Bicycles in Botswana

We received a few photos all the way from Botswana as our first container of bicycles donated to our Africa Project has arrived and begun to be distributed there.

IMG_5829 IMG_5834 IMG_5837 IMG_5852 IMG_5853 IMG_5854

As you can see there are a lot of tune ups to be done to get the bikes riding like new and a lot of smiling faces. A huge thank you to all who have donated. We’re looking forward to our second round of bicycles to ship in the near future.

5 Best Tips For New Mountain Bikers


Mountain biking is challenging, thrilling and a blast. If you are just getting started here are some helpful tips. It’s a good refresher for you seasoned trail riders too.group_of_experienced_mountain_bike_riders

1. Always look ahead
The first mistake new riders make is looking down at their front wheel or a spot just in front of it. Keep in mind, wherever you look your bike will follow. Do not look at the things you want to avoid. If you look at a rock and stay focused on it you will actually steer yourself right into it. Focus on the path you want to take and you will automatically steer yourself on that path. Keep your focus far out ahead of your bike.

2. Pick the right gears
Looking ahead allows you to anticipate approaching hills or obstacles and gives you time to shift into an appropriate gear. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is riding in too a gear that is “too hard” which causes them to spin too slow. This is really hard on your knees and will tire you out faster. You want to maintain a good momentum in an easier gear to roll over obstacles on the trail.

You want to anticipate what gear you need before you need it. Like approaching a hill, shift into an easier gear just before you reach the hill  Shifting this way also keeps you gears from grinding because you have much less pressure on the pedals when shifting this way.

3. Keep good tire pressureover_inflated_goax_goma_tire





Good tire pressure is key to maximizing grip and control. Too much pressure causes the bike to bounce along the trail. It makes the bike hard to control and makes you work a lot harder. Use a good floor pump with a gauge before each ride to set your tire pressure. The tire pressure range is written on the side of your tire (you will have to look really hard but it’s there). Use a pressure towards the lower end of the range.

4. Using the right bike

There are thousands of bike models out there. All were designed for a certain style and level of riding. There is no “one perfect” bike for you, but you do want to use a bike that was designed for the riding you are doing. It’s disappointing and dangerous to use a bike out of it’s design range. Think of the poor soul who buys a bike from a department store for $150 and then wants to go downhilling at the local mountain resort. Very disappointing and extremely dangerous.

5. Stay hydratedcamelbak-luxe-hydration-backpack
Drink lots of water before, during and after a ride, even if it’s not hot outside. Most mountain bikers do not drink enough. If you get dehydrated you will fell tired faster and even “bonk” (where you don’t have enough energy to keep riding). Energy bars a also a must. Carry them with you on your rides.

These are some of the basic tips that will help you enjoy your ride a lot more.

It’s your world, Ride it.

(thanks to Christian Woodcock and Bike Roar for the bulk of this article)

How to clean and lube your chain


5 easy steps to quickly clean and lube your chain for a longer life. Your chain will be happy, your bike will be happier and you will be happiest.

Keep in mind: Don’t apply lube to a dirty chain!

1. Clear Away the Gunk

clean_jockey_wheel_with_small_toolIt’s best to scrape away the larger deposits of gunk before degreasing. A good place to start is your rear derailleur all around the derailleur pulleys. An old tooth brush works well.



2. Wash

clean_bike_drivetrain_with_brush_and_detergentUse warm/hot water, a cog brush and bike degreaser. We recommend the Pedros Gear Brush and the WD40 Heavy Duty Degreaser. Give the drivetrain a good scrub and use the tail end of the Pedros brush to remove the buildup between the cogs. Be sure to use a light stray when hosing off your bike (not the full blast setting)

3. Degrease
apply_degreaser_to_bicycle_chainAny bike specific degreaser will do the trick since most use a non corrosive citrus or similar biodegradeable formula (we recommend the WD40 Heavy Duty Debreaser mentioned abovede). Apply the degreaser to your chain, rotate the cranks backwards a couple rotations and let it soak into the links for a minute or two.

4. Wipe Off
wipe_off_bicycle_chain_with_ragWash any remaining degreaser away with water. Grab the chain with rag in hand and rotate the cranks backwards a couple rotations. Let the rag clean off any remaining grease.  Your chain should be looking really clean at this point.

