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I really appreciate this

I really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. I assure this would be beneficial for most of the people. Looking forward to read more of your post and updates in the future.

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Great newsletter as usual.  The use of sunscreen by cyclists should also cover the lips.  This is more important for those livng or training at moderate or higher altitudes as the sun is stronger in both summer and winter and it is therefore important to use a good lip protection.  As a keen cyclist and former road racer I have learnt the hard way and have undergone lower lip resection surgery.  A good website on this subject is the skin cancer foundation org website.

Bike Shimmy

Here is how I solved for bike shimmy on a Trek Madone 5.2 and 5200 bikes. (the bike had nothing to do with it):  I changed my position on my seat.  When beginning a descent, I slide forward on the seat about an inch which transfers more weight to the handlebars.  I can feel the vibrations being transferred away from the front wheel to my arms.  I have not had a problem since.  Previously, I slide back about an inch when beginning a descent.  I think this unweighted the front which contributed to the bike shimmy. 


I have a fair complexion and have never liked cleaning the tar from the bathtub floor that showering after using sunscreen leaves. So I wear sun sleeves on my legs and a long sleeved, white sun shirt under my jersey. I even added loops to the sleeves so that I can cover my hands. I also wear a neck gaitor that covers my neck and ears. A cycling cap blocks the sun from burning my bald head. My only concession to sunscreen is the child's water resistant sun stick I use on my face.

Everyone I know has asked me at least once whether or not I am hot. I say,"yes", and then comment on evaporative cooling: Sweat plus moving air equals cool comfort.

The several ounces this extra clothing adds does not matter to me because I don't plan to race in the Tour de France. Style points do not matter to me, and all my friends see me coming because very few cyclists are so completely covered. 

There are a lot of these products available. Here is what I use: sun sleeves on legs,; white sun shirt,; neck gaitor,; and sunscreen, Nutrogena wet skin kids beach and pool sunscreen stick.

Happy trails.



All the info is nice I guess, but a short list of recommended products might be more helpful. I have never used sunscreen under my jersey and have not noticed buring problems even on days riding 8 hours or more. For years I have used Coppertone Sport on my arms, legs and the back of my neck and Bullfrog gel on my face and ears.


The comment about "between the hours of 10 and 2" assumes a solar noon of 12:00.  Few of us live in such a place, especially if we have daylight savings time.  Where I live, solar noon is at 1:45 PM.  Plus/minus 2 hours for me is 11:45 to 3:45.  Quite different from 10 to 2.

Note: you also hear the recommendation of 10 to 3 (assumes a 12:30 PM solar noon) and 10 to 4 (assumes a 1:00 PM solar noon).  Somebody needs to agree on these recommendations: do we need to worry 4, 5, or 6 hours per day?


...but do I really need it under a jersey  if I am pale under the garments even after years of riding in the sun?

I can understand using it on tanned and exposed areas, but I don't see the efficacy of putting it on under my shirt if it is obvious no sunlight is getting to my trunk.

Experts Agree That Plant-Based Diet is Best

I totally agree with this article.  smiley

Experts Agree That Plant-Based Diet is Best

700 of them at least...:p


I have discovered that long sleeve polypro jerseys provide better protection  from the sun than commercial sunscreen products.  Boure Bicycle Clothing in Durango, Colorado, has the best selection of these jerseys that I have found.  They also contain UV sun protection woven into the fabric.  When anyone asks me if the long sleeves  are hot I remind them that people who have lived in deserts for many generations know that long, loose flowing clothing offers the best protection.  Long sleeves not only give super protection from the sun, they are also cooler than short sleeve jerseys.   Another option would be to wear short sleeve jerseys and add the coolmax type of white sleeves. This works, but those arm protectors don't fit as loosely and so aren't quite as effective as the full long sleeve jerseys. I haven't found the same kind of protection for my legs, so I use sunscreen or sunblock  there.  It only took one trial of the long sleeve jerseys to convince me that they offered more protection and were more comfortable than short sleeves with sunscreen.

