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Europe

Bicycling

Thanks to my friend Lele who can always lend me a bike.

I love riding a¬†bike. Bicycles are great¬†‚Äď they are fast, faster than public transport. It is 20 minutes by¬†bike to¬†my University, rather than 40 minutes by¬†bus and¬†underground. Moreover, it is healthy to¬†ride a¬†bike, and¬†I can keep fit and¬†get to¬†my destination. I can even take a¬†bicycle to¬†train or¬†travel on¬†a¬†plane with the¬†bike. Even though the¬†bicycle emits carbon when being produced, it is still nature-friendly transport.

I make hundred-kilometer rides. I love traveling by¬†bike. There are four variants of¬†traveling¬†‚Äď short trips, full-day trips, weekend trips, and¬†long journeys. Long journeys last one, two weeks, or¬†even a¬†month¬†‚Äď friends from Moscow state university bicyclist club have done it. They traveled by¬†train to¬†Karelia¬†‚Äď a¬†northern Russian region with picturesque forests, sixty thousand lakes, and¬†beautiful Finnish architecture. They have been riding in¬†Karelia for¬†two weeks. Later, some participants of¬†the¬†journey went to¬†St. Petersburg. They spend some days there, and¬†then they have ridden to¬†Moscow. The¬†way from Moscow to¬†St. Petersburg is at¬†least 700km. In¬†total, they made nearly 2000km.

I prefer rides from 80 to 150 km per day and 2-day rides. It is an excellent way to explore new places and not be exhausted. For example, we can go to Bratislava from Vienna or ride through Donau and observe hundreds of vineyards and apricot gardens, symbols of lower Austria. It is also great to go to Hallstatt, the most beautiful lake and an old town surrounded by old mountains. You may spend one day in the city, swimming on a lake with a SUP board and riding in the mountains the next day.

Plans

I invite you to my bicycle group in What’s App in case you live in Austria. You may also join if you live in Europe, because, maybe, we will make a trip to your country or you to ours.

The requirements are: you can make at least 80 km per day, and you need to be able to get a good bike. Also, it is important, that you are a responsible, friendly, helpful, and interesting person. And now, some information about cycling, routes and how the bikes work

Biking 101

There are two distinct routes: paved routes and trail routes. These routes require different bikes and ranges. For example, on paved asphalt roads, you may ride 25 kilometers per hour on average with a road bike and make 200km or even 250km in a one-day trip. But If you use a mountain bike, even 150km will be tough. This is due to the weight of mountain bikes, wide rough wheels, and less-powerful cranks.

Mountain bikes are universal, but road bikes are faster. Road bikes are fast. My highest speed on a road bike was 64 km per hour, and I scored it in Mallorca when I was going on a highway with a small slope. Usually, I gain 50 km per hour. Professionals have a maximum speed of 112 km per hour. Interestingly, most riders named this number as the maximum they did. Such high speeds are gained due to the lightness of the bike and rider. Expensive carbon road bikes weigh nearly 7.5 kilograms.

The tires are important. There are tires for roads, trails, downhill, cross country, winter variations, etc. All of them have different forms and widths and, therefore, frictions. That is why downhill tires will stop faster and will be easier to control, but you will not score even 40 km per hour on the road.

Cranks help you to¬†use the¬†optimal force. Cranks make your rear wheel move. The¬†bigger the¬†front crank and¬†the¬†lower the¬†rear is, the¬†more force you will apply to¬†a¬†wheel. Why is that? To¬†move the¬†wheel, you need to¬†trigger the¬†rear crank. All the¬†cranks are attached¬†‚Äď therefore, all the¬†cranks are constantly spinning together. We need to¬†spin one of¬†these cranks, but¬†which one will be easier to¬†spin?

Let‚Äôs experiment: put your phone or¬†notebook on¬†a¬†table and¬†spin it around the¬†center of¬†a¬†device. Try first to¬†do it on¬†a¬†point further from a¬†center and¬†closer to¬†a¬†center which is easier¬†‚Äď further from the¬†center. But¬†check the¬†distance your finger made to¬†make one 360 degrees spin. The¬†closer to¬†a¬†center made a¬†much smaller distance. What does it mean? The¬†shorter length, the¬†harder it is to¬†spin, to¬†apply a¬†force. That Is why the¬†smaller rear crank gives more force. We have an¬†opposite situation on¬†the¬†front wheel¬†‚Äď try to¬†explain it yourself.

The¬†bigger front crank or¬†lower real crank does not¬†mean, that you will be faster¬†‚Äď you need to¬†apply much more force (or¬†Power, in¬†Watts), and¬†you can be fastly exhausted, and¬†you may damage your cranks. Friction of¬†tires and¬†a¬†road and¬†the¬†friction of¬†chain and¬†the¬†cranks are also reasons for¬†lower speed and¬†damaging a¬†bike. You have to¬†control the¬†forces to¬†get a¬†higher speed.

But there are limits. Road bikes give you the possibility to apply a lot of force, or power, Watts. That helps gain huge speed on a road. But, when you want to ascend a mountain, you need much smaller power, otherwise, you will be tired in seconds. Road bike does not have such a small front or such big rear cranks. That is why it is too hard to ascend with a road bike, even with lower weight, and thinner tires.

2022   bicycle   english   Europe