Back-to-School Bicycle Safety

With the start of a new school year, we all need to put safety first in school zones. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), biking to and from school is safer when children and adults alike:

  • Wear and buckle a properly fit helmet every ride
  • Wear bright colors and/or use lights or reflective wear to be more visible to motorists
  • Have a good grasp of traffic safety rules including riding in the same direction as traffic and stopping at all stop signs and signals
  • Choose safe routes to ride, including streets with lower traffic volume and speeds
  • Ride focused and alert—never using electronics or both ear buds while riding

The NHTSA has stated that helmets are the single most important piece of safety equipment for riders. While they can't prevent a crash from happening, they can prevent a crash from resulting in a serious injury. Giro's Rascal helmet is a perfect choice for your little rider. 

The Rascal's OneStep™ fit system provides a simple and intuitive method to quickly send your child on his/her way. Simply close the pinch-free buckle and they're ready to go. For added visibility, mom or dad can click on the integrated rear LED tail-light.

Stop by the shop and purchase a Rascal helmet to protect your little one this school year. It retails for $40.00, and we have a nice selection of Giro helmets for adults as well.

Team USA Using the Polar Bottle®

We are big fans of the Polar Bottle®, and you will likely see Team USA Olympic and Paralympic athletes sporting theirs at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. The company is proud to be hydrating some of America's athletes for the games as an official water bottle licensee of the Olympics.

Polar Bottle takes great pride in producing an American-made product that reduces environmental impact and supports our local and national economies by providing employment to their local workers. Their products are assembled in, and shipped from their warehouse in Boulder, Colorado, with parts sourced from the USA.

We have the 24 oz. size in White and Razzle, but other colors/patterns are available. Grab yours for only $11.99.

KaZam Balance Bikes

Say goodbye to training wheels! KaZam balance bikes are the best way to teach young children to ride. Balance bikes are well suited for 3 year-olds, but they make a great gift for any aspiring rider under the age of 5 (or under 60 lbs).

We have a red model in stock for $99.95, but other colors are available.

These bikes really are changing the way kids learn to ride! Stop by the shop to learn more. 

2’Fer Lights

We’re really digging these 2’Fer bike lights by Blackburn. They are front and rear capable and can last up to 5 hours flashing. The light switches from white to red with the push of a button. The best part is that they come with a charging cable. With a rechargeable light you can ride safer all the time without worry of wearing down your batteries. 

You can grab your own 2’Fer in store for $24.95. 

Riding in Wet Conditions

1. Prepare for the post.  

Always check the forecast.  While it is fun to occasionally get caught in the rain with no choice but to ride, it is much more fun getting caught knowing that you have a dry towel and clothes, a bite to eat, and some wet-weather gear waiting for you back at your starting point. 

2. Light it up.  

We live in a region that is prone to storms that can significantly darken the sky.  Rain is a great reason to always ride with lights and/or to adorn your helmet, frame, saddlebag, or other part or accessory with a few small bits of reflective tape or fabric. 

3. Pare the pace.  

Even if the rain is only a quick shower on a day that dries it up within minutes, any rain should mean a reduction in pace.  Indeed, it is usually within the first few minutes of rain that the road is likely to be slickest.  The surface has not yet been rinsed of the residual oil, gasoline, antifreeze, brake fluid, and other fouling agents that drip from all the vehicles on our roads (including our bicycles, by the way).  The ride can always resume a faster pace if things improve.  This is especially relevant on the many metal surfaces that cap our many drawbridges in the area.  If it is raining, we STRONGLY DISCOURAGE riding across these bridges.  Even if you have to dismount and walk across the bridge, it is worth the extra one or two minutes. 

4. Drop the draft.  

Riding directly behind a “rooster-tail” of water flying off a rear wheel is a sure way to reduce already-compromised visibility, so increase the distance to the rider in front of you.  Another option is to slightly stagger the group, since it is legal to ride two abreast in South Carolina.  Do not let this result in gaps, however, that grow so big that slower riders fall off.  Stick together and stay safe.  Even if the group splits into two or more smaller groups, that is preferable to stranding a rider off the back.

The four preceding points are a good start to riding safely in the rain.  This is not intended as a guide for commuting on a daily basis in wet conditions.  There are many other resources with extensive lists regarding handling, gear, and other items for consideration if that is the goal.  Please let us know if you would like more information about such items, and we would be happy to assist.

See you next Tuesday or Thursday…rain or shine!

But I Can Find a Cheaper Bike...

You can find a bicycle just about anywhere. And it's likely that you will spend less for a one-time purchase at a department store. Here's what we encourage you to take into consideration, first.

Who built your bike and do they care about you?

A local bike store is filled with bicycle experts that actually  care about your biking experience. It is in our best interest to ensure that you have a delightful experience, every time you ride your bike. Here are some other reasons to spend a little extra...

1. Not all bicycles are the same.

Bikes at bike stores are assembled with only tried and true material. We make no money by giving you cheap (in quality) parts. This is not the case with department store bikes. The quality of the steel/aluminum is not to par resulting in stripped bolts and rusty parts.

2. Not all bicycles are assembled the same way.

Bikes at department stores are assembled hastily. This haste doesn't allow time to grease parts that need greased or tighten parts that need tightened, let alone ensuring things are aligned properly.

3. Not all bicycle service is the same.

Your local bike stores offer you service which a department store can NOT match. We are pros, not sales floor representatives.

4. Bike stores do not "upsell." 

Most of us just want to see you riding a bike...safely. We are not judging, we do not think less of you if you don't have the best stuff. When we recommend a light and a helmet, it's for your safety. A hurt bicyclist is a hurt family member, first and last.

Please think of all facets of owning a bicycle prior to making a decision based on purely cost. Consider all of the options and consult with your local bike store first. The information is free, your cheap bike may cost you more than money.