Six Tips for a Comfortable Bike Ride
April 26th, 2017 by Curtis Condon

Shifting a multispeed bicycle is an acquired skill. Some consider it an art. For optimal smoothness and efficiency, take your time when shifting gears. Let each speed take hold before moving to the next. Shifting too fast may lead to the chain jumping gears or disengaging altogether. Also, try to anticipate changes in speed, such as uphills, downhills and changes in road surfaces, and time your shifts accordingly.
© Brian A. Jackson

May is National Bike Month. What better excuse to enjoy one of the region’s myriad biking hotspots.

Follow these tips to stay comfortable and maximize the fun.

  • The bike frame should fit your frame. On a properly sized bicycle, you should be able to straddle it and stand flat footed, with daylight between you and the bike. Generally, there should be about 2 inches of clearance.
  • Match your tires to the surface you ride most. For roads and paved trails, the best options are slick or semi-slick tires; they cause less friction and provide a steady, more comfortable ride on smooth surfaces. Knobby tires are best for dirt, gravel and off-trail riding.
  • Find a seat for every backside. Just because a bike comes with a particular seat does not mean you are stuck with it forever. A new seat is easy to install. Find one that fits your contours and provides the level of comfort you desire.
  • Add cush to your tush. Wider seats, cushioned pull-over seat covers and gel-filled seats are popular comfort options. For example, Cloud 9 cushioned seats are popular with recreational riders. Check out the company’s offerings at
  • Beat the heat. You can work up a sweat on a brisk bike ride. To stay cool, wear a helmet with lots of ventilation. The key is to find one that provides good protection, as well as optimal air flow.
  • Just add water. Last but not least, always carry a full water bottle. If your bike doesn’t accommodate a water bottle, consider a hydration pack. One advantage of a hydration pack—such as a Camelbak or Platypus—is it allows you to carry more water for longer, hotter rides.

Outdoors 101: Binoculars
Every pair of binoculars is described by a set of numbers that looks like a multiplication problem, such as 7×35, 8×40 or 10×50. But what do those numbers really mean?

The first number indicates the magnification power of the binoculars. The second refers to the diameter of the objective lens. The bigger the lens, the more light that can pass through the optics of the binoculars and the brighter images will appear.

Sweat the Salty Stuff
Perspiration and saltwater are the bane of multi-tools. They promote rust and corrosion. Generally, there are two ways to confront the problem. First, select a multi-tool that is corrosion resistant. Second, maintain it regularly. After sweaty, salty use, rinse the tool with fresh water, dry it and oil it with a light coat of machine oil. Make sure to get into the moving parts. Remove excess oil by wiping it with a dry cloth or paper towel.

Special Days in May
National Bike Month.
May 4: Bird Day.
May 16: Love a Tree Day.
May 27: Sunscreen Day.

Show-and-Tell Time
Send us your favorite outdoor tip, photo or story. If selected for publication, we will send you $25 for one-time use of the item. When sending a photo, identify people and pets, and tell us the story behind the picture. Email your submission to gro.etilarurnull@ofni.

Many of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the Gulf Coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.