cycling tips

  • Don't put your bike away!

    Leaves are dropping from the trees and you find yourself searching the far reaches of your closet for a flannel shirt. Suddenly you have an overwhelming  desire for anything  pumpkin spice...

    FALL IS HERE!

    Autumn trail Autumn trail

    This doesn't mean you have to put your bike away just yet. Know that caution is needed when cycling during autumn months. The weather may be unpredictable with high winds and mixed precipitation, the sun is low and angled, and slippery wet surfaces or debris in the road can be a challenge. These are all good reasons to slow down and pay attention.

    Be prepared for anything and carry a waterproof jacket, tool kit, tubes, water, a snack and a few dollars. Even if you don't need them, maybe you'll be able to help a fellow cyclist out with either a quick roadside repair or an energy boost.

    Vilano Diverse 2.0 Performance hybrid Vilano Diverse 2.0 Performance Hybrid

    It is a good year-round practice to make sure your bike is tuned correctly, but take an extra few minutes now and give it a once over.

    Visually inspect the entire bicycle. Make sure the brakes are working well. Double and triple check that your front white light and rear red light's batteries are functioning. Look at the chain and go through the gears. Now is not the time to be stranded and unprepared! If it does happen, remember that AAA now offers roadside assistance to cyclists, too!

    When you are ready to head out for a ride, wear bright clothing, and add reflective strips to your body parts that move (legs, shoes, wrists) for extra safety. If you wear a pack or bag, put reflective strips and a light on it also. Put a flashing light on the back of your helmet to be more visible. I love this idea as it puts light at a motorist's eye level.

    Pumpkins = fall Pumpkins = fall

    The season's change should not prevent you from having fun out on the road or trails. There is even more reason to get out there, as studies show that regular exercise (like cycling every day for 1/2 hour) is great for the mind and the body.

    Have fun and happy riding!

  • Bike Maintenance Tips for Springtime

    Spring has sprung, and it's time to ride! Has your bike been sitting in the garage all winter? There is no better time than now to get your bike ride ready.

    This video has some great routine bike maintenance tips, brought to you by our friends at Vilano Bikes.

    It's time to get your bike ready for the season!

    Don't forget, we are here to help even after you purchase your bike with cycling tips, handy how to videos, and more! Our qualified bike techs and amazing customer service team are available to answer any questions you have.

  • Will Santa leave a Vilano Children's Bike under the tree?

    Will Santa leave a Vilano Children's Bike under the tree for a good little girl or boy?

    To help make the holidays easy and stress-free, Vilano has assembly videos for their boys and girls bikes. Santa's elves will appreciate it, for sure!

    Both the Vilano boys and girls bikes come with training wheels and many safety features. All Vilano children's bikes are CPSC tested to ensure your little one is kept safe and sound when they're ready to ride.

    Appropriate for all four sizes of the BMX bike, here is the boys bike style assembly video:

    The Vilano Girl's Bike comes in two sizes. Here is the assembly video:

    Teach your child how to ride a bike this year! It's a childhood rite of passage, and one key to an active and healthy lifestyle. Even if your child is not quite ready to pedal, Vilano Bikes has you covered with a great selection of balance bikes.

    If Santa's helpers waited until the eleventh hour to put a bike together, don't worry, we can help! We have customer service associates and bike techs standing by Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. who are ready answer any questions.

    Happy Holidays from all of us here at RoadBikeOutlet!

     

  • On Cycling Shoe Sizing and Trivia

    Every day we discover something new. That’s what makes life fun, right? We have a good one for you today.

    At roadbikeoutlet.com (the authorized online retailer of Gavin cycling shoes) we get lots of questions about shoe sizing. The Gavin cycling shoes do run true to size, and use the EU shoe sizing conventions.

    Gavin Road Cycling Shoe Gavin Road Cycling Shoe

    If you are unsure of your EU size, we usually suggest a couple of things. First, grab a pair of your sneakers and flip over the tongue. Quite often the EU size will be listed on the tag there. If it’s not, another idea is go to your local bike shop or a shoe store to be sized, and here is how we used to phrase it: “On one of their metal measuring devices.”

    Until today, that is. Did you know it is called (drum roll please):

    A Brannock Device!

    Unless your uncle is a shoe salesman, you have to admit… you’d never heard of it. We fielded a call from a customer this morning who casually mentioned the term and when my coworker hung up we squealed with glee! Well I did, but I’m a girl. Phillip has a much cooler head.

    Brannock Device Brannock Device

    Invented in the early part of the 20th century by Charles Brannock, the Brannock Device quickly became a worldwide foot measuring industry standard. It’s even featured in the hallowed halls of the Smithsonian Institution.

    You’re welcome. Bust out that little tidbit at your next trivia night.

    Don’t forget to check out our great selection of bike accessories and cycling shoes. From MTB/Spin shoes to awesome lightweight carbon fiber road shoes, we have your feet covered for any type of ride or training session.

    PS:  Try to learn something every day.

  • 6 Tips to Help Prepare You for Spring Bike Rides

    The calendar page has turned, days are getting longer and warmer and you want to get outside and ride! If you are thinking about riding to work or have an upcoming charity ride, these tips will help you get ready to pedal this spring.

    Stretch.  Take care of your body.  Do some light stretching or even throw down a yoga pose or two before you head out and when you get back. This is a great way to limber up and then cool down post-ride.

    Take care of the machine. If your bike sat in the garage all winter, it will need some lovin’. Consider bringing it into your local bike shop for a quick tune up, or better yet, slap it on a repair stand and do it yourself! Clean the bike, inspect the brakes and wheels, inspect the drivetrain, inspect all cables, and check your tires.

