Reader Comments Add Useful Info to Several Articles
We had a number of reader Comments last week to several of our stories that add to the conversation. As always, if you’ve got additional information worth sharing on any topic, we’re happy to have you post it in the Comments. And we’re happy to round up those Comments, wrap them in a bow, and present them as a tidy package – which is exactly what follows re: clothing choices for weather conditions, 650B wheel/tire size and how to stay sane on the trainer. Great stuff, all. Read on.
Holiday Season Premium Giveaway
As often as I can, I gladly accept quality cycling products to give away in drawings to Premium Members as a way to say a big Thank You! for being the primary financial support that keeps RBR going.
Our Holiday Season giveaway will be 2 complete sets of the See.Sense ICON Front & Rear Lights we just reviewed. (Click to read the review.) We’ll give one set each to 2 lucky Premium Members.
All Premium Memberships purchased year-to-date through December 31 are eligible to win. Join or renew your Premium Membership before December 31, 2016, for your chance to win these great lights!
What to Wear in Changing Weather
To Coach David Ertl‘s terrific piece on what to wear in changing weather conditions of winter (and throughout the year, for that matter), we received several comments about particular items of clothing readers find quite useful and effective, at least one homemade solution to some winter shoes that sound amazing, and one reader even added up the cost of his winter gear. Read on:
I have done some rough calculations on chilly winter rides and estimated that I was wearing $750 worth of clothing.
I use the Costco charcoal toe warms but instead of placing them on the bottom of my foot, I stick them to the top of my toes. These last quite a few hours this way and keep my feet toasty.
Winter cycling shoes probably work, but they are also expensive, which might be an issue with some riders. I live in the Boston area and frequently ride with temperatures below 20F. Here’s my system. My shoe preference is to buy an inexpensive pair with little built-in ventilation that is 2-3 metric sizes larger than usual, e.g., my normal size is 45 but I use 47-48 in winter. The extra size allows use of one pair polypro sock liner, one pair thin wool, and one pair heavy ragg wool socks.
Also, I purchase some insulated inner soles, which are available online. Good sources are those that cater to hunters, ice fisherman, etc. Also needed are an old ATM tire tube that has been sliced open lengthwise plus some some Mylar type material such as high-end coffee beans come in. Remove the inner soles that come with the shoes and trace the shape onto the open old ATM tube and then cut them out. These create a moisture barrier that I put into the shoes first.
Then, again using the original inner soles, trace them onto the Mylar and cut them out and put into the shoes next, shiny side up. This creates a heat barrier much like a Mylar blanket does. Then I insert the new insulated inner soles that I have bought. Once I have put these shoes on, I will put a thin plastic bag over the shoes, and then put a urethane booty over each. This is a system I use only once temperatures are below freezing. Overall, the system works and to my amazement, my feet do not get too hot and perspire.
The trick in winter riding is to be comfortable but not warm. Perspiration is the enemy. One should be a little cool for the first 15-20 minutes of the ride until your exertion builds up your core temp. Also, to keep your feet warm, be certain that your head is warm. Your body naturally heats your head first, then your trunk, and last your extremities. Use a windproof helmet cover to block the wind from going through all those wonderful wind channels that you paid so much for so your helmet will be cool in summer.
Coach Rick Schultz
Vests as well as bib knickers and arm warmers come in standard lightweight or micro-fleece lined. John, like you, I also like arm warmers AND bib-knickers!
I dare say knee warmers are a necessity by temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees, otherwise you risk your knees
I don’t know if this applies just to us in the northern US, but I think it’s critical to know the dew point when deciding how to dress for rides. There is a drastic difference between 60 degrees F with a dew point inthe 50s as compared to 60 degrees F with a dew point in the 30s. With high dew points it will feel much warmer than dew points in the 30s or lower. Usually I can equate the dew point with wind direction, too. If the wind is out of the northwest, the dew point is almost always lower and it feels much cooler. A wind out of the south brings moisture and higher dew points and warmer feeling air. This is true at least in the north central US.
To add to Doug, I have found that sunny vs. cloudy, as well as humidity, make a big difference. Sunny and 35 can be like 40 or more and cloudy. I have my own chart of what to wear at different temps but adjust accordingly.
Chris, you and Doug are right in highlighting regional climate-related factors. In the Southeast, for instance, we have extremely high humidity during the summer, which makes the already extreme heat seem even worse. It’s far different than the “dry heat” of other climates and hard to explain to riders not used to high humidity.
Pointing out the effects of overcast skies, the effects of wind on “feels like” temperatures, etc., are also important. There is certainly a lot to consider when rummaging through the closet before a ride!
I have a light-weight cycling vest that has a solid front and mesh back, with a full-length zipper. I wear it whenever it’s below 60, on top of whatever else I am using. It’s great for shielding my core from the ongoing blast. And I can easily open or close the zipper depending upon whether I’m getting too warm or cold. I think it really helps.
Pros and Cons of 650B Bikes, Wheels/Tires
A few of you had some additional useful info to share as a follow-on to Jim Langley‘s primer on 650B wheels and tires:
I have a Calfee Adventure with S&S couplers and disc brakes. When home I ride 700C by 35mm tires. When I break the bike down to travel I use a pair of 650B wheels and tires (35mm), which fit in the bike bag better than the 700C’s. I find the wider tires with lower pressure much more comfortable over varying terrain from packed dirt and light gravel to chipseal and I don’t notice a difference in speed. Riding 650B’s let me experience more places when traveling.
