1. From the Top: My Interbike Best of the Rest
2. News & Reviews: Interbike Best of The Rest: Paul Smith
3. Question of the Week: Clincher Riders: How Many Tubes Do You Carry?
4. Ask Coach Fred: How Can I Get a Higher Handlebar?
5. Sponsors: Cycling Products from our Sponsors
6. Jim's Tech Talk: Seen at Interbike 2015, Part 2
7. No Problem: Go Beyond Heart Rate Training Zones
8. Quick Tips: ‘Sock It’ To Your Spare Tubes
9. Cadence: Being Overweight Increases Risk for Many Cancers
10. RBR eBookstore: The Best Cycling Bookstore on the Internet!
Editor’s Note: We continue our post-Interbike coverage today with a rundown of a number of additional products/trends that caught our attention. My “best of the rest” follow here, Paul Smith’s can be found in News & Reviews, and Jim Langley’s in Tech Talk.
--- John Marsh
I spent more time this year at Interbike looking at products that represented bigger trends, vs. wandering the (massive) hall to see what caught my eye. Don’t get me wrong: I did some of that, too. The one constant about Interbike is that it is so massive there’s no way one person can come close to seeing everything at the show. So a plan and focus are helpful.
For one thing, I specifically wanted to follow up on MIPS helmet technology, which I covered in my Best of Interbike article last week as part of the safety innovations I noted.
But as I mentioned in that article, not every helmet maker has embraced MIPS, and new helmets continue to be introduced by some well-known cycling companies known for other products. But those that have adopted MIPS as the way forward continue to add it to their lines, some in ways that make it quite easy to understand just how much you’re paying for the “MIPS upgrade.”
Another significant trend I was following is – and I’ll beg your pardon for the use of the word – the “mainstreaming” of power meters.
At the same time start-ups are entering the market with new options that include self-setup or “mail in your crankarm for installation” in order to bring down the cost of their units, established power companies like Stages are significantly dropping their pricing to a level they hope to appeal to a broader cross-section of cyclists.
A power meter has long been considered by many recreational roadies as an “extravagance” that would be nice to have, but fell far down on the list of items (based mostly on the fairly high cost) that they would choose to spend a chunk of money on. With pricing on the downtrend, and more options than ever in the marketplace, it seems like the buying decision may be getting closer to “reasonable” for many roadies.
Indeed, without much effort, I saw close to 10 different power meter solutions at the show. And while my focus was on a couple of new-to-market options that usher in new approaches to obtaining power (I’ll get to those in a moment), I was also pleasantly surprised to see new, cheaper units from established makers, including Stages and Pioneer.
Stages Cycling, especially, seems to be taking a strong swing at finding some new, first-time customers by lopping $250 off its Dura-Ace models (from $899 to $649), dropping its Ultegra models from $799 to $579, and its 105 models from $699 to $529. (See the site for full details.) While dropping the price, the company has rolled out new, lower-profile units with improved battery doors, and now has units available for carbon -- and Campagnolo -- cranks. I was told that “technological and production efficiencies” from its first few years in business have allowed Stages to offer the significant price cuts while at the same time upgrading its units.
Pioneer, meanwhile, introduced a new single-side unit at the show (joining Stages, which offers only single-side units that attach to the left crankarm). Previously, Pioneer offered only double-sided (or dual-leg) options. The new Pioneer single-side units come in at $899 for Dura-Ace and $799 for Ultegra. The new meter is available only for Shimano cranks for now, but is expected to be rolled out to other makers’ cranks in the near future. Pioneer’s dual-leg set can be had for $999 now, but you need to ship your crankset to the company for installation. And the company has a $749 single-leg option that requires your mailing in your left crankarm.
Among the interesting offerings at Interbike was what is touted as “the first footbed cycling and running power meter in the world,” from RPM2. (These, apparently, have been in development for a couple of years, at least, as there is evidence of previous versions online.) It is, in effect, a pair of insoles that you pop into your shoes. Each insole contains 4 separate gauges in “quadrants,” in effect, allowing dual-leg power computations. The cycling version of the product sells for $599.
Another new approach to power launched at the show is from California-based Watteam, with its new Powerbeat dual-leg after-market solution. You buy the kit for $499 and do the installation yourself, using the series of slick Youtube videos Watteam has created, along with its proprietary jig for exact alignment, glue and water bags to calibrate the system. The idea is to “make some of the setup the responsibility of the user,” thus allowing the lower price, said Ofir Gal-on, co-founder and CEO. “Keep your conservative technology, and make it an add-on tech. This is the way you can bring power to the people.” The Powerbeat system is set to ship by Christmas, according to Gal-on.
Finally, an even less-expensive single-side alternative is offered by Canadian company 4iiii Innovations. Its Precision meter goes for $399 and, like Pioneer’s add-on versions, requires you to ship your own left crankarm to the company for factory installation. The Precision meter is compatible only with aluminum cranks, including most of Shimano’s road cranks, and a limited number of others. See the site for details.