Low back pain

Before going to a physical therapist, try a session or two of Thai massage. It might cure what ails you. Sounds like you may have strained your psoasis muscle. But, if it's truely nerve damage, PT or a doctor is your best bet.

Plant Based Diets???

So we need to build muscle but do it on a plant based diet? How do we get the 1.5g/kg bodyweight that is genrerally recommended, on a plant based diet? Been there and tried to do it, but returned to making high protein foods the basis along with plenty of fruits, veggies and fibre. Game meats are the key. Those who object must find a component(s) in game meat that cause problems...any takers???  Most guys want to look like they exercise and be a few steps removed from concentration camp inmates...form and function matter!

Plant based diets

I've been on a plant-based diet for over a year. In that time, I've reached new personal bests with my weight lifting activities. I am also leaner, my cholesterol dropped over 40 points (to 108) and I feel great. Beans, whole grains and soy milk are what I rely on for calories in addition to lots of vegetables and fruit. Meat isn't required nor is it desirable due to all of the negative side effects (cancer, heart disease, etc.). It really is possible to continue improvement with a diet based on plants. There are even body building websites run by vegans and vegetarians.

Thank you Dr. Mirkin for posting this article! It is so nice to see something promoting plant-based diets.

Low max heart rate

Coach Fred is dead right.  Low max heart rate is the normal response to chronic overtraining - but a better word for it is under-resting as most people say "But I'm not training all that hard (or all that much)."  It doesn't matter as stress is stress whether it be from riding or daily life; it all adds up and if you can't recover from it, you go slower.
It happened to me about 8 years ago - I could not get UP to the speed I used to LAP the velodrome at.  I took nine days off the bike totally (I went away on a vacation) and the next time I rode the track I was flying.  Now I know when to back off and how to incorporate the stress of daily life into my training.  It's never happened since.

Cutting housing the easy way

An alternative to inserting a piece of cable into the end of the housing when cutting the housing is just to cut the housing and then insert an awl or ice pick into the end of the housing to round it out.  It has been working great for me.

Cable End Tips

I have experimented with soldering or tinning the end of my shift and brake cables to keep them from fraying with poor success as the solder just doesn't want to stick very well.  I recently found a way to keep the cable tips from fraying that is working very well.  First I make sure to cut the excess cable off cleanly with a good cable cutter such as the Park CN-10 so that the cable tip is not frayed or ragged.  I then coat the tip with a super glue product such as Loctite Brush On Super Glue.  After the glue has hardened I put a dab of rubber cement on the cable tip and slide on a cable end crimp but do not crimp it.  If at a future date I want to disassemble the cable for some reason and reuse it, I only have to pull the cable tip crimp off and pull the cable out of the housing.  The super-glued cable tip does not fray and the cable tip crimp is reuseable.

Cable soldering

I soldered all of my bike cables.Most if not all shift & break cables are stainless steel I have not found any that are not and require a stainless steel flux to soldier. Regular flux will not work.

Check your Cables Inside the Shifters

I'm riding a bike with Dura Ace 7900 shifters and I have experienced this breakage problem more than once.  And yes the problem presents just like others have described.  I've just gotten into the habit of replacing my right cable at the start of evey year.

Just like previous years, I had the cable replaced by my LBS in Feburary.  The @$#@ thing broke again in late May!  Very frustrating.  Now I carry spare cable in my saddle bag. In a pinch, I can probably index it myself on the roadside.  I just think it's a poor design. For the price you pay for Dura Ace, you'd think they would not release such a faulty design.

Cincinnati Streetcar & Bikes

Found this piece in a local blog about city living in Cincinnati and the tracks going down for the coming streetcar. It about how to "ride the tracks" when chaning lanes of making turns.  Very instructional. 

