Now that Summer has officially arrived in the Fraser Valley, we can break out the bikes and get some vigorous exercise or go for a leisurely stroll with the family. Do you own a bike? If you do, should you bring your bike in for maintenance before heading out? For some tips on biking we turned to Tim Vanpopta. Tim and his brother Jon own Fort Langley Cyclery: a bike store, rental and bike repair service shop.
There are so many different types of bikes, how do I know which one is best for me?
The biggest issue to decide on before purchasing a bike is what you will use it for. If you will be riding the bike around town on the roads or on some trails like the Fort to Fort trail in Fort Langley or the Richmond dikes you won’t need a bike with suspension. A great choice for this kind of riding would be some kind of urban or hybrid bike.
A hybrid bike is a cross between road (racing) bike and a mountain bike. It’s usually a mountain bike frame with the larger diameter road wheels.
An urban bike I would describe as being more European in styling. It has the same wheel size as a hybrid but the handlebars sweep back instead of being straight like the mountain and hybrid bikes; this gives a very relaxed upright riding position.
Likewise if you prefer a fast bike for the road or want to ride long distances you should look at either a road or touring bike.
You rent bikes to the public, correct? How does that work?
If you are not sure if you will even like cycling, you can come by and rent a bike for the day or by the hour. We rent both road and urban city bikes. We also rent bikes for kids as well. We have 20″ bikes as well as Burley trailers and trailer bikes.
Back in the 70’s and 80’s, when we were babies, we used to sit on a basket attached to the seat of our parent’s bike. What are some safer alternatives available nowadays?
If you have small children and still want to get out on a bike as a family there are a few great ways to do this. At Fort Langley Cyclery we carry child seats from a company in Holland called Bo Bike. This company has seats for small children that attach to the front of a bike (up to 30 lbs) and rear seats for older children (up to 70 lbs). Another alternative is to use a bike trailer; we carry Burley bike trailers. These trailers can carry two children and are rated to carry 70 lbs.
The great thing with these bike trailers is that they have an optional baby snuggler that will strap into one of the seats in the trailer. This can be used for small babies who cannot hold their head upright yet. The baby straps in, similar to an infant car seat. For older children who do not have the strength or the confidence to keep up on the road there are Trail-a-Bikes. These are bikes with one wheel that attach to the back of an adult bike and allow children to ride with the family without struggling along the whole time.
Where are some of your favorite family-friendly, and more challenging, bike trails in the Fraser Valley?
Fort Langley is a great place to ride either as a family or with a group of friends. There is everything from nice quiet streets through neighborhoods of heritage houses (the fort has a few heritage houses in it as well) and farms, to the beautiful Fort-to-Fort trail along the Fraser River.
If you’re a serious rider and want a challenge you can take one of my favorite routes through Glen Valley and wind your way up and down through a number of the great hills. This link is for a map on a website I use to map some of my favorite routes. www.mapmyride.com is a great tool to find new routes to for cycling; it provides both distance and elevation so you can find a ride that should fit your abilities.
One of my family’s favourite rides is to go out after dinner and wind our way through the quiet streets of Fort Langley; we always make a stop on the west end of the town to pet the billy goats and look at the ducks and peacocks on one of the farms in town.
How often should you have your bike serviced and what does that include?
The amount of service a bike needs will depend on the amount of riding you do. A bike should at least be serviced once a year, usually in the Spring because the chain lube and all the other moving parts tend to dry up and start to seize up over the winter. If you do a lot of riding you should bring your bike into a bike shop more often. You will notice that the brakes will become soft and the shifting isn’t as crisp as when it first came out of the shop. If a bike is maintained in good order it will last a long time.
Fort Langley Cyclery
9110 Glover Rd, Fort Langley BC
604. 881. 2453