Steady Rack is a well-designed wall-rack system for individual bikes. Attach it to the wall of your home, garage, shed, or wherever you store your rides, and rest the front tire in the fold-down metal “hanger.” A small block also attached to the wall holds the rear wheel in place. The cool feature is that the “hanger” swivels in both directions, allowing you to put numerous bikes in close proximity side-by-side and simply swivel them to access one particular bike. The single-bike Classic rack sells for $69.99. A new Fender rack will be available soon for $74.99 that allows you to store a bike with a fender mounted.
Velogrip offers 2- and 3-bike storage racks, and an indoor “Loft” version, all of which feature a stout metal bar that attaches to the wall, with swiveling hooks on which you hang bikes with a velcro’ed piece of strong nylon material. These racks, like the Steady Rack, allow you to swivel the bikes in either direction and “flatten” them against the wall to save space. The Velogrip racks also feature a nylon sling shelf across the top on which you can store various bike gear. The Loft models sell for $229 for the 2-bike model and $249 for the 3-bike. The Original models sell for $239 and $269, respectively, for 2- and 3-bike racks. They come in a variety of colors.
Trimetals offers a bike storage shed from England that is apparently quite popular in British “gardens” across the country. The nifty watertight and lockable solution is now offered through an American distributor and sells for $999. Purpose-built for bikes, it features a unique folding door/roof that pulls up and back in one motion, providing ready access to your bikes.
I discussed MIPS helmet tech last week (click to see our review of a number of MIPS road helmets from earlier this year), noting that it is spreading across makers’ lines, into both high-end and low-end helmets. In the case of Lazer, it’s gone from the mid-level Helium to the top-of-the-line Z1 (in which it will cost $30 more than the non-MIPS Z1), as well as down the line into a $130 road helmet.
Lazer is also representative of another welcome trend: built-in LED flashers in the back of helmets. It will offer them across its line, in 21 different models, as do a number of other makers. It may add a few grams, but it’s yet another safety element that makes perfect sense.
Lazer has one more innovation in its lids. In addition to upgrading LifeBEAM’s bio-sensing technology into its Z1 helmet (much lighter than the Genesis helmet it was relegated to previously), Lazer is also rolling out after-market LifeBEAM sensor packages that can be fit into existing helmets. The sensor measures your heart rate and calories burned, mitigating the need for a HR strap. (Click to see our review of the LifeBEAM helmet.)
Smith has 4 MIPS models in its line, each priced at $40 more than the non-MIPS versions, making it quite easy to know how much the upgrade will set you back.
As I mentioned last week, though, not all the big-time helmet makers have embraced MIPS (Kask and Catlike among them), and a couple of other well-known cycling companies are introducing helmets that will not, initially at least, use MIPS.
Bolle, known mostly for its eye wear, will roll out a new helmet called “The One.” ABUS, the German company known for its innovative locks, is also introducing a new helmet line. And Uvex, which made a splash at Interbike with its Variotronic S sunglasses (which Paul Smith featured among his “best of show” products last week, has a slick new aero helmet, not yet approved by regulators, that is expected to roll out in late 2015 or early 2016.
(See more on the new Bolle helmet, as well as a MIPS-alternative lid, in Paul Smith’s article in News & Reviews.)
Among the ever-growing universe of wheel makers, some of the bigger players (think, 3- and 4-letter names, French companies, et al) tend to get the lion’s share of interest. But there remain small American companies that continue to compete. One of those is Rolf Prima, a 15-person Eugene, Oregon-based company.
All its wheels are hand-built on-site in Eugene using proprietary hubs made especially for Rolf Prima by venerable accessories maker White Industries, and laced with industry standard Sapim spokes in the paired-spoke layup for which it’s known. Like every carbon wheel maker today, the carbon goodies are made in the ubiquitous factories of Asia, which have unmatchable infrastructure and experience.
Rolf Prima offers full carbon hoops in 42mm and 62mm depths, and has just introduced a 35mm wheel for 2016 – tabbed as a climbing wheel with aero properties – which comes in a 1,340g and costs $2,399. Most have disc brake options, and of note is that the company has only one carbon wheel in its lineup with an aluminum brake track, a 58mm offering. Two price points are available for each wheel based on whether you choose steel or ceramic bearings.
We wrote a couple of months ago about this ingenious carry-it-yourself inflatable bike rack for cars. But seeing it in person cemented what a unique, quite useful product this is.
The Trunk Monkey folds up into a package roughly the size of a touring-sized seat bag and weighs 7 pounds (3.2kg), including the electric pump. Just like a seat bag, tt can be attached to the seat tube and saddle rails of most any bike. At $139 MSRP, it seems ideal not just for bike commuters who may find themselves in need of a lift home in the event of inclement weather, or a “show-stopper” breakdown, but also for anyone who wants to easily store a small rack in their car just to have on hand to tote an extra bike in a pinch.
