Comment here on the current newsletter issue, or about anything you see on the site. All we ask is that you maintain civility and respect for your fellow cyclists. Thanks.
In many states, including Florida, a vehicle only needs to have a rear license plate. So a rear facing camera may not provide the necessary vehicle identification.
For bike cameras to act as a deterrent, motorists would have to know they were being filmed. I fail to see how a bike or rider mounted camera is identified, by most motorists, as an item that is recording their actions. Maybe we'd need a 3' square sign that read "Smile, you're on camera!" The Cycliq makes my point for me - it looks like a bike light, not a camera.
I am surprised no one listed a degreaser wipe like Grease Monkey. There may be others out there but the one I have experience with is the Grease Monkey individually packaged wipe. From fixing a flat to fiddling with the drive train you are bound to get oil/grease on your hands. A degreaser is simply great to have for clean-up. (And, no, I don't have any connection to Grease Monkey.) Finally, I always carry an extra, handling one to a fellow rider standing by the side of the road with dirty hands is a nice way to 'pay-it-forward'.
Thank you very much Dr. Mirkin! I have suffered from cold weather breathing problems for some time and had no idea what was wrong. I also have tree allergies, so your article had a lot of information for me.
Unlike Kerry, below, I have broken a chain - one road and two MTB. So I always carry a chain tool and chain links (2?). Then you have the ability to make a single-speed out of a bike with busted derailer or hanger. My spare tubes (2) are wrapped in an old cycling sock with a twist between the two tubes. This is from experience as I have had holes worn in a tube when it was unprotected in the bag. The sock is then an emergency rag and......emergency TP!!From my old MTB days I carry a plastic whistle around my neck (with my ID in a vial). I carry tire boot material too and it's saved tires for three other people over the years (I use thin suede as I have lots). My two CO2 are taped together with duct tape and electrical tape. (sidewall repair with the boot material).I don't need a multi tool for the same reasons as Kerry so I carry 4&5mm allens taped together. All this stuff (and a few more bits) has been honed from 40+ years of riding in N.Am.
Several folks mentioned carrying copies of driver's licenses etc. I carry my cell phone for both emergencies and so my wife can determine where I am via the RoadID tracking app, so I have my CC info, drivers license, insurance cards, etc. on my phone as PDF files rather than carrying separate paper or physical copies.
Rather than using your foot to lift the dropped chain, try shifting the front deraileur to the opposite ring while pedaling SLOWLY. Shift to the small ring if the chain dropped to the right (outside) or to the big ring if the chain dropped to the inside.
Another ditto for oshloel. I've used this method since forever - on the rare occasions my chain goes over the big ring. It works every time and no distracting gymnastics are needed.
Ditto to oshloel's comment. It works for me everytime. And it really doesn't distract your attention from the road all that much.
what really works for a tire boot is fedex envelope - tyvek cloth/paper
plus it is really light and tiny
helps to cut it to rough size first
have 1 or 2 of them in tool kit
i had to use one yesterday... @#$
other comments: chain tool is good if derailleur fails, can take links out
a lot of multi tools have a chain tool
though sram chains with master link make removing the chain tool-less
i also take needlenose pliers and tiny crescent wrench, plain and phillips screwdrivers
What you carry on your bike is driven by experience. In well over 300K miles of road riding I have never had a chain failure, so I can't see carrying a chain tool. Likewise the only "loose screw" I have every experienced is a loose stem or seat post bolt, so I only carry a 5 mm Allen wrench. I've filed a notch in my house key that serves as a spoke wrench (and it works just fine for emergencies). I've never had a deraileur limit screw go out of adjustment so a screwdriver is not in my seat bag. Where I live, multiple flats are extremely rare so a single tube and some instant patches have dealt with any flat situation I've every had. I find that a lot of people don't know how to use their multi-tools :)
The thing I don't understand is why people don't just carry their wallet (or equivalent). It's got your money, credit cards, ID, insurance cards, etc. and I'm amazed by the number of times people report on on-line forums that they found themselves on a ride without some or all of these items. Wallet, house/car keys, reading glasses (I'm old!), and (now that I have one) cell phone plus a bandana are what occupy my jersey pockets. On longer rides I carry food for a stop and on really long rides food to eat while on the bike.