I’ve been enjoying my custom Jeff Lyon L’Avecaise 650b bike for about 6 months, and I certainly don’t regret it. I also own a Rivendell Bleriot 650b (too stiff, too heavy for me) and a Boulder Bicycle 700C bike set up like the L’Avecaise. Both ride/handle great, but the 650b has more comfort and cornering traction.
I’m a bike dealer who also rents bikes in summer, and am frustrated at the lack of Small/XSmall adult bikes with appropriate-sized wheels. I keep a couple of 13″ and 15″ frame 26″ wheel bikes in my rental fleet that must be 10 years old. Why? Because all the new bikes in those sizes use 700c wheels, which creates bikes with handlebars so high they are level with the riders’ noses, and look awkward. I really wish the Big Three would bring back 26″, or at least 650b wheels for smaller framed bikes. They would look, perform, and fit the smaller riders much better.
The bike industry has done the consumer a disservice by selling tire sizes as fashion. Got a perfectly good 559 mm (26-inch) mountain bike? What good does it do you to switch to one whose rim radius is 12.5 mm less? Not much.
The true advantage of having smaller sizes is very much underutilized by the industry: sizing the frame for a shorter rider. One example of a company that has done this is Surly. Surly’s Long Haul Trucker comes in 622 mm (700c) in larger frame sizes and 559 mm in smaller frame sizes. You can make the bike fit the rider better when you do that, but my sense is that the bike shops don’t try to sell that advantage to the public, and the public doesn’t understand it.
I would not replace wheel sizes, the whole bike is designed around wheel size – a lot of geometry issues will be ‘off’ from the original design… not just brake reach.
The key to replacing 700c (622mm) wheels with 650b (584mm) wheels is using tires that match the original tires outer diameter. The geometry remains exactly the same if the 650b tires are 19mm larger than the 700c tires. For example, I have a bike originally designed for 700c x 35 tires. The outer diameter is 622mm + 2 x 35mm = 692mmm. I have some replacement 650b wheels with 27.5 x 2.1in (54mm) tires. The outer diameter is 584mm + 2 x 54mm = 692mm. In this case, the 650b tires are wider, but exactly the same outer diameter.
I used to have 650’s on my Bacchetta Strada recumbent, which was my road bike and touring bike. When touring replacing blown tubes and on one epic occasion a blown tire was difficult in the US! I’d certainly go 650B if I were touring Europe, and I’m lucky to ride a Gunnar Fastlane with wide forks and disc brakes – which allow an easy switch to any wheel/tire smaller than 700!
What Do You Do to Help Get Through Trainer Time
Last week’s Question of the Week asked What distraction do you use when riding an indoor trainer or stationary bike to break the monotony? In addition to choosing one of the answer choices, a few of you also opted to share your own diversion – or, in the case of at least one reader, to take issue with the premise of needing a diversion to get through trainer time:
I go to YouTube and find a bicycle race to watch.
I watch a lot of YouTube videos streamed from an Apple TV device on a large flatscreen TV. It’s simply incredible how much amazing stuff is on YouTube and it all can be watched for free (as long as you have Internet service and a way to watch). For example, you can learn how to do just about any project you have on your to-do list from household repairs to car repairs to new hobbies. If you’re interested in the work of famous movie directors, you can watch almost endless documentaries. I find that watching it while riding indoors is a wonderful way to learn new things and it sure makes the time fly by.
I mount a piece of sheetrock in front of me and put some paint on it so I can watch it dry as I pedal.
Many years ago we bought a reading stand that Schwinn sold to go on their exercise bike (the one with the big fan). I built a reading stand that also holds a desk fan aimed right at the rider’s face. I pile up reading materials over the summer and catch up through the winter, while also listening to music. Double use of the time – it’s all good.
I disagree with the premise in today’s poll that riding a trainer is boring. Sometimes I do listen to NPR for a while, but even that is distracting. I try to pay close attention to what I am doing. Is my cadence smooth at the right RPM? How are my quads doing? How hard should I go now? How long should I do this? Am I in a rhythm? Can I just focus on my body turing the pedals? I feel that being aware of my body on the trainer really helps that same awareness on the road. I have tried watching cycling or a ball game but then I cannot focus on my riding. I actually enjoy riding my trainer. When I was doing Ironman, I did the majority of my bike workouts on the trainer.
Music, and for longer rides, movies — preferably something I’ve already seen (so if I’m dying during a hard interval, I’m not missing a crucial scene). I’ve also had fun watching movies on DVD with the commentary option turned on.
I have a Tour de France bicycle simulator that connects my route to Google maps. I get still photo images in my computer screen every 5 seconds. In addition, I have the simulator in front of the TV so I can watch sports, movies, or whatever.
I have aerobars on the bike and can rest a Kindle reader on them. I get through a lot of books while on the trainer!
TV or movies..when all else fails, podcasts.
Thanks to all for the great Comments! Keep ’em coming each week!