Archive for the ‘Recreational Cycling’ Category

Why Electric Bikes might be the greatest thing to hit the bike industry in years   Leave a comment

 

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At the latest Independent Bike Dealer Summit in Arizona, e-bikes were a hot topic. While many shops have already embraced the e-bike movement, many still struggle with how, or if, to add these to their sales floor.

Europe’s bike market is more progressive than the US market in this regard, and industry experts say that we are about 5-10 years behind Europe’s e-bike market. E-bikes currently account for less than 1% of the US market, while in many European countries, 1 in every 3 bikes sold is an e-bike! That could mean good things for the US market, which has been struggling to attract new riders. One of our mechanics was recently in Germany on vacation, and couldn’t believe how many e-bikes he saw everywhere he went.

E-bikes are not just an expensive bike, they are a less expensive car, or transportation alternative. The pedal assist versions of e-bikes make it possible to get motorized assistance when needed (like when climbing hills) but not use the motor at other times. Typically, there are several settings which adjust how much motor assist the rider wants (lo, medium, high, turbo). The more motor assist used, the lower the amount of distance can be ridden on one charge. Likewise, the hillier the ride, the range will decrease.  Many bikes can be ridden up to 60 miles between charges and cruise up to 28 miles per hour.

So what uses do we anticipate for e-bike users? How about riding into town and buying all of your groceries by bike? E-bikes are ideal for this- just add a rack and panniers, or even a cargo trailer for big loads.

How about commuting to work by bike without arriving sweaty? Just pack a bag with work clothes. Remember to use lights for improved visibility. How about less fit, or newer mountain bikers who still want to ride challenging off road trails? E-mountain bikes are the perfect solution.

And, if you’re a city dweller, Tern bikes makes an awesome line of folding e-bikes. They take up very little space, but are adjustable enough to fit riders between 4’11” and 6’4”!

The bike industry is hoping that e-bikes will appeal to new riders between 45-65 years old, who aren’t attracted to traditional bikes. There are so many different types of e-bikes: road, mountain, hybrid, commuter and even beach cruiser, that the possibilities could be endless for attracting new riders! And, as more riders buy e-bikes, we’re hoping to see improved infrastructure to accommodate higher bike traffic, which is good news for all bike riders.

If you’re one of those people who has been resisting bike riding because of the hilly terrain in our area, e-bikes are a “hill eraser”! We have demo e-bikes to test ride, and we guarantee a big smile when you try one.sport-e-3

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Teaching cycling to your child   Leave a comment

Bicycle World NY tips on teaching your child to ride a cycleOne of the most rewarding things a cyclist and parent can look forward to is teaching their child to ride a bike, and enjoying the sport together as a family.  Like learning anything new, however, the process can be more complicated than it initially seems.  With the warm weather here, and parents wanting to get their kids riding, this edition of the Bicycle World Blog will focus on getting your kids on bikes.

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably already an avid cyclist.  If you’re dreaming of going on long training rides with your child, watching him or her develop into a top racer, or going on a cross-country bike tour together, remember one thing:  your child may or may not share your passion for cycling.  That’s right, kids get a vote too.  Quite often, dreams of watching your child hit the game-winning home run or kick the game winning goal are replaced with the reality of watching your child perform a great clarinet solo.  That’s ok, and the same holds true for cycling.  Your child might not share your passion.  Nevertheless, if you approach it correctly, you can stack the deck in your favor.

To encourage your child’s interest in cycling, it’s important to be positive and remember to be patient with your child as they learn.  When you’re trying to teach your child to ride, keep the practice sessions short and fun.  When your child gets tired or frustrated, quit for a while.  Better to keep things positive and fun than have things go negative and turn them off.

So how do you teach a child to ride a two wheeler?  There are 3 common ways:  training wheels, riding without pedals, and the tried and true “run behind and hold the bike up” method.  All three work and have their own advantages and disadvantages.  You may find that a combination of these methods works best for your child.

Training wheels have the advantage of teaching a child how to pedal, brake, and steer without toppling over.  Many parents make a mistake of installing training wheels at the same level as the rear tire, not allowing any “rocking” of the bike from side to side.  By installing the training wheels slightly higher than ground level, two things are accomplished: 1.) it encourages the child to learn to balance the bike while riding, and 2.) it prevents situations where the wheel of the bike gets suspended over a depression in the pavement, temporarily turning the bike into a stationary trainer.  As your child’s skills improve, you can raise the training wheels slightly higher, and encourage additional balance skills.  The main drawback to training wheels are that they often encourage dependence on training wheels, and learning to ride without them can take longer.

The second method is to teach a child to “scoot” a bike without pedaling.  This can be done by buying a “balance bike” which is a small bike without pedals, or by simply removing the pedals on a small child’s bike.  With this method, the seat should be lowered so that the child can easily reach the ground with both feet.  The child can then propel themselves by pushing off the ground with their feet or walking while sitting on the bike.  As the child gets used to scooting, they’ll eventually learn to pick up their feet and coast while balancing.  Another variation of this method is to have a child coast down a small, smooth, grassy slope to provide forward momentum.  Once the child masters balancing and steering the bike, you can simply reinstall the pedals and the child can ride normally.

