Be Seen! Ride with lights!
Ahhh the joy of fall… beautiful leaves, perfectly crisp temperatures, and of course daylight savings time. While the fall and winter months can be some of the most enjoyable times to get out on your bike it can also be dangerous. With the sun going down much earlier it can be really easy to get stuck riding in the dark. This is not only dangerous, but you can actually be ticketed for it, as it is illegal in Iowa. According to law 321.397 cyclists are required to have a white headlight and taillight or red reflector from sunset to sunrise or when conditions reduce visibility, and these lights must be visible from 300′ away. Here at the shop we have several great options for both front and rear lights to help make sure you are being safe and seen while riding in low light. These are just some of our favorites…
Are you prepared to tackle RAGBRAI 2015!? Make sure you have all of the supplies you need to enjoy your RAGBRAI journey. Here are a few reminders and suggestions from us as well as a few of our favorite products from here in the shop to help get you through any ride!
Banjo Brothers offers a wide selection of durable and affordable bags for the discerning load-toter. If you need to schlep your gear from camp to camp on an epic tour, or simply get groceries home from the store, Banjo Brothers and World of Bikes have you covered. Need to carry a change of clothes? Some tools? A six-pack? All of the above? Grab an expanding rack-top bag and go to town. While you’re there, stock up on necessities and haul ’em back home with a set of market panniers. Then when the weekend rolls around, pack away your camping gear in some of Banjo Brothers waterproof offerings and go face the elements with confidence and cash left over. We’ve chosen Banjo Brothers bags to bear the WoB logo, and with unbeatable prices and everyday-ride toughness and simplicity it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. Check out the following list for prices, and stop in soon to grab the bag that’s right for you.
Rack top bag – $35.00
Rack top bag (expanding) – $45.00
Market pannier (WoB logo) – $45.00
Market pannier (no logo) – $50.00
Grocery pannier – $40.00
Waterproof pannier – $49.99
Seat bag (WoB logo) – $18.00
Saddle trunk bag (waterproof) – $50.00
Commuting is a daily occurrence for nearly everyone. All of us have a way of getting to and from work and play. Car, bus, walking, or riding a bike are the most prevalent forms of commuting in Iowa City. Here at World of Bikes we are a little biased towards the bicycle commute. Everyone has a different reason for wanting to commute by bicycle, cost effectiveness, short distance, fitness, or simply to relax during a ride. While the reasons may be plentiful, the ways to make bicycle commuting work for you are more straightforward.
What Bike Should I Ride??
First thing to do is to pick out the right bike! The FX series from Trek is our most popular commuter bicycle.
The reason the FX series bikes are great for commuting is because they are incredibly versatile. They are equipped with a very wide range of gears to tackle the hills of Iowa City and keep you in a comfortable position while riding. The versatility also allows the bike to become transformed into a commuting machine. Commuting by bicycle may seem intimidating at first, but by owning a bicycle that can handle the challenges and aid your commute is key. You want the bicycle to do as much work as possible, creating a smooth, relaxing commute to and from home for you!!
Once you have a bicycle picked out it is time to outfit it, creating that commuting machine! We have dressed up one of our 7.3 FX bikes to display what we believe are the most important pieces to add to your bicycle.
A Breakdown of the Bicycle!
FENDERS ARE YOUR FRIEND…ERS! Fenders are the first range of protection for you and your bike from the exciting new changes that spring brings. Puddles, sand, mud, and more puddles are generally the biggest enemy from March onward. Fenders keep you clean while riding your bicycle, eliminating the dreaded skunk stripe of mud up your backside. Once they are installed on the bicycle they become a part of it, never needing to be removed. The Planet Bike Cascadia fenders are a personal favorite here!
RACK ATTACK! Let the bike do the work! A rear rack is another piece that once added will become a part of your bike. Mounting over the rear wheel, the rack is designed to allow the rider to carry more with them without the use of a backpack or purse. A must have on bike tours and extremely handy for commuters. Pair it with bags or baskets and ka-pow! Your bike just became your pack-mule! We have tons of options so you can choose the perfect rack for your needs and style.
BAGS! Panniers are bags designed to fit onto your new rear rack. A great place to start is Banjo Brothers. These panniers start off as simple as the Grocery Bag Pannier, a simple open faced style pannier which can carry your existing purse or backpack easily. If you are looking for a bag that can do more we carry Axiom and Jandd panniers. They will become your go-to bag on the bike, eliminating the need for extra bags to carry around!
THE FINAL TOUCHES!
Some final necessities for commuting are lights, lock, and a helmet. Front lights are the law in Iowa City limits. Some of our favorite lights are the Urban lights from Light and Motion. They are an indestructible force when it comes to commuting. They are bright enough to light your way to and from home, USB rechargeable, and made in the USA!
Locks are invaluable, especially in Iowa City. The college town doesn’t lend itself to being the most friendly towards bike theft. We really love Abus locks, they offer reliable locks that are easy to use.
Helmets are a personal option. We strongly encourage helmets here at World of Bikes. They start at the friendly price of $45.00 for a Bontrager Solstice helmet. It isn’t a bad looking helmet! You can really make a fashion statement!
Last but not least, the bicycle needs three things to keep it happy and running. A bicycle pump to keep air in the tires. This will prevent pinch flats, allow you to get the full life out of the tires, and the ride will be much more enjoyable. Bicycle chain lube is a simple $8 investment that will keep the chain and gears on your bike running smoothly. Finishline 1-step cleaner and lubricant is a great all-around chain lube. It can be used on your commuting bike, as well as any bike you own! Finally the last bit of information! Bringing in your bike for regular tune-ups will make sure you stay safe and comfortable on your bike. Staying on top of the tune-ups will also save you money in the long run. Small overhauls are much easier, convenient, and will make sure you get the full life out of the bike as a whole!
