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Maintenance and emergency kit keep bicycles rolling

To get some idea of how a bicycle works, it is a good idea to set it up on a stand and then watch all of the bike's moving parts as they turn. As a result, you learn through observation.

If the casing splits on clincher tires, you can cut out a piece of tennis shoe canvas, or similar material, and, using the cement from the tube-repair kit , cement the canvas to the inside of the tire. Be sure that no cement overlaps the patch since the overlapped cement will stick to the tube.

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A rip in a clincher tire can be makeshift-repaired with strong adhesive tape wrapped around the rim and tire. This means you'll have to let out the brake a little in order to fit the extra width of the tape. A large rip in the tube may not hold air with just a patch.

Try sewing it with dental floss and then put the patch over the stitch.

If you bend the rims in a mishap, perhaps they can be trued. To true a bent rim, slowly bend the rim over a fence, rock, or other stationary object. Since the rim metal is not designed to be bent, this should be done with care.

It's better to do it slowly than to rush the job. A spoke wrench can be used to take out the rim's smaller bends.

Toe clips are very necessary for full efficiency in bike riding. Toe clips can be improvised out of a coat hanger or some baling wire, both of which are usually readily available.

When you replace the gear or brake cables, don't cut off the excess wire, Rather, coil it up carefully and tightly so it doesn't get caught in any moving parts. This way it can possibly be used later when needed.

Any bicycle can be a good if well maintained. Learning repair and maintenance comes with experience. Bike-repair manuals are not always necessary but often help to clarify certain points.

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Stewart L. Udall, former secretary of the interior, writes: "The comeback of the bicycle is a sign of national sanity.

"In a time when our cities are saturated with automobiles, when noise and air pollution are increasing and the US is running out of petroleum, an upsurge of interest in this best of the self-propelled vehicles is good news for everyone. For over a generation Americans have marched to the suffocating siren song of the combustion engine. We have spent billions to build dangerous, overcrowded highways.

"Now the energy crisis is trying to tell us that we have pushed our gas-guzzling . . . combustion machines as far as the limits of our resources will take them.

"The time has come to turn back to the bicycle, to shank's mare, to clean and conventional modes of public transportation."

There now are about 75 million bicyclists in the US, making bicycling the No. 2 leisure sport and second only to swimming.

The June 1977 issue of Organic Gardening magazine showed many further innovative uses of pedal power.

The eight-part article, excerpted from the book "Pedal Power" by Rodale Press , showed how pedal power is successfully used to power workshop tools, grind grains, mow the lawn, pump water, make electricity, lift heavy loads, wash clothes, shred compost, saw wood, plow snow, cultivate fields, pull a seeder, dislodge small tree stumps, and so on.

There are various adaptions of pedal power, but basically it involves a device (with or without a seat or wheels) which you pedal (or pump) and turn a drive train which directly or indirectly performs the desired mechanical function.

Other innovations are being made on the tricycle design so this vehicle can be used as a work and hauling vehicle.

This trend holds much promise, not only for developing countries, but for everyone in the highly advanced technological nations which would be hardest hit by a fuel shortage in the future.

A New Jersey company, called Pedalpower, Specializes in battery-operated systems for bicycles that assist the rider in going uphill, extends the cruising time, and gives the rider rest periods while under way.

A Pedalpower unit can be attached to any bicycle, although the company makes its own bikes as well.

This bike is a cross between a moped and a regular bicycle, uses no fuel, and requires no license to operate. The Pedalpower tricycle is an effective work tool that can haul small loads which are too difficult to carry on a bicycle or motorcycle. It also is very useful for the handicapped and elderly.

Distance up to 25 miles can be attained on a fully charged batter with a speed of about 8 miles an hour without pedaling. By pedaling, a speed of about 15 mph can be achieved.

In the late 1880s there was a revolution in both the home and industy as pedal power became widely adapted to a wide array of jobs which formerly were done by hand.However, as the internal-combustion engine gained in use and popularity, pedal power was quietly put back in the closet.

Now it is out of the closet and on its way once again. The technology has been around for a long time -- just waiting to be applied.

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