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How to avoid flat tires

Posted by larry deangelo on

How to Avoid Flat Bike Tires

 

A flat tire is the most common mechanical problem you'll encounter as a cyclist, and since it's unexpected, it can be quite frustrating. But flat tires are a fact of life for cyclists, so it's inevitable you'll experience a flat tire at some point.

 

There are lots of reasons a bike tire can go flat, with some of the most common of them being punctures caused by sharp objects, rubbed or ripped tire, failure of the valve stem, road hazards such as debris or potholes, inner tube quality, damaged tire liner and more.

 

While it's impossible to prevent flat tires altogether, there are multiple things you can do to avoid getting them too often. Here are some of the best ways to thorn-proof your bike. 

 

1. Keep a Keen Eye for Hazards

 

Many flat tires can be avoided if you keep an eye out for hazards on the road ahead. If you find that you're particularly prone to flat tires, you may want to look at your road position — if you use the area close to the curb instead of the regular traffic areas of the roadway, you'll be more likely to get a tire puncture because that is the where all the glass shards and other debris ends up.

 

2. Check Your Tire Pressure 

 

When inflating your tubes, you need to make sure that the pressure is correct. You can find the recommended tire pressure on the side of the tire. If your tubes aren't fully inflated, the chances of picking up a flat are higher than when your tires are nicely pressurized. Besides using the recommended range to get the proper pressure, you can also gauge the pressure quickly by squeezing the tires. You should feel a small amount of give; the tires have to be firm, but still, not hard as a rock.

 

 

3. Use Tire Liners

 

Tire liners add an extra layer of protection around the inner tube of the tires. They are often easy to install and do a good job of protecting your tires from getting punctures. While they don't guarantee you won't ever get another flat tire, tire liners are cheap and reusable, which means that you can apply them to new tires if they're still in good condition. Nevertheless, keep in mind that they don't provide protection on the sidewall. It's always a good idea to use quality tire liners if you want to preserve your tires' suppleness.

 

 

4. Use Tube Sealants

 

Tube sealants are slime-like products that prevent and repair flat tires that are caused by small puncturing objects. Inject it inside the inner tube, and you'll be protected against punctures up to 3mm in diameter (this might differ depending on the brand). Tube sealants can treat only punctures on the tread area inner tube, and they won't work on sidewall punctures, rim spoke punctures, or "snake bites flats". 

 

 

The tube sealant should last for the entire life of the inner tube. It doesn't dry out and works on multiple punctures. Plus, many sealants cum with anti-corrosion inhibitors, which are an extra benefit. 

 

 

5. Buy Puncture-Resistant Tires and Tubes

 

Puncture-resistant tires and tubes are a good choice if you want your wheels to be protected against shards of glass and other debris without having to deal with installing tube sealant. These tires have a layer of thicker rubber or another kind of protection underneath the tread. This extra layer makes it less likely for sharp items to reach the inner tube. 

 

While puncture-resistant tires are a great choice for training and commuting, they are not ideal for race bikes, as they are generally on the heavier side. You can also opt for self-sealing inner tubes, which can prevent a full-blown puncture even when the tire and the tube have been penetrated. These inner tubes contain a special liquid that finds and plugs small holes that might appear in the inner tube. They are also heavier than regular inner tubes, but they can provide you with some extra peace of mind.

 

6. Invest in Tubeless Tires

 

By installing tubeless tires on your bike, you eliminate the chance of any snakebite puncture, where the tube gets caught between the tire and the rim. This is because these tires don't use inner tubes. 

 

To use tubeless tires, you need to make sure you have tubeless-compatible wheel rims, which are not cheap, but the benefits are indeed immense. If you can afford it, tubeless tires allow you to enter the modern age of cycling.

 

 

***

 

The above are some of the basic things to do to avoid flat bike tires as part of your bicycle care. They are valid for all kinds of bikes, including electric bikes, and they can save you a lot of frustration when you're out and about on your bike. 

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How to ride an electric bike in traffic

Posted by larry deangelo on

How to Ride an Electric Bike in Traffic

 

Riding an electric bike is an effective way to navigate busy city streets, whether you're running an errand, or bypassing other forms of transportation to shorten your commute. In big cities like New York, traffic safety is a massive issue for motorists due to the dense population and crowded streets. Native New Yorkers aren't phased by swift, close encounters. Still, outsiders will need to get used to the hyper-vigilance and aggressive maneuvering. If it's barely safely for motorists in big cities, how would you approach carefully navigating city streets on electric bikes?