The founder, Tyler Nelson, told me that getting caught out in a massive thunderstorm one day, and being unable to accept a ride from a friend because there was no rack for his bike, was the genesis of the Trunk Monkey. He’s now developing a multi-bike version that can also carry skis, etc. According to the company website, the Monkey is set to begin shipping in October.
These pedals from Nikola Innovation may be the answer to those who suffer from various knee and hip problems. At the bottom of the pedal stroke, they “outsway” – or move laterally up to a 25mm maximum – thus allowing your leg and hip to assume a more natural position through the bottom of the stroke, somewhat akin to the motion of speed-skating. The Look Keo-compatible pedals come in 450g stainless steel ($199) and soon in 320g titanium sets. The motion itself feels quite natural on a test trainer and is claimed to be more efficient, provide a power boost and be easier on the knee and hip joints.
We heard from Otto before the show, and Jim Langley already is testing this ingenious system that automatically helps you precision-tune your bike’s shifting using the camera on your smart phone. Look for more on this from Jim in the near future.
We also heard from Epic ID ahead of Interbike. (It’s a sister company of products maker CycleAware, which makes some great mirrors, cycling backpacks – check out the nifty frame backpack – and other accessories).
I’ve been testing an Epic ID for a few weeks now. It’s a silicon bracelet with a built-in flash drive on which you can easily store all of your contact, medical and health-related information so that any emergency responder can simply insert the flash drive into a laptop USB port to instantly access this critical data.
It couldn’t be easier to set up. You simply plug it into a USB port on your own computer and input your info. You’re done. You can also, and equally easily, cut the silicon band to size to fit your wrist perfectly. Now, wear the bracelet on every ride for yet another boost in personal safety. I’ve found it to be completely comfortable and unobtrusive. It’s waterproof and even saltwater-safe. The Epic ID sells for $35.
This was my very first trip to Interbike. After years of seeing the reports from across the Internet I was delighted to have the chance to attend in person. I arrived just in time to make the last shuttle of Day One to the Outdoor Demo in Boulder City, a 30-minute drive outside Vegas. [Photos by Paul Smith.]
When I got there, the wind was blowing hard. The exhibitors were using their own people as tent weights at times, grabbing hold of the canopies to keep them on the ground. Despite this, there was a very relaxed vibe to the place. Although the majority of the riding there was being done on mountain bikes, there were many high-end road bikes available for demo. I took a look around, made a plan for the next day, and then headed back out on the earliest possible shuttle on the second day to demo some of these bikes.
I was fortunate enough to test two bikes from the Argon 18 lineup: the Nitrogen aero bike and the Gallium Pro. In the strong wind, the Nitrogen proved to be a handful for me on the descent to Lake Mead, with the bike moving around in the wind. At the turnaround point, everything changed and it proved to be a comfortable, stiff and capable climber as I headed back toward the demo area.
The Gallium Pro proved to be more suited for those conditions. Where the Nitrogen was noticeably affected by the wind, the Gallium tracked completely predictably. Climbing back after the turnaround was, if anything, even easier on the Gallium. The Nitrogen seems like a superb bike for the right conditions, but the Gallium seemed like a superb bike for almost any conditions.
One of the other standout bikes, and one that I knew nothing about previously, was the Open U.P., highlighted in last week's Newsletter by Jim Langley. I got more intrigued as the bike was being described to me.
This is the best reason I have seen yet for the use of disc brakes. By that I mean that you can swap out wheelsets to transform the bike. The wide seatstays and fork allow for many different wheel widths to be used, allowing you to, in effect, change the bike from a road machine to a gravel grinder to a cyclocross bike. I tested it with 650b wheels and was able to keep up with the mountain bikes riding alongside me on the trails.
Alto Velo, a startup wheel company, ably demonstrated their new wheelsets. Bobby Sweeting, the CEO, invited me to hold the wheel by the axels and spin it around. I’ve never felt smoother and freer-spinning hubs before. On the demo ride, I was amazed at how quickly the wheels would spin up and would then hold their speed. According to Alto Velo, they have developed tolerances that exceed anything else in the industry. I will be reviewing a set of these new wheels soon.
As John mentioned leading off, the show itself is immense. Finding your way around even with a very specific idea of what you want to see is hard to pull off successfully -- there’s always something to catch your eye. Here are a handful of my highlights. And look for some of these, and other, products to be the subjects of RBR product reviews in the coming months.
Bolle has entered the road bike helmet market. The company’s soon-to-be-released offering, called The One, was very interesting to see, with a built-in “sunglasses garage,” a rear light and a comfortable liner for winter riding. The helmet will sell for $129.99 in standard trim. Adding removable aero shields in the premium version increases the price to $169.99.
Kali Protectives is the only helmet maker we saw (there may be others we are not aware of) offering an alternative to MIPS, using a licensed system they call BumperFit 2.0. The idea is the same – to mitigate the impact forces on your brain in the event of a crash. Kali also uses a system called Composite Fusion Plus to meld together the shell and the foam, with additional softer and harder foam layers for better protection. This complete system will appear in their Kava time trial helmet to be released before the end of 2015.