The third method is one that many of us were exposed to as children.  A parent supports the bike from behind, gets the child to start riding while the parent runs along behind.  Finally the parent lets go, and the child pedals off on their own…or crashes into a tree.  If you want to try this method, practicing on smooth grass can lessen the pain of any crashes, and it’s important to support the bike from behind, not the handlebars.  This will encourage the child to learn to balance and steer at the same time.  Bicycle World now carries a handle that attaches the frame so that the parent doesn’t have to bend over to support the bike, making things much easier on Mom’s and Dad’s backs.  Note that this method is also the most likely to result in crashes, tears, and trust issues (“Mommy you promised you wouldn’t let go!”) so tread carefully.

With all this talk of crashing, we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about safety.  First and most obviously, get a helmet for your child and make them wear it, no exceptions.  In fact, as a parent, if you plan to ride with your child, you should wear one too, even if it’s just a short jaunt up and down the street.  Not only will it protect you, but if your child sees you wearing one, they’ll model your behavior and wear theirs too.  The good news is that nowadays kids are used to helmets, and there are plenty of cool styles available.  Let your child pick out a helmet that they like, which will make them more likely to wear it.  Additionally, practicing early two-wheel attempts on smooth grass, and dressing your child in jeans and long sleeves can cut down on some scrapes that they may encounter.

So what kind of bike should you get?  Bicycle World’s staff can help you find the right size bike for your child.  Like helmets, letting your child participate in the selection process can be fun and encourage them to ride more.  It’s generally recommended to get the biggest bike a child can safely handle to prolong the time they’ll have before they outgrow their bike.

Keep in mind that a high quality bike from a good bike shop has advantages over those sold at big-box stores.  All children’s bikes at Bicycle World were assembled by trained bike mechanics, so you know that they’re assembled properly.  If something’s not right, our skilled mechanics can make any corrections or adjustments that the clerks at big box stores might not be able to handle.  High quality bikes have better components with quality bearings that actually make it easier and smoother to pedal and ride.  Better bikes come with more durable wheels with more spokes, that will outlast those on big box store bikes.  Coaster brakes and hand brakes on a quality bike are stronger and better designed, and are adjusted and tested to work properly, which is an important safety consideration when you send your little one out on the road.

Finally, a quality child’s bike retains its value longer.  In most cases a quality bike can be handed down to several children after the original owner outgrows it, or even traded in for the purchase of a new bike.  In the long run, a higher quality bike will almost always provide better value in the long run than a big box store bikes.  Bicycle World even carries a collection of “recycled bicycles” that are all high quality, slightly used bikes, that are all fully reconditioned and tuned up.  These bikes all carry a 30 day warrantee on parts and labor.

Now for the fun part:  riding with your child.  Once your child has a decent bike and basic skills, it’s time to ride.  Again, the goal is to encourage the fun aspects of riding so that your child develops a love of the sport.  Luckily our area has a network of great bike trails and paths.  You can download bike trail information here:  http://parks.westchestergov.com/trailways.  Be sure to teach your child to stay to the right on the trails, call out “on your left” before they pass others, and interact safely with pedestrians and other people they may encounter.  Children are also capable of riding on quiet residential roads if accompanied by an adult.  It’s usually best to ride behind your child so you can see where they’re headed and you can call out directions to them.  Riding into town for an ice cream cone or other fun destination can be a great motivator to get your kids on their bikes regularly.

Finding time to ride with your children can also be a challenge, especially if you’re an avid cyclist who trains regularly.  It’s likely that your child won’t develop the skills or stamina to accompany you on training rides right away.  A great alternative is to tack your “ride with the kids” onto the end of your training ride.  In most cases you can predict when you’ll be back from training, and if the kids are ready to ride upon your return, a fun ride around the neighborhood with the family can be the perfect cool down after a workout.  Conversely, a ride with your kids before a workout can give you a great warm-up opportunity.

Riding with your children can be a great experience.  Cycling is a rewarding life-long sport, and you can start your child on this journey with you this summer.  Next time you’re in the shop, take a look at some of the photos we have of kids and their parents riding together.  If you haven’t done so, go back and check out our December blog where we featured Charles Scott’s book, Rising Son¸ which chronicles his ride across Japan with his son, Sho for a truly inspiring story about riding with your child.  At the very least, riding with your kids can be a great way to spend time together.

Later this month, come out and check out a great family event, the Bedford Bike Run on May 19th.  Bicycle World is a proud sponsor of this event.  It’s a great event, and we’re proud to be part of it.  For details check out the link:    http://www.bcsdny.org/community.cfm?subpage=13569

We hope you enjoyed this edition of the blog.  As always, we welcome your questions and comments.