Launder and Press
Winter is giving us what will hopefully be its last gasp this weekend here in Philadelphia, but aside from the light dusting on the horizon, recently the weather has been perfect to get out and ride a bike!
As the weather changes, so do we, and our bicycles. We recently told you about our Winter cycling preparations, so we thought it would be helpful to share some tips we use in this sometimes strange period between Winter and Spring.
1. Be Pressure Sensitive
We’re not talking about deadlines, though they are important to us. We’re talking about tires. Any dramatic change in temperature will result in a change in your tire pressure (warmer weather raises pressure, cooler weather lowers pressure). Adjusting accordingly lowers the chances you’ll have a blowout from over-inflating or picking up a flat from under-inflating, and having appropriate tire pressure can make your ride a lot easier too. Be sure to check the tire wall for the manufacturer’s recommended inflation PSI.
2. Debris Dangers
Much of the litter that unfortunately lines some streets is hidden when covered with snow, meaning any time you ride over a left over patch of snow, it could be hiding a nail, broken glass, or other sharp objects. Try to steer clear of these areas. If the road is clear of snow, you still need to be on the look out, as street cleaning doesn’t resume until Spring, and in most areas, doesn’t exist. In case an obstruction is unavoidable…
3. Carry a Tool Kit
It can save your life, or commute, and it should cost less than $30, a small price to pay for peace of mind. At the very least, your kit should include a patch kit, two tire irons, a hand pump (or CO2 cartridge kit) and a multi-tool, all of which should fit comfortably in any bag. This is a good tip for ALL seasons.
4. Mind the Wind
We get excited the first time a warm temperature appears in the forecast and forget that it’s easy to be deceived. 65 degrees doesn’t take into account the wind chill factor, and a hoodie is not adequate protection against the often fierce winds in this transitional season. So far, it appears March has been coming in like a lamb, so you’ll want to make sure you dress appropriarely. Invest in a good quality windbreaker (that’s also water-resistant just in case) and don’t pack away your long undergarments just yet…
5. Go multi-modal
This doesn’t often work for us as Wash Cyclists, but for you as a personal cyclist, don’t be afraid to use public transit if you have a long trip ahead of you in less than ideal conditions. Latching your bike to the front of a bus or taking the train (in off-peak hours) will usually save you time and aggravation in windy, rainy weather. It can also bail you out if you don’t have a tool kit.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these helpful tips. Stay safe and cycle on, everyone!
Steve has been with Wash Cycle Laundry since October 2014. You can regularly find him delivering commercial laundry in North Philadelphia.