High-power self-contained LED lights were everywhere at the show, and we will be conducting a roundup of many of these lights soon.
Offerings suitable for typical road riding in dark conditions range from 600- to 1200-lumen models. Rather than just throwing light down the road, however, manufacturers are starting to consider how to tune lenses for peripheral lighting, illumination from the side of the light, accelerometers to detect when the rider is braking and to increase the output of the rear light, plus many more features.
In our roundup review later this year, we will be covering models from (at a minimum) Lezyne, Knog, CatEye, Niterider, Serfas, C3 Sports and SeeSense.
Former Bishop Heather Cook last month pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other charges a day before her trial was to begin in the hit-and-run death of 41-year-old cyclist Thomas Palermo.
As part of the plea, Cook was sentenced to 20 years in jail and will be required to serve 10 years, with 10 years suspended and five years' probation.
Cook, 58, hit and killed Palermo, 41, when she drove her SUV into a bicycle lane in Baltimore late last year. When she hit Palermo from behind, her blood alcohol was nearly three times Maryland’s legal limit, at 0.22 percent. She was also texting at the time, and she fled the scene, only to return later at the urging of friends.
She pleaded guilty to: automobile manslaughter, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and driving while under the influence and texting while driving.
You may recall that RBR wrote about this galling incident earlier this year. It was particularly egregious because Cook had a known history of alcoholism and drug issues, including a prior DUI arrest, yet she was elevated by the Episcopal church to the rank of bishop. In addition, she was not immediately charged in the case.
An Episcopal bishop in Baltimore on December 27 hit and killed Thomas Palermo, a well-known 41-year-old cyclist, and a father of two young children, while he was riding in what the New York Times described as a “wide bike lane” on a popular cycling road.
The bishop, Heather Elizabeth Cook, 58, was reported to be drunk, and texting, at the time of the accident. She fled the scene, returning 30 minutes later, with a church official in tow. A breath test showed her blood alcohol level to be .22 (the legal limit in Maryland is .08). Yet, she was released after the breathalyzer test at the police station and not charged for another week.
Cook eventually was charged with manslaughter, leaving the scene, driving under the influence of alcohol and texting while driving. She faces up to 20 years in prison.
If that single incident weren’t horrific enough, what came out in the aftermath is what truly sets this tragedy apart. This paragraph from a Wall Street Journal story on the case summarizes it perfectly:
“The accident has drawn national interest because Cook is the No. 2 official in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and its first female bishop, and because she was charged in a dramatic drunken driving case in 2010 at her previous assignment, in the Diocese of Easton on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, before becoming bishop. In that case, an officer found Cook in the middle of the night driving on three tires, with vomit on her shirt and too intoxicated to complete a sobriety test, according to the police report.”
In that earlier case, Cook registered a 0.27 blood-alcohol level. She received probation and was ordered to pay a $300 fine. Yet, even with that arrest on her record, church officials still promoted her to bishop after the incident.
Palermo’s family released a statement that read: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the events leading up to the senseless hit-and-run accident that claimed Tom’s life, and support the prosecutor’s efforts to hold Bishop Heather Cook accountable for her actions to the fullest extent of the law.”
This tragic case raised a host of issues about the way church organizations handle forgiveness and addiction, about the way police handle cases such as this one (critics claimed the bishop received deferential treatment), and cycling advocates, too, complained that such a clear-cut case should have been prosecuted quicker, and more forcefully. There’s also the question of how her initial drunken driving case was adjudicated.
Read the Wall Street Journal and New York Times articles for more information.
An article about Cook’s sentencing in Christiantoday.com ends with what may be the best possible postscript from the Episcopal church (though it is from a single Episcopal pastor, it still fully recognizes the failures of the church in the case).
“Following a diocesan meeting Rev Anjel Scarborough wrote in an open letter to her congregation at Grace Episcopal Church in Brunswick in January.
“She said although the committee that appointed Cook appear to have followed the Church's national guidelines, ‘our guidelines are woefully inadequate and naïve in addressing the complex problems of substance abuse and addiction.’
“Scarborough lists a summary of the many failures she perceives in this tragic event.
“‘In the end, this was an epic failure. It was the failure of a process to stop a candidate for bishop from being put forward when clearly her alcoholism was not in remission. It was a failure of Heather's to choose not to treat her alcoholism and conceal her past. This resulted in the death of a husband and father – something which Heather will have to live with for the rest of her life and for which she may be incarcerated. This was our failure of Heather too.’
“‘As the Church, we set her up to fail by confusing forgiveness with accountability. We did not hold her accountable to a program of sobriety and we failed to ask the tough love questions which needed to be asked. In so doing, we offered cheap grace – and that is enabling.’”
RBR’s brand new full kits are now available for sale directly from Voler.
The new kits feature the main colors of our new website. (Full graphics, front and back, are on the Voler site. Here's a taste.)
