Monday, September 23, 2013

Bicycle Safety 101: How to Use a Bicycle Repair Station

Earlier this year, Clemson University installed a bicycle repair station on campus. The university decided to install a Dero Fix-It station after reviewing several other comparable fixtures. In agreement with purchasing done by the Clemson University Undergraduate Student Government, and general upkeep and maintenance be undertaken by the University Cycling Club, the project was completed late summer 2013.

Clemson University's Bike Repair Station
If you've never seen or used a bike repair stand, they look pretty intriguing - and a bit mystifying. Good thing we'll take you through a step by step guide on how to use one of these babies.

Step 1:  Have your bike in hand, and approach.

If Your Bike Needs Air.  Step 2.  Lean the bike up against the fixture or a near-by object. Unscrew the bike tire cover, set it aside - and make a note where you put it. (It seems I'm always trying to remember where I placed that sucker!) 
Nice work!

Step 3:  Note the PSI needed for your bike tire/tube. To find it, look on the outside of the bike tire. The PSI is noted by the text followed by a number range. (For example:  "PSI 35 - 60".)

Step 4:  Place the hose on the bike valve. If it doesn't fit, try toggling the air lever up or down. (Bike tubes have one of two types of valves. This pump accommodates both.)

Step 5:  Pump up the tire/tube until the maximum PSI level is attained.

Step 6:  Put the air hose back over the pump.

Step 7:  Ride off into a beautiful sunset! Or to your next destination.

If Your Bike Has Minor Maintenance or Repair Issues.  Step 2:  Pick up your bike and place the seat between the two bars parallel with the ground.

Bike properly placed on the stand.

Step 3:  Select the appropriate tool(s).

Tools available at the stand.

Step 4:  Fix your bike, according to your amazing wisdom and experience...or, if you have a smart phone use the QR Code to check out some simple "how to" videos. (Or do some research on the internet ahead of time.)
QR Code Sticker.
 Step 5:  Place the tools back. Take the bike off the stand.

Step 6:  Ride off into a beautiful sunset! Or to your next destination.

These babies are popping up around campuses and in cities across the country - and they are getting used and noticed. They started out in Europe, and have successfully made their way across the pond. Next time you see one, take some time to tinker and check one out. They're pretty cool and easy to use.

Monday, September 16, 2013

It takes a village. Find your tribe.

Motivation to ride. Lately, I'm in the groove with commuting to and from work daily. Especially now that the weather has turned cooler, the crispness of the air and the first glimpses at the sunrise make for an energizing start to the day. If it wasn't for all that bother-some, nerve-wracking traffic I ride next to, I'd say that my commute is my favorite part of the day.

Getting into more recreational riding - whether it be for speed, exercise or racing - has been a bit of a challenge. I want the facilities that my area lacks. It takes a village to build them. I need to find folks I feel comfortable with. I need to find my tribe.

It takes a village - a group of people - to build support, political will and energy to develop biking facilities. Bike paths along side roads, abandoned rail lines, through open fields - the places that call the soul to get away from it all.

Finding your tribe, some folks say, is the key to enjoying riding and the motivating factor to keep it up. Your tribe can be your family, your friends, a group of co-workers or business partners. Whoever it is, it's the group that keeps with you, mile after mile.

I hope to give group riding a few more tries. It's fun, it's freeing and it's a way for me to engage in something I love. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Meet Streetmix

Holy Community-Involvement Batman! Streetmix is a new website allows anyone to design the street of their dreams. Using tools and perspectives that planners, designers and engineers typically agonize over for hours in AutoCAD, the website simplifies - democratizes - streetscape development. This could have resounding positive affects for Complete Streets committees. Consider the possibility of workshops or "homework" assignments in strategizing , imaging and planning future alternatives for Main Street. First year students in planning and design departments could learn the fundamentals of community development - over even students in high school!

Streetmix. Democratizing streescape design.

Spend some time in the coming days playing around, dragging and dropping and exploring Streetmix.