This post is for those who are new to cycling. Here I will try to give you a kind of introductory explanation on basic bike parts. Think of it as a sort of mountain bikes for dummies as you read through this post. I will cover what I think are the most basic parts that everyone should know.
Okay, so when it comes to biking there are a few things one must know. Close to the top of the list of things you must know are the parts of your bike. For those of you, who are new to this, don’t be embarrassed; I have been at that stage where I couldn’t name two parts of my bike (which I was commuting with for months) even if it killed me. So rest assured you are not alone, but after reading this post you will be better informed about what your parts are.
Different Bicycle Parts
Alright, this is one of the most basic of all the parts on your bike. You use this to navigate/steer your bike as you ride. On your handle bar you will have your brakes, gears, bell and even lights.
This is another basic part of the bike you should know. This specific part is made up of two pieces which are connected by a cable. You have the actual brake which is located above your wheel (the wheel is located between your brakes) and then you have the lever/controller which you squeeze to activate your brakes to bring your bike to a halt. Also this is one of the most cheap bike parts on the list for those of you thinking about assembling your own custom bike.
Your bike fork is basically the pair of bars that your front wheel is connected to.
The wheel is very much obvious to everyone, but it can be divided into smaller parts. First you have your bike spokes and rim which are like the inner body of the wheel. The spokes are those thin metal bars between the wheel and the rim is the circular frame they are connected to. Next there is the tube which is found within the tyre and above the rim. The tube is what keeps your wheel inflated and should it have a hole you will have a flat. There is also the quick release which is at the centre of the wheel where the fork and spokes/rim connect. This gives you an easy way to release your wheel from the frame.
This is also very obvious and does not warrant any details. I usually refer to this as the skeleton of my bike. For those that are into assembly from used bike parts, I have known many persons who have built awesome bikes starting with an old frame they found in the back of the garage or scrap metal yards.
Seat and Seat Pole
The seat is where you sit as you mount the bike and the seat pole is that adjustable bar which is connected from the frame to your seat.
This is a part of the bike that is critical to being able to ride. This is that circular object on which your chain lies and is connected to the crank arm of the bicycle. It usually comes in different sizes giving you the option of various speeds.
This is that short bar which the pedal is connected to. This allows your bike to accelerate as you place pressure on the pedal which forces the chain ring to move.
Like the chain ring, this part is also important to being able to ride with the bike. This looks like a chain ring but is smaller and located on your back wheel at the centre where the frame and wheel connect.
Those are some of the most basic parts that every bike rider should know. I will go further in depth now with more advanced parts and break down the mechanics of all you need to know about your best friend, the bicycle.
This is another post in my series of biking accessories articles. In this post, I will be looking at bicycle stands, an item that is very useful in the storing of bicycles while the riders are away. I will be describing some types of stands there are, there uses and where you can most often find them. Read this post on other mountain bike accessories.
For those of you that use your bike as a means of daily commuting, I am sure that you have utilized a bicycle stand at some point while out running one of your errands. For example, you go to the supermarket and you need to find a place to store your bike. Most supermarkets I have visited have bicycle stands, most times at the front, where customers can store and leave their bikes when shopping. Similarly, most other stores you go to whilst riding, you can expect to find some form of bike stand to leave your bicycle.
Types of bike stands
Serpentine bike stands – I have found this to be a very cool design in the stands department. This stand offers a very effective solution to bicycle parking and comes in varying sizes. Some are designed to accommodate two bikes while others can provide for ten or more. This stand gives cyclist many options for securing their bikes when locking; you can lock your bike at the wheel or by the frame. Many stores utilize this form of bike stand and you can also find them being used at parks or other places where cyclists visit frequently.
Lo-hoop cycle racks – This is the most common bike stand I have seen in my country as I visit various stores while commuting. It may be different for your country or place you live but the noticeable thing with these stands is they allow for parking of many bikes in a row. The main disadvantage I have seen with these is that the only locking point you will have for securing your bike is at the front wheel.
Wall mounted bicycle stand – I have found this to be a very neat design for a bike stand as it is sealed into a wall and you park by fitting your front wheel into it, similar to the lo-hoop rack. Many stores will use several rows of these to provide for customers.
In addition to the above mentioned stands which you will find in public places, there are other types of stands which you can utilize, but at home or in a repair shop.
There is the wall mounted rack which can be used at home to store your bicycle on the wall, thus taking up less space. Go here for further information on how to store your bike. These can be bought from different manufacturers or they can be custom made at home if you have the right tools. For example, I have seen friends of mine use their ceiling at home as a form of rack to hang their bikes while carrying out repairs by strapping it with ropes and rods.
