The images are riveting. The situation is desperate. Those fleeing conflict in Syria and other war zones around the world, along with survivors of natural disasters such as the earthquakes in Nepal last spring, need aid to rebuild their lives. With winter approaching, even just their immediate needs – warm clothes, shelter, and food, will be more important than ever. Bike Doctor wants to help. So we will be donating a percentage of our profits to three registered aid organizations working to alleviate the suffering.
All summer a nearby staff bike rack at a local clothing design firm was jammed full every day but with cooler weather and a bit of rain it is almost empty now. However more and more people realize that it is awesome to ride all year. HUB has helped with this growing trend of year round bicycle commuting by having a fall Bike To Work Week event that encourages you and your coworkers to challenge each other to ride at a time when many people give up. Once you take this step you often realize that riding all year round is no big deal and always better than the alternatives, plus you can keep your fitness at a higher level all year round no sweat. Sign up online for free and be part of this fun challenge plus a chance at terrific prizes including a Vietnam holiday trip.
Of course if your bike is not ready for the challenge it may be less than safe and a bit discouraging so visit Bike Doctor for some prescribed bike care. Bike repairs are discounted for all Bike To Work Week participants as are important parts like Brake Pads, Fenders and Lights. Discounts are also in place for HUB members so consider joining this helpful group!
After years of helping out at Bike Celebration Stations with bike repairs the most frequent and easy bike repair that I have to help with is brake adjustment. Most of the time your brakes were fine all summer but they were wearing down and now with cooler weather and wet they just don’t work well. Come in and get them tightened and replace worn out pads. Brake adjustments cost from $10 and are ready in 20 minutes in most cases. Don’t stop! Come in and fix those painlessly and fast!
Number two common service is gear adjustment. Most gear adjustment is dealt with by cable tension and for $10 and 20 minutes that will be ready. While we do that we will check your tire pressure and fill your tires which is the number one most needed adjustment at BTWW Celebration stations.
If you are not sure how things on your bike are working come in for a free examination of your bike. This is done within minutes and no obligation to make a purchase. Get your tires filled and oil for free too. Come in anytime this week for a quick service and grab a coffee or explore the shop while we get your bike riding well again. Remember if you sign up for BTWW you will also get 10% or more off your purchase and you can enter to win a bike too! Get set for the best ever Bike To Work Week Vancouver.
The bike whisperer hears the message in the sounds of a bicycle. How can you tell whether your bike is asking for maintenance, or screaming for repair? If you’re at all unsure, just drop in to The Bike Doctor, and we’ll let you know what’s up, free of charge.
Sometimes it’s straight forward. If you hear a constant chorus of squeaking which stops when you stop pedaling, it’s probably your drive train telling you that it’s time for some oil. Add oil to your chain as you spin the pedal backward, making sure that it is applied to each of the links evenly. After a short ride, or even at the end of the day, wipe all of the excess away. Excess oil will attract dirt and wear down your components, so you’ll want to keep your drivetrain clean. Simple maintenance is that easy, it really doesn’t require much in the way of special tools.
Sometimes it’s a little more complicated. Does the squeaking continue even as you’re coasting? Perhaps you need new wheel bearings. Is there a creaking, or a clicking sound as you pedal? It sounds like your bottom bracket needs your attention. A loud screech when you apply the brakes is an obvious clue that they need a bit of TLC. It might be as simple as a loose pad or misaligned brake shoe. If you still have rubber on the pads, but the levers touch the grips when you’re trying to stop, just come in and we’ll tighten the cables while you wait for $8. Watch how we do it, and next time you can tackle it yourself.
Roll the wheels to see if they’re running true. Rubbing sounds could mean a couple of things. A constant rubbing noise might happen when a fender or brake needs a slight adjustment, whereas a short rub per revolution may be signalling that your wheel is out of true. Book an appointment with us online, and we’ll take care of that for you.
A clicking noise, and a delay or jumping between gears when you shift is a sign that your cables may have stretched – something that happens to all cables and is easily adjusted – or it might be that your derailleur needs an adjustment. If you hear the rear derailleur clicking on the spokes, stop riding immediately and bring your bike in.
Body language speaks volumes; your bike is always talking to you.. Keep it clean, and get used to giving it a once-over, so that you can easily tell when something is out of place. Before you ride, give it a quick check; make sure that the tires are inflated, the brakes are working properly, and everything else is in order. It won’t be long before you’re fully fluent, and the whisper of your bike’s wheels on the road is like music to your ears.
When it comes to bikes, we can all agree that easier is better, right? Bikes are such a brilliant design when it comes to converting energy into distance travelled, and there are a few things you can do to make your machine more efficient. The simplest and easiest way to improve your bike is to look to your wheels. The rotational force of a heavy wheel will slow you down more than would adding a pound or so to your frame. So if you would like to buy a lighter, faster bike but don’t want to invest in an expensive bike, try buying a set of nice, light wheels instead and see what a difference they make!
