For the love of bicycles

2012-06-14

Art & Science of Bicycling ~ Bikes are tough to beat in terms of urban transportation: They’re reliable, emissions-free, small, healthy, and cheap to operate.

ARTICLE: Mother Nature Network – 12 cool urban bicycles to replace your car, by Chris Baskind (March 20, 2010)
Fuel-efficient vehicles are great. Driving less is even better.
We’re big bicycle fans here. Bikes are tough to beat in terms of urban transportation: they’re reliable, emissions-free, take up very little parking space, and cost almost nothing to operate. Depending on your commute or the length of your errand, it’s possible that a bicycle will get you where you’re going faster than an automobile. And they’re great for your health. For many people, a bicycle could replace a car (or a second vehicle). Even if putting your auto out to pasture isn’t a realistic option, having a bicycle on hand can substantially lower your monthly transportation costs and environmental footprint.
What is an urban bike, anyway?
You can commute, get some fresh air, or fetch groceries on pretty much any bike that rolls. But urban bicycles are a developing class of bike which falls between skinny tired, racing-style bicycles and their burly offroad cousins, the mountain bike. They’re known by a lot of trade names: city bikes, commuters, town bicycles and hybrids. Generally speaking, urban bikes are optimized for reliable city travel. Features vary from bike to bike and manufacturer to manufacturer. Most urban bikes are built with a comfortable, upright riding position for better visibility in traffic. They may be equipped with one or more of the following: cargo racks; fenders and mudflaps; a light set; chain guard; wider, puncture-resistant tires; and a kickstand. Almost all urban bikes are multispeed, and many feature low-maintenance internal gearing. Click here to read further and learn about their 12 best picks.

CONSIDER THESE GREAT BOOKS ON THE TOPIC:

The Urban Biking Handbook: the DIY Guide to Building, Rebuilding, Tinkering with, and Repairing Your Bicycle for City Living, by Charles Haine: Ever wanted to take a bicycle vacation? Go on a bike date? Convert your beater into a fixie? Or are you just curious about the anthropology of urban cycling culture? The Urban Biking Handbook teaches you the anatomy of your bike, how to dismantle it, how to reassemble it, how to make it pretty, how to make it ugly…and most importantly, how to make it yours. Bike your way through car-jammed cities, under overpasses, and over the hills and far away to a cyclist’s paradise.
– Learn to repair a flat, modify your handlebars, true your wheel, and fix your bike on the fly.
– Not just for gearheads: Learn about what to wear, what to eat, how to pack, and how not to get doored.
– Want to build your own bike? Get started with fully photographed tutorials and inspiration from the bike lovers profiled inside. Get your bike on with The Urban Biking Handbook!

Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, by Lennard Zinn: Today’s bicycles are complicated machines that can be expensive to maintain and repair. Zinn has written this book to help both the leisure bike rider and expert mechanic handle almost any problem associated with road bikes. In an effort to appeal to people of varying mechanical abilities, the book separates bicycle repair procedures into three levels, depending on difficulty. Level one is reserved for novices, while levels two and three are for more mechanically savvy bike owners. Each chapter covers a certain bicycle component and includes the tools needed to repair that particular part. Zinn also includes troubleshooting guides at the conclusion of each chapter and, for those interested only in general maintenance, a chapter that covers the basics of keeping a bike road-worthy. Whether someone is experienced at repairing bicycles or is just a weekend rider, this book includes everything to keep bikes rolling.

Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance, by Lennard Zinn: Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance, 4th Edition, is a complete update of the most concise, well-organized, and best-illustrated reference guide to mountain bike maintenance and repair. Whether you wish to adjust the latest hydraulic disc brake or rehabilitate a decades-old mountain bike, you will find everything you need inside, with clear diagrams and succinct, step-by-step instructions to guide you. Thousands of mountain bikers have depended on Lennard Zinn’s sage advice since the first edition in 1996. This new revision makes fixing your bike easier than ever. Lennard Zinn is famous for his ability to simplify complicated technical information and make it accessible to anyone. The career of many a bike mechanic has been launched in a garage with a Lennard Zinn book close at hand. The fourth edition of the world’s most popular mountain bike repair manual will make a mechanic out of you!
http://www.zinncycles.com/book_and_dvd.php

8 responses to For the love of bicycles

  1. 

    I love this, Gina. I am blessed to love in Fort Collins, CO which recently earned the distinction of being the most bike-friendly town in the U.S. We have bike lanes and bike paths everywhere and on a busy weekend, if one rides their bike into our town center (Old Town), it can sometimes be a problem finding place to lock one’s bike – even with the many, many bike stands available! I hope our North American culture continues to embrace the use of this efficient and healthy way of transportation and I appreciate you posting information about bicycles. Thank you! Cathy

    • 

      Cathy this is wonderful! What a proud distinction for a city or town to earn! And let us envision more and more cities having that kind of ‘problem’… to find parking… for one’s bike! Excellent.
      Your visits and comments mean so much. Hugs, Gina

  2. 

    We have horrible infrastructure for walkers and bikers where I live. If you don’t have a car, you go nowhere, or you get killed or maimed doing it. That really needs to change.

    • 

      You remind me of a story about a newly constructed college that had clever planners who waited one year before installing paths. They waited to see the worn footpaths through the sod that formed from students and the regular routes they would travel between buildings and the classes within them. Then, they installed the concrete pathways. This story came to mind as I imagined you, and other bikers, having to ride on the green space beside the highways – at least I hope you have a bit of space next to your roads – where they could/should/please put paved pathways. If not, well I really feel for anyone who lives in a city without a friendly infrastructure for bicycling. I would suggest being a ‘squeaky wheel’ and getting your friends to help. Call city hall. Write letters. Be heard.
      Good luck dear heart. I do not intend to ‘give advice’ but I do wish you could ride your bike to work or wherever safely. ~Gina