Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Get your fix
Your bike is like your body: If you don’t take care of it, everything will go to shit, and then nobody is going to want to ride it.
Here’s some advice from a veteran bike mechanic on how to keep everything rolling smoothly
Check your tire pressure and lube your chain once a week if you’re a casual rider or commuter. For performance rides (road cycling or mountain biking) you’re going to want to re-inflate your tires and lube/clean your chain after every ride. A tip on chains: If it sounds like a flock of seagulls is following you when you ride, that means you need lube pronto.
Replace chains every 1,000 to 1,500 miles. More often if you don’t regularly clean and lube it, because it will wear out faster without proper care. (See Tip Numero Uno.)
Get an annual tune-up so a professional can look over things like brakes, wheel alignment, pedal wear and all that other shit you don’t know how to do but is essential to keeping you safe.
Don’t be cheap when it comes to your bike. Like anything else, it costs money to maintain. so if you leave it out in the rain, sleet and snow, don’t yell at the nice mechanic who tells you it will cost hundreds to replace or repair those rusty parts. Sure, they’re trying to sell you stuff, but they also don’t want you to end up in the hospital with a cracked skull and a nice, shiny new lawsuit to file.
There are more than a dozen shops where you can get a tune-up or quick flat fix, but if you’re going to spend lots of time on your bike, it might be worth knowing how to do some of these things yourself. Luckily, there are also plenty of places to get your knowledge on.
Community Cycles holds free fix-a-flat clinics on weekends ( communitycycles.org/what-we-do/bike-repair-workshops/); REI does gratis classes, too, though less frequently ( rei.com/event/bike-maintenance-basics-level-1/boulder/208562).
Or stay on campus: CU does one-hour classes followed by 60 minutes of shop time to test our your newly learned skills: colorado.edu/ecenter/transportation/bicycle/bike-maintenance-clinics
If money is no object, Full Cycle (1795 Pearl) offers a six-part class for $350 that will teach you everything you want to know. Or book a one-on-one with a mechanic for $60/hr. Deets: fullcyclebikes.com/about/maintenance-class-series-pg85.htm
It’s a little-known fact, but this city’s name is actually an acronym: Biking Old Ugly Liberals Dreaming of Environmental Regulations.
Skipping over the rest of the letters in that totally not-at-all-made-up abbreviation, let’s talk about Boulder’s second-favorite past time (after protesting for the prairie dogs): biking.
This town is made to be seen from two wheels. And why shouldn’t you? It’s fun! It’s healthy! It’s scientifically proven to make you happier!
In short, you should do it. Here’s how:
Lock it up
Boulder may be home of the free-range children and chickens, but trust me: If you leave a bike untethered, it will get stolen. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
Invest in a decent U lock or link lock. Chain locks are cheaper but easier to cut. And sure, you could go years without a snip-and-grab, but is it really worth it? The amount of (allegedly) stolen bike alerts on Craigslist suggests no, it’s not.
I probably sound 70 years old when I say, “People these days are so impolite!” But I’m on my bike daily, and I see you: Ya’ll rude as hell.
Bicyclists in this town have a bad reputation for being snooty and self-important. And I gotta say, I get it. Help us all out and be one of the nice ones. If enough of us try to be better, we’ll eventually outnumber the lycra-clad cretins and sway public opinion in our favor.
Stop at stop signs; don’t go zipping around traffic and expect people to see you; say, ‘on your left,’ when passing pedestrians (or slower cyclists) on the paths; don’t take a U lock to someone’s side mirrors just because they’re a few inches into the crosswalk.
Don’t drink and derailleur
Did you know it’s illegal to ride a bike whilst intoxicated? Well now you do. You can go to jail for this. Seriously. Treat your bike like a car when you’ve been drinking and let ‘er sit or else have a responsible, sober friend bring it home.
Trust us, you don’t want to be the guy or gal in the cell who got pulled over for drunk biking. You’ll never live that one down.
With 300 miles of dedicated bikeways, 80 underpasses and 38 B-cycle stations, there’s really no reason not to bike in Boulder. Rain? Put on a jacket. Snow? Sometimes the plows hit the paths before the streets. Wind? OK, you got me. I hate biking in the wind.
The city recently created a new way to get your bicycling bliss: dockless bike shares. That means free-floating cycles will soon be popping up all over town.
Take it from a (near) daily cycling commuter: Biking is more fun and often faster than sitting in traffic. Parking is never a problem, and people are generally impressed when you turn up on two wheels.
Shay Castle: twitter.com/shayshinecastle