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Squishy, padded...

This is my comment on the padded bicycle seat piece addressed to coach Fred...Coach Fred:... "when sitting on a thickly padded saddle, your sit bones compress the padding, causing it to well up in the crotch and create pressure right where you don't need it."

The trend now days is to put that thick padding in the shorts pad, accomplishing the same thing as above...Castelli is a prime example but there are many others.

When I started riding, I wore wool shorts with a piece of leather sewn into the short...known as the chamios - imagine that.  Worked then and there was no pain in the nether region.


Yes, I agree, Beemerdon. A lot of shorts as well as saddles feature too much padding at least for my anatomy. I know many riders who swear by thickly padded shorts but they've never worked well for me.

I started riding with wool shorts and a real chamois pad too. When they were new they worked pretty well but once washed a few times the leather got stiff and crinkly. It was like sitting on a taco chip. I quickly learned to massage a lot of Noxema into the leather to revive its softness.

But on balance I prefer the artificial pads in today's shorts as long as they aren't too thick and squishy. One of the great things about the wide variety of cycling clothing available today is that you can find a model that fits your preferences a lot easier than you could with the limited choices 40 years ago.

Fred Matheny

Wheel building

I have nothing against DIY wheels at all. But I'll add one user's defense of factory wheels. I have had one pair of Mavic Ksyrium SLs since 2004. They now have about 30k miles on them.

Every winter I pull apart the bike for maintenance. I put my wheels in the truing stand - just for laughs. These wheels have not lost a millimeter of true or round since the day I got them. Needless to say they've never been to the shop or backto the factory for repair either.

just sayin'....

Wheel Building.

Hi bigjulie.  Your findings are not uncommon but over the years I hear from many people, via e-mail and on forums, who have experiences much different than yours.  Their problems are usually not easily fixed.  Some wheels end up in the dumpster because parts can't be found.  Others go back to the factory and are gone for months.

Get Inspiried

I stumbled over this while reading another cycling opiece on  Nice series about all kinds aspects of bike riding.

Get Inspired: How to get into Road Cycling

The rise in cycling's popularity continues, boosted by the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France and the success of British cyclists in the 2012 competition, along with the Olympic Games victories.

Get Dirty, the fast & supple pedal stroke

I have found one-leg training helps immeasurably to make the pedal stroke smooth.  I clip out one leg and rest it on a seatpost-mounted rack behind me, and pedal with the other leg (resting the inactive leg like this saves a lot of wear and tear on the butt).  I pedal until the leg starts to tire, usually around 60 strokes, then pedal with both legs to 'recover' a bit, then clip out the other leg and work the other side.  I do 3-5 intervals lke this on a one-hour ride, and gradually increase the amount of time on each leg as conditioning improves.  One-leg cycling really improves the neuromuscular pathways for the pull-through and up-stroke portions of pedaling, develops strength (especially in the hamstriings), and improves endurance.  And you can do it on your road bike if you don't want to deal with training on a mountain bike.

Goldgenie 24K Gold Men’s Racing Bike

I would really like to see RBR review this bike for all of it's handling characteristcs and value for the dollar etc before I would consider such a purchase!

We'll Get Right on That!

I've already asked Santa to bring me a Goldgenie 24K Gold Men's Racing Bike for Christmas so I can test it.

I'm hoping it will fit on his sleigh and not be too heavy. Also hoping it doesn't get scuffed up too much when he stuffs it down the chimney.

-- John

Travel bike wheel size

Regarding wheel size:  This randonneur rider should strongly consider getting a low-trail 650b bike with frame couplers.  650b might be the best overall wheel size for both performance riding and for "all roads/off roads" types of cycling.  The wheels are a bit smaller than 700c, but high performance tires can be had in 42mm width and if the frame is designed right, will fit with fenders.  A well-designed 650b road bike will sacrifice nothing to a skinny-tired bike, and on rough pavement or no pavement, will be able to maintain speed and comfort.   Something to consider.

Travel wheel size

Malcolm F is probably just traveling within the US, where 700c wheels are common. If he goes outside this country, however, 650c or 26 are the norm.

Wheel Building

Thanks for including this topic. I don't race road bikes, but do compete in MTB. Another activity that I enjoy is touring. I haven't consulted the statistics, but I suspect that the #1 mechanical problem confronting tourists is wheel health. The other common mechanical problems are more easily understood and prevented or fixed, such as a broken chain. As a potential topic for the future, I would be interested in MikeT's thoughts on wheel maintenance while on tour, that is, with a minimum of tools and an eye to prevention, as well as fixing wheels on the road. (I know, I know - there are too many commas in the previous sentence!)

