Taking up cycling in the New Year

If you’ve decided that this year is going to be the year you start riding a bike, we’re here to support you. If you’re anything like me, you may not have even attempted to start your New Year’s resolution, but when it comes to riding a bike all you have to do is get on! Many of us haven’t cycled since we were children, if that’s you you’ll need to take the time to properly choose the right bike for you.

How to choose the perfect bike

Depending on what you’re planning to use your bike for, this will determine the type of bike you need. There are a few different types of bike to choose from:

Road bike

This is the term used for a traditional bicycle. As the name might suggest, these bikes are designed for good performance on roads. Two types of bikes fall under this category, racing and touring bikes. Racing bikes are designed for speed and performance, whereas touring bikes are designed sustained comfort.

cycle safe

Choosing the right bike for you

Mountain bike

These bikes are designed for off road use. The difference between these and road bikes is that mountain bikes have compact frames and higher handle bars, giving the rider a more upright position. There is a selection of different mountain bike types such as downhill or cross country.  A mountain bike is generally seen as a good all-rounder as they can be efficient on roads.

BMX bike

These are low profile bikes with 20 inch tyres. BMX bikes are used in competitions on trails and courses.

Once you’ve decided on the type of bike you need, you’ll have to make sure you get the correct size to fit you. Getting this right is essential as different bikes have different dimensions for varying body types. When trying out sizes, you’ll need to make sure that the straddle height isn’t too high so that mounting and dismounting is easy and comfortable.

Try before you buy to get a feel for your new bike and once you’ve purchased pay for a professional to assemble it. Now you have your bike, it is also a good idea to get some training on bike maintenance, so you know how to take care of your bike yourself.

Now all that is left is to go out and enjoy yourself!

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How to clean your bike

With the wetter weather your mountain bike rides on off road and on trails are becoming muddier than ever. Cleaning your bike, just for it to get muddy again may not make a lot of sense but it’s certainly the best thing to do, if you want your mountain bike to stay in a good condition and run smoothly.

Get prepared for a dirty job with the correct cleaning supplies

To clean your bike, there are a few supplies that you will need:

  • 1 bucket
  • Hot water
  • Washing up liquid
  • Sponges, brushes and cloths
  • Chain scrubber
  • toothbrush
  • Chain lubricant
  • Degreasing solvent
  • Repair stand (if you have one, makes cleaning the bike much easier)

Time to clean? Where to start?

Clean

The first thing you should do is remove items such as leaves that may have gotten caught in your bike. Wipe down the entire bike with soapy water and apply a degreaser to the drivetrain. Gently use your sponges, brushes and cloths to get rid of any mud and grit. Scrubbing too hard could damage your bikes paintwork. If you have a repair stand, use this to remove the wheels and clean these separately.

Use a toothbrush to scrub the chain and rear cassette, use a rag to wipe the chain clean and remove any excess dirt. Once you have done this backpedal the chain through a rag covered in degreaser.

Wash the rest of your bike with a soap and water mix and rinse it down with an ordinary garden hose. Do not use a high pressure hose or power washer on your bike, as water may push itself past the bearing seal and this may cause corrosion.

Lubricate

When your bike has dried, you will need to lubricate the chain, cables, levers, shifters, derail pulleys and pivot points. Never use an ordinary household lubricant on your bike, you should always use a lubricant purposely made for bike chains. In autumn weather a wet condition lubricant would be the best choice for your bike, due to the amount of rainfall that usually occurs. Make sure any excess lubricant is wiped off the bike as this can attract dirt.

While you are cleaning your bike, it’s a good idea to check for signs of damage on wheel rims, spokes, spoke holes and tyres. Now is a good time to give your bike a general inspection and feel free to give the bike frame a good buff, to get it shining. Once you’ve cleaned your bike, you’ll be surprised at how good it feels to get back on it, not only will it look great, it will certainly feel it too.

