Editor’s note: This story is part of the CDT’s Active Life special section.
Spring is here, and with it comes a new bicycling season. In preparation for the season, Justin Wagner, co-owner of Freeze Thaw Cycles in State College, said cyclists should tune-up their bikes, grab a Purple Lizard trail map and be safe.
Centre County offers a wide range of cycling options. On any given day, cyclists can pedal on quiet country roads or head into the woods for a challenging mountain bike experience. Wagner said the first stop for the year should be at the bike shop.
“What we suggest is a stop into a bike shop to take a good look at what the bike needs,” Wagner said. “What we will do for free is take a look at the bike and determine if it needs a quick lube, a small fix or a complete tear down, but it all depends on how and when the bike was used last.”
Once the bike is ready for action, Wagner said it’s important to have it registered. Municipalities in the Centre Region register bikes for free. The registration will help authorities to locate a stolen bike or to call an owner if the bike is parked in an undesignated area.
When riding, Wagner said safety should always be a bicyclist’s main goal, especially when riding on the road. Pennsylvania law states that a passing car must stay 4 feet away from a cyclist, but Wagner said it’s a tough law to enforce, and, to be safe, bicyclists should not assume motorists are following it.
After a cyclist understands the basics and heads out for a day of biking, he said a Purple Lizard map is a must have.
Purple Lizard maps was founded in 1997 by cartographer and Penn State graduate Michael Hermann. The maps offer a comprehensive and detailed account of trails and topography of the area.
“We’re extremely lucky to have the maps for our area,” Wagner said. “Bikers are equipped with a map that can tell them where to bike or where not to bike in some cases and it really sets them up for success.”
Freeze Thaw offers all of the equipment a new or experienced cyclist could need, Wagner said, but Centre County offers cycling options that are second to none.
“The ease of access to trails is above and beyond what most places around the country have,” Wagner said. “I always tell people not to get spoiled because we truly do have world-class cycling in our area.”