Pedal tips: a good fit, rusty chain, “on your left!” and twist it out
Welcome to Pedal Tips (Issue #6), a weekly resource to help you get back on your bike again here in metropolitan Atlanta — and maybe even inspire you to action wherever you may live. Need more help? If you are a new or returning woman-on-bike, contact me for one-on-one coaching. I also offer Lunch-n-Learns to city, corporate, and community groups. Find out more here. Plus, I co-teach a fun class for seniors on trikes (yep! it’s a trend!) every Thursday in the City of Decatur, GA (email Sara Holmes to sign up).
A good fit — If supporting a local shop, keeping more dollars circulating in the local economy, and building a relationship with someone you trust for when your bike needs fixing won’t sway you to steer clear of the Big Box stores, then this might — buying a bike at a local shop can help ensure you get a bike that fits you. (Note: A poor fit means you may not enjoy riding, and therefore most likely won’t ride much, and you may even injure yourself.) When you buy from Brian (or any member of his sales staff) at Bicycle South in the City of Decatur, GA (a bronze-level Bike Friendly Community), you get a free computerized bike fit, a 30-day comfort fit check, 90 days of free adjustments, and one free flat tire fix. He has a terrific mix of bikes for sale at a variety of prices. Plus, he’s nice and he just fixed bikes pro bono for Decatur Active Living (where I serve as Bike Ambassador) at our Bike Rodeo and Earn-a-Bike programs. Visit Brian, or find a Brian near you.
Elbow grease — If during your ABC Quick Check (I teach you how to do this in a private coaching session), you discover your chain is rusty, try some Simple Green on a rag and a little elbow grease (that’s 1970s Mother Talk for “put some muscle into it, girl!”) to wipe it down. Note: my friend, John Brown (the person who got me out on the Atlanta Beltline my very first time), swears by Simple Green foam for this chore. If your chain is too far gone, a new one won’t set you back too much and is worth the price.
On your left — When passing someone walking, running, or riding a bike on a multi-use path or trail, it is trail etiquette to give “audible signal.” You can do this one of three ways — ding ding ding your little blue bike bell (or whatever color you have), honk your (hopefully not annoying) bike horn, or say, “On your left!” or “Passing on your left!” loud enough to be heard. I sometimes say, “You are fine; I’m just letting you know I am passing on your left” if someone is not in my way but I think I may startle him or her (especially if there is a dog involved). You can see an example of passing in this week’s Bike Ride in a Blink below. (See all the videos to date here.) And if you’re in Georgia and involved in any way, shape or form with trails in your city, you don’t want to miss the Georgia Trail Summit April 20 -April 22 in Columbus, GA.
Do the twist — If you are starting to ride again after not riding for awhile (or ever), you may notice some muscle soreness afterwards. This will most likely reduce over time as your whole body strengthens. In the meantime, I’d suggest some knee lifts and torso twists between bike rides as these are the movements used most often on bike. If your soreness continues over time, you may be riding a bike that doesn’t fit properly (see Brian at Bicycle South, pictured), or riding in a gear that is not well matched for your needs over changing terrain. (I teach you anticipatory gear shifting in our private coaching session.) You may also have an underlying medical issue that needs to be checked by a medical professional. Don’t delay. With care and attention, many people can ride bikes for years to come.
Hope to see you out and about this week! Tap in next week for more Pedal Tips.
Learning as I go,
Pattie Baker (LCI #5382)
P.S. See past issues of Pedal Tips, if you are interested: