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Bar height

Agree with your advice and suggest many riders are on frames that are too small for them, for a variety of reasons. Getting a comfortable fit on a too small frame is going to be more than challenging. Two additional points: 1. With quill stems, many brands don't allow much of an increase in height unless they've already been slammed down all the way into the steer tube. If additional height is needed, exchanging the original stem for one with a longer quill, as made by the very respected brand NItto, can allow a substantial bar height increase. 2. If you're swapping stems, in addition to an up-angled model, also consider reducing the length (or reach) a bit so you're not reaching quite so far. Many bikes, either true racing models or ones mimicking a race bike have 120 and 130mm stems. Dialing the length back 10 or 15cm can help improve comfort so the rider isn't reaching out so far. This would be especially true for someone with a shorter torso. The generally optimal fit for normal, recreational riders (as opposed to racer-wannbees) is with the seat at the same or even slightly below bar height. If you look at many cycletourists' bikes, they are most often set up this way. Tourists spend lots of time on the bike and have figured out how to be comfortable. Seat position is also well worth tinkering with. We certainly see some strange things in that area, including people riding totally beat/broken (not broken in) saddles or ones that were never comfortable even when they were new 20+ years ago.

Wider tires

Jim:

It's my understanding that virtually all manufacturers are selling their high-end bikes with 25mm tires. I also believe almost all the elite pros are running on 25's.  My LBS guy -- who is a lousy salesman and never pushes anything on me -- told me 2 years ago of a study that measured aerodynamics and rolling resistance of various width tires.  25's were slippier than 23's.  Counterintuitive, I know.  I'm on 25's and see no reason to go back.

Last point, why would you compare the number of pump cycles it takes to inflate a 23 and a 25 tire to the SAME pressure, i.e. 95 psi, when you'll be running the wider tire at a RELATIVELY lower pressure?  BTW, even if the tires weigh the same the inside volume is logically greater with the 25, thus more pump cycles.

Wider Tires

I am a heavier rider and had heard through the grapevine that the larger tires might be a good option, so I got a set.  They were much more difficult to mount on my rims, but there is a noticeable difference in how they ride.  I was using 23cc before and now have 25cc on both the front and back of my road bike. There is definately a "softer" feel to the road with these larger tires and no noticeable difference in the handling.  I can imagine that this is more what the bike feels like for my buddies who are smaller than me.  I also like the way the tires go through "junk" on the road and on especially rough segments.  I'm sold on the larger size.

Helmets

Wasn't around last week, but mine saved me big time 2 summers ago. 20 to 22mph highside crash. landed on my back and whiplashed my head into the pavement. Cracked the helmet but I never even had a head ache!  Saved that helmet as a reminder!

Dave Hicks

South Bend, In

 

 

WIder Tires

Several years ago I went from the original 23c to 32c. Luckily, my road bike (Airborne "Carpe Diem") has enough frame clearance for these as it's a "touring/cyclocross" frame.

I don't detect (admittedly subjective) any increased rolling resistance, but the ride is very smooth. I've done centuries on these tires.

Another good thing, though it may be due to the tire's construction (Schwalbe "Marathon Supreme") and not its size, is that I haven't had a flat in several years and several thousands of miles. FWIW.

Steve

Easy Way to Prevent Stem Flats

Greg is correct about this being a problem and in additon to the sharp edge of the rim cutting at the tube, every time you pull many floor pumps loose from the stem it yanks at the tube/stem juncture too.

Those minimalist who don't believe in stem nuts REALLY won't like this idea, but here goes anyway:

Years ago I read about screwing one nut all the way to the tube, mount it as usual with the nut on the inside of the rim (be SURE and push is in and seat the tire), and mount a second nut on the out side as normal.  The stem in now locked in place on the rim so you can't pull it and compromise the stem/tube juncture and you also can't pull the stem sideways with mini pumps, etc.  I've been doing this on my wife's and my and my bikes for well over ten years and haven't had a stem/tire failure since I started dual nutting (thats probably 100,000 miles for both of us), And, no, so far the tube seems quite happy just pushing against the inside nut and has never caused a failure.  

This probably wouldn't work on some super narrow rims, but you might want to give it a try, as it is less trouble than cutting up old intertubes and making washers.  We all have plenty of presta nuts around.

