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Best Mountain Bike Accessories You Shouldnt Do Without

No doubt, mountain bike accessories can make you look better and more professional. But did you know that beyond making a fashion statement, these mountain bike accessories can also help you amp up your performance? Mountain bike accessories are both fashionable and functional. They can offer better performance and better safety.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the science behind these mountain bike accessories and what makes them essential for the serious rider.

1. Mountain bike helmets – The purpose of the mountain bike helmet is pretty obvious. It can help prevent serious head injuries from falls and crashes. Wearing one is always a non negotiable regardless of your skill level.

2. Mountain bike shoes – When it comes to navigating tough terrain, or speeding through a race, control of your bike is very important. This is what makes mountain bike shoes so special. Mountain bike shoes come with cleats that work with the pedal of your mountain bike, making sure you maintain control of your bike in those crucial moments.

3. Gloves – More on the topic of control, you have the bike gloves. These gloves are specially designed to help you maintain your grip on your bike. With these gloves, sweaty slippery palms won’t stop you from tackling tricky terrains.

4. GPS – GPS stands for global positioning system. Getting lost in an unfamiliar trail becomes a thing of the past with a GPS system. It’s a must have mountain bike accessory for serious mountain bike riders.

5. Cycling jacket – Not only does it look great, a cycling jacket will also feature streamlined cuts that help you run with the wind and not against it. There are different additional and useful features offered on top of your average cycling jackets. You have waterproof jackets, “night vision” jackets, jackets to keep you warm in winter, and jackets to keep you cool while riding.

6. Cycling shorts – cycling shorts are designed to be streamlined and comfortable. In cold weather, they keep you warm. When riding hard, they keep you cool. Cycling shorts come in bib designs too, to make sure the shorts never slip out of place. Special fabric makes sure you don’t slip out of your saddle.

7. Bike LED front light – Make sure you always see what’s in front of you, even when biking at dusk, dawn or at night. And also equally important, let oncoming traffic easily spot you and steer clear.

8. Bike LED read light – This accessory is useful to making sure other bikes and vehicles coming from behind can actually see you. Installing LED rear light improves visibility, which improves safety.

9. Bike jersey – This isn’t just your ordinary t-shirt. Cycling jerseys are designed to give you a streamlined and comfortable form while riding.

How it works – OBD2 Scanner

OBD II Scanners are devices that are used to access car OBD (on-board diagnostic) information. They are found in most cars and light truck models released in recent years. During the late 70s and early 80′s, motor vehicle manufacturers started using electronic methods to control the functions of motor vehicles as well as diagnose engine problems.

The primary reason for this was to meet EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) emission standards. Over the years, OBD II Scanners became more sophisticated with a new version coming out in the mid-’90s providing “almost” complete engine control. That same OBD version also made it possible to monitor parts of the chassis, body and accessory devices, as well as diagnose the entire control network of the car.

Prior to the introduction of the OBD II Scanners automobiles had connectors in several positions under the dashboard and the hood. Now, they have a connector located in the passenger-side compartment which is easily accessible from the driver’s seat. The OBD-II J1962 connector has a cable plugged into it and then connected to the OBD II Scanner. A computer in the vehicle continuously monitors all aspects of the car’s operation. As soon as a problem is detected, a trouble code gets saved immediately into the vehicle’s computer memory. Some of these problems automatically trigger warning lights such as the Check Engine light, while others simply store the data as needed.

Consequently, OBD II Scanners can read the DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes) to identify specific problems. When an issue is encountered, the car owner can look up the meaning of the code in display and refer to troubleshooting manuals to find ways of fixing it. The codes’ meanings are normally supplied by the manufacturer in a hard copy, or soft copy which can for easy retrieval via any computer.

Consistent with the OBD II functionality, the Check Engine light on the dashboard is known in the service industry as an “MIL” or Malfunction Indicator Light. It displays three types of signals. When occasional flashes are displayed, this would mean momentary malfunctions. If the problem is serious then it flashes continuously, and this normally occurs when the problem has to do with emissions or the vehicle’s safety. When the MIL has a constant flash, this indicates a serious problem which requires an immediate response. Failure to respond to this state of the MIL alarm can lead to engine damage.