You can check out all the new stuff at: http://www.voler.com/browse/collections/details/li/RoadBikeRider
Voler has available for sale both Men’s and Women’s full-zip, race cut jerseys (non-Premium price: $79; Premium price: $53) and ¾-zip, club cut jerseys (non-Premium price: $75; Premium price: $49), along with both Men’s and Women’s shorts (non-Premium price: $79; Premium price: $50) and bibs (non-Premium price: $89; Premium price: $55).
The kits are produced on demand, so once you place your order, Voler makes the gear in their California factory and ships it directly to you.
In addition, Voler will be offering the vintage RBR “Red Stripe” jersey we did two years ago. Check back to our sales page on Voler for that.
Premium Members: To access the instructions and promo code to save 33% on our new kit, while logged in click http://www.roadbikerider.com/rbr-sponsor-special-offers (Your price for a full kit, including full-zip jersey and bib shorts, is just $108, a savings of $60!)
Send along photos of yourself in the new RBR kit when you can. We’d love to run a few!
Selle Anatomica has agreed to provide one of its X Series Saddles as our next Premium Member Giveaway prize! The Selle Anatomic X Series Saddle (click to read our 4.5-star review), is a full-grain leather, Made in the USA saddle renowned for its looks and its long-distance comfort right out of the box.
Any new or renewing Premium Members between July 1 (when we gave away our last great prize) and September 30 are eligible for the drawing. We’ll announce the winner in the October 8 RBR Newsletter.
Today's Question is based on Jim Langley's Tech Talk column today. (Hint: He's a penny-pincher!)
Please Send Us Your Questions!
Coming up with a new poll every week is – believe it or not – one of the harder things I have to do. I would love to hear from you with any suggestions you have for a Question of the Week. To contact me, just hit the reply button on any email from us, or use the Contact Us form on the website: http://www.roadbikerider.com/contact. -- John Marsh
I ride a custom Seven Axiom. For 1,600 miles everything was fine, but now severe neck pain tells me I should make a major position change. I think I need to be more upright. Switching from the current 84-degree stem to an 80-degree stem would raise the handlebar only a little. Do you have other suggestions? -- Ned S.
Seven is known for doing a great job of custom fitting, so I wonder if your neck pain may be due to something besides riding. If you haven't actually injured your neck in some way, get a physical exam to rule out a medical problem.
But if a too-low riding position is indeed the culprit, a large number of other riders can identify. The trend in recent years is to combat neck and shoulder discomfort on a road bike by putting handlebars higher in relation to the saddle.
Rivendell Bicycles is an outspoken proponent. The company designs its bikes to have the handlebar right at saddle height. This may be more correction than necessary. Many riders find that if the bar is within 1-2 inches of saddle height, upper-body comfort is much improved.
Remember, wind tunnel testing shows that height is not as critical as width to a rider's aerodynamics. You can sit taller and not suffer a significant loss in efficiency -- certainly not enough to offset the gain in comfort.
As for your personal situation, it's hard to estimate how much additional stem rise might help without seeing you on the bike. The best way to find out is to experiment.
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I spent my first day of Interbike, which was Tuesday, at the Outdoor Demo. It’s held in Boulder City on Monday and Tuesday. Dubbed the town that built the Hoover Dam, it’s about a half hour outside of Vegas.
Just for Interbike, the town built a bike park called Bootleg Canyon, where the Demo has been held for years. Here show-goers can actually ride many of the new bicycles to be displayed at the indoor show later in the week. So it’s well worth getting out there.
Before choosing a dream bike to ride, I took a look at the amazing Fuji SL 1.1, which was hanging from a scale reading 10.5 pounds. At $9,999, it has to be the most lightweight bang for your buck ever. The SL is 19% lighter than any model Fuji has offered before, yet it’s stiffer in all the right places for excellent performance. The frame weighs a mere 695 grams. For your $10K you also get a pair of $4,000+ Reynolds Razor carbon wheels! I wish I could have ridden it.
I then spent a couple of fun hours on a 44-mile paved bike path through the desert riding to Lake Mead and back (yes, Vegas has some incredible riding) on a Giant TCR Pro Advanced. I had seen a TV segment on it during the Tour this year and wanted to try their top-line race rig. At $5,500, with full Dura-Ace and Giant composite wheels, it offers nice value and a magnificent ride. I only wish it came in something other than black (see below), which seems to be what every company is going with now on their carbon uberbikes (I like colors).
After that long ride, I took a Co-Motion Siskiyou out for a shorter spin because I was running out of time. I’m interested in the new adventure road bikes with 650B-wheels and tires and disc braking. The Siskiyou is known for its lively ride even fully dressed for touring, and I loved how its Reynolds 725 chromoly frame and fat tires handled Bootleg City’s mix of gravel and blacktop. I see it as a great choice if you want a do-it-all bike with a fast and wonderfully comfortable ride.
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I joined John and Paul at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for Interbike’s indoor show. Even if you had a month, it’s so huge you couldn’t possibly see every interesting item. I talk too much, too, and that slows me down a lot.