Tire Sizes

I ride my 25 year old indestructible Trek 520 steel touring gem occasionally as a break from my newer carbon fiber 5200.  Took it to Florida for a four day tour in April. The other day I noticed that I had both 23 and 25 cc tires on it.  Can't remember how that happened, but it rode just fine, as always. It made me realize that a lot of the bike tweeking I do affects me mostly in the head. I doubt that I could tell the difference between the two sizes over a day's riding. Would I really be more comfortable with 25cc's on  an extended tour?

Wider tires

I tried both 23 and 25's on my Colnago a few years back.  And just to be complete, I am about 5'11" 175 lbs.  I found that on this particular bike, which is greared towards climbing, that while the 25's had a slight edge on comfort, the 23's seemed more responsive and gave a better steering experience (so I went with the 23's).  On my Trek, which is a race frame with a completely different geometry, there didn't seem to be much difference. Both bikes are carbon.  

Are Wider Tires Right for You?

www.dorkypantsr.us/bike-tire-pressure-calculator.html is a pretty good tool!  It has a couple of nominal choices for front-to-rear weight distribution, and a good variety of tire widths.  One may extrapolate values if the choices are not enough, as it is a linear function.

 http://clublongo.com/psi/  has a tire pressure calculator that is not as versitile; but, has a link for article on tire pressure, discussing tire compression variation.

Riding a Straight line

I agree with most of this article, what I don't agree with is looking ahead 30 to 100 feet, I think you should be looking as far ahead as you can and use constant eye scanning to take in the whole picture of everything to the left, right, close and far front...well you get the picture, pun intended; but not only to take in the whole picture but studies have shown that fixing your eyes in one area for more than just 5 seconds begins the tunneling down process of your peripheral vision which by the time 30 seconds have gone by you have full tunnel effect going on and you miss all sorts of things going on.  This is true for driving a car too of course.

looking ahead

Good point, froze. I like to think of my linebacker coach who was always admonishing us to "keep your head on a swivel!" The idea was that by constantly scanning right, left and forward, we'd avoid getting clobbered by some behemoth blocker. In the same way, being constantly aware of what's up the road as well as on both sides can help you avoid similar problems while riding--or driving as you point out.

Fred Matheny

Tire size

Different companies make their tires different sizes than is marked on the tire!  I have a set of Hutchinsons that are marked 25 but when I measured them they were 23.1, which can only make you wonder if I had bought 23's instead would they have been 20's or 21's?  I've measured all my tires and only the Vittorias I have are measured and marked correctly, the others are either slightly larger or slightly smaller except the Hutchinson have the largest difference of the brands I have.  I like the wider tires due to a bit more comfort due to less PSI required and a bit more stability when hitting larger road imperfections or crossing over larger imperfections, but as far as saying their faster...I can't tell the difference.

Wider Tires

Hey Jim - I'd like your thoughts on the wider rims that are being offered.  I still ride 23mm tires but when I needed new wheels, I bought a set with 23.5mm wide rims.  Now I'm running 80psi front and 90psi rear.  Completely changed the ride:  more compliant, but also more grip.  I changed from Vittoria CX to Michelin Service Course 3 and now the ride quality is very similar.

I realize that wheels are more expensive than tires, but I would be interested in your test results of 23s and 25s with wider rims, especially the strokes to fill the tire.

Good question

Thanks for asking Waterford22 - a few years back I reviewed Shimano's Dura-Ace tubeless wheelset and talked about the rims being wider, which, along with the tubeless tires, made for a significant ride quality improvement. So, yes, the wider-rim wheels used in conjunction with wider tires will make the ride even nicer than just going to wider tires. With the wider-rim wheels there is usually a recommended tire size to use. If you mistakenly mount too-narrow tires, it can increase the chance of pinch flats. Some of these wider-rim wheels are designed as aero wheels to increase efficiency, too. In choosing, look for models that are close to the same weight as the wheels you're upgrading from because if your new wheels are substantially heavier, you may not feel as much improvement in overall ride quality than you were looking for. Don't forget that when it comes to wheels, weight is very important to ride quality, too.

Thanks for the great question!

Jim

Wider tires

Yes wider tires. At 250lbs and a lot of rough roads and narrow shoulders I don't even want to see a 23mm tire. I run 28, 32,or 35 often bigger in back. The down side is that most lbs don't carry larger road tires. 

