Tomorrow, Friday May 17th, is National Bike to Work Day. You are encouraged to make your morning and evening commutes on a bicycle. The day is part of Bicycle Month, which is promoted by the League of American Bicyclists.
Many cities will be having events for biking commuters tomorrow. Some plan on having free breakfasts available for bikers in designated parts of the city, while others are holding giveaways and contests.
Bicycling can drastically reduce an individual’s carbon emissions while improving their health. It’s fun and can actually be faster than driving under certain circumstances, since bikes can bypass a lot of traffic.
As always, it’s important to be aware of bicyclists while driving. If you are choosing to drive a car tomorrow, try to be more careful and forgiving of the bicyclists you encounter, since some of them may be new to commuting via bike.
Riding a bicycle in conditions with low visibility can be dangerous if you do not have anything illuminating you or your bike. Reduced visibility, when combined with the speed at which cars move, makes bikers who do not have lights incredibly difficult to see. However, adding front and back lights to your bike can make you dramatically more visible, even in fog, rain, and darkness.
There are three primary kinds of bicycle headlights, distinguishable by how powerful they are. The standard light that all bikers should have is a basic commuter light. These lights don’t do much in the way of lighting a pathway, but they do increase your visibility to other vehicles, meaning they are much more likely to see you and therefore avoid a collision. Medium-powered lights are similar, but can light part of your way as well.
Beyond that, lights become increasingly powerful to the point where they can safely light an advanced trail at night. This is great for off-road cycling, but almost totally unnecessary for day-to-day commuting.
Staying visible at night or in foggy conditions is vital for cyclists since it drastically increases the chances cars will see them, reducing their risk of being injured in car accidents.
Eventually, your bicycle’s tires will wear out and you will need to purchase new ones. Since most cyclists have to deal with buying new tires so infrequently, the process remains a bit of an unknown to the masses. It doesn’t have to be that way! Choosing the right tires is not difficult at all for the casual rider. Besides, riding on worn out tires can increase the chances your tires will blow out or lose grip of the road, which are real, life-threatening dangers.
The first thing you have to know in order to replace your old, worn out tires is what size they are. Bicycle tire size is two-dimensional. Tires are first measured by their diameter, the distance from one end of the tire through where the wheel’s axle will be. Most bikes use tires that are between 25-27 inches. BMX bicycles commonly use 20 inch tires.
The other dimension is the tire’s width, which is a good indicator of how much grip it will have. Wider tires will have more grip, meaning improved control, but at the cost of losing more of the work you put into the bicycle to friction against the road. Tires that are wider also allow for more treading, which increases a cyclist’s control in muddy or wet conditions. Wider tires are more common among beach cruisers and mountain bikes, while narrow tires are prevalent on road and racing bikes.
To make matters simple, most tires actually have this information physically printed on them, so it should be easy to find. Otherwise, you can measure it out for yourself. When you go to make your tire purchase, be sure to get tires that fit your bike, are durable, and have an appropriate level of treading for where you ride.