New Bike Doctor app guides you through bicycle repairs

Here’s a cool one for you smartphone users — our friend Andreas over at London Cyclist just released “Bike Doctor”, an app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. This app guides users through over 40 of the most common bicycle repairs:

Bike doc promo image showing it on different devices

Read about its development by visiting the London Cyclist page, go to Google Play or the iTunes Store to download the app, or take a look at the video below to see how it all works. The app price is $2.87 USD.

Commuter Profile: Hannah Decker

Explore the surprising bike scene in Boise, Idaho through the lens of Bike Commuters reader Hannah Decker, in our Commuter Profile series.

The first cycle lady of the summer to be featured in our ongoing Commuter Profile series is Miss Hannah Decker! A dear friend of mine, Hannah and I met in Buenos Aires through a language exchange meetup. She turned out to be my Palermo neighbor, and we had tons of South American fun on and off the cruiser bikes in B.A. Read on to catch up with Hannah on her commute from her hometown of Boise, Idaho!

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Name: Hannah Decker

How long have you been a bike commuter?

I’ve been commuting since 2007.

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute? 

I started commuting while still in school. I would commute to campus and to work. I try to ride my bike as much as I can. In Boise we have a beautiful Greenbelt pedestrian path that winds through the city next to the Boise river. The Greenbelt makes commuting awesome and it’s only a block away from my where I live. Overall, my bike commute averages 5-6 miles roundtrip.

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How does Bike Commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?

It helps save on gas and it also feels great to be outside and exercising.

 

What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?

I live in Boise, Idaho and I’m doing freelance graphic design and tutoring Spanish. Now that I have my fancy new degrees I’m looking to get a bigger kid job. In true fashion I’ve been bike commuting to my interviews. I also commute daily to coffee shops or wherever I go to get my freelance work done.

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What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I commute with my incredibly cool Crescent “Pepita” Racer. It’s a classic Swedish racing bike. My Aunt was the original owner and then it was passed on to my Mom, who was hit by a driver that quickly fled the scene and left my mom unconscious… but don’t worry they both survived relatively unscathed.

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So, the insurance company paid for my mom to get a fancy new road bike as I happily took the old Crescent. The frame has some scrapes but overall it’s still in great condition. I’ve been riding my Crescent since I started bike commuting regularly in 2007. I’ve gotten used to some of it’s design quirks… e.g. while making a sharp turn the foot cage ‘overlaps’ with the front wheel. I also have an old American Eagle cruiser made in Japan. The frame was a gift and I rebuilt it. It’s a cute little bike and so fun to ride!

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Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?

I was riding my road bike to the store once and I hit a cat… How did that happen?! It was like a game of chicken gone horribly wrong! Haha! Not really. What actually happened was this chubby orange cat decided to sprint right in front of my wheel as two horrified kids saw the whole thing unfold. The cat was okay because I braked and slowed down just enough not to actually run him over (I love animals).  Does that count as interesting?

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What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?

Bike commuting is big in Boise, it’s normal for people to bike commute to work or wherever they’re headed. Usually people respond with “That’s great, I need to start commuting more”. I always get a positive response from people.

 

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How about bicycling advocacy?  Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups?

I am not currently active in any, but there is a really great bike cooperative called the Boise Bicycle Project. They do awesome stuff for the community. Here’s their link so you can check them out! http://www.boisebicycleproject.org/about.html

Muchisimas Gracias Hannah for hooking it up with your summer bike adventures and sharing some inspiring photos of your bike commute! Any of you other readers want to show us your ride and tell us all about it?  Then send an email and we’ll send you our Commuter Profile questionnaire… easy as pie. Email mir[at]bikecommuters[dot]com for details.

Wool Cap Sale: $23.00 Shipped-US ONLY!

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Handmade right here in the USofA. As you wear this, you’ll feel patriotic because you’re riding your bike and you’ve supported an American made product. Besides, our caps make you look dead sexy!
wool cycling cap

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Head (inches)

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Guest Article: So you hit the ground. What next?

Editor’s note: the following piece was written by Jay Paul, founder of the cyclist-oriented insurance firm Balance for Cyclists. Balance for Cyclists is one of our advertising partners. Don’t let that scare you off; there’s a lot of good step-by-step instruction within in the event you or someone you know is involved in a bicycle crash.

Bicycling is usually a very safe activity. However, as cyclists we are all keenly aware that an accident can happen at almost any time. Most cycling accidents result in injuries like road rash, a bloody chin or a minor laceration. The more serious accidents require immediate medical attention and perhaps a hospital stay.

So what is a cyclist to do if they are involved in an accident or with a fellow rider who happens to become a victim of inertia and gravity?

The internet is full of law firms soliciting advice on what to do if you are involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. Most end with a polite solicitation for the injured cyclist to call them for legal advice. Now I certainly don’t fault a personal injury attorney for making a living and cyclists need to know their rights after a serious accident. However, it is estimated that less than 30% of serious cycling accidents involve a motor vehicle. The rest are either rider error, equipment failure or the result of some other road hazard.