Local Transportation Organizations Partnering To Offer Streetcar-Bicycle Training




Low max heart rate

I've had the same thing happen to me, my heart rate wouldn't go above ~130. It was due to my leg muscles being so tired that they simply couldn't push my heart rate any higher. I felt really wiped out as well. Unfortunatelty, this occurred early in a week-long cycling trip (after a hard climbing day) and it took me several days to start feeling good again, because I didn't have the option of just resting for a day or two.

I suggest taking some time off and seeing if things go back to normal. I bet they will.

Low HR can mean time to buy a new strap

I have found that my HR straps read low after a few months of use. This might be happening to you too. Before adjusting your training, it is worth checking with a new strap. You can purchase the soft material part of the strap on their own without buying the transmitter. Both Polar & Garmin offer straps that use the same fitting.




Cable Lubrication

I discovered a really good way to lube cables when I was riding motorcycles. There is a simple and inexpensive device which can be attached to the cable; it then allows a spray can to be connected by its tube and lubricant is forced down the cable. It works well for bicycle cables as well. I generally use Tri-Flow lubricant, but any light oil or wax-based aerosol lube can be used. You know the cable is lubed when you see the lubricant coming out the other end of the housing! The only down-side to this device is that the cable needs to be disconnected from its lever to work properly... a small disadvantage considering the effectiveness at getting the lube into the cable.

See for example:


Check your cables inside shifters

I think this is a great idea, especially the brake cables. When in doubt, throw it out. Even at signs of corrosion, replace the brake cables.

As for shifter cables, since mine are Di2, I don't replace them very often.

Note: for those using Dura Ace 7900, you can use the new DuraAce 9000 cables and housing to dramatically improve shifting (and braking) performance.For even better shifting, use the new Dura Ace 9000 chain!


I have 7900 durace on my 2009 specialized tarmac pro and I have never replaced the cables and the bike shifts just as good as the day I bought it.  In talking to my mecanic he surmised it was because I never hose down my bike or clean with water.  I use the orange car wipes to clean my bike takes everything off and shines up the bike nice.  And to just let you know, I have over 25,000 miles on that bike.



How to Climb Short, Steep Hills

Interesting but what is "short" and what is "steep."

short and steep

Like I said in the article, short usually is defined as beween 10 seconds and a minute of hard effort. Of course it depends on your anaerobic power too. A top pro can sustain a nearly all-out effort for longer than a recreational rider so that on hills that force the weekend rider to sit down and pedal up at a more moderate effort, a pro could stand and sprint quickly over the top.

As for steep, generally anything over 5-6 percent is considered steep, again depending on your fitness level.

I know this sounds relative but that's because it is: what seems steep and long to a rider in northwest Ohio accustomed to nothing harder than highway overpasses might seem almost flat to a rider from the Seattle area who often encounters 12-20% climbs.

Also, altitude is a factor as well. It tends to make a given grade and length more difficult than it would be at sea level.

Finally, I'm here to tell you that age plays an important part in this equation. Hills I used to bounce over without much thought now are, shall we say, greater challenges!

I hope this helps,

Fred Matheny

short and steep

I ride with Wayne when he's in town. He's a BEAST in the hills. At 62'ish, he came in second on a Malibu 12,000 feet of climbing ride against guys 1/3 his age. We did the 'Hills of San Clemente" ride one day and on an 11% short section (about 8 houses long) he passed me going almost 25mph! 

I asked him the same question, how does he train for hills.

His reply was 2-fold, (a) lot's of quality intervals (can be on flats), (b) Intervals on hills.

For example, there is a street called Presidio in back of San Clemente High School. It's about a mile long and averages 11%. There are lots of side streets intersecting Presidio (see,-117.611224,16z) which are about 3 houses apart. We use one section to sprint, the next to spin, the next to sprint, etc. You can't believe how fast you get good on hills.

Its all in the suffering. Most cyclists just sit up when it gets tough, Do some suffer workouts and you will quickly improve.

Coppi question for Dr. Mirkin

Dr. Mirkin's story on Coppi's death possibly being murder begs the question "Did Coppi actually bump/force a racer off the road in Africa and cause his death?"