The Wheel Builder

I might not get the chance to respond to everyone's kind best wishes and remarks for the new Wheel Builder column but I'll certainly be reading them and making notes for future columns.  Your best wishes are truly appreciated as this new column idea is not without its stresses!  I hope we can have fun.  I probably won't get the chance to respond personally to all your e-mails either and really the best place for a response is on the RBR site so I will be picking out some questions to use on the site.

Wheel Building

Nice to see this. I too have just got into wheel building, and I too am passionate about it. I have been cycling only for 14 years as I started late in life, now 59. I just love wheel building and use BIKE HUB STORE mainly for my materials. He has the best prices and I am currently builing a 1300gsm wheelset for my mate to help him climb and all for about NZ $600 which will be less than 1/2 price what a shop will charge. looking forward to more post's from this experienced wheel builder.


Wheel Building

Welcome, Mike. I started building my own wheels about 10 of so years ago and found it well within my capabilities. It gives me a lot of satisfaction when I complete a wheel. I also do friend's wheels when they will let me. Mostly just truing. I look forward to learning about wht various wheels and spoke patterns.

Frank Mlinar

Wheel Building


Welcome, Mike! 

I'm looking forward to your guidance regarding what has been a fun pasttime for me as well.  I did my first-ever wheel lacing years ago to replace a worn-out cassette (5-speed, 6-speed, who knows?) with direction found in Eugene Sloan's "Complete Book of Bicycling" (c. late 1970's), after investing in a cheap truing stand that I still have and use today.  "Back in the day," my friends thought that it was unheard-of that I could build up my own wheels, but now many of them seem more interested in trying to do it themselves, so I'll point them your and RBR's way...  



Get Dirty

I've been riding both road and mountain bikes for thirty or so years and thoroughly enjoy both. I currently do volunteer mountain bike patrol one day a week and find that it keeps my bike handling skills sharp.


A white headlight and a white blinker to the front and a couple red blinkers to the rear.  A red blinky on the back of the helmet is a nice touch.

Calories per mile

I think Dr. Coyle needs to update his weight for an average size adult. From Wikipedia. The average male in the US is almost 195 pounds and the average female is almost 165 pounds.     On average people in North America weight 178 pounds.  That is a major factor is calories burned.

Country Average male weight Average female weight Sample population /
age range
Methodology Year  
United States 88.3 kg (194.7 lb) 74.7 kg (164.7 lb) 20+ Measured 2003-2006

Calories per Mile

I actually emailed Dr. Gabe about this, i've followed his stuff for years.  I have a road bike that is so light it's illegal to race and so easy to pedal i can tell you flat out that i'm not burning 600 plus calories in an hour and twenty minutes of bike riding at 15 mph.  In dead calm, not on the drops, at 15 mph, my heartrate barely gets above 80bpm, if it's cool out, less.  The authors assertion is 26 cal per mile at 10 mph and 47 cal per mile at 25 mph.  That's just idiotic.  It's hard for me to quantify how much harder i am working at 25 mph vs. 10 mph but for the sake of this lets say 4 to 5 TIMES HARDER! On a fancy road bike.  On the mountain bike at 10 mph it's still a walk in the park but i'm not sure I can get the thing to 25 mph on the flat in dead calm. Unless I am missing a variety of somethings here.........

The Wheel Builder

Welcome Mike, I've been following you for a long time on forums, you're very practicle and no nonsense wheel building has been a joy to read over the years, and wish you all the success here...a place I think you deserve to be.

Wheel Builder

Hi Froze!  Of course I know you well from the other RBR - RoadBike Review!  Thanks for the kind words.  I just hope I can live up to eveyone's expectations!  Maybe I'll settle for "some people's expectations"!  Hey if I can just inspire ONE person to build their first wheels then it's a success.  Otherwise we can all blame site owner John!  Hahahaa.

