Top Tips To Prevent Bike Theft

Top Tips To Prevent Bike Theft

Protecting your bike from being stolen is a daunting task. Unlike the motorized vehicles, bikes don’t have electronic safety systems to protect them, and they are also easy to disassemble, making it easy for thieves to operate.

Nevertheless, you can prevent bike theft in a number of ways.

For example, you can choose an adequate anti-theft system, learn how to park your bike securely, and change its aesthetic appearance to make it unattractive in the eyes of the burglars. Read our top tips to prevent bike theft and learn how to protect your vehicle.

How To Choose An Adequate Anti-Theft System

On the market, there are numerous anti-theft devices designed to meet the needs of various users. Unfortunately, the perfect bike anti-theft system has not been invented yet, but you can protect your bike at the best by using a combination of two complementary systems that can guarantee an excellent result.

An example of anti-theft system combination is the use of a U-Lock and a chain. On one hand, the U-Lock is very difficult to break and large enough to secure the bike to a pole. The chain, on the other hand, can be used to secure the rest of the bike.

Apart from this example, there are many anti-theft system combinations available and you should choose the right one for you based on the practicality of the systems, lightness, endurance, maneuverability, and transportability.

The choice of the systems must be based on your biking habits. For instance, if you are using the bike for the daily commute, then you need to invest in a lightweight and easy to use a system that can be comfortably carried in a backpack or purse.

If you use the bike less frequently, and especially if you rarely leave your bike unattended, then you could consider investing in less expensive options.

Therefore, to choose an adequate anti-theft system you should:

  • Evaluate your needs: set a budget and decide the must-have features of the ideal anti-theft system you need for your bike. Choose between U-Locks, padlocks, chains, and even GPS and anti-theft alarm systems.
  • Remember that each device has a different cost and different potentialities. Without a doubt, the most advanced instrument is the GPS anti-theft that is usually installed inside the frame and that allows you to track the bike regardless of where it is.

How To Park Your Bike Securely

You can purchase the best anti-theft system in the world, if you don’t know how to safely tie the bike you still risk losing it if a professional thief arrives. There is a number of rules you should follow to ensure the safety of your bike.

  • Always tie the frame: the mistake many newbies make is to tie the wheels of the bike, thinking that in this way the thieves will not be able to move it. However, you couldn’t be more wrong. Instead of the wheels, you should always tie the frame. The wheels can be easily replaced and you’d be surprised to find out how many burglars leave the wheels behind if they can leave with a high-quality frame.
  • Tie your bike to a stationary element: it might seem trivial, but many cyclists tie their bikes to objects that can be easily moved. If you want to maintain your bike safe, choose a pole, a tree, a bike carrier, or any other fixed stationary object to tie your bike to.
  • Check the height and characteristics of the pole: apart from being well attached to the ground, the pole you decide to tie your bike to must also be tall. In fact, many thieves are still able to steal the bikes by lifting them to remove them from the original location.
  • Secure the parts of the bike as well: never limit yourself in tying only the frame. It is important to secure each part of the bike, including the wheels and the saddle. In fact, if thieves can’t take your bike away, they might just settle for a souvenir and take with them the smaller parts.
  • The elements that need to be secured are the frame, wheels, and saddle. Because a single anti-theft system is unlikely to protect all these elements, it is advisable to use a combination of two devices, as we explained above.

Where To Secure The Bike?

Knowing how to secure your bike is only a part of the bike anti-theft strategy. A part equally important is understanding where to secure the bike. Nowadays, most cyclists are used to park their bikes either at home or at the office, but not everyone is lucky enough to have a suitable space available.

The choice of the place where to secure the bike majorly depends on where you’re from.

If you live in an urban area, there are numerous options to take into account, the most obvious being that of tying the bike to a bike rack. The racks of the latest generation have been developed with to keep your bike as safe as possible, yet there are a few precautions you should take.

  • Park the bike in a well-lit and crowded place. In this way, it will be difficult for the thieves to touch your bike without being noticed. Also check if there are any surveillance cameras in the area, such as in the commercial quarters or office areas.
  • Avoid isolated areas. It doesn’t matter how well you can tie your bike, if you park it in an isolated area you might still lose it. If there aren’t any crowded areas where you need to park the bike, at least check if there are any bike parking or storage facilities.

If you live or cycle in the countryside or suburban areas, protecting your bike is even more important. Because of the remote areas, it is even harder stopping the thieves while getting away with your precious transportation means.

To limit the hazard, park your bike in areas frequented by other cyclists, maybe near pit stop areas. If you can find nothing appropriate, hooking your bike to a tree might be the most suitable option.

Make Your Bike Recognizable

bike theft

Like already mentioned, not even the best anti-theft system in the world can protect your bike from all burglary and vandalism acts. For this reason, making your bike recognizable can help when it comes to identifying a stolen item.

There are many techniques you can use to make your bike easy to identify, and there is a good reason why you should do it. The first reason, if your bike truly gets stolen, the law enforcement officers will be able to track you in case your bike is found.

Another reason why you should make your bike recognizable is to prove to the law enforcement officers that the vehicle really is yours.

A method to turn your bike into a customized model is by applying all sorts of decorations and stickers to the frame, to make it as unique as possible. The presence of many stickers will also discourage thieves from touching your bike, exactly because it can be easily identified.

Another method that can help you prove that the bike is yours is by photographing yourself in the saddle. In this way, in the case of a theft, you will be able to show the police how your bike looks like and also prove that it truly belongs to you.

If you photograph yourself in the saddle, try uploading the photos on one of the many cycling communities on the internet. In this way, if your bike gets stolen, you will be able to share the photo and ask the members of the community for help to find your means.

You could also register your bike in a national bicycle registry or similar service, depending on where you’re living. Some countries have free national registers where you can record the details of your bike and insert a link to a personal profile.

An important information to know is the serial number of the bike, that will make it easier for you to identify the bike even if it has been customized or repainted.

Lastly, a great idea is to hide a piece of paper with your personal identification data inside the tube of the saddle or in the handlebar. Again, if your bike will ever get stolen, it will be really easy for you to identify it.

As you can see, preventing a bike theft depends on a wide range of factors. Nevertheless, if you decide to put these tips into practice, you will have the opportunity to protect your precious bike at the best.

Don’t forget: if your bike ever gets stolen, never give up on finding it. Complain, share photos, and do whatever it takes to find your means of transport.

25 Best Bike Share Programs In The World

25 Best Bike Share Programs In The World

The bike share programs can be considered a stable and integrated phenomenon of mobility in the cities. The idea of bike sharing was born in Amsterdam, in 1965 and it evolved until 1998 when the first city-scale bike share program was launched in Rennes, France.

Since then, the system spread throughout the world and today, almost all major cities propose a similar solution. Wondering which are the best bike share programs in the world? Find it out in our top 25.​

1. Barcelona, Spain

Bicing, Barcelona’s bike share program, was implemented in March 2007 and it was welcomed with great enthusiasm by the locals. The municipality developed infrastructures and enough docking stations to make it easy for the users to pick up and drop off the bikes. The only downside of this system is that only the residents can access it.

Apart from that, the system is exceptionally well built, users can view the status of each docking station in real time and the average distance between the docking stations is about 450 yards.

2. Milan, Italy

Milan is another city that has something to say when it comes to bike sharing. BikeMi impresses with its over 4500 bikes that include 1000 electric bikes. The system is in full expansion and it is spreading from the city center to the outskirts.

To attract users, the municipality placed the docking stations close to the main rail and subway stations, enabling the integration of biking with the other forms of public transport. The docking stations are located at maximum 330 yards of distance between them and the first half an hour of rental is free.

3. Moscow, Russia

From 2013, Moscow also boasts its own super-effective bike sharing program. There are over 300 docking stations all around the city and anyone can use them, including visitors.

