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How To's Find Detailed Trail Descriptions, Trail Maps, Photos and Reviews. Plus we have local club information for Orlando and the entire central Florida area. If your looking for information on a product we have that too! With detailed reviews on all types cycling products! http://otowncycling.com Sat, 19 Aug 2017 01:38:09 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Cycling Safety http://otowncycling.com/how-to-s/item/230-cycling-safety http://otowncycling.com/how-to-s/item/230-cycling-safety Cycling Safety

Cycling alone can be a great stress reliever. It lets you think and gives you some much needed "You" time. I know first hand, I LOVE going out for my solo rides.

But if your not careful you can also get your solo butt into trouble. So I've compiled some comon sense tips to follow when your thinking of going out alone to make sure your solo ride is a safe and fun one!


Know the area. People take for granted how much they know, or don't know for that matter, about the natural environment in which they live.

Tell someone of your whereabouts. Be sure to check in with a friend about where you’re going, and when you plan on getting home.  (Don’t forget to call them when you get back – you don’t want to leave them worrying, do you?) In case something does happen (of course it won’t, but if it does) someone will know right away that you’re missing. Once you’ve told someone where you’re headed, stick to that plan! No changing your mind at the last minute and taking a different trail.You want everyone to have an accurate idea of where you are, so that help can find you if you need it.

Read the weather report. I live in Florida, where we have a saying: If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes. I’ve literally seen a sky go from sunny and cloudless to dark and raining in about 15 minutes. Fortunately, I was inside at the time. But if you’re cycling and the weather turns foul, odds are you won’t have time to get yourself back to your vehicle or to cover without getting soaked first. Which in Florida is the least of your worries. As the lightning capitol of the US (literally) riding a metal bike out in the open is the last place you want to be durring a potential storm. So check the weather report before you leave, and pay attention to the sky – and your fellow cyclists. If everyone else is headed back, that’s a sign that you should, too.

Choose a busy trail. Trails that see lots of traffic are better-maintained and safer than more secluded ones. Plus you’re bound to run into a few other cyclists or others out enjoying the trail, so if you need it, help will just be a few shouts away.

Know your limitations. If you rarely work out and get winded walking to the mailbox and back, then maybe you shouldn’t commit to a fifty-mile ride. Err on the side of caution and remember that fatigue can creep up on you. Try a neighborhood ride first, to see what you’re able to do and how quick your pace is. This will better help you gauge your abilities (and your time) when you go out alone.

Stick to the path. It seems like most disastrous cycling stories begin when someone willingly takes a wrong turn. However tempting it might be, don’t wander off the trail and into the woods.

Bring supplies. Always bring the following with you: a replacement tube & a way to pump it up, a multi-tool, something to eat and both water bottles. When you’re alone, you won’t have anyone else to mooch off of. Be responsible: stay hydrated, keep your blood-sugar up, and take care not to get too too over-heated. Since you’re on your own, it’s up to you to take care of yourself.

And finally, Listen to that nagging voice in the back of your head. You know the one I’m talking about: it sounds exactly like your mother. LISTEN TO IT. Because if something seems like a bad idea, it almost always is. Does a path look too dangerous? Skip it. Are you starting to hit a wall? Do you keep thinking you should turn back and return to the car? THEN GO BACK TO THE CAR. The time to take risks is not when you’re out riding by yourself. The time to take risks is when you’re sitting on your couch, watching TV, and your spouse decides to try a new recipe for dinner. That’s a perfectly acceptable time to be adventurous. smile

I realize that this list looks daunting – but really, it only takes a few extra steps to ensure that you’ll have an enjoyable, stress-free ride. Plus, if anyone worries, you’ll be able to tell them exactly how responsible you are. And don’t forget to have fun (that’s the whole point, right?). 

Be Safe, Have Fun & Keep Riding!!

P.S. If anyone has a good hint they'd like to share please leave a comment or email us! We'd love to include it in this guide!

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spam@otowncycling.com (JDC) How To's Sun, 30 Dec 2012 14:52:05 -0500
How to Learn to Love Clipless Pedals http://otowncycling.com/how-to-s/item/217-how-to-learn-to-love-clipless-pedals http://otowncycling.com/how-to-s/item/217-how-to-learn-to-love-clipless-pedals How to Learn to Love Clipless Pedals

It wasnt long into my cycling hobby before I learned about clipless pedals. After doing a bit of reading I decided to take the plunge and purchase a pair. At first it seemed beyond scary; I thought I would just fall over at every stoplight! But with a bit of practice and watching a few videos online I turned the corner, and I can honestly say that I love being "clipped in".