Accident on TdW

John,

I recognize that the rider badly injured on the TdW tour must (If the accident happened as you say it did with no exetenuating circumstances.) accept full responsibility for the accident, but I must also question why what I understood to be a fully sponsored and supported TdW rest stop was not on the right hand side of the the road.  I've been on a bunch of cross-state tours and other rides and find that almost always the rest/food stop is on the right side of the road.  

If there was a reason it had to go on the left, there should have been bunches of signs/warnings about the danger of crossing over for the stop, and maybe even a human out there adding to the warnings and helping to assure that something like this didn't happen.  And, maybe there was.  But, rest stops that require a rider to turn left to get to them is not a good idea.  Obviously.  This is sadly and undoubtably a cautionary tale that we, as riders, should remember, and one that sponsors of rides such as the TdW should also take into consideration.

Leave the computer at home

I like the stats the computer provides over the phone app and do not like a dead phone. So what I'll do sometimes is place a peice of blue tape over the screen. When I do place the tape over my computer I focus more on me and my surroundings and not the computer.

Leave the computer at home

My solution on all long rides is to start my Garmin and then put it in a jersey pocket. I get the stats I want without the distraction of a computer on the stem.

Tour de Wyoming

John--great safety tips and observations so far from the TdW!  Look forward to hearing more good nuggets.  One subject I would caution folks on is the use of their cell phone for tracking rides, especially long rides over 4 hours.  You run the risk of running down the batteries enough that the phone won't be there in an emergency--whether you or another has an accident and you need to make a call, or you get lost and need to check the maps.  

I have a friend that is an ultra marathoner. He got bonked and disoriented on the trails around San Diego, but by the time this happened, his iPhone had shut down.  He says he was lucky to have another runner with him because he could have been in trouble. I recommended he buy a $150 running watch and save his phone for photos and emergencies.

I realize in your case it was the only real backup option to record such an epic ride.  (Unless you wanted to drop-ship a Garmin 500 to the hotel.)  But I recommend against it on rides of 4 hours or more, depending on the battery life of your phone.

Look forward to hearing more tips from your ride!

Coach Alan

 

Tour de Wyoming

How great to get this report, about two weeks before my wife and I ride in the second annual Cycle Greater Yellowstone ride, along much the same route.  From Jackson Hole to Jackson Hole with stops in Victor, ID, Hoback, WY, Pinedale, WY, Lander, WY, and Dubois, WY, including the much anticipated ride over Togwotee Pass.  Thanks!

A different take on group riding

During a tour in France this summer (as opposed to the 'Tour de France'), we had a group of 8 riders. On larger and/or low traffic roads, we typically rode together and often two abreast, as long as it didn't interfere with the traffic flow. However, on narrow or high traffic roads, our guides instructed us to break up into groups of 2-3 riders, with large gaps (20 meters or more) in between groups. This provides room for cars to pass safely, which can be difficult with a long line of riders. I had never though about it that way, but it makes sense and it works, as we saw while we were there.

What was it they say about old dogs and new tricks?

Ride after crash

Cant' agree more with coach Fred. I had a hard crash in 2011, t-boned a car going too fast on a technical descent (nothing broke but very bruised left leg and arm as I was able to turn my bike to the right to hit the car at an angle instead of head-on!). I was off the bike 2 weeks more than my doctor told me. Your doctor will tell you, but your body will tell you in a much better way. Your mind will tell you the wrong thing (get back NOW hehehe). Obey your body. I started back riding easy on a bike trail and progressively increasing miles and speed. In a matter of a month and a half after re-start I was back on the same shape I had. 

Jorge

recovery

Glad to hear that your recovery went well, Jorge. Patience is a virtue that hard-driving cyclists often don't have so congratulations on handling your injury well.

Fred Matheny

Tips for Time Trialing Setup

Jim,

You forgot the #1 go-fast tip. Get a bike fit.

Especially for roadies who infrequently race on a TT bike, there is a great need to be setup correctly. A wise frind of mine told me one time that AERO trumps POWER, yet, if you look at pictures of positioning of most TT racers  (see images.google.com - search for "Time Trial Position" and you will see what I mean), they are sitting up higher than on a road bike thereby nullifying any advantage of riding a specialty frame.

