Preparing for Pedal Play 2017

Our event is 3 days away and our bike safety experts will be there rain or shine.

pedal play .jpgWe have over 260 participants signed up! In order to keep things moving and maximize your fun, here are a few things you need to do before the event

  1. Print and sign this Waiver (the insurer wants a hard copy therefore we were unable to make this available to you upon sign up)
  2. Prior to coming to the event, CHECK YOUR BIKE to ensure it is in safe operating condition
  3. Check the brakes—working with proper clearance and no frayed cables
  4. Check the gears to ensure they are shifting properly
  5. Clean and lubricate your chain
  6. Make sure that your quick releases are properly closed
  7. Ensure your tires are properly inflated
  8. Ensure any accessories (kickstands, racks, panniers, etc.) are securely fastened
  9. Ensure nothing is hanging loose (including clothing) that could become tangled in the gears, brakes or wheel
  10. Ensure you have a working bell—it is the law

We have a lot of great prizes and will aim to have a photo booth. Feel free to promote our event the hastags are #pedalplay2017 #kanatanorth #bikesafety

See you there

Handlebar mirror

Monna’s Weekly Bike Safety Tip – Mirrors, Increased Awareness and Communication

I am often asked the pros and cons of helmet mounted / eyeglass rim mounted, mirrors vs handle bar mounted mirrors. I use both, and probably rely more on my helmet mounted mirror – but – it is really a matter of personal choice and comfort.

Helmet mirror - front view Helmet mirrow - sideview Handlebar mirror

What is however imperative in this conversation, is to NEVER forget the ‘shoulder check’, for several reasons

  • As in a vehicle – there are blind spots – and you absolutely need to verify (via a shoulder check), that it is indeed safe to move or change direction on your bike before doing so;
  • New electric powered vehicles are incredibly quiet, and we can no longer depend on the sound of a vehicle approaching; and, most important
  • The shoulder check is a visual movement that can be seen by motorists (or cyclists) behind you, which actually acts as a form of communication, that you are about to do something. Ideally, a motorist seeing a shoulder check, will slow down and be more alert to  you and what you are about to do.

Bike Maintenance for all

It’s time to get those bikes repaired and tuned up for the summer cycle season. Some of you like to get the experts to work their magic and some of you prefer to do it yourself. With that in mind we have something for all.

Bike repair

Mobivelo – I want someone to work their majic

MobiVelo will be in Kanata North on Thursday and Friday this week. Trained bike mechanics will be available to repair and adjust your family’s bicycles at a reasonable price.

Location –  Beaverbrook Centre at corner of Teron and Beaverbrook Roads
Day 1 and Time – Thursday, May 25th, 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Day 2 and Time –  Friday, May 26th, 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

You can also book an appointment by contacting 1-844-684-8356 or visiting their website.

Velofix – I am a DIY kind of person

Delivered by a professional bike mechanic, this workshop provides participants with a hands on demonstration of bike repair and maintenance techniques.

Learn how to

  • change a flat and pump up a tire
  • keep a chain well-oiled
  • check your brakes and cables
  • keep your bike working efficiently

The goal of this workshops is to have participants leave confident and ready to ride.

Date – Tue, 30 May 2017
Time – 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT
Location – Beaverbrook Ottawa Public Library, 2500 Campeau Drive, Kanata, ON K2K 2W3

The workshop will be delivered by Adam Kourakisof Velofix. Space is limited so register to reserve your spot.

Monna’s Weekly Bike Safety Tip – New Road Markings: Sharrows and Bike Boxes

In case you haven’t seen them – there are new markings on the roads – Sharrows painted in white paint and Bike Boxes painted in green paint.

Sharrows are meant to indicate that the lane is to be shared. Bicycle position will depend on the width of the lane; either one meter from the curb (or cars) or in the middle (when the lane is narrow and you need to be in the middle of the lane).

Sharrow painted bike sign

Bike boxes indicate where you are to be positioned when turning right or going straight at a light.

Big box going straight

Do NOT use the bike box when turning left.

Big box when turning left

BE ESPECIALLY CAREFUL OF WHITE ROAD PAINT WHEN THE ROADS ARE WET – it is extremely slippery. The green paint seems to be ok.

Drivers be patient and Cyclist be predictable. This video demonstrates the safest way for drivers and cyclist to share the road.

Register Now Sign

Registration is open for our Annual Mobile Bike Rodeo

We had the 1st ever Mobile Bike Rodeo in October last year. It was a huge success and we also got a fair bit of feedback. We have listened and are happy to say that we will be having the 2nd annual Mobile Bike Rodeo on June 4th from 1-4pm. It’s going to take place Rain or Shine and by the looks of it, Rain it most likely will be.

