Ride the Vancruisers Little 100 Relay Race!

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Vancruisers Little 100

There’s still time! Who knows? You might just win, you never know, and it’s always a great prize when you do. We won the second place prize last year, a $200 gift card for professional custom paint detailing. Not bad for an afternoon’s ride in the park!

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I enjoy all of the Vancruiser events, but this little gem stands alone as my favourite on the annual calendar. Some people say that Vancouver isn’t a friendly city, but the Vancruisers always make it abundantly clear that the people who say that sort of thing clearly haven’t met the cruisers. Yet. They should. If you feel that way about Vancouver- even just a little bit- then act now. Go to the Vancruiser’s Calendar and come out and join in the fun. Everybody is welcome to come and watch the race, but if you act now you still have time to find a team of at least four, and a good cruiser bike for the race on the afternoon of Sunday March 23. You even have time to come up with a costume. I mean kit. You’ve time to find a great team kit.

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It’s a tremendously fun in the sun social event where several teams of at least four riders taking turns riding laps on a bike all compete to finish100 laps of the old, paved, root riddled oval first. Those fat cruiser tires come in handy on this particular track. So do the wacky cost…er team kits, the cheerful, fun, happy crowd, the odd little shot of dutch courage given to the athletes every so often and the sweet bikes to be seen and enjoyed everywhere.

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So round up your friends, give your favourite bike the once over, and come to the Strathcona Oval on Sunday, August 23. Registration opens at noon. See you there!

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Do you need a tour guide?

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Do you like to ride your bike? How would you like to try something completely different? How does a cycle touring adventure on Saltspring Island sound? Or perhaps you would like to explore the wild side of Vancouver Island, instead. How would you like to explore the west coast of Vancouver Island north of Sooke? Let your imagination roam. Where would you like to go? What do you want to see? A bike offers freedom unlike any other adventure, and we can help you plan and prepare for the rest.

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Between us, we have traveled all over the place and we’ll make sure that you can do it, too. How about Hornby Island? How would you like to spend a few days looking south at the Georgia Strait from Hornby Island? It’s about 156 km one way from Vancouver, so you can do it in either one day or two, depending on how fit you are. There are all sorts of lovely trails to explore on the island, too. It’s a great way to vacation.

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Just pick your destination, and let’s get to it. We can give you as much or as little support as you need to make your tour a success. All you have to do is choose. Are you interested? Give us a shout!

A trip through time.

Riding a bike is like time travel for me. It takes me back. The first time I noticed how liberating a bicycle is was in the summer of my fourteenth year, when while at Pioneer Ranch Camp we rode from Jasper to Rocky Mountain house over four days. It was a marvellous experience which changed the course of my life in a profound and significant way. We were high school kids, riding one or two hundred dollar box-store bikes, and we had no previous touring experience, nor any special training, none of us.

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Where does your heart take you?

Between us, we carried our tents and food. We were just kids, really, with two expert leaders. As high school students, we were relatively independent, having spent a few summers engaging in outdoor adventure already, and so we were comfortable with pitching a tent and putting dinner on at the end of a day’s adventure. But we were no more physically prepared for long distance cycling than any other normal teenaged girl. If we could do it, so can you. We rode 330 km over four days, and we crossed a high mountain pass along our way. It was marvellous, and it taught the lot of us that you can go anywhere on a bike. Anywhere your heart takes you.

The most important component of success is having the understanding that as long as you continue spinning along on your way, you will always inevitably arrive at your destination. The camp was a remarkable gift, in fact, because it taught us the value of self propelled travel, of active transportation. It’s a beautiful, powerful experience which all young people ought to enjoy. The very best gift that came from those various outtrips was the innate awareness of the many, huge benefits of living an active lifestyle.

Just LOOK at those helmets!! :D
Just LOOK at those helmets!! 😀

It didn’t take any special training, and it didn’t require expensive bikes or gear, either. It was one of the top three vacations of my whole entire lifetime, and it was neither expensive, nor exotic. It was fun, it was memorable, it left us with a real feeling of accomplishment and achievement, AND it triggered the early development of some great muscles.

That ride through the Rockies was the beginning of a lifetime of movement and the cornerstone of a happy, healthy, active and purposeful life. In a way, that trip was an inspiration for riding which I now enjoy at every possible opportunity. Who could ask for anything more?