The perfect place to carry out that necessary bike maintenance

You will need to have a decent amount of outdoor space to clean your bike and doing this inside obviously isn’t an option, unless you like mud coloured carpets! Having somewhere to store all of these bike cleaning and maintenance items is also a good idea. A garage is a good place to store all of your bike maintenance equipment, accessories and of course your bikes. If you don’t have a garage, there are a variety of garden bike sheds and cycle storage units available on the market. The bike maintenance garage by Asgard has been designed to do just that! This is a large cycle garage that can hold up to 6 bikes, with shelves and hooks to maximise storage space and it is large enough to carry out necessary bike maintenance. The cycle garage is made from strong weatherproof steel, so your stored items will be safe and dry. Having all of your bike items stored under one roof is a lot less hassle than traipsing in and out of the house every other minute for items you’ve forgotten.

Cycling safety

Many of you will already know how to keep safe when cycling on the roads, you will also know how difficult this can be on congested routes. However there are many new cyclists on the roads, who lack the confidence and skill. If you are scared and lack confidence, hopefully this guide will help you to cycle safely.

Cycling is statistically safe, however it is easy for new cyclists to be scared by horror stories. Per year there are 10-15 fatalities on bikes, without any other vehicle being involved, this is a relatively small number. Even when considering the role that other vehicles cause in cycling collisions, the figure is still relatively small when compared to other types of road accidents.

Take a look at these top tips for safer cycling:

Learn the skills

Cycle training is available for people of all ages and if you’re lacking in confidence, this could be just the thing for you. Training is available that covers everything from basic bike control to complex urban journeys.

Move away from the kerb

Don’t cycle in the gutter. This may make you feel safe, but hugging the pavement makes you less visible to moving vehicles. You should always cycle at least 50cm from the kerb. If you position yourself in the middle of the lane, this will force cars to overtake you when it is safe to do so.

cycle safe

How to cycle safely on busy roads

Make eye contact

Making eye contact with drivers, lets them know you’re there. This is particularly useful at traffic lights, turning right and approaching junctions. This simple act will help avoid the ‘sorry mate I didn’t see you’.

Signal

It is important to signal, so that other road users know your intentions. Check over your shoulder early, so you have time to change position smoothly.

Roundabouts

When it comes to roundabouts, on your approach make sure you take your lane. This will make you visible to all road users, avoiding any accidents. Before leaving the roundabout, check, signal and exit.

Traffic lights

Don’t be a red light jumper, this is dangerous to not only yourself but to those around you. Wait behind the advance stop line and take your lane. This will let all the drivers behind you, know that you are there. You’ll also be safer in the middle of the lane as nothing will be able to squeeze past you or cut you off as they turn left.

For safe cycling make sure you:

  • Don’t weave in and out of traffic.
  • Use cycle routes, advanced stop lines and cycle boxes when you can.
  • Give pedestrians priority.
  • Use your bell to inform others of your presence.
good-looking-bike-security-solutions from asgard storage

Keep your bike locked securely

If you’re new to cycling and have purchased your first bike, make sure your bike is kept protected from the threat of theft. Asgard metal bike sheds offer fantastic security and protection for bikes. These storage units are made from weatherproof steel and are fitted with a number of security features such as tough locking systems and integral metal floors. These bike stores are available in a range of sizes and colours to suit all needs.

The effect of rain on your bike

I think we can all agree that the weather this summer has so far been pretty glorious. The temperatures are soaring and the sun is shining. However, we have had the occasional torrential downpour with thunder and lightning. With heavy downpours like the ones we have seen recently, it is important to make sure your bike is protected from the wet weather.

What happens when bikes get wet?

Many bikes just simply aren’t designed for outdoor living and need protecting from the elements when they aren’t in use. If you leave your bike out in the rain for long periods of time, without giving it any love, care or attention, your bike will start to suffer and this could end up costing you a pretty penny. When your bike is constantly exposed to wet weather conditions and you don’t keep on top of your bike maintenance, you may find that your bike begins to rust and have mechanical faults.  This is because when it rains, water will find its way into every little crevice.  If your bike doesn’t have stainless steel parts, this process will be accelerated further.

Clean your bike after heavy rain.

Clean your bike after heavy rain.

If your bike happens to get wet what should you do?

