Blog, Cycle U News, Uncategorized

Commuting by bicycle in Seattle – a free clinic 4/1 6:30pm

I’m giving a free clinic this Wednesday night at the West Seattle Cycle U at 6:30pm:  How to bike commute in Seattle.  Free tea and coffee as well, finshing at 7:15pm, 3418 Harbor Ave SW, free parking as always across the street.

I love riding my bike in traffic (this is Craig talking), today on my commute through downtown I felt like I was a motocycle in Hong Kong in rush hour traffic, but it was a Sunday, and I was just riding to the West Seattle store from the Sand Point store.   I arrived at work feeling 20 times better than when I had started, energized, calm and flush with good circulation.  I have been a bike commuter since I moved to Colorado to start racing in 1987, and there are few things in life that make more sense than riding your bike to work.  Here are the key benefits:

1.  Get in better shape

2.  No waiting in traffic or long lines of cars, much less frustration

3.  $ No gas and the repair bills are 1/20th of a car

Continue reading

Uncategorized

The fundamentals of getting faster on your bike. by Coach Craig

The fundamentals of getting faster on your bike. by Coach Craig

Cycling is like any other sport, there are fundamental skills, equipment and conditioning that create our performance on the bike. Like the elemental table they are the building blocks of all matter, in our case they build the cyclist we are or want to become. Some of us use only some of the elements, and others use all of them in the right quantities and the right order to maximize our speed and performance. Here are some helpful tips if you want to get faster this season.

1. Be sure your bike fits you well, you could be leaving 10% or more of your speed in a bad fit. We see it every season, riders with power meters see instant gains after getting fit correctly to their bikes. Plus they enjoy cycling more if they are comfortable and fast on the bike. Continue reading

Uncategorized

How to Fix a Flat (Step by Step Instructions)

Fix-A-Flat Supplies:

• Bicycle pump or Co2 Cartridge and Co2 inflator
• Patch kit
• Spare tube or 2
• 2 Tire levers
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FIRST: Understand the Terms.

The Tire is the round rubber circle that actually makes contact with the road.
The Wheel is the metal frame that the tire sits on.
The Rim is the side of the wheel, where the tire lip rests. (The part that the brakes grab on to.)
The Tube is the rubber thing that’s filled with air. So you see, you don’t really have a flat tire, you have a flat tube.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. BREATHE. Then remind yourself that you CAN do this!

2. REMOVING THE WHEEL. First release the brake on the wheel that has the flat (the mechanism is usually found right above the wheel), then remove the wheel from the bicycle. IF REAR wheel – Shift to put your bike into the smallest cog on the back and front cassette before removing the wheel. (This releases the chain and makes it easier to reinstall at the end.)

3. REMOVING THE TUBE. Empty the remaining air from the tube. Then use tire levers, insert them between the metal rim and the rubber tire bead (the curved edge that hugs the metal rim) on either side. Push both tire levers away from the wheel and remove one side of the tire bead. You need to remove only one side to change the tube. Remove the valve cap (where you pump air into the tire), then pull the tube from inside the tire.

4. INSPECT THE TIRE. Carefully inspect both the tire and the tube for the cause of the flat by running a cloth or tire lever inside the tire. Any sharp objects will snag the fabric. Remove the debris. Visually check the tire tread for other culprits or large cuts. Also make sure that no spokes or rough edges are rubbing along the inside of the metal rim. (If tire is blown out or severely damaged you will need to replace the tire or if on the road, use a folded dollar bill or gel wrapper to cover damage inside the tire until you can get to a bike shop.)

5. INSPECT THE TUBE. Pump up the old tube, then check for a leak. Choose to either repair the old tube using a bike patch kit (use the instructions on the repair kit you have) or replace it with a new tube.

6. INSTALL NEW/FIXED TUBE. Take your patched or new tube and insert it back into the tire. First install the valve in the valve opening, then work the rest of the tube into the tire all the way around. Pull the rubber bead of the tire back toward the metal rim. The tire bead should drop down into the metal rim. The bead will become trickier toward the end. You can push the bead with your thumbs or tire levers to make it fit. Sometimes this can take some muscle.

