Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bike Maintenance Tip – What you should do every time you ride

Good bike maintenance is an essential part of cycling safety. In order to stay safe and keep you bike in top condition, here are some simple checks you can do do every time you ride!

•    Make sure your tires are fully inflated. Give each tire a quick pinch to make sure they’re firm.

•    Check that both wheels are able to rotate fully. Make sure they move smoothly without sticking or catching on anything.

•    Squeeze both breaks to make sure they’re functioning properly. If you’ve been working on your brakes recently, be sure to double check the lines.

•    Check for loose parts. If you have a child seat, basket or other attachment, ensure that it is properly attached.

•    If dirt or mud gets on your bike, hose it down after you’re finished riding. This will help keep your chain and gears in good condition, and it’s much easier to do immediately after riding, before the grit has dried.

These basic measures are simple and quick, and they’ll help keep you safe and protect your bike from unnecessary wear and tear. Share your own bike maintenance tips on our Facebook and Twitter accounts!

This bike maintenance tip was based on information from Wikibooks.

Monday, February 25, 2013

MS Bike is heading to the Toronto International Bicycle Show

Visit MS Bike at the Toronto International Bicycle Show! Get an early look at this season’s bikes, equipment and accessories and find out everything you need to know about the 2013 MS Bike. The show runs from March 1-3 at the Better Living Centre on the Toronto Exhibition grounds. Stop by Booth #603 to meet the MS Bike team and register to have a chance to WIN a Norco Bike or fill out a ballot for a chance to win two free MS Bike registrations! Head to the show’s website for everything you need to know!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bike Maintenance Tip – Lubricating your chain

Lubricating your chain is an essential activity if you want to keep your bike running smoothly.

1.    Chose a lubricant appropriate to the environment you’ll be biking in. There are two main types of bike chain lubricant: wet lubricants for wet environments and dry lubricants for dry environments. Wet lubricants are more viscous, preventing them from washing away. Dry lubricants are slicker and looser so that they don’t pick up dust and grit.

2.    Clean your chain. Find out the best way to clean your chain here

3.    Once the chain is clean, run it slowly through the gear. As you do so, apply a drop of lube to each link. As the chain emerges from the gear, wipe off any excess or old lube, which will be darker than the fresh lube.

4.    Let the bike sit for a while. You may wish to give the chain one final wipe before riding.

Now your bike chain is clean, lubricated and ready to hit the road. Share your chain care tips on our Facebook and twitter accounts, and check our blog for more tips on keeping your bike fit and ready for MS Bike!

This bike maintenance tip was based on information from Wikibooks.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fundraising Tip: Release your inner artist!

Creating your own art is a great way to personalize your fundraising efforts. Whether you like painting, drawing, crafting or writing, there are plenty of ways you can use your creative talents to fundraise for MS Bike.

•    Auction off your artwork to friends and family members. Display you work at a social gathering and offer each work to the person who “bids” the highest donation.

•    Write a short story or poetry collection. Are you secretly an aspiring novelist? Flex your literary muscles by writing a short story or collection of poems and offering it in exchange for donations. You can print your work and give them a copy, or save it as a PDF and email it to donors as an eBook.

•    Have a craft sale. Craft sales are fundraising classics for a reason! Spend an afternoon making crafts with your friends and then sell them at work or school.

•    Hold a gallery show for your child’s class. This one is great for parents with young children. Talk to your child’s art teacher and arrange a night to display student’s art in the school. Parents are invited to come, peruse the class’s work and “purchase” their child’s art with a small donation.

How have you used art as a part of your fundraising efforts? Share your tips and ideas on our Facebook and twitter accounts!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

MS Bike will be at the Outdoor Adventure Show!

Spring may be a ways off, but it’s never too early to begin preparing for the cycling season. From February 22 to 24 the Outdoor Adventure Show will be at the International Centre in Toronto. Outdoor sporting gear and travel destinations will be on display and MS Bike will be there. Stop by Booth #603 for information on the 2013 MS Bike and a chance to WIN a Norco Bike or two free registrations! Admission prices, directions and other information can be found at the show’s website! We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pledge sheets are now available online! Login to your Participant Centre and click on the “download your pledge sheet” button on the main page. Use your sheet to record all your in-person cash donations. Print out more pledge sheets as you need them. Best of luck with your fundraising!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Maintenance tip – Keeping your bike chain clean

Across Canada, winter has taken hold and the roads are covered in snow, slush and salt. For all the cyclists who are still out on the road, it’s essential to keep your bicycle’s chain free of all that grit. Here’s how to take proper care of your bike chain and ensure a smooth ride the next time you cycle!

1.    Wipe off all the dirt that’s accumulated on your chain with a rag. Get as much off as you can, but don’t worry if you can’t get all of it.

2.    Select a solvent. When cleaning your chain, it’s important to make sure that the solvent you’re using is specifically made for cleaning bikes. Other solvents can release toxic fumes or damage the chain cleaner.

3.    If you have a chain cleaner, snap it on to your bike chain. Fill the cleaner with solvent and slowly rotate the pedals. As the chain moves through the cleaner it will be scrubbed by the cleaner’s brushes. If you don’t have a chain cleaner, a toothbrush can be used to effectively scrub your chain. Remove your chain and soak it in solvent. Hang it up to dry before reattaching it to your bike.

