Why put sealant in a bicycle tube, why a cyclist needs a stun gun, what applications bicyclists use for comfortable rides, and also a short course of the Netherlands’ bicycle philosophy — in the material by The Heroes with the support of Belgosstrakh.
By the nature of their activities, programmers spend a lot of time in front of the computer monitor and lead a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, they choose extreme or cardiotonic hobbies, for example, cycling. Representatives of the IT community told us about their love for the bike, how to overcome the difficulties of urban movement and shared life hacking for those who are still thinking of switching to bicycle transport.
Alexey SAZONOV, Systems Engineer, 47 years old, Moscow, Russia
I started riding a bike quite late — when I was 41, says Alexey. First of all, I was concerned about health. A friend helped me choose a “horse, ” I bought the 2013 Centurion at a good discount and quickly got involved in the cycling movement. At first, I travelled 15-20 km a day, but by the end of the season, I could ride 80 km at a time. As a result, I made 3,000 km in my first season. Now I ride a Specialized Camber-2012.
Alexey had a sporting interest and some questions — how to count the rides and view his statistics and dynamics.
First I installed the RunKeeper application, and later I found out about the Strava website. Now, this is my main software to account for all my training — both cycling and running. Strava is good because you can compete not only with yourself but also with other enthusiasts.
If you regularly ride along the same route, you can see how your results change on the same sections, as well as the achievements of your friends who ride or run along them.
Over time, Alexey realized that it is important to track his pulse for a better result.
I bought the simplest chest pulse sensor — Polar H7. It transmits data to the smartphone via Bluetooth. Its battery lasts for a couple of years, it even worked in the pool.
I am interested in the statistics of all my “achievements”. On Veloviewer you can view your data from Strava in a more detailed way, collect beautiful reports and build graphs, including maps of visited territories. I immediately became the owner of a paid subscription and continue to pay for both Strava and Veloviewer. After all, every IT specialist likes beautiful graphs.
Each cyclist determines for himself the obligatory set of necessary things on the trip.
While travelling for short distances, I took only a flask of water and a cycling key. When the distances increased, I bought a bag for the steering wheel, where I would always have a spare tube, a power bank for the phone, and a standard repair kit — patches and gloves. Since I ride in the city, I don’t need anything else — as a last resort, I can always call a minivan taxi and ride it home with my bike.
Speed and freedom of movement are the main things that attract Alexey in riding a bike. In Moscow, I travel both on roads, observing traffic rules, and on sidewalks and bike paths. The only rule that I always try to follow is to behave as a mini-scooter on the road, as a fast pedestrian on the sidewalk, and beware of pedestrians on the bicycle path. It’s the only way you can safely move — for yourself and others. On the sidewalks, I always try to put myself in the place of pedestrians, they have little time to respond, and I go 4-5 times faster. Bicycle lanes appeared in Russia recently, so pedestrians still don’t understand their importance. I am careful and recommend the same to others.
Jaroslav LIKHACHEVSKY, Development Engineer, founder of Deepdee, 31 years old, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Yaroslav rides a bike from early childhood, he was riding a MERIDA in his student years. In Belarus, he organized bicycle games in Minsk and its environs. He says that a bicycle in the Netherlands is not a luxury at all, but a means of transportation.
In the Netherlands, surfaces are perfectly smooth, without roughness. All bike lanes are red, you won’t confuse them with the main road. Here people slowly ride fairly simple and cheap city bikes. At the most popular flea market Marktplaats.nl you can buy a bike for 50 euros. As a pampered Belarussian, I bought myself a new bike for around 200 euros, it has 7 gears and a handbrake. By the way, most of the people here ride bikes with a footbrake.
There’s a joke in the country: if you came to the bicycle parking and couldn’t find your bike, just take any bike! If you saw, for example, multi-storey, multi-level bicycle parking in Amsterdam, then you will understand the meaning. Previously, in the Netherlands, old, broken cheap bikes were thrown into the canals, now they are sent to landfills.
Electric scooters are fun, they began to appear around the world last year. But nobody needs them in the Netherlands, because there are bikes everywhere — at work, at home, for rent. In any city, there are bikes for rent at the station, where you can take any bike by a city travel card.
In the Netherlands, for the sake of road safety, cyclists are not allowed to talk on their phones while riding. At the same time, a typical Dutchman rides a bicycle, holding a telephone in one hand, and a sandwich in the other.
The Dutch don’t ride bicycles because they are so eco-friendly and conscious, for health and for the environment. No! They are driven by need and high prices for car parking. Most cities are small, old, compact, crossed by channels. And you can ride a bike throughout the capital, Amsterdam, for half an hour, it is easier and cheaper. I think that a developed infrastructure will appear in Belarus as well if Belarusians massively switch to bicycles.