LED-Flash-Bicycle-Pedal-JL-002-pedalclips clipless

Before we get into it, let us first let's review pedal terminology, since it can be a bit confusing. First, there were basic pedals (like many of us had on our bikes when we were kids), then came pedals with toe clips (or toe baskets) to help the foot stay put on the pedal. These evolved into clipless pedals. These consist of two parts, a cleat that is secured to the bottom of special shoes, and the pedal. The pieces click together like a puzzle and when the shoe is attached to the pedal, you're clipped in.

 pedaling-technique-2

Cycling with my feet attached to the pedals makes me feel like one with my bike, and it's way more efficient. With the foot attached to the pedal, you begin to use all of the muscles in your legs to power the bike instead of relying solely on your quads to push the pedal down. Pulling up on the pedal works your hamstrings like nobody's business. Pedaling with the entire leg distributes the work so your muscles fatigue much more slowly, which means you can ride longer. Standing on the pedals, like when climbing a hill, is safer when you're clipped in; you're much more secure because your feet won't slip off the pedals. One last argument for going clipless: these pedals are actually safer than using the foot baskets. It is considerably faster, not to mention easier, to unclip than it is to slip your foot back and out of the pedal basket.

So lets get into learn how to start riding with clipless pedals...

Like most new skills, overcoming the fear factor simply takes time and practice. Ride around on a quiet street or in a parking lot, and clip in and out repeatedly, until you feel comfortable doing it, this will get your body used to the action and build muscle memory. You can practicing in a park on a trail lined with grass to soften possible falls as well. Another method for practicing is on a trainer, but since this might give you a sense of overconfidence, make sure to experiment outside before hitting the road for a long ride. Clipping out is an easy maneuver, just turn your heel away from the bike.

So who is with me? Do you ride clipless? Are you considering it? We've reviewed some clipless pedals if your looking for a recomendation.

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spam@otowncycling.com (JDC) How To's Thu, 26 Jul 2012 19:38:04 -0400
How To Clean Your Bike Chain http://otowncycling.com/how-to-s/item/198-how-to-clean-your-bike-chain http://otowncycling.com/how-to-s/item/198-how-to-clean-your-bike-chain How To Clean Your Bike Chain

This is a detailed video on how to perform a cleaning of your bike chain as well as all the gears. 

Get your bike looking like new and running better than its ever run before!

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spam@otowncycling.com (JDC) How To's Sat, 21 Apr 2012 12:02:39 -0400
How To Remove & Install a Bike Saddle http://otowncycling.com/how-to-s/item/196-how-to-remove-and-install-a-bike-saddle http://otowncycling.com/how-to-s/item/196-how-to-remove-and-install-a-bike-saddle How To Remove & Install a Bike Saddle

In this video we will demonstrate how you remove an old saddle (or bike seat for you new kids) and install a new one!

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spam@otowncycling.com (JDC) How To's Wed, 18 Apr 2012 17:11:23 -0400
Flying With Your Ride http://otowncycling.com/how-to-s/item/161-flying-with-your-ride http://otowncycling.com/how-to-s/item/161-flying-with-your-ride Flying With Your Ride

Ever wanted to take your bike with you on a trip but were unsure if you could, or how to do it? Or maybe you were just afraid of the TSA and the airlines destroying your precious baby... Well, I've done all the work and research for you on which airlines are bike friendly, what you need to know, and how to go about best protecting your ride as it makes the trip with you.

As flying professional (aka Flight Attendant) I am always on the road and have always wanted to bring my bike with me. But like you I was totally unsure what the rules were and how to best go about tackling all the variables that go into bringing your bike on an airplane.

That is until one day I was another crew member walk onto the plane with his bike... Now granted he was the captain of the flight and that does come with some perks. But it gave me the confidence that it could be done. Below I have listed out all the major carriers in the US in order of how "bike friendly" they are.

I am also in the process of reviewing a couple of travel cases on the market today that you may want to check out.

Airline Rating Cost Policy Highlights Notes
JetBlue Airways 4 Stars $50 Domestic $80 International: Unless case meets standard cary-on dimensions weight then it's free if it is your only "checked item" Bicycles will be accepted in a hard-sided, padded case designed for bicycles. If not in a hard-sided case, bikes will be accepted with the handle bars secured sideways and pedals removed. The bicycle must also be encased in plastic foam, a cardboard box, or similar material to prevent damage.

Historically JetBlue honors the Tour De France in June by allowing all bikes to fly for free!

