Wednesday 4 December 2013

Conventional cycling advice busted for utility cyclists

Summary: This post will capture and redress some of the most common examples of conventional cycling advice that are either incorrect or inapplicable for urban, utility cyclists. It also redirects to posts on this blog that address each issue in more detail.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Cameron Adams

1. Cycling-specific clothing is necessary and more gear is the solution to most problems
- This just simply isn't true of the cities where the largest proportions of people ride. > Copenhagen Cycle Chic, > Flickr Cycle Chic Group. More specialist gear and equipment is rarely required or the best solution. This blog provides many better alternatives to maximising the utility you can get from urban cycling. However, for longer trip distances or in certain conditions (winter), some cycling-specific clothing may be useful. See: Essential gear for cycling and what type to get

2. A faster, lighter, high-specification bike will promote more riding
- In fact, expensive, high-specification, lightweight bikes tend mostly to be used for recreational/sport cycling but not for day-to-day getting around cities. Robust bikes that can be used for various purposes (including carrying things) and can be locked up anywhere are needed if you want to cycle for more of your transport trips. See: How to prevent your bike being stolen

3. Buy specialised bikes for specific purposes, not multi-purpose ones
- As Mikael Colville-Andersen says, the Danes/Dutch don't have vacuum cleaner collections; your need is transport and your means should be as simplified as feasible. See: How many different bikes do I really need?

4. Punctures are inevitable, learn how to fix them or carry CO2 cannisters
- Puncture-proof tyres can be bought that essentially eliminate punctures. They can be a few hundred grams heavier and slightly slower which is why sporting cyclists may dislike them. However, by eliminating punctures you can have completely reliable transport and this dependability will induce you to use a bike for many more trips around town. See: Puncture-proof tyres are the key to reliable transport

5. If you're not exerting yourself (sweating) you're not going fast enough
- The primary purpose of utility cycling is transport not exercise. If you can ride in your normal clothes you should, and if doing so then you can keep to a pace such that your sweat is minimal. See: Solve the sweat problem without showers and changing clothes

6. Bicycles are vehicles and should fit in with the infrastructure/rules made for cars
- Actually cities should be designed for all people and most road infrastructure and rules are designed for cars. Citizen cyclists should feel free to work around infrastructure and rules that don't work for them until they are changed. See: Cyclists do NOT need to earn respect or their place on the road

7. Cycling is a hobby that requires expense, investment and constant upgrades
- For most people cycling is useful as the quickest, cheapest most convenient way of getting around. Hence, they should spend primarily only on things that enhance the utility of cycling. See: Actual cycling expenditures prove how cheap cycling can be

8. Cycling forums are the best place for good advice
- Most cycling forums are populated by various cycling sub-cultures (sporting/competitive, recreational, mountain biking, fixie, hardcore commuters, etc.) and so the advice you get has the same perspective. However, the majority of utility cyclists are just citizen cyclists and not interested in being part of a sub-culture. They typically don't participate in cycling forums. The only reliably-useful forums would be ones specific to utility/citizen cycling. E.g. > Bike Forums - Utility Cycling