Saturday, 30 November 2013 07:00

Happy STRIDERday: Bike Music

At STRIDER, we love bikes! We use them for fun, commuting, family time, getting groceries, and much more. This cool video from our friends at Rocky Mountain Bicycles will add an entirely new perspective to what can be done with a bike.

Watch the video and then get outside, ride your bike, and make some music of your own!

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Published in Stuff and Whatnot
Friday, 05 April 2013 06:00

Are You Wasting Energy?

clip or no

Clipless or flat pedals?

Clipless pedals are actually the opposite of what you would think. They are pedals that have cleats which are attached to your shoes and attach (clip) directly to the pedal. Some people think you have more control and actually become one with the bike. I agree that you become one with the bike, I mean, come on... you're attached to the bicycle. To unclip you have to turn your foot about 15 degrees and the cleats unclip from the pedal. The term "clipless pedal" actually originated from flat pedals that had a leather strap that fit over your toes. They called these straps, clips. Once the manufactures came up with pedals where your feet were not attached to the peddal with the straps, "clips", they called them "clipless". I hope this clarifies the term.

Flat pedals are a bit more simple and a lot less intimidating. Flats are exactly what they sound like... pedals that are flat. You don't need any special shoes, no special cleats and no intimidating tip-over fear.

Now, the question at hand, are you wasting energy?

The debate over clipless vs. flats yeilds an enromous amount of vaired responses. Everyone has their opinion on why one is better than the other and there is no way you'll be able to change their mind. People say clipless allow you to apply power to the pedal during the whole stroke (circle) where flats only allow you to apply power on the down-stroke. My opinion (which might upset some of you) is that you can't pedal in a circle. Really, try it and think about pulling up on the pedal at the same time you're thinking about pushing down. Now, if you're really thinking about this you're probably doing one more than the other resulting in less power overall and less concentration... so you just crashed.

I'm not saying clipless pedals are bad. I use them and have for over 10 years on multiple bikes. I've raced against people who were using flats and you know what? They passed me. Obviously, I was outraged because I was a racer. Look at me, I have clipless pedals. I'm supposed to be fast. Wrong!

salsaI've been considering going back to flat pedals. I get made fun of all the time when I do because it's not the "normal" thing to do on the trail. People don't consider you a cyclist without clipless pedals. My opinion is that you'll probably become a better rider using flat pedals because you'll have to become one with the bike, not just be attached to it. It's really hard going from clipless to flats on a trail because you feel the bike move around beneath you where your feet bounce around and things just don't seem stable. But, once you've been riding with flats a while, it's magnificent how much control you can have and how much confidence you can build. It starts with the small things so if you're new to riding or if you've been riding with clipless pedals, switch them out for a nice set of flats and see how much it changes your riding style. I won't guarantee anything except that you'll have fun. How can you not? You're riding your bike.

Confidence. Starting out with the basics. These words all sound familiar. They are the reason why STRIDER bikes work. Kids start with the basics, balance, coordination and confidence. Once kids learn those foundational functions you will be amazed at what they can do just like you will.

So, what do you think? Flats or clipless? Why? Post to the comments.

Tip #7
If you're new to riding flats on a mountain bike trail, it might be a good idea to wear long pants or get some shin gaurds. If your foot falls off the pedal and it hits you right in the shin... well, just remember to.

See Tip #6

Share your Strider success stories, photos, video and interact with other Strider enthusiasts by joining the Strider conversation on our Facebook wall! Do you tweet? We Do!

Published in Stuff and Whatnot
Friday, 29 March 2013 06:00

It's the Stuff We Carry

 

What do you currently use your bike for? Now think, what would you like to use it for? I ask this because it can raise some interesting options regarding the type of bike you’ll want. If you want to be a hardcore racer, then you can probably skip this post. However, if you want to ride your bike for daily use like riding to the store, commuting to work or even taking a stroll with your STRIDER rider you are the perfect candidate for a cargo bike.

Cargo bikes are becoming more and more common here in the US. They’ve been common in other areas of the world where there is a higher percentage of people using bikes for daily use but I do see the trend on the rise here.

The idea behind a cargo bike isn’t very complicated. You can load up your bike and haul stuff.

 

There are many types of cargo bikes on the market today and you could probably convert your existing bike to a heavy hauler with a few simple pieces. A simple way to convert your bike to haul stuff would be to add a rack and some panniers (bags that attach to the rack, think saddle bags on a motorcycle). Depending upon the size of panniers, you could haul quite a load. I have 2 panniers on a bike and I could easily haul enough stuff for a weeklong trip yet they work great for commuting to work too. I can fit an extra set of clothes, food, shoes, a laptop and the kitchen sink if need be.

