Bicycle Culture

Cycle: Out With the Old...

What's that tired saying that everyone breaks out as if they are flushing away the bad remnants of the year that just was...

"Out with the old, in with the new"

This week, I lost an old friend...but am gaining a new one. My trusty road steed has cracked -- literally.

This debilitating injury to my most favorite rig has brought emotional upheaval and a deep sense of loss during this otherwise "joyous season." So, as I memorialize my former ride (and anticipate a sleek new bike), Cycle suggests some resolutions for all of you cyclists for 2011.

REAL DEAL BIKE TIP #6: Keep it clean. I don't care what kind of bike you own, learn how to properly wash your bike and keep it running. By washing your bike by hand and cleaning, lubing and adjusting your bike's drive train, you will be able to find every little flaw because nobody knows your bike like you do. And none of this maintenance is brain surgery. Wipe your bike down after every ride (just use a damp paper towel to wipe off dirt and sweat). Wash your bike every couple of weeks (keep a bucket with soapy water, brushes and sponges handy). Clean and lube your chain as soon as it starts to chirp (This is Arizona -- dry lubes are best). This hands on maintenance will allow you to see each developing issue and address it.

In Memoriam...

You were not my only bike over the course of my life, but up 'til now you were the most special. I splurged on you, first dropping some serious coin to bring you into the fold, then goosing you two years later with some desirable upgrades. You allowed me to ride through Scottsdale and not have bike envy. You carried me up mountains and across deserts.

I was giving you your regular bath the day after Christmas, getting psyched for a run or two up to the TV towers on South Mountain. I didn't always pull your rear wheel off during washings, but I just thought you needed a little extra scrubbing in your nether regions. At first, it just looked like a grease smudge, so I scrubbed. Then that little, defined, crookedy line really jumped out. Damn.

I knew your maker stood behind you with a lifetime warranty and I would likely get a new one, but you were my bike. I pushed myself to physical extremes and saw amazing parts of this and other states perched upon your saddle. You were my buddy.

But bike!

So as we look towards 2011, Cycle offers up some New Year's resolution suggestions:

  • Register for a bike race or organized ride this year. (There is nothing like the thrill of a race. Find the one that fits you best and go give it a go. You will not regret it).
  • Ride with groups and ride intervals. (There are no better methods to get faster and stronger - guaranteed.)
  • Get the heck out of Dodge...err...Phoenix. (As great a bike town as Phoenix is -- and it is -- there are some excellent rides all over Arizona. Or take a trip to California, New Mexico or Colorado. Trust me, it's worth it.)
  • Watch a bike race other than the Tour de France. (If you don't catch one of the Spring Classics, you are not seeing what true bike racing is all about. If you can't see them on TV, never fear ... is here.)
  • Road trip to see the pro race. (Amgen Tour of California, Tour of the Gila, The Quiznos Pro Challenge, and the US Cup all take place in states bordering Arizona. This will be your last chance to see Lance, so go check out the pros and get loaded up with a ton of free stuff.)
  • Keep my bike clean and in good working order. (Hey, your bike deserves it. Besides, you never know, you may end up with a new bike out of it.)

As for Cycle in 2011, look for more rides, a closer look at riding ethics, and some special guest-led tours around the Valley. And let Cycle know what cycling-based resolutions you're committing yourselves to this year or if there are routes or topics you would like Cycle to check out. Here's to a great new year!

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Jason Franz
Contact: Jason Franz