Third Friday Bike Ride is May 21

Decatur Active Living is hosting the Third Friday Bike Ride on Friday, May 21. Meet in front of the Decatur Recreation Center and be ready to put wheels down at 6:30 pm. The ride is approximately 6 miles through Decatur neighborhoods and on the PATH. This is a no-drop ride; no one will be left behind.

GA Commute Options will be joining us, so come by early to pick up some freebies!

Please wear a helmet and a face covering.

This ride is not appropriate for children.

For more information on biking in the City, visit decaturga.com/biking.

It is Bike to Work Week!

Join us this week as we celebrate Bike to Work Week!

Bike commute to work and log your ride on gacommuteoptions.com to enter into a drawing for a  $25 gift card.

Stop by our Energizer Station at Decatur Recreation Center on Friday, May 21, 7-9 am. We will have Chick-fil-a biscuits and giv-aways. Our partner, GA Commute Options will also be joining us.

Join us for the Third Friday Bike Ride, May 21, at 6:30 pm. The ride begins at the Decatur Recreation Center at 6:30 pm and goes approximately 6 miles. Helmets are required. We will have some giveaways at this event as well.

What to Bring on a Bike Ride

From guest contributor Margaret Beltrami:

Today we are going to learn more about what to bring on bike rides, biking in the dark and at night, and hand signals.

Knowing what to bring on bike rides

Being prepared for bike rides is very important to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride. Here is a list of supplies to bring along:

Water and snacks: This is very important! Even if youthink you are just going on a shorter ride, you might get lost or have a breakdown, and having water and food will be crucial.

Money:  It is a good idea to have a little cash and a creditcard with you in case you want to stop at a restaurant or store on your ride, or you have a mechanical problem and need to pay to have repairs made. 

Phone:  Carrying a cell phone on your ride will be helpful in the case of an emergency. 

Basic maintenance kit: This will help in case of a breakdownon the road, and should include a spare tube (or patches), a small tire pump, a multi-use tool, and tire levers. This is more important to have on longer bike rides that are further away from your home.

First-aid kit: A small first aid kit is also a good idea to have. It doesn’t need to have a lot of items, but should at least include bandaids, gauze, antibiotic ointment, and gloves. 

Biking in the dark

Always be careful when you are riding in the dark, because it is much more dangerous than riding in daylight. That being said, here are some tips for biking in the dark:  

Lights: Lights are important to have so you can see obstacles in the road and so others can see you. At the very least, make sure you have lights on your handlebars, as well as a rear light. 

Reflective gear: Reflective gear, including jackets, wearable bands, and tape, helps you become more visible for other cars, cyclists, or pedestrians to see you. 

Light clothing: As well as reflective clothing, light colored clothinghelps you become more visible. At night it is much easier for others to see you if you are wearing light colored clothing. Make sure you are not wearing dark colored clothes, because you will blend in with your surroundings. 

Ride with others: Riding with a friend or as a group is a good strategyfor biking in the dark. There is safety in numbers and more people available to help in the case of an emergency or a mechanical issue. 

Hand signals

Hand signals are very important for the safety of bike riders. They are important to use and help tell other cyclists and cars behind you where you are turning. There are three hand signals that are the most important: turning right, turning left, and stopping. Use these hand signals with your left arm to show people behind you what you are doing. 

Right turn: Hold your left arm out to the side and in a 90º angle, with your left hand pointing to the sky, and the palm of your hand facing forward.  

Left turn: Hold your left arm straight out to your side. Your arm should be parallel to the ground.  

Stopping: Hold your left arm out to the side, and point your left hand down to the ground in a 90º angle, with the palm of your hand facing behind you. 

The image below is a visualization of what these turn signals look like. 

That’s all for today’s post! I hope you were able to learn more about safety related to bike rides. Stay tuned for the final post coming next week about city infrastructure! 

Decatur Outdoor Sports Camps, Register Now, Space Limited!

Dance with Dawn Begins May 18th!

For more information, contact Sara.Holmes@decaturga.com

Trails & Ales Returns on May 27

Bike to Work Week is May 17 -21

Join us for Bike to Work Week next week. Log your rides on GACommuteoptions.com and be entered to win a $25 gift certificate. We have 8 to give away!

On Tuesday we will do a ride on the PATH with Decatur police- this will be a 4 mile ride on the PATH and bike lanes. Meet in front of the Decatur Police station; we will leave promptly at 1 pm. Please be sure to wear your helmet!

Stop by our Bike to Work Energizer Station on Friday between 7 and 9 am for a Chick-fil-a biscuit and some bike month give-aways. Then on Friday night we will host our Third Friday Bike Ride. Meet in front of the Decatur Recreation Center and be ready to ride at 6:30 pm. We will ride approximately 6 miles at a social pace. This ride is not recommended for children.

For more information on biking in Decatur click here.

Fitting Your Bike and Pre-Ride Checks

From our guest contributor Margaret Beltrami:

Today, we are going to look at what a properly fitted bike looks like and how to complete bike checks before every ride to make sure your bike is functioning properly and that you will have a safe, smooth ride. 

A few things to keep in mind to ensure a good bike fit:

Make sure you have the correct frame size:
To help test this, stand over your bike with both feet on the floor. With a top tube that is straight across and parallel to the ground, you should have about one inch of clearance from the bike to your crotch. If you have a sloping tube (more common with mountain bikes) you should haveabout two or three inches. 

Have a good body position:
Aim for a slight bend in your arms while youare riding so you can comfortably reach the brakes.

Seat height:
Your seat should line up with your hip bone when you areoff and standing next to your bike. At the bottom of each pedal stroke you should have a slight bend in your knee.