There are plenty of concepts that you need to be familiar with as you take to the road. Like any other skill set, practice is imperative. Here are some universal tactics to keep you safe while riding in traffic. To be sure, there are nuances associated with riding in different areas. Some cities have thoughtfully designed bike lanes, while older cities may barely have shoulders for you to use. Regardless of your unique circumstances, these tips will give you a great foundation to show you how to stay safe in traffic. 

How to Stay Safe in Traffic

As long as you start with an awareness of your surroundings and the proper safety considerations, you will improve your bike safety by actually riding in traffic. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. 

Plan your route

From the start, make an effort to select the safest route. If you’re going to work, consider traveling on side streets with fewer cars or opting for established bike lanes if they’re available. Since it’s generally safer to make right turns than left turns that fully expose you to intersections, factor that into your planning, too. If you’ll pass a lot of parked cars, keep an eye out for taillights and occupied vehicles. Doors that open directly in front of you pose a real problem for cyclists since you have little time to react. 

Go with the flow

The first consideration is that you want to be in the flow of traffic. Make sure that you’re moving with the cars on the right side of the road. Although it depends on your local laws, most states require that you ride as far to the right as is safely possible. Ideally, that means just outside of the shoulder, but if you need to avoid an obstacle in front of you, head to a more central lane to avoid it. If you have to do this, use a hand signal before you head in. Unfortunately, lots of cities prohibit adults from riding on sidewalks, so double-check the biking laws where you ride.

Use your hand signals

In drivers' ed, you learn hand signals to use if you find yourself in a situation where the blinker on your car doesn't work. Those hand signals are easily recognized and often used by bikers. To turn left, fully extend your left arm in a straight line from your shoulder. To turn right, put a 90-degree bend in your left your elbow. For cyclists, it's also acceptable to fully extend your right arm, indicating a right turn. (You wouldn't be able to see a straight right arm from a person driving a car, hence the 90-degree bend.)  

You can also signal a stop or that you're slowing down by extending either arm down by your side at a 45-degree angle. Make sure that you rotate your hand so that it faces the motorist or cyclist that you're trying to signal. To signal a turn, check your mirrors if you have them, and wait for a clear spot. Once you see one, signal, move over and get back to the right side of the road as soon as possible.

Make yourself visible…

Cars are allowed to pass you on the road and generally possess the right of way. Still, most states specify that drivers must give you three to six feet of space. While that may feel close in tight pockets of traffic, it’s still enough to keep you safe. 

It’s always a good idea to acknowledge drivers as you ride your electric bike. You can take a quick glance over your shoulder to make sure that the driver is aware that you’re sharing the road with them, or even wave them on if they make you uncomfortable as they wait to pass you. Though they most likely won’t hear you, you can talk out loud. Some drivers can read your lips, but even if they can’t, they’ll pay more attention to you if that movement catches their eye. 

If you’re riding on a greenbelt or trail with other cyclists, rollerbladers, or people out for a walk or a jog,  ding a bell as you approach. Give walkers as wide a berth as you can. When you’re within earshot, let them know that you’ll be passing on the left or whatever they need to know. People riding traditional bikes may be jealous of the speed of an electric bike. Be polite!

Flashing lights on the front and back of your bike are helpful in the daytime. Or you can choose to wear a reflective vest, stripes, leg bands, or even bright socks. Bonus points if you get fitted for a well-fitted helmet in a bright, flashy color. Oh, and since it can't be overstated—make sure that you’re wearing a helmet! As countless studies have proven, helmets are vital for cyclists’ safety. They can protect your head from severe injuries.

Awareness is critical, especially in places where you have to contend with drivers who have their eyes glued to their phones! Do what you can to stay visible.

…and invisible

Cyclists are few and far between in many areas, so make a point to drive courteously and follow traffic signs. In that sense, you’ll blend in and ride seamlessly with the rest of traffic. Whether you like it or not, riding a bike makes you a representative of the biking community. 

Occasionally, as counterintuitive as it may seem, being invisible, or creating the best riding experience for yourself and the cars around you, you may look like you’re taking over the lane. This is especially true at intersections. When making a left turn, for example, you can signal, then turn at the green light. If you take over the lane, you can often be safely through the green light (especially on an e-bike) and back over to the right side of the road before cars behind you have a chance to accelerate. By doing this, everybody wins. As a rider, you stay safe, and no one is inconvenienced.

At the same time, remember that to many motorists, you may actually be invisible, so stay alert!

Final thoughts

Here are a few more tips to keep you safe:

  • Remember that electric bikes are fast! Some can reach speeds of 25-30mph. Make sure that you don’t go faster than you can clearly see in front of you. This may mean that you slow down from top speeds to stay safe.
  • Perform routine maintenance on your bike. Check that your tires are inflated before you hit the road. Take a look at your brakes every month or so.
  • In bad weather, take your decreased visibility into account, and exercise extra caution since drivers won't be able to see you in a thunderstorm.
  • Be wary of the right hook. This is when you're all the way to the right, and a car overtakes you, then quickly turns right. If you're not vigilant, the car will cut you off, and you’ll suffer disastrous consequences.

