The Right Bike

Go to your local bike shop. It is great to do research on line. I recommend it. When you go to the local bike shop it helps to have some knowledge and an open mind. How are you going to use the bike? Are you planning on riding long distances or even completing a century (100 miles) or the metric equivalent (about 62 miles). Are you going to ride mountain trails. Are most of your rides going to be less than an hour? Will you use the bike to run errands? What is you price range? Be prepared to spend a more than you did on that bike you had 20 years ago.

Let them know that you will be carrying the bike in or on a truck. If you carry one outside of your truck, you might want to consider a bag for it. I carried a bike outside of my truck and was constantly greasing and cleaning it. If you carry the bike inside of your truck, you might still want to consider a bag to keep your truck clean. You will also want a bike that assembles and comes apart easily. Most of today’s bikes are designed that way. The wheels have quick release hubs. The brakes can be loosened with just one lever making the wheels removable without having to take the air out of the tires.  Even the seat post on many bikes can be removed with just one lever.

There are 3 basic types of bikes. Road, hybrid and mountain are the 3 basic types of bikes. Folding bikes and recumbent bikes are outside of the norm. If you are trying to minimize space you might want to consider a folding bike. Recumbent bikes let you sit in a chair close to the ground and the pedals are basically on the as the seat.  For this blog now we will stick with the 3 categories. Road bikes are faster and are designed to be ridden on hard surfaces, like roads. Mountain bikes are designed primarily for off road riding. We are seeing more and more off road tracks, but it may be hard to access them near truck parking. The advantage of a mountain bike is that it can be ridden on the road. You would not want to take your road bike on a mountain bike trail. But, that mountain bike will not be very efficient on the road. You would not want to put off road tires on your tractor. The increased rolling resistance would decrease your fuel mileage. Using an off road bike uses more energy too.

Hybrids bridge the gap between mountain bikes and road bikes. They are not as good as road bikes on the road and cannot handle most mountain bike trails. They do have a variety of hybrids. You can purchase one that is closer to a road bike or closer to a mountain bike. The one that I have is closer to a road bike. Most of my rides are on the road. But, I do have an affinity for rail trails. Many of these are crushed limestone. You can use a road bike, but a hybrid is more suitable for this type of trail.  My bike has a rack over the rear wheel. My bag locks into the rack. The bag is large enough to easily carry a set of allen wrenches, a flat screw driver, an inner tube and a small bike pump for emergency repairs. I always carry a good cable and padlock too. There is still plenty of room for my cell phone, maps and whatever else I need for most trips. Water bottles are best mounted on the frame for all bikes.

Remember to be visible when you ride. I don’t often ride at night, but I carry front and rear lights for questionable visibility. My rear light flashes. I have a bright green shell jacket.  Most bikes now have side reflectors in the wheels.  As professional drivers we have all seen bikers that are highly visible and some who aren’t. You want to be the one who is seen.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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Spec a bike like you would spec a truck. How are you going to use it? What are you going to carry? Where are you going to use it? etc.

April 05, 2013 7:14:44 AM