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The Bike Blog

Understanding What A Bike Tune-Up Is All About
By Macomb Bike 

Tuning a bicycle is less like fixing a household appliance, and more like tuning a musical instrument. It requires the mechanic to have certain concrete technical skills, but also a good ear, a judicious touch and not a small amount of finesse.

Although the term "tune-up" is ubiquitously used in bicycle shops across the country, there is no standardization for what such service should entail.

Since tune-ups and fees associated with them vary from shop to shop, make sure you ask about not only the price, but what is included. The quality of service, workmanship and labor guarantees are also important.

At Macomb Bike, we can perform a Basic Tune-up, a Full Tune-up or a Complete Overhaul of your bike. The level of tune-up we recommend for your bike has to do with the condition of the bike when you bring it in, the degree to which different parts are worn, and how you plan to use the bike.


Nutrition, Hydration and Pace for Trail Riders
By Macomb Bike 

On your mountain bike rides through trails, clear focus allows us to be less mentally fatigued which in turn hopefully leads to less physical ones. But it’s crucial to make sure that the body is correctly fueled for the job ahead, eating a good breakfast the day of the ride and staying adequately hydrated is key to preventing exhaustion on the trail. Some of us struggle to eat as we ride, but keeping on top of our nutrition and hydration should mean we don’t have to worry too much, drinking regularly every 15 minutes or so and snacking every ½ hour on pieces of energy bar and gels is a quick way of getting a hit to feed the legs.

Pacing yourself is always a good idea, charging out when you have a long ride ahead of you is not going to help after 4 hours in the saddle and you’re low on energy. Finding a Cadence (the speed at which you spin the pedals) that is comfortable and maintainable will mean you don’t burn out, grinding a big gear might seem like a good idea but you may get there as quickly at a higher cadence in a lower gear, efficiency is key. Pacing yourself is always a good idea, charging out when you have a long ride ahead of you is not going to help

Being fit to ride is something we can all work on, and knowing our body and the way it handles physical stress means we can become far better riders if we become fit to ride not riding to be fit. We might also ride to race, and competition, be that the first over the hardest climb out of your group adds a whole new element to our riding.


Bike Store in Detroit Michigan (Macomb Bike Warren MI)

9 Beginner Cycling Tips That Make Riding More Fun 
By Macomb Bike 

If you’re new to cycling—or you want to really get riding in 2020: Congrats!

There are so many amazing adventures in store for you. We’re stoked to have more company in the bikes lanes, but we also understand that cycling can feel really overwhelming at first. On top of knowing the basic rules of the road, it can seem like there’s a whole set of unwritten rules out there as well. Can you wear low socks? Do your water bottles need to match?

Well, we’re here to say: Forget the rules. Riding bikes should be fun, and in order for you to have the most fun out there, we rounded up the best beginner cycling tips to help you get rolling. These aren’t rules; they’re just suggestions and simple fixes that’ll make riding more safe and enjoyable.

1. Set Your Seat Height Right

Experiencing pain in the front of your knee? Your seat might be too low, causing you to under-extend during your pedal stroke. This is a common mistake amongst beginners because most people feel more comfortable and confident if their feet can reach the ground. But having the wrong saddle height could put you at risk for injury.

To fix: Bump up your saddle. At the right seat height, your knee should be slightly bent at the bottom of your pedal stroke, without rocking your pelvis. Measure the distance between the bottom bracket and the top of the seat. This is your seat height. It should be very close to the product of your inseam (in centimeters) multiplied by 0.883. If you need help, roll down to your local bike shop. The staff will likely be happy to set you up and share your saddle height. Then, get comfortable lifting yourself off the saddle and straddling the top tube so your feet can touch the ground as you come to a stop. It helps to lean the handlebars toward the foot you want to place down.

2. Don’t Stress About the Gear

You don’t need fancy clothes, clipped-in shoes, or a top-of-the-line bike to become a cyclist. Sure, slick equipment can be a lot of fun, but there’s nothing like smoking a bunch of high-end carbon bikes on a climb when you’re riding an old beater. The important thing is that you just get out there and ride—and worry about any potential gear upgrades later. You’ll certainly need a few things to get started (a bike and a helmet, of course), but don’t stress about dumping a bunch of money into a lot of fancy new gear.

3. Get a Bike Fit

How your bike fits you is one of the most important aspects of riding. If the fit is painful, you’re not going to spend much time in the saddle, no matter how excited you are to ride that new bike. To get the right fit, two elements are key: seat height and reach. The seat height should be high enough to give you a very slight bend in your knee when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke, as mentioned above. Proper reach means your arms and torso make a 45-degree angle over the bike. Too long, and your back will be sore reaching for the handlebars; too short, and your knees will be too close to your arms. When you’re shopping for a bike, make sure to take it for a test ride to see that the size is correct for you.