Wheel Builder

Duplicate post removed.  I hope I do better with Wheels!

cycling vacation

i fantasize about being retired and able to cyle cross country with my spouse, an avid cyclist. by then, my kids will be grown and hopefully money will not be an issue. once or twice my cycling has interferred with something my children wanted: this was always a 'last minute item'. i work my schedule around theirs, finding out when they have events, and telling them when my charity rides, centuries, events will be.

in our previous marriages, cycling kept us sane and was an escape from nagging, fighting, and every other awful thing you can imagine. 

so neither of us feel guilty about cycling, either as a couple [90% of our date time involves cycling] or individually. in fact, i sometimes guilt him into riding more!

Have You Ever Felt Guilty Leaving the Family Home to Ride?

well you blew this question answer list: No listing for-

"I was smart enough to marry a fellow cyslist so she rides with me and I don't have to feel guilty!"

Blew it? Well...

I just added that option.

Yes, it's always difficult to come up with every possible answer to a question like this one. You're right, I totally missed the "spouse is also a cyclist" option. Sadly, my wife is a runner, not a rider. And we were both doing other sports when we got married, so I couldn't have known then how she'd turn out! ;-) She's still a keeper! (And I'm working on making her a cyclist....)

-- John

Add an Accessory Mount to your Handlebar

As for me this mount looks inherently unsafe.

Proven product

Why does it look unsafe, 'dabazicyt'? It's made of nice materials and mounts very securely to your handlebars, if that helps.



My doctor had me on Metoprolol for several years.  I often complained to her that my resting HR was very low.  During my physical this year she witnessed firsthand what I was talking about.  My HR was 38 bpm while I was sitting there.  The nurse went into a panic.  The doctor went into a panic.  And it scared the crap out of me.  I told her Lance Armstrong reported a HR of 38 and Indurain reported to have had a 27 bpm during the racing season.  She said, you are no Lance.  Wow what a smack down.

She changed my medication to Lisinopril.  This has worked out.  I now realize how much trouble I was having getting my HR into the zone.  I also realize how sluggish I was feeling.  I can only wonder how much better rider I would have been these last few seasons if I could have done harder intervals.  We will see next year.

TIP of the day: Early in my racing career (such as it was) after passing out a couple of times getting out of bed too fast, I learned to hold my breath, hard, when I stand up.  I learned this from reading a book about early fighter pilots in the days before pressure suits.  They would hold their breaths hard in dives and turns to keep from passing out.  It works. 

Winter Shoes

i bought a pair of Northwave Fahrenheit winter shoes 8-10 years ago. Mated with a good pair of wool cycling socks, my feet are rarely cold riding throughout the New Jersey winter. I did need to buy them A full size bigger (47 instead of my usual 46) in order for them to fit right with wool socks. But they are so much warmer and more convenient than regular shoes with booties. Since I only use them 15-20 times a year (I only ride outside on weekends in the offseason), they are still in great shape.

saddle height

An "easier" version of this would be to do uphill repeats on a short hill, using the same gear, adjusting the seat 3 mm each time.  Keep an eye on your speed.  If starting with a too-high seat, you'll get to the point where lowering it that 3 mm will result in a noticeable increase in speed -- perhaps 1+ mph.  (Or, you can start with the seat too low . . . then 3 mm too high will result in a large DROP in speed.)

Saddle height

Calculating or setting a saddle height should be done to include the saddle: It should measure from the sit bones indentations on saddle, as different saddles may have different distance from rails to it, or fore-aft position may have been altered.  It must also account for crank-arm length; cleat thickness and position; and, pedal type; if those have changed.


Very good article that helped explain issues I've had and partially figured out regarding dizziness.  I had noticed dizziness in the past after strong exertion and then stopping, and found I could usually avoid it by continuing to ride easily instead of just stopping.  I was diagnosed with atrial fibrallation a few years ago, and eventually went on the lowest possible dose of Toprol, which is listed as a beta blocker, to help eliminate these infrequent episodes.  I found my max heart rate went down about 10% from around 180-182 to 160 or slighty above.  I didn't feel like I was riding slower, but sometimes wondered if I couldn't help but lose a little bit of performance at the max level.  About the same time I had moved to Colorado with much higher elevation, my rides involved more climbing, and I wasn't riding with the same group of friends, so it was difficult to gauge.  I did sign up for the weekly newsletter from Dr. Mirken & received a free download of an e-book from him.  I look forward to more information from the e-book and his weekly articles.

Saddle Height

While most often I agree with Jim's opinions, but with all due respect, I think that he has oversimplified how to set the ideal saddle height."  Determining ideal height is a longer process than the heels on pedals method. That method disregards a natural tendency to change one's position on the saddle as well as to change the weight distribution among derriere, hands and feet when you use it.  One just cannot effect the same weight distribution when one's heels are on the pedals and pedaling backwards as one can when the cleat is engaged onto the pedal and one is pedaling foreward. 

