Dan’s Tips #3: Protect Ya’ Bike!

I just realized that if you say “Dan’s Tips” fast it sounds like “Dance Tips”. I have those too! Maybe the next maintenance class will turn into a hip hop dance class! Those two things work together, right? Less than 2 weeks to go for the Bike2PSU Challenge! I hope everyone’s having a great week so far. I just finished off some leftover donuts from the biker breakfast this morning. You guys really need to come eat more!

This week is about bike security. Unfortunately, bike theft is a reality that we all have to deal with. I’m sure many of you have experienced this first hand and it’s very uncool. Here are some easy things you can do to protect your bike while it’s out of your sight.

  1. Use a good lock! – Locking your bike up properly is your best defence against theft. Invest in a good quality “U-Lock”. Don’t use a cable lock or a lock that your dad used when he was in school. They are easily cut and thieves will always target bikes that have cheap locks. We offer locks starting at $45 ($30 for members) that will do the job. If your bike is a little on the expensive side, the higher end locks ($45-100) might make sense for you.
  2. Bike Garage – For added security when you’re on campus, you might consider getting a spot in one of our secure bike parking garages. We have several locations on campus. Each location has secure access so only people who have permits can get in. They also have a workstand with tools and a pump. The cost is $15 for a term or $45 for the year.
  3. Take your Lights – Anything that’s easily removed from your bike should be taken off when you lock up your bike. Lights are probably the most common and most costly accessory stolen from locked bikes. I usually leave mine on when I’m running into the grocery store or something quick, but if you’re on campus or downtown make sure you take it in with you.
  4. Register your Bike – In the unfortunate event that your bike does get stolen, there are a few things you can do to make it more likely that you’ll get it back. Register your bike on Bike Index or Project 529. Both of these websites have a pretty good success rate for finding stolen bikes. You can also post the info on the Bike Portland stolen bike listing. You’ll also want to make sure you report the theft to the police. It’s important to do this so that the city has a better understanding of where and how bad the problem is.

Thanks for reading and have a great, bike secure week!

Week 2 Winners!

Week Two Winners!

Chalk up another solid week and pat yourselves on the back. End-to-end, we made it around the world logging 37,359 miles (if you ask the Google, earth is about 24,900 miles)!

Alright, let’s get to what you’re here for. I present to you… Week 2’s raffle winners:

Congrats to this week’s winners and to all who participated last week. Visit us at the Bike Hub to pick up or get fitted with your prizes. Keep clocking in those miles because we still have more prizes to win.

Happy Riding!

– Your pals at the Bike Hub

Sponsor Spotlight: Chrome

Chrome chromecustoms

Have a backpack that just doesn’t cut it in the rain? Maybe you can’t fit all of your books and still ride comfortably.  Luckily, we’re giving away 3 custom Chrome backpacks.  Keep your stuff safe and dry on rainy days all while staying comfortable with a backpack that is meant for bicyclists.  And as always, if you don’t win one, the Bike Hub sells an array of these great bags every single day.

Don’t forget to log your miles this week and you could win a Chrome custom!

How to be a great team captain

Captains like YOU play a huge role in making the Bike To PSU Challenge a success. To thank you for being awesome and assembling your team, we’ve put together thank you packages for team captains. Come by the Bike Hub to pick them up.

To help you keep being awesome, here are some ideas on how to be a great captain:

Motivate. It’s fun to compete! Issues challenges to teammates or other teams from their profile/team pages. Try to lock down a top position in our leader boards! Your team can compete via # of miles, # of trips or trip percentage.

When the weather gets a bit dreary, sometimes all your teammates need is a bit of encouragement to stay motivated! You’ve been there before and know how tempting it can be to just drive or MAX, so share your tips and get each other pumped!

Set a good example. Ride like the wind!

Help with route planning & share your commute tips. A good route can make all the difference in someone’s commute and their morning in general. Share your road wisdom, especially with new commuters, and encourage your teammates to do the same. Little tips can boost someone’s confidence and help them ride frequently and safely.