And if you’re riding a bike with low pressure tires, you’ll find that simply switching from a bigger, low pressure tire, to a skinnier, high pressure tire will make a noticible difference in the amount of energy it takes you to travel anywhere. Any tire with more than 75 psi will significantly reduce the amount of effort you’ll need to spend. It will cost a little bit more than will a low pressure tire, but you’ll likely save the difference in replacing and repairing tubes lost to puncture, which happens often enough with those low pressure tires. You’ll need to remember to pump the high pressure, skinny tires up regularly, though. They too become prone to puncture if you let the pressure drop below 80 psi, and instead let them get too soft. It’s a bit of a trade-off, really. Letting the tires go a little soft will give you increased traction if you normally ride at the upper end of a high pressure tire, at or over 110 psi. Some people will even intentionally let a little bit of air out of a high pressure tire in a situation where they might want a softer ride and a little bit more grip.
How low is too low? Well, it helps to have a friend on hand to give you a better perspective. Sit on the bike, and maybe ride in a circle around them. With you on the bike, the tire should be inflated enough to remain at least one third as ‘tall’ as it would be with nobody on the bike. Anything softer than that and you are asking for a pinch flat.
Even a little on the soft side, a high pressure tire is far more efficient than a bigger, low pressure tire – expecially knobbies! The trade off for this efficiency is an increased translation of road vibration through the bike to you, but you can mitigate these vibrations easily enough: you can use a gel saddle or one with springs, and you can also opt to sit in a more natural, upright position, taking the strain off your hands.
It’s funny how many people say “Oh, I would love to ride to work, but it’s too dangerous! I would feel much too unsafe sharing the roads with the traffic. It’s too dangerous!” I used to get into it, pointing out that in fact it’s driving a car which will endanger your health and wellness, not riding a bike. It always surprises me how few people understand the risk they undertake every time they get behind the wheel of a car, and yet they refuse to ride a bike for safety’s sake! Nobody seems to be aware that the number one reason that people are admitted to hospital for a serious head injury is a car accident, not a bike ride. Bikes are safer than cars, and by a landslide. Where are the helmet laws for people in cars?
They’re the ones involved in most of those high speed crashes that are taking people out at such an alarming rate.
THAT’s what makes it so funny that normal, everyday average people all share this myth of a belief, this silly lie, that cycling is somehow dangerous or risky. It is something we are all comfortable seeing a four year old doing, so how dangerous can it be? The truth is that Riding a Bicycle is Safe!! It is so very much safer than driving or catching a lift by car could ever hope to be, because speed is the one consistency between dangerous accidents, and a person on a bike can always choose to stay away from cars which travel at speed, whereas a person in a car seeks faster roads out. Crashes that happen at any speed over 30 km/hr are far more likely to cause injury or death. Anything that happens at speeds under 30 km/hr, (or 20 American) is more benign. Survivable. It’s several orders of magnitude safer, in fact. Speed is alsays the defining difference.
Motor crashes are not inevitable, and it really isn’t hard to enforce slower speed limit with a little digital surveillance. Easy. If we rewrite our motor vehicle acts so that maximum speed in urban centers is half what people travel today, the accident and injury numbers would plummet dramatically, and the mass destruction of life and limb would become a thing of history. What do you think? Would you slow your car down enough to save a life?
Vision Zero a multi-national road traffic safety project which aims to achieve a highway system with no fatalities or serious injuries in road traffic. It started in Sweden and was approved by their parliament in October 1997. Vision Zero is working beautifully. It’s completely do-able. Let’s make it so already, shall we?
You have a social conscience. You do what you can to ensure that your Vancouver is healthy, beautiful, vibrant and strong. You make choices every day choices that reflect your priorities. You care about the environment, and you care about your commuity, and that’s why you make the decisions you do, day by day. You ride your bike to work, even in the rain. You shop locally, and you support the many businesses that give Vancouver so much character.
And that’s the thing. We are you. We share your community and make the very same choices. We drink local beer and eat in local restaurants and shop in the hood. We care about this city just like you do, and like you we pass on what we earn here in town instead of paying shareholder dividends to tax evading multinational corporations who prioritize funding offshore shell corporations. We do it because like you, we know that community matters. Bike Doctor is a small, locally owned and operated business, and we’re just like you. Like you, we stay abreast of the true threats to healthy cities and sustainable economies and we do what we can to stop them. We know what kind of monkey business the big box stores get up to just to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, and like you, we are smart enough to avoid them. Because places that are home to numerous locally owned businesses are more prosperous, sustainable, and resilient than those in which much of the economy is controlled by a few big corporations.
We take it one step further. The Doctor places a premium on local and Canadian products, so that you know for sure that your money will grow your economy. Bet on the little guy, and create a strong community fabric.