to go. BUT…

It´s always about context right? So, sometimes lights that work with normal AA or AAA batteries are better for long rides, because you will be sure that you have your extra batteries in your pocket ;). Specially if you are planning to cross over the desert of Gobi right? 🙂 “A Plug Please?, Anyone?”

I also recommend the good all fashioned RED color. Most of the drivers are used to recognize the red light as a warning sing without even think about it. That is a plus when there is no time enough to completely recognize that´s a bycicle.

So, ALWAY Use Your Bicycle Tail Lights

  • There is not excuses for not using them:
  • They could Save you Life
  • Multiple Price Options
  • They are relatively small and they don´t take too much space off
  • You can pull the off and put it in a safe please if you need (specially the expensive ones)
  • They are really FUN!
  • Yes, You will feel like Vin Diesel or Michelle Rodriguez 😉

 

 

I hope you enjoy this post and you are at least a bit more aware about safety after reading this article.

Please, I would love to hear about you and your experience about this topic. Not a fancy one but It can and it will safe your like.

Also feel free to comment below this article to if you will.

Best Riding Wish

Jason

About Jason

Hello Awin

Welcome to the World of Bicycle Gadgets and Tools to improve our adventures on that faithful friend. Here you will found gadgets, tools, and info about the latest (and “not so latest”) improvements and accessories. And other stuff, like repairing, maintenance. Let´s improve our bikes!

JASON´S STORY

I love bicyles. Bicycle is equal to Freedom. I´ve being riding on a bike since I was a kid. First hanging with friends, some kind of excuse to meet each other. Then the passion started to lead me to longer rides, and finally today my bike is my freedom and partner to see the landscapes, the roads, the sunrise, to feel the wind on my face.

 

DOING OUR TRIP MORE FUN!

Even though the Bike it´s enough, it´s nice to have gadgets to enhance it. Having the proper tools to maintain and repair our bicycle in order to fully enjoy the ride. Having no surprise when We are in the forest, the road, the beach, even under the rain! Not to mention Safety!

 

WE ARE A GREAT COMMUNITY!

We will be testing, and recommending great gadgets and tools! The use of them, and information about our Bike and Trips. And I would love to hear your experience! I look forward to sharing all We know with you.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

Or just email me directly at jason@bicyclegearsandgadgets.com !

All the best,

JASON SMITH

BYCYCLE GADGETS AND TOOLS