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Customizing Your Bicycle Rims

Customizing Your Bicycle Rims

Barring a serious crash or the most frequent bike accident of all, entering the garage with a bicycle on your car roof rack with our bicycle rims will probably last as long as you can stand riding the same old bike. Usually made of aluminum, rims are lightweight and strong and are hardly ever the source of trouble on a bicycle, even in the most arduous riding conditions.

In fact, most bicycle riders probably never give a single thought to their bicycle rims. The circular band of metal that holds in the bike tire and connects it to the wheel hub via spokes is easily overlooked. Unlike spokes, a bicycle rim hardly ever breaks. Unlike the hub, it hardly ever causes problems. Unlike tires, it never goes flat or explodes. Serious bicycle racers have some pretty fancy rims, full of the same outrageously colorful advertising that covers their clothing usually, but most riders really don’t need these. Even the fanciest rims, the flattened out, wide, presumably aerodynamic rims you’ll see on the wheels of the pros, are not certainly all that much better. They are, however, flashier, and in the world of bicycling, this apparently does count for something, maybe for intimidation.

Do you need to know anything special about your bicycle rims? Not really. Most bicycles come with rims appropriate to their overall quality. You can spend as much money as you want on a rim like everything else associated with the sport of bicycling out what comes standard on a bike is probably sufficient. Customizing your rims will bring you fancier rims, maybe lighter rims, probably stronger rims, but the research on what constitutes the best rim weight, strength and shape is still largely inconclusive, and since this feature causes so few problems to the recreational rider, you can leave this issue to the professional mechanic who services the bicycles of world class racers. When they’ve resolved the issue, you will know about it!

Meanwhile, if your bicycle rims are aluminum, as most are today (steel rims being heavy, carbon rims being expensive), there is very little you need to do for them. As with all parts of your bicycle, rims should be kept clean of dirt and corrosive oils, wiped after long dusty rides and examined after any crash. Otherwise, do what most riders have always done: forget about your bicycle rims. You may not be able to ride a bike without them, but you really cannot ride a bike better for thinking about this vital but happily innocuous part.

>>Search Bicycle Rims on Amazon<<

Getting Started in BMX Racing

Getting Started in BMX Racing

BMX racing is a fun sport for young people. For kids, the basic bike should have 20-inch wheels. Riders under age six can use whatever type of bike they have, even if it’s not a true BMX freestyle bike. These little folks might still be riding bikes with wheels as small as 12-inches. Some tracks even have races for Big Wheel bikes.

A cruiser or mountain bike with 24-inch or 26-inch wheels might be okay, too, but check ahead of time with your local track for advice. Many tracks will let you race a mountain bike in the “Cruiser” class.

Whatever bike you use should be equipped this way. Remove all reflectors. Take off the kickstand and chainguard to prevent injury in a wreck.

The bike should have pads on the top tube, stem and crossbar. Most BMX freestyle bikes already have these pads. If your bike doesn’t have them, adding this safety feature will cost about $5.

The bike should have at least one working brake. A coaster brake is fine if that’s all the bike has. The bike should be in safe working order.

Finally, tie a paper plate to the handlebars. This will be your number plate. When you get to the track, they’ll give you a number to put on it. That number will identify you to the judges and fans as you are racing.

Safety is important

For head protection, a helmet is essential. Depending on the track rules, this may need to be a full-face helmet or a helmet with a separate mouthguard. Other tracks will accept any type of inexpensive motocross-style helmet.

Wear protective clothing. Regular long pants or jeans will protect the rider’s legs. For arm protection, wear a long-sleeved shirt. Since riders will use their feet, they should wear good sturdy shoes they are comfortable riding in.

Although you can race without gloves, wearing them is a good idea. Be sure they fit well and don’t interfere with moving your hands. Finally, bring bike tools and an air pump in case repairs are needed.

Ready to race

To race, a potential rider needs to find a track. Local bike shops may have information on where the nearest track is. Otherwise visit the National Bicycle League (NBL) or American Bicycle Association (ABA) websites. These are the sanctioning bodies of BMX racing. They provide advice and insurance to local tracks. As an NBL or ABA member, you will have some medical insurance if you get hurt on the track during a race and do not have other insurance.

A parent or guardian must accompany the rider to give permission for the child to race. A birth certificate must be shown as proof of age. Most tracks charge between $15 and $35 for a racing license that is licenses good for a year. There is also an entry fee for each race, which is usually between $6 and $10.

For your first visit to a particular track, get there about two hours before the first race starts. Find the registration tent or trailer and sign up.

Then take a walk around the track. Try to remember where the jumps are. Next it’s time to practice. Put your helmet and other gear on and follow the others to the starting gate. Watch what everyone else does and where they go. A beginner should put his front wheel against the starting gate, keeping one foot on a pedal and the other one on the ground. Start pedaling when the gate drops. Go slow the first few times until you feel comfortable.

After practice, the races will be posted. The people at the registration tent can tell you where your particular race will be posted and how the race actually works. You will be in a group or “moto” with other riders about your age. Line up with them in the staging area. When your group is called, go up and race! This will probably happen three or four times, depending on the system the track uses, and then it will be over. If you win, you might get a trophy. Even if you don’t, you’ll have fun.

>>Search BMX Racing on Amazon<<

Allen Tension Bar Bicycle Cross-Bar Adaptor Review

Allen Tension Bar Bicycle Cross-Bar Adaptor

The specs of ‘Allen Tension Bar Bicycle Cross-Bar Adaptor’ are:

  • Manufacturer: Allen Bike Racks
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5x6x1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds

Here are some REAL customer reviews:

“Good product, but online description needs details”

The bar does exactly what it is intended for. However, on the packaging of the bar it specifically says the distance from the seat post to handle bar post needs to be at least 18 inches, no where does it say that on the online write up. So, it doesn't…Read more

“Cross Bar Adaptor”

Very handy item for multiple bikes on a rack. Keeps from having one bike tilted at an awkward position from the other(s). Very easy to use, just be careful as the spring tension can fool you and you can get a finger pinched. It only took one pinch and…Read more

“Robust and functional”

This bar is very stout and capable of staying in place. I use it to mount two expensive Treks and feel confident the bikes will stay in place at 70mph on highway. When I picked up my new Treks, the service tech commented on the quality of the bar and…Read more

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