Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Schriever Sentinel

Pedal smarter not harder

By Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello

50th Space Wing Public Affairs

Summer in the Rockies begs for outdoor recreation. Many Team Schriever members have opted to take advantage of the uncharacteristic weather and bicycle to work or around base instead of driving.

This is all good, in theory, unless a mechanical problem arises.

Avid bicycle enthusiast Derek Hamby, 50th Force Support Squadron chief of manpower and organization, bikes 20 miles at Schriever daily, but not without proper preparation.

“Biking is a great way to increase your fitness level,” Hamby said. “For people wanting to bike around Schriever, I’d suggest going out in late morning because it’s less windy. Also, wear biking clothes, a well-fitted helmet, carry a chain tool and an extra tube.”

No matter how prepared somebody may be for a bicycle mishap, all the tools in the world won’t do any good unless the member knows how to use them.

Though Schriever and Peterson’s outdoor recreation programs do not yet support a bicycle maintenance tutorial for military members, the United States Air Force Academy’s 10th Force Support Squadron, approximately 37 miles from Schriever, offers a two-day class, “Out There Bike Repair,” for Department of Defense personnel.

“The course covers things like flat repair by changing and patching tubes, chain repair, shifter and brake cable adjustment and replacement, headset adjustment and wheel truing,” said Brett Billings, 10th Force Support Squadron lead recreation assistant. “Customers can use our rental bikes to work on or bring in their own bike. Bringing in a personal bike essentially gets the customer a free tune-up.”

A tune-up and the nuggets of knowledge gained from a bicycle maintenance class prepare the rider for mechanical obstacles that may arise, but some feel proactive, continual maintenance may be the key to a smooth ride.

“Keep your drive train clean and tuned,” Hamby said. “Preventative maintenance and checking your bike before every ride will keep you safe and your bike in working condition.”

Knowledge, support, tools and preventative maintenance combined will not only fast-track any bicyclist on their new healthy hobby, but protect the Air Force’s most valuable asset, the member.

“If you’re new to biking, start off on local streets near your house,” said Seth Cannello, 50 FSS fitness and sports director. “As you advance, start riding in busier areas and/or move to off-road. There are lots of fun trails around the area, but some are more advanced than others. Be sure you know what your skill level is and the level of the trail you are riding.”

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