Bring your team together. Plan little (or big) things that your team can do together. Maybe hit up happy hour somewhere after class or work or, if possible, find a route that your team could use to commute together.

Grow your team. Invite more of your friends or make new friends and sign them all up!

Keep your team in the know. Check out our calendar (the same one you use to log miles) for events your team will be interested in. You can also check out our Twitter account and our Facebook page for updates.

Happy riding!

– The Bike Hub

Dan’s Tips #2: What’s all the noise about?

We’re almost through 2 weeks of the Bike2PSU Challenge now and it almost happened. I was tempted by the Portland weather gods! I almost gave in and took the Max home last night. My credit card got within inches of the ticket machine. At the last second, I pulled back and came to my senses. I thought about all of you having to deal with the exact same thing and I’m sure you didn’t give in! Right?? Keep it up everyone!

This week’s tip is about listening to your bike. You can tell a lot about what’s wrong or what’s right with your bike by keeping your ears open. “My bike is making a funny noise” is one of the most common issues we deal with at the shop. Finding the noise and fixing the problem can sometimes be a long and frustrating process. I’ll go through some of the most common creaks, scrapes, pops, and squeals and hopefully you’ll be able to diagnose and fix the the problem yourself. At the very least, you’ll be able to better describe what you’re hearing when you bring it into a shop for service.

Noise #1: “My bike is just really loud”

  • Make sure your chain is lubricated. If your chain looks shiney or makes a metallic noise while you pedal, it’s time to lube it. While you’re at it, go ahead and lubricate the pulleys in your derailleur (the little wheels that your chain go through). Doing those two things will solve most of your noise related issues!
  • Feel free to stop by the Bike Hub and use our lube. We’ll even show you how to do it!

 

Noise #2: “My bike makes a creaking sound”

  • If it happens when you put a lot of force on the pedals, like when you’re going uphill, it’s most likely an issue with your drivetrain (pedals, cranks, and bottom bracket). Start with the easiest first. Pull your pedals off, grease the threads, and tighten them back down. If that doesn’t fix it, we’ll have to take crank and bottom bracket out and do the same.
  • We’re happy to go through all these steps with you. Just be prepared to hang out with us for a while!

 

Noise #3: “My bike makes a scraping noise when I pedal”

  • Look for anything that might be getting in the way while you pedal. Is your derailleur cable hitting your crank arm? Is your kickstand in the way? These things are easy to adjust and you should always look for the easiest solution first!
  • Does it only happen in certain gears? Your shifting probably isn’t adjusted quite right, and the derailleur might be scraping against the chain. Sometimes it’s as easy as tightening the cable.

Hopefully this helps you diagnose your bike noises a little better. Look for the most obvious/easiest things first. Pay attention to any big changes. If the noise gets louder and scarier sounding, don’t hesitate to bring it in and have us check it out. Usually it’s no big deal, but it’s always reassuring to have someone with experience tell you that. Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a dry and creak free week!

Commute Tips from your Bike Hub Mechanic Amanda

Don’t Fear the Tracks — Respect the Tracks

Everyone has heard some variation of this tale: you’re riding along, enjoying the feeling of the sun on your face and the breeze through your helmet (hint hint), when all of a sudden the MAX tracks sweep up out of nowhere and turn your dreamy spring ride into a tangle of scrapes, contusions and embarrassment. You vow that you will never, ever ride anywhere near the tracks ever again.
If this sounds familiar, it is probably easy to imagine the tracks as a sinister beast, lurking and waiting to introduce you and your sweet ride to a world of pain. This is far from the reality though. If you are cautious about traversing the tracks, there is no reason to fear them.diagram showing perpendicular track crossing

Two things to keep in mind when crossing the tracks: Cross them as close to perpendicular as possible — that is, cross at a right angle to them. This way, it’s impossible for your wheel to make the deadly slip into the track.

cross-tracks-angle
Sometimes 90 degrees isn’t possible or safe. Instead, try to cross with at least a 45 degree angle.

