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176 Northcote Road
Battersea London SW11 6RE
United Kingdom

Battersea's first female focused bike shop on 176 Northcote Road, London. PLUS men & kids bikes, bike repairs & maintenance classes!

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New Year's Resolutions Solution

Hattie

I've made a resolution this year not to make New Year's resolutions. I'm pretty confident it's one I'll be able to keep. It's not that I don't think we shouldn't have goals or that we shouldn't strive for self-improvement. It's that New Year's resolutions are inherently problematic and often perpetuate a cycle of perceived failure, undermining our efforts to achieve our goals in the long term. For example, I've never had a conversation about New year's resolutions in any month other than January. At a Christmas party: "I'm really pleased that I managed to stick to my New year's resolutions this year." Said no one. Ever.

New Year's resolutions are a strange tradition; when else in the year would we think it was a good idea to make a long list of all the ways in which we could be a better human being? If we do set goals in normal life, usually we do it a bit more sensibly, tackling one thing at a time in one or two areas of our lives. But on January 1st, we decide that a much better approach to goal setting is to make as many unrealistic, life-changing, and panic-induced resolutions as possible. 

So I've got a new approach. What if, instead of looking forward to the year ahead, January became a time to look back at the year that just passed? Armed with the confidence of having achieved things in 2016 we had dismissed at the time or forgotten about completely, perhaps we would take a more constructive approach to our 2017 goals (if we have any)?

It has been suggested that New Year's resolutions often fail because we try to do everything all at once: lose weight, get fit, make more effort with friends/family, save the world. By mid February when resolutions have gone out of the window, we are left frustrated and our self-esteem takes a knock. We may question our ability to ever achieve our goals. Particularly with fitness goals, it is easy to get so caught up in the endless pursuit of improvement and progress that we forget how far we have come. How far have you come in the last year? This doesn't have to be a Queen of the Mountain on Strava (although it can be). It can be any kind of positive change or progression, as long as it holds value for you.  Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Which qualities enabled you to do these things?
2. Did you plan to achieve them? If so, how?
3. Why do you think you managed to achieve them?
4. What was your motivation?
5. Did your environment help? For example, exercising with others rather than alone.

If we can examine the process which led to our achieving goals, perhaps we can use this as a template for our 2017 goals. In addition, the process of reflecting on achievements will (hopefully) put us in a confidence-filled state of mind to approach new challenges. We can also recognise that our previous accomplishments rarely begin and end in January. 

(Or you can completely eschew any kind of goal-setting and enjoy everything exactly how it is at this exact moment).

 

The Benefits of Clipless Pedals

Hattie

What are clipless pedals?

Clipless pedals are pedals into which you ‘clip in’ with special cycling shoes which have a ‘cleat’ fixed to the sole. You remove your shoe from the pedal by twisting your foot and clip in by pushing down and forward into the pedal.

If you ride with normal pedals, you probably wonder why people would make the transition to ones where you have to clip in. Can it really make that much difference? The answer is: yes, it really does change the experience of cycling. You will be able to use the power you generate up to 30% more efficiently. That means having to work less hard to go as fast as you are already going. Because you are pulling on the upstroke as well as pushing, you are not wasting any of that precious power your legs are working hard to produce! It also improves your cadence. Cadence is the number of revolutions of the crank per minute. Clipless pedals help you keep constant pressure throughout the entire revolution, adding to a smoother pedal stroke.

Cycling shoes also have a much stiffer sole than normal shoes which, again, helps with efficiency. Flex in your shoes results in even more power loss, so it’s not just about the pedals, it’s also about the shoes. 

Which pedals and shoes shall I get?

For commuting

For road riding

For mountain biking

Another important factor to consider is whether you will need to walk in the shoes once you are off the bike. Road shoes are not good for this! If you are commuting, you should be looking for a sole that is designed for walking; one that has good grip and a little bit of flex. If you are racing, you are interested in power transfer above all else, so you should go for the stiffest sole you can find, which will be made of carbon. If you are interested in adventure riding (where there will be times you will be off the bike, walking up rocks or anywhere you can’t ride your bike), you’ll need a flexible sole with a good grip and a protected toe.