Dmitry DEGTYARYOV, Full-stack developer at Humansee Labs, 32 years old, Minsk, Belarus
Dmitry offers novice bicycle enthusiasts to choose cheap models of bicycles.
I bought my bicycle from the Czech company Author 10 years ago for $500. I ride a bike every day — to work, to meetings, for small purchases. I also instil a love for a bicycle for my three-year-old son, he rides a two-wheeled bicycle through a stadium wearing a helmet.
For a comfortable ride in an unfamiliar environment, I use the MAPS.ME application — it helps to choose a green zone or a park instead of a polluted and smoky road.
When travelling, in other countries I rent a bike. I travel around Belarus on my own and face difficulties: there are no bike lanes, sometimes no barrier-free environment, you need to ride around pedestrians. Where there are lanes, people are not yet accustomed to these innovations.
Dmitry also shared the cyclist’s checklist.
I always carry in my backpack some warm clothes, a light pump, a bottle of water, and a bicycle lock. It takes me 10 minutes to get to the office, and it used to be 4 times longer. In general, I think that a 10 km bike ride to work is optimal, longer distances are more difficult. A shower in the office is required for cyclists. Before work, I try not to go too fast, to keep the optimal speed, because there’s no shower in the office.
Igor UPOROV, individual entrepreneur in IT support, 40 years old, Moscow, Russia
After the case when Igor’s girlfriend flew over the steering wheel, braking sharply before the car that jumped out of the bend, he always protects his head with a helmet and recommends it to others.
When I’m on a bike, I always have comfortable shoes on me — sneakers, as well as gloves, a cycling backpack, a handsfree and a helmet. An important problem for me is dogs. There were situations when I was riding along the road, and a pack of homeless dogs was chasing after me, or domestic ones, but without muzzles. They’re chasing, barking, trying to bite my legs. I have two tasks — don’t get hit by a car and dodge from the beasts. And I found a life hack — I bought a stun gun and hung it on velcro on the bicycle. In such cases, I can scare the dogs away with the sound, they are very afraid of ut. I don’t use cycling routes, they don’t give any benefits. In this regard, I am going against the stream. I know Moscow well, and I’m interested in research, to preserve the freshness of the impression.
Igor is an entrepreneur, he travels to the addresses of clients using different transport, depending on the weather. But the bicycle is the priority.
I wear sportswear, I’m opposed to any dress codes. Therefore, even at the level of preliminary negotiations with a future employer, I always asked if they had a dress code. If they had it, then “good-bye”. Once there were taunts in an office, people were saying that I shouldn’t come to negotiations wearing shorts. But an IT person is an IT person, and I can wear shorts. Of course, if I worked in the office, I would keep a spare suit.
Maxim MUZYCHENKO, massage therapist for IT staff, 44 years old, Moscow-Kiev-Odessa
Maxim has been working as a massage therapist for IT freelancers for many years. He lives in several countries — Ukraine, Russia and Thailand. He calls himself a bicycle traveller.
If you travel a lot, then it would be nice to follow various bicycle crowds and cycling clubs on Instagram. For example, Koreans and Thais are very hospitable, and you can write to them asking for a bike for rent when you’re in their country. On such trips, I carry bicycle shoes with pedals, where the angle of the spikes is already adjusted, a couple of spare tubes, a sealant, a set of keys, a saddle and a bicycle bag. It can hold a highway, mountain or a hybrid bike.
The bag costs an average of $15-25. It’s good because it closes all questions on transportation in the subway, and turns a bike into a piece of large-sized baggage, which is allowed to be carried in all countries of the world. So many of my bicycles have been stolen, good locks have been cut through, so I even go to the supermarket, hiding the bicycle in such a bag. This device also helps to transport the bike on an aeroplane. Among bike-friendly airline companies are Aeroflot, Qatar Airways and German Lufthansa. But the latter takes a little more than 70 euros for transportation of the bike.
Maxim says that an indispensable life hack for every cyclist is to use a sealant that helps to avoid a quick deflation of the tire with a small wheel puncture.
Few people know that if you pump a special sealant into the bicycle’s tube, you can ride for 3 months without thinking about the tires, just pumping up the wheels from time to time. It’s not expensive, about $12, sold in any bike shop. In Odessa, in Istanbul, in Israel, in Nepal there are a lot of thorns, and you won’t last long without a sealant there, as well as throughout the “olive belt”.
The material was prepared with the support of Belgosstrakh.
They say that every sixth Dane stole a bicycle at least once in his life!
In Belarus, the scale is different, but bicycles are also frequently stolen. And cyclists sometimes get into accidents, injure themselves and others.
But this doesn’t mean that you should switch to a car or a bus! On the contrary, it is possible and necessary to ride bicycles or electric kick scooters for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. If you pre-insure health and property. How does this work?
Enjoy your rides — and make them clear!