4. Keep Your Bike Maintained

You don’t have to be a pro wrench to take care of the basics. Routine maintenance—like lubing your chain—will not only save you a bundle at the bike shop, but it will also prolong the life of your bike and components. Keeping the recommended amount of air in your tires (look over your tire to find the psi range) makes your rides a lot easier, too, and prolongs the life of your tires. Check out these three super-easy maintenance tasks your bike mechanic wishes you’d do.

5. Avoid Doing Too Much Too Soon

One of the biggest sources of injury comes from trying to take on too much mileage before you’re ready. Build up slowly, ease in, and give your body time to adjust to new distances. Similarly, if you’re on a training ride, don’t start too fast and risk burnout and fatigue in the second half. Warm up during the first third of the ride, then settle into a rhythm for the second, and give it everything you’ve got for the final third.

6. Carry a Tube or Patch Kit

One minute you’re out there on the trail, cruising along with the perfect tailwind, having the time of your life. Then that unmistakable sound of air hissing out of your tires shatters your peaceful reverie, and the party is over. If your flat tire backup plan is to phone a friend, take a few minutes and check out this guide to changing a tube or patching one. You won’t believe how much more independent you’ll feel with the proper tools on hand—a spare, a patch kit, tire levers, and a mini-pump—and the know-how to get yourself back on the road in 15 minutes.

7. Use Your Gears

Gears are your best friends on a climb, and your greatest source of speed on a long, rolling stretch of road. But it does take a little practice to get the hang of when and how to shift into your most efficient gear. Here’s a basic guide to using all your gears.

8. Learn How to Ride in a Group

Group rides have their own protocol and etiquette for a reason—it’s easy to cause a crash if your riding isn’t predictable. If it’s your first time riding with a new group, hang out in the back, observe, and ask for help if you need it. No question is a dumb question when your own safety and the safety of the group is at stake. For more on group-riding rules and technique, check out this article.

9. Remember to Refuel

If you’re only riding for an hour, you should have water but don’t really need to eat on the bike. If you’re planning to ride for two hours or more, bring a snack along and start eating 45 minutes to an hour into your ride. Continue to eat small amounts every 15 to 20 minutes or so. Forgetting to refuel can put your body into a deficit and cause you to bonk—or go into a hypoglycemic state. Tiredness, irritability, dizziness, nausea, confusion—it’s not a strong way to finish a ride.


Best Bike Helmets of 2020 - From Consumer Reports
By Macomb Bike 

Now that summer is here, more people are dusting off their bicycles, putting air in the tires, and getting ready to go out for a spin.

And whether you’re commuting to work, hitting a rail trail, or just tooling around the neighborhood, experts agree: If you’re getting on a bike, put on a helmet first. In the event of an accident, a helmet dramatically reduces your risk of head injury and death.

Helmets are important for everyone, but especially for kids—in fact, wearing a helmet is the law for kids in 21 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. Some cities and towns, including Seattle, mandate helmets for adult riders, too.

All the helmets in our ratings are rigorously evaluated in the lab and on the road by our expert testers.

To test how well a helmet will absorb an impact, it is strapped onto a head form and dropped from 2 meters in the air onto a steel anvil—at a speed of about 14 mph. (This test is performed four times, to simulate what would happen if a cyclist fell and hit his or her head on the front, the side, the rear, or the crown.)

Our testers also ride around wearing each helmet to see how well it ventilates the head during real-world use, and examine the features, versatility, and ease of use of all the buckles and adjustments.

Remember, if you’ve fallen and hit your head while wearing a helmet, it’s time to get a new one. Here are our top picks for adults and kids, in alphabetical order. We also note below which helmets come with a Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) liner, which is designed to reduce the risk of a concussion.



Gravel and Adventure Bikes

 By Macomb Bike 


Not too long ago, if you marched into a bike shop and requested a “road bike”, you’d be presented with a bike with a svelte frame, drop handlebars and razor-thin tires. A bike like this could carry you like the wind over a smooth paved surface: tight, aerodynamic and nimble, not and ounce of spare fat to be found anywhere.

Bikes like this still exit, as no doubt do perfectly smooth asphalt surfaces — somewhere. But because most roads are imperfect —some of them delightfully so— and so are human beings, the single-minded road bikes have been displaced by much more laid back and versatile gravel bikes. 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

More durable than a road bike and much faster than a mountain bike, gravel bicycles are all about options. Gravel bikes can accommodate tire sizes ranging from something resembling a road bike (about 28mm), a typical hybrid (around 37mm), to monster dirt-chewing tires more commonly seen on off-road bikes (47mm+). This makes a gravel bike at home on almost any terrain. Its adaptability and ruggedness makes it a perfect commuting bike, an ideal light touring or adventure bike, a great winter training bike, or the perfect multi-tasker if you can only have one bike but enjoy a variety of biking styles. 

