34

The gearing of your bike seems reasonable, the 26 front/34 rear combination will (eventually) make climbing hills easy. But till then… Before you do anything else, take @cherouvim's advice and make sure you seat is at a reasonable height. It should be high enough that if you place a heel on the low pedal your leg is almost fully extended (just short of ...


31

As long as you can see the dimple, the rim is still thick enough. When you brake, the rim gets worn. Eventually it is worn so thin that it can break. The dimples help you identify the wear so that you can replace the rim before it breaks.


29

Rob, you are correct that a heavier bike will give you a greater fitness benefit over the same distance. The only real counter-point I have is that the most effective bikes for fitness are the ones that get ridden. So, if some reason a lighter bike would more fun or appealing to you (while still be a "good enough" commuter), than a lighter bike could be a ...


26

That's not the correct skewer for the wheel. I think you likely are using the rear skewer in the font wheel. Front hubs are typically 100mm between the drop-outs, rear are 130 or 135mm (or even 145mm on some mountain bikes that have stronger through-axle designs).


25

Simply, I reject the premise of your question and I'm sure I'm not alone. I say that as someone who has a tourer and a hybrid, and commutes on both - the speed difference is much less than the variability in traffic volumes. In practical commuting conditions you're rarely aero-limited anyway, rather it's the speed of traffic, and to a lesser extent the ...


23

You are wrong that hybrid style bicycles have no advantages over drop bar road bikes. You kind-of invalidated your premise by saying hybrids are a compromise, which means by definition certain beneficial features have been chosen over others in order to obtain a desired result. In fact all bike styles are a design compromise. Compared to a road bike ...


22

Usually, singles need to have horizontal dropouts so you can take the chain slack by adjusting the rear axle position. That means that any brake that is attached to the frame will "go out of position" when you adjust the rear axle position. That is, by the way, the reason why some horizontal dropouts are not quite horizontal, but diagonal: to be near-...


22

You are absolutely fine riding the Trek FX 7.2 with the Bontrager tires on that trail. That gravel surface is not any worse than rough, worn tarmac so go ahead and enjoy those trails. You don't really need much tire tread (or any) on flat crushed gravel trails, 35mm wide tires have plenty of volume. Be aware that you will have less grip, both in cornering ...


20

A 3-year-old affects the bike's balance and handling, so you want something quite forgiving. Suspension will make you work really hard with the extra weight bouncing around over the back wheel (even just front suspension) and you should be wary about riding the sort of thing that really needs it on a back-heavy, top-heavy bike. Road frames are often carbon ...


15

All the above answers are seriously off in their estimation of the effect it will have on your speed. Going from semi-slick tires, like the ones pictured, to even very narrow slick tires will not improve your averages by more than 1-2 km/h. The effect of rolling resistance on pavement is not "huge", it's dwarfed by air resistance, especially at higher ...


15

If you're looking for a general purpose bike for commuting and towpath riding, you probably want to avoid a standard road bike, they are very specialized and have very small tire clearance. Typically supporting tires no larger than 28mm and often lack mud guards or rack/pannier mounts. However, touring bikes or steel cyclocross bikes (if they have rack and ...


15

Just keep on doing the same route and you'll see progress very fast. Also this will soon not be true: It's not so fun on the way back though Some tips to make it: make sure that the tyres are inflated correctly make sure your drivetrain runs smooth and the chain is lubed make sure your seat height is correct (ask your LBS if unsure) conserve energy ...


15

I posted a comment Slick tires would make a difference, if you're not using them. Maintaining 24 kph on a hybrid that you ride one day a week is pretty good. The next two increments after slick tires would be clipless pedals, riding more frequently, and then a road bike. ... but decided a full answer was needed. Given that the trip is 24 km, doing it in ...


14

Adding mud-flaps to both fenders will greatly reduce spraying water on to your bottom bracket, feet and bicyclists riding behind you. Mud-flaps can be made easily & cheaply by cutting a part of plastic bottles for milk /water/soda-pop and screwing them on to end of mud-guard/fenders (ensure there is enough clearance between screw and tire). Plastic ...


14

Don't forget lights. Many people who only ride during the day/nice weather don't bother to put lights on your bike. But in heavy rain, it's sometimes darker (especially closer to sunrise/sunset), and visibility is reduced. Having lights and also reflectors will help you to be seen and improve your safety. If you don't mind getting wet, and use a waterproof ...


