It's natural to admire adventurers who embark on extraordinary journeys or undertake once-in-a-lifetime feats. But for many of us, taking long breaks from work to indulge our wanderlust isn't practical on a regular basis, so adventures and breathtaking experiences are relegated to special moments in our lives: the year after college, milestone birthdays or anniversaries, retirement.Read More
Whew, we made it!!
2016 was, by many accounts, a trying year. For us, it was a year of reinvention. After closing a family business we ran together for most of our adult lives, we went looking for a place to start over. We spent much of the first part of the year dreaming and planning, and then, once we found that place, building and creating. We feel grateful that we received such a warm welcome from Jefferson Park and surrounding neighborhoods.Read More
Have you ever wanted to master basic bike repair skills to become more self-sufficient? Or have you been thinking about using your bike to get around the city, but you're not sure where to start? Cosmic Bikes will be offering several FREE workshops throughout the season designed to get you acquainted with the systems and mechanics of your bike, and to help you become a more confident rider. We hope you can join us!Read More
Don't ruin the joy of your biking experience through setting overly rigid goals. Especially if you are a relatively new cyclist. Focus on small victories and modest goals that will enhance your enjoyment of cycling.Read More
You could say that as a bike shop owners, we are biased. But we happen to believe that the products we sell make great Christmas gifts for kids and grown-ups alike. Wrap one up, and you're giving mobility, independence, fitness, fun and adventure, as well as something durable that will last for years. For well under a grand, you could buy many seasons' worth of autonomous travel.Read More
Thanksgiving is over, now Christmas is coming. Despite the annual protestations that the holidays have become too commercialized, let's face it -- we continue, and will continue to shop for the holidays. Please support your local businesses this season. Lighted store windows and occupied storefronts make a richer, more vibrant community, but we depend on you.Read More
"I believe our largest problems have grown from the earth's remotest corners as well as our own back yards, and that salvation may lie in those places, too." --Barbara Kingsolver:Read More
Well, technically, it's around for another three weeks or so. It's sad to see it go, but, if we are lucky, over the next few weeks we will experience the best cycling weather in Chicago. If you thought August was too hot to be enjoyable, roll your bike out now.Read More
Don't see yourself becoming a bike commuter? That's OK. You do not have to "become" anything if you just want to try riding your bike. We have some octogenerian relatives who have been known to ride their bikes to the grocery store. I don't think they ever stopped to figure out if they are "bike commuters".Read More
In addition to being a fabulous recreational vehicle, your bike can be a super-utilitarian machine for getting around the city even when you're not using it to get to work. I love to use my bike for grocery shopping. My supermarket of choice has a nightmarish parking lot. If I ride my bike, I don't even have to set foot in it, and I can carry a lot more than if I walk.Read More
If you are puzzled and frustrated by the number of gears on your bicycle, you are not alone. For most riders in our flat Chicago landscape, any number of gears above seven seems completely unnecessary. It is a rare Chicago cyclist who has ever used all the gears on their bike inside city limits. Most bikes come factory-equipped with more gears than you can count on your fingers and toes, and few salespeople take the time to explain how to use them correctly. Consequently, many riders don't know how to shift gears for maximum benefit.Read More
How often is it, that while traveling through a vibrant college town, or a quaint lakeside village, we think to ourselves: I could live here; if I lived here, I would be happy. Yet few of us have the option of uprooting our families and livelihoods, and relocating on a whim to the first picturesque town we see.Read More
Were it not for the invention of the hybrid bike, urban cycling in the US would not be what it is today. What started out as cross between a mountain bike and a road bike resulted in a new bike category, offering a more comfortable sitting position, and more sensible tire width than either of the parents. And, what started out as a compromise between two styles of riding, actually created a riding style all of its own. Thanks to their versatility, utility and ease of use, hybrid bikes made urban biking accessible and convenient for all. For the majority of urban cyclists, a hybrid is still a great choice, because it adapts well to a variety of uses.Read More
Many people think bike commuting is for the dedicated few. Maybe you don't want to commit to that type of lifestyle. Maybe riding a bike doesn't fit in your daily schedule. Or maybe you're not sure if you'll like it. At least not all the time.
That's OK. Biking doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You can use your bike when convenient and enjoyable, and still use the car when you really need it. You may find that when you take that approach, bikingwill become your preferred transportation alternative.Read More
There are few things more dispiriting than wheeling your bike out on a crisp morning and discovering you can't ride, because the tires are flat. Because we work in a bike shop, quite often we forget that many people are completely mystified by bicycle tires.
Whether you ride your bike regularly, or leave it hanging out in your basement or garage, the tires will naturally lose air over time. It's like the balloon you brought back from a party: after a few days, it doesn't look so good. Bike tires don't lose air quite as rapidly as a balloon, and they can also be readily refilled. The trick is to know how and with what.Read More
Bicycle theft is rampant in many urban neighborhoods, and Chicago certainly has its share of the problem. Whether you are riding an expensive bike or a garage-sale model, having your bike stolen is expensive, inconvenient and downright maddening. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to make your bicycle a less likely target.Read More
One of our goals at Cosmic Bikes is to help more people become comfortable using a bike as part of their lifestyle, and therefore, we'd like to help people overcome the 5 Basic Obstacles to Riding a BikeRead More
Getting a flat is pretty darn inconvenient. Don't make it any more so by leaving your flat changing essentials at home. Here is what you need to be able to change a flat anywhere:
- Spare tube. Make sure that it is the right size and valve type for your bicycle. Not all types of holes can be patched, and replacing a punctured tube with a brand new one is simply faster and more practical than patching a tube on the curb. You can patch the old one at home, if it is salvageable.
- Patch kit. Regardless of what I just said, you should carry patches. Occasionally, a brand new tube may leak air, or you may get a second flat because you haven't properly identified the cause of the original puncture.
- Tire levers. These are essential for removing the tire from the rim. Please don't use a screwdriver; it can damage not only the tube, but the tire and rim as well.
- Portable pump suitable for use with the type of valve you have. Usually, the smaller the pump, the longer it will take to fill up the tire, but even a very small pump is better than nothing.
- A wrench, if your bike does not come with quick release wheels. Generally, 14 and 15 mm wrenches are needed loosen nuts on front and rear wheels, but an adjustable wrench will do in a pinch.
- Just in case: cell phone and money.
Carry those whenever you are more than walking distance from home.
Most importantly, practice changing a flat before you leave home. If you come to Rapid Transit to have your flat fixed during non-peak hours, we often have time to show you how it's done. But it is usually not enough to be shown: you have to practice it yourself.
Click here for a step-by -step tube changing tutorial.
Most adult bikes today are equipped with quick release (QR) wheel retention devices on both wheels. QR's are very reliable in keeping the wheels securely attached to the bike, provided you know how to use them correctly. And, despite the fact the QR's have been in wide use for several decades, many people are still unfamiliar with how they work. Please, do not ride your bike without knowing how to use the quick release.
The QR is not simply a wing-nut to be twisted as tight as possible. If you are using it that way, your wheel could come off your bike while you are ridingRead More
How the *bleep* do I fill this up? If you have to ask, chances are your bike is not equipped with the type of valve pictured above.
This is a typical Schrader valve, found not only on the majority of bicycles, but also familiar to anyone who's ever filled up a car tire. If the tire is low, simply apply the head of any pump or gas station compressor firmly to the tip of the valve, and blow.
But don't take it for granted that your bike comes equipped with the common Schrader valve.Read More