BCycle riders riding in Inglewood. November, 2021.

Starting strong in 2022

In this issue: Bike Fun on hiatus until 2022; buying a bike as a gift; E-bike study for greenways continues

Bike Fun plots adventurous course for 2022
Two women riding bicycles on a pavement path
We are taking the rest of 2021 to work on
  • spring & summer programming for 2022
  • produce a year-end overview of our impact
  • identify grant & partnership opportunities
  • & of course, get in some bike riding!
Bike Fun will be accepting new students & starting new small group classes in January 2022. 

December offers limited availability for current Bike Fun students, but we will strive to get you up & rolling before the new year. Thank you for your flexibility & patience. 

KJ will be out of town for 2 weeks in early December; availability reboots after 14th December but may be limited due to other work commitments, weather, & available daylight.

Bike Fun looks forward to creating more joyful riders in 2022 - & we couldn't do it without your support. Thank you!

Look for tips and information on the Bike Fun social media channels, which will still be active; as always, please feel free to reach out with any bicycle-related questions or inquiries. 
Buying a bike as a gift this holiday season?
Don't delay joy!
Bicycles are a wonderful sentiment of freedom, of power over your own movement, and are fantastic gifts to give to family members or friends! Having worked in retail, I hear a LOT about, "I don't know what size they are - but I can't show it to them, it's a gift!" Trust me when I say that supply chain issues are REAL and sometimes it's better to get the bike in front of you than it is to wait too late - but wouldn't it be nice to hit it on the money the first time? Check out some basic guidelines about bike-buying.

1. Don't delay joy. 

Go ahead and get the potential rider involved with your offer by checking on 2 things: Their size and their purpose. 

KJ stands behind a blue bicycle that isn't the right size for herFor younger kids, you're not as concerned with style of bicycle necessarily as much as you would be with size. My rule of thumb is a growing rider can go just slightly bigger if they are a comfortable, confident rider. If they are still timid - or in an in-between stage - either wait until they've gained more confidence or are the correct height/arm length for the appropriate size. A trip to a local bike shop to have your young rider sit on a few styles and sizes will be very instructive. Many parents will want to know, "How long will it last?" - that's not as easy an answer as you'd hope for, but one trick is to pull the seat post out to its minimum insertion point and see how much space a rider's feet have to touch the ground. Don't get a bike that's too big just so it'll last a long time UNLESS the rider is confident enough to control it AND will grow into it.  

For adult/already grown riders, style is just as important as size. If you think your wife wants a cruiser bike, but actually she wants to shred on dirt trails, that's a big disconnect! Futurecast what the rider may want to be doing - I'll hear people say they aren't a "real cyclist" and then talk about possibly wanting to run short errands, which may require a rear rack, fenders, lights. A different style of bike with potential to expand usage. 

2. Buying a cheap(er) bicycle from a big box store may be more expensive in the long run.

Bikes sold at your local bike shop can definitely be more expensive initially than a big box store bike, but they will - in many cases - have a much longer lifespan. A quick look at a few of the sub-$200 offerings will yield improperly fitted brakes; shifters that aren't adjusted properly; and components that break at the first sign of stress. If your budget doesn't permit the cost of a new bike shop bicycle, definitely take into account the cost of potential repairs down the road. It is ALWAYS WORTH IT to take a big box bike to a local bike shop for a safety check and possible adjustments. You should ask the mechanics to be honest with their assessment for potential repair needs on the bike down the road. 

Used bikes are a good alternative, but beware of a seller who oversells the bicycle ("only 10 miles! tubes work! rides great!"). If you can arrange to meet a seller at a local bike shop, and have the bike shop assess the bicycle for repair needs, you'll have a much better overview of immediate purchase price + repair costs.

Case in point: I was looking for a bicycle for a shorter adult rider. My goal was to find an extra small frame with 26" wheels. I found a bike for sale - listed at $100 - with accompanying pictures looking "OK". Upon arrival to inspect the bike, I found the tires/tubes unusable, the cables and cable housing completely shot, the brake pads degraded, the cassette and chain worn out, one shifter broken, and the saddle disintegrated. Armed with this knowledge - but also knowing that the frame, brake levers, crankset, derailleurs, and wheels were intact - I paid $30 for the bike from the buyer, and spent approximately $225 turning it into a brand new bicycle. The original ad said, "good condition, hasn't been ridden in a while." 
Small green bicycle next to a house.
The result of a lot of searching and a lot of fixing up!

Conversely, I have seen brand new big box store bicycles with original cost of $100 winding up costing that much again and more for repairs before the bike has even hit the road! (Typically you'll find brakes that aren't adjusted correctly; handlebar stem bolts that aren't tight; derailleur hangers that are bent; shifting that isn't adjusted correctly; crushed headset bearings. Oftentimes, the components are less likely to stay in adjustment over time.) 

Thank you for giving the gift of freedom of movement and many thanks for taking size and purpose into consideration!
If you're done with your riding season until warmer weather reappears, consider bringing your bike into a bike shop for end-of-year cleaning and adjustments. Shops are typically slow during the winter season and turnaround time will be much faster than at the rush in the beginning of the spring. Your bike will thank you!
Greenways are more than just recreation.The Metro Parks & Recreation and Nashville Department of Transportation survey on greenway user feedback of e-bikes on greenways in Nashville has closed. The next phase of the study includes looking at comparable cities to determine what their policies and access to e-bikes are.

Contrary to claims depicting e-bikes as "the same as motorcycles," e-bikes are hill flattening, get-errands-done, enjoy-the-long-ride machines - that you still have to pedal! E-bikes have been in use on Nashville's greenway system pretty much since they came out - and have been explicitly allowed per state law since 2016 (note: class 1 & 2 only). If you have questions about e-bikes or want to try one out sometime, send a message!
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KJ Garner at Peeler Park, 2020
"Bike Fun strives to make bicycle riding in Nashville - and beyond! - accessible and enjoyable no matter your age, background, or experience level. Thank you for your support." 
- KJ Garner

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