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Air Pressure for 28mm Tires

Gained 100+ pounds during recovery from a neuropathic disorder, from 220 to 325..  Went from 23mm to 28mm tires. I guessed at an appropriate tire pressure of 125 psi and used it for front and rear.  Ultimately found that 130 psi front and rear works best for me.  Started with Hutchinsons.  Rode the tread off a set at about 2400 bike trail miles. Currently using Continental Hardshells with very good results after four months last Fall. 

Chain Cleaning

The heck with using a perfectly good microfiber towel on a dirty chain! I would recommend that cyclists save their old, worn out socks (athletic type socks with fuzzy insides) and old T-shirts and use those as the first option for wiping down a messy chain. The handy old sock can also be used to clean between the cogs using a simple back and forth pulling motion, where the back motion resets the cassette and the forward motion cleans an area between two cogs. I would also recommend the inexpensive, ecologically friendly, Simple Green all purpose solution for cleaning excess oil and grease, available in spray bottles and gallon refills.

Fixing Sloppy Rear Mechanical Shifting

I find that over time the bearing where the derailleur bolts to the hanger gets worn and sloppy over time, this causes the need for over shifting in both directions. The only real fix is a new derailleur. Planned obsolescence? 

re: a few quirks of wider tires

There's a much easier solution to remounting wheels with wider tires than fit through the released brake pads on road bike calipers -- inflate the tire after remounting the wheel.  


Yes, inflating the tire while mounted on the bike works fine if you're careful not to bend or break the valve stem in the process of pumping. I find that it works better with a CO2 cartridge rather than a pump unless you have a riding companion to hold the bike upright while you pump.

Fred Matheny

Yes. Good point.


I agree. I do this on occasion when I'm riding on wider tires. It's a whole lot easier than messing with the brakes.

-- John

How Exercise (Cycling) Keeps Us Young

As an old codger, firmly into my "pensioner" years, I found the NYT article very interesting and informative.  As well as being a lifetime cyclist, I keep my mobility and core strength in top notch order and I agree with the findings of the study.  My Physiotherapist places me in the top 5% of the population in some mobility and strength moves.  Use it or lose it folks - get going with the planks and full, deep squats!

Ask Coach Fred

Some years back you gave us Tunisian Training.  I've used it many times since, tweaking it to keep it interesting and productive.  It is HARD.  Can you update us on your current thoughts on this training tool?


I'm not sure I remember an article on Tunisian training. Can you refresh my memory?

Fred Matheny

Wheel building

Volunteer at any number of bicycle repair clinics to learn how to build and true wheels.  In our area we have a non profit, The Silicon Valley Bicycle Exchange (, that rehabilitates donated bicycles to provide to charities for distribution to the needy.  It is amazing the variety of problems we face daily with respect to wheels, from simple truing jobs to hopeless cases requiring new spokes and rims.  A wheel build is a great take-home project where one can spend the time to get it right.  Most useful tool for me: a good penetrating lube like "Kroil" or even Tri-Flo that loosens frozen spoke nipples on wheels that have been exposed to months of wet weather.  

Making Yourself Slow Down

A few more suggestions to add to Fred's list:

Without changing bikes, use your computer, if you have one, to limit your max speed on flats or a climb, in effect lowering your average.  Try lowering your cadence in the same gear you would otherwise use.  This, of course, suggests you're on a very familiar route.

And/or you can use your heart rate levels to ensure you're going slower keeping it below a defined threshhold.  For all intents we're talking about recovery rides.


No back pain for me

FWIW, I have never experienced lower back pain caused by a hydration pack. Most of the time, I don't even notice that I have it on, if I'm not actually drinking from it. The full pack adds less than 3% to my body weight, so increased saddle pressure is simply not an issue.

As they say, "Your mileage may vary".

Old Riders

I have thoroughly enjoyed the comments on goals for riding in 2015, especially those of the "older" cyclists. I will be 80 years old in May and am still planning to do a couple of weeklong rides this year. Several of the older cyclists said that they had slowed down after age 60.  Me too! To an average of 11-12 mph. 

Here's my story:  I had a heart attack known as the "widow maker" at age 65 but due to fast access to a hospital and modern anti-coagulant medication I survived with absolutely no heart damage. My cardiologist, himself a cyclist, said that all of the bike riding that I had done to that time had made my heart strong and helped in recovery.  He didn't order any special therapy but simply said for me to keep on the bicycle.  Two years ago I began to feel fatigue after a few miles and  was fitted with a pacemaker.  The doctor said, "Keep riding!"  When I last saw him he laughed at my complaints and said, "Most of my patients can't walk from the front door to the mailbox, and you complain that you can't ride 75 miles without getting tired anymore."  He told me that my arteries were twice the size of normal for my age.  "Keep riding."  That's what I intend to do.