Riders need to be aware of what to do regardless of the cause of the accident. Below are some thoughts.

1. Take all necessary steps to protect and stabilize the injured cyclist. Make certain that the injured person is not in additional harms’ way. If the accident involves a head or neck injury do not move the rider but do place barriers up the road or trail that will slow traffic.
2. Call emergency personnel. Both the Police and EMT if necessary.
3. Even if the injury is minor, consider getting medical attention. All too often immediately after an accident the injured cyclist is in shock and not aware of the extent of their injuries. Too many injured riders just want to get back on their bike and start peddling as if nothing has happened.
4. Make certain that if police are involved that they take the statement not just from the motorist but from the cyclist as well.
5. If a vehicle is involved obtain driver information from the motorist. This includes: name, address & contact information of driver, make, model & serial number of car, determine the vehicle owner, insurance information of vehicle.
6. Regardless of whether a vehicle is involved get statements from any witnesses that happened to see the accident. (More on this later)
7. Get photographs of the accident scene and preserve evidence. Many if not most of us carry cell phones with cameras while riding. Get a lot of pictures from different angles. Take note of weather and road conditions.
8. If a vehicle is involved, never negotiate with the driver.
9. Certain accidents that don’t involve a motor vehicle could still be compensable. Equipment failure, errant pedestrians or road hazards are such examples. Make certain if at all possible to get photographs of the site where the accident occurred and of the bike itself. (This is also where a witness statement could prove beneficial.)
10. Here is the plug for personal injury attorneys. Never attempt to negotiate with the “at fault parties” insurance company. Get a good attorney to represent your interests. Most major cities have at least one attorney who has created a cyclist specialty practice. They are usually cyclists themselves. Many of these same firms have apps online that you can download to your phone that outline what to do in the event of an accident.

One last bit of advice. Consider getting First Aid certified and, if a mountain biker, consider getting certified in Wilderness First Aid. Having the confidence to make a quick decision immediately after an accident could save a friend’s life. These classes can help give you that confidence.

Finally, follow the rules of the road and be aware of your surroundings. That means take out one of your earbuds!

Book Review: “Tour de France” by Graeme Fife

The Tour de France kicks off in a few short days…what better time than to present a review of Graeme Fife’s stellar Tour de France: The History…The Legend…The Riders…14th ed. (London: Mainstream Publishing, 2012)!

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Originally published in 1999, this edition of Tour de France was revised to include the Tours through 2012, where Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the coveted yellow jersey. This book is a thrilling and weighty look at the lore, the triumphs, the challenges and the defeats of the greatest cycling event we know. Compiled from exhaustive research, interviews with riders and anecdotes from historical accounts, Tour de France is dense and satisfying like a fine meal. The book is of two major parts: the first section divided into chapters named after the famous Alpine and Pyrenean summits that feature so prominently in the Tour. The second part is a series of chapters, starting in 1998 and finishing with 2012, that give the highlights and lowlights, the victories and the scandals that accompanied those years. Interspersed throughout the first part of the book are Fife’s own cyclotouriste efforts up the celebrated cols where so many legends were made (and broken).

The word “epic” has been used overmuch in the world of cycling, but that word suits this book just fine. Fife’s writing has an almost lyrical quality to it; his descriptions of events as they happened is breathtaking. Here’s an example, where he is describing the scene of a mountain stage:

The riders plough on through a cacophony of klaxons yodelling like a jamboree of deranged Tyroleans, exhaust pipes snorting plumes of carbon monoxide, the whole circus parade of team cars, service cars, official race cars, motorbikes with and without cameramen perched on the pillion seat, broom wagon snaking up the mountain — as fast as the leader at the front, as slow as the stragglers at the tail — through a jungle of spectators crammed so deep by the road’s edge they leave no more than a single file path down their middle and then bulge shut over the riders as they pass, like a python consuming its lunch.

The entire book is like that — and sometimes those vivid descriptions require re-reading a time or two for them to sink in. This is not “light reading” in any sense of the word, and at 518 pages, this isn’t a quick weekend read either. The book is meant to be savored, and in fact that is the only way to survive this dense tale: read, absorb…read, absorb…repeat until finished.

Fife references many photographs of the Tour as he writes, and while he thoughtfully includes a small handful for the readers, I was left wanting more. There are so many references to scenes from the past that a companion photo album would not be out of the question. Perhaps a future edition may address that one shortcoming?

If you are a fan of the Tour, a cycling historian or anyone who loves learning about professional cycling, this is a fantastic book to read. It can be an uphill slog at times to get through this massive volume…but the view from the top is worth it!

Thanks to our friends at the Independent Publishers Group for furnishing a complimentary review copy to us.