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Take the Bike Lane
“This isn’t a terrible city to bike in,” says Justin Taylor, vice president of the University Student Government Association and Graduate School student. Taylor and Adam Clark (also a student in the Graduate School) gave tips on urban biking at a UM Go Green-sponsored sustainability workshop on March 26.
After all, biking to and from school/work is another way to reduce your carbon footprint, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and stay active.
With more shared roads popping up, Clark says the city is a decent area to bike in, but you need good puncture resistant tires (hard shell or hard case types), to avoid getting flats. You also should be aware of your surroundings, says Taylor.
“Assume cars will do the dumbest thing possible, anticipate what could go wrong, and err on the side of caution,” Taylor adds.
He gave attendees some tips for avoiding trouble and staying safe.
- Get in the middle of the lane and force cars to go around you
- Don’t hug parked cars—drivers may open doors unexpectedly
- Always look ahead
- Don’t lock your arms—keep elbows bent with a firm grip
In addition to discussing bike safety, Taylor demonstrated how to change a flat tire. It depends on the bike, he says, but here are some basic steps.
- Remove your wheel—loosen the brakes, pop off the tire, and pull the tube out
- Check for damage—find out what caused the flat, and if possible, remove
- Replace the tube—you can patch the tube for an emergency repair, but it's quicker to replace the tube while on-the-go, says Taylor
- Reinstall the wheel—make sure the tube is not pinched between the tire and rim, and then inflate the tire (Don’t forget to reconnect your brakes!)
“You can do it yourself,” says Taylor. “It’s easier than a car.”
Taylor also recommends carrying a kit with you. Available at most bike shops, kits usually include a hand pump, tire levers, a patch kit, an extra tube, and tools to tighten bolts.
And what type of bike should you use in the city? It depends on personal preference, says Clark. He uses a fixed speed bike, whereas Taylor uses a mountain bike.
“With a fixed speed bike, I tend to be more careful,” says Clark. “There are no hand brakes or gears, you have to pedal more, but it is much simpler and requires little maintenance.”
For those interested in starting a bike club on campus and/or those who have repair questions, contact Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Remember, always wear a helmet,” says Taylor.
For additional resources, check out the following local bike organizations:
Story by Tracy Gnadinger