Reader Goals

This was most inspiring for my wife, who also has MS.

She had been in a funk for years and thought she was confined to short walks with the aid of her walker and/or using her electric scooter to "tour" the neighborhood.
I then decided to try to press her (in a not so subtle way) to TRY to ride a trike.  At first, she balked that she didn't have the leg strength to get the trike moving.  We helped her down onto the trike and told her to put her feet on the pedals.
She did that, but then said there was no way to get the thing moving.  I simply raised my voice a tad and told her "TRY IT, dammit."  Well, she tried, and the trike lurched forward and away she went.  I told her to watch out for the corner of the van, and she hollared back, "Leave me alone, I got it!"

The rest is history.  She came home with that trike and while she doesn't ride fast or long rides, she now knows she has some freedom and can get out for some fresh air.  We also have something we can do together outdoors.
She has moved "up" to a Catrike Villager.  I gave me my nearly new Villager when I upgraded to a Catrike 700 last fall.  The shifters are way easier for her to manage and the higher seat height and adjustable back rest really helped her out.


Tom Dorigatti

I've been following you for a

I've been following you for a long time on forums, you're very practicle and informative wheel building has been a joy to read over the years, and wish you all the success...a place I think you deserve to be.

Wheel Builder

Many thanks for that kind comment Azum.  Stuff like that keeps me going.  Writing for RBR is a real honor.

hydration packs

Roadies do no tuse hydration packs as they add weight to the saddle and to the lower back. On a long ride many riders get back pain from wearing a pack. I only use mine when I ride solo on a distance where my water bottles are not sufficient and there are no water sources for an extended distance on the ride.


I watched Lon's video, but I'm surprised he lubes the chain and THEN soaps his frame. This seems counterintuitive to me. Wouldn't it make more sense to do the frame first and then clean/lube the chain to get soap off the chain? I would think that dish soap would cut into the chain oil and reduce its effectiveness.

I agree

It seems to me that if you lube the chain in advance, then clean it with a grease cutting soap, all that's left to lube the chain is the soap residue. Boeshield is designed for damp environments, but it still washes off with soapy water. Who knows, maybe this is evidence that Dawn is a good chain lube.

The other thing that I cannot fathom is not rinsing the soap off the bike. Having soap residue on the rims cannot be good for braking performance and I wouldn't want it on the handlebars, brake levers or saddle, either. It would take all of 15 seconds to rinse it off.

Evidently, this works for them, but I certainly won't be doing it.


I grew up a runner and always streatched. When muscles want to contract from hard efforts and the want to stay that way. Streatching will loosen up the muscle and help it get back to it's relaxed state quicker. On the bike I tend to cramp when I am not following a regular stretching routine on my rest days. The comment in the article about stretching before a ride is spot on as streatching should be done after about 15 minutes of light exrecise so stretch after you ride.


I'm one of the "never" stretch gang.  I've read both your articles on this now, and I think this is very personal.  My body DOES NOT LIKE TO STRETCH, so I don't.  I've hurt myself more by stretching than not.  I don't think there's a right or wrong to this; I think a rider needs to listen to her/his own body.

Bike cleaning

One place where Scotch-Brite pads work well is on the rim braking surfaces when they have brake pad rubber, crud and even embedded sand built up on them. A good scrubbing will bring the surface back to a clean appearance and help the bike stop better. Scrubbing the brake pad stopping surface as well helps get embedded grit off. This should be done regularly to reduce rim damage and excessive sidewall wear. I also finish up the rim scrub with a carefull wipe down of the sidewall only with acetone to remove anything that will reduce pad/rim effectiveness. If cleaning rim braking surfaces hasn't been done in a while, you'll notice a significant stopping improvement. As much as we like to GO, stopping is underrated. :)

Am I overtraining

Yes you are overtraining your legs.  Latest recommendations from Wayne Westcott state 48-72 hours recovery from weights.  Try 72 hours between leg workouts.  Obviously they demand more recovery and you are not heeding the signs.  As previously stated if your legs are always sore and you think you are overtraining you are.  Max twice weekly leg workouts.

