The students are off to school and the commuters are off to work!
This is the time of year we see a spike in service calls, because the southern heat/humidity is starting to dip. As you prepare your bike for all of your autumn journeys, we want to pass along three important tips before hopping on your bike and hitting the road...
1. Air Up - First and foremost, check those tires! Before you air them up,
inspect the tires for any cracking or tears (especially if the bike has been in storage). Next, check the sidewall of the tire for the correct pressure range. After you have determined the best pressure for your tires, use a floor pump with a gauge to air them up slowly. On occasion, the tube will push out between the tire and the rim causing a flat, so air them up slowly and check the tube to prevent this. After they have been topped off, make this part of your pre-ride routine
2. Lube the Chain - This often goes overlooked by riders until there is an audible squeaking. Consider this noise a reminder to inspect/lube the chain. Always remember to use a bike specific lube. Never use WD-40. This will attract more dirt and destroy the drivetrain. Our current favorite is the Dry Lube made by Muc Off. It is a clean and long lasting lube. The best way to lube the chain is by leaning the bike up, pedaling backwards, and putting a couple drops of the lube on while the drivetrain is in motion. Next, wipe off the excess with a microfiber cloth and let it sit for a couple of minutes to soak in
3. Be Prepared for the Weather - Fall in the Carolinas can be a mixed bag. We can see temperatures range anywhere from 90 degrees to 30 degrees in late fall. This is also the time of year for sporadic rain and wind. Always check the forecast before heading out and make sure that you bring a light rain jacket just in case. You should also make sure that you have a quality pair of gloves, a hat, and any other accessories on hand to make your ride more enjoyable. We hope this gives you a good baseline for the season and ongoing preventative maintenance. Until next time, enjoy the ride!
As the temperatures start to climb this summer, we wanted to pass along a couple reminders about keeping it cool out there while riding. We will touch on hydration and the proper clothing to wear when the mercury rises.
First things first and that is water. Always hydrate before going out for a ride in the summertime. As you air up your tires and lube up your chain, remember to drink a couple of 8 oz glasses of water or the sports drink of your choice before you go out. This will be a good reserve if you end up riding longer than planned.
As you are check over your bike, decide whether a standard water bottle is enough for your ride or if a hydration pack is needed. We tend to play it safe and double down on the water bottle/hydration pack in tandem. On some rides a refill is not possible, so keep this in mind as you prepare.
When it comes to clothing, keep it light and loose. Always wear light colors while riding during the summer, as dark clothing will absorb more sunlight and will bring up your core temperature. This is especially true on road rides when there is little to no canopy coverage. On the trail, it might feel a little bit cooler on those forest roads between trail segments as well.
Along with wearing lighter colors, pay attention to your clothing’s fit. During the summertime, it is important to let your skin breathe and cool down. We suggest wearing clothes that is fitted, but not tight or baggy. There is a fine line here, so do your research. Plenty of cycling companies offer both a “race” and “training” fit in their catalogues.
Now, for a couple of pro tips from the crew. Like we said earlier in the blog, we like to bring both a water bottle and a hydration pack. We fill the hydration pack with Gatorade and two water bottles with water/ice. Even the most insulated bottles can’t always handle the heat. We use the water/ice filled bottles to either refill our pack or to splash directly on our face/body.
Through experience we also have added a second set of clothing. This includes a shirt, shorts, and gloves. Due to the heat and humidity in the South, clothes doesn’t dry as quickly and can become heavy with sweat over time.
The bottom line here is be overly prepared. Dehydration can lead to headaches, confusion, and muscle cramps to name a few. Play it safe out there and gear up for the long summer days and nights! Ride on!!
“How and why did you get into riding bikes? “
These are two questions we get often here at The Bike Medics, so I thought I would give a quick little personal story. Once upon a time, way back in college, I was playing pickup basketball in Charleston. This was a ritual. My roommates and I would dribble down to the courts and play a couple of games to cap the day near the Battery.
On an otherwise normal day in February, my life was changed in a matter of seconds. After getting a rebound, I landed on someone’s foot. I remember someone holding out a hand to help me up and at that point I knew this wasn’t any normal ankle injury. I’ll spare you the details, but I couldn’t put weight on it for six months. After this time, my doctor suggested biking as part of a physical therapy program. Then my brother visited one weekend and he gave me his old Mongoose Alta from college. This bike was from golden era of mountain biking during the 90s. That was the day everything changed.
I remember riding to class and realizing I could cover a lot of ground. After a couple months of going to class and exploring Charleston, I went to Greensboro to visit my parents and decided to bring my bike with me. We grew up building trails near Bur-Mil Park and I wanted to see if any stood the test of time. I did some research and headed down to Owl’s Roost Trail. Five muddy miles later, I was a cyclist. It was as simple as that.
That’s my story...what’s yours?
It’s the New Year and you know what that means...time for that age old conversation with family and friends about “resolutions.” Well we wanted to mix it up a little bit and start talking about revolutions...pedal revolutions that is
Typically this time of year we will consider buying a gym membership and promise ourselves that this is our year. We are going eat healthier, exercise more, and try that new weight lifting contraption at the newest gym in town. We here at The Bike Medics support everyone of you and want you attain your personal goals in every way possible
However, we would also like to give you a different perspective on your approach. Think about skipping the gym and gaining the therapeutic benefits of getting outside. Over the years, we have heard it time and again from our customers of all ages “it’s so fun that I don’t even feel like I am exercising when I am riding my bike” and we couldn’t agree more
If you consider the cost of a monthly fee versus investing in your personal health and longevity, the choice is clear. The ultimate exercise machine wins every time. With a combination of cardio, strength training, and intervals it is hard to find a more capable piece of exercise equipment. Don’t get us wrong...on those cold and dreary winter days, we like shooting some hoops and taking some laps too. However, there is nothing like the rewarding feeling of getting out in the fresh air and riding a bicycle
Whatever you decide, always remember that resolutions are much easier to keep when they are fun! Who knows? This might be the year you start your own personal “revolution” instead of a “resolution” this year!
Cheers and Happy New Years to all!!
It’s cold...the days are short...and we are eating a lot. That’s right, the holiday season is back and merrier than ever!
This year you might be giving the gift of a bicycle to a loved one, friend, or maybe even donating a bicycle to your favorite charity. A lot of our wishlists had that “one bike” on it in hopes that Mr. Kringle was going to take note. Nowadays, you might be giving the gift of cycling on Kris’s behalf. Either way, we would like to assist you in your bicycle gift giving journey
The bike is the most important purchase, so let’s start there. When purchasing a bike, it comes down to getting the correct size of bicycle for your lucky gift recipient. For children, height (not age) determines the right size. Kids bikes are sized according to wheel sizes. The most common sizes are 12”,16”, 20”, and 24”. Don’t fret, we are happy to consult you throughout this process. We will help you pick the right bike, size, and deliver it to your front door
As for adult bikes, they are typically measured by frame size. Since there are many different styles of adult bikes when compared to children’s bikes, this part can be a bit tricky. To simplify the process, give us a call and we will help you determine the right size/style based on a couple of questions
After the bike is purchased, the next thing to consider is safety and comfort accessories. With the shorter days and colder nights, proper preparation is a must. We always recommend a helmet, lights, chain lube, a water bottle cage, and a floor pump for your tires. We hope this gives you a jump off point and take a look at our website for in stock bikes and accessories. In the meantime, relax and soak up the holiday season!
Well, it’s that time of year again in the Queen City. The summer heat has passed and the temperatures are falling like the leaves. We are all spending more time outdoors. Whether it’s walking the dog to your neighborhood park, riding the trails at Whitewater Center, or exploring the new greenways popping up all over the metro area. We are all getting ready to enjoy another beautiful Carolina fall.....
This past year in the cycling community we have seen a dramatic transformation in the Queen City....have you noticed the growing number of cyclists in our area and what impact it is having on on our neighborhoods?