That's stated in the article, but few facts are given. I would be curious to know them if they're out there somewhere.


Jim Langley


Intriguing story!

Coppi question for Dr. Mirkin

Dr. Mirkin's story on Coppi's death possibly being murder begs the question "Did Coppi actually bump/force a racer off the road in Africa and cause his death?"

That's stated in the article, but few facts are given. I would be curious to know them if they're out there somewhere.


Jim Langley

Expat Helmet use

This can't be true...

I read the WSJ article on helmet use here and in Europe with great interest and assumed the injury rates were based on number of riders, not total population. They had to be. Only an idiot would cite the number of injuries per 100,000 population rather than per cyclist.  Well, the author is an idiot and so am I for not parsing the data more carefully. 

Useless data. Thus, the WSJ numbers arent't true.  It may still be true that Europe suffers more injuries per ride or, better yet, per mile/kilometer ridden, but we won't know until reliable figures and a reliable analysis are presented.

Kudos to you Mr. Marsh.

BTW, I'd never ride without a helmet. My perceived risk is too great.

Agreed, and more

One thing that's frequently overlooked is that there is no way to determine how many injuries are prevented by helmets, for one simple reason: If someone is involved in a crash, whacks their head, but walks away without serious injury, it never shows up in the statistics. I've never heard of anyone who's gone to an emergency room or police department just to tell them that "I just crashed my bike, but I'm OK."

Helmets do prevent a minor injuries (abrasions, lacerations) and they lessen the severity of more major injuries. That's enough of an incentive for me to wear one.



not a problem except at low speeds




Wasn't an issue till they started paving the real steep trails. Now I prefer using a road bike without overlap.

Equal Spoke Tension is King

I always like reading Mike's stuff about wheels, he's very knowledgeable,.so it was with this article about equal spoke tension.  

This is not a rebuttal against Mike's article, it's more of a comment about how much it would cost the do it yourselfer at home to buy the equipment needed to do spoke adjustments.  The tensionmeter suggested in this article is $295, add to that a low costing truing stand and dishing tool combo for another $104, a spoke wrench for $7, and lastly a bladed spoke tool holder for $9 for a total of $415.  I've adjusted my own wheels with just using the brake calipers on my bike as a guide, then about once every 8 to 10 years on my main bike I take it down to a shop and have them make sure it's good that ends up costing $10 per wheel or $20 both wheels, this means I would have to do 20 LBS spoke adjustments to pay for the tools, in over 40 years of riding and owning 10 bikes I think I've had about 10 maybe 15 tops professional wheel adjustments and never had a wheel break from spoke tension issues.  

I think an investment like this is more for the hobbiest who wants to build their own wheels or build wheels for a living like Mike does.  I run into the cost to buy certain tools to do certain repairs be it bikes or cars, and it's sometimes cheaper to just let the mechanic do it depending on frequency of repair and thus how often the tool will be needed and whether or not the tool will pay for itself.

Tool cost for wheel truing

First, the Park Tool TM-1 tensiometer I use is about $75 on Amazon today, so that's a reduction of over $200 right there. Further, I suggest that any wheel truing method needs a spoke wrench (and in your case a bladed spoke holder, so I would not include them in any cost comparison. Final cost is &75 plus $104 for less than $200. I just saved you well over $200! 

And ultimately...

...I figure I've saved myself thousands of dollars over the years by building, repairing and truing my own wheels. On top of that, it's immensely satisfying to ride wheels that you've built yourself.

Hi Froze.  Just a couple of

Hi Froze.  Just a couple of comments.  If I build wheels to my dying day, I'll have built far more wheels just by using a spoke wrench as the only "special" tool.  Only in the last 3 years did I even have a wheelstand - after almost 50 years without one.  The purpose of my website is to get people building wheels with as few obstacles (ie - special tools and their cost) as possible.
Some of us (especially me) have the goal of never letting enyone else ever work on our bikes - no matter what.
I've never built wheels for a living or have ever been paid anything from friends or family.  It's just a hobby and a passion.

