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8 Ways to beat High Gas Prices on a bike in Winnipeg

8 Ways to beat High Gas Prices on a bike in Winnipeg

This week I went to fill up my mini-van with gas and couldn't believe that it cost nearly $150! It's always been expensive to drive but we're hearing the talk more often about how to control costs with by riding a bicycle more often. There are days when I need my vehicle for work - appointments or hauling large items, but there are many days when the only thing keeping me from riding is preparation.
I've been using my bike to get to work for over 30 years and I've found that the time it takes to ride is not so different from the time it takes to drive. There are, a few tricks that I've learned, some through experience and some through timely tips from friends. Hopefully, these are tips for you that help you get moving.
  1. Check your tire pressure before every ride. The squeeze test only works if you know what proper pressure feels like so get a floor pump with a tire gauge or a digital tire gauge that works with both presta and schraeder valves.
    • How much pressure should I run? SOFT & SLOW, HARD & FAST. The range of pressures is usually on the tire sidewall and we suggest that softer tires are slower but more comfortable while higher pressure will prevent flats and help you ride faster.
  2. Carry an emergency kit. Even if you don't know how to use it all, you may have someone with you who does.
    • Spare tube
    • Patches, glue, tire levers
    • Pump
    • $5 emergency money
    • Presta valve adaptor
    • Multitool
  3. If you don't like a sweaty back, use panniers and a rack
    1. Panniers add weight to your bike but not to your ride. You'll love the feel of a cool back and you can pack lumpy things that won't dig into your spine or kidneys.
  4. It's a bike ride, choose your route based on the view, not on the speed.
    1. Few of us love the thrill of riding in traffic. Riding your bike allows you to enjoy the journey so taking bike routes and back streets is worth the few extra minutes.
  5. Get a bike map and turn on the bike routes feature on Google Maps
    1. The City of Winnipeg publishes a bike route map that you can get from your local bike shop. It can be really fun to plan your next ride and see where to ride in parts of the city you don't often get to.
    2. Google Maps has a feature to turn on the bike routes (in green). Very handy when you're on the go and need to find a nicer place to ride.
  6. Use Garmin & Strava to stay encouraged and to track your gains.
    1. I have a 7-year-old Garmin Edge 520 on my bike and use it to upload my rides. It's a good way to see that my little rides add up. I've also got the apps set up so that my Garmin rides upload to Strava. With the free version, you can connect with friends, upload your rides, compare your times with others and be inspired to keep riding. There's a paid version too with some cool features like course building, increased data analysis, and more connections.
  7. Keep your bike clean and well-lubed. Everyone knows that a clean bike runs better, so keep it wiped down, clean your chain (with a rag and chain cleaner), and use bicycle lube that's appropriate for the conditions. Wet lube is sticky and won't wash away. Dry lube is very thin and will not attract dust and grim to your chain.
  8. Get ready the night before your ride. If you make the decision to ride before bed, you won't be tempted to sleep in and call in lazy. I call it, being kind to your future self.
I'd love to hear your tips for getting out riding more often. Are you a veteran commuter? What's your best tip? Are you brand new to cycling to work? Let us help you by getting the bike you have running well.
I'll see you on the trails.