Results for category "Bike 101"

6 Articles

How to spend as little of your own money on a new bicycle as possible

You said “bicycle,” not “tricycle.” A bicycle leans. A bicyclist learns.

This post originally published May 10, 2011, on Since then, people have gained one more way to save money on a new bicycle: buying a used one from the Peoria Bike Co-op on Main Street in Peoria. In addition to prepping ready-to-ride bicycles, the folks at the co-op teach basic bicycle maintenance and repair, provide a space and tools for people to work on their bicycles, and help with more difficult repairs.

What are the original ways to save money on a new bicycle? Read on:

Don’t spend any money
Walking is about as close to free transportation as it gets. If it was good enough for Thoreau

Don’t buy a new bicycle
Can you adjust brakes and gears? Overhaul bearings? Recognize frame and wheel defects? Welcome to your Peoria-area craigslist. Skip the discount brands. You’re looking for good-quality used machines that originally came from bicycle shops. If it’s in good shape but out of style, so much the better for your wallet. On the other hand, if the owner thinks it’s a valuable antique, ask yourself why she’d sell it. Give it a good once-over before you buy. The frame and wheels must be in perfect shape. You can always buy new tires or a seat. If you have to replace much more than that, the bike’s too expensive.

Think twice before you buy a discount store bicycle
You may save money up front compared to a bicycle from a bike shop, but you may also be buying expensive problems down the road. Is the bicycle assembled? Who assembled it? The employee that just got finished with the whirl-a-tilt basketball goal? What’s the warranty? Service policy?

Buy from a bicycle shop
One of the great things about bicycle-shop bikes is they come with warranties and service policies. Ask your dealer about brake and gear adjustments after the sale. Another great thing is that good bicycle shops encourage test rides. Take advantage of the offer. Maybe you’re thinking, “I’ve got ‘x’ to spend.” Great, you have a budget.

Not sure whether you want a hybrid, a mountain bike, a folder or something else? Ride them all.

Still not comfortable with spending money? Do yourself a favor: before you buy, ride at least three bikes: one that’s in your price range, one that’s close to your price but from a different company, and one that costs at least twice as much as the first bike. You’ll either decide to spend more money, or you’ll feel even better about sticking to your initial budget. Either way: you win. After all, if you ride the first bike three months and then go back to buy the more expensive bike, you spent more money than you needed to.

Wait for your inheritance to arrive
Yeah, like that’s going to happen.


It’s not about the bicycle; it’s about the infrastructure

Originally published March 24, 2011 on

I enjoy the technology of the bicycle: the machinery that makes self-propelled travel possible; the machinery that an average owner can maintain at reasonable cost with a few simple tools. Moreover, I really enjoy how that technology has been steadily improving over the past 40 years.

But I don’t need the latest and greatest equipment. A bicycle is still a bicycle: it’s not going to pedal itself.

In fact, you could argue that the general outline of the machine – a seat here, handlebars there, equal-sized, air-filled tires and rear wheel drive – was settled in the 1890s, though you have to admit that 120 years of refinement have made bicycling way more enjoyable.

Today’s tires are lighter, livelier and more durable. Frames are more precisely constructed, with similar results. Brakes are easier to adjust and maintain. Multi-gear systems match the rider’s limited power to a wide range of wind and road conditions.

There’s only one potential problem with today’s road bicycle, and that’s the environment in which it is (or isn’t) operated. What we’re talking about is infrastructure: the existence and quality of bicycle-friendly roads, paths, trails and parking. Bicycle access.

Some locations have better infrastructure than others. Sometimes it’s by design, a conscious decision to introduce improvements; more often, it’s the result of benign neglect. In other words, they haven’t screwed up a good thing yet.

Erik & DanielleFor instance, a city that simply continues to support and extend a 19th-century street grid is likely to have a mix of high-speed and low-speed roads, with more or less traffic on certain streets. Chances are good that people riding bicycles in that city can 1) find a route that suits their comfort level and 2) use that route to get to the places they want to go.

