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Monday, April 28, 2014

Men's Cycle Fashion could use a little more High Fashion

As I have made clear in previous posts I am not a big fan of some of the cycling gloves or cycling helmets that are sold in stores. So I apologize if I rant about cycling fashion for a bit.

They're not very manly and I wouldn't get caught dead wearing some of the outrageous form fitting clothing that are often sold in cycling stores.

Just because Lance Armstrong wears it doesn't mean you should. There are lots of things Lance Armstrong does that you should NOT do.

Are you a professional cyclist who races for a living?

No?

Then stopping wearing those ridiculous clothes.

Sorry if I go all fashion police, but I firmly believe that men can dress much more sensibly when on a bicycle.

Let us say for example that you are meeting someone for a date. Possibly even at a fancy restaurant. And if you are a true Toronto cyclist then you will probably bicycle there because you don't own a car.

Now when you show up at Ritz Hypothetical your date is not going to be very impressed if you show up all sweaty and wearing tight fitting latex.

But she might respond quite well to your handsome appearance if you showed up looking like one of these guys from Kish Wear - Men's High Fashion:


It is basically following the same golden fashion formula all cyclists do...

The Cyclist Golden Fashion Formula - Wear form fitting clothing that is fairly tight to the body. Nothing baggy that might get caught in spokes or gears.

That means you can wear dress shoes and socks.

It also means you can wear tight fitting pants, like the pants below also from Kish Wear. Or the sweater, again, same place. This means you don't have to look like a sweaty cyclist and can show up looking posh and suave for your date. First impressions matter.


Next let us pretend for a moment that you are going to a job interview instead of a date. Assuming this is an office job you probably don't want to show up for the job interview looking like a sweaty cyclist who doesn't know how to dress properly.

But you would probably score points if you showed up dressed like this:


"Oh but I am an individual and a non-conformist. Why should I have to wear an uniform to get a job?"

Seriously. What world are you living in?

If I was the HR rep you are meeting and you show up in either:

A. Cycling gear covered in sweat.

B. Dirty jeans and a ripped t-shirt.

Then I guarantee that unless your job is to be a cyclist fashion model or a construction worker, then you are not getting the job.

So if you're hoping to get a job in an office then you better get with the program and wear the uniform. And to be fair, all clothing is uniforms. It is just different kinds of uniforms.

If I taking my girlfriend to the ballet - eg. The Ballet Creole, which I love - then I will be dressing accordingly. Washed, freshly shaved and wearing nice shoes too.

Same goes if I were to go to a classical music concert. Or any event where it is expected that people dress accordingly.

And truth be told, I admit, I probably would not take my bicycle there because I live in uptown Toronto now and it is rather a trek to either of those locations via bicycle. So we would probably take the TTC or drive instead. (Sue me.)

If it something super important, like a wedding or a funeral, I might even wash the car first.

What I am definitely not going to do is show up at a funeral wearing cycling clothes, sweaty, and then bicycle from the funeral home to the cemetery.

Not such a big deal to go to the cemetery when you are just cycling through and enjoying the purty trees et al. But not such a good idea when you are actually there for a funeral.

I think part of the problem with some cyclists - the ones who wear cycling clothes a LOT, like on their way to work, on their days off, on dates, etc - is that they really have no life outside of cycling, that they are essentially cycling snobs, and that they are also clueless of how ridiculous they look.

And I am not just talking about the ridiculous helmets cyclists sometimes wear.


Nor am I talking about the idiots who buy professional cycling team jersey kits. You know, the ones with matching socks, shorts and jerseys that look completely idiotic when you wear them. Especially if you have belly flab sticking out the bottom of your too tight shirt. Buy clothing that fits and actually looks good. Looking ridiculous only makes you look like a moron.


Nor I am talking about the guys who wear baggy pants and then get "rookie" grease stain marks on their pants from where the chain and gears are rubbing against your calves. That is clearly a case wherein people need to learn how to wipe down their bike regularly and learn how to dress themselves properly for cycling.

