Bicycle to Work Economically and Safely

12 months ago when gas prices were nearing their peak, I made the decision to purchase a bike to get to and from work. The idea was to save money with the added benefit of getting exercise. I purchased a bicycle from Wal-Mart for $105. The brand was a NEXT Avalon model and it has proven to be very reliable after one year of use. I have had no maintenance problems and I ride the bike an average of 7 miles a day six days a week.

The alternatives were bikes that were $400 to $700 and this bike does the job for much less. The helmet was also purchased from Wal-Mart for about $26.

After falling one time in the first month on a rainy day, I decided I needed kneepads and elbow pads. Again, I did my research and found that Academy had elbow pads and kneepads used in basketball that worked very well and were far less expensive than bicycle equipment. The gloves to ride were the same one people use to lift weights and they were again far less expensive than bicycle equipment. I have a little pouch that attaches to the handlebars found at Wal-Mart also and they have a very inexpensive backpack made of mesh that sells for about $4 and has lasted a year.

The health benefits are wonderful and keep me in shape. The bike ride to and from work is relaxing and very enjoyable even in the summers in Gulfport, which can be scorchers. I wear a lightweight reflective vest that makes me very visible to cars and I avoid high traffic streets and always ride toward oncoming traffic whenever possible. I don’t need someone hitting me from behind and I can see if someone is coming to close and move over.

You can ride very safely and economically with good equipment for less than $150.

How to Break a Bicycle Lock

Sometimes you may need to break a bicycle lock, or another type of lock, especially if you have lost the key or forgotten the combination. Rather than having an expert pick the lock it is usually just easier to bust the existing one and buy a new one. It is not as difficult as you think.

The first way is to use a sledgehammer. Believe it or not, most locks can be broken with only a few smacks of a hammer. There is usually a fracture point on the lock which will snap it fast.

Liquid nitrogen is extremely cold and it will freeze the lock way below freezing, making it easy to shatter. It is tricky to get ahold of and you may need to get some from a laboratory. Simply freezing the lock with snow will not work. After you let the liquid nitrogen do its’ magic you can simply smack the bicycle lock with a hammer and it will crack, check here.

Power drills are effective on breaking some bicycle locks, especially with those that have pin grooves.

Hacksaws work surprisingly well on steel locks and you can just cut through the chain or bar as opposed to taking apart the lock itself.

If the bicycle lock is cheap, then simply kicking it hard may work, but this can take some finesse and will not work with more expensive versions.

Another easy way to break a bicycle lock is to simply melt it. For this you will need thermite, which is used to weld railroad ties. It will take aluminum shavings and rust (iron oxide) mixed together in a putty which is then lit with a magnesium starter strip and a blowtorch. Since this concoction burns at over 2500 degrees you would need to be careful or it will melt your whole bike, and it will probably go through the pavement beneath it, so safety first.

When all else fails, be creative. There are many ways to break a bicycle lock, but just make sure it is not someone else’s property. You can get in serious trouble for stealing someone else’s bike.

Bill Sutton
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Bicycle to Work Economically and Safely