In the interest of advancing the art of cycling, this issue of Scene From The Saddle takes on some basic definitions for newbie cyclists and more experienced riders who might like a refresher.
Wherever your headed, if it’s in the city, chances are you’re riding a city bike. A city bike is a pretty broad definition for a model that essentially comprises a durable frame, mounts for racks and fenders, tough tires and a simple, dependable gear-shifting system. A city bike is all about comfort and style.
Look around many cities and you’ll notice that cops ride these bikes. Pursuit bikes are designed for speed. This style of bicycle typically has a low front-end profile, a steep angled head and seat and a tight wheel base combined with a tall bottom bracket that enables the rider to get down and position him or herself forward for hard pedaling. This type of ride is stable, extremely responsive and ideal for sprinting.
Let’s say cycling was a metaphor for the story of the tortoise and the hare. If you were riding a beach cruiser bicycle, you’re not the hare, dude. You’re the tortoise. There’s nothing wrong with that. After all, the moral of the story is slow and steady wins the race. Might as well win in comfort.
A cruiser bicycle combines balloon tires, upright seating posture and a single-speeddrivetrain. A cruiser is easy to ride and very stable. If you’re not in a hurry, a cruiser bike is for you. There’s nothing wrong with being a tortoise.
Feel the need for speed? A track bike might be for you. This type of bike is designed for racing on an outdoor track. The bike is a fixed-gear machine – it has only one gear with no freewheel or brakes. The tires are narrow and inflated to high pressure to minimize resistance with the riding surface.
No matter where we happen to go, most of us end carrying something. Whether it’s a laptop, groceries, coffee or a bottle of wine, we can always use an extra pair of hands.
This Clever Pannier Doubles as a Garment Bag - Learn More
Since riding a bicycle requires two hands, smart cyclists use a pannier.
A pannier, from the Latin “panarium” meaning breadbasket, refers to a pack that fastens to the rack of a bicycle and hands over one or both sides of one of the wheels. This makes life and transportation much easier for today’s urban cyclist.
Don’t forget the wine.
Although it often seems as though we live in a “one size fits all” world, that is not always the case. For example, cyclists have different leg lengths. Since the force a rider generates partly depends on the crank length of his or her bicycle, the fit between rider and machine must be a good one.
To accommodate them and various types of cycling, most bicycle component manufacturers offer crank lengths for adult riders that measure from 165 mm to 180 mm in length in 2.5 mm increments. A crank length of 170 mm is the most common size. The crank is part of the axle or shaft bent out at right angles and is measured from the center of the pedal spindle to the center of the bottom bracket spindle or axle.
A quality bicycle is an amazing combination of moving parts, designed to work together to provide the rider maximum efficiency and comfort.
One of the keys to that great riding experience is an important set of components called the headset. The headset provides a rotatable interface between the bike fork and the head tube of the bike frame. The short tube through which the fork steerer passes is called the head tube. A typical headset comprises two cups pressed into the top and bottom of the head tube. Housed within the cups are bearings that provide low-friction contact between the steerer and bearing cup, providing a smoother ride.