Thursday, May 22, 2014

Travel By Bike Thursday - COMMUTER TIPS

We posted a question yesterday on Facebook about what everyone would like to hear about and someone asked for commuting tips and posts about how the Buffalo area infra-structure is being changed to incorporate more bike friendly riding areas.  So for today's blog I figured I would post some tips that I have learned in 6+ years from my 40 mile round trip commute.  Some commutes might be longer and some might be shorter but I think most of these tips would be beneficial to anyone that is looking at using the bicycle as a means of transportation.

Tip #1 - Have a reliable bicycle.  We do not all have unlimited disposable income but, like a reliable car, having a bike that is capable of being ridden daily without concern of catastrophic failure is the main point of using your bike for transportation.  Flats are bound to happen but what you don't want happening is your bottom bracket seizing up, your crank arm falling off, or your wheelset self destructing on the way to work.

Tip #2 - Have proper clothing available.  I change at work so I always am riding in some type of bike short or chamois and then I have either shorts or long tights over the top depending on weather.  Weather changes almost daily in Buffalo so being prepared with the proper clothing is very important.  I check the weather the night before to get an idea of what the next day has in store and then I will double check forecast in the morning as well.  Carrying my Gore-Tex jacket is no big deal just in case of rain as well as gloves or a light beanie if it is going to cooler than expected.  I have 3 different levels of gloves & hats because I will commute in the winter time.  There is an extreme cold, cold, and cool level.  Mid-summer I don't have gloves on at all.

Tip #3 - Be Seen.  Lights, reflective gear, and high visibility clothing are all great choices.  I leave around 5:30 in the morning so I go from needing a front light for seeing the whole way to work all the way to just a flashing light to be seen depending on time of the year.  I always have a rear blinker on the bike and on my helmet as well.  If it is winter time I usually have 5 different lights on the bike to ensure that I can see the road and also to alert drivers.

Tip #4 - Be prepared.  Spare tube and the ability to change it are a requirement.  One day I left my pump at home and wasn't carrying a CO2 inflator and got a flat.  Fortunately my wife was coming to get me but that was poor planning on my part.  If you have a committed commuter bike then it is best to have your repair kit and a back up pump on the bike at all times.  Fenders are a nice way to help keep somewhat drier if a rainstorm hits also.  Knowing your route and alternatives is also very smart.  I have changed my route 2 or 3 times now over the course of time and will jump back and forth depending on the agenda but I try and keep a routine so the cars on the road are "expecting" to see me and not shocked to see a bike.  We are creatures of habit and most people leave around the same time so you will see familiar cars/faces on your commute if you do it regularly!

Tip #5 - Smell the roses.  The above picture was taken on my ride in.  I have my phone with me and sometimes even purposely carry my camera just in case something cool pops out at me and I want to photograph it.  I leave early plus if I am delayed a bit my job is not so demanding that I can't show up a bit late so if I see something I want to take a picture of I will stop and do it.  I am blessed that I ride along the lake for a while and that always gives me the chance for some cool pictures.

The great thing about Tips #1 through #4 are that at Tom's we can help you with all of those items.  Stop by the shop and check out our inventory and accessory line and ask questions.  There are commuters on staff and we will help you become prepared.

EVENT SCHEDULE is up at the website. Check out our upcoming 2014 events and pre-plan your schedule!

May is National Bike Month - why don't you try and commit one more bike commute to work than you did in April as a motivational tool. Remember we have all the tools available to make your commute dry, safe, and comfortable!

A great way to test the your new Mountain Bike out and to start off the Mountain Bike season is to race. Single Track Racing is hosting a 6 (Now 5) race series at Sprague Brook on Tuesdays. Check out their
Facebook Page for more information or Register Here. This is coming up fast so go on line and register for the series even if you think you can't make them all so you can help Mountain Biking in Western New York. The group that runs these races are good folk and deserve our support!

Huge clothing sale taking place right now - stop by and check out our inventory!Included in this great sale is Mavic Mountain Bike Clothing.

Don't forget if you are contemplating the XTERRA Syracuse or XTERRA ASP to let us know if you are interested in joining a training team at Tom's as well.

S-WORKS 2014 Spring Clearance Sale! In-Stock Merchandise only!

Tom's Pro Bike Service
3687 Walden Avenue
Lancaster, New York 14086
Phone: (716)651-9995
E-Mail Us: tom@tomsprobike

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