We are in the 21st Century and our social groups are changing because now we choose them depending on our habits and lifestyle, not our age or gender, for instance. But the most important thing is that we are not part of friend circles, we are part of tribes, aligning ourselves with the tribe, using our bikes as an extension of our value offering. So, what is a tribe? Perhaps it is easier to explain with a practical example.
Let’s realize cities for what they are: concrete jungles. Riders are like animals that are living there. If we know where to look, we can quite easily find a lot of other classes within our habitats, routines, physical appearances, groups and communities … but we are not talking about monkeys, elephants or lions. We are talking about our fellow soul cyclists. But where does that leave our blog post? Most cyclists tend to gravitate toward other cyclists like them. So what would be your best-fitting velo classification?
Those group of men or women are typically in their 20’s and 30’s, harbour an iconic and independent thinking, counter-culture and interested in art, indie-rock and creativity. They create their own trends and live according to their own philosophies. You can often see them walking their bikes along Kitsilano beach and stopping for lunch at Public. Bikes are a reflection of themselves, and they love fixes and vintage bikes that align with their lifestyle. You can often see them sporting Ray Bans and leaning against their parked bikes, outside boutique coffee shops that know their order the moment they walk in.
Here is the most practical and cost-conscious urban rider. They love the city and they feel comfortable living in the concrete-jungle. They feel empowered and liberated using their bicycle to commute and zigzag across the traffic. Bags, weather proof clothing and other accessories are a must for every day trips and these cyclists aren't afraid to pay a little more to be prepared with the best equipment for the Vancouver weather.
Life is so simple like their bikes … and they love it! A freewheel mechanism in the rear hub, and no gears to change. With a wrench in their back pocket, life goes as fast as their pedals! Members of this tribe should wear a sign that reads 'makes frequent stops' because so often, you can see assisting other cyclists who have had an equipment 'malfunction'.
Paris, Rome, New York or Vancouver, these tribes men/women plan their vacations around their cycling addiction. After all, what better way to experience the true countryside then foot to pedal? You will find them at the Roman Coliseum, Central Park, or the Chicago Seawall. They prefer the 360 degree view of sightseeing that a bike affords. A tour bus is the equivalent of a jail cell … cities are simply too spectacular to be experienced from inside a cage!
We love him! Sunday morning, the sun is high in the sky, and daddy wants to enjoy the day with his lovely kids after a hard week of working. He checks the air pressure in each set of tires, locates the picnic bag and the kids helmets, and he is ready to enjoy the adventure with his kids!
“I'm late, late for a very important delivery date!!” That phrase is fresh on their mind from the moment their feet hit their pedals and they've fired up their GPS. Riding a bike is what they love about the job. They spend a lot of time on that beautiful creature, so it must always be in tip top shape! Checking the air pressure, grease the chain, lights are ok... that comfortable saddle is a gift, fallen from heaven.
It’s time to fight!! Let’s go to the park or let’s go to a hot neighbourhood… it doesn’t matter, but let’s go!! The week has been so long and it’s time to take a break. They love to keep moving in the crowded city, discovering new and amazing places, riding their forever new bikes. The typical Weekend Warrior attempts to replace every form of transportation possible with cycling - weekends are 'all bikes onboard' and that will never change. Next destination? They don’t care, they are already half way there!
They are the Cheetahs of the group because long distances are no spots off their paws. They can travel alone, but they also loves to travel with their tribe. More technically and physically trained than the other “urban animals”, they need high-performance equipment and a cycling companion that can keep up. Weather is not a barrier because real Journeymen look bad weather dead in the eyes and bark - "do your worst, I dare you!"
We also love her!! She is the trendiest, fashionista in the group. She knows how to be flashy with her beach cruiser, her uptown front bike rack with a coffee holder perfectly within 'cruising and sipping' range. This cyclist avidly searches for Meetups in the area and loves to pull up to meetings, events, and drinks on her trendy velo.
They love their tiny wheeled bikes. Balling headphones are included in the daily uniform, and insurgency is their mantra to express freedom. They are in their twenties and thirties, and their bikes are a status symbol amongst their peers, helping them identify 'one of their own'.
Vintage is an adjective they use liberally to describe everything they love. Retro bike frames and big saddles distinguish them from the crowd, daisy dukes and floral print are in season all year 'round. With this crowd, there is no quick fix to any problem, slow and steady is their mantra, with precedence given to mindful cycling.
As you can see, there are a handful of tribes so, which one is the most closely aligned to your values?
by Peter Greenbaum
Chicago is known by many names: City of Big Shoulders, the Second City and the City That Works. These days, it’s really the city that bikes.
We have a saying here: “There are two seasons – winter and construction.”
While Chicago’s weather can be tough, the last three or four winters have been relatively mild. By mild, I mean cold but not that much snow. It’s been especially forgiving for those hardy souls who bike every day, no matter what.
