Archive for the ‘running’ Category
Cyclists check out bicycles all the time. You see one on the back of a car, you pay a glance. Notice a couple leaning against the window at the coffee shop; you stare at them until you pass. See a new one tricked out in a bike stand at the bike store, you fall in love. I’m not sure if it’s the bicycles or the people that ride them that excite me more, but I feel connected, part of a small group each time I see a bicycle.
Our company, www.ezbikeproducts.com , develops cycling products to make cycling easier. Our popular EZ Bike Stand has been well endorsed and accepted by the cycling community. However, one simple product we offer that gets less attention but well received is our Velcro Brand One Wrap strap. I cannot think of a better solution for keeping the front wheel of a bicycle stable when traveling with your bike hanging on the rear bike rack of a car. http://ezbikeproducts.com/ez-straps/
I used to use bungee cords, rope, and non-Velcro straps to keep my front wheel from banging into the bumper of my car or into my wife’s bike’s spokes when I was carrying both bikes. No longer. With only a small piece of our Velcro Brand One Wrap strap weaved behind the bottle cage and around the front wheel, we have created a simple and quick way to eliminate the “turned wheel” syndrome.
I mentioned I can’t help but stare at every bicycle I see hanging on the back of a car…or in a bike stand for that matter. At first it was for the beauty. But now I check it out to see if someone is suffering from “turned wheel” syndrome or the “lean”. While I may miss my first glance, it sure is rewarding to see cyclists that are cured.
If it looks like a bike stand and works like a bike stand, it must be a bike stand. Not so! Bike stands live in a world of ambiguity amongst cyclists. The terms bicycle stand, bike stand, bicycle rack or bike rack may refer to the same thing. In fact, stationary bicycle trainers, bicycle carriers, bicycle repair stands, and motorcycle stands are sometimes called bike stands.
Interestingly, bike stand has no definition, however, a bicycle stand and bicycle carrier is defined as such:
• Bicycle stand – a stationary fixture to which a bicycle can be securely attached (typically using a bicycle lock) to prevent theft.
• Bicycle carrier – a device attached to a vehicle (e.g. to a car or bus) to which bicycles can be mounted for transport.
As the inventor of the EZ Bike Stand, this is surprising. I had not thought of a bicycle stand as a device to which bicycles may be securely attached. A bicycle rack perhaps, but not a bicycle stand. Even Orville and Wilbur Wright considered bike stands to be portable, easy to use devices to keep bicycles upright, not secured. However, I understand European countries often refer to bike stands as places to secure your bike and that these stands are located throughout their cities to accommodate the high volume of bicycle commuters and shoppers.
Perhaps it’s this confusion that has led cyclists to keep from exploring bicycle stands for their true value. Or maybe the portable bike stand is still in its infancy stage. Personally, I think it’s the most overlooked bicycle accessory today. Here’s a recent video I found on-line from a customer unknown to me. 2009 Specialized Allez Elite w/ EZ Bike Stand I believe the viral affect of cyclists telling cyclists about quality products using social media and technology will change the bicycle stand landscape in the future. And who knows, perhaps our friend the bike stand will finally get noticed by Webster.
Many people refer to a bicycle repair stand as a bike stand. However, a bicycle repair stand has a number of different features than a traditional bicycle stand. For example, they typically are much larger and heavier pieces of equipment, some of them weighing over 15 pounds. They lift your bike off the ground and use a clamping device to secure it. By raising your bike up, you are able to rotate the pedals forwards or backwards making it easy to work on gears, pedals, chains, brakes, etc. An elevated bike also makes it easy for you to work on while seated on a stool or chair. In addition, some bicycle repair stands will allow you to rotate or swivel your bike giving you access to both sides of it without moving your stool.
Unlike a bicycle stand which is usually portable, a bicycle repair stand is rarely traveled with because of its size and weight. Granted, I’ve seen bicycle shops and cycling teams bring them to races, but that’s out of necessity rather than convenience. Also, some bicycle repair stands permanently affix to a workbench like a vise, making them impossible to take with you.
I have written many blogs about bicycle stands and the benefits of owning one. If you use one, you know the conveniences it provides and the frustrations it eliminates. As co-inventor of the EZ Bike Stand you might feel I have a bias toward owning a bike stand, but the reality is that the feedback I get every week tells me how much cyclists love them.
However, not all bicycle stands are alike and not all of them loved. The tips I provide in my blog at www.ezbikeproducts.com/blog/ explain the differences you should consider. I would also encourage you to ask other cyclists their opinions when you see bicycle stands at group rides or races.
I believe the proverb, “you get what you paid for” holds true with bicycle stands. While your bicycle is the single largest cycling investment you’ll make, you should consider how you plan to store, protect, and maintain it. The cost of a bike stand is minimal when you look at the bigger picture. And if you plan on a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) bike stand, consider the time, cost, functionality, and usefulness before taking on your project.
Do I need a bike stand? This question seems reasonable since leaning your bike against an object takes only a few seconds and costs nothing to do. So, why purchase one?
For years, I leaned my bike against a wall in my garage. Sure the wall was scratched up a bit, but it was only a garage. Of course wall space wasn’t always available, so scratches occurred elsewhere in the garage too.
As my family became more involved in cycling the wall became cluttered with bikes. In fact, we owned seven bicycles and parking them single file against a wall was impossible. So I tried the side-by-side approach, but this led to frequent crashes and dings to walls, cars, bicycles, and everything else near the bikes.
I saw an ad for a bike hoist and thought it would be my solution. I figured raising our bikes up to the ceiling would give us space, which it did; however using bike hoists was another matter. Personally, I never felt our bikes were secure with hooks under the seat and handlebar. This made walking underneath a hanging bike feel like walking under a ladder. In addition, hoists took time and effort to use before and after each ride, the rope eventually frayed and wouldn’t operate properly, and my wife and daughter couldn’t use the hoists without my assistance. In my opinion, hoists make sense for boats, not bicycles.
Besides a place to park our bikes, I wanted a place to prepare for our rides. Leaning my bike or having my wife hold it while I lubed our chains, pumped our tires, or changed out our wheels wasn’t fun…and cycling was meant to be fun! Then after rides it was the same thing. I didn’t have a good spot to clean our bikes or do maintenance on them.
So, do I need a bike stand? Absolutely! It’s one of the most overlooked bicycle accessories.
Customers frequently tell us how much they “love” their EZ Bike Stand and I fully understand why. The EZ Bike Stand is like having an extra pair of hands around…plus, you don’t have to yell, “Honey, can you help me for a few minutes?” anymore.
Making cycling easier.
Cycling in the fall is as vibrant as the leaves changing colors. The weather and landscape bring out a fresh look to our ordinary bike routes and cyclists tend to become more conversational and relaxed this time of year. Century rides, cyclocross, and mountain bikes races can often be found each weekend giving cyclists a variety of new routes and events to experience.
While many athletes begin changing their training toward running and indoor workouts due to shorter days and cooler temperatures, I would encourage a different approach this fall. Find a new group or event and continue riding. With “race” season winding down and intense cycling less prevalent, you just might find new friendships and new rides a refreshing change of season.
Oh, and don’t forget to take your EZ Bike Stand with you, so you’ll have a place to put your bike while preparing for your ride.
Making cycling easier.