Signing up for the rental system, called Velobike, is easy, you just have to register and purchase a card that gives you access to the bicycles. The first half an hour of riding is free of charge, but the bike share system is unavailable during winter.

4. Boston, USA

Boston launched its bike share program, Hubway, in 2011, and the system is still expanding to the outskirts of the city. At the moment, Hubway counts 1600 bikes and 180 docking stations throughout the city, and the bikes can be rented by anyone.

The municipality proposes multiple subscription options, including a 24-hour access pass, a monthly fee or yearly subscription.

5. San Francisco, USA

In San Francisco, the region’s bike sharing system, called Bay Area Bike Share, boasts 700 bikes and 70 docking stations located in San Francisco and San Jose areas. The system is available to both residents and visitors, and it offers an alternative transportation option embraced by many.

One of the greatest characteristics of Bay Area Bike Share is the fact that the municipality built numerous docking points, therefore finding a pick-up or drop-off station nearby is always easy.

6. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, also boasts an excellent bike sharing system. Named OV-Fiets, the system is operated by the Dutch railway company and it offers a large number of bicycles in over 250 locations in Netherlands.

To integrate the bike sharing with the other public transport means, the OV-Fiets bikes can be rented using the public transport card, or you can purchase a separate card for bike rental. You can also choose between pay-as-you-go or subscriptions.

OV-Fiets don’t use traditional docking stations and the bikes can be picked up and dropped off at multiple guarded or unguarded bike storage locations or in self-service bike lockers and carousels.

7. Paris, France

Vélib is the public bike share program in Paris that was launched in July 2007. The program is one of the most extensive in the world and it boasted since the beginning an impressive number of bikes and docking stations spread throughout the capital.

The program is in continuous expansion and everyone can subscribe to a daily, weekly or yearly service.

8. Stockholm, Sweden

Without a doubt, one of the greatest ways to visit Stockholm is by bike. The city boasts one of the best bike share programs in the world, the bike docking stations are located almost everywhere in the city and you only need a debit or credit card to rent the bike.

Stockholm City Bike system is only active between April and October and during the season it operates between 6 AM and 10 PM each day. The maximum renting time for a bike is 3 hours.

9. Brussels, Belgium

In 2016, Brussels’ bike share system, Villo, recorded over 1.5 million rents, 40.000 long term subscribers, and 70.000 short term tickets, so we can only say this bike sharing program is a true success.

The bikes are available 24/7, and depending on the length of your stay, you can choose between pay-as-you-go, daily or weekly ticket, or long term subscription.

10. Austin, USA

Austin B-Cycle is another bike sharing system designed for residents and visitors alike, and it counts numerous docking station placed in strategic locations throughout central Austin

To use B-Cycle bikes, you have to subscribe for a daily access at any B-station kiosk. You’ll get unlimited 60 minutes rides and a fee applies to late drop-offs, so keep your eyes on the watch to avoid any extra charges.

11. Berlin, Germany

In Berlin, bike sharing is made simple. To access the system you’ll only have to register for free using either the App available for iOS and Andriod devices, using the official website or the terminal.

Once registered, you can use either the app or the terminal to pick up a bike using your mobile device to receive a lock code. Regarding prices, the first 30 minutes are free of charge and you can opt for pay-as-you-go, daily, weekly or yearly subscriptions.

12. London, United Kingdom

London boasts more than 750 docking stations and over 11000 bikes that are available to residents and visitors. Accessing the Santander Cycles system is uncomplicated and you’ll only need a debit or credit card to subscribe.

To access the bikes, there is a 24-hours fee and the first 30 minutes of each journey are free. So, as long as you keep your eyes on the clock and return the bike to a docking station in time, you can ride as much as you like without extra charges.

bike share

13. Mexico City, Mexico

Because of its huge popularity, EcoBici, Mexico’s City bike share system, can be considered one of the bests in the world. Initially, the program counted only 85 docking stations and 1000 bikes, and in only five years it expanded to over 400 stations and 6000 bicycles.

The program offers both short and long term solutions for temporary users and commuters, and you will be able to choose the subscription that best suits your needs.

14. New York, USA

New York’s bike sharing system is one of the most extensive in the world, counting about 10.000 bikes and 600 docking stations in 55 neighborhoods.

Similar to the bike sharing programs present in other cities, CitiBike offers multiple subscription options that suit the needs of visitors and occasional riders or residents and commuters. Moreover, if you are a visitor, you can find interesting rides suggestions on the system’s website.

15. Philadelphia, USA

Exploring Philadelphia was never that easy, and the city’s bike share system, IndeGo is a popular commuting way for residents and visitors.

In fact, the system is so effective that it offers multiple subscription solutions not only for individual users but also for corporates. The individual passes include a daily pass that offers unlimited 30 minutes rides, or a monthly subscription with unlimited 1-hour rides.

16. Melbourne, Australia

Exploring Philadelphia was never that easy, and the city’s bike share system, IndeGo is a popular commuting way for residents and visitors.

In fact, the system is so effective that it offers multiple subscription solutions not only for individual users but also for corporates. The individual passes include a daily pass that offers unlimited 30 minutes rides, or a monthly subscription with unlimited 1-hour rides.

17. Beijing, China

In the past, Beijing was considered a capital of the bikes and even if the modern development increased the number of cars in the city, the residents still prefer commuting by bike.

For this reason, it is easy to understand why the Community Bicycle Program is one of the most popular throughout the world. The bikes can be picked up and dropped off anywhere in the city, and there are various subscription plans available.

18. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In an attempt to transform the busy Rio de Janeiro in a greener city, the municipality launched Bike Rio in 2011, and the bike share program enjoyed a huge success. Today, riding a shared bike in Rio is easy, as there are available over 400 docking stations and over 4000 bikes.

To increase sustainability from an environmental point of view, the docking stations are powered with solar energy.

19. Tokyo, Japan

Docomo Cycle is another popular bike sharing system available for the residents and visitors of Tokyo. The system enjoys a huge popularity and it is in continuous expansion.

Unfortunately, you’ll not get any free rides in Tokyo, yet you will certainly get to enjoy your favorite sport at a more than affordable price.

20. Montreal, Canada

Montreal is another city you can explore while riding one of the numerous bikes that are available for bike sharing. Bixi Montreal is not one of the most extensive bike sharing systems, yet it counts 540 docking stations in various points of the city.

​Accessing the system is easy with a credit card, and every 30 minutes of each ride are free of charge, once you have paid the one-off subscription fee. The docking station will give you a new access code each time you want to pick up a bike and if a docking station is full when you want to drop the vehicle off, you can request 15 more minutes to have the time to reach the closest docking station. The system is only accessible between April and November.

21. Buenos Aires, Argentina

In Buenos Aires, the municipality’s bike share system, EcoBici, is free of charge for both residents and tourists, and it is available 24/7. In other words, a true initiative to transforming the city into a green capital.

The docking stations are both manual and automated. The automated stations require the use of a smart card that is acquired upon registration.

22. Sao Paulo, Brazil

Another impressive bike share system is Sao Paulo’s Bike Sampa. The sharing system is extensive enough to ensure a generous amount of bikes to both residents and visitors, the docking stations are powered by solar energy and they are located next to the stations and subway entrances for easy access.

The only downside of the system is that sometimes the App doesn’t update in real time and when the weather is bad the bikes might be difficult to access, as the docking stations lose power.

23. Seoul, South Korea

In Seoul, more than 10000 people use Ttareungyi, the local bike sharing system, on a daily basis. The riders, both visitors, and residents can pick up and drop off their bikes from any of the over 400 docking stations available in the most important points of the city.

Although infrastructure could be improved, the popularity of the system proves that the municipality does its best to transform Seoul into a green city.

24. Bangalore, India

Bangalore boasts India’s first fully automated bike sharing system, a bike sharing program welcomed with great enthusiasm by locals. The system is simple to use, yet it requires the use of a smart card that is issued upon registration.