I recommend a slight variation on a process recommended by the late Sheldon Brown.  For purposes of this discussion, I will assume that this is a saddle on a seatpost that has simply been removed from the bike and is now to be reinstalled.  If either the saddle and/or the seatpost is new, then a lot of work also will need to be done on saddle tilt and fore-aft positioning to get it right, neither of which need be addressed presently. 

The object of this process is to have the saddle as high as it can be without its being uncomfortable.  To begin, insert the seatpost at a height that you know will be too high, perhaps by as much as 25 mm too high.  In that position, ride around the block to confirm that it is too high.  Then lower it by 3 mm.  Go around the block again.  If still too high, lower by another 3 mm.  Repeat this exercise until the saddle feels to be not too high.  Then raise it by 2 mm.  If that feels right, leave it.  If that feels still too high, then lower by 1 mm.  If that feels right, leave it.  If still too high, then lower by 1 mm to where it was when it first felt not too high. 

Then go for a longer ride but take your hex wrench with you so you can adjust the saddle height  while on the ride.  Don't consider adjusting the saddle for at least 5 miles.  If you do, then don't readjust for yet another 5 miles.  By the end of a 30 mile ride, you should be fairly certain that you have the right height. 

When you get home measure the saddle height as follows.  Align one crank at its low point parallel to the seatpost.  Then measure from the pedal spindle to the top of the saddle along the center of the seat tube to the nearest millimeter.  Measure twice.  Write it down and put it where you will remember where you put it.

By using a measurement to the pedal spindle rather than to the center of the bottom bracket, we  take into account the possibility of having more than one bike, which may have different crank lengths. e.g., most folks with fixed gear bikes ride with a 165 mm length crankset but use a longer crankset on their geared bikes.

Different types of shoes or cleats also will affect the appropriate saddle height.  By example, in winter, I tend to use mountain bike shoes because they are easier for walking on snow and ice.  However, the ideal saddle height for the SPD pedals on these shoes is 3 mm shorter than when using my road shoes.

Granted this is a time consuming and obsessive process, but once you have it figured out, changing saddles or even just regreasing a seatpost will not cause significant angst and nothing ruins a good bike ride as easily as an uncomfortable saddle.


Having purchased Bike Fit 101, I have to conclude that it doesn't do much to really help me in improving my fit. It does catalog  all/most of the available methods that one can buy if available in their area.  It rather appears to be a promotion for the author's service. He apparently knows what he is doing. Most of the e-book's material is also available on the net or in most books that cover bike fitting so I would not recommend spending your money unless you plan to follow up by hiring Schultz..


If major changes in position cause dissyness, how does that explain someone who has bee riding for some time and then suddenly becomes dizzy?

Seat height

Having coached Studfent cyclists, and coached my wife to do Ironman, I found that changes in the size of their butts as they got into the season was the major cause of the seat :"getting low".  Thos with a propensity to weight change should check their seat height often.  In my wifes case over a 3 day tour she completed we raised her seat daily, and a total of more than an inch!

The second cause of seat height variation is when the servicing mechanic shifts the height to put it on his hanger to do the service.

I learnt not to accuse my riders of interfering with seat heights, as I did for the students.


Slot-Saddle Selle

the review is basically " it works ".

which is good.

but not enough.

why is it **better** than many other designs, or is it not better?

why would someone want to switch to it, if they already had a saddle that ''works'', given the cost, weight, short life span, and high maintenance of the thing?


or, if a person is looking for something different, what problems does this one solve?

who would be a good candidate for it?



seat height

mark it!





Question Of The Week

This is not the first time that y'all have not had an answer that I could choose. I don't own any cycling shoes. I don't like them.

 I've read all the reasons that I should use them all of the arguements for their benefits. Sounds good. Makes sense. . . If you compete. I don't. I just ride. And walk, and shop, and tour and other things that happen in normal life. And I'm way past having to look cool, like I'm a pro roadie or something.

For years, my cycling shoe of choice has been the Rockport World Tour Classic walking shoes with toes straps. Just comfort and none of the worries of cycling shoes.

So, they aren't as stiff as cycling shoes and I lose just a little bit of power because of it. They more than  make up the difference by haveing my feet ready for anything once I get off the bike

So, zero or other would be the only appropriate answer I could choose.


