Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tuning up bikes

From page C3 | January 2, 2012 |

Author: Ted Buehler ; Special to The Enterprise
Riding a well-tuned bike is a great feeling: You fly along practically effortlessly. Wind whistles in your ears, you consume the sweet sights and smells of the world as you swoop around town, the power of your body efficiently transferred to speed through the fine workings of a simple machine.In contrast, riding a bike in poor condition is just hard work. Rubbing brakes and squishy tires slow you down, a poorly adjusted seat means you huff and puff simply to keep moving. You might be just as fit as the next person, but power just isn’t getting to the wheels.The huffing and puffing many times starts with buying an inexpensive bike at a big-box store. Unfortunately, it’s a poor investment. The manufacturer cuts a lot of corners to get you that price: metals are inferior, parts are harder to adjust, plastic and rubber fall apart in the weather. It will be heavy and slow, and when you pedal you’ll think, “Riding a bike is hard work.”

The extra cash to buy or upgrade your bike pays for itself many times over. You’ll get places faster, more comfortably. You’ll find excuses to ride your bike and forgo the car. Before long you’ll get to know the neighborhoods of Davis, you’ll be in better shape, enjoy reserves of energy not found since college, and you’ll look 10 years younger.

In addition to feeding your fragile ego, when you ride your bike you won’t be contributing to air pollution, traffic congestion or oil dependency.

Here are some tips on how to make your bike “fly.”

First, make sure your bike is properly adjusted. I encourage you to try to turn a few nuts and bolts on your own … it’s empowering to develop the wrenching skills that can lead to greater self-reliance. Start out small, maybe adjusting your seat, or throw a little WD-40 on the chain, pump up the tires (these three steps alone can make a neglected bike feel new).

Sure, it takes a bit of trial and error and you might not get it right the first time, but get support from a biking buddy or a book. Tom Cuthbertson’s “Anybody’s Bike Book” with its eccentric drawings and its baby-step descriptions is a good place to start.

But if you think grease under the fingernails is unattractive, visit one of Davis’ many bike shops (each has its own personality) to get a tune-up. Ask for a bike fitting, too. Some will eyeball it for free, and others for a price will use complicated machines for precision.

And while in the shop, find a trinket that captures your eye and spend a few bucks on a new accessory that will make you more excited about your bike. There’s certain to be a few accessories that you can use to customize your bike to meet your needs — like a basket, bell, coffee holder, cyclocomputer or fenders. Go ahead and make an investment, you’ll be glad you did.

If you want the best of all worlds — parts galore and experts waiting to help you — roll your steed to Bike Forth, a community bike shop where you can work on your bike and get advice from volunteers. Located at Fourth and L streets, it is a great resource for novice and seasoned bicyclists alike. There, the experts will show you how to turn a wrench, lube a chain and pump a tire.

Then go to the next level, get creative and try out different used parts on your bike until you have it tricked out just for you. It’s a lot of fun to putter on your own bike in such a supportive environment and Davisites are lucky to have this resource. Check out Bike Forth; it deserves our support and patronage.

After getting all the kinks out of your bike, ride it. Ride it on Sundays, ride it to work and increase your shop-by-bike trips — and ride with friends! Do your kids like riding more now? See how you feel: Pretty soon you’ll be flying across town riding on the wind, and your distinctive, smooth-running bike will be an extension of yourself. That is the happiness a well-tuned bike brings.

— Ted Buehler lived in Davis from 2003 to 2008. He was the founder of DavisBicycles! and a co-founder of the UC Davis Bike Church, which moved into Davis as Bike Forth. Buehler lives in Portland, Ore. To offer a Davis Bicycles! column, write to



Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Four days of unusual, adventuresome music

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Spanish police arrest 4 suspected members of a jihadi cell

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Abortion opponents express renewed hope at California rally

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Fake schools draw federal scrutiny

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Winter produce available at Sutter market

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Share your love (story) with us

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Speaker will share computer security tips

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Logos Books celebrates 5 years, offers language groups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Australian olive oil company opens U.S. headquarters in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Explore at the YOLO Outdoor Expo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Donations to be distributed during homeless count

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Yolo animal shelter seeking rawhide donations

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

    Woodland Healthcare employees take Great Kindness Challenge

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    At the Pond: Nest boxes give birds new homes

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    California ranks worst in nation for guidance counselors

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Davis, Woodland are saving water

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A12

    Words and Music Festival events

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12



    Family isn’t keen on relationship

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

    Caring for the aging mouth

    By Samer Alassaad | From Page: A8

    We don’t have to suffer

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    City helped immensely

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

    Mayor’s Corner: Let’s renew Davis together

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: A10

    We have the right to choose

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    When measles spreads from Disneyland, it’s a small world after all

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

    From innovation parks to innovative buildings and planning

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11



    Loud crowd sees DHS boys win

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Lady Devils hold off Pacers, stay perfect in league

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Wildcats’ inaugural kids development league exceeds expectations

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggies get top 2015 gymnastics score, but fall short

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD men take two tennis matches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

    Watney in ninth at Humana Challenge

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8







    Davis man focusing on cannabidiol business

    By Will Bellamy | From Page: A9

    Marrone Bio’s Regalia approved for new uses in Canada

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    UCD grad makes insurance ‘hot 100′ list

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9





    Comics: Sunday, January 25, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8