The durability of Kevlar subtreads is intended to prevent mountain bikers from having flat tires to change as often as with a standard tire. ©iStockphoto.com/Paul Gardner When you ride over rocks, debris and especially broken glass on your mountain bike, these items can pierce the tire and puncture the tube inside. A punctured tube equals a flat tire, meaning you've got to stop your ride, break out your tool kit and your spare tube (given that you have these items) and go about replacing or repairing the tube. Mountain bikers who ride regularly can get a flat as often as every week. Then along comes the Kevlar tire. Kevlar is a synthetic fiber that is about five times stronger than steel. Kevlar is used in tires in one of two ways: as a replacement for the steel coils that form the tire's edges (known as beads), or as sub-tread, which is a protective layer that rests between the external rubber and the internal fabric casing that forms the tire's structure. When the beads … [Read more...] about Are Kevlar mountain bike tires worth the cost?
Cyclists ride up a hill during Stage 2 of the Tour of California in Lafayette, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu If you're one of the elites, it could happen at Stage 16 of the Tour de France or Big Bear in the Tour of California. If you're a new jack, it could happen at that gentle quarter-mile incline on the other side of town. But that burning sensation in your quadriceps and the inkling that you're a little higher up than you were a moment ago is familiar to almost everyone who has ridden a bike: You're climbing up a hill. Hill climbing is just one skill of many -- sprinting, bridging gaps and drafting, among countless others -- that a cyclist must master to become well rounded. Actually, a list of the best hill climbing cyclists looks a lot like a list of the best overall cyclists. So what makes a great hill climber? Is it simply being stronger and faster? Most world-class climbers carry just 2 pounds (1 kilogram) of body weight for every inch of height, … [Read more...] about How to Improve Bike Hill Climbing
Riding a bicycle may be a rite of childhood, but wearing a helmet? Not so much. Of the millions of children in the United States who pedal bicycles over hill, dale and cul-de-sac, fewer than half wear safety helmets, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the numbers of children who regularly wear helmets is similarly low in Europe, which — like the U.S. —has no comprehensive, far-reaching legislation requiring the use of headgear. But what if bicycle helmets were so cool that kids voluntarily wore them? This idea is exactly what one European company is exploring — and the inspiration is something nearly every kid would recognize. A collaboration between Denmark-based design firm MOEF and marketing agency DDB created a bicycle helmet that looks remarkably like the plastic hair on Playmobil figurines, a line of children's toys that have been sold since the early 1970s. (The German-made Playmobil's not … [Read more...] about Bike Helmets That Look Like Toy Hair Could Get More Kids to Wear Them
Me with my helmet on Emma Alter This post is part of our Better Biking feature, a discussion of many of the ways that we can engage in two-wheeled transport a little more effectively. Stay tuned for more! First of all, I should get it out of the way and say that I always wear a helmet. Furthermore, two years ago my answer to the question of whether one should wear a helmet would have been absolutely straightforward, and wrote on TreeHugger: The Bicycle Helmet Debate is Over. Really. Wear a helmet. You wouldn't think there would actually be any question about it, really. But in fact it is a big debate, and the issue is much more nuanced. Do Helmets actually work? There is pretty strong evidence that they do. Andrew Sullivan wrote about the subject in the Atlantic: Correctly worn, bike helmets are about 70 percent effective in preventing damage on impact. Mary Pat McKay, director of the Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Ronald Reagan Institute of Emergency Medicine, … [Read more...] about Do Bike Helmets Save Lives? Or Do They Hurt Cycling?
A few years ago, a video featuring an odd-looking innovation went viral. The innovation was called the Hövding, and it was a bike helmet airbag — a pouch cyclists would wear around the neck that contained a mechanism designed to inflate an airbag rapidly during a crash scenario. Watching a bike helmet airbag deploy is fascinating. If it weren't for the fact that it activates in life-or-death situations, it would be comical. (Check out Hövding's video series "Will It Pop" to see what we mean). The airbag bursts out from the back of the neck pouch, swoops up over the back of the head and cradles the cyclist's noggin like a giant, inflatable hand. But how effective is it when it comes to protecting against traumatic brain injuries? According to Stanford researchers, the answer is "very effective." The researchers took bike helmet airbags as well as traditional bike helmets and strapped them onto mannequin heads. They suspended the mannequin heads upside down several feet … [Read more...] about Bike Helmet Airbags Could Keep Your Head Safe