We certainly have. Everytime you walk or ride a bike in Charlotte you are encouraging and teaching others. Indirectly, that 2 mile ride or jog has a trickle effect on dozens of citizens around you. When you yield to pedestrians crossing the road, use turn signals, or are just being patient. You are creating a lead for others to follow
You are also educating others on how to interact with bicycles and pedestrians. These little steps will continue to bring big changes to Charlotte and we have been seeing some leaps around the Queen. There are too many groups to name that have been doing outstanding work to improve our infrastructure, but we wanted to tip our hat to the cycling community advocates below.....
In the meantime, “fall-ow the trail” or help create a new path!
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One More for the One More for the Road!
Prepping for a Labor Day Beach Getaway
As another Carolina summer begins to wind down, many of us have faced the trials and tribulations of transporting and prepping our bikes for some family cruising. We here at The Bike Medics want to give you a quick rundown of how we prepare for a stress free trip to the coast
Now, on with the show. Before leaving town on any excursion, we start by checking our tire pressure with the Joe Blow Elite. This pump not only saves you the trouble of flat tires due to low pressure, but it is also dual purpose and takes care of that beachball or raft that has been under appreciated
While you are in the garage, go ahead and grab that bottle of Boeshield T-9 and Muc-Off Dry Lube for the chain and the rest of your bike. Again, these lubrication products are dual purpose as well. Squeaky beach chairs with frozen zipper pockets or rusty umbrellas? Boeshield T-9 has you covered all day long. Originally designed by Boeing for their airplanes..like the hot sauce lady says “we put that —— on everything”
After you pack the pump and the chain line, it’s onto the tools. We like to to keep things simple, so check out the Topeak Rachet Rocket Lite NTX. This will come into play when you need to adjust your seat, assemble a bike, and everything thing in between. It makes the entire Swiss Army knife blush
Now to put on the final touches for your excursion and the most important investment you can make as a bike enthusiast
A car rack that doesn’t shake, rattle, and roll. In order to avoid that “I am going 80 on the interstate and I hope they are going to stay on” type of feeling. Yes, we have been there too
Here is the solution. It goes by the name of the Saris Superclamp EX Hitch Tray Rack. Long name, yet a simple bike carrier solution. Like they say, the best designs are often the simplest. This hitch style rack will tightly hold anything from kids bike to those fat tire novelties sailing in front of you on the sand
There is a lot of attention to detail on this 4 (or 2) bike rack. The design has built in locks, a tilt away design for trunk access, and push button arms to hold the bicycles by their tires instead of the frame. We are going to pass the mic to Saris for a more in-depth description...check out the video in the link below for a visual
Full disclosure-we are not endorsed by any of the following companies, but we wanted to let you know how we setup for our getaways. We just believe in products and companies that produce high quality products that we stand behind. Like these companies, The Bike Medics takes pride in our work and reputation for quality
Keep up with the latest news, products, and rides on our website at
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Charlotte’s Whitewater Center is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. Located only 10 miles West of Uptown, the WWC feels worlds apart. The non-profit organization officially opened its doors to the public on November 4, 2006. However, according to the Tarheel Trailblazers, many people have been exploring the trails long before this official opening date. In fact, some of the original trails were built where the current river channels are located today.
Within the official boundaries of the WWC, are activities for the whole family. On any given day, you have your choice of rafting, kayaking, or paddle boarding. On land, there are areas designated for rock climbing, hiking, biking, and zip lining that cater to thrill seekers of all ages. All of the activities are suitable for most patrons and the staff makes sure that you know what to expect from each activity. When you are looking to relax after a long day of exploring, there is also a restaurant, bar, gift shop, and concert venue.
In the woods surrounding the main entrance there are rope courses, canopy tours, and over 30 miles of trails spread out over 1300 acres. What began as two trails that are simply called “North Main” and “South Main”, the system has expanded to include four distinct loops and as well as numerous trail spurs. Following the development of these two trails, the Lake Loop was constructed. It is a beginner trail that is 3.2 miles and is suitable for first timers. The most recently constructed of the four loop system is “East Main”. This trail would be considered of moderate difficulty due to the elevation gain and quick switchback turns. Within these four loops there is a variety of terrain, soil, and technical features.
