Beating the winter hibernation

3 June, 2011
Cyclist training in winter clothing

Keep at it: nice warm gear can help you keep on your bike over winter.

Winter is not always the best season a cycling trying to sustain performance and motivation in the cold, the wet and lessened available daylight hours all make it a chore for the recreational cyclist or commuter alike in making their cycling rituals possible. This leaves us vulnerable to gaining a winter coat of increased weight and as the years gain on us makes it all a bigger task to shed when the warmer months arrive.

There are some things that can be considered that may make your winter months more enjoyable and keep you prepared for when it is more amicable to return to the road and have at least kept a reasonable level of fitness and the winter coat potentially to be the wearing of clothing and not increased midrif layers. Read the rest of this entry »



28 October, 2010
Two old bikes in need of restoration

Scratch the surface and you'll often find a beautiful bike awaiting restoration

Retro, vintage, antiques and do it yourself (DIY) have become familiar words in our society and draw up connotations of past quality and fashion or our own ability to create or restore.  For some it is just a rekindled spirit of their child hood memories, either their own past experience or that of their parents and grandparents life style at that time.

Take account that bicycles are no different in their time, everything was built to a budget and quality to match. Many brands and models of age does not equate it was quality at that time. There is no doubt that some of the early craftsmen of bicycle frame left a quality mark making them quite distinguishable, and today of some value.  The quality of the steel tubing and style of lugs and ferrules that held the tubing is the hidden value that needs discernment if you are seeking to have a high quality item. All this aside there is a great deal of personal achievement and pleasure in restoring something old it is all in eye of the beholder. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t let a flat get you down

7 December, 2009
Two hooked tyre levers and a cyclinder of compressed CO2

The right tools: hooked tyre levers and compressed gas make it much easier to get going again after a puncture. Photo: Eddie Barkla

If it went on it must come off – it’s just holding your tongue right!

Some of us are practically-minded people who look at a manual dexterity task knowing that there must a key to make it achievable with minimal fuss. It is a bit like those mind bending puzzles – there is a way they come apart and go back together with relative ease.

Getting the back wheel out of a bike frame is a bit of a mystery for some and becomes a chore that does not merit such hard work. The back wheel has a natural alignment with the frame hangers, chain and rear derailleur. Knowing when these all align together the rear wheel when rear axle quick release is taken off and brakes have been backed off the rear wheel will drop out almost by itself.

Try selecting the smallest cog on the rear cluster and all the pressure is off the rear derailleur and frame hanger and the chain is aligned allowing the wheel to freely release.  When putting the wheel back in after changing the puncture place the chain onto the smallest cog that will keep the naturally alignment of the wheel allowing it to roll back into the rear frame hangers with minimal pressure and fuss.

Having a wrestle with getting tyres on and off your rims and you feel like you need three sets of hands to hold keep hold of the tyre levers?  There are two things worth considering, the brand of tyres you are using and possibly the type of tyre levers you have in your kit. For example the external circumference rim size in certain brand name wheels may only need to be a millimetre towards the larger tolerance allowed and the tolerance on the tyre brand name on the smaller millimetre side in size and they may not be compatible with each other.

It is expected that tyres on rims can be a snug fit but it need not be a wrestling match out the road and in some cases be that one bad experience that dints the confidence and fear sets in and reducing the enjoyment factor that makes cycling a freedom.

Ask around what tyres others are using or check with local bike shop what their experience has been. Tyre levers are available with a hook on one end that allows for the lever to be captured under a spoke and held under its own pressure when securely beneath the bead of the tyre and side of the rim allowing for two free hands to get the next tyre lever safely in place.

If you do get caught out with tight tyres getting them onto a rim keep the tyre as tight as you can in the middle of the rim perimeter as this will reduce the overall circumference. Do this by pinching the tyre together into the centre of the rim clincher that you have over the rim and follow this around to the last bits to get over the rim hoping that you have made an improvement of the amount of free tyre to slide over the rim. Please be very careful with ensuring tyre levers are well secured as a tyre lever released under pressure will become a dangerous missile.

One of the great advancements for blowing up tyres would have to be the CO2 compressed cylinders and applicator head.  A tyre can be re-inflated within seconds.  Be careful: the gas filled high pressured cylinder goes very cold when the gas is released with such force, so don’t throw away the protective cover over the cylinder (if it has one).

The other aspect is if the tyre has a slit right through the casing of the tyre, the tube will herniate out through and blow out the tube. A tip is to put a sleeve of any plastic $ note folded up or a wrapper off a energy bar inside the tyre over the slit. Also make sure that there is no tube caught between the tyre and rim as the sudden pressure can pinch the tube and you are back to changing another flat and a possible tyre that has the beading torn open.

See you on the road soon God willing

The mechanic: cornerstone of cycling

7 August, 2009
Behind every rider is a good bike mechanic

Behind every rider is a good bike mechanic. Photo: Eddie Barkla

Aside from the whoosh of the tyres on the road, and the occasional clicking of the freewheel, a bicycle should be silent. One of the many joys of the freedom of cycling is when the speed is on in a large bunch where the whoosh of the tyres and the clicking of the freewheel and gears is magnified creating a cycling euphoria.

If your bike makes other noises, there is a fair chance it is a sign of a problem manifesting. Many of these problems can be cured easily at an early stage, just by tightening up a nut or bolt…but if you ignore the noise, it may result in serious damage to parts of your bike, and you may find yourself stranded or even injured when the problem gets more serious! Enter the bike mechanic, our local multi-talented individuals that we expect to have the capability to be the walking cycling encyclopaedia on all aspects of new innovations the best but cheapest cycling paraphernalia guaranteed to improve performance and make us look part of the local scene. Read the rest of this entry »

Short-term parking solutions

23 June, 2009
Hoops provide convenient short-term bike parking.

Hoops provide convenient short-term bike parking.

One of the most common prayers offered in Bendigo would be “God bless me with a parking spot!” Parking in any city is at a premium for all, shop owners, employees and customers not to mention delivery drivers.

Well this is no different for the commuting cyclist the same question arises where do I park my bike for the day for it to be secure from being stolen and or damaged not too far off from my place of employment. Read the rest of this entry »

Transporting your bike by car

20 May, 2009
Choices: there are a range of bike rack options available. Photo: Eddie Barkla

Choices: there are a range of bike rack options available. Photo: Eddie Barkla

Bike carriers which ones work best and suit your needs what can be the advantages and potential risks and disadvantages? Basically there are three types of racks on the commercial market:

  • Roof racks
  • Rear of car – tow bar mounted
  • Rear of car – hanging from car body.

It is worth noting that any rack that is attached to the rear of the vehicle is required by law to have a bike carrier registration plate with a number plate light.

There is no right or wrong answer and all bike carriers require careful attention in the manner in which the bike is attached to ensure that neither damage to the bike frame and paint work to the vehicle or bike occurs. Read the rest of this entry »

Wet weather needs a tyre check

30 March, 2008
Cyclist with umbrella riding along a flooded streetWeather watch: keep an eye on your tyres in wet weather. Photo: Nicole Hamaker FlickR

Rain created trouble for a friend’s icecream earlier this week. She’d gone shopping with bike and trailer, but forgotten the puncture repair kit.

As always happens when the roads get wet, a sharp stone cut up her front tyre and she had to walk bike, trailer and melting icecream all the way home.

The icecream finally made it to the freezer and the tyre ended up in the rubbish bin. Read the rest of this entry »