Our event is for Adults, Teens and Kids who know how to ride a bike and want to further their competencies by learning bike safety. Remember practice makes perfect so even though you participated last year, take the time to sign up again this year for a refresher.

Here is a map of the route. There will be activity stations along the way so plan to spend about 2 hours at our event.

Pedal Play Kanata North 2017 Route Map

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes during the winter to get this event off the ground as well as a lot of volunteer resources on the day of the event itself.

We were lucky to have families as well as teens and adults join in the fun. We are hoping to see the same this year. Remember to sign up to reserve your spot.

Note parents do have to sign a waiver on behalf of their kids. Unfortunately we are not allowed to make this available online so this has to be done on site. Thanks for your understanding.

 

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Image of a Lafarge large truck

Monna’s Weekly Bike Safety Tip – Sharing the Road with Trucks

Trucks have huge blind spots, and are not able to see cyclists trying to pass them, or when entering intersections, making right-hand turns.

These images have been taken from inside a large truck.

Image looking outside the front of a large truck
Looking outside a large truck, large blind spot in the front
Image looking at the side mirror of a large truck
Looking at the side mirrors on the left hand side of a truck
Image looking out the right side of a large truck
Looking at the right side mirror of a large truck
Image of the small window at the right side of a large truck
Looking at the small window on the right side of a truck

 

TAKE SPECIAL CARE with garbage trucks as they can be operated from both right and left sides – which further increases their blind spots.

NEVER pass them on the inside, and be absolutely sure you have both sufficient time and space to pass them on the outside.

When stopped at an intersection, assume a position IN FRONT OF or well BEHIND the truck, NEVER BESIDE. Stay far enough back to be visible in the side view mirror, out of the driver’s blind spot to prevent being crushed by a right-turning vehicle. Also leave extra room behind to prevent a ‘roll-back’ collision. Heavy loads can cause the truck to roll back.

Trucks require a lot of space to stop, so ensure there is adequate distance for the truck to stop before pulling in front of a truck.

Additionally, trucks passing cyclists (in either direction) can create a gust of wind powerful enough to throw a cyclist off balance. When anticipating a large truck, stop pedalling (unclip if you need to), and concentrate on keeping your front wheel straight.

Bike to work

From Car Seat to Bicycle Seat, it’s Bike to Work Month

Cycling is increasing in popularity for a number of reasons. It’s great for the environment, amazing for your overall mental & physical health, saves money on gas & car maintenance.

It’s spring, the snow is a distant memory, it’s time for people to come out of hibernation and get active again. Most people ride their bicycles recreationally and biking to work is more complicated than it seems.

Bike on bicycle rack at work

Years ago I decided to cycle to work. I woke up earlier that day and rode in with a co-worker. It was tough but by the time I pulled into work I was feeling energized. We did not have any bike racks so I had to find a safe place to store the bike in the building. I was lucky as they had showers on site. I noticed something unexpected, I was hungry and obsessed about food all day, I could hear the vending machine calling me!. By mid afternoon I was tired and just wanted to curl up in bed. The end of day loomed by and I was not so enthusiastic about the ride home. Since I had no other option of going home I did ride back and it was pretty hard. I woke up the next day sore and I discovered muscles that I didn’t even know I had!! Needless to say I never biked to work again.

I look back at that time and I realized that the reason I quit was simple, I did not plan adequately for that ride to work and inadvertently set myself up for failure. I now realize that biking to work involves some preparation in regards to fitness, clothing, food and logistics. I needed to have a different approach in order to bike to work on a regular basis.

May is bike to work month and Treena Grevatt is back to give us tips and tricks on how to get started with biking to work and making it a part of our regular routine.

Natasha: If you live between 10-20km from work, you are considered to be in the ideal bicycle commuting zone. The reality is that most people will be able to bike this distance to work however the ride back at the end of a busy day will be a challenge. What tips can you give us to build up to this riding distance in terms of fitness?

Treena: I would recommend one or two shakedown rides before attempting your first commute of the season – to give you a chance to check that everything works, you can carry your stuff and that your route is clear of obstacles (many commuters to the downtown core had to make modifications to their route in late April due to flooding for example). If you haven’t been in the saddle over winter, some of us go to spin classes or ride on indoor bike trainers, then your first few rides can make your ‘undercarriage’ feel a little tender. Be patient, you just need a little more time in the saddle – assuming you were comfortable originally – if your bike position causes you discomfort then I would recommend getting a professional fit. And as it’s early in the season, pace yourself on your ride. No need to try to go super fast until you feel a bit fitter. As for helping get ready for the ride home, if you feel short on energy try eating some food about an hour before you start your trip.

