• J.R. Ogden
  • Mon May 25 2020
  • Posted Jun 16, 2020

Let’s go for a ride.

Based on new bicycle sales and the demand for repairs and tuneups at area shops, it appears more and more people are saying that during these days of isolation and social distancing.

Even as more activities return with restrictions, cycling is something people can do to get outside, get some exercise and keep danger at a distance.

“We’ve seen a lot of bikes that have been dug out of the garage, that haven’t seen the light of day in years,” said Ryan Baker, owner ofWorld of Bikesin Iowa City. “It’s very good to see.”

If buying a new bike isn’t an option, getting that “dated” bike out of storage is a good option. Logan Orcutt, one of the owners atGoldfinch Cycleryin Cedar Rapids, said, he too, is “seeing it all” these days.

And, like Baker, Orcutt is happy to see more people getting their bikes ready for a ride. He said a simple tuneup can “breathe a whole lot of life into a bike.”

He said the first step is “prioritizing a safe ride.

“That’s where the conversation starts,” Orcutt said. “It’s safe to assume there are going to be a few moving parts that need to be addressed.”

The first thing to look at is the tires, Baker and Orcutt said.

“Air in the tires and lube on the chain ... it’s a big thing,” Baker said. “These two things can make a bike functional.”

Also, check the brakes and the drive train.

“Most (bikes) have multispeed drive trains,” Orcutt said. “In time. that cable stretches and that shifting falls out of tune.

“That can almost always be worked out.”

All shops have tuneup options, from basic to a complete overhaul.

Once you’ve had your bike tuned up, where do you go? Thankfully, both men said, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City — and many areas in Eastern Iowa — have bike lanes on streets. Trails also are a good option.

“Go out and explore,” Baker said, noting bikes must follow all traffic laws (no buzzing through stop signs or lights). “(But) know your surroundings and pay attention to people around you.”

Orcutt said if you haven’t been on a bike in a long time, start with your neighborhood.

“It’s therapeutic in many ways,” he said, adding to “stay clear of the busy streets.”

If a trail is more appealing — with no motorized traffic — know proper etiquette. For instance, always announce yourself when passing.

“Trails are not just for the bicycle,” Orcutt said. “Be aware and coexist with other trail users.”

And always — always — wear a helmet.

“A helmet is a lot cheaper than a trip to the ER,” Baker said.

Both men hope this trend continues and welcome all to the bicycle community.

“It’s been kind of fun to talk to those people,” Baker said. “Hopefully they become cyclists.”

Orcutt said “cycling is an activity that knows no age.”

“Cycling is an activity that is safe to do,” he said, whether you are “rediscovering” it or your “curiosity has peaked.”






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