13

The "pure" answer to the question as asked is probably as others have said, climb as much as possible. But perhaps a better answer is to admit that cycling is awesome for aerobic fitness and leg strength but not as great on the upper body. Obviously, cross-training is an option, but even if you are 100% committed to your bike, you can probably get ...


13

It really depends on how you're lagging. If it's because of feeling tired keeping up with them then reducing friction might be an option. I'd suggest that the most likely reason for lagging behind is that there is a fundamental speed difference though. See whether you're having to pedal faster than them to keep up. Your top speed is governed by your cogs....


13

Firstly, 11 or 12 mph isn't that slow, especially if you're still working on improving your fitness. Try measuring speed in kph instead of mph, as it feels better. You can laugh, but we all do it! The main thing you should look for in a new bike, IMO is that it fits you. This will improve your comfort. If you're comfortable you'll be able to go faster. Drop ...


13

After @ChrisH's thorough answer (+1) I thought I'd give an experience report. When my kids were small, I used a general purpose touring frame for this job. It has more relaxed geometry than a road bike, mudguards (fenders), wider tires, and SPD pedals. It's also heavier, which is an advantage for this application. The child seat I used was similar to the ...


12

Each type and size of tire has a different pressure range. The range is written or embossed right on the side of the tire. The actual pressure you choose is dependent on what you are using the bike for, the road surface you ride on and your general preference. A safe choice the middle of the specified pressure range. Lower pressure will give a bit more ...


11

Hub Width On road, mountain, and hybrid, the front hubs are 100mm in width. On road bicycles the rear is typically 130mm, where on a MTB it is typically 135mm. Measure this from your old hub, and DON'T stretch/force a different hub width. Wheel (Rim) Diameter The most typical road rim is a 700c which will mean the bead seat diameter of the rim is 622mm, ...


11

Depending on your budget and family enlargement plans, what you can also consider is to buy narrow, 2-wheel cargo bike like below. It's easy to ride, like traditional bike and can be seen as multi-purpose mean of transport. Equipped with roller brakes and internal gear hub will be reliable, easy to handle and cheap in service. After @Criggie comment It is ...


11

Before looking to improve the bike, I'd look to improve your fitness. I was able to average 13–14mph on my hybrid for 1–1.5hrs; at that time, I was commuting 3–5 miles each way per day and maybe a weekend ride of 15–20 miles once or twice a month. Hybrids aren't designed for going fast but, at 11mph, there's not a huge aerodynamic ...


10

Yes. If you put slightly wider tires then you can do packed earth or even gravel without too much trouble. Even 25 or 28mm tires give a lot of advantage over 18 or 23mm wide tires. I did Col du Parpaillon on 25's. From my trip report: The hostel owner had said Col du Parpaillon was closed because of ice in the unlit tunnel at the top but we decided to ...


10

I assume those shoes don't have cleats of any sort. Do you currently ride without toe clips? Adding toe clips might let you maintain a steadier foot position on the pedals. But many regular commuters go in for cleated shoes of some sort, very often the "mountain bike"/touring style with SPD cleats/pedals because they're "walkable". Whatever, you want a ...


10

For riding in the rain, I would definitely recommend putting fenders on your bike that cover as much of the wheel as possible. This will help prevent "skunk stripes" on the back of your clothes due to dirt thrown up by the rear wheel. Fenders also generally help keep water from flying all around during riding, which keeps other things from getting as wet to ...


10

I'm not sure that anyone is going to be able to give you a definitive answer... especially since you are asking if your commute will improve by 30 seconds when the commute time you give has a range of 60 seconds. But 30 seconds out of 17.5 minutes is about a 2-3% improvement, which seems reasonable... The more interesting question would be "what can this ...


10

For that trail you've got a very suitable combination of bike and tyres. I'd happily ride all day that on my 32mm marathon supremes, which are more of a road tyre than you've got. We have a similar surface on parts of a local trail; some riders will happily ride 25mm slicks on that but others are less happy on 28mm or smaller. Looser gravel is OK for ...


9

100 RPM minus your age. (Only half kidding.) 80-90 RPM is a good target for younger, fairly serious bikers. When I was in my 20s-30s I could do that for several hours. As I get older (I'm 63) I find it harder -- 70 RPM is probably closer to my "optimal" speed now, and I drift down toward 60 if I don't keep at it. One rule I tell folks that I think is ...


9

Since a hybrid is a combination of two or more types of bike characteristics, there are many possibilities, and you should consider what aspects of the particular bike where meant for the mountain or for the road and see if they meet you needs. Tires You can use almost any tire, provided your frame has the clearance needed. Wider tires can be safely used ...


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