Also they’re made of metal and provide less traction, so if you find yourself cornering on them, try to take as wide an arc as possible – especially when it’s wet outside. Follow these two guidelines and ride fear-free!cross-tracks-Lturn

 

Images from: http://www.ibiketo.ca/blog/crossing-streetcar-tracks-some-tips-tricky-manoeuvre

Week One Winners

The Bike to PSU Challenge is rolling along. Even with some cloudy skies, miles still kept pouring in! Great job everyone! The first week of the challenge produced over 21,000 miles logged by more than 570 riders on 70 teams. If you have friends that haven’t signed up yet, be sure to get them going!

Finally, we come to our first weekly prize draw! Without further ado here are this week’s prize drawing winners:

Congratulations to our weekly winners and to all who participated last week. Visit us at the Bike Hub to pick up or get fitted with your prizes. Keep riding and keep signing up your friends! We have more prizes to give away!

Let’s log some miles!

Happy Friday everyone, and thanks for taking your bike and cruising to class and work this week. We’ve collectively logged 14,585 miles so far. To put that into perspective, end-to-end our trips circle more than half way around the world! If you haven’t already done so, get your miles punched into biketopsu.com and help us make it ALL the way around.

Be sure to log ’em before the end of the day on Sunday so that you’ll be entered to win prizes. Go to you Trip Log page and click on the calendar to enter your trip details. Come Monday, we’ll be announcing our winners on the BikeToPSU.com homepage and through email. Several of you could be walking away with a free Giro Sutton helmet, a custom Chrome bag, Abus Bordo lock or a new bike from Breezer!

Also, check out what we’ve got going on next week:

  • Basic Maintenance – Monday, 12-1PM @ Bike Hub
  • Biker Breakfast – Wednesday, 8:30AM – @ Engineering bldg entrance
  • Flat Fix Clinic – Friday, 12-12:30PM @ Bike Hub

Dan’s Tips #1: Pump up the Tires, not the Jams!

Part of the joy of riding a bike in the city is being engaged with your surroundings. It’s taking in the sights and sounds and smells, all of the crazy conversations you hear when you’re stopped at a light. That stuff is entertaining! All you headphone wearers miss out on all that! You also miss out on all the “On your left”s and “Heads up”s. That guy on the Broadway bridge who doesn’t seem to notice that you’re trying to get by…headphones. Don’t be that guy.

Listening to music while you’re working out is great, I get that. It passes the time and totally makes sense when you’re running in place at the rec center. When you’re trying to navigate through busy streets and bike paths it’s one of the most dangerous things you can do. It disorients you and greatly increases your chance of getting in an accident. Just today I saw someone with headphones in cross the tracks right as the Max was coming. DON’T DO IT! Please, just don’t!

The mechanic tip for the week is all about tires. It’s pretty basic stuff, but also really important. Your tires are your connection to the road and knowing how to take care of them will keep your commute smooth and problem free. Here’s what you need to know!

  • Inspect your tires for any cuts, cracks and any debris (glass, thorns, squirrel teeth). Any cuts that are bigger than 1/4 inch and you should seriously consider replacing that tire.
  • Check your tires for wear. Keep in mind that your rear tire will wear faster than your front. New tires will be nice and round in the middle. If your tire looks flat (or square) it’s time to replace!
  • Choose a tire with good puncture protection. If you spend just a little extra on your tires, you’ll save the headache of getting stranded with a flat tire and missing your final. I tried to use that excuse one time. No luck!
  • Keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure to avoid pinch flats and excessive tire wear. This number is usually printed on the side of your tire. (ex. 60-80 p.s.i.)

If you’re interested in learning how to fix your own flat tire, come to one of the Friday Flat Fix clinics at the Bike Hub. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know!

Pump It Up!