Tips for More Comfortable Cycling

Extra comfort on your bike does not have to be expensive. The Bicycle Fork tested different solutions. We chose a common vowel road as a test course. With simple and cheap interventions, we succeeded in reducing the vibrations on a city bike by 57 percent.

How has it been tested?

With a test bike we have driven at 20 kilometers per hour on the same. For each test drive we have changed one part – a suspension seat post for example – to determine the extent to which it succeeds in damping vibrations. We measured the vibrations on the handlebars and on the saddle. The vibration meter registers the acceleration a hundred times per second. The measured values ​​were then converted to an average value. As a starting point for the vibration test we have taken a bicycle with a fixed saddle, a rigid front fork and Schwalbe Big Apple tires with 4 bar tire pressure. We have taken this bicycle as a standard (100 percent) in order to be able to determine the effects of the different components.

Wider tires

You can increase the comfort of your bike the fastest and easiest by driving with soft tires. A pressure reduction from 4 to 2 bars immediately yields a spectacular result: 32 percent fewer vibrations on the saddle and 35 percent less on the steering wheel.

But of course, you cannot reduce the pressure with impunity. Each tire requires a minimum pressure. If you drop below the recommended pressure, the tire will wear out quickly and you will have a better chance of punctures. The minimum pressure depends mainly on the width of the tire: the wider the tire, the lower the minimum pressure. A tire with a width of 37 millimeters is fitted on most city bikes. The minimum pressure is about 3.5 bar.

If you want more comfortable cycling with soft tires, you will have to fit wider tires. The Schwalbe Big Apple for example. It has a width of 50 millimeters and the minimum pressure is only 2 bars. Unfortunately, many bicycle fork are not suitable for wide tires. The maximum width is limited by the space at the frame, the brakes or the mudguards. Fortunately, more city bikes are equipped with standard wide tires.

Of course, softer tires have a higher rolling resistance. But that disadvantage is highly dependent on the subsurface. On smooth asphalt it is advisable to cycle with inflated tires. But on a bad road surface you can drive faster with soft tires. The vibration reduction not only provides more comfort but probably also more speed because the bike and rider are less shaken.

Not all tires are equally good. Smooth tires appear to be better feathered than rigid tires. We compared the Schwalbe Big Apple with the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. With a Marathon Plus your saddle vibrates 25 percent more, because the belt is stiff and has a thick anti-puncture. For the comfort you better buy the smooth Big Apple. An additional advantage is a low rolling resistance. But because of the thin anti-spill layer you have a greater risk of tire problems.

Suspension seat posts

The traditional solution for more comfort is a saddle with springs. But the saddle of Lepper turned out not to bring any comfort improvement. Now this is a saddle with rather stiff feathers. But do not expect miracles from saddles with smoother feathers.

Resilient seat posts can significantly increase the cycling comfort. We have placed two different models over the klinkerweggetje. The Suntour SP and the Airwings Evolution. The Suntour is a seat post with hinged parallelogram and elastomeric suspension. This combination provides a vibration reduction of 20 percent on the saddle. The Suntour SP has a low price and a solid construction. The Airwings Evolution is a seat post with a normal construction whereby a bar with saddle slides into a tube with springs. With cheap seat posts, this construction provides quick play. With the Airwings not because the pin is equipped with a linear ball bearing. The construction makes the seat post expensive. The Airwings gives a vibration reduction of 27 percent and thus provides a little more comfort than the Suntour SP. But the Airwings tends to mess. You notice that especially when you cycle over a speed bump. Another disadvantage is that the pin springs in the direction of the seat tube. That gives the feeling that your saddle wants to get away from you. The suspension of the Suntour SP in the direction of the back feels much more natural.

Mounting a spring seat post is easy. There are two points to look out for. The diameter of the seat post must match the inside diameter of the frame. If you have too large a frame tube you can buy a filling bush.

In addition, there must be sufficient space between the top of the frame and the saddle rail. For the Suntour SP this is about 12 centimeters and for the Airwings 13 centimeters. If you want your saddle lower, you cannot mount these seat posts.

Suspension fork

A suspension fork increases comfort for your hands, arms and wrists. We have tested two models. The RST 801 and the Post Moderne Cozy – SL. These are simple suspension front forks with only steel springs and a simple elastomer damping. These front forks are also frequently used on city bikes. The vibration reduction of these front forks appears to be small. At the RST this is only 7 percent. The Post Moderne performs slightly better and gives a reduction of 11 percent.

