Tag Archives: commute

Are you riding the right bike? How can you tell?

2 Headlights, 2 taillights, camera, Garmin computer, what, me, geeked out?

Many people, perhaps most, aren’t riding the right bike. Know how you can tell? Could be because you’re not on it right now. Do you look for reasons to ride someplace? Or do you drive because it’s more convenient?

I bring this up because this morning by daughter, who works in our Redwood City store, had to drive to work today (ear infection so she’s been told not to ride, and, unlike me, she’s sensible and does what the doctor says). It would be super-easy to just get in the car with her and go to work, and later drive home. Avoid the 400ft climb home and having to take a shower before dinner.

Umm… no. I’d much rather ride. I feel alive on my bike. It fits great, it feels like it wants to fly with every pedal stroke. My mind is engaged as I share the road with others, whereas in a car I’d be in drone mode.

On my commute home I often tell myself that I’m going to take it easy, but after the first two stop lights you get to are green, it’s inevitably all-systems-go for a fast ride home. My bike expects this. It’s dark, but I’m lit up with two tail lights, two headlights. Cars see me from a distance, and I live for that sound of their tires over bots dots, telling me they’re moving over to give me room. A long day at work and my bike has put me in the zone.

I get home breathless (I live at the end of that 400ft climb) and I’m still breathing hard when I enter the house. My wife asks if I’m OK, and I’m thinking, day after day, this is what I am, this is what my bike and I do, I’m not only OK but I’m alive.

So what is the “right bike?” It’s the bike that you can’t walk past without wanting to get out and ride. It’s the bike that you go out on a 70 mile ride earlier in the day and then later you might be running errands in a car, seeing other bikes on the road, and asking yourself why you’re not out riding. What makes such a bike so special? It’s the way it just seems to become a part of you when you’re on it. The feeling that IronMan gets when he puts on his suit. Maybe it’s super-light, maybe it’s got a custom paint job, maybe you live for that perfectly-shifting gear change you get with electric Di2 shifting.

It doesn’t have to be a fast high-end road bike. It might be a hybrid commuter, or a beautifully-styled cruiser. It could be a kid’s first bike. But I’d be really happy if it’s a Trek (or an Electra if a cruiser) from Chain Reaction, because that means we didn’t just sell a bike… we helped create a happier, healthier bike-person.

So where should you buy your next bike? From us, of course, because this is the dream we live for. If you just want to buy a bike because it’s the thing to do and everyone else has one, and it’s just going to sit around like so many other short-term “seemed like a good idea at the time” things, well, there’s lots of places for that. It would be a failure on my part for that to happen. But if you want to risk a life-changing experience, come to us. That’s what we live for. –Mike Jacoubowsky, Partner, Chain Reaction Bicycles

“Clean Air Vehicle” that runs on gas? I don’t think so!

This is a "Clean Air Vehicle?" It runs on gas, it requires large amounts of asphalt for parking, and it encourages driving for errands. Maybe "cleaner" than some alternatives, but cannot compare to a bicycle. Your bike is a true "Clean Air Vehicle."
Hybrid cars. Some people love to hate them, mostly for how they’re driven (if only they’d get rid of that meter telling them how, if they roll through the stop signs and drive like Grandma they’ll get 53 miles per gallon instead of 48). OK, so they have one thing in common with bikes, but getting stuck behind two of them today and having that orange sticker staring me in the face that says “Clean Air Vehicle” while they’re burning gas running errands to the shopping center… I’m sorry but that’s just too much.

A “Clean Air Vehicle” shouldn’t burn gas! It probably shouldn’t even run on electricity. The only true “Clean Air Vehicles” are those self-propelled. Your bicycle is a true “Clean Air Vehicle.”

Besides the recreational/fitness aspects of cycling, you truly can use a bike to avoid driving. Today, I did a run to the bank before heading to the shop, and how much gas did I use? Exactly zero. How many square feet of asphalt were required for me to park my bike? Exactly zero. The air would be a whole lot cleaner if there were more bicycles used for shorter trips and fewer “Clean Air Vehicles.” It’s time for some truth in advertising. Or maybe a new advertising campaign for Chain Reaction!