Finally, your electric bike offers you a speedy commute while getting the chance to appreciate the outdoors. By habitually employing safe riding practices, you’ll be able to enjoy those advantages while successfully navigating traffic.

 

 

 

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Your E-Bike Battery

Posted by larry deangelo on

Your E Bike battery is important.    Your battery determines your maximum possible speed, acceleration, and how far your can go on a full charge (range).  The life of the battery will be determined by how many charge-discharge cycles, and the quality of the battery construction.  You do not need to review your two years of high school physics to evaluate the performance characteristics of a battery.  You should understand a simple explanation of how your battery works and the meaning of certain battery specifications.

A battery in its simplest form is made up of one or more cells.    Each cell has two pieces of metal submerged in a chemical.  The two mental pieces are called electrodes, and each is made up of a different metal.   The top of the electrode is available on the outside of the case and is called a terminal.   One terminal is labeled positive the other is labeled negative.  The chemical is called an electrolyte.

A chemical reaction between the electrodes and electrolyte creates a potential difference between the electrodes (Voltage).  When the electrode terminals are connected through a device (load) electricity flows through the device and back to the opposite terminal on the battery.  The flow of electricity is called current and is measured in Amps.  If you place a light bulb connected between terminals the bulb will light.    If you connect an e bike electric motor between the battery terminals the motor will turn.  The flowing current is the force that lights the bulb or turns the electric motor.

When looking at battery specifications you can get bogged down in the definition of each of the battery specifications: Voltage (Volts-V), Amperes (Amps-A), Amp-Hours (Ah), Watts (W), Watt-hours (Wh).  Your car performance measurements such include horsepower, torque, compression, and RPM.   Do you really understand how these measurements are calculated and the details of each measurement? Probable not. So here is what you need to understand about battery specifications and how your battery impacts bike performance.

 

Voltage (Volts, V)   The chemical reaction between the battery electrodes and battery electrolyte creates a potential different between the battery terminals.   When a device (load)is connected across the battery terminals electricity flows.  Think of the battery’s voltage as the “horsepower” that propels the electricity out of the battery.

 

Amperes (Amps, A) Amps are the measurement of the amount of electricity flowing from the battery and across the load at a given moment in time.   

 

Amp-hours (Ah) Amp-hours is a measurement of electric current (Amps) that the battery can provide over time (Capacity).  One Amp-hour is equal to the amount of current that passes a given point in one hour.  After that hour the battery is discharged. Think of battery capacity as the size of a fuel tank in a car.

 

Watts (W) If we only consider how many Amps the Battery can delivery over at one time, we neglect another factor of the battery capacity Voltage.  Watts are a measurement of Voltage and Current at one point in the operation of the battery (Power).   P(Power) = to Volts times Current.  Watts are an indication of how much work the battery can do.

 

Watt-hours (Wh) Watt-hours are a measurement of how much power a battery can deliver over time (another way to measure battery capacity).  A 1 W-hour battery can delivery 1 Watt of power for 1 hour.  Wh is a more convenient way to determine the range of your bike, the cost of your bike, and the weight of your bike - three very important factors to consider when buying an electric bike.

 

 

Ah vs Wh: This can get confusing, but it is very important to understand the difference. Amp Hours (Ah) means nothing unless you factor in the voltage. Watt Hours (Wh) is far more important because it factors in the Voltage and the Amp Hours together and determines how far you might go on a full charge.

 

Watt hours is a way to measure the capacity of a battery pack and estimate the range of a fully charged battery.    A 36-volt 10-Ah battery pack has 360-watt hours (36 X 10 = 360). Each mile you travel could cost you about 20-watt hours. Therefore a 360-watt hour pack will get you about 18 miles. The range can vary depending on the weight of your bike, and where and how you ride.  Depending on how fast you go, the more Wh you have on the bike, the more range you can expect from it.

 

An e bike battery usually lists its voltage (V) and amp-hour (Ah) rating. To calculate the Wh of an e bike battery pack, we multiply its V and Ah to get the Wh.  As mentioned above, the average e bike battery will yield one mile of travel for every 20Wh.  Of course, the weight of the bike, the speed of travel, the condition of the road are all factors that would determine the actual range of the bike.

    • A battery rated at 36 V and 10.4 Ah will have a 374.4 Wh capacity (36 x 10.4 = 374.4).
    • A battery rated at 48 V and 21 Ah will have a 1,008 Wh capacity (48 x 21 = 1,008).