My daughter was lucky enough to be setup by Damon Rinard - one of RBR's advertisers, and she had a choice between a 48 and 51, went with the 51 since it had 700C wheels. We ended up slamming the stem so it was on top of the bearing as well as dropping the aero bars so that they sat underneath the base bars. When turtling, she had a perfectly flat back and even said that there was much more speed with her new position. We found an 8 mile fairly flat road for her to train on and here was (at the time) a 19 year old girl pulling a 53x11 at 30 miles an hour. And yes, she wants to turn pro after she finishes college!

So, for a fast time, get a fit and stay AERO.

The Joy of Weekend Getaways on the Bike

Great article, and I wanted to comment on the point about keeping the load under 20# even if camping overnight.  I attended an REI presentation in April by Alan Carpenter from the Boulder, CO area.  He had completed the Pacific Coast from Vancover to San Diego, and I was amazed at how light (and little) he packed.  Excluding the weight of his water bottles and whatever food he picked up for the day, his load was just 15# and carried in a custom made stuff bag strapped to his rear rack.  This included his sleeping bag and tent.  While not everyone wants to give up as much as he did (example - a thin washcloth served as his towel), it was great to see just how little you truly need on even an extended tour.

Create your own products

There was a point years ago where I ended up riding a number of long rides in a row that happened to include a good dose of rain.  After the sun came out, there I was riding in a wet diaper for the rest of the ride (even though the jersey etc dried out.

I took a pair of long waterproof rain pant and cut them off, made a new velcro fastener above the knee and created rain shorts.  Rolled them up and stuck them in an old waterbottle with the top cut off and stuck in my second waterbottle cage.

On short rides, who cares about a little rain, but on week long tours it's kind of nice to have along so those short showers don't have to "dampen" the rest of the day.

 

Tale of 2 cities

I agree wholeheartedly that it makes no sense that a cyclist is "guilty" until proven innocent in any incident between cars and bikes. I believe bikes ought to be treated similar to sailboats vs powerboats on the water. It is the powerboat's responsibility to avoid the sailboat. I also agree that I have NEVER seen a cop enforce a 3 (or 2 where I live) foot passing infraction. Heck I've been "edged" by cops.

BUT I believe we cyclists have contributed to the problem in a way that I rarely hear mentioned. That is in general we are not a very "inclusive" group. Many cycling clubs never cater to the beginning cyclist which in many cases is a middle-aged person who has decided to try it for fitness fun,etc. Sure the "club" may advertise a lower level or beginner ride. So what happens when the real "beginner" shows up?: everyone is gathered in their groups, many on multi-$1000 bikes, the latest pro-looking jersey on their shoulders, ready to sprint to the stop signs looking and more importantly ACTING intimidating as hell. Someone may politely point out the "slow" ride group, which likely also contains a few faster riders who want to "rest their legs", (or more likely show off their prowess) and so the beginner gets dumped off the back within the first few miles - if not sooner. They then may not give up immediately cycling, but group rides are out, therefore really learning how to ride is out, and soon, after riding a little by themselves a few times, they retire the bike or sell it.

We need a much "bigger tent" to get the law enforcement, infrastructure, etc that we believe we deserve. Sure cycling is more popular in the US than ever. But proving to the middle-aged lady with the gym shorts on that you can drop her in the first mile on the "D" ride sure isn't helping. Those middle-aged beginners are the ones who have a heck of a lot more influence on our passion than most serious cyclists ever realize. You get enough (and keep enough) of them out on bikes, and you'll see resources devoted to cycling.

3-foot law

In this area, we generally have fairly wide shoulders.  Many are 6 or more feet wide, paved and clear, with a single continuous white line separating them from the travelled lanes.  Even in the absence of a well defined shoulder or breakdown lane, there is usually at least some extra space on the right side of the road.

What astounds me is the high percentage of cyclists that deliberately ride in or very near the travelled lane despite all the room to the right.  They themselves often make it impossible to maintain the 3-foot rule, because of opposing or passing traffic.  Many riders seem to be going out of their way to make it uneccessarily difficult for drivers to share the road with equinimity.

This seems to me to be incredibly stupid.  Why would you not put all the room feasible between you and vehicles?  Why would you not show the very same courtesy that you would like to have yourself?