7. INFLATING. Once the tire is attached to the wheel, rock the tire back and forth looking to make sure that you cannot see the tube sticking out. (If it is and you didn’t check you will get a “pinch flat” as soon as you inflate.) Once the tube is up inside the tire, it is ready to be inflated. Look at the sidewall to find the recommended pressure or PSI. When inflating, make sure the tire is even and has no bulges or low spots.

8. INSTALL THE WHEEL. Put the wheel back onto your bike. If REAR wheel, ensure that you put chain back onto the smallest cog on the cassette (same as when you removed it) and then make sure that all gears are shifting properly again.

9. CONNECT THE BRAKES. Don’t forget this part!

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
*Want more information about Nutrition/Lifestyle/Cycling/Triathlon Coaching, or to join the Cycle University Multisport team – contact Mary Craig at Mary@cycleu.com.

Uncategorized

Bike Advocacy in Seattle

by Lang Reynolds

It may come as no surprise that an avid cyclist such as myself believes getting more people on bikes in the US could address many of the most pressing problems facing this country today. It’s even less surprising if you know I first started riding more seriously when I began commuting to middle school and kept it up throughout high school, trying to convince my friends to ride with me, organizing a bike- to- school event at local middle schools, and otherwise spreading the bike gospel.

When I started racing, though, I became… well… rather lazy, and didn’t participate in or contribute much at all to the more utilitarian aspects of cycling. It’s a strange contradiction that while having in common the use of a bike, racing is often far removed from or in direct opposition to the meliorative effects of cycling. After four-plus hours of hard training, the last thing I wanted to do was get back on a bike to ride to work or the grocery store, and driving or flying hundreds of miles many weekends throughout the season burned more gas than I would care to calculate. While many racers do a great job of commuting and otherwise being good “bike citizens,” if you’re like me and would like to get more involved in promoting cycling here in Seattle, I’ve put together below some good organizations, resources and initiatives which could benefit greatly from more voices of support from the racing and recreational cycling communities.

Why should we care? First off, increasing cycling participation and infrastructure greatly improves the safety of cycling, an obvious benefit to anybody that rides a lot. Just this week another professional cyclist was killed by a car in Spain, and closer to home just about everybody has been or knows someone who has been injured in a car/bike accident. Recent data out of Philadelphia confirm other studies which show increases in the number of cyclists on city streets leads to a decrease in traffic accidents involving cyclists. Additionally, there are of course the long-touted benefits of reduced pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and gasoline use. There are also many less-well-publicized yet very significant economic benefits of cycling which can bolster local economies while reducing energy use and congestion. Data from across the US show that people who bike to shops and restaurants spend more than those who drive, building cycling infrastructure creates more jobs per dollars spent than car-oriented projects, and substituting bike trips for car trips saves consumers a lot of money, some of which finds its way back into the local economy.

There are many local organizations working hard on behalf of cycling throughout Washington – you may already be aware of Cascade Bicycle Club and Bicycle Alliance of Washington’s excellent advocacy efforts. Cascade’s Major Taylor Program, run by former Cycle U coach Ed Ewing, is one of the coolest local bike efforts. Every year Major Taylor gets hundreds of kids out on bikes who might otherwise not have that opportunity. Major Taylor is a great place to donate that bike you haven’t used in a while. Another fantastic program for getting kids on bikes is Bike Works.

In addition to local organizations, there are many projects which need your support. Strong support from cyclists who will use the improvements is necessary to overcome gaps in funding and the unfortunately loud volume of small, localized opposition to many of these projects despite their overwhelming benefits for the community. These include projects such as the recently-postponed Ballard Greenway, the proposed (but under threat) 520 Portage Bay Bike/Ped trail, the 65th Street NE cycle track, and Safe Routes to Schools.

Here at Cycle U we’re lucky enough to work with people throughout the cycling experience spectrum, from absolute beginners just starting out to hardened veterans. There is nothing quite like the unadulterated joy when someone first discovers the freedom of riding a bike or a new level of competence in adulthood after a hiatus away from bikes. At the end of the day it is this joy and the transcendental nature of riding a bike which is perhaps the best reason we work to bring cycling to as many people as we can. Over the past few years I let some complacency get in the way of things I could have done to help grow cycling here in Seattle beyond the narrow confines of serious enthusiasts. I’m looking forward to putting in more work on this in the future, and I hope you’ll join me.