 

Larry DeAngelo

 

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How to select your E-bike

Posted by larry deangelo on

 

 

 How to select your E-bike

 

 Select a Bike Style If you are considering purchasing an E-bike the things that should matter most for you are style and price.  Here are some common styles to select from.

 

Cargo and Utility E-Bikes are designed and constructed specifically for transporting loads, they are a great way to transport kids, groceries, or virtually anything else by bike! Electric pedal assist cargo bicycles make it easy to climb hills, especially when you are using your bike for hauling children or running errands. Many delivery services use them in dense urban environments, the frame and drive train are usually constructed to handle loads larger than those on an ordinary bicycle.

 

A City E- Bike, is a bicycle designed to be ridden on relatively flat urban areas, at a moderate pace. It is built to for everyday riding in normal clothes and in a variety of weather conditions. It is a bicycle designed for practical transportation, as opposed to a competitive bike, such as a touring bicycles, racing bicycles, or mountain bikes. There focus is more on comfort and practicality, the saddle is typically larger compared with other bicycles and most bikes are provided with chain and tire protection.

 

 

 A Fat-tire E-Bike, is usually designed for off-road use and comes with oversized tires, typically 4 in or larger, and rims 2.16 in or wider, designed for riding on soft, unstable ground, such as snow, sand, and mud. The wide tires can be used with inflation pressures as low as 5 psi to allow for a smoother ride over rough terrain, A rating of 8–10 psi is suitable for the majority of rides. Fat-tire bikes were conceived for use in sand and snow but are capable of riding on all types of terrain including snow, sand, mud, pavement, or traditional Mountain bike trails.

 

A Mountain bike is a bicycle designed for off-road cycling. Mountain bikes share some similarities with other bicycles, but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain. These can include some or all these design features such as a suspension fork, large knobby tires, more powerful brakes, straight handlebars, lower gear-ratios, for climbing steep grades. and a rear suspension to smooth out the trail.... Mountain bikes are built to handle rough terrain but can be used to smooth out the worst pot-holed city streets.

 

 Standard Frame versus Step-through frame. You should think about a Frame Style.  E-bikes come with Traditional Frames or Step-through frames.  ST frames are easy on and off, less restrictive for certain attire and helpful with certain physical limitations.  

 

Consider the Bikes Dimensions When looking for the ideal size of an electric bicycle, you need to consider the saddle height, frame size, and handlebar height and width. 

 

The saddle height and horizontal position is an adjustment.  Unless your physical dimensions are extraordinary most e-bike saddle height and position can be adjusted to meet your needs.

 

Handlebar Width The larger rider is likely to fit a wider 760- or 780-millimeter bar, while the smaller rider would probably fit more naturally on a 720- or 740-millimeter bar. Off-Road terrain has a major influence on a rider’s preferred handlebar width.  If your riding through narrow paths with trees on both sides you may not want a wider handlebar.  

 

Frame Size Measuring your inseam is an important first step in determining your E-bike frame size.   Measuring your inseam can be accomplished by placing a thick notebook in between your upper thighs so you are straddling it (as if you were straddling your bike). Leave the notebook in place on the wall and measure from the top of the notebook to the floor. This measurement is your inseam. It is generally a good idea to wear the shoes you’ll be cycling in. Once you have the measurement, reference a sizing chart like the ones below.  Find the frame size that is close to the chart suggested frame size for your dimensions.

 

Road Bike Sizing

Height

Inseam

Frame Size (CM)

Frame Size (inches)

4’10”-5’1”

25.5” – 27”

46-48

18-19

5’0”-5’3”

26.5″ – 28″

48-50

19-19.5

5’2″ – 5’5″

27.5″ – 29″

50-52

19-20.5

5’4″ – 5’7″

28.5″ – 30″

52-54

19.5-21

5’6″ – 5’9″

29.5″ – 31″

54-56

21.5-22

5’8″ – 5’11”

30.5″ – 32″

56-58

22.5-23

5’10” – 6’1″

31.5″ – 33″

58-60

23.5-24

6’0″ – 6’3″

32.5″ – 34″

60-62

24.5-25

6’2″ – 6’5″

34.5″ – 36″

62-64

24.5-25

 

Mountain Bike Sizing:

 

Height

Inseam

Frame Size (CM)

Frame Size (inches)

4’11” – 5’3″

25” – 27”

13 – 15 inches

33-38

5’7″ – 5’11”

29″ – 31″

17 to 19 inches

43-48

5’11” – 6’2″

31″ – 33″

19 to 21 inches

48-53

6’2″ – 6’4″

33″ – 35″

21 to 23 inches

53-58

6’4″ and up

35″ and up

23 inches+

58-64

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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