NP inventions, tips, findings and suggestions
in the field of cycling comfort
1) Many know, but maybe also many or at least some don’t know yet how important it is for biking comfort that the tires are sufficiently inflated. “Sufficiently” doesn’t mean that when pumping with a relatively small hand pump one can hardly pump any more, whereas the tires can’t be pressed any more with the fingers. This namely mostly is the case already when the pressure inside the tire is about 2 Bar. Sufficiently however means that the pressure is some 3 or 3,5 Bar, depending on the tire’s type . To reach this level one soon needs a floor-pump that indicates the pressure. It really saves a lot of effort when the tires are sufficiently inflated. So much, that one doesn’t care that the shocks one gets to endure when biking on a bumpy road are proportionally harder due to the fact that the tires really are rock-hard. Besides this problem can be solved by applying a suspension seatpost.
2) Talking about tires and saving effort. Quite a few years ago NP figured out that when the wheels including the tires of racing bikes are very narrow because like that a higher speed can be reached, this implies that with that kind of wheels the biker needs to make less effort to get ahead. So he decided to find out in how far replacing the frontwheel of his city bike by a racing wheel would save effort. And yes, that really turned out to make a considerable difference. Since then he’s enjoying this advantage and wondering why so little (or no) others are doing the same thing, as well as why bike manufacturers are not building it in, although it doesn’t occur that often that the frontwheel of somebody’s bike is burdened that heavily that it takes an even stronger one than a racing wheel .
3) As many bikers know a rather uncomfortable aspect of cycling is the unevenness of bike paths where the roots of trees come up through the pavement. There seem to be many ways in which roadmanagements try to reduce or eliminate this problem, but these methods are either insufficient so that they only take away part of the discomfort, or that expensive that by far they cannot be applyed everywhere.
In NP’s view the core of the problem is that the roots of trees alongside biking paths need water and air, but don’t get enough of these where the ground above them is covered with the usual kinds of pavement. In reaction these roots push up the pavement so that gaps are created in it, through wich the needed rainwater and air can still reach them.
So why not at once lay down a pavement that permits sufficiently of water and air to reach the roots and still is perfectly even? Narrow slots or small holes in the asphalt for instance could do already (on condition that there are no technical objections against this method). Embedded grills or other methods based on this principle of taking care at once that the roots don’t need to push up the pavement might also lead to the desired result.
Hopefully experiments will make clear that this principle is apart from plant friendly also efficient and not too expensive to be applyed everywhere.
4) Special signposts for bikers in themselves certainly increase the comfortability of cycling. A problem however is that often they are situated alongside unlighted roads or biking paths in green area’s so that it can arrive very well that bikers don’t notice them in the dark. The consequences of missing one can be very unpleasant for bikers as it may lead to loss of time and a lot of extra effort. Also it can be rather difficult to read them in the dark. It speaks that providing them where necessary with a solar lighting on top can prevent quite some discomfort for many users of the environment friendly means of transport they are intended for.
5) In a way the increasing possibility to rent bikes can be called comfortable. However in many cases there is an aspect that needs improvement. Especcially when the rental takes place thus that the card of subscribers is scanned by the lessor both when the bike is picked up end returned, the juridical position of the renter is very weak. After all he doesn’t get any kind of proof about the whole deal in hands. This among others implies that the lessor theoretically could scan the card improperly when the bike is returned, so that there is no registration of this and after a while the maximum bill can be send to the renter. In that case the last mentioned hasn’t any kind of possibility to proove that he did return the bike. But more than that a malicious lettor theoretically could even send any kind of bill he wants to any subscriber he wants, no matter whether the last mentioned has rented a bike or not. All the lettor needs for that is a copy of the card he provided to the subscriber.
So in case one prefers to avoid the associated uncertainty, when subscribing one might insist that a written proof has to be made both when the bike is picked up and returned. On return another possibillity might be that when the card is scanned an e-mail or sms is automatically sent to the subscriber, who can verify this immediately.
© Copyright Nicolas Pleumekers — (Founder and president of the Nature Protection Foundation)