In Bangalore just as in Barcelona, the use of the shared bikes is limited to residents, mainly because the bikes can’t be undocked without a smart card.

25. Taipei, Vietnam

In Taipei, YouBike, or the local bike share program, counts over 7000 bikes that can be easily spotted everywhere around the city. The locals are more than enthusiasts and tourists can also benefit from this convenient bike rental system.

The car rental is free for the first 30 minutes and there is a 15-minute renewal restriction period at the station where the bike is returned.

What Is The Best Bike For Trail Biking

What Is The Best Bike For Trail Biking

The extreme variety of trails present not only in the US but everywhere around the world puts enthusiast cyclists face to face with a difficult choice: what bike to use? Is there a perfect bike for trail biking?

The challenges of trail biking are majorly given by the characteristics of the trails, that usually mix up stretches of asphalt road with gravel roads and dirt paths. So, what characteristics should you look for when choosing the bike?

Let’s see what is the best bike for trail biking.

Trail Bike Features

Despite the geographical and organizational differences of the various trails, the vast majority of the trails range from 300 to 600 miles, with a few exceptions. Because of the nature of the trails that, as already mentioned, change path characteristics seamlessly, it is easy to understand that a perfect bike for trail biking cannot exist.

Nevertheless, there are a few features a good trail bike should meet.

  • Driving ease: a trail bike must be convenient and easy to drive, it must be able to absorb vibrations and they must be equipped with high-quality bike seats that allow the cyclists to stay in the saddle for several hours without accusing knee, back or neck problems.
  • Versatility: an essential characteristic. The trail bike must be as versatile as possible, allowing cyclists to handle safely dirt tracks in the woods while, at the same time, it must be able to deliver good performances on the road. For this reason, the choice of the trail bike should be studied in the smallest details.
  • Comfort: apart from a good saddle and other essential technical features, the trail bike must be able to provide you as much comfort as possible. This includes the existence on the bike of a luggage basket able to accommodate your cycling backpack or other luggage you might want to carry with you.

Since many trails run on mountain paths and dirt roads, most cyclists believe that a mountain bike can be the perfect bike for trail riding. As a general thought, this might be true. However, there are a few things to consider.

The main thing is the metric development; a perfect metric development for a trail bike can usually be achieved with a 29-inch wheel, while the tires should have a small footprint of maximum 2.1 inches. It is also recommended to consider a double front transmission.

Gravel bikes are also often associated with this discipline, mainly thanks to their increased versatility and shape that allows maintaining constant pedaling rates on all terrains. However, gravel bikes also have their limits, mainly due to the rigid fork.

If you decide to invest in a gravel bike for trail biking, you should consider a bike with tubeless conversion or one that uses reinforced air chambers. The choice of the frame is subjective, but steel is the most recommended, as it has a high resistance yet it is elastic enough to provide smooth rides.

The main problem of the gravel bikes is the classic racing handlebar that might limit you on the off-road stretches.

Travel Bikes For Trail Biking

trail biking

On the market, there are some models of travel bikes with off-road settings, such as Salsa Fargo bikes, that are very popular among trail riders. Despite the rigidity of the fork of these models, the steel frame provides a superior comfort and vibration absorption, while overall, the bike is strong.

The saddle position of the travel bikes is more erect and stable compared to mountain bike saddles, resulting in less fatigue for the back and neck muscles.

If you decide to opt for a travel bike, remember that the footprint of the tires should not exceed 2.1 inches, therefore pay attention to how you inflate the tires. You should also choose a high-quality braking system, such as hydraulic or mechanical disk brakes that offer an increased braking power and more manageability on mud or slippery surfaces.

The luggage basket or baskets should be carefully studied to distribute the weight evenly, to help you maintain balance even in the most critical situations.

Fat Bike For Trail Biking

One of the latest trends is to use the fat bikes for trail biking. As weird as it might seem, the truth is that thanks to their generous tires, the fat bikes have excellent performances on the off-road, overcoming obstacles with ease both uphill and downhill.

However, fat bikes are harder to manage and decrease their performances on asphalted roads, where you will have to consume a lot of energy to keep your bike going.

Although it is a trend, we believe that the choice of a fat bike for trail biking is dictated majorly by the passion of the model than by the real needs of having a reliable bike during trail riding. Nevertheless, if you still want to give it a go and invest in a fat bike for trail riding, at least try to choose a model with a frame as lightweight as possible.

You should also try to maximize the metric development of the bike by inflating the tires as much as possible when cycling on asphalted roads, to then deflate them when you hit the off road again.

Choosing A Trail Bike: General Advice

Regardless of the type of bike you consider choosing to hit the trail you’re planning to ride on, there are a few things to consider to avoid transforming trail biking into a nightmare.

  • Get used to your bike: the most important advice is to get used to your bike before planning a journey. Never start a trail with a brand new bike or with one on which you are not used to riding on. Before planning your following adventure, take the time and test the bike in various situations and on different terrains. That will not only help you test the reliability of the new bike in various circumstances, but it will also help you get used to the position on the saddle, and it will give you the possibility to learn how to use your potential on the bike or know your limits.
  • Before departure, run a full checkup of the bike: it might seem trivial, but many cyclists usually skip this passage before departing on a trail adventure. Make sure your bike is in its best conditions to avoid exposing yourself to useless hazards.
  • Make biomechanical adjustments: the main thing to remember before departing on a trail expedition is that the bike has to adapt to your needs, and not vice versa. For this reason, before starting the trail, check all the biomechanical adjustments and see if the features of the bike match with your body structure. Among the things to check is the height of the saddle and also the distance between the saddle and the handlebar.
  • Give preference to upright positions: if you are a trail biking veteran, you probably already know why. If you are just approaching this sport, know that an upright position with your back straight will limit the load on the lumbar and neck muscles, reducing fatigue.
  • Choose SPD pedals: SPD pedals are the most indicated for trail biking, mainly because they allow you to maintain a full control over the bike. In fact, by always placing the foot in the same position you will avoid inflammation and pain. Apart from this, SPD pedals can also improve your pedaling performances. If you are not used to SPD, before departing, make sure you learn how to release the shoe from the pedal with ease.
  • Choose comfort: when choosing the bike for trail biking, remember that you will have to ride for a long time, usually several consecutive hours. For this reason, your main goal should be that of maximizing the riding comfort with the minimum impact on performance and speed. As such, it is recommended to choose high-quality components that provide a good resistance and shock absorption against the vibration. On the other hand, choose the most lightweight bicycle model that satisfies the necessities exposed above.

The charm of the trail biking is that it is a flexible discipline that allows everyone to choose the bike they prefer. There isn’t a right bike to use for trail biking. And as a matter of fact, there isn’t a wrong bike either. The advice is to plan your itinerary in advance and choose those trails that pair more with your biking preferences. After all, it is hard to believe that you will enjoy long stretches of dirt paths if you usually prefer riding on the road.

Once you decided what trails are the best for you, you can decide what features to look for in the bike and adapt it to the needs. Lastly, don’t forget that you will have to test the things and see what bike setup works the best for you on any type of trail, so be patience and you’ll eventually find the perfect bike!

Top 10 Bike Trails In The World

Top 10 Bike Trails In The World

If wanderlust and trail biking are two of your favorite things, then it is time to pack your tent, hop on a saddle and enjoy one, or all, of these top 10 bike trails in the world.

1. Lofoten Islands, Norway

From fishermen villages to typical Norwegian shipyards, the landscape of the Lofoten Island is dazzling with beauty. The best trail to cycle on is the Vestfjord route, that crosses the islands and allows you to enjoy the breeze of fresh, salty air.

