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‘Trigger’ Thumb - Padding

Hi Coach Fred & Jim F,

I have used Dr. Scholls heel (gel) pads inside my left glove for a number of years with great success in controlling hand pain. I too have had a trigger thumb as well as a numb little finger and the heel pads help a lot.

There are 2 types of Dr, Scholls heel pads, one with high sides and one without. You want the one without high sides. To use, trim the pad with a scissors to fit your need and slip it inside your glove in the palm or thumb area.

I have recently switched to a Walgreens branded heel pad that has some adhesive/tackiness to one side of it. It stays in place perfectly during the ride and is reusable many, many times. It takes very little tackiness for the pad to stay in place. After riding, I place the pad in a clean dustfree place until the next ride. 

Bob Floyd

Adios "Share The Road"

Thanks, John, for your excellent summary of the findings and problems with the "Share The Road" signage and messaging. I wanted to forward these sentiments from Bike Delaware.

(Sung to the tune of Kumbaya)

Share the road, my friend, share the road.

Share the road, my friend, share the road.

Oh, friend, share the road.

Fun picture here I can't paste:

In November of 2013, Delaware became the first, and so far still the only, state to discontinue the use of the “Share The Road” sign.

Despite the sign’s ubiquity and apparent iconic status, it turned out that “Share The Road” is actually an example of common ground between traffic engineers and cycling advocates in Delaware. We both hated it and for the same reason: its unresolvable ambiguity which this study underscores. So when our forward-thinking and cycling-aware, chief traffic engineer at the Delaware Department of Transportation asked if we supported removing the sign, Bike Delaware gave him two thumbs up.

Like other good intentions gone awry, the mixed message of “Share The Road” too easily sends the wrong message. But more than that, it also represents years of lost opportunity to truly educate drivers about cycling safety.

Drew Knox

President Bike Delaware

Bicycles May Use Full Lane

What a great study! If this result gets implemented throughout the country (which admittedly will take years), we'll all be safter. I've always disliked the "Share the Road" signs that include the picture of a bicycle. I've always thought those signs should say "Share the Road, It's the Law". But this study has a much better solution. Ride on!


At what point does the body's metabolism start adapting to a specific workout. How can I tell?

Disc Brakes

One big advantage to caliper brakes is that it's much easier to install new pads. My wife has discs on her mountainbike and both of her road bikes and I've found installing new pads on her discs a lot more fiddly (for lack of a better word), messing with removing the spring, then getting the pads to stay in place while re-inserting the retaining spring. Caliper brake pads, by comparison are easy, out in the open, no problem!

Handle bar width

Your article addresses drop bars, but what about flat bars? What's the right width for these? Like on a MTB or Fat Tire.

road signage article

If only the police departments across the country knew that bicyclists are entitled to the full lane!

Road Signs

Indianapolis started installing the "Bicycles May Use Full Lane" signs this past year. I have not seen a lot of feedback in print yet but it definitely clears up the confusion. Sadly, it won't help those drivers who hate cyclists or are too busy to read the signs because they are on their cell phones......

New helmet technology

There's a group of cyclists in Colorado that are in the early stages of manufacturing a bike helmet designed to reduce the likelihood of traumatic brain injuries. They were exhibiting at Interbike but I imagine you didn't have a chance to visit with them given how many other exhibitors were there. Check out their kickstarter page to learn more about the science behind what they're doing and if you like it, give them some support. I've had so many friends get concussions that I really hope to see this take off.

Thumb pain

   I have had simular pain w/ my thumbs,  Cruiser bars place your hands in a different  position & may help eliminate thumb pain. I have converted many MTB & road bikes w/ cruiser bars & many have found it to be a big improvement. 

Higher handlebars

You can get extenders for the steerer tube. Whne my partner bought a new bike last week she asked the fitter could the bars be raised about 'that much', gesturing about 5 cms (!). The fitter got this 'Satori' branded gizmo which clamped onto the steerer - to accept the stem. Works fine.

Handlebar height/neck pain

Another option would be to alter your riding position. You might find relief by holding your head more erect and drawing your shoulderblades down. Some riders tend to let their head sink into their shoulders like a turtle, and have eliminated pain by consciously creating more space in their neck area. Additionally, you could turn your head to one side then the other for a little stretch. The price is right for this possible fix!