Am I Overtraining

The winter of 2013-2014, I was trying to pre-train for an upcoming week-long cycling tour in Wyoming.  I have a Tour de France simulator, so I broke the entire route down into 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour segments.  The route selected was loaded with lots of long climbs for most of the first few days, followed by wide open and much more gentle climbs for a few days, then one more long day of 84 miles with a lot of long and hard climbs and descents.
So, I am really ambitious about first.   I quickly found out that those 1- 1.5 hour segments should have been broken down to shorter segments.  Not from the training aspects, but from the simply fact that even with "street view" showing me the "sights", and even with being able to distract myself by watching TV programs, I started to experience burn-out quite quickly  I Had to force myself onto the trainer and it became a forceful drudgery rather than the fun I had anticipated.

So, this winter, I've changed the routine.  I now have set up some training rides into 30-45 minutes "rides" at the maximum.  So far, this is working much better as far as the boredom part goes.  I feel stronger, and I don't mind getting on to the simulator cuz anybody can do 30-45 minutes max and go do something else.  For me, that something else is 15-20 minutes (for now) on my Nordic Trak ski machine and maybe a quick steam sauna afterwards.
Will I be "stronger" this spring?  I don't know.  Will I only be able to ride 30-45 minutes and then peiter out during a group or solo ride?  I think I will be just fine, and it beats doing nothing, or having to force myself and not have any fun at all.
Just my thoughts and sentiments because I learned the hard way last year (2014) that my mind conquered me and made for a long, tough, and at times agonizing cycling season!  I let it get into my head that pushing it = more cramps, and FEAR of cramping undid years of hard work to be able to climb well and keep up with the group if I wanted to.  Last year when it came to "wanting to", my FEAR and basic "overtraining" made it so I could not perform when I needed to or wanted to.  My mind was saying, "Go get 'em, Tom!"  But my body was saying, "You want me to do WHAT?  You have got to be kidding me!  I'm not prepared for this, so to heck with you."


Typically, I don't comment on articles, but I felt compelled after reading this one.  My background?  I have a doctorate in Physical Therapy and practice in an outpatient setting.  I am a runner and cyclist (and have even done some competitive racing in both sports).  I believe it was very irresponsible for Dr. Mirkin to spout a fairly blanketed statement that in short said, "stretching=bad; not stretching=good (except for PNF, which is not easy for a novice to figure out how to do)".  Coach Hughes has a much more practical (and medically sound) response regarding stretching.  In short, he said that various types of stretching "may" be beneficial if done at the correct time in relation to your activity.  And he also said what may work for one, may not work for another, so experiment with various types of stretching and see what fits you best.  Bravo coach!

I generally recommend "Dynamic Stretching" before an activity or event.  Dynamic Stretching can be described as quick, full range of motion stretches that load tension on the muscles/tendons without holding them in a static positon.  -And yes, Dr. Mirkin, there are studies that show this type of stretching results in an INCREASE in a muscles ability to maximally contract as compared to a muscle that was tested without a stretch of any kind.  (Cyclists, this translates to:  dynamic stretching may increase your wattage!)  And as a plus, Dynamic stretching is also a fantastic warm up activity. 

As for passive, static-type stretching?  Dr. Mirkin is correct in saying that studies show this type of stretching can inhibit muscle activity so there is no sound reason to choose this type of stretching prior to an activity in which you want your best effort.  But after a ride don't you typically want to relax, right?  Passive/static stretching helps get you there in a hurry both mentally and physically, so this is a perfect time for this type of stretching.  Again, these recommendations are where I usually begin with every client or fellow athelete, but just as Coach Hughes does, I recommend to try other types of stretching as well and see what works best for the individual.

Jims Bike Washing

I wish I lived in an area that I could leave the hose bib water on outside all year. But to fiddle around with a stored hose, crawl into the basement and turn the water on to the hose bib. Wash the dirty winter bike with cold water (once hot in the bucket), then reverse the procedure is a chore. I took my bike into our upstairs shower "once" to clean it when I lived in Park City, UT. Bike looked great but it took me 45 min to get the grease off the tub, "doh!' My dream house would have a small sideroom off the garage with a built-in floor drain and a hot water spigot. Maybe in my next life! I thought of the bike wipes too, but if you have heavy crud, or any crud on your frame, are you not scratching the surface with this now moist 'sandpaper'? Thanks for the tips though!