Serious failure signals causes the MIL to be turned ON any time the vehicle is running and will not turn OFF until the MIL is reset or the problem is fixed. Occasional and random failures causes the MIL to light instantly but these often go out before the problem is located. The freeze frame of the vehicle’s condition captured by the computer at the moment of malfunction can be very valuable during problem diagnosis. In some cases if the vehicle finishes three driving cycles without the problem happening again, the freeze frame will be erased.

All of these are handy descriptions of what OBD II scanners can do to make your car safer and easier to troubleshoot. The advances in control technology have allowed more sophisticated control systems to constantly check your vehicle so you will not have to worry when driving.

How to Choose The Best Road Bike

When choosing your next road bike, more times than not, most people are only looking at the price of the bike and not the quality. Although price is obviously important, it is equally important to recognize the value based on the price you are paying for the bike.

Your search for a new road bicycle must begin by answering several basic questions.

Used-vs-New

There are many places to find used bicycles today. You can find plenty of them for sale on Craigslist in most price ranges. This may be a viable option if you are limited to how much you can spend. Buying a used road bike can pose many problems including knowing about any existing issues the former owner had with the bike. Even though the bike may look shiny and clean there may still be serious problems which may cause a failure down the road.

You must visually inspect all the parts of the bike to see if you can find obvious signs of wear. Everything wears out, but it is the amount of wear and how quickly it wears out that must be taken into consideration. The frame has to be looked at with a careful eye because if there is a small crack in the weld the bike will be virtually worthless.

You can always swap out the components yourself if you have the capacity to do so. Your local bike shop can do this but at a much higher price. These are just some of the problems with buying a used bike. Imagine the kind of injuries you could get if the brakes failed while you were riding.

Mid-Range Price VS Low-Range Price

You can categorize road bikes relative to their pricing so in this article we will focus on the mid to lower-range road bikes. Road bikes generally range in price from 200 to 400 dollars for the low range and 400 to 1200 dollars for the mid range. Now you may say that 1200 dollars is a lot of money for a mid range priced road bike but when you take into consideration that you could pay upwards of 10,000 dollars for a higher priced road bike it doesn’t seem so high.

The difference between these bikes is the quality of the frame, crank, derailleur, gears, brakes, tires, seat, head post, handlebars etc. So basically the overall quality of the bikes will be as different as night and day. Although you will be probably be getting a Shimano derailleur on both bikes you will be not be getting the Shimano XTR Shadow on the low priced road bike. This holds true for most of the components on the road bike.

If you don’t care then the least expensive bike might be the right choice for you. An example would be, if you couldn’t afford the higher priced Schwinn Laguna road bikeyou could instead look at the lower pricedRapido by Lamborghini. Both are excellent road bikes and for a beginner the Rapido may be just what the doctor ordered. If you can afford something in between, theTommaso Monzamight just be the road bike for you.

Repair Costs

Considering the cost of component replacement can you say that you really saved any money. To replace the derailleur will cost you anywhere from 100 to 200 dollars and more depending on the bike shop and the derailleur you choose to replace it with. The same holds true for most of the components on the bike. The original price of the road bike will be far exceeded by the cost to replace it’s components.

The rule of thumb is that if you buy cheap you get cheap.

Embroidery and Needlework

For many years now, embroidery remained popular for leisure pursuits and commercial ventures. It’s an excellent way to customize or personalize belongings and garments to suit fashion, taste, and inclination. Different designs are created on fabrics and other materials with the use of needlework. You can use a manual or a basic sewing machine or you can also use the latest computerized embroidery machines.

Modern embroidery is now complex and intricate. You can create various patterns in a couple of minutes instead of spending hours and days working on it manually. Portable units are usually about 180 pounds and less than thirty inches (width). You can find machines that operate quietly and so you won’t disturb anyone.

The threads used in these machines are rayon or polyester. Like the sewing machine, the embroidery machine also has a spool and bobbin for the stitches. For enhanced outcomes, you can make use of stabilizer and backing; these provide stability and support to your projects. You can do different stitches using the machine like running, fill, underlay, and satin.

The modern machines are usually equipped with patterns and designs. Some of the designs allow you to include dates or lettering for special events. You will simply enter the design on the computerized machine and the machine will do the stitches for you.

