CITY LIFE

Published on April 14th, 2015 | by Joe Korbuszewski

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Give your bike a better home

A bicycle is a wonderful thing.  It can be a commuter or a destroyer of forest trails. It’s a leisurely ride down Ruston Way or a forty mile per hour descent on an aerodynamic superbike. A bicycle is a freedom machine.  It’s the difference between your front and back yards as a kid, or three blocks away. As a grownup, it’s still thrilling to reach wind-stinging-your-eyes speed while your smile grows larger with each pedal stroke.

But if you want to have a healthy relationship with your bike, you have to give it a good home. Take care of your bike and it will take care of you.

Do not leave your bike outside.

Beyond the obvious theft issue, the elements will quickly turn your finely tuned machine into a heap. It will refuse to shift or stop correctly and its rusty chain will make you cringe with each turn of the crank.  Bring your bike inside- even if you live in an apartment. Do this and it will last you much longer.  There are many creative ways to store your bike inside   which can save space and look really nice, too.

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Invest in a good lock.

You just spent seven hundred dollars on your new bike, is fifty dollars too much to protect it? That cable lock may have sufficed when you were a kid, but it’s about three seconds and a good pair of bolt cutters away from you walking up to an empty bike rack. Buy a U-Lock. Ask the bike shop to show you how to use it properly. There are few things more sad than a rear wheel locked to a bike rack, all alone and without its matching companion and frame. I also highly recommend renters insurance.  Most policies will cover bike theft even if it takes place outside of your home.

Buy a pump.  

And learn how to fix a flat, too. Do you know how many bicycles sit covered in dust in the dark recesses of American garages simply because they have flat tires? Do not allow your two-wheeled counterpart to become a casualty. If you could patch a flat in the fourth grade then you can definitely patch one now. Besides–pumping air into tires builds muscles and you don’t want skinny arms with those new cycling quads, do you? Air will eventually escape your tubes whether you have a puncture or not, so get that pump and keep it near your bike.

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Find a local bike shop.

Tacoma has several options to keep you pedaling happily and a good mechanic is something special. Find a shop that meshes with you and your style of riding. A quality shop will understand the difference between the needs of a commuter or a weekend hill killer and a good mechanic will keep both of those bikes in working order. You shouldn’t be afraid of your bike or the people who service it and there are no dumb questions. Every bike shop employee has heard the phrase “my gears don’t work,” so if that’s the case, let them know. A bike that doesn’t shift correctly is no fun to ride. Some shops even offer basic maintenance classes so you can learn the wonders of derailleur adjustment and brake pad replacement(buying your mechanic a beer also goes a long way).

RIDE YOUR BIKE.

Spring is upon us and we happen to live in an area with spectacular things to see from the saddle of a bicycle. Point Defiance Park, Swan Creek, Gig Harbor’s Cushman Trail and the Foothills Trail in Orting are just a few of the places near us that offer a great place to pedal, coupled with fantastic scenery. A bike can be the difference between “just another quick trip to the store” and a carefree trip in the sunshine. Go outside. Go ride your bike. You won’t regret it.InstagramCapture_8d88cf85-30ce-4cc2-82dc-460e0ed1402e

Local Shops

Defiance Bicycles 411 Fawcett Ave: 253-777 5546:  defiancebicycles.com
Tacoma Bike 3010 6th Ave. 253-272-1351: tacomabike.com
Old Town Bicycle 3009 McCarver St: 253-573-9400  http://oldtownbicycle.com/

Local Resources

Velofemmes: facebook.com/VeloFemmes
2nd Cycle, 1312 MLK Way: www.2ndcycle.org
Tacoma Bike Ranch: tacomabikeranch.blogspot.com
Downtown On The Go: downtownonthego.com/go/biking
Tacoma Mobility: www.facebook.com/tacomamobility

In the market for a new bike but don’t have all the cash? Sound Credit Union now offers low interest Bicycle specific loans!

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About the Author

"I don't know much. But I know I love Washington. And that may be all I need to know." Internetter, Writer, Husband, Dad, Belgian Beer Snob.



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