Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to lock your bike

1. Get a good lock. That means a U lock. I don't have any peer reviewed scientific study results, but I can tell you that as of today 100% of the people who've told me they've had a bike stolen in the Greater Boston Area either didn't have it locked at all, or they had it locked with a cable lock. Cables can be easily cut with something as simple as diagonal side cutters. (Of course, now that I've said that, someone will tell me about losing a bike locked with a U lock...). This is my lock:

This one is the smallest lock Kryptonite offers- The Evolution Mini- 5. I got it because I don't like carrying more than I have to. In the summer (when I'm not carrying an extra pair of gloves, rain pants, an extra set of lights, a thermos of hot coffee, a emergency blanket, an avalanche beacon, dog treats for my rescue dog,
one extra hoodie for warmth, and two days of food & water- just in case) I don't want to have to carry a bag if my lock is going to be the only thing in it and this little guy fits nicely in a back pocket. In the past 6 years I've had this lock (that's why it looks beat up), there have only be a couple of times I've had trouble finding a place to lock up because of it's tiny stature. There are plenty of other larger sizes available, including one that I say is a 'medium', that Kryptonite calls the Series 2 Mini- 7.

On a side-ish note, Kryptonite has new skins for the mini locks. Good if you find yourself living with two housemates with 17 bikes and three identical locks between you, and maybe you're sick of accidentally grabbing someone else's lock and not realizing it until you get all the way to work. For example. Also good if you just want to add a little color.

2. Find something to lock it to. Bike rack, sign post, what have you. Really a bike rack is the best, because, well, that's what it's for. Therefore it's usually placed in way that protects the bikes from parking cars, and keeps them out of the way of side walks. Usually.

Got a place that you think could use a bike rack (in Cambridge, at least)? Tell the city here.

3. Now that you have your lock and a place to lock up, start with the most expensive parts of the bike and work your way down. That means start with the frame, then the rear wheel. Then, if you can manage (see below), the front wheel.

Frame, rear wheel, bike rack. All with a mini lock.

The front wheel can be removed and locked up with the frame and rear wheel, but remember that leaves your fork resting on the ground.

Frame, front wheel, rear wheel, bike rack.

Or you can add a cable to your U for added front wheel security. I know I just said cables are easily cut, and they are, but most thieves won't want to be bothered with two locks. What ever isn't locked, cabled or bolted down is vulnerable to being 'impulse stolen'. If it's easy to take, then it's more likely to be taken.

Front wheel, cabled, for thief inconvenience.

3a. Remember where you left your bike. So that you don't end up like my pal (you know who you are) who filed a police report about his 'stolen' bike, only to find it locked up on the other side of his apartment building. Right where he left it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I can't seem to get away from marathon runners. Not that I'm actively trying to get away, but it seems like I always have a friend or acquaintance who's training for some long distance running. They're always talking about injuries, and long run distances, and negative splits and whatnot. These folks think I'm crazy for commuting in -10 degree weather. Sure, it's not fun but it lasts for 20-30 minutes. Tops. Who wants to run (also not fun) for 4-5 HOURS? That's crazy.

If you take the act of running out of the equation, I can see the draw to the sport. Unless you're Shalane Flanagan, you're not going to 'win'. Which means you get to define 'win' for yourself. It's an epic challenge, so for many a 'win' is simply finishing. It really is an accomplishment you can be proud of. Also- who wouldn't like a race where you get a medal, no matter where you place. I could get into that. Only without running.

So fast forward to yesterday, I was dialing in my full suspension ride for the season (it's the world's ugliest Blur XC, but it'll do), and got thinking about maybe doing some MTB racing. That said, I'm always thinking about doing some MTB racing, and so far I can count all of the races I've done on one finger. At some point I have to stop talking about it and actually do it (like now, would be good). Any type of race for me would be a personal challenge, not so much of a 'race to win' event, but I'm definitely intrigued by the idea of an epic event. Mountain biking is something that I could do for 4-5 hours, so why not some epic MTB marathoning? Like this or this? Not to mention I'm going to hit one of those 'milestone' birthdays in 2011, and it seems like that's a thing you do- try something hard/epic/new/crazy/noteworthy to prove you're not old yet.