Double-sided SPD pedals are good for commuting because you can clip in both sides so you don’t need to flick the pedal over with your foot in order to clip in. This is good for when you are stopping and starting frequently at traffic lights. If you are going on long road rides, however, a road pedal and shoe system would be better because you will not need to clip in and out nearly so often. The cleat and pedal system is designed so that the pressure on your foot is spread over a larger area so it is better for putting in the hours on the road.

Cycling shoes and pedals are also great for getting the most out of your spinning class. When you clip in, you engage more of the important muscles needed to power the bike.

If you have never used clipless pedals before, we recommend using multi-release cleats first, which means that if you don’t clip out in time for coming to a stop, you can pull your foot out of the pedal in any direction. Once you have mastered these, switch to single release cleats, which will restrict the amount your foot can move in the pedal, so less wasted energy!

If you are nervous about making the switch to clipless pedals, give us a call and arrange a time to come in and try them on the turbo trainer. It’s a great way to get a feel for how to clip in and out. We can fit your new pedals and cleats for you and take you through everything you need to know, such as when to replace your cleats. We recommend Bontrager shoes and Shimano pedals and cleats.

Bike review: Trek TM200 + Lowstep Electric Bike

Hattie

Trek TM200+ Lowstep in Metallic Gunmetal.  RRP £1750

Trek TM200+ Lowstep in Metallic Gunmetal.  RRP £1750

We have electric bikes! 

Last week we were so excited to try out three electric bikes we received from Trek: TM200 + Lowstep, Conduit +, and Neko +. I took home the TM200 + Lowstep and rode it into work the next day. It was so much fun.

The first thing I noticed was how fast the acceleration was from a standing start. It took very little energy to get the bike going at a good speed. Just round the corner from the shop is quite a steep hill which normally requires a certain level of grit to get up! However, on the TM200, I absolutely flew up at 15mph with not much effort at all. Electric bike motors are limited to 15.5mph, which means that the motor doesn't give you any extra help if you go above that under your own steam.

The bike has four modes: Turbo, Sport, Tour, and Eco. You can also switch the pedal assist off completely. Turbo gives you the most assistance but, as might be expected, uses up the most battery power. Depending on the length of your journeys and how quickly you need to get there, I found that the Tour and Eco modes were sufficient on my 6 mile commute on relatively flat terrain.

The bike also has 8 gears with a good range between the easiest and the hardest. I found 8 gears to be more than enough and the Shimano Gripshift gear-changer was very easy to use. I could also easily switch between the four motor modes with my left hand. The two buttons were operated with my left thumb, much like a normal gear-shifter. When I approached traffic lights, I twisted down to gear 3 with my right hand, and clicked up to Turbo mode with my left thumb so that I was ready to speed off when the lights turned green! As I picked up speed, I changed to the Tour or Eco mode, and shifted to an appropriate gear. The riding position is nice and upright, so it meant that I had a good view of the road. You're guaranteed a smooth ride with suspension in the forks as well as the seatpost. My commute took me the same amount of time as on my road bike, but with about 50% of the effort. 

The bike comes with powerful front and rear lights which can be switched on using a single button on the motor control. The motor control is a small screen mounted on the handlebars, much like an ordinary cycle computer, which displays all the information you need, such as current mode, time, distance, and speed. The rack is heavy duty and comes with thick bungee cords. It had no problems taking my Ortlieb panniers filled up with my belongings. Another thing I really like about this bike is the substantial kickstand that it comes with. It's really sturdy and is easily flipped down with your foot.

The battery is mounted on the rear rack and cannot be removed without unlocking it with a key.  Bosch guarantee the battery for 2 years, but suggest that it should last up to 10 years. On Eco mode, the battery will last more than 110 miles and 50 miles on Turbo mode. Also, unlike your phone battery, it's better not run it until the battery is completely flat. The battery takes around 3.5 hours to charge with the standard charger (provided), but note that this is from empty. You will more often be charging for an hour or so, as you won't run the battery right down. Bosch say that an 'active e-bike commuter' uses about 40kWh of electricity per year compared to 250kWh for a fridge and that each full charge of the battery costs only 8p!

