Friday, February 27, 2009

Bicycling Tweeps

Found a big list of cyclists who tweet.

Some of my favorites so far:



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lock your bike


Paying closer attention the stolen bike database I'm seeing that many of the bikes listed as having a u-lock are in fact not locked when stolen. Seems people list the type of lock that they have, not how the bike was locked at the time of theft.


While perusing my bike blogs and feeds in Google Reader, I read yet another stolen bike report from Yet again, the lock in question is a combination cable lock. Why some people in the city of Chicago would spend over $500 on a bike, and put the crapiest lock they can buy at the store on it is beyond me.

A few seconds reading this comparison of locks will have you shaking in your SPD shoes over the prospect of using such a lock as the only thing between you and a crack head getting your nice bike. It litterally takes a few seconds to clip a cable lock.

The stolen bike reports will commonly include phrases such as "only left it for an hour". This is plenty of time. Most people won't even notice someone clipping the cable to you bike.

To backup my point a little, take a look at the statistics for Chicago. When you add up the percentage of bikes stolen with some kind of cable lock you get 42% of all reported cases were using a cable lock of some sort. This in comparison to 21.23% for U-locks and an amazing 1.62% for a bike specific chain lock. This mean, all things being equal (the often aren't), you are twice as likely to lose your bike to a cable than a u-lock.

If you use your u-lock correctly, by positioning it to allow as little room as possible to fit anything inside the u-lock, you should be pretty secure parking your bike. The national bike registry as more information on how to lock your bike. You could also go with Sheldon Brown's locking strategy.

Now, even u-locks aren't perfect and can be defeated also, but it takes some more effort. The game you are really playing is that your bike is harder to get than the one next to it, or down the road.

I don't get why a bike show would still sell a cable lock to a new customer without explaining the danger to them. I guess what the customer wants, the customer gets. :)

I personally use the Kryptonite bike chain. I ended up getting this because there wasn't anything at my appartment that was small enough to lock a u-lock to. It's worked great, but the thing is an eight pound beast. Good thing I'm not a small guy. I normally lock it on my back rack and let it hang down both side while riding. I find this easiest.

Whatever you do to lock your bike, here hopeing that no one ever takes a crack at your bike. I'd hate to find my bike stolen. I hope it never happens to you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

First Power Grips Tryout

Commuting home was my first attempt at using the Power Grips. What I found was that the winter shoes I was wearing were just too big to fit in the straps. So earlier tonight I put on my warmer weather shoes and went out for a short ride. I found them to work pretty well.

My only issue with them so far is that the considerable tread on the shoe is getting caught on the pedal when trying to "clip in". Summer and warm weather shoes shouldn't have a problem. The good thing about these is that they are small enough that if I need my cold weather shoes I can just ride the other side of the pedal, or if need be, just mash on top of them. They are a cloth material so no problem just riding on top of them.

Power Grips

I got my Power Grips in the mail today and finished installing them. I had an issue with the reflector bolts being rusted onto the pedals. But a pair of pliers and some torque took care of that real quick.

The power grips seem like they just might not fit the winter shoes I wear, but it's almost warm enough for me to be switching to them spring/summer shoes anyhow.

I let you all know how they turn out.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Today, me, my ride.

Today was the first day in a while where it's been actually warm. I've spent some of the winter off my bike. Early on I discovered a treasure trove of cash on a CTA card of mine. This, with the combination of injured knee, has resulted in me staying off the bike somewhat. I'd say about 2 to 3 days a week I would commute by bike, the rest by bus/train.

Being so warm made me want to be out riding. I have the gear for super cold weather, just not will.

Also this evening I patched some jeans. Pretty much the last pair I have. Some more are on order, but these will have to do for the week. I spent about four hours on the patch. I can sew, but only barely. The patch is definitely amateurish, but it'll work. I do like the DIY aspect of it though. Saddles eat through the seat of jeans.

Since this is my first post, I'll fill in to those of you who might be reading who I am. I'm a overweight web developer from Chicago. I hope this blog will help me keep motivation for loosing weight going. Also share some of the bike knowledge and experiences with others.

For over a year now I've been on the bike. I started because my roommate did. My mom was dying at the time and I really needed a release. Biking was it. Soon after I discovered West Town Bikes. A charity that does bike programs for youth and adults. I took their build-a-bike course. I've been volunteering there ever since and I'd like to think I'm pretty good with a wrench now.

What I ride. I have and old 1995 Novara Arriba-LT frame, steel like god intended. That frame is pretty much all that's left from it's origional state. I have it setup with Velocity Psycho 26 inch rims, Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires (never had a flat on them), butterfly bars. I have old shimano deore thumb shifters, which are amazing. Finally I have a WTB saddle.

I find all the things I've listed to be excelent. Took me over a year to find what would haul me around. I'm a big guy. Right now I'm over 300 pounds. The Psychos hold up amazingly. The WTB also fits me well. In later posts I'll expand on these particular parts and how I got to having them.

Until then.