At the very least, if not actively increasing your own risk, you are at least inspiring more incidents of discourtesy or worse, simply by being hard to live with.  Why would any reasonable person do this?

Please don't misunderstand me.  I am a bike rider, and have been for something like 60 years.  But I'm also a driver, and what I see many cyclists doing ticks me off even when I'm sensitive to riders' issues.  I don't think putting your body out there and being contentious is a good way to make a point.

Riding Shoulders

I for one am one of those who ride near the white line when using a road Shoulder, and have always considered those who ride far away from it as novices. Here are a couple obvious reasons to do so. There is far less debris next to the area where motorist travel, thus you are many times less likely to get at flat.  You are also far more visible to drivers and, in my experience, much less likely to get a right hook from turning drivers.

Riding Shoulders

+1 to OCLV.  Exactly correct.  Having a wider shoulder, but riding near the fog line provides much more bailout distance should it be needed.  The state of Connecticut, which is not otherwise known for its cyclist sympathy is putting newly paved state roads on a lane diet thus widening shoulders.  Good move.

Roller Fan

Back in the early 80's all we had to train on in the winter were rollers.  I had (and still have) a nice set of Weyless blue rollers but they didn't have any resistance.  So I came up the idea of hooking up another belt off the front and attaching it to a blower fan that aimed back at me. It worked quite well for a home made job.  Now you can buy Kretler Headwind Rollers - same design (but much better engineered!). I guess I should have patented it.

Why You Should Wear a Helmet

The utter piece of nonsense.

An anecdotal evidence is not evidence at all.

In this specific case the author might be long time dead if he warn helmet during the described incident. At least concluding from the (very vague) description of the incident. As you know helmets not only provide some (mostly inadequate) protection, but pose some additional risks, like increased chances for ihjuries caused by torsional twist.

"You don’t need to understand the different tests." - sure, you need, as there is no single test modelling an impact of the high-speed crash (unless something was added recently). That means that tests do not verify protection for the case when this protection is the most necessary.

 

Custom Fit Bike

I have several bikes. I have 3 that were custom built to my fit. I have 2 that were not. I am short waisted and there isn't a bike on the shelf that can truly be made to fit me.  Shorter stems, longer cranks, seat post changes, saddle length changes don't come close to matching a custom built bike. I ride the custom built bikes a lot and for all distances.  The off the shelf are used for 10K TT and nothing longer.  The other one is a commuter bike for going to the store and again short distances.  I highly recommend a custom made bike. 

Shift the Chain Back On

I've done this same thing for years and most of the time it works.  But I have a question, a question that I don't have to worry about but others might.  The question is: what if your chain falls off the small ring in the front and you have a carbon fiber bike?  I've known people who have had their chains saw through one side of the chain stay!  I think if you own a carbon fiber bike it should be a no brainer to get a chain catcher whether you have the problem or not.  Now you're all probably wondering why I'm not worried about that...I don't own any carbon fiber bikes!

what if your chain falls off the small ring

A correctly adjusted chain catcher "should" prevent this. Where this fails is with protruding and squared off chain ring bolts. For example, if you look at Shimano's chain ring bolts on the inside (small chain ring side), the are heavily recessed as well as rounded so if a chain falls off on the inside, the chain catcher does its job. On the other hand, if you look at ROTOR's chain ring bolts, they protrude as well as squared off. So....what happens is that as the chain shifts off, the chain ring bolt will actually catch the chain and force it past the chain catcher. Now the chain is stuck underneath the chain catcher and you will have to force the chain catcher over and pick up the chain by hand and place it back on the small chainring. I have filed my bolts down and have reported this iss to ROTOR who says that there will be no new bolts.

Another factor is the BB design. Bikes with large BB's are stiffer but the drawback is that if the chain falls off the small ring, it gets lodged between the crank and the BB shell. Now you have a bigger problem in that you will probably have to loosen the crank to safely remove the stuck chain.

So as you can see, all bikes/component mix are different as to how the ultimate problem will occur and be handled. Some frames like the Cannondale actually have a metal piece epoxied into the right-hand chain stay to prevent this "sawing". I've actually done the same thing and took a small piece of Kevlar cloth and epoxied onto the right chainstay near the crank.