The bottom line:
Bike fit is all about comfort. You will not want to ride your bike if you do not feel comfortable, so make sure you feel great while riding your bike!

Fitting kids’ bikes:
With any top-tube style, the stand over height should have about two to four inches of clearance. Many kids’ bikes are made so the kids can ride in a more upright position. That being said, they should feel comfortable on their bike, grip the handlebars with a slight bend in their elbows, and be able to easily reach their brakes. Their legs should also slightly bend at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

Safety checks:
Before each ride you should conduct a short bike safety checklist to make sure your bike is working properly. Doing this will help your bike have a longer life, and will help prevent problems during your rides. 

Follow these steps before every ride: 

Air: Ensure your ties are inflated enough. If you are unsure what pressure to pump your pedals to, check the sidewall of your tire, which should tell you the range you should be in. The images below are examples of tire pressure maximums/ranges on tires.

Brakes: Squeeze your front and rear brakes to make sure they are engaging and functioning properly. 

Chain: Check your chain and all of your gears. Make sure your chain is not rusted, if it is it needs to be replaced. Clean your chain if there is a lot of dirt and filth. Spin your pedals backwards when you are off your bike and listen for any abnormal noises. Your chain should easily move over the cogs without skipping, squealing, or grinding. Keeping your chain lubricated will also help it last longer and help you shift gears easier. 

Wheels: Hold the handlebars of your bike in one hand and grab the front wheel in your other hand. Try to move the wheel side-to-side. There should not be any movement in this direction. Next, spin the front wheel. The wheel should look smooth, and should not wobble or make a grinding noise. If it does, do not ride your bike and have it looked at by a bicycle mechanic. Repeat this on your back wheel. 

Stem: The stem is located at the front, where the handlebarsconnect to the bike. To ensure that it is secure and functioning properly, stand at the front of the bike with the front wheel between your legs. Hold on to the handlebars and try and move them side-to-side without moving your wheel. If the handlebar moves, do not ride your bike, and have it looked at by a bicycle mechanic.

Pumping your tires:
Pumping your tires is essential for bikes! That being said, it can be difficult to know how to inflate your tires properly, so here are some outlined steps to help:
Before you begin pumping up your tires you need to know what pressure to pump to. This information is usually located on the side of your tire. There should be a range, for example 75-90 PSI (pounds per square inch). Inflate your tires towards the higher end of the range when you are riding on paved paths, the road, or smooth trails. Inflate them towards the lower end when you are riding on rough and bumpy roads or paths (i.e. mountain biking).

To begin pumping up your tires, locate the valve (on the inside of your wheel frame), and take off the plastic cap. Then, unscrew the small nut on the top.

Attach your bike pump to your bike and ensure that it is attached correctly. You should not hear any leaking air, and if you do, take off the pump head and attach it again.

Pump your bike to your desired tire pressure. There should be a built-in gauge on your bike pump that you can use.

When you are done, take off the pump head, screw in the tiny nuty back tightly, and place the plastic cap back on.

Repeat on your other tire.  

And that’s it for this week’s post! As always, stay tuned for next week’s post which will be all about what to bring on bike rides, biking in the dark, and hand signals.

Attracting Monarch Butterflies to Your Garden

Guest contributor Herman Samana shares information on creating a butterfly garden in your yard.

We all have real power to make a positive difference in protecting the Monarch butterfly and making it thrive. Here are some simple ideas to get you started.

Plant milkweed

Plant milkweed for monarch butterflies and caterpillars to eat, and they will come. Make sure you grow milkweed in full sun, in clusters of at least six plants, or those hungry caterpillars will run out of food quickly. That way, they’ll produce enough nectar for all of the wonderful butterflies that visit your garden.

You should also:

  • Try not to use pesticides and look for natural solutions whenever possible.
  • Provide runways near water sources so butterflies can drink safely.
  • Butterflies like safe spaces where they can sit at night, such as trees and bushes or flat rocks in the sun for the butterflies to relax.
  • Take care of plants carefully – a life cycle can occur under a tree leaf at any time! Stay away from using peat-based compost.
  • You can even go the extra mile and register your place as a Monarch Waystation.

Types of milkweed to plant — and other plants Monarchs love

Here is just a handful of the many plants that will attract butterflies and other pollinators to your garden.

  • The types of milkweed Monarch butterflies love best include swamp milkweed, showy milkweed, and butterfly milkweed.
  • Nectar plants they enjoy include Joe Pye weed, Mexican sunflower ‘torch’, butterfly bushes, and buddleja buzz.
  • Pollinator plants they feed on include native wildflowers that will do well in the soil and sunlight conditions in your garden.
  • For the Western U.S., check out these planting resources for more ideas about what to plant.

Blueprint for a Butterfly Garden  

When considering the physical space and layout of a butterfly garden, there are some essential ideas and necessary steps one need to take to help the butterflies thrive successfully:

  • Consider the physical space and plan a design that works for your garden.
  • Designate space for wild disarray. Dead foliage on the ground and tall, wild grasses are a favorite hibernating spot for some caterpillars and pupae.
  • Plan for sunny areas and partially shaded areas.
  • Research what kind of conditions and planting practices will promote optimal growth for nectar/pollinator plants in your region.

Do You do the ABC Bike Check Before Cycling?

An easy way to make sure your bike is in good working order is to do an ABC Quick Check.

Air: Be sure you have enough air in your tires
Brakes: Look to see that your brake pads are not worn
Chain and Cranks: Pull on your cranks to see that they are not loose and look to see that the chain is not rusted and it is free of gunk
Quick Release: Make sure all quick releases are closed
Check: Take a slow brief ride to check that your bike is working properly