But that’s how I found out about a few cool things that might interest you. Like the VeloFix mobile bike-repair franchise -- essentially a tiny shop inside a Sprinter van for making house calls, or setting up shop on a business or college campus. I get emails all the time asking about going into the bike biz, so I know this concept is appealing. They’ve already sold 31 franchises at a cost of about 25K and another 90K for the loaded Mercedes Sprinter (which Mercedes will finance). I did not get to talk to them, but there was another company like this at the show called Beeline Bikes.
All bike shops need qualified mechanics, and there aren’t enough to go around these days. Aaron Jacobs at Project Bike Trip explained that they’re working hard to help with their Bike Tech at School program, basically like the auto shop classes at school, but ones that teach bicycle mechanics so that skilled graduates can find jobs in bike shops. They’ve been doing it at six different schools is Santa Cruz, California, since 2006, and they were at Interbike to introduce the idea to other cities across the country. Great idea!
Next, Manuel Paliungas of Bicycle Angels (perfect name) told me how their non-profit organization loans road or triathlon bikes to any qualified charity ride participant. In this way, they make it possible for people who do not own bicycles to train for and participate in the charity of their choice. And by doing this, they introduce newbies to our awesome sport. Bicycle Angels partners with most well-known fundraisers, such as Team in Training, AIDs Lifecycle, MS Society, Diabetes Society and a lot more.
Back on the hunt for new products, I found the Mio Fuse ($149), an EKG-level wrist heart rate monitor for both activity tracking and health and wellness monitoring. With the Fuse there’s no chest strap because its electro-optical cells detect the heart rate by shining a light through the skin. It’s very clean and high-tech and a nice upgrade if you dislike wearing chest straps. I asked for a sample so I might test and review it later this year. In the meantime, here are some videos: https://vimeo.com/110916217
A couple of booths over was Redshift Sports, which was showing their Shockstop stem, one of the cleanest shock-absorbing stems I’ve seen. Designed to complement any fine road bike, you can hardly tell that it’s hinged and includes exchangeable elastomers to provide up to 1.5cm of vibration-damping travel. Made of 6061 aluminum and weighing a svelte 238 grams in a 9cm length, it retails for $140 and will be available by April of 2016. Redshift launched this new product on Kickstarter (click the Shockstop link above for more info).
Then, I watched a demonstration of the first bike repair iPhone app I’ve ever seen that actually adjusts your rear derailleur. Well, you do the adjusting but the app includes gauges that you mount to your derailleur and cassette. You then use the phone’s camera to sight markers on the gauges that tell the app what adjustments the derailleur needs to perfect the shifting. Your smartphone then talks you through the correct adjustments to make! The app with tools is called the Otto Tuning System ($39) by Otto Design Works, and I have a sample to test and will review it sometime soon because the concept is fascinating. In the future they will add to the app, with stem and seat centering tools, which I also can’t wait to try.
Speaking of cell phones, if you’re like me, you carry one on rides. If you do longer rides or multi-day events, you’ll need to keep your phone charged. This can be a challenge if you’re on a popular ride with hundreds of people looking for ways to charge theirs. No worries! Just set your bike up with two nifty products from Sinewave Cycles. You’ll need to build a wheel (or have them do it) around one of their Shutter Precision dynamo front hubs that generate electricity as you ride. And then add to it their Reactor, a cool stem cap-mounted USB port. Voila! With this setup you can keep your phone, headlight and anything else that needs charging fully powered and ready to go.
Having struggled with knee pain over the years, and knowing that widening your pedal stance (with spacers) can help some riders get past it, I was next drawn into Nikola’s booth. Their XP5 pedals boast 25mm of lateral pedal motion. But what’s unique is that your foot moves out at the bottom of the stroke and in at the top. Nikola believes that this dual-motion provides a more powerful and more ergonomic pedaling motion for some riders. I tried it on a bike on a trainer and it felt perfectly natural. They have a stainless-steel spindle model for $199 and a titanium version for $499. They are Look Keo-compatible.
To end on something more old-school or classic -- and because winter is coming in North America, check out Detours new-for-2016 Revenna Rain Cape. This waterproof cape packs into itself so you can always have it along for rides, sells for $88, has reflective accents and is made of coated nylon with sealed seams for excellent rain protection. (This product is not shown on their site yet as far as I can tell.)
Jim Langley has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He's the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check his "cycling aficionado" website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim's streak of consecutive cycling days has reached 7,935.
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An RBR reader writes: “I have been trying to calculate my heart rate for different training zones. I’m confused. Some authorities say to base the percentages on max heart rate while others suggest calculating from lactate threshold. One book says I should get a lab test to truly find my max HR. Can you simplify this mess?”
True confession: all these heart rate formulas confuse me, too. If there were a "perfect" range for training and recovery rides, it seems like the experts would agree. In fact, no such ideal heart rate exists. That's because heart rate for a given power output varies from day to day depending on your state of hydration, mental condition, whether you're overtrained or fresh, and environmental conditions such as heat and humidity.