Whenever your bike gets rained on you should do the following to keep it in tip top condition:

  • Dry your bike.
  • Clean the chain, chain rings and cassette.
  • Lubricate the drivetrain, brakes and cables.
  • Store your bike somewhere dry!

How can you store a bike out of the rain?

If you need somewhere to store your bike and keep it protected from harsh weather conditions, there are two options that will keep your bike protected.

  1. Bring it inside.
  2. Get a secure bike shed.

Depending on the space you have available, one of these options may be better for you than the other.

Storing a bike inside the home isn’t ideal for many people as this could mean dragging dirt throughout your home or tackling stair cases. You may think that keeping your bike inside your home won’t take up much space, but what about all of the cycling gear and equipment? However if you don’t have any outdoor space, this could be your only option.

Alternatively you can store your bike outside and still keep it protected from the weather. There are many different bike storage units available on the market today, but Asgard metal storage units are weatherproof and have been proven to keep the rain out.  What’s even better is that these steel bike sheds are available in a number of sizes, so even if you only have minimal space you’ll be able to find the perfect bike storage unit for you. With outdoor storage, security may be your other concern.

Garden security bike shed

Garden security bike shed

The Asgard range of storage units offer fantastic garden security, as pick resistant locks and a variety of locking mechanisms have been used on these units to help keep your bikes and accessories safe.  With help from Asgard you can now keep your bike outside, leaving it safe and dry until your next ride.

Could cycle route logging get your bike stolen?

A warning has been released by police in the Tamworth area, urging cyclists to be cautious about posting too many details about their cycle routes online. This warning has come after a spate of thefts in the area.

The police have suggested that it is possible that bike thieves are logging onto cycling websites, that enthusiastic cyclists use to log their routes, bike details etc and are using this information to steal their bikes.

Bike theft police warning

Bike theft police warning

Chief Inspector Ian Coxhead said “These are sites where cyclists can log the make of their bike and upload their cycle routes as tracked by the GPS devices, which can track people back to their home, so I would be cautious about what you advertise online”.

This type of bike theft is not too dissimilar from bike thieves following cyclists home after cycling events and finding out where they live, so that they can steal the bikes at a later date.  This was the case with charity bike rider Stuart Fox in Lincoln, who had four bikes stolen just hours after completing a charity bike ride and raising £1,500. Mr Fox said “I go out on my bike three or four times a week and I feel like maybe I’ve been watched”

When your bike isn’t in use, make sure your bike is fully protected at home and is stored securely and safely out of sight. Asgard bike storage units offer fantastic protection for bikes. These bike sheds are all made from strong weatherproof steel panels and have been designed to help keep thieves out!

Asgard best selling bike storage

Asgard best selling bike storage

These bike storage units are available in a range of shapes and sizes and if you live in a particular risky area, the Asgard high security bike store will do the trick! View the full range of Asgard bike storage and help keep your bike protected from the risk of theft.

Anti-theft bike stand

A new bike stand has been designed to offer cyclists secure bike storage in cities.  This new concept of bike stand is an anti-theft lock stand created by R&D Core. The bike stand works by rolling the bike into grooves in the ground.  When the stand is activated, a lock attaches the bike frame to the stand and two bolts slip through the spokes of each bike wheel, immobilising the bike. The user can then access their bike using smartphone or smartcard. This new concept may be just what is needed to stop bike theft away from the home in its tracks.

New concept bike rack

New concept bike rack

Although many bike users are most concerned about their bikes safety when out and about, the majority of bike theft actually occurs at the home. Never underestimate the importance of secure bike storage at home. Reports of home bike theft are always increasing and as summer approaches, garden shed thefts will also be on the increase and your bike will be vulnerable. If you store your bike in a standard wooden garden shed, it is unfortunately only a matter of time before it will be stolen. Make sure you have the best protection for your bike at home with a strong metal bike shed.

Asgard best selling bike storage

Asgard best selling bike storage

These bike sheds from Asgard are made from strong weatherproof steel, fitted with tough locking systems and come with a wide range of features. Take a look at the full range of secure bike storage from Asgard.