A few other features distinguish gravel bikes from their all-road brethren. Without getting into specifics of frame geometry, suffice it to say that gravel bikes will generally give you a more relaxed and comfortable riding position. This has to do with the slight differences in frame angles for a ride that emphasizes comfort, stability and endurance over speed and agility. Gravel bikes are designed with longer wheelbases, so they’re stable over long distances, rough terrain or while fully loaded. A sloping top tube gives the rider a little more clearance, which is useful in maneuvering the bike over unpredictable terrain, and getting on and off while carrying gear. A taller head tube gives the rider a more upright position, better for viewing the scenery and more comfortable over long distances. 

DISC BRAKES

All gravel bikes feature disc brakes. Cable-actuated disc brakes are found on entry-level gravel bikes (<$1000), while more expensive models have hydraulic disc brakes. Disc brakes offer a number of advantages over rim brakes:

  • better stopping power in mixed conditions, such as rain, mud, dust and uneven terrain

  • more dependable stopping while carrying heavy loads

  • confident braking is independent of the wheels being perfectly true 

  • braking action does not cause wear on the rims (affecting their lifespan)

FLEXIBLE WHEEL/TIRE SIZING

In addition to accommodating a variety of tire widths already mentioned, gravel bikes can run a couple of different wheel diameters. Not that you’d necessarily want to change wheels mid-stream, so to speak, but when you’re considering a new bike, you can choose a wheel size that is most appropriate to your preferred style of riding. Since gravel bikes don’t have rim brakes, and the frames are made with very generous tire clearances in mind, you can choose:

  • a more traditional 700c road size wheel, excellent for commuting, touring and hard-pack riding, or

  • a smaller 650b rim to run stubbier, higher-volume tires that will easily roll off-pavement and carry you on all-terrain bike-packing adventures (or over Chicago’s pothole-ridden post-winter streets)

CARRYING STUFF, LOTS OF STUFF

Gravel bikes are built for adventure, and figure prominently in the burgeoning category of “adventure bikes”'. They are designed to carry more stuff than traditional bikes, and carry it it more unconventional ways. While most bikes have provisions for attaching a rear rack, fenders and one or two water bottles, gravel bikes have additional eyelets on the fork and beneath the down-tube for mounting extra bottle cages, a variety or front racks and fork-mounted carriers for lightweight camping gear, and additional supplies that an adventuring cyclist might need.

Gravel bikes make fantastic urban vehicles, and adventure and bike-packing companions. However, for traditional long-distance road touring you should still consider a dedicated touring bike.



Macomb Bikes is Bullish on E-Bikes

 

By Macomb Bike


Macomb Bike has been around for decades, but we pride ourselves on being cutting edge and current with the latest trends. While we continue to sell traditional bikes and accessories, over the past few years we have become Michigan's #1 seller of electric bikes.  E-bike riders are big fans of Macomb Bike because they know they can trust our store, located in Warren, Michigan, for all their E-bike accessories. 


Electric bikes (or E-bikes) are growing in popularity and we at Macomb Bike are not surprised. E-bike riders get to spend time outdoors riding their bike they like always have, but when they get tired or winded, they can simply coast using taking advantage of the electric feature of the bike. With an E-bike, you'll be able to travel greater distances and ride for longer periods of time. With E-bikes, you'll be able to cruise back and forth to work without having to deal with car traffic (and in some cases, you'll be able to ride faster than some cars).



Here are some other benefits of E-bikes. Take a moment to check these out and you'll see why Macomb Bike is bullish on E-bikes!


1)  E-bikes get you riding more. According to a recent report by the Transport Research Laboratory, regular bikes make it out of the garage fewer than 25 times a year, with 46% being used just once or twice a week. In comparison, 30% of people with electric bikes use them once a day, while a whopping 81% ride them at least once a week. Which means that e-bike users are twice as likely as regular riders to get out there and ride.


2)  E-bikes can help keep you fit. Since you’re riding more, you’ll be pedalling more – even if that electric motor is helping you out on occasion.


3)  E-bikes are great for commuting. You will rid yourself of the anxiety of traffic.


4) Even though you’re effectively a motorized vehicle, you don’t need a license yet you’re still allowed to use bike lanes.


5)  E-bikes are great for dealing with hills. E-bikes help you tackle the big climbs. Usually fitted with a variety of power modes to assist your pedalling, if you’re faced with a particularly arduous climb you can just crank your bike’s motor up to its highest setting and breeze up the hill like a pro cyclist.


6) E-bikes are great for crosswinds and headwinds. Having a motor to back you up also means that e-bikes are great for tackling that other great adversary nature throws up for cyclists – the wind.


7) E-bikes will let you explore the world. E-bikes also make ideal touring bikes. This means riding long distances will not only be more comfortable but also more manageable. 


8) E-bikes are just plain fun to ride. Riding an e-bike is similar to riding a regular bike, but once you engage the motor, you’ll find that every time you push on the pedals – depending on the setting you’re using – you’ll get three, four, five or maybe even as much as 10 pedal strokes more for your money.


Want to try out an E-bike? Come into Macomb Bike today and we'll take great care of you. We enjoy introducing our customers to the wonderful trend of E-bikes. You won't regret it.