How to Clean Your Bike
Well folks Spring is here and the trails could be muddy – even in the relatively dry climate where I live. Last Saturday I went out on my morning bike ride with something that looked like mist… By the time I had done 30-minutes into my ride, water was dripping consistently from my helmet and my riding clothes were wet. Surprise, so were the trails. Mud was going everywhere on my bike…
So what do you do once the ride is over and you are back at your place?
The answer – several things:
- Rinse the whole bike — this will help to get mud and gunk from the road off your bike and away from potentially damaging the finish on your bike. Rinse it with your hose on a relatively gentle setting so you do not drive dirt into the various bearings and joints on the bike
- Then get a soapy sponge or rag and wipe down the various moving components and chain. Rinse well and dry with another rag. Apply lubricant on the chain, rear and front derailleur
- Check the disk brakes or pads for dirt and grit that may have embedded itself in the components and surfaces.
- Use a brushes set (example shown below) to scrub moving parts and ensure dirt has been removed from the moving components as if that dirt stays there as you ride it will act as a sandpaper….potentially damage the components.
- Once you have washed the bike, you need to apply lubricant on the moving parts – cassette, derailleurs, chain…
you are now ready for the next bike ride…Enjoy!
Have you seen a mountain bike carrier for a motorcycle??? Until today I had not! But live and learn, right…! Now I have seen that too.
Fellow riders – I was amazed to see a story published by salsacycles.com on a couple of avid mountain bikers and their journey via motorcycle and mountain bikes through 5 states in the Midwest…. The impressive parts of the story are multiple, but what really caught my attention was the clever way in which the mountain bikes were transported on the BMW (I suppose the brand of the motorcycle is not relevant) motorbikes. Take a look for yourself — the photos below are from salsacycles.com
BMW motorcycle with a bike carrier
Mountain bike carrier – another view
I have been experimenting with bike carriers for a number of years now – and I must admit this is my first for a motorcycle — very clever one indeed!
(Note: All the images above are from Salsa Cycles’s Web site – I posted here as the site was having intermittent outages over the last several days including today (Dec.7th))
So now that I have seen that – I decided to search for the carrier on the Web and yes, it is a productized item – 2X2 Cycles Motorcycle Bicycle Rack – so for those of you who need it check their Web site – describing the rack developed by Garrett Blake.
On my current trip via Europe to Asia I came across an interesting bike rack — Thule EuroWay G2 921 Bike Carrier
Check it out (from the Thule web site):
- New improved, detachable bike arms for convenient mounting of bikes.
- Folds flat easily for simple storage and fits in most trunks.
- Smart foot pedal tilt for easy trunk access even with bikes mounted.
- Adjustable one hand coupling with low closing force for easy mounting of carrier.
- Pump buckles with long wheel straps for easy fastening of wheels.
- Carrier lockable on tow bar and all bike positions lockable to carrier (locks included).
Link to a good video on it:
One of the key decisions a bike rider needs to make sooner or later is how to transport the bicycles to and from the trails or any other biking location. In some cases you may be fortunate enough to have good trails or bike path that allows you to hop on your bike and head on the trail directly out of your home, but the chances for that are usually very small.
Given that fact, you would need a safe and convenient way to transport your bike(s). There are a number of questions you would need to answer and decide on in order to get the optimal for you solution. Some of those questions are:
- What are the options for a bike carrier given the vehicle I have?
- What to consider in evaluating the options?
- What is the best option I can get?
- What is the cost of the selected option?
I am currently in the process of deciding on the bike carrier myself, so here is my assessment:
I am going to provision a bike carrier for our recently purchased (within the last year) SUV. Given the fact that the vehicle is a SUV, we need to consider the pros and cons of both safety and ease / convenience of mounting the bikes and taking them down from the carrier we select.