I always carry cash, along with photocopies of my drivers license and insurance card. However, I'm a bit squeamish about carrying a credit card. So I have the info of my main CC committed to memory. In a pinch, I could use it that way. Best of both worlds!
I was really surprised when my Giant TCR Advanced came through with an 11 spd 11-32 cog. I had been riding mostly a 25 since I was in my mid 60's so I was feeling a little embarassed about it. But, at 73 I'm not climbing very well any more so I quickly embraced the change. I should have done it years ago. The handwriting was on the wall when I struggled up the Mt tabor climb on the Hilly Hundred in Indiana on the 25. It's 23% at the top and I always feel like I'm not going to make the last 10 yards. The 32 is just what the doctor ordered. I have also started riding 25 mm tires on my older road bike with 100 lbs of pressure and quite like the smoother ride. I haven't really noticed any performance issues. I wonder about other riders in their 70's and their experience climbing and if maybe I'm just getting soft and not willing to suffer.
There's no need to be embarrassed about running an 11-32. If the pros can do it in the Tour of Flanders, there's no shame in using the same gears when you're 45 or 50 years older than they are. I wonder how well today's heroes will be climbing when they're our age!
If you look at film of the Tour of Flanders from the 50s and 60s when low gears were usually in the 42x21 or 23 range, you'll see the pros of that era grinding up the climbs at 40 or 50 rpm. Now, with lower and more sensible gearing, they're able to spin at a more reasonable cadence. This makes them at least as fast up the climb and spares their legs for later in the race. The same idea works fine for us older riders.
And if your climbs are over 20%, you're riding on terrain that is close to the steep parts of the Belgian classics. Go for the lower gearing--you're not getting soft if you're still climbing those grades!
I can never remember if you turn the spoke "clockwise" as if looking DOWN on the nipple -- i.e., looking at the top of the tire -- or looking UP -- as if viewing it from the hub. So, which is it?
You're getting all confused with comments like "I can never remember if you turn the spoke clockwise". Just grab a bolt and a nut (which is no different than a spoke and a nipple) and figure it out. This will cement it into your brain far better than someone telling you in words. Plus - my "press the dot on the spoke wrench" in the column says everything you need to know.
Head down, shoulders hunched, and expect to pedal forEVER!
I try to start early in the day to beat the winds even if that means riding in colder temps. I live in Northern New Mexico (southern Rockies) and the wind can roar here like it does in Western Colorado for Coach Fred. I rode 26 miles with 3300 feet of climbing before work this morning. The ride home is 6 miles, mostly downhill and I often get a nice tailwind. That is my reward after suffering through a brisk wind and 26F temps at 9,000 feet elevation this morning, the high point of my ride.
It certainly has been windy out here in the west the last few weeks, hasn't it? Seems like April is always a challenge for anyone who wants to get in serious miles. Come to think of it, any ride in winds gusting to 40 or 50 mph is a serious ride.
Thanks for sending in the tip! The early morning time slot is an excellent time to ride for busy cyclists even if it's not windy.
To quote the owner of my LBS, "I have heard of tail winds, but I have never experienced one". I see them as an opportunity to build strength. Read an article once on 4 riders in the Nova Scotia area who wanted to train for mountains in France without having any to try on. They headed for the strongest head winds and then found the mountains were very similar.
Thanks, Peter Leousis, for adding your voice to this conversation. Following early-onset osteoarthritis, I had total replacement in one hip in 1992 and then the other in 1998. Late in 1999 I bought a road bike and started training again. In 2000 I rode 7,600km across Canada. This year, with any luck, I'll pass 100,000km on my hips. Both are still solid, with the first one only now starting to show any real wear. Like Peter's, mine are both Ti stems with ceramic heads. Don't pay too much attention to statistics on likely lifespan. After all, they're all retrospective and based on technology and procedures at least a decade old. My first hip is now almost 23 years old, and the stats back then said that it might, just might, last 10 years! ...alan
Five years ago (age 62) I made a serious mistake and rode on brand new asphalt. I fell and stuck rather than sliding. The result was separating my left hip ball from the femur, leaving many shards of bone. The doctor considered it unlikely they could put all the pieces back together and even if they could I would probably have the ball die and face another surgery. I got an all Ti insert glued into my femur. Other than a pinching at the top of the pedal stroke it has not hindered my cycling. That problem went away after a bit of riding. I hope it will be many years before I have to have more surgery, but after 4 years I was having a good bit of pain. Xrays revealed arthritis in the hip and the doctor gave me pain pills to help "until I decide to replace the socket". Looking for alternatives I began taking Boswelia and my hip and most other aches and pains improved greatly.