bike cleaning

Once a week is plenty for a road bike exclusive of bad weather riding.  For chain cleaning, use a synthetic lube, which are cleaners as well as lubricants.  Before lubing, put some lube on an old toothbrush and run the toothbrush along the top, bottom and sides of the chain while turning the pedal backwards to loosen up the dirt.  Then with a clean rag, thoroughly wipe off the chain to the point where it does feel dry.  Then re-lube the chain.  To clean the toothbrush, swish it about in some mineral spirits and then dry it with a rag.  To clean a cassette, remove the wheel and put some mineral spirits on a rag and run it back and forth though each of the spaces between the sprockets.  To clean the chain rings, drop the chain off the small ring and then using the old toothbrush and some mineral spirits brush off each of the sides of the rings and then wipe them off with a clean rag.  For the frame etc., kitchen/bath wipes do work pretty well but offer limited convenience at a high price.  Any spray cleaner and a rag will work just as well.  Start at the top and work your way down paying particular attention to the undersides of the downtube, bottom bracket, and chainstays.  Don't forget to wipe off your spokes and hubs. 


I find it rather interesting that most roadies would rather have to stop and refill water bottles than employ a simpler, more convenient solution. Hydration packs are ubiquitous in the MTB world and I rarely see mountain bikers without one, yet most roadies treat them as if they're radioactive! I use one for most of my riding, using bottles only for short/quick rides and as a supplement to the hydration pack on long rides where I need more than 70 ounces of fluid.

Although I have no problem whatsoever using bottles (I've been doing it for decades), I still find drinking from the pack to be more convenient. Consequently, I drink more and stay better hydrated.

On solo rides, which account for most of my mileage, not having to stop to buy drinks avoids situations where my bike could be stolen.

Given this, why do most roadie suffer from hydration-pack phobia? Is it just because pros don't use them? If I had someone handing me bottles whenever I needed on, I'd take advantage of it too, but since that will never happen, the pack gets the nod.


Maybe it's about style points.  Hydration packs are not chic.  And after spending several thousand dollars or more on an extremely lightweight road bike, why add all the weight of a hydration pack? Even mere recreational roadies think about power to weight ratios.  I only use one small water bottle unless it is a hot day in the middle of the summer.  I do not like the looks of large water bottles.  Convenience is a value that is important to you, which is fine.  But for other folks, matters other than convenience may be more important values to them, and that's fine, too.

I've been a lot of things in

I've been a lot of things in my life, but "chic" is not one of them, nor have I ever aspired to it. I''ve always been more of a "form follows function" kind of guy.

I'm as much of a "weight weenie" as the next rider, but a minimalist hydration pack only weighs a few ounces more than a couple of empty bottles and the convenience, particularly when you're working hard, more than makes up for it. I was really glad to have mine on Mont Ventoux this past summer.

To each, his own...

hydration packs

maybe hydration packs mean [in the mtb world] "i ride so far back in the woods i need to carry 3 quarts of water''

i just don;t think anything is simpler than bottles though, personally

just add water!



bono - memory of crash

the other interesting thing about the bono crash, which he just said (6000 word essay on the U2 web site, posted a week ago) was that he has no memory of the crash.

i think a good poll would be "how many times have you crashed and had no memory of it?"

for me i think it is either 2 or 3



Years Goals: something else

To not concentrate as much on miles, but to explore even more, try many new routes and some different types of riding. "Discovered" riding at night last fall, which helped fill the mid week after daylight saving ended.

Catching Colds

Dr. Mirkin,

So why do so many associate getting cold with catching cold?  I know that happens to me.  If I don't wear enough or if I have wet hair, I DO catch a cold.  It seems a little unbelievable that rhinoviruses hang around waiting for that exact, vulnerable moment to fly up my nose and infect me.  An explanation other than "it's scientifically proven" is needed to dispel the common (-sense) association between being cold and catching cold.

Don Smith 


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.


Funny you should mention that...

Two (or possibly three) seasons ago, I built a couple of pairs of sub-1300 gram (~1285) wheels using BikeHubStore hubs, Kinlin XR-200 rims and a combination of Sapim Laser (front and left rear) and Race (right rear) spokes, with alloy nipples. They're 20/24 spokes front/rear with a 16/8 pattern on the rear. They've held up great under my girlfriend (~105#) and me (~175#). We use them for all of our road riding and I've completely given up on tubulars (which I had ridden exclusively since 1974), since these are lighter than alloy "tubies" (I'm not particularly interested in carbon rims).

I assume that you're building something similar. If so, you'll love 'em!

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...  



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