There’s nothing wrong with using a heart rate monitor if you understand its limitations. But, ideally, it should be used in combination with perceived exertion and a power meter. A power meter can be invaluable for hard training because it provides an objective look at how hard you’re truly going.
Base exercise zones on your lactate threshold rather than on your max heart rate. LT corresponds to the highest average heart rate you can maintain for an hour. You can find it without going to your painful maximum, but medical supervision is still suggested.
Here’s one way to find your LT. Ride a 10-mile loop at a hard pace. Use a heart monitor that averages heart rate for the distance or just check it occasionally to see where HR settles. You'll quickly find that you can maintain a given HR fairly easily, but if you go a few beats higher you'll start panting and be unable to control your breathing.
For example, I can time trial (at an elevation of 6,000 feet) at a HR of 160-163 bpm. But if I go to 165 I blow up pretty quickly. Trial and error will reveal the HR you can maintain.
Three simple exercise zones based on your LT heart rate are sufficient. Recovery takes place about 40 beats below LT, endurance is built on rides about 25 beats below, and "breakthrough" training should be done from 10 beats below to about 5 beats above. These are rough guidelines, but they seem to work for most riders.
The real key to determining training intensity is to rely on your perceived exertion. For instance, easy rides should be so easy that you don't feel much pressure on the pedals through your feet. They should be, in the words of cycling coach Skip Hamilton (and you’ve surely heard me use this phrase before) "guilt-producingly slow." The idea is to take a walk on the bike.
Hard efforts, such as intervals and climbing, should be at the limit separating steady-but-labored breathing from panting and gasping. Experiment to find that boundary.
Today’s QT comes from our own Wheel Builder columnist Mike Tierney. Here’s what he writes:
This tip will help you protect your spare tubes. Follow my tip and you won't have to suffer the problem I did, many years ago. I was in a long mountain bike Enduro event and I got a flat tire. I found both my unprotected tubes, carried in my under-saddle bag, had suffered abrasions due to months of jiggling around in the bag. Holes had worn in the corner folds of both tubes, rendering them totally useless. Luckily, I was able to “borrow” a tube, and that saved miles of hiking.
My solution is this: Set one of your old cycling socks aside. Totally deflate two tubes and roll them tightly. Make sure you install the valve cap so that the Presta screw isn’t able to wear a hole in the tube. Fasten the tubes with rubber bands.
Insert one tube into the sock, pushing it down as far as it can go into the toe. Twist the sock and insert the 2nd tube. Twist the sock again, after the 2nd tube, and fold one tube onto the of the other -- retaining the separation twist.
Fold the top of the sock back over the tubes to create a compact package.
You now have total tube protection, an emergency rag for dirty jobs that fits nicely over your hand, and – if you’re real in dire need – emergency T.P.! (Don’t think I need to expand on that one!)
We’d like to hear from our readers with any Quick Tips you might have. To contact me, just hit the reply button on any email from us, or use the Contact Us form on the website: http://www.roadbikerider.com/contact.
By Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
Pinch the skin over your belly. If your fingers are three or more inches apart, you are at increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and certain cancers (J Am Coll Cardiol, 2013;62(10):921-925).
Harvard University researchers show that being overweight increases risk for most cancers (American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago, May 29, 2015), probably because belly fat specifically is associated with excess fat stored in your liver. A fatty liver can cause higher blood levels of sugar, insulin, and insulin-like-growth factor-1, all of which can increase cancer risk (Oncologist, 2010; 15(6):556–565).
The 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that 68 percent of U.S. adults age 20 years and older were overweight. The number in 1994 was 56 percent. Now the estimates run as high as 80 percent. Excess weight has been associated with increased risk for the following types of cancers:
How Excess Fat Can Increases Cancer Risk
Nobody knows exactly why being overweight is associated with increased risk for so many types of cancer, but the most likely explanation is that storing fat in your belly means that you store excess fat in your liver. Your liver controls blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels rise too high, the pancreas releases insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels by driving sugar from the bloodstream into your liver.
Having extra fat in your liver prevents sugar from entering the liver to keep blood sugar levels high. This raises blood insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels even higher to overstimulate cells, which can lead to cancer (Annual Review of Medicine, 2010; 61:301–316). Extra fat in your liver also turns on your immunity to cause inflammation, which is associated with increased risk for many cancers (Cell, 2010;140(6):883–899).
Colorectal Cancer: Storing fat in the belly is a major risk factor for colon and rectal cancers (PLoS One, 2013;8(1):e53916). Having extra belly fat means that you have extra liver fat that can cause high blood sugar, insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 levels that can turn normal cells into cancers. Red meat is also associated with colon cancer, probably primarily because it blocks insulin receptors to raise blood sugar and insulin levels.
Breast Cancer (after menopause): Fatty tissue produces large amounts of the female hormone, estrogen. Estrogen stimulates the breast to grow, and too much estrogen overstimulates the breast, which can cause cancer.