Be careful and keep riding.
My friends and relations, bless their hearts, y'all, think that bicycling is a symptom of dementia...not a preventative.
Suggest that often if there's a cassette-wear-related problem causing skipping rather than a worn chain, its usually not the whole cassette at fault. There's like one or two cogs that are worn to the extent they cause skipping. The whole idea behind cassettes was individually replaceable cogs. Of course now, most brands are riveting the cogs together which defeats the original idea. If you can discover the offending, worn cogs, swap them out for new ones rather than throwing away the whole cassette. This is one of the reasons I much prefer 8-speed drivetrains. Their thicker cogs and chains provide notably longer life if kept clean and the cassette cogs aren't perminently riveted together, which I suggest is a marketing-based step backwards.
My wheel tensioning method can be described using three words, "Patience, patience, patience". I use a tension meter to equalize tension and to set the tension to the recommended amount.
Your article states "one egg white/day to your diet and insulin goes up 60% (Metabolism. Dec 1996;45(12)," which alarmed me, as I struggle with wild swings in blood sugar levels and I eat a couple of eggs almost every morning - always with beans, cheese, olive oil, and vegetables - in order to begin the day with a stable and longlasting energy supply. So I did a quick search and found this on the Livestrong website:
An egg for breakfast may lower your blood sugar levels for the rest of the morning and improve overall blood sugar levels. A study published in “Nutrition Research” in 2010 gave men an egg breakfast for one week and a bagel breakfast for one week. Their blood was drawn to measure glucose, insulin and appetite hormones for the next three hours. When participants had the egg breakfast, their blood sugar and insulin were lower compared to when they consumed the bagel breakfast. A 2010 study in the “British Journal of Nutrition” showed diabetics can improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels by consuming eggs rather than other animal protein.
I've noticed I'm not as hungry as quickly and have less energy crashes later in the day since I switched to this diet from a daily oatmeal and nut breakfast (also low sugar). Also, my cholesterol has decreased why my good cholesteral has increased slightly.
But you cite evidence from a 1996 study that shows eggs increase insulin. For me, this would be bad. Yet the numbers indicate this is probably not the case.
My question is: Why did you cite this specific study even though it is almost 20 years old? And, might there be more recent studies that show different results about eggs?
Thank you for always providing excellent and pertinent articles.
I'm glad to see this addressed, Jim! I have several friends who either actually believe that chains and cassettes should be replaced at the same time, or have been persuaded that this is so by their mechanic at the (usually high-end) local bike shop.
Your explanation is perfect. If I could add one thing, it would be a reference to one of the cheap and easy-to-use chain wear gauges on the market. These devices are a snap to use, and allow the chain to be discarded when it reaches 1% elongation and not before. I've yet to replace a cog or chainring on my road bike (Ultegra 9-speed cassette; front triple) in over 7,000 miles. I have been getting about 3,000 miles on a chain and changing them at the 1% mark. Close inspection of the cogs does not reveal any marked wear, and they all pass the "hard acceleration" test, so I won't be surprised to pass the 10,000 mile mark on the original gears.
I have a racing wheelset and a training wheelset. I switch cassettes every year at the end of the racing season. I lasted around 70,000 km on my 2 x 10sp campag Chorus cassettes AND NEVER REPLACED THEM, though I probably went through 10-12 chains over that time.
I'm running 11 sp Campag now; about 20,000k and no signs of wear.
I oil chains religiously evert week, and replace when my Park gauge telles me to.