Acme strider cargoIf you’re idea is more of a trip to the bulk shopping center then you might want to look for a more specific bike. An actual cargo bike will allow you to haul a lot of stuff. Back in the day, I had a Kona Ute that allowed me to haul a 50 pound bag of dog food, 4 gallons of milk and multiple sacks of groceries. The coolest part is that I could have packed on more. I’ve even seen full house moving parties using these cargo bikes so the capabilities are limitless.

 

Our local STRIDER dealer, Acme Bicycles, uses a Civia Halsted cargo bike to deliver fun (picture on the right).

It doesn’t matter the type or size of your bike, chances are you can add a few bits and pieces to make it more useful. Most trips are under 2 miles anyway and you might find it’s faster to go by bike.

Tip #6 - Get a bell for that bike. It’s good to let people know when you’re coming around a blind corner or coming up behind someone. Safety first.

 

Share your Strider success stories, photos, video and interact with other Strider enthusiasts by joining the Strider conversation on our Facebook wall! Do you tweet? We Do!

Published in Stuff and Whatnot
Friday, 22 March 2013 06:00

Material of Choice

steel is real

Bikes are made of many different materials such as bamboo, wood, carbon fiber, plastic and aluminum to name a few. The most popular is probably aluminum, carbon fiber, and of course steel because we know steel is real. You now know this because I just told you.

 

Most bikes you find in both big-box stores and your local bike shop will be made with steel or aluminum. You’ll probably find a few of the high-end bikes in carbon fiber or titanium. What you may not know are the pros and cons of the materials. Often times you’ll go in to buy a bike and not think about the frame material, you’ll look at the price and that will determine your bike. Don’t let that happen because each material has a different ride, weight, feel and purpose. 

 

Steel is real because it’s been around the block a time or two and it’s fun to say. Try it, “Steel is real.” It’s known as being the workhorse of bicycles. It’s relatively light and will last through years of use and abuse. It offers a nice ride that’s not too stiff, not too heavy and depending on your ability, can be fast. Another benefit is steel can be fixed by a professional if the frame were to bend or crack. Salsa, Surly and STRIDER are a couple of brands that carry steel.

Aluminum has come a long way since its first inception into frame building. The tubes are now much smaller than they used to be and is probably the most popular material for most of today’s bikes. Aluminum bikes are usually lighter than steel but they offer a stiffer ride. Steel tends to have a little flex and gives a really nice ride whereas aluminum is the opposite. I’m not saying it doesn’t offer a nice ride, but it might be a bit less forgiving. Kona, Masi and Niner to name a few.

Carbon Fiber frames are super light and usually expensive. These frames are made with layers and layers of carbon fiber (think plywood). The problem is that although carbon fiber frames are becoming more reliable they are still susceptible to failure. Meaning, if you crash and the frame cracks, it is very difficult and often not recommended to be fixed. So, your frame is toast. On a good note, carbon fiber frames are light and usually fast because the frame is stiff. A stiff frame allows all of the power your legs apply to the pedal to get transferred directly to the wheels with no flex. Pinarello, Felt, Ibis and Santa Cruz are a few brands that carry carbon fiber frames although most brands have at least one.

Titanium is lighter than a steel frame but heavier than aluminum. The real bonus comes in its strength and ride quality. Titanium is extremely strong and usually more expensive which is why you’ll find high-end cross country and road bikes done up in titanium and it’s moving into other styles. If you are willing to spend money on a titanium frame you’ll love the ride quality, it rides much softer than any of the other frame materials, yet is still considerably stronger. This is by far my favorite bike material because they look like a wonderful work of art. They’re so pretty! There are many bicycle manufactures that offer titanium frames but Moots is probably the most well known for specializing in this material.

The most important thing to remember when picking out a bicycle is to find one that fits you. If it doesn’t fit and isn’t comfortable to ride, you won’t. If the shop you’re buying a bike from doesn’t let you take it for a spin, go somewhere else. The ride quality, bits and pieces, fit and style will all be different on each type of frame material so take your time and choose wisely.

Tip #5

You’ll ride your bike more if you think it looks cool. Don’t let anyone persuade your decision on looks because we all have our own unique style. If you child’s STRIDER needs some flair, check out our custom accessories.

See Tip #4

Share your Strider success stories, photos, video and interact with other Strider enthusiasts by joining the Strider conversation on our Facebook wall! Do you tweet? We Do!

 

Published in Stuff and Whatnot