Lately the Whitewater staff and Tarheel Trailblazers have been building trails at a frenzied pace. Within the past year, the Carolina Thread Trail has been extended. Along with this extension, the Academy and Parkway trails have been established. Academy is of moderate difficulty and adds about three miles to the overall mileage. Parkway Trail is probably the most family friendly of all the trails and is just about 7 miles in length. Running parallel to the entrance to the park, the trail is at least 3 feet wide throughout and doesn’t have much elevation change.
With 30 plus miles of trails, the WWC has grown from a local day trip spot to a national destination in a relatively short period of time. Although the Whitewater Center is geared toward athletes, there is truly something for everyone in your family. Check out their concerts, expos, and racing events that take place all year round. The WWC is open 365 days a year. Parking passes are $5 for the day and $40 for a yearly pass. Annual full access activity passes are available and there are also individual daily passes available for purchase. For more information visit www.usnwc.org
During the winter months, most of the local trails are closed for extended periods of time due to wet conditions. The George Poston Trail at Spencer Mountain is one exception to this rule. Due to its rocky terrain, the trail drains well and never closes due to wet conditions. Located in Gastonia, George Poston Park is home to one of the oldest trails in the Charlotte metro area. The seven miles of trails would be considered intermediate or difficult for most. Although the first two miles are pretty tame, the Poston Trail gets progressively harder as you approach the Spencer Mountain Loop. Throughout the trail, you encounter everything from rolling smooth sections to rocky, rooty uphill sections. It is the kind of trail that you might find yourself hiking on the more difficult areas. As you wind your way up Spencer Mountain, you are rewarded with a full view of the Charlotte skyline at the half way point. As you start back down Spencer Mountain, there are a number of extended fast, open downhill sections. The Poston Trail may be a little bit on the tougher side, but the rewarding views make it worth the effort.
The Poston Trails are one of the less traveled trails in the area and it is located only fifteen minutes from the Whitewater Center. So when the WWC’s trails are closed, we recommend that you mix it up and check out the George Poston Trail. A job well done by the city Gastonia on this gem. Within the past year they have extended the parking lot and improved the trail markers.
Background and the Trailhead
Tucked away in the town of Belmont, Rocky Branch Trail is the latest creation from the Tarheel Trailblazers. Just 15 minutes from Uptown Charlotte, Rocky Branch is approximately 4.5 miles. The trail had its origins on the Tarheel Trailblazers website forums this past year. Belmont’s city manager reached out to the mountain bike club looking for assistance on building their first mountain bike trail. In less than a year, the trail has evolved from concept to singletrack. The trailhead has a brand new parking lot located in a quaint neighborhood. Next the parking lot is a kiosk that has a map of the current trail (the master plan calls for 20 miles). The trail starts innocently enough as you head past the first gate and into a clearing. The trail then bends off into woods and begins winding between the trees. The first thing I notice is the attention to detail in building this trail. Every sign for an extension or loop has the exact mileage and is clearly marked. It has the best signage of any trail located in Charlotte metro hands down.
It is a mix of intermediate to expert singletrack. The soil is clay based which is consistent with most trails in the area. There are occasional rocky and rooty sections that will challenge even the most seasoned rider. Along with the technical terrain, the trail has some wide open areas as well as some tight corners. I wouldn’t consider this a beginner trail, but there are plenty of other options for the first timer in Charlotte. As a long time mountain biker I was thoroughly impressed with the trail. While riding, I stopped and spoke to another rider who lives in the neighborhood and rides it a couple times of week. In our exchange, he summed up my thought, “I can’t believe this gem is in my backyard”. As a resident of Charlotte, I couldn’t agree more.
A big thank you to the city of Belmont and the Tarheel Trailblazers