...we used to replace a lot of them when we replaced chains, but that was because a lot of riders rarely shifted out of the smallest cog, which is the one that wears the fastest. When the chain needed replacement, the cog would be so badly worn that it inevitably skipped with the new chain. When we could find replacement cogs, we'd do that, but often we had to replace both parts. I suspect that some of the "wisdom" passed down about always replacing both at the same time came from shops just doing what was most expedient and least likely to result in the customer coming back with a skipping problem. The fact that it also increased service income was a nice benefit, too!
Knowledge about chain and sprocket wear are a big thing with motorcyclists.
A majority of motorcycles use a chain system, and it's important to guage chain wear and sprocket wear. The wear also considerably is increased when riding in dirty or wet conditions. Road grit gets in the chain and increases the wear rate.
If you replace a chain but don't replace a worn sprocket, it will reduce the life of the new chain, so it is important to replace both at the same time if necessary.
The way to determine if the chain needs replacement is to measure between link rivets. You can look up this length for a given chain to get the numbers. This is not hard to do and you can use a standard ruler. It does not require a special tool.
On a new chain and sprocket, when the chain is wrapped around the sprocket, each chain link will contact the front of each tooth all the way around. As the chain wears, it gets longer. This causes it to contact fewer teeth on the sprocket, causing more wear on the trailing teeth when load is applied. This is what causes sprocket wear. You can see it by looking at the sprocket teeth. On a new sprocket, the teeth are symetrical. On a worn one, the front of the tooth is more worn, and it will have a look like a saw tooth.
Always look at the largest sprocket on your cassette - it will wear the most.
This is all available on the internet. Google "how to test for motorcycle chain wear"
But motorcycles have only one rear cog, where bikes have many to parse out the wear. But suggest cleanliness is still the key factor in drivetrain longevity.
"If that remaining chunk of useless rear derailleur had gotten pulled into the front derailleur, his rear wheel surely would have locked up."
--no, the pedals would have locked (if i understand your description)
which isn;t much better (especially if you are standing up)
but at least it wouldn;t be in the spokes destroying the back wheel and possibly even bending the frame. this is more likely than what apparently did happen.
agree though, any weird noise, stop pedaling!
I didn't describe that correctly. I knew what I meant (as my wife often says to me!), but I didn't accurately describe what might have happened. Thanks for correcting me on that.
Hi Coach:In your article on hill climbing and aging you briefly mention using a double on your road bike and a triple on your mountain bike. This raises a question for me. I am buying and having my LBS build up a new sport touring bike, starting with a Gunner Fastlane disc road frame. I am considering switching to a compact double chainring 48/34 paired with an 11-36 cassette for local road riding (southwestern Wisconsin, hilly farmland) and summer self-supported camping touring, pulling a trailer. I say switch as I've previously done the same riding with a more traditional 50/42/32 front and 12-27 rear. The new idea is based on new road groupsets, some weight-saving, with a wider rear range to get the same hill-climbing.
Can you comment on this idea - will the front shifts be smooth enough, will I miss the big chainring spinning out earlier, etc.?
Dave from Madison, WI
You should be fine with the double cranks. I've ridden in Wisconsin (beautiful country!) and remember the short, steep climbs. Even with a trailer, you should do fine with a low gear of 34x36. That's lower than your previous low gear of 32x27. And a 48x11 is the same as a 53x12 so no problems there.
The drawback is greater jumps between gears but for the type of riding you describe that shouldn't be a problem. The double cranks will make front shifting a bit easier compared to the triple.
The move to fewer crankset rings is happening as even mountain bikers are using doubles or a single chainring with massive cassettes. I'm a dinosaur with my 20-year old Moots YBB mountain bike with a triple but it's such a great bike that I haven't had the motivation to upgrande.
I hope this helps!
In the introduction, the editor said “Jan Heine offered to distill [Bicycle Quarterly’s] tire pressure research” for this article. It’s a rather sloppy distillation, however. If the article had consisted of only its concluding paragraph, it would have been stronger. The article begins with a graph that is so underexplained that it appears gratuitous, and weakens the case. To me, the 7% variations in power evident in one of those curves suggest either very noisy measurement or other variables that haven’t been controlled for in the experiment.