Now I am talking about the idiots who wear hydration packs on their backs because they are too lazy to get a water bottle installed and then use it accordingly. Oh look. Its a camel back. Are you riding a mountain bike in rough terrain far away from the convenience of Starbucks? No? Then taking that stupid thing off your back.

What I am talking about is all these things and much more. The people out there who apparently have no fashion sense, wear ridiculous things that they don't actually need, and then apparently think that everyone else is an idiot for not wearing a special helmet, jerseys, hydration packs and everything else that you THINK you actually need.

The truth is you don't need any of it.

What you do need is your bicycle, some shoes and socks that fit, some shorts that fit, possibly some cycling gloves, and that is it. (And for female modesty, maybe a sports bra and a shirt.)

And if you are going somewhere special then you should dress appropriately for your DESTINATION.

Dress for your destination and dress stylishly when appropriate. Dressing like a loser / cyclist snob isn't going to score points with anyone else.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Brazil Prison Bicycles

Apparently there is a prison in Brazil that allows inmates to bicycle and produce electricity, which in turn is tracked and reduces their sentences.

Presumably this program is only offered to inmates who commit minor crimes (like theft, etc) as opposed to the more violent criminals.

I would be curious to learn how much electricity is actually produced this way.

It might be, for example, more financially viable to have the inmates build windmills instead and those windmills be used for producing electricity. Longer term results as opposed to short term gain.

Not dissing bicycles or anything, just saying windmills seems like the smarter solution if their end goal is electricity.

Monday, April 7, 2014

How to Fix a Sturmey-Archer 3-Speed Internal Gear Hub

Hi Charles,

I have an older model Raleigh Sports with a Sturmey-Archer internal gear hub that I've been having troubles with and was hoping to get repaired.

I've taken the bike to a couple of different repair shops already and it has always been returned with the same troubles.

I stumbled across your site when I was searching online for Toronto-area bike mechanics that appear to have experience with 3-speed internal gear hubs.

Would you be able to take a look at it? If so, what's the process and where should I bring it.

Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
Steven S.



Hello Steven!

My advice:

Buy a new internal gear hub, possibly from a different company.

Internal gear hubs are basically supposed to require a little bit of oil once or twice per year for maintenance and that is it. If it broken however, your best options are to return it to the manufacturer for a replacement (if it is still on warranty) or if the warranty is up, buy a new one.

What has most likely happened - in the event it is broken - is that one or more pieces inside the gear hub have SNAPPED IN HALF or into several pieces, and then the smaller pieces have jammed up inside the internal mechanisms, possibly doing other permanent damage. The internal pieces are not designed to break, but with age, wear and tear, metal gets fatigued and can eventually just snap.

It is possible that a piece inside has just come loose, or bent, and it just needs to be bent back into shape or placed back in its proper location. Now there are some experts out there who know how to repair internal gear hubs - but it is pretty rare knowledge. A bit like finding a clockmaker who knows how to fix pocket watches. Not many people go into that sort of thing as a career these days.

Thus it might save you a lot of time and effort just to buy a new one.
Now you might wonder why I suggested possibly buying a new internal gear hub from a different company. I am not dissing Sturmey-Archer's quality, I am sure the quality of their internal gear hubs are just fine. But feel free to shop around anyway and browse your options. No doubt the higher quality gear hubs will be more expensive, and the lower quality ones cheaper. You get what you pay for. So if you find an internal gear hub from Sturmey-Archer that you like, that is in the right price range, absolutely, go ahead and buy it. However if you find one you like from a different company which is higher quality - and possibly has a lifetime warranty, you might want to buy that one instead.

Here is a YouTube video about fixing a Shimano 3-Speed Internal Gear Hub which might help you a bit if you decide to try and fix your gear hub yourself.



And here is another video about Sturmey-Archer three speed gear hubs and how they work, and should give you insights on how to fix yours depending on what is broken on the inside. Between this video and the one above you might be able to fix yours.



Happy Repairing / Shopping!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
The Bicycle Mechanic

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