Scene From The Saddle’s correspondent is not one of those hardy souls. Uber is just fine for me. However, during the spring and summer months, when I do ride, biking in Chicago is delightful -- especially if your route takes you by Fatso’s Last Stand in Ukrainian Village. It’s an oasis of great hot dogs, brats and burgers. Who cares about the calories? If you’re biking, you’re going to burn them off anyway. Besides, a real Chicago dog comes loaded with plenty of vegetables like pickles, relish, onions and tomatoes. More about that in another column.
Chicago’s streets have been improved, for the most part, with many featuring partitioned lanes for cyclists. This is a good thing, when you consider that Chicago drivers tend to have heavy right feet. Cyclists, for the most part, are good about wearing helmets and obeying traffic regulations. When they fly through stop signs, however, Chicago’s drivers don’t hesitate to shout four letter words at them.
As with any large North American city, it’s been a learning curve for both cyclists and drivers to accommodate each other on the roads. It’s not always an easy alliance, but each year, it does seem to be improving. And that’s good news for everybody.
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Scene from the Saddle is happy to report that as each day brings us closer to Spring, more and more cyclists are taking to the streets with elegant bicycles. Sure, racing bikes are cool and their trim lines offer a svelte silhouette.
But look around and you’ll notice an abundance of rides that allow for a more upright posture in the saddle. That’s the kind of bike SFTS’s chief correspondent likes to use when he rides to work, or plays hooky and instead alights at the nearest café.
I digress. Take, for example, the Lovelo, a lovely step-through bicycle modeled after European bikes. You could ride this bike wearing a business suit and arrive unwrinkled. There’s no need to swing a leg up and over to get going. What could be more comfortable than that? And you’re still getting exercise, being kind to the environment and upping your street cool.
The Lovelo delivers some luxury, vintage touches, too. Leather grips, a 5-speed internally geared hub and saddle make this an elegant way to get around.
So if you’re looking to upgrade from the universal bike messenger look to a more polished and comfortable mien, step on to the Ladies’ Step-through. It’s perfect for your posture. Best CR.
Your saddle needs to be horizontal to the ground. Slopping upwards will probably result in pain in your crotch, slopping down will result in tired arms/ or hands.
Saddle height should be more or less at your belt when standing next to the bike, also sitting on the bike and when the pedal is at the lowest point, your leg should be almost fully extended. This is a good way to determine the right position.
For our number crunchers out there, the measurement from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle should be: Hs = 0,885*Hc, where Hs and Hc stand for height of the saddle and inner leg measurement (floor to crotch).
At this point take your tools and go for a ride and adjust if necessary: even half a centimeter can make a lot of difference!
Finding and recording your bike's serial number is probably the most important thing you can do to keep your bike from being stolen. It means you can prove to the police that the bike is yours; and yet most people don't do it, probably because it's rather hard to find. Here's how you do it. Flip your bike upside down and look at the bottom bracket where the two pedals meet. It should be there. If its not, checkout our diagram which shows the most common serial number locations.
If I were forced to pedal through a gauntlet of zombies, hell-bent on devouring my flesh, the first thing I'd want is a decent helmet. I'm not sure how intelligent zombies are - weird that their brains seem to function even though they are always classified as the living dead. Anyway, while their brains may already be sub-functional, I intend to protect mine.
My go-to helmet would be the unisex Commuter Bike Helmet Brick Red from XS. This is a high-visibility noggin-protector. And because it's in a highly visible shade of Red, it really irritates and frightens zombies. Okay, okay, I made the last part up. But I have to believe any piece of protective equipment this lively looking just has to bother the living dead. At the very least, you'll stand out in traffic. At $69.95, you can't beat the price either.
Another challenge when faced with a Zombie Apocalypse is what outfit to wear? Eventually, you're going to ditch your wheels, and run screaming into a retro diner or bar, seeking help from the drooling monsters just behind you. Of course, zombies never seem to move that quickly, but they are relentless and just keep inching towards you.
Back to the diner. You run in seeking shelter and help. What are you wearing? Me? I'd wear the Club Ride Shift Bike Jeans. A denim look that combines cycling-specific performance with five pocket design and reflective accents. Not only will you be comfortable speeding way from zombie pursuers, you'll look great while you do it. Great value at $84.95.
It's Sunday afternoon and you and your special other are enjoying a quiet romantic picnic. Suddenly, you become aware that there are others nearby. You have an uneasy feeling, and when the first zombie stumbles out of the brush, the two of you high-tail it out of there.
Wait a minute! Were you just going to abandon that bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon? No way. Thanks to this Handcrafted Bicycle Wine Carrier attached to your bike, you can save the bottle for later when you really need it. This locally made wine carrier from R1 Creations is exclusively made for Cruiser Republic and it fits any bicycle.
These are my picks for making it through the Zombie Apocalypse. Hopefully, the other survivors will be generous and share their food and water. Wait a minute. I still have a bottle of wine.
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