Bar tape

One choice should have been - I always do my own but hate doing it.

I can build up a bike including cables etc. quickly enough. Then I procrastinate wrapping the bars for a least a week.

I finally get my mind set on doing it but always have to redo it after the first ride.

Must be a mental thing.

Sleep & recovery . . .

So, why is it that the longer or harder a ride I do, the WORSE I sleep that night?  The worst is on a week-long tour . . . probably manage to average about 5 hours/night then.  (Average a little over 6 at home.)  I know that's not enough for proper recovery, but what are you supposed to do when you just can't sleep?

Handlebar Tape

Like Jim Langley, I also like to wrap the tape so that "when I look down at the tape, the diagonal lines are symmetrical on both sides". A follow-up question is: in which direction should the symmetrical lines converge? It seems to me that among the pros and factory assembly procedures there is a convention for the lines to converge forward at the top section of the bar, like an arrowhead pointing in the direction of travel. To get this result, I apply the right-hand-rule on the right and the left-hand-rule on the left: starting at the open ends of the handlebar, when the thumb belonging to each side is pointed forward, the other fingers indicate the direction of the wrap.

The Wheel Builder

My takeaway on plucking vs tensionometer is, "The tensionomenter is the great equalizer" Not many can "pluck" with confidence (as attested by the author's snarky comment), but just about everyone can read a tensionometer.

Spoke Tension

I bought a Park Tools tensiometer when I built my first full-sized wheel, a rear for my road bike. I'm a "numbers guy", and it was gratifying to measure the tensions of all the spokes, calculate the mean tension and find that all my spokes were within 10% of the mean.

The "audio" method has worked well for me, but sometimes I feel the frequency of the tone is affected by contact with other spokes or the presence of reflectors or computer magnets.


EDIT: I found the Park Tools tensiometer on sale for less than $60.

Frank, can you point me to

Frank, can you point me to the sentence containing "snark".  I can't find it - assuming you used the Oxford dictionary definition: "Snide and sharply critical."  Thanks Frank.

Reply to Mike T

I detected a bit of sarcasm so I used the word "snark" in my reply. And that's where it is! Again, not everyone can "pluck".

bar wrapping

I like to use old-fashioned cloth handle bar tape to finish the taping off. It looks better than electrical tape  (to my eye), and works better than the included finishing tape I've encountered. It also works well for hiding the lever clamps without creating too much bulge (I use thick cork tape).

The major problem though, is that it's getting harder to find.

Bar tape

I had always had problems hiding the lever clamp when wrapping bars.  The short pieces of tape were always way to long and needed to be trimmed to keep the hood rubber from bulging.  Also, the tape was nearly always in a position where some metal would still show.

Another column, several months back, solved this for me.  Cut the short piece into two shorter pieces!  No more bulge, and plenty of coverage for the clamp.

Bike Motors

Once again, the subject of hidden bike motors comes upo after ontador changes bike mide stage prior to hill top finish.  I done a little research on this, but cannot find any information about this subject.  Do they really exist ?  Is this all hokum, thying to psych out competitors?  Thi might be a great ubject for a future column

Not just a Trek issue

I give Trek credit for doing this recall but I don't understand why other manufactures aren't doing the same. The problem is with any quick release, not just Trek products, that can go past 180 degrees when open. I checked my many quick releases and most of them can go past 180 degrees when open and three of them came with non-Trek bikes that have disc brakes.

Other manufactures should step up and join Trek in educating cyclists on how to properly close quick release levers and how to get a replacement if necessary (which I personally don't think is necessary if you are using the product properly). BTW, I do not own a Trek bike but give them kudos for doing the right thing and stepping up.


Carl, almost all pro racers (and amateur racers too) use tubular tires.  There are benefits to them over clincher tires (either with tubes or tubeless) even though speed, weight and performance are closer than they ever have been.  The big one for pro racers is that they are better to ride on when they do flat, until the team car can get to the rider to provide a spare wheel or bike.

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