Even if you’re a newbie, you can create beautiful patterns. If you want to take embroidery seriously, then it would be best to take embroidery classes so that you will learn the basics and other placement techniques; you will also learn more about hooping caps, correct threading and adjustments, and other similar tasks.

You should know how to operate the software so that you can use the machine with ease. There are factors that affect embroidery like design quality, size, quantity, thread type, and material. All these things should be considered carefully so that you can start creating masterpieces.

Find the perfect embroidery machine now so that it will not take weeks or months to finish a project. If you’re going to use the machine at home, you can buy the basic embroidery machine but for those who are planning to invest in an embroidery business, perhaps you might want to consider the commercial type machines so that all the stitching tasks are handled properly and on time.

Embroidery is more fun these days so you’d better get your very own machine now.

Buying an Airbrushed DOT Motorcycle Helmet

Department of Transportation (DOT) approved motorcycle helmets are common in the United States. In fact, DOT certification is the minimum standard a helmet must meet to be sold for the purposes of motorcycle head protection in the US. DOT certification requires that the helmet meet specific standards in terms of durability and protection. These standards are set by the US Department of Transportation. Of course, motorcycle riders who buy DOT certified helmets are concerned with protection, but they are also concerned with style. To that end they may opt for an airbrushed DOT motorcycle helmet to serve both purposes well.

An airbrushed DOT motorcycle helmet combines protection and style and can do so without the cost of high end motorcycle helmets by companies like Yamaha, Arai, and Shoei. Airbrushing designs on motorcycle helmets goes back to the fifties, but the popularity of the art form was not truly realized until the early seventies when airbrushed artwork became an en vogue style for both motorcycle helmets and vans, when it was very common for fantasy style art to be airbrushed on the sides.

The popularity of airbrushing on vans and motorcycle helmets waned by the mid eighties and is almost never seen on vans today (especially since vans have largely been replaced by SUVs), but many bikers still choose airbrushed designs for their helmets.

Airbrushed DOT motorcycle helmets typically feature familiar biker artwork airbrushed on the helmet shell. Things like snakes, Harley-Davidson logos, alcoholic beverage logos (Jack Daniels and Budweiser, anyone?), and rock band logos are common, as are stylized designs based on the bikers name, religious imagery, and flames.

It is harder to find airbrushed helmets today because so many of the newer motorcycle helmets being produced have wild and flashy colors in crazed patterns added by the manufacturers themselves, especially in racing style helmets and dirt motorcycle helmets. In most cases, bikers who want to have an airbrushed DOT motorcycle helmet must purchase a solid colored helmet and then hire an airbrush artist to perform the design work for them or, if they are artistically inclined, they can do the airbrushing themselves.

Pre-airbrushed DOT motorcycle helmets do exist, however, but the biker must visit a specialty shop to purchase one in many cases. These may cost a little more and the biker loses the ability to have the design done to his specifications, but the artwork itself is often quite stunning. The internet may also be a source for motorcycle helmets with airbrushed designs and buying online almost always means buying for less.

A biker with internet access is likely to find a helmet sale online with a Google search and a few clicks. Any site that specializes in motorcycle helmet sales is bound to have some type of airbrushed helmets which also meet DOT standards and online auction sites such as Ebay and its biggest competitor, Yahoo! Auctions are also a good bet for those seeking an airbrushed DOT motorcycle helmet.

How to Find the Best Deals on Zero Turn Mowers

Zero turn lawn mowers are great pieces of equipment for lawn care, but they can be quite expensive. Companies have used them for a long time, but companies can afford buying thousands of dollars machineries, because they have a budget to go around. As a budget minded consumer, and a clever one, you need to learn all the tricks and tips for hunting down the best deals. If you afford to wait a little and learn about all the necessary info on riding lawn mowers and zero turn lawn mowers, you can save a lot of money, and put some in your pocket, instead of throwing them of the window.

