FAQ – Best Cycling Related Answers

Is the bike too big for me? Step-over vs. Step-through bike frame

frame stand over size
Frame size measurement

For a step-over bike frame (also known as a diamond shape frame), standover height is the basic element of bike fit. It is the distance from the ground to the top of the bicycle’s frame at that point where your crotch is when straddling the bike. To check this, straddle the bike, and bounce on your heels. If your crotch touches the frame, the bike is too big for you. Don’t even ride the bike around the block. A bike that you ride only on paved surfaces should give you a minimum standover height clearance of two inches. A bike that you’ll ride on unpaved surfaces should give you a minimum of three inches of standover height clearance. And a bike that you’ll use off-road should give you four inches or more of clearance.

Please note that the standover height does not apply to bicycles with step-through frames. Instead, the limiting dimension is determined by saddle height range. You must be able to adjust your saddle position without exceeding the limits set by the height of the top of the seat tube and the ”Minimum Insertion” or “Maximum Extension” mark on the seat post.

What’s the easiest way to fix a rusty bike chain?

You may not know this, but the best, cheapest, and easiest way to fix a rusty bike chain that is stuck or moving with difficulty, is to put it in water for 10 to 20 minutes. Yes, water, not oil. If you can’t take the chain off of your bike, you can spray water on it. Keep spraying water until the rust gets soft and you can wipe some of it with a cloth or a brush.

You may think why water when water was the primary reason for creating the rust? The answer is simple, dry rust is hard but porous and it reacts to water by getting softened almost to liquid. This allows the chain rollers and pins to start moving allowing the water to get deeper
Why not use oil? Because oil on rusted surfaces will only seal the rust against humidity, and as I explained above, humidity is the easiest and safest way to soften the rust and make it release its grip. 

Once your chain is moving again, take your bike for a spin but be careful, more wet moistened rust may come out and your trousers and sneakers are in danger of getting permanently stained. 

Once you think the chain is moving fine, make sure it’s completely dry, and now is the time to apply the oil to ensure further protection.

How many bike types exist?

There are roughly 18 main bike categories. Most of them having subcategories as you can see in this Bike Type article

  1. Road Bikes
  2. Gravel / Adventure Bikes
  3. Mountain Bikes
  4. Hybrid Bikes
  5. Cruiser Bikes
  6. Cargo / Utility Bikes
  7. City Bikes
  8. Single-speed Bikes
  9. Fixie Bikes
  10. Electric Bikes
  11. BMX Bikes
  12. Recumbent Bikes
  13. Adult Trikes
  14. Tandem Bikes
  15. Track Bikes
  16. Fat Tire Bikes or Beach Bikes
  17. Folding Bikes
  18. Hand Bikes

What are the most well-known bike brands in the US?

Here are the top 47 Bike brands you can buy in the US directly or through their US dealers.

What’s the best way to stay safe in traffic?

  1. If there is any chance you’re riding in traffic early morning or late evening, make sure you wear a reflective vest. No matter if your bike does have back and front lights, the reflective vest is critical for you to be seen by the other drivers.
  2. If you don’t have one yet, buy a bicycle mirror. Every time you have to turn your head to see what’s happening behind you, your natural tendency is to slightly turn the handlebar in the same direction you’re turning your head. Even if you’re able to practice to prevent this, you’re still going to miss the small gap, crack or stone popping up in front of you, and you’ll find yourself in big trouble.
  3. In busy traffic or on a high speed road, a little bit of paranoia can help you avoid troubles. Never assume the drivers will give you priority even if you have the right of way. They may not see you, or worse, ignore you, or simply not take in consideration that you’re much slower than they are. 
  4. Wear your helmet and your gloves.
    While I do all the above every time, including the gloves, I have to confess that I’ve never worn a helmet even as a kid. In fact back in my days there was no such thing as a helmet, and we practically lived on our bikes. But still, wear that helmet.
  5. Did I miss something? Add a comment below and I’ll make sure to add it.

How can I best secure my bike against theft?

Let’s think as a thief for a moment. He can do it fast or slow.
The fast version works in a busy area with a lot of people and traffic. All he has to do is generate a distraction (or to profit off one) and plan for a 5 second delay on your reaction. He grabs the bike and off he goes. Him on the bike, a leg up (five seconds), you on foot, end of game.

The slow version works everywhere. The thief will spot you, follow you, understand your pattern and when he knows for sure you’ll not be there, he’ll act as if he is the angry owner who lost the keys of the lock system, and there is no thief-proof system. He’ll break thru the defense system or take the bike parts he’s targeting.

Now back to the protective methods, think of the 80/20 rule, where with 20% effort you can prevent 80% of the theft situations.

  1. Don’t let yourself get distracted. Thieves are keen observers, in 99% of the cases a thief will not go after you if he / she sees you paying attention to the environment.
  2. Don’t give them the reason to go after you. The more you advertise your bike and showcase its value, the more they will focus on you. I know of people masking their new bicycle with duct tape to suggest that the bike is old or broken.
  3. Try not to leave your bike outside unless you’re in a visible area, even if the bike is locked.
  4. Always bring your bike inside at night.
  5. If the bike is of high value and you’re living in a big city, have it insured.

Is it true that electric bikes are better than regular ones?

Well, this is not true, they are just serving a slightly different audience. There are in fact a couple of downsides when choosing an e-bike. They are more expensive and that’s not because they are of better quality and sometimes quite the opposite. They are much heavier, so if you plan to bring them along into your apartment or office you have to take this into consideration. Poor battery life and increased complexity are also worth mentioning. Here is some more info on this matter.

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