Now get out there and ride! I know this is a ton of information. It doesn’t have to happen all at once. One does not simply change the way they commute overnight. It is a lifestyle change, and a great one!
If fat-bikes are not your thing or the harsh Iowa winter has you looking for other options, a trainer could be a perfect fit for you! Here at World of Bikes we stock CycleOps Trainers to keep you and your bike active during these tough months.
WHAT KIND OF TRAINER DO I NEED?
Cycle-Ops carries a large variety of products to meet your indoor cycling
needs. We specifically stock the Fluid2 and the Magento. Here’s the run
down on these two trainers:
The Magneto uses magnetic resistance to give you a wide resistance range. As you increase your pedal speed the resistance will increase, so your effort and speed will increase on a natural curve. You can also simply shift gears as you would outside for a more realistic ride quality. The Fluid2 uses a fluid resistance to give you an improved road-like feel. The fluid in this trainer will make for a quieter trainer and will also implement PowerTuned Technology. This technology allows your wheel to accelerate and decelerate on an infinite resistance curve, just like it does outside. This will give you a more realistic speed feel, instead of just power. Both of these trainers are backed by CycleOps lifetime warranty and will keep you rolling through the winter!
HOW TO SET UP THE TRAINER!
Setting up a trainer only requires a few extra accessories, some of which are included with the trainers. A trainer skewer will replace the rear skewer on your bike of choice. This will create a stronger bond because it fits into the trainer properly. A climbing block will be needed to raise the front wheel to the same level as the rear, creating a platform for the bike to rest on. Once you have these two important pieces, the trainer and bike can be joined! CycleOp’s video below is one of the best online resources. We can also help you set up the trainer here at World of Bikes for extra hands-on practice!
After you get rolling there are some other simple pieces of equipment that can make your indoor work-out go by a little smoother. The combination of the Giant G-Thang and Giant Training Mat will allow you to easily set-up your trainer in any room of your house. Carpet will be no problem with the Training Mat, and the G-Thang will protect your bike and house from sweat. A trainer specific tire is also a nice piece. Your trainer will generate a lot of friction that will wear down a normal tire. Upgrading to an indoor specific tire will prevent you from ruining a perfectly nice tire! We also carry DVDs from Carmichael Training Systems to help plan sessions and keep your training competitive!
Right now is a great time to start building up your base miles for the spring and summer months, and the trainer will make it that much easier to get your next level. A trainer starter kit is pictured below, a climbing block is also included just not pictured. If you purchase this kit, a $425 value, it will be 15% off!
With winter on the way here in Iowa City, I decided it was the year to purchase my first fat bike. Here at World of Bikes we stock seven options from three wonderful brands; Salsa, Surly, and now Trek. Salsa’s fat bike line ranges from the exploration, “take-you-anywhere” Mukluk to the super speedy Carbon Beargrease. Surly, one of the fat bike pioneers in the cycling industry, provides us with the extremely versatile, Puglsey, and the fattest of fat, the Moonlander.
As a newcomer to fat bikes I wanted something that would allow me to conquer the unbeaten path, but also double as a racing machine for both winter and mountain rides. The Trek Farley embraced both of those needs for me. Trek is a very established bicycle brand who has been engineering excellent bikes since 1976. They took their years of knowledge and understanding and created a race oriented fat bike. That background is what sets the Farley apart. The geometry of the bike with it’s shorter chainstays (right at 44cm) allow the bike to be nimble and agile. An E2 headtube and closed-convert drop-outs add stiffness to the frame, further increasing that quick handling. The frame itself is constructed out of Trek’s Alpha Platinum Aluminum. This allows the Farley to be lightweight while still maintaining optimum stiffness where it is needed. The Farley frame internally routes derailleur and dropper post cables which on a fat bike is a wonderful upgrade.
The wheels on the Farley are a smart option. The wider Holy Rolling Darryl rim paired with the 3.8″ Surly Knards offer the best use of that tread while still being a faster choice. I personally opted to upgrade the tires to a Studded Dillinger for the winter, I need all the advantages I can get in the snow and ice! The Avid DB3 hydraulic brakes are a nice upgrade from mechanical. They allow the Farley to maintain a smooth and confident braking ability, especially if you plan to race this bike on single-track. The SRAM X9 2×10 drivetrain performs well. Even when clogged with grass, mud, or snow the bike will continue to shift.
The Farley is a mid-range fat bike that compares very well to the Mukluk 2 and the Surly Smooth Operator Pugsley. It still has mounts for front and rear racks, but not nearly as many points as the Mukluk or Pugsley. The Farely is quicker and stiffer than a Mukluk or Pugsley. Overall the Farely is a race-oriented fat bike, while the Mukluk and Pugsley are not so much. I have outfitted my Farley with a Revelate Frame Bag, Thomson set-back seat post, Fizik Vesta saddle, and narrower handlebars to fit it best for me. This bike is going to double as a mountain bike in the summer months also.
The Farley has allowed me to ride more places than I have ever imagined. From the snowy trails of the Tuscobia Winter Ultra to new commutes along back alleys, I have explored slower and taken in a better view from my fat bike. I get to go on the Friday Fat Bike ride that regularly stomps around Iowa City and beyond. The friends and community that embrace the fat bikes get to ride all year and really allows me to appreciate riding that much more. The first time I took my Farley out in the snow I am sure I felt the same joy I first had when learning how to ride a bike!