Many manufacturers produce a standard bicycle repair stand which you can easily find at your local bike shop if you think you really need one. You will find this very useful when carrying out many bike repairs such as changing a wheel as it saves you the trouble of having to flip the bike upside down which can damage the saddle and handle bar grips.
Those are the most common forms of stands you can expect to come into contact with as a cyclist.
Hey guys, hope you have all been well and have been out there biking with your mountain bikes. Today I am going to provide you with information on another bicycle accessory so you can add it to your repertoire when needed. For those of you that read my post on bicycle baskets (if you haven’t, go here), you will find great information here as this post will cover bicycle panniers.
What is a bicycle pannier?
A bicycle pannier is basically a pair of bags, containers or boxes that are carried or attached to the sides of your bicycle. They can be easily removed from your bike if you need to and are used to store clothing, food, tools, your laptop or any other items you may have to carry whilst out on one of your biking adventures. Panniers are sold commercially by different manufacturers and can be found in your local bicycle shop, but they can also be made at home by using buckets, old book bags, garbage bags or boxes.
Bicycle panniers are designed for facing various weather conditions and as such, you will find many of them are water resistant, thus protecting your supplies in the event of sudden rainfall or storm. Because of this particular feature, you will find that they are usually more expensive than your typical bike accessory.
Uses of a bicycle pannier
You will find bicycle panniers to be extremely useful while you are on a bike tour. They can be considered as your travelling bags, similar to how you would use a suitcase when taking a trip. Equipping your bike with multiple panniers will give you the option to store items according to category; for example, one bag for food supplies, one for carrying clothing and yet another for taking biking tools or bike parts with you. Because they are so easy to attach and remove, one can be used as a wallet or purse which you can take with you if you decide to stop in a nearby town to do some shopping when out on tour.
The use of bicycle panniers is not limited to biking tours, however; you can just as easily use them when conducting basic errands in the city or for carrying snacks whilst on a picnic. I have seen persons use cycle panniers for storing clothing when going to the gym and there are many other ways to use them, it is all up to you.
How to properly use them
Most times when panniers are used, one pair is attached to the front of the bike and the other pair at the rear (at the sides of the wheel) so that there is an equal distribution of weight along the bike. Though you may say this is commonsense, it is essential that both panniers for each pair you attach to your bike are more or less the same weight. Failure to do this will result in you having a bicycle that is hard to steer/balance and dangerous/hazardous to be ridden on the roadways. In addition, I would recommend that you put your heaviest items in your front panniers and go lighter with the rear panniers so as to avoid putting too much pressure on your back wheel.
There you go, whether you decide to buy or make yourself a pair of bicycle panniers, you will see just how effective this piece of accessory can be in enhancing your mountain biking experience. Read my other post for information n other accessories here.
Bicycle Cover – How to Store your Bike
You may want to look at one specific way to store and protect your bike with the use of bike covers. Let’s take a look how you can do so in this post.
Now one of the problems persons with bicycles usually complain about involves the decay of their bikes while it is in storage, whether it is for a day, week, months or year. I have experienced this type of problem a few years back when I bought a new bike but was not able to use it because of time constraints with work at the office. I parked the bike in a small space at home and left it there for quite some time and it slowly began to be covered in a lot of dust and some of the bike parts decayed (especially the tire and tube).
Apart from that experience, there are other cases where I would use my bike for commuting; for example going to the office. If there is rainfall during the day, when I return to my bike at afternoon the seat would usually be wet and is very uncomfortable to ride with. Friends of mine have also had trouble finding solutions to parking or storing their bicycles outdoors whether it is rainy or sunny.
The best solution I have seen so far is to use a bike cover. It is a slim cloth designed with materials for covering and protecting your bike from rain, sun or possible scratches. There are many types of covers out there from different brands and manufacturers. Bicycle covers make it so much easier to store your bike; fitting from the very top to the bottom, covering the tires. I have found this to be very practical for, let’s say I leave my bike outside the house for a couple days and there is weather variation, I would not have to worry; or if I store my bike for a few months in the garage, I can protect it from accumulating dust with a simple bicycle cover. You can purchase a bike cover from Amazon, they have good selections available.
For those of you who have experienced the problem I described at the beginning of this post with wet bicycle seats, I would recommend getting a bicycle seat cover. For convenience, you might not always want to use the full bike cover so this easy solution can be used quickly without taking up much time. They are usually designed as a small piece of cloth material that covers the entire seat so in the event of rainfall; you will not have to worry about that annoying wet, squishy seat. These can also be found on Amazon.
As always, follow my simple yet effective tips and have a much better experience using your bicycle. In a previous post, I have went into detail about other ways to store and protect your bike; go here to read it. Also, take a look at this post for information on essential bicycle accessories. Until next time, happy cycling and be safe.