First Considerations

This is aimed at performance club riders - Before throwing parts at a bicycle to solve discomfort issues, first rule out technique errors solved by solutions with no or low cost.  I'm amazed at the number of customers who come in for Bicycle Fittings who complain of neck pain who basically do it to themselves.  Wearing a mountain bike helmet on a road bike is a common mistake; the visor forces them to crane their neck so far, to see where they're going, neck pain is inevitable.  Riders who must wear prescription glasses to see, too frequently wear very fashionable but tiny lenses; that also forces them to crane back their necks to see up the road.  Some riders simply crane back their necks to see through the centers of their sports sunglass lenses.

The no or low cost solutions:  Remove the snap-off helmet visor or get a road helmet.  Get Rx glasses with much larger light-sensor type lenses and have the optical centers put near the top.  Then you can see where you're going in any light conditions and with a straighter neck.  Wearing contacts is another solution for some.  Get in the habit of looking out the tops of your eye sockets rather than holding your face vertical like you're driving a car.  These won't work for everyone, but a very high percentage of cyclists with neck pain should consider these options first.

That said, if your riding style is to cruise and enjoy the scenery, by all means get those handlebars high.

Aero Bar Option

Many cyclists discount this alternative, however aero bars, customarily mounted above the handlebar, will effectively raise your upper body, plus give you an aero advantage of approximately 1 mph.  It does not take long to get used to this riding position, as long as your lower back does not give you additional problems.

Also, many manufacturers now offer sportive road frames, where the head tube is made taller, thus raising the whole front end.  It has been recognized, that not everybody wants or needs a full on racing rig, so by changing the angles you derive a more relaxed geometry for something that still looks like a racing machine.  These are also called Fondo bikes.

wireless derailers

1. The wireless derailers sound interesting, but what do you do when the battery dies, or another malfunction happens? Is there a roadside fix that can be done that these derailers are equipped for? I carrya spare derailer cable on rides. Could one be hooked up somehow in the event of an electronic failure?

2. I like friction shifting. Could these be made to shift without indexing?


Saftey devices

We need a better warning device for Road and Tri bars! The obligatory single ping bell may meet legal requirements, but certainly is useless as a warning device. A single ping is insufficient! Also when approaching an impending crisis, your hands have a lot of things to do, steer, brake, change gear, so the Bell Push needs to be in your hands or finger tips.

With flat bar bikes the bell lever naturally comes to hand. Available in a wide array of sounds and types.

But Road and Tri bars have very few options. Most of the flat bar options are for a different tube diameter, so don't fit, even if they were practical on drops and tri bars, which they are not.

Did you see anything at Interbike?

Bicycles Are Most Energy-Efficient

Are trains intentionally omitted?
Most likely they would win by head and shoulder.

Is Retirement Dangerous to My Cycling?

Fred's advice to Harry is spot on.  I'm also an early retiree (9 yrs ago) and a lifetime cyclist.  I was very careful not to get too enthusisatic when I was faced with extra days on which to train - but it happened.  I was instructing and riding in various velodrome sessions per week, plus riding the road too and burnout came suddenly and with surprising effect.  I could barely ride AT the speed needed to stay on the track's banking - about 10kph (6mph) lower than what I was normally capable of. It felt like I was riding in wet cement.
I knew what had happened so I took nine days completely off the bike to rest and recover.  On return, I was back up to my normal speed and I felt wonderful.  Now, even though I could ride seven days per week, I normally ride every other day and take lots of 2-3 day breaks.  So in the past six years I have not experience burnout again - and all my rides are hard training rides.



Glad to hear you figured this out. My wife and I are at a bakery in Redmond WA right now on an easy two hour spin after a week of harder riding in the area. Coffee shop rides are good!

Fred Matheny

Light Camera Combo

I see John Marsh is a big fan of the rear-facing camera to record bad drivers, and now the front-facing camera/light is coming out for the same reasons. Maybe it's my Midwest non-litigious personna speaking, but I want my ride time to be focused on enjoying the countryside and my riding pals. My experience is 0 accidents to date, our biking community has less car-rider conflicts than I hear about elsewhere. We do have a few fatalities, but I don't see cameras changing them; the needed changes are bike infrastructure like bike boxes. We do get irritated drivers, but keeping calm is a better strategy in my book than getting cameras to record "how right we are" and "how wrong they are". Let's spend our time and money on the infrastructure, not individual bikers' amping up our armament.