Natasha: I typically do a 10min warm up before my workout at the gym followed by a stretch at the end. If I am short on time and skip these steps, I find that I am very sore the next day. It is not uncommon for first time riders to experience muscle soreness that next day. What can we do to speed up post ride recovery?

Treena: You can incorporate a warm-up on your ride :start out at a comfortable pace, and as your heart rate goes up and your legs wake up you can steadily increase your pace. Choose an effort that is comfortable and that you can maintain for your ride. If your legs are burning, or you are breathing so hard that you could not maintain a conversation, then ease up. As for warming down, as you get within a km or two of home, then ease up a little and gradually get your heart rate down. Off the bike, it’s good stretch your thigh and butt muscles (here are some good stretches for cyclists).

Natasha: If you have driven to work then you are familiar with the fast traffic on the busy roads. Do you have any suggestions for mapping out a route that is safe for riding?

Treena: I deliberately choose a route that has quieter roads, bike lanes or paths and as few left turns across busy roads as possible. I actually ride a little longer to avoid making the left turn on Carling Avenue at Burke Road for example. I recommend riding your route before you try it on a commute or drive it and keep an eye out for hazards for cyclists such as potholes, narrow bridges, or difficult intersections. As for tools that help you map out a route, the City of Ottawa has a cycling map, and there are apps like Map My Ride or Ride with GPS that help you plan.

Natasha:  Making that daily stand up meeting or conf. call can be a challenge some days. Driving in means that you are at your desk ready to start the day. Biking in means that you have to change out of your workout gear into work clothes. It’s also cold in the mornings and warm at the end of the day. What options do we have for clothing?

Treena: Yes, spring riding in Ottawa can be a real challenge from a clothing perspective. Layers are the secret, and having a pannier bag or backpack to put any spare clothing in. If the weather is only a little cool then arm warmers or a light jacket might be enough. If it is very cold, or damp, or you are sensitive to low temperatures then you might want to wear cycling tights, over trousers, a jacket. Clothing choice is very personal, but there are great options out there, pop in to your local bike shop and have a look, the staff will be happy to show you what’s available. As for getting changed, allow plenty of time so that you don’t feel harried, and consider leaving some essentials, such as shoes at your office.

Natasha: What else can we do to make that transition from bike to desk quick and easy? (mention something around sweat management, stuff for showering at work. What if there are no showers at work)

Treena: If you are lucky enough to work at a place that has shower facilities then leave some shower products and a towel at work. Some people drive to the office once a week and leave their office clothes for commute days in the office. Hang your kit to dry out so that is ready for the trip home. If you don’t have showers, you can still do a good freshen up with a cloth, towel and reapplication of deodorant (your coworkers will thank you!).

Natasha: What do we do when it rains or if a storm rolls in mid ride?

Treena: Cyclists get very good at reading weather maps! Try to anticipate when storms will arrive and if possible time your ride accordingly. If you do get caught, first put on your rain clothing if you have it, make sure your bike lights are on and watch carefully for surfaces that are more slippery when wet like painted road markings and grates. You should always make sure that any electronics or valuables you carry to work are protected from the elements. For a really good weather tracking tool check out the Nowcast radar maps from McGill – we use these to plan our group rides. If there is a risk of lightning then seek safe shelter inside.

Natasha:  What happens if your bike breaks down? Is there a CAA for bikes? If not what are some options to consider?

Treena: Funny you should mention the CAA! They actually have an app called Bike Assist. I haven’t used it, but it’s good to know about if you are a CAA member. Cyclists have to be a self-sufficient bunch and will carry the essential repair items so that they can change a flat or make minor repairs. Not sure how to change a flat tire? Check out this video.

There are also many local clinics for bike maintenance – to see upcoming clinics at Bushtukah.

Natasha:  I remember being famished after my ride to work and the meals that I had packed that day were not sufficient. Do you have any suggestions around meal planning?

Treena: If you had a long or hard ride to work, then eat a snack within a half hour of finishing to help replace the energy your muscles used. I keep a stash of snacks at the office, and even have some meal replacement shakes in the fridge. Nuts and dried fruit – trail mix – is also worth keeping around. A granola bar or tasty energy bar about an hour before heading home can help give you the energy you need for the trip. Watch out for all the lovely BBQ smells as your ride home though, they can be really tormenting!

Natasha: Bikes are not cheap and the big concern is that they could get stolen. What are some options of keeping your bike safe at work?

