Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Accidents in cities

More or less the same thing in every sports, accidents are always part of the process. But with a bicycle, since everyone wants to go fast, the risks of getting a severe trauma or some really bad injuries are more higher. If you're alone, you only can blame yourself. If you're not alone, its more complex and sometimes more dangerous.

Accidents and/or crashes are part of the deal. If you play any sports or do anything that require a certain type of skills, there is always a chance that you might get hurt in an accident. Why? It's simple. It's the human nature. If you drive a car, a boat, a jetski, or you play tennis, rugby, football or you just simply knit, you will harm yourself, period. We learn from our mistakes all our lives and getting hurt is part of the process. So, let me tell you the cycling part and I will let you guys figure about the rest. | Cycling

Crashing into something or just falling of your bike, it hurts. Trust me, I've got my share of that in the past and I will tell you one later. But, there is always a way to minimize or prevent those accidents. You see, having the knowledge that maybe something will go south is preparing yourself for the worst case scenario. You just have to THINK before doing anything!

Let's put some examples to prove my point. Let say that you are riding your cheap bike in the city, any city that you want. Well, maybe just a city that you aren't familiar with in the first place. You have your best hybrid bike or a cheap bike and arrive at the top of hill. You begin to ride down as fast as you can to get to your destination faster, right? At the last seconds you see a parked car moving towards the street and make a right turn to engage it. But the thing is that you were so close that you didn't have enough time to brake. That lead you to crash on it and hurt yourself. If, at the start of the hill, you did manage to think that maybe there will be a car that will turn right and go on its journey, that maybe there is a chance of hurting yourself and to think to go downhill slower, you would manage to escape a dangerous situation.

Same thing apply for an offroad/mountain ride on your bicycle. You are rolling quite fast or at a good pace and quite can't see enough of the road in front of you. At the last second, you see that there's a dangerous step to cross and can't brake enough to avoid it and crash badly. Many will say that its more out of instincts than thinking. I can relate to that but you have to possess the knowledge first to make it as your instincts.

I was in a similar situation once where I didn't think before I act and it caused me to be in a crash. So, I was riding one sunny afternoon, in a not-so-calm street in the suburbs of Montreal and I happened to be I think on my 40th km or something near that. I was riding on the right side of the street (a street which have 4 lanes - 2 in each directions) and for no apparent reason, a car behind me started to really get heavy on the honking system. Being prepared for that, I manage to make myself even closer to the sidewalk at my right and let him pass. What bugged me the most is that the car owner decide to scroll down is passenger window, blurted and screamed some horrible names and continue as if nothing happened in his Beige Ford Focus Sedan (I remember that really clearly).

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Me, a bit pissed off by this total jackass, decided to rejoin the middle of the street (I was doing around 40-45 km/h) and give the punk the middle finger. Here's the bad part. What I did next wasn't bad but wasn't thoughtful either. So, seeing that the cars were slowing down in front of me, I turned myself to the middle part between the 2 lanes and continued with my speed. You all know how it is when there is traffic. Slow, stop and accelerate fast. Anyway, seeing they were going faster, I rejoined the middle of the right lane and I was still behind that crazy Ford Focus. Looking further in front of me, I saw that there was a huge gap between the car in front of the Focus and him. I should have been more careful but this guy jumped hard on his brakes (I was a bit close to him, I know) and me, without being to self conscious about that prick, jammed my bike into his rear bumper and crashed on his trunk. Since I bounced back on the road and manage to fall on my right side, the prick stormed off leaving me laying on the road and hurt.

Anyhow, I want to give a big thanks to the guy with his truck who helped me get on my feet and moved my bike. Without these kind of people, the world would be doomed. Plus, since that episode of pure frustration, I manage to always be more careful about the cars around me. You kind of recognize the type of drivers you can encounter and deal with how you ride your cheap road bike or your super ultra road war machine.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Family vacations

As I remember some of my memories of my childhood, with my road bike, cheap but Oh! so fun to ride and there's a common thing that I shared with my mother, my father and my brother. This thing was to hop on my used road bike and go for little trips with them. What a great feeling that was.

Of course, as a family, you have and you spend more time during the weekends. I don't recall my parents for some free trips during the week but maybe some of you can afford it. I think the important thing is to make the kids participate as much as possible. I remember in my hometown that there was a lot of cycling paths to enjoy. Getting older, I now use the streets as my friends but still. Its always fun and safe to share the road with cyclists.

So, the main key for some great vacations is to keep it simple. You can go for a ride everywhere you want. It doesn't matter if you have a bunch of awesome and expensive bikes or just some cheap road bicycles. The important thing is to have fun.

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In your little town, on a camping trip, to your in-laws in the outback, everywhere is your playground. At the beginning, let the kids get a bit tired and ride along at a speed where they can follow afterwards. I know its hard to keep them focus for a long time so if you seek a park, a small river,  nearby, make a little break there and enjoy the view. I remember going ballistic over my father to go play in a nearby recreation park.