Vroomen Open UP Bike

The new Open UP bike is certainly the wave of the future for cycling enthusiasts.  It also is something of a limited bike, in that I can see from the photo it has no provisions for mounting fenders or any kind of rack, even though there is plenty of room for these.  No fender/rack mounts really limits the use of such a bike to "event-type" cycling, mostly on dry roads, when the bike itself is just crying out for muddy/rough/interesting and fun/ roads and trails.  Most of the bikes I've seen in this catagory are limited in the same way.    I am currently building up a Lyons L'Avecaise 650b bike for a customer, and it exemplifies a high-performance all-roads/all conditions bike.  It also  looks like it came out of the 1940s, which limits its "WOW" factor.  Not appealing to many tech-heads.

The Open UP Bike

Those are good points, Paul. I didn't get to speak with Gerard about his bike but I got the feeling that it's so new that they haven't even finished it, really. So, I think it's possible it will include more carrying capacity when it's finalized. I'll be interested how the L'Avecaise 650B turns out. I've been eyeing them since when Jan Heine gave them such a great review in BQ. Jeff Lyons knows what he's doing. And to me, the technology is fascinating but it's the ride that matters most - as I know you know.



OFB - Old Fogy Burnout

I'm an Old Fogy at 65 and my "problem" is that no matter how tired I am, I never lose the desire to ride!  I ride every day: Commute to and from work Mon.-Wed.-Fri. and try to ride easy, using these as recovery rides. Club evening rides Tues. and Thur. sometimes hammer-fests with lots of climbing (which I love) other times med. intensity. Saturdays I head for the SoCal mountain roads, plus often make it a century; which I see as good training for the doubles I ride. Sundays vary from easy club rides to not-so-easy club rides to another mountain road ride to a flat ride on my fixed gear . . . but I always "want" to ride on Sundays. Could be an addiction . . .  possibly.

The only exception is when I drive to a double century that's in NorCal, when I have to miss Friday and Sunday since they're driving days.  But since I ride 200 miles on the Sat. I'm okay with that. 

Rick / OCRR

Sram Wireless Shifting

 Just as I feel about the wired versions, I also feel that wireless electric shifting is just needless complexity. Although, if you are a member of the iphone generation,you, perhaps, expect everything to be electrified and eventually computerized.  Many of the so-called improvements in modern life are driven not by consumer need but by a need to sell product. I appreciate many of the advancements that have come to the bicycle over the years but this is not one of them.


Wireless e shifting

Wireless sounds great to me, some real advantages. Going there is a cost issue. I just got Ultegra groupset for $800, so to me the Di2 type is worth about $1200 or so.

Maybe John Marsh will put a survey question out there: What price point will you need to go electronic, $500-1000, $1000-1500, $1500-2000, or ready to buy it now?

when to replace a helmet.

I'd always heard 5 years. has an article on the subject though I could not find the study cited in the article.  Only reference I've seen to an actual study on older helmets rather than a best guess.

Bowl of Goodness

British English word of the day:

A rasher of bacon = a slice of bacon.

So it is 2 rashers of bacon.

How Should Older Riders Train?

Being a little nitpicky here, but just finished writing a paper on the topic of sarcopenia...Sarcopenia suffers from lack of a good definition and is (or should) describe a loss of strength (and power) rather than just muscle volume.  We all will lose some strength with aging, but physical activity can slow the process significantly. And everything I have been reading of late speaks to the importance of some higher intensity training and strength training to minimize loss and activate muscle cell growth.


I couldn't agree with you more about the importance of resistance training as we get older. Retaining muscle volume (and strength) is vital not only to our performance on the bike but also for the affairs of daily living.

I maintain that I'm lifting now, at age 70, with an eye towards retaining my cycling performance but also I'm lifting now so I can get out of my chair at some point in the future. This isn't fun to think about but definitely worth it because with something as simple as a 2 or 3 times a week resistance program we can achieve both goals--athletic performance now and mobility later.

