Joan Denizot, founder of Zize Bikes, talks about reasons why biking during the COVID-19 pandemic is an easy way to have fun and stay healthy.
Most riders do not shift enough. This leads to sore knees (or worse), fatigue, and premature drivetrain wear. This is why it’s important to know basic bicycling skills like shifting.
Here are some tips and guidelines on how to shift a bicycle:
- Think of yourself as the engine of your bicycle. Like a vehicle engine, you are most efficient when you’re pedaling at a certain rate, which is usually from 70-90 pedal revolutions in every minute. To keep this efficiency, you have to shift each time you feel that your pedaling rate or cadence speeds up or slows down. When you apply this rule on a rolling course, you will be shifting almost constantly and maintain a steady cadence. And at the end of your ride, you will feel fresher than another rider who shifts less.
- How do you know which gear to use? First, do not be confused by the many choices you have, and do not worry about harming your bicycle by shifting it incorrectly or by using the wrong gear. You cannot damage it as long as you slightly ease your pedal pressure when you’re shifting (you should pedal to shift). And you need to understand that the correct gear is any gear which enables you to comfortably pedal at the moment. There is actually no wrong or right gear, and there is no proper sequence a rider needs to follow. You just shift your gears when your body tells you that it is time for a change.
- Shifting the left lever makes big differences in your pedal effort. Think of the left lever as a way to make it relatively harder or easier to pedal. For example, when riding downhill, you would want an easy gear to get back out. However, you will probably be in a hard gear because you were just dropping into a valley. For you to have an easier time pedaling, shift your left lever to move your chain onto a smaller chainring.
Shifting the right lever a single click makes it a tad harder or easier to pedal. Consider this lever as a way to fine-tune the effort needed to pedal. For instance, as you pick up speed on a slight downhill, you would need to click the lever once or twice to change into a better gear for the speed.
- You have to practice shifting your bicycle. It’s a good idea to shift your bike when it’s on a stand. You can position your bicycle on a trunk-style bike rack or on a repair stand, hang your seat’s nose on a low branch, or as someone to hold your bicycle off the ground by the seat. Once your bicycle is supported, use one hand to shift and the other one to pedal. Do so while keeping an eye on your chain as it moves over the chainrings and cogs. With a few sweeps of your levers, you will get a clear understanding of what is going on back there. Also, you can feel more comfortable about shifting your bicycle a lot while riding.
For multiple-gear bicycles that are easy-to-operate, visit Zize Bikes, the maker or custom built bicycles for everybody, including bicycles for heavy people which are capable of supporting weight up to 550 pounds.
Watch this video to learn more bicycling skills, particularly how to shift bicycles properly.
This is your chance to try riding one of our custom built and extra sturdy bicycles. Joan Denizot, the president of Zize Bikes will lend some of her premium quality bicycles for the Get Back on The Bike ride, which she will lead on September 14, in Sheldon Vermont.
Zize Bikes are specially built to support riders of all shapes and sizes, and weight up to 550 pounds. So, to ALL females who don’t own a bicycle, especially those who weigh 250-550 pounds, this is your chance to get out, hop on a bike, and unleash your inner child!
This is a “first come first serve” basis. All you have to do is email Joan your height and inseam. The bike ride, sponsored by Local Motion in Burlington will start at 9:30 in the morning until 11. It aims to encourage women to get out, unwind, and simply have a “me time.”
This bike ride is going to be a lot of fun! See you there!
Bicycle braking skills and techniques are very important to learn and master, as it can spare a rider from injuries.
Front-braking technique (which still applies some rear braking) can help you control your bike while riding, but only when performed correctly.
The following are the basic rules to help you ride faster and safer using the front bicycle braking technique.
* Don’t lock your rear or front brakes, especially when you’re going fast, as this may result to and over-the-handlebar crash.
* Take note that a skidding bike tire has almost no traction. To get a good grip and for your bike to stop effectively, your tires have to maintain solid traction with the ground.
* Squeeze your front brake front brake two to three times harder than your rear brake during typical braking.
* Use less or no front brake the slippier the surface or the sharper the turn you’re taking.
If you have to brake hard around a very sharp corner, use less or no front brake and more rear to prevent a skidding front wheel, jack-knifing, slipping out, or fork diving.
If you have to brake slightly around a wide grippy turn, you could apply equal mild pressure to both the rear and front brake.
To avoid a skidding wheel when braking heavily, use mostly your front brake, and only increase your rear braking as your speed reduces, to provide more rear wheel traction.
The more you use these basic front bicycle braking techniques, the sooner you will develop the habit of using your front brake correctly for any situation.
To help you obtain such habit sooner, check out the following essential bicycle braking tips:
* You would most likely lose control and flow if you are tensed. Even if your fingers are busy on the brake levers, you should keep a relaxed hold on your handlebar to maximize your control of your bike.
* Slightly shift rearward, low off your saddle to enhance your center of gravity.
* Slightly drop your heels, using your pedals to help hold the weight of your body back during heavy braking maneuvers.
For bicycles with premium braking systems, visit the website of Zize Bikes, the only maker of custom built, extra sturdy bicycles for everybody, including bicycles for heavy riders which can support weight up to 550 pounds.