Keeping your chain clean prevents the wear caused by dirt and extends its lifespan. Our next maintenance tip will deal with another important part of chain care: lubricating your bike chain. In the meantime head over to our Facebook and twitter pages and share your bike maintenance tips.

This bike maintenance tip was based on information from Wikibooks.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Simple and easy fundraising ideas

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best! Here are some quick and easy ways you can raise money for your MS Bike fundraising.

•    How many candies in the jar? Set up a jar full of candy at your school or workplace. For a small donation, people can make a guess at how many candies are in the jar. The closest guess wins the jar!

•    Set up a Loonie Bin. Set up a bin with a sign requesting loonies as a donation to MS Bike. Place the bin in a high traffic area in your school, workplace or place of worship.

•    Start a countdown on Facebook or Twitter.
Start counting down MS Bike by letting people know how much you’ve raised, what your goals are and what their donation would mean to you!

•    Collect bottles or cans.
Collect empties from your family, friends and coworkers and return them where accepted. You’d be surprised how much you can raise this way!

•    Write a handwritten letter to potential donors.
Write a letter explaining what MS Bike is and why it’s important to you. End the letter with a request for donations. Mail the letter or deliver it by hand. Putting things in writing demonstrates your commitment and gives your request a personal touch.

There you go! Simple ideas to give your MS Bike fundraising a boost. If you have a simple fundraising idea or tip you’d like to share, head to our Facebook or Twitter pages!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Guys and Gals: A 1000 Plus – Gearing up to end MS

Alex Romanowich and his daughter first joined MS Bike in 2001. “My decision to join was partly selfish,” says Alex. At the time, he had just purchased a bike and wanted to make use of it. He then realized he knew many people who lived with MS, and began seeing MS Bike as a way to help end the disease.

Alex recalls his first MS Bike experience as being “incredible”. It was during this ride that he and his daughter met Peter Karelse and John Marshall, two other cyclists. The group became friends and in 2002 they formed an MS Bike team, 3 Guys and a Gal. Together they were able to raise $1400.

Ten years later the team has been renamed “Guys and Gals: A 1000 Plus” and includes eight riders. Each year, they dedicate their ride to someone with MS. “No matter who you talk to, someone knows someone who has MS,” says Alex, whose close friend, Ann, lived with MS for 30 years before passing away.

Every year Alex challenges his teammates to raise a minimum of $1000 each. To date, they’ve raised an outstanding $193,755 for people living with MS. Over the last decade, Alex has personally raised $56,000.

With the 2013 MS Bike just around the corner, Alex is hoping his team will continue to grow. At 71 years old, he hopes to continue riding until he’s 75. “I’m not riding for myself anymore. I’m riding for people with MS.”

If you’re interested in registering for MS Bike or forming a team, head to Share your own stories from MS Bike on our Facebook and twitter pages.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fundraising Tips for the Workplace

Have you already asked your friends and family for donations and aren’t sure who to ask next? With permission from your company, work can be a great place to fundraise for MS Bike. There are a lot of great activities you can use to raise awareness about your fundraising and get your coworkers enthusiastic about donating!

•    Collaborate on a bake sale. Ask your coworkers to bring in baked goods on a prearranged day and then sell them during your lunch break.

•    Have a movie week. Rent five short films and show them in a meeting room during lunch. Serve popcorn and snacks. Your coworkers can attend in exchange for a small donation.

•    Declare a packed lunch day. Everyone brings a lunch from home and donates what they would have spent on a store-bought lunch.

•    Have a contest. There are a lot of options for office contests: a bad hairdo contest, a talent contest, a trivia or guessing game. Ask local businesses if they’ll provide a prize for the winner and charge a small fee to enter.

Don’t be afraid to come up with your own ideas for fundraising events you think your coworkers would enjoy. A little bit of creativity can go a long way to increase your pledges! Remember to share your ideas with your fellow fundraisers on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Valentine’s Day Fundraising Tips

Valentine’s Day is only a couple weeks away! The most romantic day of the year is a great time to raise money for MS Bike, so here are some fundraising ideas to help you as you lace up for someone you love!

•    In exchange for pledges, host a Valentine’s Day dinner for the couples you know. Light candles, serve red wine and select a soundtrack of romantic music. Offer chocolates for dessert. Since most couples will have Valentine’s Day plans, consider holding your dinner a few nights before the 14th.

•    Sell homemade Valentine’s. If you enjoy crafts, get together with some friends and put together some Valentine’s cards to sell at school or work. Offer to add a personalized message for buyers. Consider adding a note on the back informing the recipient that this Valentine was paid for with a donation to MS Walk.

•    Run a Valentine’s Day messaging service at your school or workplace. Buy some small valentines cards at a local store. In exchange for a donation, people receive a Valentine that you’ll deliver to whoever they wish.

•    Hold a Valentine’s Day bake sale. A Valentine’s twist on a fundraising classic! Make heart-shaped cookies and cupcakes with pink and white icing. Customers who buy more than one item get a free chocolate!

If you’ve got Valentine’s fundraising ideas of your own, share them with your fellow bikers on Facebook and twitter! Then go out there and win some hearts for MS Bike!
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