Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I’ve noticed a multitude of new cyclists on the roads lately. And since I’m still receiving hundreds of letters and emails each week from people who found my Tips for Beginning Bicyclists so useful, what choice do I have but to submit a sequel? Don’t bother to answer that question out loud.
Tips for Beginning Bicyclists – Part 2
1)      Don’t try to save money by wrapping your handlebars with electrical tape. Yes, you can walk into any home improvement store and buy half a dozen rolls of this stuff in just as many colors for a fraction of the cost that a bike shop charges for real handlebar tape. So, “Why not?” you may ask. Well just let me relay this little story to you:

Back before I liked to spend half of my pay checks at the local bike shops, I tried this ingenious cost-savings idea. It was a mid-August afternoon and I had just finished wrapping my handlebars with your basic black electrical tape. It looked pretty groovy! I took off down the highway for a leisurely ride. As you probably guessed by now, the heat of that August sun caused the tape to get soft and ooze goop out from around the edges. Yep, that’s right! The first time I went to reach for my brakes – sure enough – my hands were glued tightly to the bars near the stem. Traffic had gotten thick and I was coming up fast on a slow-moving 40-foot semi. Using my exceptional thinking and quick reflexes, I decided my only course of action was to try and swerve under the semi and ride under the trailer. Hopefully the draft might slow me down or possibly just riding in the shade under the trailer could cool down my handlebar and allow me to free my hands. So, with lightening quick action, I turned to pull along side of the trailer then swerved underneath. This brings me to tip number…

2)      When attempting to ride under a moving semi trailer, check first to make sure that it’s not about to come to an abrupt stop. This was a bit of a painful experience for me. Fortunately I was wearing the proper clothing which included an old fashioned leather cycling helmet so that the ambulance drivers didn’t have to go looking far for the pieces of my brain. Cycling gloves – which have the finger tips cut off of them. But once you pull a stunt like this and completely grind all of your fingers down to the second knuckle, you’ll find that these short-fingered gloves are all your really need now for the rest of your life. Also, I was wearing cycling shorts – which brings us to tip number…

3)      Never wear metallic silver Lycra cycling shorts. Unless you want to hear ambulance drivers say things like, “Gee, what a geek!” I don’t know if we oughta even put this clown in our ambulance!”
Enjoy the ride!

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