Bottom line, if the chain falls off the small ring - STOP pedaling immediately and assess the situation.

 

Wearing a Helmet

First let's be perfectly clear, I wear a helmet, I've always have since the Bell Biker helmet came out, and I know that wearing a helmet has saved my noggin at least once and maybe twice.  The problem is the Bareheaded Antihelmet League of Melons (BLAM)  will argue to say that Jim's accident would have caused the same injuries with or without a helmet!  I'm sorry, but that is what they're saying on a popular bicycle forum that has generated over 8,000 posts!   All very argumentative of course and each side showing their facts and each side coming up with crazy things to say.  I kind of think that the US government who specializes in compiling miles and miles of data and has done this with helmets have shown a decrease in death and injuries to those who wear a helmet year after year, this goes against what some studies have shown in Australia and England, but in the US the facts are completely different, not sure why the differences between countries but I'll go with the US data and continue to wear a helmet.

SadaBike Misconceptions

If you visit the website, you'll see that while the frame assembly folds down to the length of an umbrella, that doesn't include the wheels, which are separate and the handlebars apparently just disappear, as they are nowhere in the photos of the folded bike. The bottom line is that the folded package is not any smaller than most folding bikes and considerably larger than a few.

Wearing a helmet

thanks for your great article about the importance of wearing a helmet! I had a really bad accident in 2000 while cycling in Ireland. Thankfully I was wearing a helmet but it was destroyed and I would be dead w/o it. As it was I had a severe TBI, broken ribs, collapsed lung, bleeding liver, and lots of hemotomas. I had to make my way home alone w/all these injuries. The doctors here couldn't believe I was still alive. I've been fully recovered for a long time now and very grateful. But you will never see me ride w/o a helmet . . . ever!

 

Why do I have sore triceps?

Fred,  You are recommending tricep endurance tips, not tricep strengthening exercises.  Why not suggest consulting with a qualified personal trainer or strength coach (C.S.C.S.)  In the repetition continuum, (Poliquin & King, 1991) strength occurs with low repetitions and endurance occurs with high repetitions.  I would like to offer this comment from Mike Boyle of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Woburn, Mass.,

No one has ever gotten better lifting light weights.
Light weight is an oxymoron. A weight should be appropriate to the goal but, rarely, if ever, intentionally light. The load should be based on the strength level of the person. The reality is if you
are lifting a weight ten times, numbers nine and ten should be difficult. If you can lift a weight 20 times but choose to do only ten, you are wasting your time. Period.
The essence of effective strength training is a concept called
progressive resistance exercise or overload. This means that that even if
the resistance may be light to begin with, it should not stay
that way. 

 

Weights

I agree with your views on building strength. For avoiding triceps soreness from long hours of leaning on the handlebars, endurance-level resistance training works well.

Freb Matheny

A Tale of Two Cities

I originally hail from Germany and have lived 12 years in the South, specifically Louisiana.

One marked difference is the application of the law as it relates to cyclists.  In Germany any collision is strictly defined as a burden of proof on the motorist.  In other words, the motorist must prove beyond doubt, that the cyclist was at fault when any contact has been made.  In all other respects and in the absence of such incontrovertible proof, the driver is always held accountable in both criminal and civil court, which is the majority of cases.

This is the single most effective way to generate the same defensive driving as should befall vehicles as a function of their weight, size and inherent danger when combined with momentum.  The 3-foot passing law is just one belated American effort at emulating long-standing European codes.  Much more needs to be done and can be done with the passing of appropriate laws.

Just as a cyclist would not test the proposition of the 3-foot law by willfully veering into the path of a car, neither would such a cyclist try to get a motorist into trouble by generating a collision on purpose!  There are better ways to commit suicide.

Captain Eurotrash

violence toward bikers

This is why I got a Concealed Carry Weapon permit, and always carry a small handgun with me on my rides. I wonder if any other Road Bike Rider readers carry a weapon during their rides for protection against violent drivers and pit bulls? 

Police strength pepper spray

Police strength pepper spray works well.

