Gear Prudence: I’m a seasonal bike commuter, and now that it’s getting warmer, I’m looking forward to getting back to riding to work. I mentioned this to one of my colleagues and she launched into this whole rant about how cyclists break traffic laws and blah blah blah—the usual. Every time it comes up that I bike to work, I get the same spiel. Otherwise, we have a really good relationship, but her negative attitude about bikes is just so annoying, and after hearing it so many times, it’s driving me crazy! How do I tell her that she should just keep her opinion to herself? —Shouldn’t Hear Usual Stale Harping
Dear SHUSH: Discretion is the better part of valor. For whatever reason, cyclists are a bugaboo for your colleague. Yet in spite of knowing this, you told her about your incipient plans to get back to riding to work. No one deserves to be berated ad nauseum about their commute choices, especially based on the perceived bad behavior of others, so GP sympathizes with your plight. But going forward, it’s probably best to not bring up biking. If unbidden she once again launches into her tirade, politely nod along until she finishes, explain to her that you have a different viewpoint, that this difference is likely irresolvable, and for your mutual benefit, you feel that you both should no longer discuss the matter. Don’t waste your time sharing with her academic studies and newspaper articles to prove to her cyclists have no excess proclivity for lawbreaking compared to drivers or pedestrians (though these exist). No one’s ever been persuaded by anything they’ve read in a newspaper. Enjoy your bike commuting and pay her no mind. —GP
Gear Prudence: How often should I replace my handlebar tape? If it’s not loose or ripped, is there any other reason to put on new tape? What about germs? —Worth Replacing Adhesive Part?
Dear WRAP: Like most replacement questions, the time period varies depending on a host of factors, most of which have to do with how frequently you ride your bike. Obviously, if your bar tape is falling off, frayed, worn, or cracked, it’s time to refresh it. But you might also want to swap it out sooner than that for a few reasons, including matters bacterial and related to potential handlebar corrosion. But that’s kind of secondary to the best reason for replacing your bar tape, which is purely aesthetic. New tape is a very inexpensive way to freshen up your bike, and choosing a different color is a great low-cost makeover. Wrapping tutorials are all over the Internet, and with some time and patience, you can learn to do a decent enough job. Or if you’re very finicky, the pros at your local bike shop will be more than willing to assist. —GP