The main message of the article seems to be that “suppleness” is something to look for in tires, but the article gives us no pictures or description to help the reader shop for supple tires. The article says that “a supple tire can make you 8-10% faster than a stiffer” one, but if something else is contributing a 7% variation in efficiency, as the graph suggests, then that is almost as significant. The article is weakened by the inclusion of a plug for Heine’s own brand of tires. They may be good tires, but on the other hand, commercialism makes the reader wonder if the “revolution” is based on science or is a marketing pitch.
I read a Bicycle Quarterly issue from 2006 on tire width and pressure, and found it more informative than this new article.
I haven't tried a mirror yet. Not because I want to look pro. Even in a car I look back and check before changing lanes. On the bike my reasoning is why deal with a mirror if I'm just going to look back and check anyway?
A mirror may have a blind spot, but frequent checks (it only takes a second or less) allow you to monitor the road behind so often you'll see the vehicle *before* it gets into your blind spot.
Also, a mirror attached to the rider's glasses can see a much wider area of the road behind by the rider simply rotating the head a few degrees.
You can, of course, always look before you make a move. But of the fatalities reported by the League of American Bicyclists on their "Every Bicyclist Counts" project site, 40% were "struck from behind". A hypothesis worth testing is that many of these fatalities could have been prevented by the proper use of rear-view mirrors. Sadly, one piece of data *not* collected during this project was the presence or absence of a mirror.
It may take you a while to get used to the mirror, but if you're like me you'll never again feel comfortable on the road without one.
As one of the League of American Bicyclist Instructors who has taught Traffic Skills 101 in Oceanside, CA for a number of years, we cover the use of mirrors by telling folks that they can be helpful to tell you "NO", but not "YES".
Then we explain that there are blind spots in mirrors so that you always want to look before you move left in the roadway. The other reason, is that by looking back, you are sending a message to any drivers behind you that you are preparing to do something besides continuing on your present course.
We always tell the story of a blind cyclist who took the course several as the stoker of a tandem. He explained that when the captain tells him that they need to move left, he turns and "looks them right in the eye"! Since he wears sunglasses, the drivers have no idea he is blind, but that "look back" gets their attention.
For techniques, we tell the students to use any of a number of ways to minimize swerves caused by turning the handlebars. They range from ducking and turning the head as John explained, to moving the right hand closer to the stem, to placing the left hand on your thigh or the back of the saddle. Then we have them practice in a large parking lot and explain that they will likely need to practice on their own to make this move second nature.
Many of us have more than one bike and more than one pedal/cleat system so this question is misleading. I have used Look for over 20 years on my road bike, but bought the Sampson Stratics Carbon pedals that were offered on sale last winter for RBR members. I put only one on and found that it feels much more supportive under my foot the the Look Keo I have been using. I am also able to use the cleat covers made for Look, although they do not work perfectly. On my town/trail bike I use SPD, but have pedals that are flat one one side so sometimes I ride with plain shoes.
As some of us get longer in the tooth, we have a "hot foot" problem from using standard clipless pedals. Because of the problem, I'd stopped using any system for a number of years so that I could have my foot on the pedal in the middle of the foot rather than by the ball of the foot where the "hot foot" would start up after an hour or two on the bike. (My wife and I do long-distance touring so we can be on the bikes for five to ten hours a day.)
A few years ago, I bought the extra large Power Grips so that I could have my normal walkable road shoe fit all the way in so that the middle of my foot hits the pedal. I've been using these for several years now and recommend them to anyone with a similar "hot foot" issue. See http://www.powergrips.com/strap-kits/
I recommend to folks wanting to start using clipless that they leave a standard pedal on the side on which they normally put their foot down when stopping until they get used to unclipping. The two-sided pedal that Jim recommends is also a good idea, but it's possible to get clipped in to the cleat side inadvertently (especially for beginners) so I think keeping a "regular" pedal on for the first few weeks is a good idea. Of course, I completely agree with practicing on the lawn for enough times to get used to the idea of twisting out of the pedal.
With regard to looking back, I use a helmet-mounted mirror when I ride, and think it works well. (Sorry about John's myopia!) But I think part of the reason that folks don't use mirrors, or find them helpful, is that most of us are right-eyed, so it requires retraining the brain to SEE the image that the left eye is creating, which is where the mirror is placed. What the right eye is seeing when using the mirror is the road ahead, and that's not the information we want.
