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Ride a Bike and Get Fit

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Biking is a great way to lose weight and get in shape.  Check out all these terrific suggestions on getting started in cycling as a tool to feel better, get stronger and more lean, all the while having fun in the process.

Bicycling Spotlight10

Bike Riding in Washington DC

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Cyclist passing the Washington MonumentFor many reasons, Washington, D.C. is the ideal place to ride a bike. For a tourist or a visitor, a bicycle offers an easy way to cover lots of ground, yet still see things up close and in person. It's much more efficient than being on foot and a whole lot easier than trying to drive around in a car. If you're thinking about visiting, you'll benefit from this guide to bike riding in Washington, D.C.

Ride Guide: Getting Around Washington, D.C., on a bike

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What is the Minimum Recommended Tire Width to Use on the Katy Trail?

Monday April 14, 2014

Katy Trail Missouri touring bikeReader Gregg emailed recently with a question about riding the Katy Trail, which is the 237-mile path that goes nearly the whole way across Missouri:

Dave, what would the minimum tire width to use on the Katy Trail?  Trying to decide whether to use our road bikes or hybrids. Like your site! Thanx, Gregg

I've ridden the Katy Trail a number of times, including a cross-state trip on the Katy the entire way across Missouri a couple years back that I wrote up for the site, so I can certainly address this.

While people generally agree that one can ride a road bike on the Katy Trail, its hard-packed surface of limestone chat (called "pug" in old railroader lingo, just in case you were looking for some nearly useless information to keep for a future trivia contest) it's definitely a good idea to run wider tires than you would on pavement.  For instance, a person on a road bike would typically swap out their 23-25 mm tires for 28's or wider.

Wider tires will be better for several reasons. First because the trail can get very soft and squishy if it has rained at all, and plus a wider tire will help carry a load better if you've got any gear. Finally while most of the trail is solid, the little gravel that accumulates in the middle and on the side (what you'll hear sometimes called chat or pea gravel) is better negotiated with a wider tire.

So in answer to Gregg's question, it's not so much the type of bike that you ride as the width of the wheel.  Hope this helps.

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Review: Rain Dog Fenders by Soma Fabrication

Sunday April 13, 2014

Soma Rain Dog FendersIf you ride a bike for utilitarian transport -- to school or work, running errands, just to get around, etc. -- to make it fully functional in all weather, you really need fenders on your bike. I'm still amazed at how few bikes sold in the U.S. come already with fenders mounted. It's idiotic, if you ask me, like selling a backpack with no straps, and I don't understand it but that's where the industry is these days. But that's a rant for another day.

As a part of our continued quest to find products that work well for the practical cyclist, we had the opportunity to try out Soma Fabrication's Rain Dog fenders. These are traditional full coverage chromoplastic fenders with stainless steel stays and rubber mudflaps.  Read our full review to find out what we thought and if you should get a pair for your bike. After all, chances are it didn't come with any when you bought it.

Read more: Review of the Rain Dog Fenders by Soma Fabrication

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Biking Boston - a look at biking in Beantown

Monday March 31, 2014

Boston bike lane painted on the streetIt was on my bike early one morning in Boston, Massachusetts where I first realized what a great city Boston is for riding bikes. I was coming back from Harvard Square and found myself crossing the Charles River, watching the scullers on the water when  the realization hit me that it's one of my favorite places in the world for riding bikes.

That's because the city has at least five things going for it that make it extremely friendly for cyclists: its age, geography, population density, intentional biking infrastructure and the fact that there are so many colleges and universities there.

Want to find out more about what makes Boston such a great city for riding bikes?  Read the whole article here.

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