Information provided by Bikebiz

The Ride Journal Review Asgard Bike Storage

The Asgard Access 4 bike storage shed has been in the press again! Read the full review by The Ride Journal.

There comes a point in many cyclists lives where even they realise that they are pushing it with the amount of bikes they have in the house. A very tolerant wife had let my collection grow but even I knew that things were getting cosy indoors. And a load of redecorating prompted a search for somewhere outside to store some of them. Living in London it was always going to be a balance of cost, size in the already small back garden and security offered. As ever the internet gave lots of options but Asgard seemed to offer the best balance between the three. All that was left was to narrow it down to what model/ size. The 4 bike Access seemed the right one and was delivered.
In an ideal world I would have been able to wait until the warmer weather, whenever that arrived, but it was too slow in coming so I commenced on a freezing cold Sunday morning, brushing snow and ice off of the concrete base and continuing the build in very light snow.

Concrete base for Asgard sheds

Concrete base for Asgard sheds

My first recommendation is not to attempt anything in weather like this. The concrete base had been poured as per the instruction sheet and it was nice to know that the base would be the right size and more importantly level.

Access Bike Shed base

Access Bike Shed base

Drilling the holes to attach the base is hard work. A good drill bit is vital, as is some patience, all the hard work that you put in here is making it harder to remove by anyone else. This is the start of the security. Warmed up from the drilling it was time to begin the build.
The panels are well labelled and easy to navigate, via the instructions. Most of the job can be done by one person, its only when the heavy door needs adding that you need to enlist some assistance.

Step by Step building an Asgard bike shed

Step by Step building an Asgard bike shed

If you are used to certain Scandinavian flat pack builds the way things go together here will be a very different experience. You know when things are right, they tighten together nicely and there’s a satisfaction in knowing that the connections are tight.

Asgard bike sheds come with easy to follow instructions

Asgard bike sheds come with easy to follow instructions

Linked with this is the fact that the screws tap out the threads that they are being screwed into. This gives a super-tight connection which is good to have, but at some angles can make screwing in initially a bit tough. I found that with some of the hard to reach screws is was easier to run a screw in, to open up the thread a little, and then screw the two parts together. This meant that it was a little easier in the end.

Large double door access

Large double door access

Apart from drilling through the concrete the hardest part is getting the hinges on the roof lined up with the holes at the back of the shelter.

Easy Access Bike Shed Roof

Easy Access Bike Shed Roof

The instructions are a little vague but a bit of logic lets you see the correct order before trying to line the holes up and push the bolts through. This is the point at which any misalignment will be apparent. Even with a specifically poured base we were out and it took some pushing, coercing and a little bit of swearing to get the first hinge attached. As is often the case the first is the most difficult and the subsequent hinges got a little easier, or we got better at coercing.

2 bikes still leaves plenty of space

2 bikes still leaves plenty of space

With this out of the way it was a breeze to get the rest of the shelter built. Possibly due to the base being level we didn’t need to do any work to get the locking hinges lined up at the end.

How long did it take? I wasn’t really timing it as I wanted it to be correct rather than quick, but suffice to say I’ve climbed and descended Mt Ventoux quicker. My advice is not to rush it as something this sturdy should be in place for a very very long time, so why rush getting it built?

There's still space with 3 bikes

There’s still space with 3 bikes

Four bikes fit comfortably inside. If you have lots of very wide-barred mountain bikes you may have trouble with the width but with a selection of drop and flat barred bikes it was no problem. And there is room around the ends for a track pump and bike stand. I’m now thinking that some of the optional extra shelves might be useful for things like tools and oil.

The Asgard Access ideal for 4 bikes

The Asgard Access ideal for 4 bikes

With the shelter the main thing is security, I live in London after all. Having built it, felt the weight/ rigidity and quality of materials I am very happy. Short of using explosives I can’t see anyway that someone is getting to my bikes. Now all I need is my fingers to defrost enough to ride one of the bikes.

See the Asgard Access 4 Bike Storage Unit and the full range of Asgard Bike Storage.