 

Mounting a new front fork is a difficult job due to the parts you have to transfer and cutting the front fork. When you buy, make sure you have the correct size of fork tube (1 inch or 11/8 inch) and the type of steering head bearing (with wire or cordless). And beware: when replacing an ordinary low fork with a high suspension front fork, the geometry of the bicycle fork changes.

Conclusion

Fitting wide, flexible tires and a sprung seat post is simple, inexpensive and delivers a lot of results. Of course, you can also combine soft tires with a sprung seat post. The gain in comfort with Big Apple tires at 2 bar and the Airwings saddle is impressive. The vibrations decrease by 57 percent. The only problem may be that the straps or seat post do not fit. We do not recommend replacing a rigid fork with an inexpensive suspension fork: it is a lot of work and produces little results.

5 Basic Ingredients Of The Marketing Plan

A marketing plan gives your company a flying start and works cost-saving. This plan fulfills the set objectives in the business plan. You can use an external agency for this purpose, but by writing the marketing plan yourself you will also gain more insight into your company. At any cost, you must remember the following things  5 basic ingredients of a marketing plan.

  1. Internal and external analysis

You must be aware of the matters that is used in your field and environment. With an external analysis you can identify the market, customers and your competition. What are your strengths and weaknesses? You can do this, by applying the SWOT system: SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. An internal analysis describes the state of affairs in your company and mirrors them to the competition.

  1. Strategy 

With a marketing strategy you determine the goals you want to achieve with your company in the long term. By setting provisional (and measurable) targets you can quickly make smaller jumps which helps you to reach your long term goals. You also have to find a good balance between ambition and false modesty. If you are setting an easy and achievable target then  you will not gain much in comparison with the competition, but thinking too big can also cause disastrous consequences. The marketing mix is a useful tool for determining your marketing strategy.

  1. Target group

For whom are you going to work and how do you intend to market your product? You should find out which target groups apply to your organisation . This can vary greatly per company and sector. In this way, consumers can be your main target group, but you can also focus primarily on the intermediate or retail trade. Do not forget to describe your ideal customer or clients in detail, also known as gauge. This makes it easier to make a realistic estimate of the size of your target group.

  1. Budget

Your budget must also be determined in the marketing plan. Whether you have more than sufficient starting capital or not, you will have to specify how much money you can make available for the various market segments (product development, price discounts, etc.). Calculate per product how much money you are expected to spend.

  1. Evaluation

Have you completed your marketing plan? Then you are not there yet, because a company should always move on towards the future plan to make your company grow faster.

In short: If you work on the plan then you can see a growth in your company after 6 months from the point you started.

Make sure that you regularly evaluate your marketing plan.

This allows you to quickly adjust when objectives or targets are not being met and you will not be surprised at the end of the year.

How To Promote Your Brand

Whether you are a business owner of a long term business or someone who is starting up, or even if you work for someone else, your “personal branding” is important. Your brand is how people will see you and how they will recognize you.

You’ll want them to think about your business every time they see you, or think about you every time they see your brand right?

Here are some ways to promote your brand to help you accurately and effectively be successful:

Play big

Have you been playing it small? Are you always shunning compliments and stop at the sight of risks? Maybe it is time to step up your game a bit. If you want to be successful, act like it. Be there, put yourself there. When you always put yourself down then you are just putting yourself away from your goals.

Broaden your network

Every relationship is important. In order to be successful, you have to broaden your network. Build your relationship with the right people, engage with people with the same interests as you. Let them know you exist. Let them connect to you too. This will give you more opportunities and probabilities of success.

Be someone they would want to listen to

If you really want to be out there, then you should start guest-blogging. Look for blogs that your target audience would want to read and subscribe to. Contact the editor or the owner of the blog about a possible collaboration or guest blogging. This will put your name out there. Their readers will be able to read what you write and link back to your site.

Think of your target market

Thinking too much of what your business can do for you is not going to help you. What you can do instead is to think about what your target audience need. Give them what they need and watch them respond to your brand and make it work for you. It may seem a little unfair at first, but when you start reaping what you receive from giving, then you will understand.

Be what you want to be

The most important key to personal branding is your image. Of course you will want to portray someone whom your target audience will believe in and look up to. Before you post or say anything, think about it. Is it in line with the image that you are trying to portray? If it is contradicting, then you might as well not post it anymore. The key of course is being yourself, but you may want to step it up a bit to increase your chance to success.

 

Personal branding is very important to any business. How you portray yourself to others and how you will be known is important. It is vital to be yourself, but it is also important to revisit your goals. What do you want to accomplish? What are you doing this for? Once you have answers to this questions then start your promotion for your personal branding.