Enjoy the silence of your two wheels and the relative loneliness while riding along the uncontaminated coastline, spotted with rustic villages and long wooden boards on which the fish is dried. To enjoy the north Scandinavia to a great extent, plan your trip during the midnight sun period, in the summer months.

Trail difficulty: easy.

2. El Camino Della Muerte, Bolivia

If riding along one of the most dangerous trails in the world sounds appealing, then Bolivia will certainly surprise you. Gravity Bolivia created a safe trail called the Death Road bike tour, and we can guarantee that the experience is amazing.

The trail passes through the top of La Cumbre and overlooks the Amazon rainforest. You’ll pass behind waterfalls, at only a few inches away from a pit, you’ll have to jump over trucks and challenged to surpass dangerous stretches of road. The best time to visit is between April and November.

Trail difficulty: moderate, but only recommended to the most fearless!

3. Whistler Mountain, Canada

Whistler Mountain rises up to about 7000 feet and on the top, there are dozens of possible trails you can take. You can enjoy spectacular downhill rides, and while descending you can even take a break to admire the mesmerizing view over Lost Lake and Whistler Valley.

The Lost Lake trails are the best place to start an easier itinerary that will take you to the lively pedestrian center of Whistler village. The best months to visit are between May and October, but… beware of bears!

Trail difficulty: easy to difficult.

4. Rim Trail Grand Canyon, USA

The Grand Canyon doesn’t need any presentations, this is an area that will always offer you a unique perspective of the same territory. The canyon changes colors according to the time of the day and it jumps from shimmering pink nuances during dawn to yellow and orange throughout the day.

The Rim Trail is a 13 miles path that offers some scenic views of the canyon, and the only thing to pay attention here is the moody weather. To admire a panoramic sunset, make sure to arrive at Hopi Point on time. The trail is open all year long.

Trail difficulty: easy.

5. La Carretera Austral, Chile

If you want to admire a truly scenic landscape and a simply spectacular itinerary, the Carretera Austral starting from Puerto Montt in Chile will certainly amaze you. The trail is rugged and sprinkled with holes, so make sure you have the best tires on.

Wander across the Natural Reserve of Lake Carrara, where the Andes seem to be immersed in the crystal waters of the lake that run along the border with Argentine. Visit the Marble Caves and don’t miss a trip to O’Higgins glacier. The best time to visit this place is in summer, during January and March.​

Trail difficulty: moderate to difficult.

Bike Trails In The World

6. Pamir Road, Afghanistan/ China/ Kyrgyzstan/ Tajikistan/

Along the Pamir Mountains, crossing four countries, lays the adventurous Pamir road, a route originally used by merchants and today a favorite trail among the bike lovers.

While riding in the shadow of the “roof of the world”, the local nickname of Pamir Mountains, you will fill invincible. The journey starts in Dusnabe, the capital of Tajikistan and follows the course of the river Panj that flows along Afghanistan until it ends in the city of Osh. From here, this apparently endless street continues, revealing natural landscapes of an unimaginable beauty. If this trail attracts you, plan the journey between May and October.

Trail difficulty: difficult.

7. Camino de Santiago, Spain

In the past, pilgrims had to walk during pilgrimages. Today, they can ride. It doesn’t even matter if you believe in pilgrimages or not, Camino de Santiago in Spain will steal your heart. The best bike trail to follow is Camino Francés that starts from Pamplona and ends at Santiago de Compostela.

Apart from a trail, this is a spiritual route, so leave your worries at home, or ditch them in front of the famous monument of the pilgrims on the hill of the forgiveness. Then, discover the surrounding olive groves and vineyards, the farms and forests, before delighting yourself with some delicious Galician meals. To enjoy this trail to the fullest, choose to go between May and June.

Trail difficulty: moderate.

8. Otago Central Rail Trail, New Zealand

New Zealand’s South Island depicts golden landscapes sprinkled with countless shades of purple or red, depending on the season. In this idyllic landscape, the Otago Central Rail trail, a former artery of a gold mine, is now a splendid cycling trail that crosses viaducts and galleries while overlooking gorges and rivers.

A must of this journey is to order a drink at Chatto Creek Tavern, rest on a hammock and sand a postcard from the smallest post office in New Zealand. Get back on the saddle and ride on with your heart overflowing of Southern hospitality. For the best experience, plan your trip between November and March.

Trail difficulty: easy.

9. Rajasthan, India

Let the charm of northern India seduce you while discovering the secrets of Rajasthan. Create your bicycle route from Jodhpur to Udaipur including on your trip visits to gorgeous palaces or rustic villages.

India is certainly a land of wonders, and here you will be able to plan a visit to the mighty Mehrangarh Fort that dominates the mesmerizing blue streets of Jodhpur, admire the intricate details engraved on the Ranakpur Temple’s walls, and get stunned by the luxury of the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur. To enjoy this experience to the fullest, visit between October and March.

Trail difficulty: moderate to difficult.

10. Colorado Trail, USA

From Canyon Waterton to Durango, the trail path descends then it rises uphill again through a lush natural landscape. There are many natural wonders to see along Colorado trail, including the Elk Creek lake that will impress you with their intense green and the large population of beavers, and the dizzying Vestal Peak. Restore your energy in the picturesque town of Leadville or relax in the thermal springs of Chalk Creek.

Please note that 6 natural areas in the Rocky Mountains are closed to bicycle access, so take a map and trace the route before starting the journey. The best time to ride along this path is between July and August.

Trail difficulty: moderate.

Bike Workout Interval Training For Beginners

Bike Workout Interval Training For Beginners

Bike workout training is a smart way to achieve your athletic goals. Riding and pedaling is only useful if your sole purpose is that of losing weight and achieving a good level of health, but it is not enough if you have any other goals, such as competing in a trail marathon or facing a long journey by bike.

To achieve those goals, you need proper bike workout training, and the first step towards it is to draw your own training plan.

A training plan is nothing but a schedule that indicates your expectations and the desired outcomes of the workout. The plan should enclose details of all the training sessions you have to accomplish to reach the intended goals, and in this table, you can also note down your progress.

Creating a workout plan will also help you commit to a determined training program and avoid overtraining.

Probably the first step in designing your own bike workout training plan is to decide what type of training you want to perform.

If you need to improve your basic resistance, both aerobic and anaerobic, the bike workout interval training for beginners might be the best type of training for you.

Interval training is a great variant of a classic strengthen training, and we aim to show you how an interval training is structured and how you need to build your annual bike workout plan.

Bike Workout Interval Training Facts

Bike Workout For Beginners

The main characteristic of the interval training workout is the continuous alternation between training sessions and break. Basically, you have to perform one athletic activity, such as climbing a slope or running for a determined distance, then take an active break before restarting training again.

The number of sets of the interval training per session varies according to the intensity of the workout, duration of the exercise, and training objectives.

The interval training workout can be either intensive or extensive.

In the first case, you will work on your anaerobic threshold by performing fast and very intensive exercises. In the second case, you will work on your aerobic threshold by performing lighter exercises but with longer durations.

The interval training allows you to train your muscles and gain strength, and it is a more entertaining version of the monotonous routine training that is made of long fast walks and designed to increase the basic strength.

In interval training, unlike the training that only requires you to repeat certain exercises, the break must be active. This means you will have to cycle between the sets. Cycling at a higher speed and using a more agile gear will help you oxygenate the tissues and allow the deactivation of the lactic acid that forms during the anaerobic workout.

During this type of training, it is important to use a heart rate monitor device that will allow you to register the heart rate. During breaks, your heart rate should never go under 120 beats per minute, to keep the level of your cardiovascular activity high and improve your resistance and strength.

Interval Training Workout Advantages

Interval training has physical, physiological, and psychological benefits, and there are numerous reasons why you should consider this workout. Here are some of the main advantages of this type of workout.

