A bicycle is also known as a cycle or bike which is human powered, or motor powered, pedal-driven, the single taken vehicle having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A bicycle rider is called a cyclist or bicyclist.
Bicycles were introduced in the 19th century and have increased by approximately one billion in number. They are the principal means of transportation in many parts of the world. Cycling is widely regarded as a very effective and efficient mode of transportation benign for short to moderate distances. Cycling has many benefits and if you look at the perceived disadvantages in detail, they are far outweighed by the opportunity to get fit, save money, fuel, time and even give everyday transport a more personal feel.
A bicycle in good repair is available for journeys whenever one needs to travel. For journeys, up to a few miles, a bicycle can even be the fastest mode of reaching the destination, especially in towns. The best any-time bike is the traditional roadster, like the Dutch use everywhere. They have integral locks, lights, chain guards and a parking stand so that the owner can easily go.
Traditional Roadster Bike
While shopping or visiting any place no extra parking space is required as it requires very less parking space. A bike can make travelling much easier without being dependant on a taxi, bus or auto in case of reaching a platform in hurry to board the train. Any decent folding bike like the Brompton or Birdy can be taken anywhere.
In terms of health, cycling and swimming are the most recommended forms of exercise as they are gentle on the body. Cycling has the advantage that you can exercise and travel somewhere useful at the same time. It is considered to be less impersonal as compared to car drivers who are completely isolated in their enclosed metal bones. Cyclists can be recognized and can interact with the opponent cyclists.
Cycling provides low running costs and the fuel is the food one eats. Regular running cost consists of replacing tyres, inner tubes, brake blocks and the chain. These generally last around a year or more depending on the maintenance of an individual which remains to be the minimum time bound required for a regular commuter to replace.
According to a Dutch study published during the year 2011 in the month of January in a journal named “Epidemiology”, it is calculated that cycle commuting offers 11 times the benefits of driving a car. The added physical activity an individual gets from switching to bicycle commuting adds as much as 14 months to their life and offsets any risk of traffic accidents or increased exposure to automobile exhaust.
As per the Cleveland Clinic lists cycling is one of the best forms of aerobic exercise besides walking, swimming, jogging, dancing or using aerobic machines such as stair climbers and elliptical machines.
As a form of transportation, cycling offers several distinct advantages to automotive transport. Cycling does not contribute to air or noise pollution.
The disadvantages of outdoor cycling are that it puts an individual whether a beginner or upper intermediate at the mercy of mother nature. Adverse weather conditions can detract from even the most enthusiastic bicycle commuters enjoyment and can increase the risk of injuries from accidents and exposure to air pollution from car exhaust fumes. Children are at greatest risks and account for more than half of these hospital visits. Even at times when a motorist uses hand signals to alert while turning or changing lanes there remains chances of accidents.
Bike maintenance is a major concern which should be focused upon to avoid accidents and the major drawbacks that any biker would face during a vital time. Bike maintenance is about three simple things in general which include clean, grease and tighten. By working through these checks regularly it will bring one closer to their bike and help an individual notice when something more serious is wrong. Through the following preventative maintenance routine one would be able to save themselves from the common loopholes which are usually made by the beginners.
Regreasing the seat post is an important factor as overtime water can get into the space between the saddle post and frame causing corrosion. Eventually, this makes the saddle difficult if not impossible to remove from the frame.
The toolbar consists of tools like Allen key, torque wrench, rag, grease or carbon compound and electrical tape. The bolts should be loosened from the seat post clamp and the saddle must be removed. A rag is kept to clean all old grease off seat post. The grease or carbon compound can be reapplied depending on the type of frame the bicycle has. Lastly, the saddle should be replaced and the seat bolts must be tightened.
The clipless pedals should be lubricated as along with the saddle and handlebars pedals are one of only three places we make contact with on the bike. Due to their close proximity to the ground, they get dirty very quickly and should be cleaned and greased regularly.
The tools required are Allen key, pedal wrench, degreaser, greaser, rag and spray lubricant. Before one starts the front gear should be put on the biggest ring as slipping as slipping while removing the pedals might catch one’s hand on the teeth of the chainring which is very painful.
The pedals need to be unserved from the crank arms and depending on the types of pedals or cranks one would need an Allen key or pedal spanner. The pedals are unscrewed in different ways so the motorist should loosen by turning the right anti-clockwise and left clockwise.
The user should clean with a rag by using a degreaser to get off any tough dirt. The lubricants must be sprayed into the key parts of the clipping mechanism of the pedal and by further wiping off the excess. The threads of the pedals must be greased and then screwed back into the crank arms.
The chains should be cleaned up and lubricated because when the chains start to collect all dirt, all of it gets fed around the components causing long term damage to more expensive components.
The tools required are a rag, chain lube and some degreaser. Overdoing the chain never helps as it can cause more damage. But the regular use of chain degreaser helps in removing the lubricants that the chain is built with. The process starts by cleaning the muck off the outside of the chain using the rag. The pedals must be run around while holding the rag in the same position to get the whole chain. For any bad chain, some degreaser must be sprayed on the rag and then wiped over the chain to help get the muck off. If required the chain can be re-lubricated. To link slowly, lubricants must be dropped in the chain rags to wipe off the excess.
The tyres must be checked on a constant basis as they are the only contact point with the road. Checking them on a regular basis will help one keep safe especially in case of any beginner and hopefully make them last longer.
Bike pump and tweezers are the most needed tools. The tyre must always be checked for the wear. This can be difficult on a road bike as there is very little tread in the first place so it is not always obvious when they are worn. The following may be indicators of tyre wear which indicates that the tyre needs a replacement:
- Small dimples in the tyre
- Getting more punctures more often than normal
- Sidewalls bulging
- Tyres developing a flattened off rather than rounded top to it
The rear tyre always has high chances of wearing faster than the front as it takes a lot more of the weight and has the power pushed through it from the rear cassette.
The bottom bracket cable guide should always be cleaned up as the rear brakes and derailleurs run through a small guide. Due to its unfortunate location, the little guide attracts the dirt.
If the rear shifting of the back brake starts to feel less smooth it affects the beginners riding confidence.
The tools required to clean up includes rag, old cable wire and spray lubricant. The bike set up should be positioned in such a way that the underneath is accessible with the help of a stand. The small guides must be cleaned out as much of the gunk as possible using the rag and old wire. After spraying the lubricant through the guide and cable housing it will remove any remaining gunk and lubricate the wire. The cleaning off excess lubricant will ensure nothing else to stick to it.
The beginners should always have a check on their bicycles before they start making a habit of riding one for any purpose.