Of course, that would mean some serious time on the bike. I have already taken the first step in achieving my goal of racing by writing about it here. So now it's time to stop thinking about and stating publicly, and start riding. I can put the time in while all my pals are out running 10:40s on their long runs.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


No joke.

Nutcase is out with some sweet, sweet new features for their 2011 noggin protectors. New fitting system, 360 degrees of reflectivity, and a one hand-able(!) buckle make these babies even better. To make room for the 2011 helmets that are coming to Hub on Wednesday 3/23 we're going to sell the 2010s we have in stock at 20% off!

Here's everything we have in stock (when they're gone, they're gone...):

Pink 8 ball (Small/Medium)
Argyle (S/M)
Superstar (or 'the Evil Kinevil') (S/M)
Paint Fight (S/M)
Checkboard (S/M)
Hula Lounge (S/M)
Glitter Star (S/M)
Danger (S/M)
Blackdana (S/M)
Argyle (Large/X Large)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Clean up

So maybe you've been doing some home maintenance on your bike. Maybe you've fixed a flat, or dutifully lubed your chain. Now your hands look like this:


The grime that comes off your bike is a special kind of filth. It's especially tenacious and resistant to regular soap. I know, I wash my hands a dozen times a day. I use a heavy duty, gritty citrus hand cleaner, that comes in a heavy duty quantity.

But let's say you don't want to buy a gallon of heavy-duty, professional strength hand cleaner. One of my other favorites is Lava soap (it's made with pumice... get it?). Also gritty, and available in bar form at your neighborhood grocery store. It's not as quick as the citrus stuff and I think it takes a little more elbow grease to remove bike grease with Lava, so I like to pair it with a nice nail brush.

But maybe you don't have your Lava soap handy, or you hate volcanoes. In a pinch, you can use dish soap. WAIT! Don't wash just yet. To really, really get all the grease off your hands you have to scrub your hands with liquid dish soap DRY. That's the trick. Put the soap on your dry, bike grimy hands, scrub it in, then wash it off with warm water. You might have to go in for another round, but it works much better if your hands are dry for the first round. Trust me.

It's good to get your hands dirty every once in a while (or every day), but it's also good to clean them in case you want to have a sandwich or something.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

7 days a week

It's time. Slowly but surely. the spring, and the cycling masses are coming back. Two weeks ago people stopped into the shop to say they were thinking about considering taking the time to contemplate making a decision about bringing their bikes in for a tune up. Last week people stopped into say they definitely decided to bring their bikes in for a spring tune up, some time in the future. This week the bikes are coming in. And a bunch of the bikes look like this:

This is what early spring looks like.

To make sure we're available to make everyone's bicycle dreams come true, we're now open 7 days a week! Here's how it breaks down:

Monday-Friday 11am-7pm
Saturday-Sunday 12-5pm

That's 50 hours a week for you to get a tune up, pick up a patch kit, take a maintenance clinic, geek out about mountain biking (or any kind of biking, really) with me, get a new helmet, get a flat fixed, etc.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Web log block

I'm suffering from a little writers' block. I have a few bike-y topics I'd like to write about here, but I just can't seem to put the thought train into words. I'm realizing it was easier to write posts when I was pretty sure only my mom was reading. Now that there are probably 10-12 more of you out there, I'm feeling the (self imposed) pressure to infotain.

So anyway, in the mean time I've been reading some interesting articles about bike commuting and bike economy. Like this. And this. If you read this blog, I think it's safe to assume you probably like bikes, at least a little. So what's in these articles probably isn't a surprise to you, but they're still a good read. Sometimes I like to read a little pro-bike literature after a particularly cold commute, or a bad interaction with a surly driver, just to lift my spirits.