Violence towards bikers

Rick mentioned carrying a weapon for protection from biting dogs and idiot car drivers. I have carried a weapon for years, as have a number of my biking friends. I have been roundly condemned for that practice. The standard comment is "how could you ruin the bicycling experience by carrying a gun!" Well, it is simply a matter of survival. I cannot run a car into the ditch by swerving into its path. I cannot wear body armor and ride comfortably. I, at a whopping 140 pounds, cannot easily defend myself against a 300+ lb idiot who has decided I have no right to be on "his" road and is prepared to beat me to prove his point. I neither desire nor intend to shoot anyone. BUT, when threatened with injury and/or death I fully intend to take whatever action required to survive. One note- your cell phone camera also is a wonderful weapon. You might be amazed by the reaction of a moron when told you have just e-mailed his photo and a photo of his vehicle and tag to the local law enforcement.

Low Spoke Count Wheels

I couldn't agree more with your writer Rick Schultz regarding Shimano Dura Ace wheels. I have a set of C24 wheels with 16/20 spoke count and these really are very robust and light weight climbing wheels. My set are now into their fourth season and still performing great. I've hit a pot hole that put me over the bars at 25mph and gone over the edge of a rocky 15 ft embankment on these wheels and they are still true. At the end of each season I check them out and apart from a clean, no further work is required. Inadvertently I put them on my wife's bike for her to check out a new derailleur and tune up. She came back ranting about how come I only get the best stuff-so last Christmas she also got a pair of Dura Ace C24 wheels. I can only say that we're both extremely happy with these fine wheels. 

paddler. I was given a pair

paddler. I was given a pair of Dura Ace 7850 carbon clincher and asked to review their 'new' braking surface alloy. A friend is now riding them and these wheels now have over 36,000 miles with no broken spokes. Ive rebuilt the hub bearings every 10,000 miles and they are still rolling fine. Granted, they are getting a little tired now but, I know we will get 40,000 miles out of them.

Low spoke count kinda depends on the manufacturer. With Shimano, you are going to get a great product that will last a long time. Shimano over builds their wheels. For the racer, they will complain that they are too heavy. For everyone else, expect to get years and years of trouble-free riding !!!

Enve, Reynolds also make high quality wheels. Others I cant speak for.

Where companies get into trouble is buying Chinese open-box wheels, importing them into the US, then labeling them as theirs. These are the ones that you hear about all of the time, breaking, cracking, exploding......

Low Spoke Count Wheels

Regarding your mention of cracked rims on Neuvation wheels, I had that happen on my rear Neuvation and John replaced the first rim under warranty. Several years later that one cracked and I had to pay for the replacement. Which was fair, totally out of warranty by that time. I've also had to replace the bearings a few years ago (rear only). Good news is, I have over 30,000 miles on these wheels, the front has been perfect and I've used the same spokes on all the rear wheel rebuilds! I've also gotten 20,000 plus miles from Cane Creek Volos wheels (straight pull spokes) but the rear finally died due to cracked rim syndrome. I got one of the asymetircal rims from Velocity, but still have to rebuild that one!

Low Spoke Count Wheels

I've had Mavic Ksyriums since I bought my Litespeed in 2002. The fronts are 18-spoke, rears are 20, with the drive side laced radially and the non-drive side cross-2. These wheels are prone to cracking. I've had three sets fail (mostly the rear wheels), and I've seen other cyclists with the same problem on these wheels. The cracks always develop at the spoke holes and spread along the middle of the rim body. Mavic provides a 2-year warranty, and I have gotten my rims replaced by them (they also replace the bladed spokes because they don't think they should be re-used). On these rims, the spoke hole are actually left-hand threaded holes tapped into the rim, and the spokes are manufactured with the nipple on the spoke. The nipples won't come off over the knob at the end of the spoke, nor will they fit down the length of the bladed spoke. Perhaps screwing the nipples directly into the rim adds to the stress on the metal, because they do seem very fond of cracking.

I've also cracked/broken

I've also cracked/broken every Mavic wheel I have owned. Won't buy them anymore. 

 

On Coaching

10% is huge. Can make the difference between getting dropped and dropping others. In 10 weeks of internet coaching, after reading all the books and failing miserably to self-coach, I gained 10% FTP, or, about 1% a week which included a recovery week roughly every 3rd or 4th week.  Now, in my 3rd year of coaching it's made the difference between enjoying life and continuing to cycle while undergoing cancer treatments. Coaching works on so many levels. If you can afford one get one.

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