    Check your clothes/other equipment. Inventory your on board repair kit to make sure you have a few basic tools, tubes, mini pump, etc. Be sure the cleats on your cycling shoes are sound. Treat yourself to a new pair of cycling shorts (especially if you can’t remember when you last got any). The same thing goes for your helmet. Sweat, sun and the elements eventually wreak havoc on helmets, so it may be a good idea to get a new one.

    Prepare for unpredictable conditions. Be ready for swings in the weather and dress and ride accordingly. Even over the course of a day, the spring season can bring extreme temperature changes and severe storms.

    Take it slow. I am not at all implying you are out of shape from the winter… but admit it, keeping in decent cycling shape can be tough especially if you live in a colder area. Take it easy on your first ride or three! After a few weeks of regular rides, you will feel stronger and faster and ready to dial up the intensity.

    Break up your old routines. Spring is a perfect time for fresh starts. It is easy to do the same route over and over, especially if your time is limited. But why not shake it up? Think about finding a new rail trail in your area to explore. Try a group ride. No group rides in your area? Start one yourself. Sign up for a charity ride or a sprint triathlon to give yourself a training goal.

    Have fun as you head out on the road or trail!

  • My bike got stolen! What do I do?

    The scene: You leave work, home, the store that you ran into for only a minute. You get outside and see the pole where you locked your bike up and… your heart sinks. Thoughts race: “Is that just my front wheel?” “Wait, is this where I locked it?” “Oh no! Where’s my trusty steed?!?”

    The bike thief left the wheel and broken lock. The bike thief left the wheel and broken lock.

    Now what? One option is to hop on the mope-wagon, cut your losses and go buy another bike.

    But won’t taking action feel a little better? Here is what you need to do in the unfortunate event your bike is stolen.

    • Call the police and report it! Make sure to provide them with as much information as possible, including a good photo of your bike, its serial number, any distinctive features, and a receipt or invoice if possible.
    • If your bike was insured, contact the insurance company as soon as you can (within 24 hours). Keep in mind that if you carry a renter’s insurance policy, if the bike was parked outside of your apartment it may be covered as well.
    • List your bike as stolen on websites like Bike Index and National Bike Registry.
    • Check online sites like Craigslist and eBay to see whether your stolen bike has been listed for sale. The listing description will most likely be generic and broad, without much detailed information of your bike’s features. You can also create “alert” searches on these sites to email you daily with listings of products that match your search. If you think you have found your bike, notify the police first before confronting or meeting anyone.
    • Shout it out and let people know! Blast it on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, etc. Look at bike theft forums and be sure to visit or call local bike shops, especially those that sell or trade used bikes. Make up posters with the bike’s photo and your contact information and post them in your neighborhood and around town. Both friends and strangers may be able to help you spread the word and the more you do, the more likely that someone will make a connection.

    stolen bike flyer stolen bike flyer

    Need transport and prefer pedal power? Borrow a friend’s bike for now. If you do not have access to a spare bike, see if your city has a bike share program. Eventually, see if your local police hold periodic bike auctions. If they recover a bike, yet cannot find the owner, it may be sold at one of these sales.

    Moving forward, whether you borrow or purchase a new/used bike, take preventative measures so it doesn't happen again. Lock the bike well with a U-Lock/cable, and or heavy duty chain/lock combo.

    Documenting ownership of your bike is vitally important, too! Keep a file in paper or electronic form. Take photos of your bike and its serial number and email them to yourself. Most bike manufacturers will have an online registry. The process is usually simple, entering a few pieces of info on a web form. It is crucial for there to be a record of your serial number for law enforcement in the best case scenario of your bike being recovered.

    If you have a Vilano bicycle and you haven’t done so already, I urge you to register it on the Vilano Bikes website.

    It is not impossible to recover your stolen bike. Taking these steps will increase your chances.

  • 4 Quick Tips for Winter Cycling

    No matter what the groundhog said (and why do we listen to a rodent’s weather predictions anyway?), much of the country will still be in winter’s grip for at least a few more weeks. For some of us, staying inside to ride or taking a spin class are good enough options.

    But if cabin fever has you antsy to get out there for a bike ride, here are four quick tips to help you succeed.

    Layer, layer, layer! It is important to dress for success in cold, wet or otherwise unpredictable conditions. Start with a thin, moisture-wicking base layer then add an insulating one. Top it off with a water resistant wind breaker. You can always take off a layer if you get too warm, but you don’t want to be 15 miles in and realize you’re unprepared for the day’s ride.

    Safety first! While the days are indeed getting longer, you still need to outfit your bike with proper lights so you are visible to other road traffic. Check weather conditions before you ride. File your “flight plan” so someone knows where you are headed. Cycle defensively and always wear your helmet.

    Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! You may not feel as thirsty when the thermometer’s mercury is low. But it is just as crucial to maintain proper hydration during a ride in winter as it is in hot summer months. Take along a hydration backpack and drink lots of water.

    Take care of your bike! The thought of getting the hose and washing off your bike may not be appealing on a freezing February afternoon. Residual sand and salt from icy road treatments will eventually take a toll on your trusty steed, and it’s better to take care of cleaning it off right away. Look at it like this; you wouldn't wait three days to take your own shower after a training session, would you? Respect the machine, and it’ll take care of you.

    Think of the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you rise to the special challenges of cycling outdoors in the winter. Avoid the boredom of staring at your garage wall while sitting on a cycling trainer, outfit yourself and your bike correctly, and get out there for a ride.

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