Indoor bike storage

I tried using a couple of hooks to hold two of my bikes but it was too much of a hassle, so after doing some online research I found a way to make a bike rack out of PVC pipe.  See:  I changed the plans a bit so I used 1 inch pipe instead of 3/4 and used all 1" instead of some smaller.  I found the 1" pipe to be more sturdier then the smaller sizes.  I also spaced the uprights to handle 700c, 27, and 26 inch wheel sizes, and made them a tad wider (1/4 of inch IF I recall correctly) so I could put 1" foam insulation on the uprights so the wheels wouldn't slip and shift about; I also made it with the ends on one side unglued so I could add more spots later if I need to.   The beauty of this is you can make it any way you want to suit your needs; it's more expensive this way then the hooks but now all the bikes are in a row and on the ground, for me I liked it this way better.

Repairing cut tires

I live in an area with occasional patches of roadside littered with broken glass, and frequently get glass cuts in my tires that also cut into the cording.  If the cut in the casing is 1/4" or smaller, a good fix is to clean the inside of the casing around the cut with alcohol, and apply a fat glob of Goop Marine Adhesive.  Feather it out smoothly, leaving a thicker bit over the cut.  Allow to dry 24 hours.
Install the tire, open the cut on the outside and apply another drop of Goop into the cut.  Allow to dry.  SuperGlue will also work for this.   I've saved many nearly-new expensive tires with this fix.

Daytime lights - no way!

I use lights when they're necessary, when the sun is going down or at night. Around dusk, I use a reasonably bright rear flasher and a low powered front flasher (Knog), which improves my visiblility without irritating or blinding anyone. Although I rarely ride at night, I have a variety of powerful headlights for illuminating the road or trail, but I NEVER use them in flashing mode.

IMO, lights have NO place on group rides, as they are incredibly annoying and completely unnecessary.

I simply won't ride with anyone who uses daytime flashers. The lights are annoying and frankly, if someone is so paranoid about traffic that they feel they need to use flashers all the time, I don't want to be around them, as it makes me question their riding skills and their reactions to road situations. While that may not be fair to some highly-skilled people here, there are few things more dangerous to a cyclist than being in close proximity of another, unpredictable, cyclist. I'm not willing to take the chance of being crashed by someone who overreacts or is unpredictable.

For those of you who think your flashing headlights aren't annoying and/or blinding during the day, turn them on and go stand in front of them for a while. From what I've seen, any headlight that is bright enough to illuminate the road well at night is too bright to use as a daytime flasher.

Daytime Lights

I've been a die-hard roadie since 1967 and never thought I'd need lights (red or white, rear or front) for daytime riding until the wake-up call I got a few weeks ago.

It was a sunny afternoon (sun was high overhead, so not a factor like sunrise or sunset) on a rural, county two-lane blacktop with an unpaved shoulder paritally covered with very sharp, large, crushed rocks.  I was riding southbound at over 20 mph about three feet from the edge of the road, so other vehicles would see that I was clearly occupying this lane and would need to allow room to overtake me.  There were two oncoming vehicles traveling north towards me that I first saw about a mile away.  The first one was probably doing about the speed limit of 55 mph, and the second one was initially following it, but then started to "take a look" as if preparing to pass the first vehicle by drifting out into the oncoming lane (the lane that I was riding in) and just hung there for a while.  As I saw this, I sat up tall so they could see me better (I was wearing a white jersey and white helmet, but I had no front light) and put my right arm up above me to make a broad waving motion.

After about a half mile of that second vehicle "taking a look", the driver of that car accelerated hard and proceeded to pass the first vehicle, timing his move to perfection (as Paul Sherwen would say) so his car was passing between me and that first oncoming vehicle at precisely the right moment so that we were three abreast across that two-lane road.  Of course I didn't hold my original position in the middle of the lane as I started to gradually move over to the right as far as I could once I saw the second vehicle was really passing.  I was very careful to not get on the white "fog" stripe at the right edge of the pavement, just getting next to it so I wouldn't risk getting on the loose, crushed rock and possibly falling, but that was the closest call I've ever had in nearly 100,000 miles of road riding--that car was less than one foot from me (rearview mirror probably closer) as it went flying by in excess of 65 mph.

