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Welcome to our New Head Mechanic

Introducing our new head mechanic, Aubrey Hoermann, to the MSU bicycling community.

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Aubrey with some of our refurbs outside the Center.

I’d like to introduce our new head mechanic, Aubrey Hoermann, to the campus bicycling community.

He joins our team after many years of working on and with bikes. He worked as a bike messenger in Detroit and San Francisco and later owned his own bike shop (Refried Cycles) in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood for 5 years, which developed a dedicated and devoted following. He specialized in refurbishing and updating higher-quality older bikes for commuters and daily riders, which attracted him to this core service of MSU Bikes.

This self-introduction sums up his passion for bikes:

“I love steel frames & forks, chubby tires, handlebars (at least) as high as the saddle, and enough gears (not too many, and not too high). I love helping people get on the right bike, or turn theirs into the right one. I figure that 85% of people need an ’80-’90s steel mountain bike (no suspension!) with upright handlebars for 95% of their riding. And, hey, put a basket on it! Read Grant Petersen!”

 

Featured

Thoughts on Bike Lights

Don't be a Ninja on a bike!
Don’t be a Ninja cyclist! Be SEEN and LIVE! Click image to learn more from the Tempe AZ Bicycle Action Group.

After reading the excellent “Bike Lights” article in Momentum’s Sept/Oct 2010 issue by Jonathon Reynolds which shares some research on when/where most bike accidents occur, I’d like to comment on the topic.

There’s a common misconception that you only need lights when it’s dark or getting dark.  Due to almost getting hit in the middle of the day by a driver, whom I believe simply didn’t see me in the dark shadows of a tree (some people’s eyes don’t adjust very quickly to extreme lighting changes), I have since strongly encouraged people to use flashing lights, front and rear, whenever they ride and not just when it’s getting dark.

There’s a good reason why many newer motor vehicles have lights that come on automatically whenever the engine is running; they’re called “Daytime Running Lights”.  While US car manufacturers have effectively lobbied against requiring them Canada and many European countries have enacted legislation requiring them on motor vehicles while at least one, Germany, requires front and rear lights be working at all times on bicycles.

If you need data to be convinced, take a look at this data on when the bulk of crashes occurred – DAYLIGHT HOURS!  Yes, the bulk of the fatal crashes have occurred later in the evening hours but it’s obvious your visibility isn’t just important when it’s dark out (courtesy of the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts tool).

 

Additionally, people should definitely stick with lights that have easily rechargeable batteries or USB rechargeable so that they’re more likely to use the lights all the time rather than trying to conserve batteries.  We stock many affordable lights at MSU Bikes and can special order just about any other light on the market.

Check out a 2017 WSJ article on the topic:
How Cyclists Can Stay Safe on the Road – Bright colors, bright lights and positioning on the road can help cyclists be more visible to drivers”

Finally, I see way too many cyclists riding around with lights that are hardly visible, or hanging off a backpack often pointing to the ground, apparently thinking “I’ve got a light, I’m safe”, but apparently have no idea how invisible they are.  I’m not sure if it’s the nature of rechargeable batteries or the modern LED lights, but it’s also best to have backup lights on the rear and front as I’ve had them look bright at the start of my commute home only to discover they died sometime during my ride.

So, be sure to check your lights often and recharge or replace those batteries to stay alive!  And make sure they’re aimed properly down the road so they’re actually visible to motorists.

almost-all-lights
Selection of strong widely available tail lights. Click for an excellent review of tail lights. We stock many affordable lights at MSU Bikes as does any good bike shop.

1-on-1 Bike Commuter Service

Last week we piloted a new service with a few Spartans: 1-on-1 bike commuter help, and it seemed to hit the mark!

 

 

The class was really well received with the participants who came in with a number of concerns related to commuting to campus and home by bike, most of which were quickly resolved after some brief discussion.

We moved on to specific route concerns between their neighborhood and campus and we were able to offer some small changes to their routes to find lower-stress solutions.

We’ve decided to offer this as a new complimentary service of MSU Bikes.  You can either call the Center (517-432-3414) to schedule a time to sit down with Tim to review your concerns and routes or if a personal visit isn’t convenient for you email him and he’ll answer as best as possible via email or you can schedule a session.

For those of you just too busy to take advantage of this personalized service we’ve assembled this page summarizing all of the bike commuter benefits we can think of.  You can also stop by for a free hard-copy of the TCBA Crosstown Map booklet which is a great way to learn about most of the nicer, safer ways to get around the county.

IMG_2417-croppedA word about your concierge: 
Tim has been riding around the Greater Lansing area for transportation for more years than he cares to remember, and he’s happy to share his street knowledge with anyone.

Join the Academic Bicycle Challenge 2018

Ever wonder who the gung-ho bicyclists are on our campus?  At other universities?  Around the world?  Well, there’s a new bike challenge that’s being launched that MSU bicyclists will participate in this June!

Excerpt from their website:

“By participating in the Academic Bicycle Challenge (ABC) your university or college combines joyful cycling, healthy exercise and practical climate protection. Join the ABC together with staff and students from universities and colleges all over the world! The common goal: collecting as many cycled miles as possible.

 

Go here for more details about the ABC.
More details (like how to join in the fun) coming soon!

ABC-home-page-screenshot