Plus, getting prepared for a trip requires some basic things for the littles problems that can occur. Spare tires, a small pump, a first aid kit, a kit of Allen keys, water bottles are among the things to bring to face problems like a flat tire, a loose brake, some smalls injuries, etc. Used road bikes are sometimes a pain in the butt to maintain but with some love and attention, it works pretty good. Well, it did for me. For a more pratical way to do some long rides, I would definitly recommand you the hybrid bikes. Easy to ride in a city and can go offroad, they can be really useful. You can find some of the best hybrid bikes deals on

Of course there is the question of « where do we go to have that tranquility ». Like I said ealier, the world is waiting for you and your family to come visit. Many annual events occur during the year in North America like the famous New-York city tour or the Montreal tour, the Tour of Long Beach in California, the Ocean to Bay bike tour in Bethany Beach, Delaware and many many more. For those gatherings, sometimes its for a noble cause and sometimes its only for the fun of it. Do some researches, make some plans, decide when you want to go and do it because cycling is the best way, in my opinion, to discover a new place totally unknown to you. Maybe there is some events in your county. Go check and ride.

For my part, the only place in USA that I've been cycling around was near the Champlain lake in Vermont. This place is just breathtaking especially during fall where all the trees change colors. It's pure wilderness and still in the civilization as well. It is just a great feeling to know that you can ride on the roads with your hybrid bikes, your cheap bicycles or your best road bikes without being interrupted by a flow of cars or trucks and just enjoy the scenery around you. I really like it there because  you can travel around the lake, do some stops at some small cities and enjoy the festivities during the summer.

I know that my childhood is long gone and that today's kids generation is more into technologies, social media and videogaming but I can positively say that biking is one of the best way to have fun and to spend a lot of energy. Also, with the easy access to internet and a load of new stuff that you can buy on it, everything is easy and sometimes, surprisingly cheap. I know some of you have a hard times to make hands meat but having a rack for your bikes, a week or two of vacations, fun you will have that,s for sure! | Cycling

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cycling in the city

As you may know, driving your bike in a city can be quite the challenge. I myself live in a big city and I have to litterally think of the people's next moves. Like if they are in a car or a truck or just walking by or crossing the street, it always depends on the situation. Many cities are not that bike friendly at the expense of the car. 

With the winter almost gone and the melting snow, many of you will trade their shovels, winter coats, scarves and snowmobiles for their bikes, motorcycles, unicycles, etc. So, here is some tips that can help you for the next season. 

1. Always wear an helmet

I encountered many cyclists in Montreal while riding my own bike where they were unprotected. I mean, can you see some littles kids in the streets or elsewhere not wearing an helmet? I don't think so either. It's so simple to wear an helmet. I know I sound like an overprotective parent but even though I'm experienced, I got my share of accidents. Imagine that a car is passing you way to close to you and at the last moment, you freak out about it, turn hard your wheel in the opposite direction and crash. The first thing that you'll think about is not how your iPhone/S3 will be protected during your fall, trust me!

2. Be prepared for your ride

Even though you have a 5 km run to do to get to your destination or a 100 km, always carry something for your own safety and your own comfort. For example, big sunny day, really hot and humid and you have to go see your friends. A small bottle of water can help you be hydrated at all times. Or, you have a long run to do. Lets say 120km. Bring a spare tube, a kit to change it and a small attachable pump (that can be attached to your bike without irrating you). Yes it will be a pain in the ass to change it but you'll be able to continue instead of procrastinating for hours. Interested in buying those needed things, follow this link below.

3. Know where you are going

Getting lost is frustrating, horrifying for some people and sometimes expensive. What I always do before my trip is to know by heart the path that I will take to reach my destination. Maybe you can't do that. If so, bring a map or like many gadgets nowadays, check your phones/tablets/GPS devices for indications before and during the trip. It will save time, money and frustrations.

4. Repair/Do a check-up on your bike

You always check if your car is safe enough to drive or works properly. Why not doing the same thing with your bike? If you can do it yourselves, you can save some money by doing so and I encourage you to do it. Check out this site if you're looking for parts to repair your 2-wheeler!

But in my opinion, try to find a good store. They normally have a repair shop in the back with people that are used to repair bikes.

5. Try to be respectful on the road

Being a gentleman or a lady isn't that hard but in our times, becomes more difficult. Being respectful on the road (I'm talking as a driver and a cyclist) is just some little gestures that people will appreciate. For an example, staying in the far right lane is where you should be as a cyclist or checking twice your mirrors when you right-turn for any possible cyclists and letting them cross is way better than be tempted to turn and cause a crash. Always put your flashers when turning otherwise, it will be like this. (joking!)

Works the same way as a cyclist though. Here is the basic to know how to call turns or stops when you are with other cyclists or in the traffic.

Well, I hope I gave you enough tips for the new season. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I try to tell them to people around me. I know it's kind of silly to repeat it but you are never too safe. Au revoir chers lecteurs!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The dream on 2 wheels

Some wish for cars, clothes or jewelry. But for me, I crave to have this best road bike! Especially the Cervélo S5. I just think its one of the greatest design for a road bike that I ever saw. Here’s a picture for those of you who needs to take a look.