Here is a table with the analysis I did:
||Bikes, boats, surf boards, ski, canoe, kayak
very versatile and flexible for multi-use purposes;
Allows for relatively easy access to doors, trunk, rear hatch
potentially difficult to access due to height; impeding access to low clearance areas
Increased wind resistence
|Bikes, skis, snowboards
||Easy to load and access bikes
Fewer usage cases – no option to load bikes and a kayak for example; Not as secure / stable – the bikes may sway when traveling at high speed;
Requires the installation of a hitch subsystem which adds to the overall cost
||Bikes are the only item to carry with those
relatively low cost
can be used on multiple vehicles without complex disassembly and subsequent assembly
Not permanently attached to your vehicle
interfere with the use of the trunck or vehicle hatch;
Bikes not as stable during transport;
bikes could rub against each other during transport causing potential damage
|Spare Tire Racks
||Relatively low cost; Provide for east access, mounting and dismounting of bikes; allows for access to hatch
||Not as stable as roof mounted – bikes may sway during travel; limited number of bikes that could be carried
|Bikes, canoe, kayak, ski
||Easy to use – load and access the bikes; allow for higher weight; allow for more secure transport
||Impact the storage space in the truck bed
Yesterday afternoon I continued on the quest to figure out what is the best solution for a bike rack for my SUV. Armed with the initial knowledge from research on the Web, I decided to visit the dealership and see what they would recommend. The Web information was relatively scarce – my biggest issue was that the pages I found did not provide enough detail on the options.
As I stated in the previous posting – I had located two rear mounted bike rack options – one mounted to a hitch (well actually there are multiple options for the hitch mounted) and one that is drectly attached into the bumper of the SUV
So, after visiting with the dealership I found that for the BMW X5 there are really only two options:
a) the rack that attaches into special socket directly into the SUV bumper. Very nice integration story BUT:
- only works with the BMW X5 – i.e. not portable to another vehicle if needed
- and only can support up to 2 bikes — apparently there was an extension option for two more bikes but the guys in the dealership could not locate the option in their catalogue — most likely the option has been discontinued. So if you want to transport 3 bikes — our case – then you are out of luck!
b) install a hitch at the dealer — and then purchase a hitch mounted bike rack. This is a much more expensive option but at least it is more versatile and allows you to consider multiple bike racks from Thule, Yakima, BMW and others.
Here are a couple of additional carriers I will look into before I make a final call on which path to take:
I like the lock cable on the Thule bike rack – but based on discussion I had with the local REI guys these sort of bike racks are not the easiest to use in terms of loading and unloading bikes. At any rate, I will do some testing once the hitch is mounted on the vehicle. Stay tuned…..
With the start of a New Year I think most of us jump head first into resolutions on how to get more exercise and outdoor activities in our life. The intent is for more hiking trips, more gym memberships and training sessions, skiing trips for those who live close to or can visit often the ski slopes…..and on and on. For us, the mountain biking enthusiasts – the same holds true. Now is the time to tune up (if you have not done so already) your favorite bike, make sure it operation is as smooth as possible and make the plans to hit the trails.
If you are wondering where those trails may be in your target geographic area, do not hesitate and proceed to the Bike Trails section on this blog.
Once you have decided where to go, you will need to figure out the option for how to transport your and potentially your family's bikes. This is where I am now. Need to figure out a new solution for my bikes given the SUV we have.
Over the years I have used bike racks that are rear door or trunk mounted – using straps and the weight of the bikes as a way to secure the system. Those racks are low cost BUT are not an option for many bikes – I finally hit that problem with our 29ers. The frames – especially that of my wife's bike, does not allow to use those racks.
On my previous vehicle (a station wagon) I had gone with the Thule roof rack – which was able to handle up to four bikes, but now with the SUV, that option went out as the vehicle is too tall which makes it very difficult to put bikes on the roof. So now I had to search for new options.
There are a couple of those it appears:
- rear mounted bicycle carrier that is specific to BMW and attaches to the towing eyelets on the rear bumper. Here is an image of what I found on the web — still have to talk with the dealer on what options they can offer
- The second option I am considering is the hitch mounted Thule bike rack — shown in the Amazon box above. This is more versatile from standpoint of being reusable to multiple vehicles with a hitch and also being able to expand to 4-bike carrying option
Well, I will be checking these two options out in the next few days and will report on the results as soon as possible.
My next project (outside of developing this Web site and blog) is to update my bike carrier. Over the years I have gone through multiple options when transporting bikes (primarily mountain bikes) – of course starting with the venerable trunk mounted bike rack. This worked for a while – when bikes were with simpler geometry and when I had to transport one or two (at most) bikes.