  • It increases your anaerobic resistance, which means that your body will produce less lactic acid.
  • It increases the oxygen consumption, allowing you to oxygenate your tissues with more ease. This fact also increases the anaerobic threshold and will increase the lactic acid depletion rate.
  • It improves the muscles metabolism, which results in less stiff and laborious athletic gestures since your energy consumption will lower down and you will be able to perform more tasks.
  • It increases the heart rate which triggers a physiological myocardial hypertrophy. In simple words, this means that your heart will increase its cavity to be able to pump more blood into the body.
  • It increases your willpower. Due to the intensity of the workout, the interval training requires a solid motivation to be able to carry along with the scheduled plan. As on overall, this improves your general willpower.
  • It increases your ability to overcome your limits since a training that exposes you to so much pressure requires a fierce desire to succeed.
  • It increases your adaptability to fatigue and your psychophysical stress improves.
  • It works on your basic resistance, therefore it can be used to make the monotonous workouts more varied and entertaining.

How To Work Out During Interval Training

The theory is bliss, but by now you might be wondering what an interval training workout involves.

As already mentioned, the purpose of this type of training is to keep your cardiovascular and muscular systems active continuously. For this reason, even during the break periods, the body must be kept active. This keeps your heart and lungs active and exposed to a certain stress.

Due to this stress, your physiological system will trigger some positive changes to its structure and functionality.

The central nervous system, on the other hand, will also change as it will have to adapt to overcome the feeling of fatigue so you can manage to continue the workload.

To train, you must first determine your maximum heart rate. The easiest way to calculate it is to subtract your age from 220. The result is your maximum heart rate. Alternatively, there are many online calculators or apps you can use to determine it.

Regarding the schedule of the training, there are many versions and many plans that differ between the various training coaches. Nonetheless, you can follow the training plan below:​

  • Choose 4 intensive exercises you like best and do a full cycle of exercises, allowing a time of four minutes to each exercise. This results in an intensive session with a length of 16 minutes. During these exercises monitor your heart rate and make sure that it stays constant at 90% of your maximum heart rate.
  • Take a break of 8 minutes during which you should perform other exercises of your choice or cycle, maintaining the heart rate at 70% of the max.

Repeat the intensive bike workout training sessions alternating them with active breaks. The length of the workout depends on your physical shape, but at the beginning, you shouldn’t exceed one hour. For the best advice, it is recommended to ask a physician or coach for a professional opinion.

Bicycle Road Laws: Traffic Rules And Regulations Explained

Bicycle Road Laws: Traffic Rules And Regulations Explained

In many parts of the around the world, there is a strange and ambiguous relationship between the road laws and cycling. Some of the worldwide regulations seem to come from a past era when bikes were called “velocipedes” and cars dominated the urban mobility.

And in fact, some of the road laws that regulate bicycle traffic are fragmented, confusing, and sometimes contradictory. As a consequence, cyclists have difficulties in riding comfortably without bumping into the complications of the bureaucratic language.

Yet, it is essential to clarify the aspects that regulate the relationship between the law and the cyclists.

As one might expect, road laws, and consequently the regulations cyclists must respect, vary from a country to another and sometimes even between the states or provinces of the same country. Let’s have an in-depth insight into the essential laws that cyclists must respect in the different parts of the world.

Bicycle Road Laws In The United States

In general lines, all 50 states of the United States of America require cyclists to follow the general road laws that regulate the traffic of all vehicles. Apart from this, some regulations change between the states, therefore you will have to make sure that you are complying with both federal and local laws.

The federal road laws to respect when cycling in the US are the following:

  • Use the right side of the road: in all 50 states, traffic participants must use the right-hand side of the road or highway.
  • Respect priorities: if you come to an intersection, you must respect the general road laws that regulate the priorities and, if you don’t have the right to pass first, you must stop and wait until the way is free.
  • Respect safety distances: because bicycles are treated just as the motorized vehicles, it means that everyone is entitled to use whatever space they need on the lane. On one hand, this means that you can take your own space and cycle in all peace. On the other hand, it means that you will also have to respect safety distances and surpass laws.
  • Change directions according to road laws: especially in agglomerated urban areas, roadways have multiple lanes that designate the direction and that allow you to take turns when necessary. As a cyclist, you will have to obey these laws and only use a lane to ride in the allowed direction. If you have to change lanes, you must respect the priority of the other traffic participants.
  • Speed positioning: according to federal laws, the slowest vehicles must use the right lane. You will be allowed to use the left lane when surpassing slower vehicles or if you have to change direction.
  • Lane positioning: the road law doesn’t only regulate the lawn you have to use, it also regulates the way you must position yourself in a lane. According to the law, if the lane is about 14 feet wide, you can share it with another vehicle and you must cycle next to the right edge of the lane. If the lane is less wide, you must cycle in the middle of the lane.

If these rules seem pretty straightforward, the local laws of each state can certainly complicate the things.

Due to the locals laws, from all 50 states, only two have equitable cycling regulations while in all the others the road laws for the cyclists are discriminatory, problematic or restrictive. Moreover, in 44 states cyclists are expected to use only the designated bike lanes.​

Bicycle Road Laws In Europe

Bicycle road laws

The various European states usually have different laws and regulations regarding the bicycle traffic, but there are some common laws between the states of the European Union.

In fact, according to the Vienna Convention, bikes are allowed in traffic only if they are equipped with a reflecting rear device that must be red, the bike must have a yellow or white light at the front as well as a red light at the rear, it must have an efficient braking system and a bell loud enough to be heard from a distance.​

On the pedals, there must be mounted orange reflectors, and two orange reflectors must also be present on each wheel. Mudguards are also a must regardless of the type of bike you choose to ride on.

Apart from these regulations, the cyclists must wear an homologated helmet, keep their hands on the handlebar at all times, while the transport of passengers is inadmissible unless otherwise stated.

In all European states excepting the United Kingdom, the traffic participants must use the right-hand side of the road.

In the United Kingdom, traffic participants must use the left-hand side of the road, therefore riding a bike might be more dangerous for those who are used to ride on the opposite side.​

The traffic of bicycles is forbidden on motorways and highways.​

Bicycle Road Laws In Australia

In Australia, just as in the United States, there are general road laws that apply to cyclists, then each state has a set of own rules and regulations. The main difference between the two nations is the more bike-friendly approach of Australia, where the various states tend to implement equitable cycling laws.

As a general rule, cyclists must follow the applicable road laws just as any other traffic participant. It is inadmissible for two cyclists to ride side by side or to hold on to a motorized vehicle in traffic.

A helmet must be worn at all times and the bike must have appropriate lights when cycling in low light or no light conditions. The presence on the bike of an efficient braking system and a loud bell are other mandatory requirements.

In some states, namely in Queensland, Southern Australia, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania, cyclists are even allowed to ride on pedestrian paths, in a tentative of the states to promote cycling.

Just as in the United Kingdom, traffic participants use the left-hand side of the road, therefore make sure to take extra-precautions if you are visiting Australia from a right-hand side driving country.

10 Top Tips To Mountain Biking In The Rain

10 Top Tips To Mountain Biking In The Rain

Summer is passing by fast and soon we will find ourselves in autumn, a season often characterized by bad weather. Rain can discourage many cyclists from going on the long-expected weekend rides, relegating the beloved bike in the shadow of a shed until the sun will start shining again.

But what many cyclists don’t know is that the true spirit of mountain biking can be enjoyed even on the rainiest days. In fact, rain can add an extra touch to a usual ride on the paths or hilltops behind your house or around your city.

Apart from the adventure consideration, riding on rainy days is also beneficial in terms of improving mountain biking techniques. On a muddy and slippery terrain is more difficult to maintain the control of the bike, therefore you will be able to improve your balance and understand how to change the center of gravity with ease.

Nevertheless, some advice is always handy, therefore our 10 top tips to mountain biking in the rain could certainly help you.