No damage waver required

South West Airlines 4 Stars $50.00 Bicycles (defined as nonmotorized and having a single seat), including Bike Friday and Co-Pilot, properly packed in a hard-sided bicycle box that fall within the dimensions and weight limits established for normal Checked Baggage, (i.e., 62 inches or less in overall dimensions and less than 50 pounds in weight). Pedals and handlebars must be removed and packaged in protective materials so as not to be damaged by or cause damage to other Baggage. Bicycles packaged in cardboard or soft-sided cases will be transported as conditionally accepted items.  
Virgin America 4 Stars $50 if outside standard dimensions weight Bicycles will be accepted in a hard-sided or padded bicycle case. Bicycles may also be accepted if the handlebars are secured sideways, the pedals removed and the bicycle encased in a plastic foam or similar material to prevent damage. Bicycles secured in this manner may also be packaged in a cardboard box. Virgin America will not accept responsibility for bicycles packaged in cardboard boxes or bicycles with foam packaging. Bicycles not in a hard-sided case will require a limited release tag. Virgin America does not supply bicycle boxes.  
Froniter Airlines 4 Stars $20 if its under 50lbs & 62"
$75 if not
Non-motorized touring or racing bicycles with single seats. Bicycles must have the handlebars fixed sideways and the pedals removed and encased in a protective, durable case or box. Pedals do not need to be removed if wrapped in plastic foam or similar material. No waver needed if you pack it in a hard case
No Overweight charges apply
Allow 30 extra minutes to check in at the counter
They only accept them if they are under 99lbs.
Alaska/Horizon Airlines 3 Stars $50.00 One item of bicycling equipment is defined as one bicycle, non-motorized, with single or tandem seats. AS will only accept bicycles in a box or container, with handlebars turned sideways, pedals removed, and all sharp protrusions padded. Checked bicycles weighing 51 pounds or greater, or exceeding 62 linear inches, shall follow standard overweight and oversize baggage charges. They have a LOT of exceptions based on the type of ticket you purchase. So be sure to check your dimensions and weight, then look at their chart to be sure of your price.
AirTran 3 Stars $50 Each Way Must be packed in a box with no part of the vehicle exposed.
Tires should be deflated to aid with packing.
Rate was recently increased from a flat $79 to $50 each way
Spirit Airlines 2 Stars $75.00 Each Way Bicycle will be accpeted as an extra charge. Defined as one non-motoriezed touring bicycle with a single seat. The bike should be prepaired for transport by customer. Bike must be placed in a cardboard or hard case bike container. Tires must be deflated. Must sign a damage release form. If something happens to the bike they will not cover anything.
American Airlines 2 Stars $150 Handlebars must be fixed sideways and pedals removed or pedals and handlebars must be enclosed in plastic foam or similar material. Bike must be in a hard-sided case built for bike transport or a bike bag or box. Bikes not in a hard-sided case are considered fragile. Acceptance conditional on aircraft size and load factors
If a bike is less than 62 dimensional inches and 50 lbs., the above conditions do not apply
Delta Airlines 2 Stars $150 Non-motorized touring or racing bicycles with single seats are accepted as checked baggage on most flights with the exception of some Delta Connection® carriers and aircraft that may not accept bicycles as checked baggage, and may have different limits due to cargo constraints. Linear dimensions must not exceed 115 linear inches (292 cm); no oversize fees apply. Bicycles weighing over 70 lbs will be charged the applicable excess weight fee; bicycles weighing over 100 lbs will not be accepted. The cost is the same regardless of where you are traveling to/from, even international with the exception of Brazil; its only $75
Hawaiian Airlines 2 Stars $100 Per flight
$30 On flights between islands
non-motorized touring or racing bicycles with single seats and bicycles with tandem seats. You can check in your bicycle at the same time you check in at the ticket counter. Items exceeding 50lbs, but not more than 70lbs, will also be subject to excess weight charges.
Bikes are transported "Space Available"
Max weight accepted is 70lbs
United Airlines 2 Stars $100 each way domestic
$200 each way international
Handlebars must be fixed sideways and pedals removed, or
All loose items must be enclosed in plastic foam or similar protective material, or
Bicycle should be transported in a sealed box.
If your itinerary includes a United Express flight, please contact United for information regarding aircraft cargo hold limits
United is not liable for damage to bicycles that do not have the handlebars fixed sideways and pedals removed, handlebars and pedals encased in plastic foam or similar material, or bicycles not contained in a cardboard containers or hard-sided cases.
Allow 30 extra minutes for check-in at the ticket counter
US Airways 1 Stars $200 Each Way if over standard check bag dimensions weight Bicycles should be prepared for transportation by the passenger.
Bicycle must be placed in a card board or hard cased bike container.
Bicycles not enclosed will still be accepted, however, the handlebars must be fixed sideways and pedals removed, or bicycle handlebars and pedals must be encased in plastic or foam or similar material for transport.
A release form will also need to be signed by the passenger.
Of the airline policies I've read, theirs is the WORST, get ready to fork over the big bucks if your bringing your bike on this airline
Allegiant Airline N/A N/A As far as I can find they have no policy on bikes. Based on their other policies this leads me to believe they don't accept them  
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spam@otowncycling.com (JDC) How To's Tue, 03 Apr 2012 13:54:15 -0400