Where to Shop

Lawn mowers are sold on different venues, but the main idea is to find the one that suits best your requirements. For instance, if you know a little about repair, and you are technically inclined by nature, you may not be that interested in maintenance and repair services. For you, the best places to shop for zero turn lawn mowers are large chain shops that often offer discounts on their best sellers, and hot and popular items. The price for a certain zero-turn type of mower may be lower than you expect, because these stores are dealing with a large amount of sales. On the other hand, if you want to have where to go for repairs, it is recommended that you go to a lawn equipment specialist, that may ask for a higher price than what you see in chain like stores, but also offers maintenance and repair services.

You should never forget about online dealers. Zero turn lawn mowers gain more and more popularity each day, and online retailers cut their own part of the deal. Go for the most reputed dealers, though, as you do not want to get yourself entangled in a shady business, and ending with your money taken for nothing.

When to Shop

Knowing where to shop for the best deals is one thing, but you can score a great deal if you know when to shop as well. Buying in full blown lawn season – that, by national agreement, is between March and May – is not such a great idea, because sellers take advantage of the fact that everybody searches for the same items in the same time, and they rarely lower the prices during these months. Buying off season can bring you an up to 25% reduction in price, and you can afford buying a model that you have never thought about during the lawn season. Also, if you want to score a good deal, you can go for an uncrated, or a discontinued model that sellers want to get rid of. Still, pay attention to details, and see if the uncrated items are somehow damaged. Ask your local seller if they know about some clearance sales, and to notify you of such upcoming events, so you can buy a zero turn lawn mower at only a fraction of the price.

As you can see, it is worth paying a little attention to details, in order to save money of lawn care equipment. Even zero turn lawn mowers can be bought at amazing prices, if you know where and when to shop.

Tips on Replacing Riding Lawn Mower Tires

Unlike the hassle of changing flat car tires, replacing riding lawn mower tires is easier and simpler although it depends on the area the mower is as the tires are changed. This is because you do not carry a spare tire while you are mowing. As such, it can be disappointing if you are mowing at a distance from where the spare tire of your riding lawn mower is.

On the other hand, if you are replacing riding lawn mower tires, you should make sure of your safety first. Changing a flat car tire is not as perilous as changing riding lawn mower tires. You should first consider a few things before changing mower tires.

First, you have to make sure that the lawn mower sits on a flat surface. If you are on a raised terrain as the tire goes out, make sure you find a way to bring the mower to a safer area that is flat level.

Once the mower is already on a flat surface, you can start replacing the riding lawn mower tires. Take off the tire and clean it to eliminate any debris or dirt that covers the lug nuts. Then, you can already loosen the lug nuts after cleaning the tire. Make sure that the wheel is on the ground when you loosen the lug nuts.

Have the jack lift the mower and take off the lug nuts completely. Make sure you are able to block the rear wheels to avoid the mower rolling backwards as you lift with the jack. Set aside the flat tire and take it for repair or buy a new tire.

Once you have inflated that tire, put it back to the mower and secure the lug nuts finger tight. Once you bring down the mower with the jack, tighten the lug nuts to make sure the wheel does not come off while in use.

All Recumbent Trikes for Grown Ups

Have you noticed the great rise in popularity of recumbent tricycles? It can easily be explained with their total stability blended with comfort and effectiveness. Whether you are an enthusiastic rider with special needs or a competitive long distance rider a recumbent tricycle may be just the solution for you. Get on oen and you are ready to go, with no slow learning curve or heavy clunky tricycle. The best part is that you will not take a tumble if you hit gravel or some other small obstacle in the road.

They also give you a great advantage in hill climbing. Since you have greater stability you don’t need to maintain a high speed to keep your balance. Many people have trouble sustaining the speed necessary to keep them upright and end up walking their bicycles up a hill. Using one allows you to take the hill at your own pace, and even stop and rest if you feel like it.

The stability of a three wheel recumbent tricycles gives you the flexibility to move onto a soft shoulder of the road when faced with a large vehicle bearing down on you. You don’t need to worry about the dangerous situation of having a car pass to close by because you are afraid to lose you balance by pulling onto the shoulder.

There are two main types of them. The delta model has one wheel in the front and two in back while the tadpole model has two wheels in the front and one in the back. Tadpole tricycles often will have a larger gear range and are more aerodynamic due to the lower seat for the rider. The delta models tend to make getting up and down easier due to their higher seat. You will also often find a shorter turning radius with the delta model.