When it first came out for testing at the end of 2011, the developpers of Cervélo tested it with a bunch of pro cyclists. After all theirs tryouts, each and every one of them said that it was the most responding bike that they ever rode. Great speed (mainly because of the new type of aerodynamics), light like a feather and surprisingly comfortable, this bike is made for riding everywhere! If you’re a road bike fan, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Follow this link for more info about the bike, go on this site.

Sure there are a lot of great bikes  and many of you will disagree or have their own opinion but for me, that’s what I’m aiming for in a short/mid-term goal. Maybe in like 5 years, it’ll be another bike, who knows! This world is always in evolution. For the stats fan, here is a small list of specifications of the bike (mounted on a Dura-Ace set – Thanks to Team Garmin-Barracuda):

Full Specifications

Complete bike specifications
Frame: Cervélo S5 Team, 56cm
Headset: FSA Orbit IS-2 integrated, 1 1/8in
Stem: 3T ARX Team, 12cm x -6°
Handlebars: 3T Rotundo Pro, 42cm (c-c)
Tape/grips: 3T cork
Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900 w/ SwissStop Yellow King pads
Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900 w/ SwissStop Yellow King pads
Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-7970
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-7970
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-7970
Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-7970
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 11-25T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7900
Crankset: Rotor 3D+ TT, 175mm, 53/39T
Bottom bracket: Rotor
Pedals: Garmin Vector
Wheelset: Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate
Front tire: Mavic Yksion GripLink tubular, SIZE
Rear tire: Mavic Yksion PowerLink tubular, SIZE
Saddle: fi’zi:k Arione Tri 2
Bottle cages: Arundel Mandible (2)
Computer: Garmin Edge 500

More types of expensive or cheap road bikes can be interesting to own (depends on what you're looking for). I can think of the many companies that create these not-so-cheap road bikes like Trek, Specialized, Marinoni, Cannondale, Louis Garneau, Piranello, Kona, Norco, BMC, Kuota, Bianchi, Giant, and many more. And, as I rrode my bike through the years, I sur can say that if you're looking for a new bike, it's kind of hard to pick one since there is many of them to choose. It's like when you want to buy a new car. SUV or compact, hybrid or electric, FWD or AWD, etc. Well, buying a bike is the same. The frame, the wheels, which type of gear set, the height, the brakes, etc. You want to prepare yourself for this season and need some new gear, check out this! | Shop Apparel

Also, many bikes can't fit to you because of your stature. Here's a sneak peek at some of the best road bike you can find (the Piranello caught my eye though). Keep dreaming!

The Taiwaneses (yes Giant is a brand from Taïwan) will be thrill that I put their bike in first. This Giant Propel Aero 2013 can surprise a lot of people. Check out some more on this site.

The good old Cannondale. Not so cheap but not so expensive either. Good performance for a good american bike. Follow the link for more info and the bikes.

We have the Italian horsepower the 2013 Kuota Kharma evo 105 on our left.  Ah! those Italians. Always crazy. Take a look at their site if anything is interesting you.

We have the All-American Trek Madone 7 2013, best supporter of ex-7 times-Tour-de-France-champion Lance Armstrong (or whatever name you want to give him). You can find out on the trek site.

The Québécois! Or if you aren't familiar with the name, the french-canadian. Louis Garneau's Gennix R1 2013 is a great ally to possess if you're a beginner or a pro. You can find more informations about this bike on this link.

We got the Swiss Pride over here at your right which is the BMC IMPEC 2013 and 2012's Tour de France winner's Cadel Evans's new 2013 friend.

My heart jumped a bit when I saw this beauty at your left. The other big Italian prodige the Piranello Dogmac 65.1 2013. If you want to check out more of this, follow this link.

The other part of Canada, the english one to be more precise, is represented by this brand. We have at your right, the Norco Valence carbon 1 2013. The norco website link is just below.

Big surprise by another Québécois and it's the Marinoni. The thing with these bikes is that they were initially from France and migrated to Quebec. At your left, we have the Marinoni Squadra 2013. Check it more on their site.

And finally, England has to be in the list as well. At your right, you have the Raleigh SP race 2013. Check out the site for more info.

As you may know, I didn't show you all the existing road bike brands in the world simply because I don't have enough space and it would be quite a long scroll to past all over them. So I kept it simple and showed you the major brands that are currently used by some of the pro teams around the globe. Keep an eye for the big tours that will occur soon like the Paris-Roubaix, the Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana. If you're looking for a more touristic way to ride your bike, follow this link by clicking Here to organize your way for some great vacations.

Right now, it's quite hard out here in Canada to start biking. I hit the gym many times a week to stabilize my weight, my fitness and my cardio. Sure, you will tell me it's not enough but I can't ride my used road bike on snow and ice. Maybe I will post something about that subject later on like how to ride a bike during the winter season or something like that. It might be more interesting than some might say! Selection of Bikes, Cycle Clothing and Bike Parts Anywhere! Click here!