1. Adjust The Tire Pressure According To The Ground

Even if you are a newbie you should know by now that the tire pressure must always be adjusted to the characteristics of the ground you ride on. For instance, those who prefer road biking should have more inflated tires compared to the ones who practice mountain biking.

But the pressure of the tires if you decide to ride on a rainy day must be even lower than in dry conditions. The reason is simple, on a slippery terrain you need more grip, and to do this you need to increase the footprint of the tires by deflating them.​

2. Mount Organic Brake Pads

Typically, the cycling sessions during rainy weather are not excessively long, and the cold weather together with the moist have a negative impact on the adaptability of the metal brake pads to the atmospheric conditions.

Organic brake pads, on the other hand, don’t have this downside and provide the same efficiency regardless of the temperature and air humidity. If organic pads are not for you, on the market there are also available semi-metallic pads that also have a prompt and effective braking.​

3. Moderate Speed

Unless you are a world mountain biking champion, it is best practice to moderate speed when riding on muddy and slippery terrains. The reason is simple. Wet terrain plus high speed mean low control, therefore moderating speed especially in downhill will increase your safety.

Moreover, at a lower speed, you will also be able to detect the trajectories in advance and notice any obstacles that might be present on the path.

4. Pay Attention To Using The Brakes

Another important thing to keep in mind when cycling in the rain is that you have to pay attention to how and when you are using the brakes. For example, if there are rocks under the wheels when you brake, they might slip on the muddy terrain compromising your safety.

This advice is a consequence of the advice above because if you moderate speed you will reduce the use of brakes and, consequently, reduce the hazards.

5. Avoid Sudden Changes Of Direction

This is another rule that applies to mountain biking even when the weather is dry, but it certainly gets more value when applied if it’s raining. The sudden changes of directions refer to changes in the trajectory because of the presence of obstacles.

When you enter on a new path, it is always a good idea to inspect the trajectory and decide the line of direction, to avoid in this way, losing control of the bike.

6. Choose The Cleanest Trajectory

Just as the sudden changes of direction, this rule applies regardless of the atmospheric conditions but following it when it is rainy is essential. Choosing the cleanest trajectory means choosing the path that presents the fewer hazards even if it determines you to lose speed.

Talking about speed, we already explained at point number 3 why you should moderate it, therefore this shouldn’t affect you unless your life is depending on getting to the destination in less time.

7. Maintain Balance When Riding On Muddy Or Slippery Stretches

If the path is really muddy, or if it presents other hazards, such as slippery rocks or branches, maintaining the balance of the bike by centering your weight on the point of gravity is essential.

If the bike isn’t well balanced, losing control and falling off is easy, and depending on the characteristics of the terrain you ride on it might cost you a bruise or your life.

8. Pay Attention When Handling Curves

When handling curves on wet terrains, pay attention to the technique. You should use as much of the side of the tires as possible, increasing the footprint and consequently the grip.

It is also advisable to reduce speed and avoid braking when taking a curve on a slippery terrain.

9. Maintain An Active Drive

Remember that you should always have the control of your bike and not vice versa. This means that you will have to keep your self-control and maintain a “loose” ride regardless of the situation you have to deal with.

In this way, you will be able to respond better to any challenges the path brings and avoid losing control of the bike.

10. You Can’t Slip If You Don’t Touch The Ground

This advice should be followed only by those who have at least some experience in mountain biking and who are able to perform a proper bunny hop technique.

This technique requires riders to jump over certain obstacles, such as roots or large rocks. If you master this technique, you can certainly reduce some of the riding hazards, yet be extra careful on the characteristics of the landing point.

Our last advice: never venture on these ridings on your own. When in the company, apart from feeling more confident you will also have more fun!

27 Interesting Facts About Tour De France You Might Not Know

27 Interesting Facts About Tour De France You Might Not Know

The Tour de France is the world’s most famous and important road cycling competition that attracts 180 competitors and thousands of supporters each year.

The race takes place every year in July and lasts for about 3 weeks, and although everyone has heard about it, there are still many curiosities to reveal about this event. Check our list of 27 interesting facts about Tour de France you might not know and see if you knew all of them!

1. Le Tour De France Is The World’s Oldest Cycling Competition

Many of today’s sports competitions have rather recent traditions, but this is not the case of the Tour de France. This road biking competition has been organized every year since 1903 to today, and it was only interrupted during the first and the second World Wars.

2. Dreyfus Affair Is Linked To Le Tour De France Origins

Probably many know that Tour de France was born from a competition between two newspapers, but only a few people are aware that the tour has its origins in the famous Dreyfus Affair.

For those who never heard of it, the scandal began in 1894 when officer Alfred Dreyfus was wrongfully accused of selling military secrets to Germany. France was split into two opposite groups, one of them convinced about the officer’s guilt and the other sustaining his innocence.

Among those convinced of the guilt of officer Dreyfus was Marquis Albert de Dion, the owner of the homonymous automobile company and sponsor of Le Vélo, an important sports magazine. When the journal chose the line of impartiality on the case by publishing both positive and negative opinions, de Dion decides to found a new magazine, the Auto-Vélo, in 1900.

To attract a loyal audience, Georges Lefèvre, cycling editor at the new Auto magazine, proposed the organization of the longest cycling race in the history, and this is how the first Tour de France was born. The first tour counted 78 professional and amateur competitors and the organizers offered 12.000 francs as the first price.

It is useless to say that the competition enjoyed a huge success, raising the reputation of Auto and bringing Le Vélo to bankruptcy.

3. In The 80s Women Were Allowed To Join The Tour

Tour de France is an exclusive men’s event but really a few people know that in the 80’s women were also allowed to enter the competition.

In fact, in 1984, after 81 years from the first competition, was introduced the Grand Boucle Féminine Internationale, a Tour de France dedicated to women. The main difference between the races was the length of the tour, that was slightly shorter for women.

The feminine tour was interrupted shortly after its introduction and today women are only allowed to compete in the last stage of the Tour de France and in a competition called La Course.

4. Over 3,5 Billion People Watch The Tour On TV Every Year

Tour de France competition is beloved all over the world and the proof is the huge number of people who turn on the TVs each year to watch the various stages of the tour or to support their favorite cyclists.

According to the Tour de France organizers, the competition is followed in as many as 190 countries and the number of people who turn on their TVs is over 3,5 billion.​

5. The Youngest Winner Of The Tour Was 19 Years Old

Frenchman Henri Cornet was the youngest man to ever win Tour de France at only 19 years old. There is to say he won the race in 1904 only a few days before his 20th birthday, nevertheless he still holds the title of the youngest winner of the Tour.

Funnily enough, the oldest cyclist to ever attend Tour de France, Henri Paret, also competed in 1904. However, the oldest winner of the Tour was the Belgian Firmin Lambot who conquered the yellow jersey in 1922 at 36 years old.

6. Lance Armstrong Won 7 Consecutive Titles

In the Tour de France winners history, there is a man who conquered the yellow jersey for 7 consecutive times. His name is Lance Armstrong and the American cyclist won all the Tour de France competitions between 1999 and 2005.

Unfortunately, the anti-doping controls revealed that the cyclist consumed doping substances during all races, therefore his awards were withdrawn. Later on, Armstrong admitted the use of the substances during a television broadcast.

7. Early Competitors Used To Cheat

Doping is a rather recent issue, in the past, many cyclists tried to cheat to win the Tour de France. The most absurd way of cheating was taking the train instead of pedaling, but fortunately, the cheaters were discovered and disqualified.

8. Eddy Merckx Won The Most Stages

The cyclist who won the most stages in Tour de France is Eddy Merckx, a Belgian cyclist who won 32 stages while competing in the Tour de France.

This isn’t the only record of Merckx. In fact, he also holds the record of wearing the leader’s yellow jersey for 96 days in total.​

9. Le Tour De France Is The World’s Third Most Important Competition

Tour De France

After the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics, Tour de France is the third most important sports competition in the world. The numbers speak for themselves and, as we already mentioned, only on the TV more than 3 billion people are watching the race every year.

