Behold The Wave Of New Riders!

Written by Boston Biker on Mar 12

With the coming of the spring warmth the hibernating seasonal rider has once again emerged to ply our fair streets. Welcome back y’all! We missed you!

Here is a little roundup of tips and tricks for you, things you might have forgotten (or never learned). We are so very happy to have you back and want you to have the most fun possible, while not endangering yourself, or the rest of us.

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Tips and Tricks:

How to ride in the rain.
Its probably going to at least a couple times this spring, here are some tips.

How to use a bike lane properly: Part 1, Part 2
It might seem simple, but there are some handy tips for using bike lanes that will keep you safe, and avoid the door prize (the one prize you don’t want to win while riding your bicycle).

If this is your first year on a bike start here
A handy guide for new riders.

See those red lights, they are for you! Part 1, 2, 3

How to properly lube your chain:

A lot of people mess this up, including long time cyclists, so don’t feel bad if you have not been doing this correctly.

Too Little:
Can you hear your chain? Is it rusty? You don’t lube your chain enough.

Too Much:
Is your chain a mass of black goo? Does it leave marks on your leg and your clothing? Do you find yourself wondering why your chain seems to collect every speck of dirty on the road? You lube your chain too much.

Chain starts off lubed, but then quickly starts squeaking again:
Are you using WD40 as a chain lube…because its not a lube at all, you should stop doing this.

How to properly lube a chain: Several easy steps.

Step 1: Buy real chain lube.
Go to the bike shop, ask for chain lube, buy it. Don’t use WD40 (water displacement formula 40, used to drive out water from hinges, not lube them), or any other solvent.

Step 2: Get an old rag and vigorously wipe down your chain.
Its made of metal, you wont hurt it, wipe that chain down till it looks shiny, don’t be shy about rubbing down the chain rings, and back cogs, get as much gunk off as you can.

Step 3: Apply one drop of lube to each chain link.

Where the chain links come together there is a little round thing, drop one drop of lube on each of these, no more no less.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your chain is very clean.
Do steps 2 and 3 until your chain is free of gunk, and grit, and grime, you may need more than one old rag if you haven’t lubed your chain in awhile. The lube will break up and push out grime. You probably will only need to do it once or twice, unless your chain is very dirty.

Step 5: Apply one drop of lube to each chain link, then rub your chain vigorously with a clean rag.
Think of this as your “final lube” before you go on a ride, if you keep your chain clean you might only need to do this step. The final rub down is to remove all lube from the outside of your chain, only the inside of the chain at the “hinge” area needs lube, any lube on the outside of your chain will only attract dirt and make your leg filthy.

Step 6: Go for a ride.
Go for a ride.

Step 7: When you get home wipe your chain down one last time.
While you were out for a ride, you forced some more lube out of the inside of your chain, wipe it down so it doesn’t get all nasty.

Repeat this process any time your chain starts to make noise, or you ride though a sand storm, or it rains on your chain.
This will keep your chain good to go for months maybe even years. With good upkeep you will never have to hear that horrible squeak ever again.

Have Good Bike Manners

Its considered rude to pass on the right, always pass on the left, with an audible “passing on your left!” or “on your left!”

Try not to shole people, sholeing is when you run red lights, and then ride slowly once you are through the intersection, forcing the riders behind you (who stopped at the red lights) to continuously pass you in a game of infuriating leap frog. If you are going to run red lights, please be in a big hurry.

At stop lights and stop signs, stop behind, or to the side of waiting cyclists. Its not nice to pull in front of a cyclist, don’t cut in line.

We know you are in a hurry, but please don’t pass unless there is room.

Use hand signals. Simply point which way you plan on turning, and hold your hand down to your side to indicate you are going to stop.

Smile, wave, or nod to your fellow cyclists. Seriously its the people in cars who are grumpy, we are on our bikes! YEA!

Does anyone else have tips for new riders just back on the bike from a winter of hibernation, if so leave them in the comments.


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Posted in Commuting, education | 4 Comments »


4 Responses to “Behold The Wave Of New Riders!”

  1. By William Furr on Mar 12, 2012 | Reply

    Great tips!

    However, none of the people who need to hear them will read them.

    That’s the *only* argument I’ve ever heard that lends credence to the idea of a “bicycle license”. I wish I had any ideas for how to reach the clueless majority with some basic bicycle skills and etiquette.

  2. By Erik on Mar 12, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t mind people that cut in line at a red *if they are faster than I am.* But if I’ve already passed you, and we’re both waiting at the red, why are you pulling in front of me!?!? o.O

    If you’ve neglected your chain for a long time, don’t be afraid to replace it–it’s only $15 or so.

    Don’t weave through pedestrians when they have the right-of-way. It’s illegal and it freaks them out, even if you “know” you won’t hit them. Just wait your turn. If you consider a ped-only phase at a light to include bikes, wait for the peds to go. Better yet, wait for the green.

    Remember, the average speed in Boston and Cambridge is around 7-8mph when you include the time stopped at lights. Whether you’re in a car or on a bike, there’s no need to do stupid stuff to rush from light to light–you’ll easily hit that 7-8mph without much effort. Just chill and leave a couple minutes earlier, or accept your fate and be late.

    Happy sunshine!

  3. By patrick on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks for the manners bit – I was sorta grumpy when I got home yesterday after having a few folk sneak by on my right.

  4. By h4ckw0r+h on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    One behavior I’ve noticed from certain cyclists now that the weather is changing is really close, high speed passing. When passing another cyclist, take the lane and give plenty of room! Don’t expect them to hold their line — this is a commute on city roads with potholes and the attendant hazards — not a race on a closed course.

    And it’s especially dangerous to pass between a cyclist and a car.

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