A Brief Hot Tub History

The modern hot tub has been around for decades, but its history goes back much further. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans were some of the first civilizations to use hot tubs. Japanese bathhouses, Finland’s spa tradition, and cultures throughout the Renaissance period have used various forms of spa technology.

The Origins of the Modern Hot Tub

All the way back in the early days of civilization, hot tubs were in use – albeit under a different name and design. For the Greeks and Romans, bathhouses were places where people would socialize, conduct business, hang out with friends, eat, and drink. These bathhouses were large buildings that focused on beauty as much as functionality.

The 1950s and 1960s

Modern day hot tubs can be traced back to the middle of the 20th century, specifically the 1950s and 1960s. They first caught on in California, where vineyard owners and wine aficionados would fill old vats with hot water. With this as the foundation, a group of men – with the last name Jacuzzi – attempted to see if they could turn these rudimentary tubs into a solution for the painful symptoms of arthritis. The result was the world’s first hydrotherapy pump, which began showing up in hospitals, schools, and health centers all throughout country. By the 1960s, the brothers started selling whirlpool baths with integrated hydrotherapy pumps and plumbing.

The 1970s-2000s

By the time the 1970s rolled around, there was an entirely new industry and product in the United States. Known as Jacuzzi’s or hot tubs, these devices caught on in popularity and moved from basic wooden vats to reliable, sophisticated, and elaborate acrylic pools. Today they are considered a necessary addition to any private pool or spa.

SpaCap

At SpaCap, they are always looking at how to improve their hot tub covers and finding ways to revolutionize the industry. That’s exactly what they’ve done with their innovative hot tub covers. Since the modern era of hot tubs, the hot tub cover has largely been an after thought. Something to be “thrown in” with the purchase of the spa.

Just wrapping a piece of rigid foam board with upholstery material doesn’t make for a very good solution. The foam that is used in those traditional covers is not intended to be used in wet conditions. Because the steam from the heated water always finds a way into the foam, that kind of cover will always get heavy.

The SpaCap does not use foam, but layers of air to do the insulating. So their hot tub covers that stay lightweight are easy to use for years to come.

Childs Bike Seat – Having Them On Your Bike May Not Be Enough

Parents, who are anxious and curious to know about getting their kids on their cycling trips are already geared up on the prospect of taking their kids on childs bike seats mounted on their bicycles. Well, one thing is for sure – These seats do allow the tot to enjoy the ride, while not having to worry about him getting injured. If you thought the deal was sealed and it is time for you to speed away on the roads, think again. There are some things you may want to know of even now.

It is important for you to cover all aspects of safety of your child while you ride the bike. In that regards, merely having a childs bike seat may just not be enough for you to guarantee the safety of your kid.

Here are few safety tips while you ride with your kid on the childs bike seat

·         Even before you start riding, make sure that the kid has all the safety gear worn. Of course, the tot would be too small to understand the safety gear and its importance, so you might have to take the effort to put them on your kid. Note – Kids get slightly hassled with all the new things on them, but we believe being a parent you can sort this problem out.

One of the most important safety gears is the helmet. The kid should in all cases wear a helmet, even if he is not riding the bike.

·         Don’t drive too fast with your kid in the child bike seat – Well, over-speeding almost never helps, and with your kid on the childs bike seat, it could almost certainly invite trouble. Remember one thing before pedaling too fast – Your kid may not be in a position to maintain his balance in case you braked too fast. In such a scenario, he might fall of the bike seat causing severe harm to himself.

·         Follow safety rules at all times – Well, if nothing helps, following safety rules could almost certainly come to your rescue. You never know how the approaching vehicle is with the safety norms, but it will certainly help you if you do your bit well.

·         Never travel on overcrowded roads – The thumb rule on driving with your kid on the childs bike seat is – Don’t take to overcrowded roads either. Staying in your locality, we are sure you would know of the traffic conditions on the roads. If it needs you to travel through crowded roads to reach the market, you are advised to keep your kid home.

There is no reason why parents should feel these safety rules are complex, because they really aren’t. All of them are simple enough for you to understand and implement. Remember – Your thought of having fun while riding and including your kid in the fun is well appreciated, but you obviously don’t want the fun to end up in an accident. Make sure you follow these safety rules for a safe riding experience.