5. Re-lube

apply_lubrication_to_bicycle_chainIf you have a lot of grime build up on your chain it means you are over lubricating it or putting lube on top of a dirty chain. Lube should only be applied to a clean chain and as little as possible is best. Try to get the lube to penetrate into the inside of the chain links  because this is where it contacts the rear gear. Rotate the cranks a few times to get maximum coverage. Don’t worry if you over do it, the last step is to again grab the chain with a rag and wipe away any excess lube.

These are the best 5 basic steps to cleaning and lubing your chain. If you want to do a more thorough job we recommend using a chain scrubber tool that runs the chain through multiple brushes and degreaser. We recommend the Finishline Chain Cleaner Kit.

It’s Your World, Ride It

(Thanks to Author Christian Woodcock posted on BikeRoar for the bulk of this article.)

Our First Container has hit the road!

Yesterday morning some of our crew got together and loaded our first container bound for Africa. Check out the pictures below! We’re so grateful for all of our guest’s donations and can’t wait to see these bikes see new life and help make a difference in rural Africa.


Africa Bike Project Donations to be Shipped

Donating Bikes to AfricaOn May 8, 2014, Bicycle Warehouse owners Debbe and Mike Simmons will be hosting a “loading party” to celebrate their first full 40-foot container of donated bikes and gear being sent to Africa.

“It’s actually more of a working party. Roll up your sleeves and get loading” says Bicycle Warehouse co-owner Debbe Simmons who spearheaded the development of the Southern California Chapter of the “Africa Bike Drive & Sister Bike Shop Program”

“We are good friends with Ken Martin from Mike’s Bikes in San Francisco who started the non-profit foundation and has already sent over 10,000 bikes to Africa” says Debbe.

Once they learned about the program Debbe and co-owner Mike Simmons immediately began the Southern California Chapter to collect donations of bikes and gear through all of their retail stores in San Diego and Riverside.

“Excited beyond words” is how the whole crew from Bicycle Warehouse describes the news that their top vendor, Giant Bicycles, donated two full 40 foot containers of new bikes and gear to the cause.

“We are fortunate and proud to be Giants #1 retailer in the U.S. They stepped up in a big way with such a huge generous donation” says Debbe Simmons.

“All of the donated bikes and gear we’ve collected will be shipped to our Africa Sister Shops and refurbished before being made available to the local community” explained Bicycle Warehouse co-owner Mike Simmons. “These donated bikes find a new life providing access to food, water, employment, education and health care to many people who didn’t have it beforehand”

Bicycle Warehouse, located at 5710 Kearny Villa Rd, San Diego, CA 92123, is starting its second container load, and encourages you to donate to the on-going Africa Bike Drive.

Your Mountain Bike & Suspension Service

Wheeeeee!Depending on where you live mountain biking season has either already arrived or is right around the corner. Here in Southern California we’re lucky enough to live next to the first bike park to open this year, Snow Summit in Big Bear, CA.

Be ready to ride by keeping up on your bike’s service schedule. Below you’ll find a few charts with the time in between service. If you’ve not had your bike serviced in awhile stop in to one of our stores and have our expert mechanics get it riding like new.

Rear Shocks

Set Sag X
Set Rebound (shocks w/ rebound adjust)  X
Clean Shock Body X
Air Sleeve Maint. (wet & muddy conditions) X
Air Sleeve Maint. (dusty & dry conditions) X
Clean & Inspect Bushings & Reducers X
Suspension Fluid Service X

Front Forks

Set Sag X
Wash & Dry Exterior X
Clean & Inspect Dust Wipers X
Inspect Dropout Thickness X
Inspect Bushings X
Change Oil X
Change Fluid in Air Chambers (when applicable) X

“A Well-Maintained Bike is a Happy Bike”

awesomeHere at Bicycle Warehouse our mantra is “a well-maintained bike is a happy bike” and for good reason: if you don’t take care of your bike it won’t take care of you which can mean calling a friend for a ride home or long walk back to the trial head if your equipment fails, in other words the walk of shame.

We suggest that twice a year you bring your bike in for our Minor Overhaul. Your drive train (rear derailleur, cranks and chain) will be removed, soaked in a solvent bath, cleaned then reinstalled and adjusted. It will keep your shifting smoother and remove dirt and grime that is hard to remove when cleaning your bike yourself.

Along with the sparkling clean drive train your wheels are trued horizontally and laterally, the bike is fully cleaned and degreased, your headset adjusted, stem, seat, and seat post binder tightened, brake levers, shifter, and stem adjusted – PHEW!

Now you’re ready to ride!