Riding a bike isn’t what it used to be. Clip-on shoes and pedals, gears that turn steep hills into flats, and frames that look like they should be in the next sci-fi movie have all changed the way people go out for a ride on the weekend. If you feel like you haven’t kept up with the times or you’re avid racer looking for a competitive edge, there are hundreds of bicycling sites for you to surf through on the World Wide Web. Today, I’ll take you to a smattering of the better bike sites covering a broad array of interests.
The WWW Bike Repair Shop now defunct; try CyberCycle
The aim of the WWW Bike Repair Shop is to "boldly repair what few have repaired before." And for anyone who thinks that fixing your bike means patching a tire here or there, this is an edifying site. Bicycle technology has come a long way since your old standard pedal pusher. Fortunately, Pat and the Prof are here to help online. Go to the Repair manual and there are instructions on how to replace a spoke or true a wheel. Brakes are probably the most important part of your bike so to make sure they’re in tune, you can follow the instructions and clear diagrams on how to tweak cantilever brakes as well as how to use the adjustment yoke on newer models. If you’re upgrading equipment on your old two-wheeler, there’s also handy step-by-step instructions on how to do things like add bar ends (one of the tricks involves the use of hair spray). You’re now thinking, "but I don’t have any tools." Not to worry, the bikemasters here will tell you what you need to get in order to outfit your average garage or what you should take with you on the road for emergency fixes. And there’s much more to this site, such as reviews of the latest bicycle tech gizmos, like V-brakes, and individual tips for cyclists. If you have a bike, or ride one, the WWW Bike Repair Shop is a must stop.
There are scores of bicycle makers on the Web today. One of the most forward-looking and well-known of the high-end manufacturers online is Cannondale. Usually headlining the latest racing news (Cannondale riding winners, of course), the company’s webstation offers product descriptions, a dealer directory, race news, and answers to visitors questions. Looking for a cool pair of wheels? Check out the Super V Raven with its bonded carbon fiber monocoque frame, full suspension and front disc brake for rough mountain rides. If you can’t afford the price of a used car for a bicycle, there are also much more reasonable models available for touring, tandem riding, or a variety of road and mountain terrain. For more on the company, there’s an illustrated history online, as well as a tour of the Pennsylvania factory and answers to questions about bike frames and design elements. More than just a place to hawk its wares, the Cannondale site will attract those who dream of owning 21st century bicycle technology today.
The Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange
You don’t have to own a spoke-less, shock absorbing, ultra lightweight wheeler to be cool in the saddle. Why not draw stares on the seat of an antique Schwinn? If you think of cycling as a leisurely past time rather than a 70-mile, early morning race, then you should visit the Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange. This is the digital version of a monthly newsletter for collectors of vintage bicycles, and as the name suggests, it features classified and display ads for the collector. But there’s much more. You can visit the publisher’s CABE Museum, for example, and check out photos and descriptions of classic rides like his 1941 Hiawatha and his 1916 Cleveland. Also here are articles on how to re-spoke a wheel (a popular topic, apparently) and a good five-part series on restoring a classic bike. So if you’ve just picked up an old junker in a flea market, you may want to check into the Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange. Who knows, maybe there’s a real creampuff underneath all that rust?
Cyber Cyclery now defunct; try The WWW Bicycle Lane
Subtitled the Internet Bicycling Hub, Cyber Cyclery is the spot to visit when you’re trying to track down information on the latest bikes, riding information, and bike sites. A massive index of cycling related I-way stops, Cyber Cyclery pretty much covers it all. Those looking for cycling gear can go to the products area and search for a particular item or coast through the directory of categories for everything from Edge helmets to folding bikes and mountain bikes. The site will take you to the individual manufacturers’ webstations or to catalogues where you can do a little virtual shopping. Thinking of taking a spin while you’re out of town? Just go to the travel area, type in the name of the place you’re visiting, and chances are, Cyber Cyclery will come up with a tour operator for you to contact in the area. I even found suggestions for some obscure Canadian cities. If you’re looking for a group to ride with, the event calendar lists rides across the US including the Best of the West Junior Olympic Stage Race coming up in Oregon. You’ll also find listings (and when available, links) for charity rides and racing events. And if you’re looking to converse with others of similar two-wheeled minds, there’s a threaded discussion area as well as a live chat section at Cyber Cyclery. Techie Netizens may feel that this site needlessly "cookies" you to death, but cycling enthusiasts will want to place it high on their bookmark lists.