Treena: That’s a very good point! Buy the best bike lock you can afford. The better locks are heavier though, so be prepared to carry it. Alternatively, if you commute to the same place consider leaving the lock secured to the rack (if allowed and practical). Some companies have installed secure bike parking which is a great feature. Be sure to lock the wheels too, and if your saddle has a quick release seat post clamp consider switching to bolt clamp. I use a U-lock in combination with a cable to go through the wheels. If you are lucky enough to have an option to take your bike indoors then do that.

Natasha: It’s not realistic to bike to work every day however what are some things that we can do so that we become a regular commuter?

Treena: Every little bit of exercise is good for you and one more bike is one less car in the traffic so it all adds up. Many commuters find the quiet time on the bike makes it easier for them to transition from work to home life. It helps to become a regular if you find that you enjoy your ride, or get benefits from it that make it worth continuing for you. Save the money you would spend on gas or bus passes and buy yourself a treat (more bike gear!?!), make detours on your way home to take in a coffee or ice cream – there is a lovely new ice cream and coffee shop alongside the Western Pathway at Britannia Beach called Beachconers.

Treena, thanks for your time and helpful tips on commuting to work. Our next chat will be making biking accessible to employees and customers.

If you have any stories about your daily commute to work, let us know.

Monna’s Weekly Bike Safety Tip – Navigating a Roundabouts – where you should be and why?

Roundabouts seem to have sprung up all over the city and seem to be causing a bit of confusion to cyclists. Remember that you are a vehicle according to The Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA)

you need to maneuver a Roundabout as a driver of a vehicle

  1. approach the roundabout 1 m from the curb
  2. shoulder check and signal left
  3. yield to roundabout traffic
  4. proceed when clear
  5. TAKE THE LANE
  6. to leave roundabout – shoulder check and signal right
  7. exit intersection keeping the lane
  8. shoulder check and move back to 1 m from the curb

Here is a great demo.

Kids on their bicycles

How do I Pick the Correct Bike size for my Child?

Kids love to ride their bicycles and are very proud when they graduate from their trainer wheels. They grow up very fast and seem to need a new bike every summer. Here are some tips on picking the correct size bike for your child while leaving room to grow.

The size of the bicycle are picked based on the size of the wheel,
NOT the height of the seat or frame size.

 

This table shows some approximate sizing based on age, wheel size measured on the outside of the wheel, child’s height and the child’s inseam.

Bike Size Chart

These measurements are approximations as the height, arm length or leg length varies. Here are some other things to look for asides from the wheel size.

Measuring the child’s inseam

The child’s inseam is the measurement of the distance between of the crotch of the pants to the ankle. A good way to take this measurement is to get the child to stand in front of a wall. Place a book in between their legs and make sure it touches the wall. Mark this distance on the wall then take the measurement.

Do the straddle test

Let your child straddle the bike between their legs. There should 1-3 inches clearance for a boys bike and 1 inches for girls

Height of seat

  • Adjust the seat so that the child’s feet touch the ground
  • Raise the seat to the standard riding position as confidence increases
  • If the seat post is higher than the lowest insertion mark then the bike is too small

Saddle Test

Let your child sit on the seat of the bicycle with one pedal on the bottom most position. There should be a slight bend in your child’s knee.

Handlebar angle & height

The smaller the handle bar the more confident the child will be on the bike.

Other things to look out for

  • Brakes – the hands should reach them and the child should be able to pull them easily
  • Sitting upright – younger children should be more upright as their organs are proportionately much larger than older kids therefore more comfortable to not be hunched over. It’s also easier to ride a bike sitting up

I know it’s tempting to buy a larger bike so that they can grow into it, however it will be much harder for them to ride thus discouraging them from riding. It’s also less safe for riding.

Here are some videos giving further information

  1. How to Size a bike for your child by – Huffy Bicycles

  2. Fitting Your Kids bike by – DynacraftWheels

  3. Kids Bike Sizes: How To Choose The Right Children’s Bicycle – by Global Cycling Network

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National Capital Commission Bike Paths

Monna’s Weekly Bike Safety Tip – NCC multiuse pathways

As the weather improves, sections of the NCC multiuse pathways simply can’t safely accommodate the volume of eclectic traffic: pedestrians, baby strollers, toddlers, senior citizens, dog walkers, joggers, roller bladers, wheelchairs, Canada geese and, especially, speeding cyclists.

National Capital Commission Bike Paths

PLEASE

  • respect the speed limit of 20 kilometers per hour
  • ride in single file
  • ring your bell and call out “passing on your left” as you pass other pathway users

If you wish to go faster – PLEASE go on the road.