Monthly Archives: July 2020

Sprocket man

Back in the 70’s, thousands of university students in USA rode their bicycles, without respecting the basic civility in some cases. Then, a new superhero appeared: Sprocket man. His objective was to show how to ride bikes in a respectful way regarding others actors on the streets, including pedestrians. In those years, Stanford was part of the Great American Bike Boom and their students were activists in social movements such as feminism, racial injustices or homosexual discrimination. Moreover, national problems influenced students like the Watergate or the Vietnam war. As a result, the massive cyclist movement debated on the need of biking infrastructures, and allowed publishing historical documents (Bikeway Planning in 1972, Bikeways: State of the art in 1974). Among those, there was Sprocket man.

Sprocket man was a 28-pages, colored cover and black-and-white pages, fresh magazine. Authors were inspired by the Elton John song Rocket man. As you can imagine, he used massive sprockets as a shield. He transmitted a clear message from the first page: The impressive figures of bikes in Stanford show that days in which bicycles were considered just as toys have ended. Or: The anarchy on streets can not be evaded for longer: Here you have some tips and guidelines for survival. It included advises about mechanics, how to drive, avoid thefts, accessories, etc., which persists today. The magazine was published in 1975 thanks to the support of the Stanford Public Security department. Louis H. Saekow was the cartoonist, Julia Molander coordinated it and Vince Darago headed them. Vince has been a dedicated champion of the sustainable movement for ages. He organized classes to teach riding bikes, and coordinated workshops about electric cars creation 40 years ago.

Unfortunately, Sprocket man only saw the light once. Nevertheless, it appeared again in a Seattle council TV ad, and in merchandise issues.

7 tips to diminish heat when riding a bike

1- Get up early: Starting your ride early in the morning has the advantages of lower temperatures and less road traffic. If you hate it, just give it a try and you will discover it is worth it.

2- Check your bicycle: This tip is useful for every day. Pump up the wheels, lubricate the chain, fit the brakes… In essence, tuned-up your bike. This way pedaling will cost you less effort.

3- Determine your energy: To sweat is necessary to your body. Basically, this natural behavior allows reducing the body temperature. However, if you sweat too much, you can hit the wall as a result of a loss of energy caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles. Ration yourself and take into account your limits. In other words, instead of competing against others, better compete against yourself. Always have in mind that the most important is enjoying.

4- Hydrate: A valid tip not only for cycling, but for whatever physical activity specially in Summer. Drink water before, during and after the exercise. Do not wait until you feel thirsty. A rule of thumb is drink water every 15 minutes. If you drink cold water, do it slowly. How do I determine my hydration state? After riding your bike, the easiest way is looking at your pee. If it is too dark, you should drink more water the next time.

5- Plan your route: In a city, the shorter path does not necessarily means the ideal one. Usually, taking an indirect route on small and quiet streets means taking advantage of shadows produced by buildings. If you plan a mountain route, decide on those which have less slope.

6- Choose appropriate garment: Breathable fabrics are your ally in Summer. Moreover, use light clothing not to attract too much sun. Furthermore, sunglasses improve your eyesight, and avoid blinding and mosquitoes on the eyes.

7- Protect your skin: Sunscreen is basic when riding in Summer months. Select on sunscreen with high sun protection factor, at least 30. If you plan a long route, it is better bringing a small cream jar along, and use it conveniently.