H.K. Hailey

Warner Robins, Ga.

Storage Tips

Roadies like to keep things "neat and tidy." In winter that takes a back seat to "safe and comfortable." When my wife first started cycling, she/we never knew quite what was right for cold rides--some people run hotter or colder than others. I used a fanny pack, functioning as her Sherpa; lobster mits, vest, balaclava, warmers, it didn't matter; I either started with it in the bag just in case or she wore it knowing there was a place to store it. Below freezing is not a fashion show.

Sudden Rash

First, 'open rash' sounds more like a saddle sore, so the seat solutions already mentioned would apply.

But if it is a rash, red bumps that cause superficial soreness, look also at changes in laundry soap, new clothing with the sizing still in the material, or a new type of material used in the clothing (higher mix of spandex, which holds heat more than polyester or nylon).

Masi restoration

I enjoyed the pictures and the story of the Masi restoration!  I believe my 1972 Raleigh Professional was too far gone to do restoration within my budget.  It is now ugly but an awesome commuter bike!

The brakes, 70's era Campagnolo Record, does have excellent calipers.  Replace the pads with 3rd party pads, replace the levers (I have Athena Ergo, but Tektro makes a lever with similar specs and appearance), and you have a set of brakes which have as good a feel, modulation, and stopping as my current era Record brakes.

Raleigh Pro is a nice bike

That's a nice bicycle, your Raleigh Pro, 'ardie' I'm happy to hear you're still riding and enjoying it.



I have a clear nutrition guideline but am flexible in applying it. The guideline is a gram of carbs per minute, which I think is about the maximum rate at which carbs can be processed for a person of my weight, about 80 kg. On a  long ride I carry about 2/3 of that and probably end up consuming about 1/2, ie 30 grams of carbs in the form of, say, 30 ml of gel or a bar.

Wool socks

A pair of thin wool dress socks as a liner under a pair of nice thick ragg wool socks does it for me down to about 10F.  I use a shoe a couple of sizes bigger in the winter, 47 vs 45, and insert an insulated inner sole instead of the one that comes with the shoe and I put a set of fleece lined booties over the shoes, and life is good with warm toes.

Iowa Cyclist KIlled

As I understand this, the driver was fined.  That was his criminal penalty.  It is important to remember that there is a criminal side and a civil side to the law. 

The criminal side deals with the state exercising its police power to prosecute those believed to have committed a crime such as vehicular homicide.

The civil side is very different and is intended to resolve matters between people.  The two most common types of civil cases are breach of contract cases and tort cases such as claims of negligence resulting in personal injury. 

The family of the cyclist killed may bring a civil lawsuit against the driver asserting that he negligently operated his vehicle in such a way as to imjure the cyclist, cause conscious pain and suffering and death and loss of consortium to his loved ones.  While no sum of money obtained in a plaintiff's verdict ever replaces a lost life, it is the only reasonable means of compensation that we have. 

Therefore,it might be better to wait to see whether the cyclist's family does bring a suit and how well that turns out.  In a civil case, I doubt the "I didn't see him defense" will be successful.



excellent comments, now worse

All comments have been excellent.  Note that a significant recent State Governor's report shows that bicycle-vehicle accidents are increasing at a dramatic rate, made worse by the fact that many cyclists don't wear helmets.    We recently moved to Florida.  I would say that less than 1/2 of "casual" Florida cyclists wear helmets.  We are going to need to do everything possible to ride safely.  Wearing a helmet is vital.

Iowa Cyclist Killed

Thoughtful and relevant comment from fixieguy. However, it seems to me unfortunate that the bereaved's family should have to bootstrap their own legal process. Many if not all will agree that the driver who kills a cyclist should pay a suitable price, ie more than $1,500, and that this should be reflected in legislation which will be enforced by the State.

An Ode to Wool Socks

In Iowa, a Cyclist’s Life is Worth About $1,500

In Florida we are worth less.

There are too many examples to list but here are two:

1.  A Deputy Sheriff hit and killed a 15 year old boy on a bicycle while he was adjusting the brightness on his patrol car computer.  He was fined $163.00 and is still on the job.

2.  A county worker unfamiliar with pulling a trailer hit, dragged and killed a cyclist.  He is still on the job.  Also, the trailer (county property) was not street legal.

Unfortunately, I do not see things improving.

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