To that number adds up a number of supporters who actually attend the competition.

10. The 1926 Edition Was The Longest

Tour de France’s route changes every year, and together with the route also changes the length of the race. Throughout the history of the event, the longest race was held in 1926 and it totaled 3.570 miles. That’s 1370 miles longer than the 2017 edition.

11. Cyclists Burn About 5000 Calories Per Stage

An average person burns about 2500 calories a day, yet competitors in Tour de France burn on average as many as 6000 calories per stage.

That sums up to more than 120.000 calories for the entire race which is the equivalent of eating about 250 double cheeseburgers.

12. On Rest Days, Most Cyclists Don’t Rest

During the tour, cyclists are given a few rest days, but the truth is that in these days almost all competitors choose to cycle.

The reason why they do this is because in this way they are able to keep the levels of the lactic acid under control and to stay focused on the race.

13. The Winner Gets Over $600.000

Competing in Tour de France is a dream for many, but actually winning the tour is more than rewarding. In fact, the winner gets over $600.000 that he has to share with the other members of the team.

14. La Grand Boucle Is The Nickname Of The Tour

As one could expect for an event of such importance, the Tour de France has a nickname, which is La Grand Boucle.

La Grand Boucle literally means the great loop and the nickname is given by the fact that the tour goes in a loop along the borders of France.

15. Greg LeMond Was The First American To Win The Tour

Greg LeMond is one of the greatest American cyclists and the first to win the Tour de France competition in 1986 after only two years before he was awarded the white jersey for the youngest rider.

Nevertheless, what makes his victory special is not the fact that he is American, but the fact that he managed to win the competition with 35 gun pellets embedded in his chest, as he was accidentally shot while hunting a couple of years before the competition.

16. The Yellow Jersey Lead Must Be Protected At All Costs

If you compete in the Tour de France and a member of your team is the bearer of the yellow jersey, you must do whatever it takes to protect the lead. This means that you are not allowed to surpass him even if you know that you can cycle faster.

Disobeying this rule might cost you your cycling career.

17. Le Tour De France Sometimes Crosses The Borders Of France

Although named Tour de France, the competition sometimes crosses the geographical borders of the country. In fact, during the history of the competition, the event started outside France for 21 times.

The event crossed the borders for the first time in 1954.

18. French Cyclists Hold The Most Victories

France is by far the country that gathered the most victories, 36 to be more precise. France is followed by Belgium, with 18 victories while Spain claims the third place registering 13 victories.

Moreover, two of the five multiple Tour de France winners are also French, registering five victories each.

19. Four Cyclists Died During The Tour

Tour De France

Less fortunate events also happened during the history of the Tour de France, including four deaths. The first to give his last breath during the competition was Adolphe Helière in 1910, apparently during one of the rest days.

In 1935 Francisco Cepeda followed Adolphe because of a crash into a ravine. Fabio Casartelli also died because of a crash in 1995, while descending with a speed of 56 mph. Lastly, Tom Simpson suffered a heart attack and died in 1967.

Apart from the competitors, 27 spectators and one official also lost their lives during the competition.

20. Joop Zoetemelk Completed The Most Tours As A Rider

Tour de France is a challenging competition and not all those who start manage to finish it as well. Nevertheless, Joop Zoetemelk managed to complete the tour not once, not twice, but for as many as 16 times, an absolute record in the history of the event.

21. Pamela Anderson Have Been Used As Inspiration During The Tour

As mentioned above, the Tour de France is a challenging competition, and cyclists use whatever they can to keep themselves concentrated. However, no one would have thought that a photo of Pamela Anderson could be used as inspiration by one of the competitors.

The cyclist that had the bright idea to tape a photo of Pamela Anderson on the handlebars of his bicycle was the Italian Mario Cipollini.

22. Magnus Backstedt Was The Heaviest Competitor In The History Of The Tour

Competitors in the Tour de France are usually skinny, and there is a good reason why they are keeping their body weights low. However, there still is a record of the heaviest Tour de France competitor and it is held by Magnus Backstedt. The cyclist weight was about 215 lbs.

23. The First Tour De France Only Counted 6 Stages

Tour de France has 21 stages nowadays, but it originally had only 6.

The first tour was also very different from what it is today, as the original plans required cyclists to ride during the night and rest during day time.

24. In The 20s, Riders Used To Share Cigarettes

Back in the 1920s, participants in Tour de France considered that smoking cigarettes was a good way to “open their lungs”, and sharing a cigarette with the other fellow riders was a usual thing.

25. Drinking Alcohol To Boost Energy

Apart from opening their lungs with cigarettes, early riders also believed that consuming alcohol helped to boost the energy and increase performances. Fortunately, alcohol was banned during the race and it is no longer considered an energy booster.

26. Lead Was Used To Descend Faster

Returning to cheating techniques, in the early editions of the competition, some cyclists used to carry bottles full of lead uphill believing that the weight of the lead will increase their performances when cycling downhill.

27. Competitors Take En-Masse Toilet Stops

Lastly, one of the most frequent question curious people ask about Tour de France, is how do cyclists go to the toilet? After all, nature calls for all of us.

Well, things are more organized that one might think and most of the times and the peloton usually takes en-masse stops to resolve their physiological needs.

How Do Bike Gears Work

How do bike gears work

Bike gears are the most important system that comes to mind when talking about the transmission of a bicycle. Although the main component of the transmission is the chain of the bicycle, an element that transmits the motion from the pedal to the wheel, the gears define, in a sense, the racing power of the bike.

The bike gears are a concentration of genius and mechanical perfection. This component can be considered the heart of a bike and in fact, the gearbox allows you to adjust the speed to diminish the effort and increase the cycling performances.

Unless you are a mechanic, understanding the functioning of this system can be tricky. So, let’s see how do bike gears work and, above all, understand how to use them effectively.

Anatomy Of The Bike Gearbox

In technical terms, the bike gearbox is a shifting system that consists of:

  • Shifting levers
  • Gasket
  • Front chainrings
  • Rear sprockets
  • Chain
  • Front derailleur
  • Rear derailleur
  • Cables and sheaths

This set of components works in symbiosis to allow the cyclist to choose the gear ratio to be used during cycling and to adjust the transmission based on circumstances, such as riding uphill or downhill, on flat surfaces or on serpentines.

To change gear, the shifting levers transmit the commands to the derailleurs through a cable system, while the derailleurs are responsible for moving the chain from one chainring or sprocket to the other.​

How Do Bike Gears Work

bike gears

Each time you change the position of the chain, you select a gear ratio. This ratio allows you to cover a determined distance with a single pedal stroke and indicates a metric development value that is directly proportional to the number of teeth present on the selected chainring.

The metric development is also influenced by the number of teeth present on the rear sprocket and by the circumference of the wheel.

The metric development is important because it allows you to understand what distance you can cover on a single stroke, therefore decide how to change the gears to achieve the best cycling results. Moreover, the metric development will also give you an insight on how to expand the gear choices, especially if you are dealing with rapidly changing paths that require the use of different settings.

There is a simple formula to calculate the metric development. All you’ll have to do is multiply the number of teeth of the chainring you want to use with the dimension in millimeters of the diameter of your wheels, then divide the amount by the number of teeth of the rear sprocket. The result is the distance you can cover on a single pedal stroke, expressed in meters.

If you want to draw a metric development chart, you can simply make this calculation for all the possible combinations of gears and you will know in each moment what is the most effective combination to use.

How To Pedal At The Right Pace

A question inexperienced cyclists often ask is if there is a “right” cycling pace. And the answer is yes! To pedal efficiently, you must not overload your muscles and joints. The ideal pedaling frequency is around 80 cycles per minute and the value can slightly change depending on your position on the saddle and experience.