I unreservedly recommend the LifeBEAM Smart helmet. Both for the excellent integration of optical sensor technology into a cycling helmet, and for the outstanding customer support I received when I had a problem with my helmet.
The first helmet I received worked impeccably on rides of less than two hours or so. But on longer rides the helmet would either stop transmitting to my Edge 705, flat line at some arbitrary heart rate, or it would transmit erratic heart rate data.
An email to LifeBEAM support produced a quick response. Over the next few weeks a regular exchange ensued as the support team troubleshot the problem. They looked at Strava data files from my longer rides, and conducted some diagnostic tests during a Skype chat session.
Despite the best efforts of the support team, the helmet continued to behave erratically on longer rides. The suspect was a faulty optical sensor. So LifeBEAM quickly did what all customers would expect when equipment malfunctions right out of the box. They provided a replacement helmet, free of charge.
My replacement helmet arrived two weeks ago. It has performed faultlessly, no matter how long the ride. The optical sensor has been unaffected by rain, and the copious amounts of sweat off my forehead.
The LifeBeam Smart helmet is a winner.
The best way to avoid the problem is to use a cycling mirror. -Coach Fred
Yes, indeed. If one isn't in an actual race, for me it's the ONLY way. I don't think any if us would want to drive a car without mirrors, so why would we want to be cycling on the road without one? Yeah, they look dorky but to the general public, all of us do, mirror or no mirror.
I too have a srtong RX for my sunglasss. For about 20 years I have found the CycleAware oval helmet mirror to be perfect for my needs. Just a flick of the eye and I see what's back there. When needed, a fake look back let's them know I see them and I'm not drifing into the center of the road.
I do not like hybrid pedals as a way of introducing riders to clipless. In my observation the problem with this approach is that the rider tends always regard clipping in as potentially dangerous, and never get out of the habit of unclipping way before intersections or any situation where they may be called upon to stop. Going straight to clipless means you can concentrate on just the one thing: staying alert to the different way of freeing your foot, until it becomes a habit. There will be occasions when you forget, but it most likely only be embarassing, not seriously harmful.
3 quick comments
John, I appreciate all the work that goes into publishing RBR
I have been using 28mm compass tires for a couple years and the difference in comfort is obvious. Hard to tell if I am faster. The tires have a great feel.
Regarding advice on IT band - the evidence is growing that antiinflammatory meds and probably ice is not helpful for acute or chronic musculoskeletal injuries and also impedes the body"s adaptation to exercise.
Steve Koester, M.D.
After reading the article which is a thought provoker, Are tubeless casings thinner or at least more flexible than clincher and tube and therefore better? Are latex tubes better than using butyl tubes if they are better or equal to tubeless?
Tubeless tire casings have an inner airtight liner, so they are not thinner or more flexible than a clincher tire that has comparble fabric in its casing constuction. However, depending on the tubes you use, a tubeless tire may be thinner and more flexible than a given clincher tire and tube combination. The same is true for overall weight.
In general, latex tubes are thinner, lighter and more flexible than butyl tubes and tests have shown that they have lower rolling resistance as well. However, there may be some specific exceptions to this general rule.
The downsides are:
- They bleed pressure more rapidly than butyl tubes
- They cost considerably more.
- You also have to be more careful when pressing a pump head onto a latex tube valve that is not secured with a locknut, as latex is more prone to tearing if it's twisted or pushed away from the rim and into the tire.
- Some sealants cannot be used with latex tubes.
If one is going to use spark plug washers on pedals, as recommended in the article, you have to be very careful. Spark plug washers are designed to compress when they're installed, to form a seal between the plug and the cylinder head. If they're used on pedals and not tightened until fully compressed, they will compress as you ride and your pedals will loosen. Since pedal washers are readily available at bike shops, I don't see the point in using spark plug washers.
Pedal extenders can also be problematic, as their added length creates more leverage on the pedal threads in the crank. While some pedal manufacturers offer longer spindles for their pedals, they're not typically 20-30mm longer like pedal extenders.
Bad science: no stats, no methods. Conclusions unfounded by the data. Sounds like a sales pitch.
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