When I got home, I realised there was an issue; I live in a first floor flat and there are also 10 steps going up to the front door of the building. The bike weighs 22kg, which is about double the weight of my current road bike. I did manage to get it up and down the stairs as a one off, but it is not something I would want to do every day. 22kg is not a huge amount to lift per se, but in unwieldy bike form, it feels heavy.

Overall, I love this bike. It's a joy to ride. The low step-through frame makes the bike even more user-friendly. I don't think I'll be trading in my road bike just yet, but it was nice to just set off without bothering with my usual bike checklist of lights, lycra, SPD shoes, water bottle etc. It's very much ready-to-ride. I really would recommend it for any type of rider apart unless they were racing. I always thought that riding an electric bike was somehow "cheating", but actually, you are in control of how hard you are working. It's still possible to set the bike to Turbo mode and still pedal really hard, working up a sweat - you'll just get to your destination much quicker than you would normally!

 

Pain and cycling

Hattie

Many people experience some aches and pains if they cycle. The most common areas are the lower back, knees, and wrists. With some simple exercises and adjustments to your bike, you can have a more comfortable ride. 

Hips

Exercises

It’s important to do exercises which open up your hip flexors, especially if you cycle and have a sedentary job. The hips remain closed when sitting or cycling and, in order to preserve (or achieve) full range of motion, hip extension is important. Tight hips, or indeed any major muscles, can result in pain in other areas. The ability to fully extend your hips is an integral part of functional fitness.

Try the Couch Stretch. At least two minutes each leg a few times a week.

Couch stretch. Focus on keeping your torso upright and using your glutes to push your hips down towards the floor.

Couch stretch. Focus on keeping your torso upright and using your glutes to push your hips down towards the floor.

Lower back

Most people experience lower back pain at some point in their lives but that doesn’t mean it should be a fact of life. Doing exercises which open up the hips, like the one above, is important. Midline stability, however, is a main consideration for back pain sufferers. If the muscles which stabilise your spine are weak, then they won’t do the best job they can, and it will be vulnerable to injury.

Rocking your hips from side to side as you pedal is caused by either: saddle too high or not engaging your core as you cycle. As you set off from a stationary position, try bracing your core to prevent lateral hip movement.

Exercise

Try the Hollow Rock. Gymnasts use this exercise and it doesn’t require any equipment.

Watch this video to get a full explanation of correct form.

Bike adjustments

Have a look at your saddle height; your knee should have a little bend in it at the bottom of the pedal stroke. 

Knees

Exercises

Hamstring tightness can affect your knee’s range of motion; cycling is notorious for it! Do the following exercise and spend at least two minutes on each leg to feel the benefit.

Bike adjustments

Cleat position: A common cause of knee pain in cyclists is the cleat position. Cleats need to be fixed to your shoe such that your foot is not toed in or out when you are pedalling. Film yourself or have someone watch you slowly pedal backwards to make sure your foot moves parallel with the bike. The most likely adjustment you will make will be moving the cleats backwards.

Crank length: if your cranks are too long for your leg length, this can cause knee problems. Most bikes, regardless of frame size, come with 172.5mm or 175mm cranks. These are usually suitable for riders taller than 5”9. For example, I am 5”5 and ride a 50cm frame. My bike came with 175mm cranks.

Saddle height: adjust the saddle height so that you are getting as much knee extension as possible without it being locked out at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Knee pain can be caused by the saddle being too low or too high.

Hands

Many people experience pain or numbness is their hands and wrists when cycling. 

Exercises

Buy a Powerball! Physiotherapists recommend them for rehabilitation as well as strength training for the wrists and forearms.

Bike adjustments to try

  • Move your saddle forwards or backwards on its rails so that your hands are taking less weight.
  • Ride in a position where your wrists are as straight as possible: this might involve adjusting the handlebar height or the angle of the shifters/brake levers.
  • Consider a different stem length or angle.
  • Install two sets of bar tape to cushion your hands more and help absorb more road vibrations.
  • Make sure you wear padded gloves to reduce pressure on the ulnar nerve.