Nevertheless, it was demonstrated that maintaining an optimal frequency while cycling can reduce the effort and help cover a longer distance in less time.

To reach the right pace for you, do some experiments and ride on a path you already know counting how many times you pedal in 15 seconds. Multiply the result by four and if the value is too low, you can use a more “agile” pedaling by switching to a gentler gear. On the contrary, you can use a harder gear if the value is too high.

Factors That Influence The Choice Of The Gear

Now that you know there is a right cycling pace, you might wonder how to understand when to change the gears depending on the characteristics of the path or road you cycle on. It is difficult to answer this question, because the choice of the gear, beyond all technical considerations, is personal and influenced by multiple factors.

  • Your physical shape is the first factor that influences the choice of the gear. If you are fit and used to work out, then you can probably start cycling using one of the most challenging gears without considerable effort. On the contrary, you might struggle to get your bike moving even on the softest gear if you are not in a great shape.
  • Along with your physical shape, the cycle training is another factor that will weigh on the choice of the gear. In many cases, being physically fit is not enough and to achieve an efficient cycling on any setting it is usually required specific cycling training.
  • The gear system itself is another factor to consider. Different bikes come with various gear types, and the differences can be easily noticed between the bikes designed for different disciplines. In poor words, a mountain bike will certainly have a different transmission and gear system compared to a road bike or urban bike. Nonetheless, the technical innovations have improved the quality of the transmission systems on all types of bikes and the most basic models now boast at least standard double chainrings with 11 rear sprockets. The choice of the bike gear system has a great influence on the riding style and on the choice of the ratio from the available options.
  • Another factor that influences the choice of the gear is the condition of the ground you’re cycling on. There isn’t much to say about asphalt, that provides a perpetual grip, but things are slightly different in the case of the off-road cycling. For example, even if you are riding on a fairly flat terrain, if there is a lot of mud it is recommended to use a more agile ratio which tends to provide a better grip.
  • Lastly, the choice of the gear is also influenced by the smoothness of the tires. Practically, if you want to decrease the effort, it is recommended to use less rugged tires and to inflate them to higher pressures. This usually narrows the section of the tires, reducing the footprint and allowing you to use a higher ratio.

Tips For An Efficient Change Of Gears

Now that you know how bike gears work, you should also find out how to maintain the gear system in the best conditions.

  • Check the derailleurs regularly: the derailleur is the mechanism that moves the chain from one chainring or sprocket to the other, therefore you should make sure that it is kept in the best conditions. Especially if your chosen discipline is mountain biking, after each ride clean any mud or dust residues from the derailleurs. If you are practicing road cycling, or even for casual commuting in the city, it is still recommended to check and clean the derailleurs regularly to avoid any flaws of the system. In fact, the derailleur adjustment tends to bump if not maintained properly.
  • If you are practicing road cycling, or even for casual commuting in the city, it is still recommended to check and clean the derailleurs regularly to avoid any flaws of the system. In fact, the derailleur adjustment tends to bump if not maintained properly.
  • ​Lubricate the chain: apart from the derailleurs, the condition of the chain also has an impact on the gear changing ease. If not lubricated regularly, bicycle chains tend to rust. Dirt and mud also accumulate with ease in the spaces between the chain elements, therefore it is essential to clean the chain regularly and lubricate it at least once a month.
  • Plan in advance: bike gears are meant to be used differently on flat terrains, uphill or downhill paths. For this reason, it is important to change the gear in advance, as soon as you notice that the characteristics of the path will change. This rule is important, especially when riding uphill or downhill because on this type of terrains it is harder to change the gear due to the pressure applied to the system.
  • Do not change the gear under pressure: the transition between the gears should be made while you are cycling at a regular rhythm, and not when you struggle to ride uphill or to maintain the speed in downhill. The reason for this is because the gear system is rather delicate and if you apply a high pressure on the pedals while changing the gear, the derailleur can break or the chain can slip off the chainrings or sprockets.
  • Pedal when changing the gear: gear shifting is meant to be done when the chain is rotating, therefore you have to pedal when changing the gear. Failure to do so can have the same effects as changing the gear under pressure and it can damage the chain or the gear system.
  • Check the cables and sheaths regularly: to change gear, a system of cables and sheaths action the front or rear derailleurs every time you switch the shifting levers on the handlebar. Therefore, when checking the status of your gear system don’t forget to check the status of those cables and sheaths as well. The cable system tends to rust quite easily, it must be lubricated regularly and it is advisable to completely change it every year.

Staying Safe on Highly Travelled Roads

Staying Safe On Highly Travelled Roads

If you’re an avid cyclist, you know the unique euphoria that comes from the wind in your face during an exhilarating ride.

But cycling does include inherent dangers. When bikes and cars tangle on the roads, cars typically win — and the consequences can be dire for riders. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2014, cyclists made up 2 percent of all injuries related to crashes and 2 percent of traffic deaths.

Before you embark on a ride in a high-traffic area, consider these important ways to protect yourself.

Make Sure You’re Visible

Woman Cyclist

Considering that cycling accidents occur most often in urban areas and between 6 and 9 p.m., visibility is key to your safety. It should go without saying that vehicles are big, heavy and have numerous blind spots, but too many cyclists fail to take precautions that can help motorists see them.

To maximize your visibility, take steps like wearing bright or reflective clothing, and install reflectors on every side of your bike. Flashing tail lights make you visible to both drivers and other cyclists, and headlights help you see the road ahead to avoid collisions with cars, fixed objects, other cyclists or pedestrians.

Don’t duck out of traffic — between parked cars or onto a sidewalk, for instance — and then dart back in. You want to make your presence known clearly to drivers at all times.

Ride Responsibly

Bordeaux, France

Drivers should share the road, but cyclists also bear responsibility for their own safety. Make sure you understand — and follow — all state and local laws and regulations that apply to riding a bike. If you follow the law and act responsibly, drivers typically will be more respectful of you in return.

Remember to:

  • Ride with traffic, ride single-file and stay as far to the right as possible.
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs.
  • Stay sober; more than 20 percent of cyclists who died in crashes in 2014 had blood-alcohol levels above 0.08.
  • Carry your belongings either strapped onto the back of your bike or in a backpack.
  • Avoid listening to music, texting or otherwise riding while distracted.

If you’re new to cycling, consider taking a course through a local bike shop, advocacy group or recreation department. By learning how to navigate in traffic, you can become a more confident and safer rider.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Knowing what is behind you, in front of you, and around you at all times plays a key role in keeping you safe on your bike. Always keep an eye out for hazards on the road — for instance, large potholes, gravel, sewer grates, parked cars, railroad tracks, speed bumps, water, snow and ice are among the many unexpected obstacles that can cause you to crash.

In addition, watch for car doors that may open suddenly. Avoid making unexpected movements, and don’t assume that drivers will yield right of way to you. Allow plenty of time and space to make any shifts in road position.

Use the Right Equipment

Cyclist

Among all the gear that cyclists use, your helmet is the most critical for your safety. Make sure you get a helmet that fits you properly and that’s made by a reputable manufacturer. In addition, be sure to check your helmet on a regular basis for any cracks, tears or excessive wear.

Always wear your helmet, even for short rides. Among bicyclists who sustain fatal injuries, fewer than 20 percent are wearing helmets, research indicates. Severe head trauma is the reason for many of the fatality cases.

Make sure your bike is the right size for your body; you’ll have more trouble keeping control of a bike that is too big. Have the brakes checked on a regular basis, and be sure to carry gear with you for fixing flats and other potential problems.

Seek Assistance if You’re Injured

After an accident while riding your bike, get a medical evaluation even if you have no obvious signs of an injury, since problems can surface later. If you do suffer an injury while riding, consider speaking with an attorney who has experience with bicycle accidents to understand your legal options.