Rural areas have their possibilities, too, especially for recreational riding. For instance, farmers in central Illinois and other states have long been the reason behind the continued existence of the paved and lightly traveled roads that are so amenable to bicycle travel. I’ve used farm roads to comfortably ride from Appleton, Wisconsin, to Peoria and from Peoria to southern Indiana and to central and southwestern Missouri.

Such roads are one of the reasons that Illinois can promote the Mackinaw Valley Trail, a combination of on-road and off-road connections.

Unfortunately, there’s no natural law that ensures bicycle-friendly areas remain bicycle friendly. Many communities, including Peoria, abandoned the grid in the 1950s and 1960s in favor of a cul-de-sac planning mentality that eliminated low-traffic, low-speed connectors in favor of dead-end neighborhoods tied to high-traffic arterials.

Similarly, some rural roads were summarily bisected by interstate highways, reducing local travel options for all road users.

And that’s a shame. When you damage the diversity of a transportation system – a diverse system being one that addresses the needs of pedestrians and people on bicycles as well as other travelers – it’s difficult to re-establish it.

Just as we tend to forget what an area looked like before an historic specimen oak was cut down, we tend to forget the travel options available to our predecessors, but denied to ourselves. Moreover, people can sometimes confuse the status quo with its desirability, such as when Illinois Representative Joe Walsh said one reason to question the cost effectiveness of high-speed rail was the idea that Americans love their cars.

That’s not to say we don’t love our cars. But a lot of Americans really don’t have any transportation choices besides the car. It’s like two people stranded on a island. Yes, they might love each other, but it’s just as possible that they would have liked to consider some other options before settling down.

That’s what bicycling can and should be: another transportation option. And that’s why having the most advanced bicycle derailleurs, wheels and frameset just isn’t all that interesting to me. You can improve the bicycle all you want, but at the end of the day, you need access.

You need bicycle-friendly infrastructure, which depends on a society that values transportation diversity.

What you don’t need is someone’s stereotypically romantic assessment of the relationship between car driver and car. What you don’t need is “love.”


The Chain Link: Streetsblog

You can’t be pro-biking and pro-city without checking out Streetsblog. Streetsblog is a daily news source connecting people to information about sustainable transportation and livable communities.

Since 2006, Streetsblog has covered the movement to transform our cities by reducing dependence on private automobiles and improving conditions for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders. Our reporters have broken important stories about transit funding, pedestrian safety, and bicycle policy from day one. And our writing makes arcane topics like parking prices and induced traffic accessible to a broad audience.

Oh, and you can find Bike Peoria on the network of blogs.



Now… Lets get weird Peoria!

Now that Peoria Bike Summer is over and we have received a great amount of attention and the ears of the City Council and Mayor we can finally lay back and get weird…. I’m talking about going back to the feeling you had from riding as a kid. Or if you are a kid make us cool and ride with us. If you’ve never road as a child then you are one lucky duck because you still have that feeling. Lets get together and RIDE!!!

This past Sunday on our closing ride we had a ton of fun. We had one flat tire… and a minor spill but we survived and made it to the party. As we ended back at Studio 825 we had one hell of a BBQ with some amazing music. As the party began a beautiful young lady that went by the name of Michelle got up and decided she wanted to ride the tall bike. She literally rocked the block!

Michelle is doing it right on a tall bike!

Michelle is doing it right on a tall bike!


A the party went on and we decided to take the music to the streets with our newly developed bike trailer that has was donated personally by Dr. Dre and Beats! I know it… we are awesome! Thanks!



Taking the party to the streets!

Taking the party to the streets!

So if you would like to be apart of Bike Dance Party on 4th please feel free to meet up and move those wheels. We are going to be in the West Peoria Parade as well as a ride after the fireworks. Please feel free to join!


"I can do a bunny hop"

“I can do a bunny hop”




Biking Basics

Are you bike curious? Don’t be shy. You hear about everybody these days riding their bike everywhere and you kinda want to get back on yours. The problem is, you may not be the bike buff you once were. If only someone could show you the way… Well, here’s a great video to get you back to the basics of riding a bike courtesy of the good folks at Grist.

Make sure to like Bike Peoria on Facebook and follow on Twitter @BikePeoria