Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A Brief History of Bike Polo and How You Can Get Your Bike Ready

The game of bicycle polo was invented in 1891, and it's directly modeled from the ancient game of horse polo, which dates back to 600 B.C., or very close to that time. The modern game of hardcourt bike polo is one of the world's fastest-growing urban sports.

An Irishman named Richard Mecredy invented bike polo as a lower cost alternative to traditional horse polo. The game somewhat disappeared after World War II, but made its comeback in the 1990s. The earlier version was usually played on grass, but most participants today play bike polo on asphalt instead.

The basic rules of bike polo

There are only a few simple rules for bike polo. They include:
  • Games consist of two teams, with three players to a team. There are no specific positions.
  • To score a goal, you have to hit the ball with one of the ends of your mallet, not the side (known as a shuffle).
  • If you touch your foot to the ground, known as "foot-down," you must touch your mallet near the center of the court, known as "tap-in," to be allowed back in play.
  • Any body-to-body, helmet-to-helmet, or bike-to-bike contact, known as "like contact," is allowed.

You can find the officials rules for bike polo at the North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Association. In the spring of 2017, 66.21 million people in America had gone cycling within the last 12 months. Of those, it's estimated that more than 10,000 people are playing bike polo.

Hardcourt bike polo gear you need for your bike

As of recent years, bike polo equipment is actually a flourishing industry with new technology emerging every year. Many bicycle manufacturers and bike shops supply Fixcraft mallets, protective gear, and even specific footwear for the sport, like shoes and toe clips for bikes.

You're definitely going to need bike polo framesets, as well as other parts designed for the sport if you want to start participating in bike polo. Ben's Cycle provides Milwaukee Bicycle Co and Fixcraft brand mallet heads, shafts, and even travel bags. You can shop our selection of Milwaukee Bicycle Co and Fixcraft (and other top brand) bike polo equipment to start your season off with high-performance equipment that will help you improve your gameplay and even secure more wins. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Bicycles Are Much Better For The Environment Than Cars: Here's How

It's probably no secret that bicycles are better for the environment than cars. Do you know exactly how that's true though? Here are just some of the many ways that bikes are better for our ecosystem compared to cars.

Fewer air pollutants and emissions

Cars are notorious for giving off greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants. In fact, more than 80% of the carbon monoxide in the atmosphere comes from motor vehicles that use gas and diesel. Automobiles are also responsible for 55% of the nitrogen oxide pollution in the air. If you were to ride your bike to work instead of driving a car, you can cut these emissions significantly.

Less fuel consumption

The University of North Caroline Highway Safety Research Center found that motor vehicles consume millions of barrels of oil every day in the form of gas and diesel. In 2010 alone, roughly 10 million barrels of gas were used every day for this purpose. Bicycles, on the other hand, use no fuel to
operate. Riding your bike instead of driving a car can significantly reduce the consumption of petroleum oil.

Reduced traffic/parking problems

Traffic is a problem for a few reasons. The first is that cars produce .97 pounds of pollution per mile every year. So the more traffic there is, the more pollutants end up in the air. The second problem is that traffic slows people down. Bikes can be up to 50% faster than cars during rush hour. Additionally, parking lots are a problem for the environment because they are taking away space for plant and animal life. This takes away the opportunity for air cleaners that reduce the quantity of carbon dioxide in their air. Bikes take up less space and therefore less parking.

Less energy during manufacturing

Finally, bikes are even better for the environment during the manufacturing process. The energy and resources it takes to make one single car can be used to make up to 100 bicycles. That includes the bike chainring bolts, steel track frames, and more. So before you even start driving a car, it's worse for then environment right off the assembly line.

Now that you understand how much better bicycles are for the environment, you probably want one. Here at Ben's Cycle, we have everything to satisfy your bike needs, from chainring bolts to bike pedals. We can help you be on your way to a healthier and cleaner life.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

4 Ways Riding A Bike Every Day Can Benefit Your Health: Part 2

As mentioned in our last installment, riding a bicycle every day has some amazing health benefits. It can relieve your anxiety and depression, it improves your quality of sleep, it can prevent cancer, and it helps speed up recovery time for many injuries. That's not the only way your health benefits from regular cycling. Here are four more ways your cartridge bottom bracket, chainring bolts, toe clips, and entire bicycle can do wonders for your health.

Improves heart health

Cycling is a great cardiovascular activity, making your heart stronger and healthier. Cycling also makes your skeletal muscles more sensitive to insulin, giving you better control over your blood sugar levels. According to the British Medical Association, cycling just 20 miles a week can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by 50%.

Burns fat

When you're cycling, you experience some resistance from the bike itself, as well as from the surface you're cycling on. According to a 2017 study, biking to work can burn as much fat as spending 40 minutes at the gym five times a week.

Boots immune system

Dr. David Nieman and colleagues conducted a study at Appalachian State University of over 1,000 adults up to the age of 85. In the study, they found that regular cycling had huge benefits for the upper respiratory system. In fact, people can reduce their sick days by about 40% by cycling most days of the week. Other experts also attest to the fact that regular exercise can boost the immune system by increasing the production of essential proteins and waking up white blood cells.

Builds muscle

As stated previously, the resistance you experience while cycling helps you burn fat. That resistance element also helps you build muscle. This is especially true for your hamstrings, glutes, calves, and quads. Muscle is leaner than fat, and people with higher percentages of muscle burn more calories and build stronger muscles.

These health benefits are undeniable, and they're inspiring as well. If you're ready to start the cycling life, you've come to the right place. Check out our inventory for custom bicycles, cartridge bottom brackets, bike stems, and more. You can build your dream bike and start your new journey to a healthy lifestyle today.


Friday, September 21, 2018

4 Best Care Practices For Every Beginner Bicycle Enthusiast

You love your new bike, and now you want to make sure it lasts through the years. Whether you like to ride it recreationally, to work, or even in races, there are many things you can do to keep your new bicycle in the best shape possible.

Keep it inside

Rain, snow, dirt, and moisture can do a serious number on your bicycle. The parts can wear out more quickly when you expose them to the elements more than necessary. This will end up costing you a lot of money in the long run because you'll have to replace parts before they really should need to be replaced. In addition, storing your bike indoors at night is the best way to ensure it doesn't get stolen from the bike rack, an unfortunately common crime.

Keep the tires inflated

One of the most important things you can do to take care of your bicycle is to keep the tires properly inflated at all times. If the tire pressure is too low, you have to work a lot harder to maintain your
desired speed. It can also lead to more flats and potential crashes. You should keep them inflated even during your off-season times.

Test your brakes

Before you go out for a ride, you should test your brakes at least once a month. While standing, press your Dia Compe brake levers to see that the front and rear pads firmly grip the sides of the tires. If you have to pull your Dia Compe brake levers all the way to the handles to stop, and that still barely slows you down, then your pads need to be replaced.

Oil up the chain

Your track chain should never be dry to the touch. If it is, you should clean it and oil it. Wipe it down with rags and then apply bike lubricant on each link. As you do, slowly peddle backward, grabbing onto your toe clips, and distribute the oil. Finally, blot away any excess lubricant.

There are about one billion bicycles in the world today, which is roughly twice the number of motor vehicles. To take care of yours, make sure you follow the tips listed above. You can also check out our inventory so you can regularly replace parts you wear through like chainring bolts, track cranksets, Dia Compe brake levers, and more.

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