That scared me into buying a better front light the very next day.  I now use a Serfas Thunderbolt UTL-6 on the rear and a Serfas USL-155 on the front, and use both of them any time of the day when I ride solo, or late in the day on group rides when it's getting dusky I will use the rear tailight on a low flash.  Both of these are USB rechargeable units with the front being 155 lumens on high, and the rear is 35 lumens on high.  The front wil last up to 11 hours in flashing mode and the rear will last up to 8 hours in low flashing mode.  The only problem I've had with using these is remembering to keep them charged and/or putting them back on my bike after charging, but I'm getting better at that now that I keep them in my car to recharge.

Rim Wear

I'd be careful pumping a tire up to a pressure significantly over the rated maximum. A sudden failure during this "test" would at the least make a hell of a loud noise, and might damage an otherwise good tire; it could even result in injury to the person operating the pump (hopefully wearing safety glasses).

As rim thickness decreases due to brake wear, normal tire pressure will tend to push the weakened rim wall outward, creating a wide spot. During brake application, a "thumping" sensation will be felt. Close inspection will reveal the defect. I've seen this a couple times, and had plenty of advance notice that it was time to rustle up a new rim.



One can use a quart bag with a touch of talc in it to coat and/or carry a tube.


Flashing lights are illegal in some European countries (Germany including) not without a reason - researches have shown that while they make you more visible that hinder a distance estimation by drivers.

Riding No-Hands A Useful Skill

Riding with no hands is illegal in Louisiana.  Since bike laws are similar in other states, I suspect it is illegal in other states also.

Lights up my life

Daytime flashing lights are a life saving tool!  For many years riding with both front and rear flashing lights has been a life saver.  The brightness power complaint is possibly justified, but the ability of a car/truck driver's attention to notice a cyclist's flashing light during daylight hours, far out weighs any suggestion that too bright lights are dangerous. By positioning a powerful beam angle down slightly, it probably would buffer the intensity. A case in point, when riding in an area with shaded trees, or direct sunlight, the visibility of a penetrating flashing light will draw the driver's attention substantially!  Too many cyclist fatalities have resulted when the driver did not see them!!


Flashing road lights

Just wanted to add my two cents to the comments about using flashing lights.  I was nearing the end of a century ride with my club and pulling into the last rest stop, I overheard a conversation between one lady and some members of my club who had arrived before I did.  She is epilectic and she was letting this one rider know that a steady paced flashing light can put her into a seizure within a few seconds.  Except for a passing comment by one of the responder to your article, I don't hear much about this possibility spoken of anywhere.  Both my front and rear lights have a patterned flash sequence, not a steady one.  Food for thought.


For having been hit at 40 miles an hour by an oncoming car on a clear day in mid summer on a Sunday morning in Amish country with very little traffic, I don't understand the debate. I believe whatever you need to be seen by 4 wheeled vehicles is perfectly acceptable. I'm lucky to be alive to submit this.

flashers in day time

it IS impossible for a battery flash to be blinding in day time

especially any LED light

a xenon strobe MAYBE

i have one but i still don;t think it is an issue in day time

2 AA batteries last about 2 hours, only flashing 1 time per second

it is like a camera flash

i don;t even use it

it fell off a truck i think, found on side of road



Running Full-Time Flashers

I didn't get a chance to reply to the initial question, but I agree 100% about flashing daylight lights, especially when riding solo.  I never leave home without both.  I specifically use two that are claimed by their manufacturer to be the brightest self-contained LED lights on the market.  Like John, I also ride 100% of the time in daylight.  So, to me there is no such thing as "too bright."

I have definitely seen a big change in drivers' behavior around me since using the lights.  Most seem to give me much more room when passing, as well as wait for me to pass an intersection they are entering rather than dart out in front of me.

I too am amazed at how many people wear black jerseys riding black bikes.  And they wonder why drivers don't see them??  I almost always wear hi-vis green or orange, and ride a white Trek -- soon to be replaced by a red CAAD 12.  Sorry, no black for me.  I want to be seen!

Do your research first.

