Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bicycle time in a vintage way. Classic hints and tips to ride it right!

Well the rains have stopped for the most part which means us fair weather cyclists are dragging our bikes out of the garage, airing up the tires and starting our riding season again. 

I have been riding a bicycle since I was 5 as have most of us, give or take a few years, but aside from the basic safety tips taught to us by the parent or elder who gave us our riding lessons, most people (leaving out the serious cyclist) have no idea there is a proper way to ride a bike..... besides not falling off or running into a parked car.

Campagnolo Vintage Coventry Eagle 10 Speed Bicycle 60s Brooks saddle

.... you can find this at funkomavintage....we love vintage bicycles. 

There are a few easy techniques and adjustments that will make cycling less of a chore and they have the added benefit of making you look like a pro while riding.

Vintage Motobecane 10 Speed Bicycle Mixte 70s Ideale saddle Mens Womens blue bike

A mixte has the center bar placed low and is perfect for men or women, and is quite popular in Europe. Find this Motobecane at funkomavintage. 

A very vintage Edwardian bicycle seat.... ;-)

Rule #1.......The bike must fit you and be properly adjusted for your height. 

First ---Adjusting the seat height correctly will gain you more distance for your energy output plus you won't look silly with your knees splaying out at a funny angle if the seat is too low.  If you do this ...or  you see someone's ones leg see-sawing back and forth, swaying their "behind",  if it's too high. 

Proper seat adjustment is 1.09 % of your inseam measured from the top of the seat to the spindle of your pedal at the bottom of the stroke of the crank with the crank arms lined up with the seat tube.

Measure your inseam of a pair of pants that you wear with flat shoes, and multiply by 1.09 and you will get the correct height. If you need some help take your inseam measurement and your bike to your local shop the they will be happy set things right. 

Did you know you pedal and how much you pedal are very significant factors in how far you can travel before you wear yourself out?

The proper way to pedal is to use the ball of your foot and never the arch. If you are clipped in with toe clips on your pedals, you have no choice! This technique is called ankling.

At the top of the stroke, point your foot slightly up as you continue on the down stroke point your toe down. 
With your seat adjusted correctly this will feel quite natural.

Vintage Schwinn Varsity 10 Speed Bicycle 60s Purple Pink bike

Everybody loves a Vintage Schwinn. The classic American bike made in Chicago for years and years. 

How much you pedal is referred to as "cadence". The trick of covering long distances easily is by having steady cadence.
The gears on your bike are there to help you achieve this. If you think this way about the gears rather than using higher gears to go faster like you would in a car, you will find cycling to be much easier.

Keep to nice easy pedalling that feels comfortable, and you will save your energy, and go the distance!

Drop bars also allow you to use more muscles when pedaling than flat bars, that's why you see the racers using them.
They come in a varity of styles so you should be able to find a pair that's comfortable.
I should add that keeping your tires inflated to the maximum pressure will reduce roll resistance and make pedaling easier.
Keeping the bike lubricated and tuned is a big help too.

This pre-war bike needs a lot of work to pedal smoothly...but it does have a basket!

Just remember, on a bike you are the engine and the less resistance against the engine, then the easier life is for that engine! So get out there and enjoy that summer!