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If you’re reading this, you might just have a moment like that all your own. Was there a time you can point to, when you realised just how wonderfully freeing a bicycle can be? Was there a moment when it dawned on you just how far you can go on your bike?

Viva la #commuterrevolution.

Most people commute less than 5 km. On a bike, even 10 km is a reasonble  commute.
Most people commute less than 5 km. 10 km is still a reasonble bikecommute.

Active Transportion is a truly utilitarian phrase used to describe the sweetest possible way of life. Bicycling is personal and interactive, it’s face to face. Say hi to neighbours as you walk, paddle, glide or ride. See and smell the city from pleasant side streets and bikeways. You’ve gotta love the bicycle’s built in air conditioning, too, especially during those hot, dry summers! It’s such a beautiful way to enjoy the place you live in.

The ‪#‎commuterevolution‬ is well underway. Lots of people are choosing to park their cars and ride a bike around instead. Why? Lot of reasons, but most importantly, IT’S FUN! Riding feels good and it makes you look better, which makes you feel even better. It’s one of those positive cycles of escalation you sometimes hear about. The ripple effects  are enormous. That a large and ever increasing number of people are choosing an active lifestyle over the more sedentary motoring and transit options is wonderful news for our already overburdened health care system. It’s a good news story everyone can see with their own eyes. Everything about switching to active transportation creates positive gains and benefits for everyone (Except perhaps for big oil and gas). If and when you do have to drive there are less cars using the roads. Our cities are cleaner, quieter, safer. People feel better. Healthier.

“After 24 years of travelling to work at Bike Doctor it is dramatic seeing how quickly the change in commuter patterns in our city is now happening! More than half of commuter trips into downtown are by people using transit and walking and riding and this shift away from motoring is increasing,” says Bike Dr.

People riding bicycles use local shops and services in town as opposed to outlying big box retailers. This is huge! It has been proven time and time again that separated bike lanes boost business everywhere they go. Build them and they will ride and we all benefit. They will ride to health, to happiness, to wealth and well being. What’s not to love about that? Viva la #commuterevolution. It’s our saving grace.

Staying safe: enjoyable cycling on city streets.

If you’ve not ridden in a while, getting back on your bike might be a little bit intimidating, but the truth is that cycling is a safe endeavor.  It’s certainly safer than driving, and by a long shot.

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The best way to begin is to take a moment to plan your route. Most cities have trip planning websites available, with maps outlining which streets have protected bike lanes, and which are designated bike routes. Or better yet, just drop by Bike Doctor, and we’ll give you a free map to reference whenever you might need it. Use it often! Vancouver has a great, growing network of bike lanes and routes which are wonderful fun to use and explore.

087Many cities around the world have begun to embrace separated bike lanes, because they are a proven, fiscally conservative investment with easily measured benefits. They improve public health, benefit the neighborhood businesses, and reduce traffic congestion, all for a relatively small capital outlay. Bike routes are the next best alternative, with less motor vehicle traffic, and slower speed limits for safer travel.

But no matter where you ride, you have the right to be on the road, and you’ll find that most drivers are courteous and respectful of cyclists. As a general rule of thumb, a motorist will typically give you as much space as you take for yourself, so don’t ride so close to the curb that you haven’t any room to maneuver. Take a couple of feet, and you’ll find you have that much room on the other side, too. And when you’re beside a row of parked cars, make sure that you stay out of the door zone, just in case someone opens their door in front of you without shoulder-checking. If there are a number of parked cars, and then a space without cars, don’t weave in and out of the cars in an attempt to give passing motorists more room to pass quickly. Hold your line to ensure that you remain visible to the motorists in the lane behind you.

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Be a good citizen. Make sure that your intentions are clear. Signal your changes in direction with ample time to spare, so that drivers can prepare for your move. Make eye contact, and obey the rules of the road. It’s simple, really.

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Public roadways really are meant for all of us to share. Cycling is a great way to get around, a choice which benefits everyone. Common sense cycling etiquette will make it easier for us to all get along on our journeys through town.

Pumping it up right: selecting the best valve doesn’t have to be a tiresome endeavour.