Many people casually throw out the comment that bicycle lights will "blind drivers."  Sometimes the comments are qualified to indict only the super bright models, sometimes not.  The average high end bicycle headlight puts out 800-1200 lumens.  Some extreme models (typically designed for MTB night racing) can throw out as much as 3200, but they're not intended for road cycling.  They're the equivalent of the light bars on off-road racing vehicles (i.e. never facing on-coming traffic).

The average auto headlight puts out 800-1500 lumens.  HID models can throw more; but most folks I talk to already know they are rudely blinding anyway (complain about dangerous blinding car headlights and I'm on your side).  But they argue that the average high end bicycle headlight at 800-1200 lumens is "blinding" but the average car headlight is not?  And, cars have two headlights.  Your logic escapes me.

Yes the blinking bicycle light is "distracting" to the average driver - but isn't distracting the average driver from their cell phone, CD player, sandwich chewing, etc. the whole purpose of the flashing bicycle light?  Unless drivers are pulled from their tunnel vision world view, cyclist safety has NOT been improved.



Full Time Flashers

Just a quick counter-point to those who don't want to blind oncoming traffic; after being hit twice by motorists while riding my bike, I decided to run flashing lights while riding during the daytime. I finally found this online. It replaces the nut on the front quick release, and works wonderfully for daytime (and nighttime) riding, as it positions the front light much lower (and cleans up the handlebars as well). I use a very bright light on flash mode during the day; even mounted down low, it is plenty visible to oncoming traffic. Mounting it down low has one other added benefit - when I pull up behind stopped traffic at a light, I'm not blinding them through their rear-view mirrors.


Flashing font and back always. Actually looking for a decent flasher to attach to the back of my helmet too.


John -- AMEN!  I ALWAYS ride with front and rear flashers, day and night.  The only exception is a group evening ride, when I ride with the lights solid to keep from making my riding partners crazy.

AND while we're on the subject of visibility, BLOODY is the new Black.  Once again, riders are heading out into the gloom of the lower-light time of year dressed in Black (a color that makes them essentially invisible).

The current issue of Bicycling Mag has no fewer than 33 riders pictured in jerseys that are either totally black, primarily black or in a dark enough color that they might as well be black.  It's by far and away the most dominate color jersey, whether in articles or in ads.

I've written to both Bicycling and the manufacturers of these products noting that black is essentailly road camo, but I get no response.  You're right that a flashing light beats almost any color outfit, but dressing like a Navy Seal on a night combat mission is still STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!


Rear view mirror

Sooooo, what's the (vanity) problem with wearing a helmet attached rear view mirror to REALLY let you know who's following too closely and/or over in your lane/shoulder to proactively avoid a potential 'confrontation?'  I've been wearing said rear view mirror for a number of years now and it's the "price I pay for piece of mind," knowing what's coming up on me and to act accordingly . . . !


On group rides I find other riders' lights rather distracting (they do their job very well!) and I don't want to be "that guy", so I use a rear-only flasher/strobe when I'm solo. Group rides seem much safer vis-a-vis visibility and I am not too worried about cars; other bikes are the hazard instead.

Should stops count in riding time?

First, I coach all my clients by time and intensity (RPE, HR or watts), not miles. Distance varies depending on climbing, wind, drafting, etc.

I also use time because I can add up the total time training including core, stretching, cross-training, etc. - the total impact on the client AND on the rider's life and family.

My clients are all endurance cyclists. I tell them to give me total time including short stops (but not if they stop for lunch!) I don't ask them for precision - rounding to the nearest 15 minutes is fine. 

If someone is training for a timed event (brevet, etc) when time off the bike also is included I ask them to report both actual riding time and time off the bike. My rule of thumb is a rider should spend no more than 5" off the bike for every hour of riding. If riding time is 6:00 then the rider should spend no more than 30 minutes off the bike during the ride.

IMHO people get too hung up on data. As a coach I'm after information, not numbers, and often the comments are more useful than the actual ride data.  For example: A client rode for 5:30 with 3250 ft of climbing averaging 14.2 mph with an average HR of 132. Somewhat informative. The note says "I had trouble getting going and felt slow all day" - that's much more useful info than the numbers. There's a potential risk of overtraining!

Checking for rim wear

It never ceases to amaze me that so many are intent on riding their tires, rims, components and/or frames to the point of failure.  And, not just around the neighborhood!

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