The riskiest time to have too much estrogen is after the menopause (BMJ, 2007 Dec 1;335(7630):1134). Taking estrogen after menopause increases cancer risk, and taking estrogen with the second female hormone, progesterone, increases breast cancer risk even more.
Women who have a delayed menopause and go into menopause after age 55 are at increased risk for breast cancer because of their prolonged exposure to estrogen. Gaining a lot of weight from age 18 to 50 also increases breast cancer risk after menopause. Women who start menstruating before age 10 are at increased risk for breast cancer because of their prolonged lifetime exposure to estrogen. A program of diet and exercise that gets women to lose weight after treatment for breast cancer helps to prevent recurrences (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2009; 101(9):630–643).
Endometrial Cancer: Women who are overweight are two to four times more likely to suffer cancer of the inner lining of the uterus, and the more overweight a woman is, the more likely she is to suffer endometrial cancer (Int J Cancer, Jan 15, 2007;120(2):378-83). Women who are given estrogen without also receiving the second female hormone, progesterone, are at high risk for uterine cancer. Estrogen stimulates the inner lining of the uterus to grow, while progesterone stops the stimulation. Taking estrogen without also taking progesterone stimulates growth of the inner lining of the uterus all the time to cause cancer. Anything that raises blood sugar levels increases risk for endometrial cancer: diabetes, lack of exercise, eating and drinking foods and fluids with added sugar, and so forth.
Kidney Cancer: Storing fat in the belly is associated with renal cell cancer, the most common form of kidney cancer (Br J Cancer, 2001 Sep 28;85(7):984-90). Having extra belly fat raises blood insulin levels. Insulin constricts arteries to raise blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with increased risk for kidney cancer.
Esophageal Cancer: Being overweight is associated with increased risk for esophageal adenocarcinoma, but not esophageal squamous cell cancer (Ann Oncol, 2013 Mar;24(3):609-17). Being overweight can cause reflux of acid from the stomach to the esophagus, and the esophagus is damaged by the acid. This can cause inflammation that leads to a precancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus.
Pancreatic Cancer: Obesity is associated with increased risk for pancreatic cancer (Ann Oncol, 2012 Apr;23(4):843-52). Storing fat in the belly raises blood sugar levels, which causes the pancreas to constantly make more insulin that overstimulates the pancreas. Other risk factors for pancreatic cancer include smoking, diabetes, eating red meat, processed meats and fried foods, and exposure to pesticides, dyes and various other chemicals. A diet high in fruits and vegetables reduces risk for pancreatic cancer.
Thyroid Cancer: Patients who are overweight tend to have increased risk for thyroid cancer, particularly the types that kill (Archives of Surgery, published online May 21, 2012). Other risk factors include being iodine deficient, a family history of thyroid cancer, having a bowel condition called familial adenomatous polyposis, growth hormone tumors or diabetes, or exposure to large amounts of radiation, particularly for treatment of other cancers in early life. Having other cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, or testicular cancer also increase risk for thyroid cancer.
Gall Bladder Cancer: Being overweight increases risk for having gall stones, and gall stones are associated with increased risk for gall bladder cancers (Br J Cancer, 2007 May 7;96(9):1457-61).
Prostate Cancer: Obesity is associated with a slight increased risk of prostate cancer, but it is strongly associated with increased risk for the aggressive type of prostate cancer that can kill (World Cancer Research Fund International. Continuous Update Project Report: Diet, Nutrition Physical Activity, and Prostate Cancer, 2014). Obesity increases levels of growth factors such as Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 that can stimulate normal cells to become cancerous.
Ovarian Cancer: Being overweight is associated with a slight increased risk for premenopausal ovarian cancer, but not for ovarian cancer after menopause.
Liver Cancer: The most common known causes of liver cancer are chronic infections with the hepatitis viruses. However, being overweight is associated with increased risk for liver cancer in people who are not infected with these viruses (Eur J Cancer, 2012 Sep;48(14):2137-45). Storing extra fat in your liver, called a fatty liver, turns on your immunity to cause inflammation, which increases risk for many different cancers.
Bariatric Surgery Reduces Cancer Risk in Obese Patients
Obese people who have bariatric surgery to help them lose weight are at reduced risk for developing these obesity-related cancers, compared to those who did not have the surgery (Cancer, 2011; 117(9):1788–1799). Bariatric surgery is more effective than anything else to help grossly obese people lose weight. Bariatric surgery, combined with lifestyle changes, usually gets people to lose more than 30 percent of their weight, while ordinary dieting rarely results in loss of more than 7-10 percent of body weight.
If you have more than 100 pounds to lose, you may want to consult a bariatric surgeon. If you need to lose less than 100 pounds, I believe that the most effective method for permanent weight loss is intermittent fasting, combined with a regular exercise program.
For detailed instructions on weight loss with intermittent fasting I recommend The Fast Diet by Michael Mosley. Once you have lost your desired amount of weight, you can keep the weight off by continuing a less-stringent but lifelong program of healthful eating, intermittent fasting and exercise.