I don't keep my adoration of the bike paths in the Twin Cities secret. At the Baltimore Park Sub Station, the path connecting the downtowns of Larkspur and Corte Madera (Route 15) converges with the Sandra Marker Trail heading east to Larkspur Landing and beyond. These crossroads continue to be the heart of the Twin Cities long after the trains have stopped.
To best enjoy your experience riding on this or other fantastic cycling locations in Marin remember these 5 tips every cyclist should know.
1. Raise Your Seat
Every cyclists should enjoy the efficiency and power of proper seat height while simultaneously avoiding unnecessary strain on the knees. Start by raising your saddle until you begin stretching to reach the pedals, then lower gradually to the height were you can pedal with a slight bend in the knee without rocking your hips.
2. A Bike Built for Everything is Good for Nothing
Bicycles have become extremely diversified during the past few decades. Each style of bike has special accomodations that other styles will lack. For example, mountain bikes are frequently used as general purpose bikes due to the wide tires and gearing, but if you're simply riding around town, an upright cruiser or European city-bike is more stable and comfortable. Bonus tip: putting cruiser bars on an old mountain bike can convert it into a trendy cruiser.
3. Embrace Technology
There are major advances that make biking easier for everyone. One such proven advance is a belt drive bike that replaces the need for a greasy chain. When combined with internal gearing, the belt drive can result in a clean and maintenance free multi-speed bike. Other items that are just beginning to appear on the market include compressed air cartridges with sealant that fix a flat while simultaneously inflating the tire and the CLIX quick-release which will revolutionize wheel removal for the casual cyclist. Biking is better than ever!
4. Riding Should Not Hurt
Bicycles, like shoes, must fit well to be comfortable. Saddles are the most infamous sore point. If you're having problems with your saddle try different shapes and sizes instead of going for the ultra padding. Another common ailment is straining to reach the handlebars. If you aren't racing you'll probably benefit from handlebars that allow a more upright posture. Women in particular should consider specially designed saddles and a shorter reach to the handlebars.
5. Raise Your Seat
Seriously, try raising your seat. It is unfortunate to see bikers of all descriptions riding with very low seats. Often I am tempted to shout at these passing cyclists, "Raise your seat!" Not because I enjoy heckling people, but because the comfort and power of a proper seat height is immediately noticeable. Of all the tips I have received over the years, raising my seat was by far the best insight.
A little time spent dialing in your bike could greatly enhance the experience of spinning the wheels. With the fantastic local bike paths and pleasant summer weather it is a perfect time to dust off (or continue riding) that bike!
If you have any questions or desire additional pearls of wisdom feel free to contact me or stop by your local bike shop such as the Village Peddler on Magnolia Ave here in Larkspur.