Since then I have had experience with a bunch of other bike rack options. Here are my previous postings on those experiences: Here I had a review of bike rack options; Then I looked at one of the newer racks with reviews on-line — did not find it very helpful;
Then I decided that it was time to invest in a multi-bike solution for my station wagon — I picked up the modules to be able to mount 3 bikes on the roof of my car. Thule had the solution including locking mechanism.
Now however, I need to decide on new approach. My wagon is getting old and I need to use the family SUV for the longer trips. So the next project is now in full blown investigation stage: How do I acquire a hitch for the SUV and if possible reuse the Thule bike carrier rails — specifically Thule Sidearm 594XT if matched together with a hitch mounted carrier….?
I will write the next progress report as I determine the solution that is possible — ideally, I do not want to buy yet another set of carriers if I can reuse the three I have. If not, here we go Craigslist
Well folks, bicycle parking in Japan is undergoing huge upgrade and change leveraging innovations in robotics, and information systems.
Traditionally, the bicycles we all know, use / ride to various destinations in a city, are parked on the street tied up to some secure point on a building or sidewalk. In the better cases one could use a bicycle parking area (like the photos below):
As you can imagine – these approaches to parking are well used and easy to deploy (i.e. low cost to deploy). But land in the city is a premium – hence new companies are innovating to create new approaches for storing the bkes by just looking at new modes of how to approach the problem.
The latest approaches are robotic storage system that stores bikes underground in a completely auomated system.
Here is the link to a big articles with photos…A great new system….
The Kuat Alpha Rack – Different Point of View
I came across a recent review of the Kuat Alpha bike roack on the Mtbr Forum. This is a relatively important topic for many biking enthusiasts as transporting the bicycles is a task I have been looking into for a number of years. I started with trunk mounted bike racks. Those turned out too tough to use with more than 1 bike – still possible with 2 bikes — but progressively difficult, to impossible as you attempt to put on 3 bikes or more…
So then I graduated to the roof mounted bike racks. That appears to be working well except the process of placing the bikes on the roof of the car on the trays / bike rack, is not for the weak 🙂 You need plenty of upper body strength and potentially a step stool — I kid you not…..
Then I started looking into the next alternative — hitch mounted bike rack. Here we have two options:
a) Hanging type bike rack on the hitch
b) Tray racks that attach on the hitch
I personally believe the Tray Racks are the way to go. Why? Because the issues that I have with the hanging type rack remain the same no matter whether you are using a trunk mounted hanging rack or hitch mounted one. The geometry of the new bikes we all use is such that the triangle of the frame of most bikes does not allow for more than 2 bikes to be placed on the hanging bike rack.
I saw the review of the Kuat Alpha Rack — see below the tree options they offer for hanging bikes. I believe
the 2 bike version will work OK, but the other — with 3 or more won't be a joy to use at all — in my experience the bikes will be into each other's way and will be very tough to mount them on the hitch safely.
I personally think the tray loaded options offer better / easier loading and operating solution (albeit more expensive one) — here are a couple of options:
Well, I would like to hear your opinion on the matter.
Bicycle Ligts – Summary Guide
Bicycle lights are extremely important part of your overall gear for biking. I cannot stress enough their importance – that being not only in the evenings / at dark, but also in foggy, rainy, and any otherwise reduced visibility weather. With the advent of the LED, bicycle lights have become both a lot more practical, as well as more efficient to maintain.
So, now lets take a look at some of the better choices for us bicycle enthusiasts:
Bike Lane Safety Light
This is a bright tail light for riding at night; In this light though you get a second (and mind you) a useful second feature — the ability to project on the road surface a bike lane – by projecting from a couple of LEDs mounted at 90-degrees to the main red light and projecting a continuous strobe on the ground – thus forming a bike lane around you. This LED light could be set for steady state or blinking / changing light configuration;
This by the way is what is also being considered by the average biking enthusiast – another rear bicycle light:
We will continue to examing various biking accessories and provide our input on the level of goodness in those; In the mean time – please check these two…