Arguably the most important aspect of any bicycle is its wheels, because they have such a tremendous impact on how it rides, handles, stops, and starts. Your wheels really matter, and how you fill them counts, too, but don’t feel pressured when it comes to choosing the best valve for your bike.

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Don’t go hopping from shop to shop. Just examine the facts.

Over the years there have been several types of valves used to put air in bicycle tires, but before you go hopping about, shopping for the best valve, consider the benefits of each. There are three types in use today: the Woods, or Dunlop valve, the Presta, and the Schrader valve, though of the three, the Presta and Schrader are the only two you will find here in North America, so let’s consider their advantages.

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Presta valve, closed.

The Presta valve is what you’ll always find on the skinny tires of a high end road bike, since the narrower hole needed for this valve won’t compromise the structural integrety of the narrow wheel’s rim.

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Presta valve, open.

Presta valves are slightly more cumbersome to use, since you have to loosen the lock nut before pumping the tire, and the same locking system ensures that a roadbike’s high air pressure stays contained within the tube, and ensures that dust, dirt and debris doesn’t get trapped inside the valve mechanism. These valves are associated with high performance tires, but don’t feel pressured to use them. There really isn’t any great benefit associated with their higher price.

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Presta with a Schrader adapter.

If you have Presta valves, it’s a good idea to pick up an adapter, so that you can pump your tires at a gas station, something you can always do with the universal Schrader valve. Any small weight savings associated with the Presta valve are quickly diminished when you have to carry an adaptor, but it’s strongly recommended that you do.

060The Schrader valve is used on cars and many bicycle tires, and so with it, you can easily inflate your tire almost anywhere. It is easy, and simple to use, too, because the removable, spring locked mechanism is hidden inside the valve.

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You will want to keep the cap on your valve to ensure that dust and debris doesn’t get trapped inside, but this robust mechanism is easy to use, and efficient, too. You don’t have to remember to tighten the nut to lock air into the tire, because the spring loaded system does that as a matter of course. The benefits of the Schrader valve are easy to see: it’s a simple design, which is easy to use, and Schrader pumps are everywhere. Replacing your Schrader tube is less expensive, too. The Doctor strongly recommends that you choose Schrader valves over Presta, but if your tires are cut for Presta, just come in to the shop and we will drill the hole a little wider for you to accomodate the bigger Schrader valve.

Billions of reasons to ride a bike.

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There are literally billions of good reasons to park your car and ride your bike for transportation instead, and not all of them are about selflessly saving the planet, either. People who ride bikes are happier than are those who drive cars. Riding a bike increases the body’s production of its happy chemical: serotonin. Cycling also increases your dopamine, which means you have more energy, and your brain is firing on all cylinders, too. Serotonin and dopamine production, and the concomitant oxygenation of your brain as you ride combine to reduce stress, and can even reverse the brain’s ageing process. And don’t forget endorphins, your body’s natural morphine, a chemical euphoria. Your brain is flooded with endorphins when you ride. And you don’t have to be riding hard, either. A mild to moderate pace in the morning is all it takes and your body and mind will thank you for hours to come.

You’ll be healthier, too. Riding your bike boosts your immune system, by boosting the number of immune function cells. It gives you an increased ability to respond to any cells which do get in, too, so that you can fight infection off much quicker than you might otherwise. So you’re happier, healthier, and fitter. Suddenly you’ve got great legs, and a great back side, too, though many people don’t know that in fact cycling tones you all over, including strengthening your core.

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Love your legs.

All in all, riding a bike makes you very attractive to the people around you. So you’re riding every day, feeling good and looking great, and you’re smiling for other great reasons, too. You’ve got extra cash on hand, because you’re not shelling out ridiculous sums of money at the pumps to get where you’re going, and that feels great, doesn’t it?

It’s a whole new you. Happy, healthy, energetic, youthful and fun: it’s a recipe for love if ever there was one. And here’s the kicker: lots of loving floods your brain with oxytocin, your body’s natural love drug. And that, my dear reader, changes everything. It makes you see others as more loving and trustworthy, and it makes you act in a more loving and trustworthy way. So you see? It’s the bike path to world peace. If only a critical mass of humanity parked their cars and rode their bikes instead, we could achieve world peace in no time.

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And there you have it: a few billion good reasons to ride your bike.