 General advice

·         Try to vary the position of your hands if your handlebars allow it. For example, if you always ride on the hoods, spend some time on the drops.

·         Don’t lock out any of your joints; your elbows and knees need to be a little bent to absorb the vibrations of the road.

·         Stop sitting down! It’s no good cycling for 10 hours a week if you spend the rest of the time sitting down. Get a standing desk for work, conduct your meetings while walking, or at least take a break from sitting every half hour.

 

 

All About Helmets

Hattie

Bontrager helmets with MIPS technology 

Bontrager helmets with MIPS technology 

No one wants to wear a helmet, but for those who choose to, there are some important considerations when buying for yourself or your children.

Helmets which adhere to the European safety standard EN 1078 (1080 for children) are all as safe as each other, regardless of the cost. You pay more for comfort, aerodynamics, ventilation, weight, design, and brand. There is, however, a new technology called Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) which “helps to reduce rotational forces on the brain caused by angled impacts to the head." Find out more here.

Helmets are not designed to protect you from the impact of a motorised vehicle. If they were, they would look like motorcycle helmets: not at all practical for cycling. They are designed to protect you from an impact velocity of no greater than 12mph. This is why children, who do not ride on the roads, are likely to get the greatest benefit from wearing a helmet; any impact they receive is likely to be less than 12mph.

Which size? Use a tape measure to measure around the widest part of your head – about an inch above your eyebrows. Take a measurement in centimeters a few times to ensure accuracy.

Next step: try on some helmets! Most helmets have an adjustable dial on the back, which you should twist clockwise until it is snug. The helmet should stay on your head when you look at your feet (without doing up the chin strap).

Bontrager Little Dipper helmet (£24.99) 46-50cm

Bontrager Little Dipper helmet (£24.99) 46-50cm

The adjustment of the helmet is crucial. If incorrectly adjusted, a helmet will not give the full amount of protection it is capable of. Here is the advice given by the Snell Memorial Foundation:

“Position the helmet on your head so that it sits low on your forehead; if you can’t see the edge of the brim at the extreme upper range of your vision, the helmet is probably out of place. Adjust the chinstraps so that, when buckled, they hold the helmet firmly in place. This positioning and adjusting should be repeated to obtain the very best result possible. The procedure initially may be time consuming. Take the time.
           

Try to remove the helmet without undoing the chin strap. If the helmet comes off [very easily] or shifts over your eyes, readjust and try again. If no adjustment seems to work, this helmet is not for you; try another.”

When to replace

Examine the helmet regularly for cracks. If there is a crack, even a hairline, replace the helmet.

  •  If a helmet is dropped onto a hard surface, it needs to be replaced, regardless of whether there is a visible crack.
  • Most manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet after five years or less.
  • We sell Bontrager helmets which have a crash replacement guarantee: the first year after purchase you will get a free replacement if you have been involved in a crash.
  • Helmets have to work in a variety of climatic conditions but ultraviolet light, rain, and heat will damage a helmet over time.

Final things to consider when buying a helmet

  • How much ventilation will you need? A child sitting in a child seat on the back of an adult’s bike will need less than a road racer!

  • Our Bern helmets are designed for snow sports as well as cycling so you can take them on the slopes as well.

 

*www.trekbikes.com/gb

2 years on...

Alex

Two years ago today we launched Everyone Bikes on International Women's Day! We realised that female cyclists were in need of a friendly environment rather than a blokey bike shop vibe. Since then we've been proud to support the rise of women's cycling and can't wait to see what happens next!

We are super duper excited for the rest of 2016. New staff have joined Team EB, more shop events are planned and we are taking on a couple of new brands that we will announce very soon! Keep your eyes glued to our social media for more details.

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We'd like to say a huge THANK YOU to all our amazing customers, staff, and friends who have supported us into our second year of business. It's never easy being the little guy but thanks to the fantastic community of cyclists and friends we are still going strong

Team EB x