Quick Tips

Follow Helmet Makers' Replacement Recommendations

A reader named JJ emailed me after reading last week's article Donate Unused Cycling Gear to a Good Cause: "Concerning donating gear: Is it a good idea to donate helmets that are in good shape and never been involved in an accident? Helmet manufacturers say replace your helmet every 5 years. What do you say about that?" JJ's timing was great, because just the week before I had the perfect experience and example to share with him (and now with all readers).

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'Maintain' Your Tires for Extra Wear

Even though I do keep track of when I install my tires, I know that they're not really a component I can accurately plan to replace at a certain interval. Where the rubber meets the road is the one place on a bike that can go from perfect condition to useless almost instantly if your luck is bad enough. We've probably all got at least one such tire story. I'm not the kind of rider who wears my tires down to the nub. I do, however, take steps to "maintain" them to help prevent flats and get as much wear from them as I can.

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Used Power Meters an Excellent Low-Cost Option

Today's QT comes from Coach Rick Schultz, who, as an accomplished bike fitter, coach and product reviewer, keeps tabs on the various power meters on the market. He's lately noticed a glut of some second-hand units. Here's what he writes: Lots of sub-$300 Stages power meters are showing up in many different 'For Sale' classifieds. (Stages power meters are thin, small units permanently glued to the inside of the left crank arm. You buy the entire crank arm when you buy a Stages power meter.)

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Keep Extra Cycling Provisions On Hand

Today's QT is something that came to me when preparing for the ice and snow storm Atlanta was forecast to be pummeled by last weekend. Here, the mere forecast of frozen precipitation sends citizens scurrying to the grocery store for bread, milk and eggs, to the hardware store for snow-melt, snow shovels and sleds, et al. While watching this play out last Friday, the thought came to me that the same dynamic is at play among some cyclists I know regarding some typical cycling "staples."

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In-Depth Tire & Tube Install Method Prevents Flats

Today's QT comes to us from Premium Member Michael Hormel, who engaged us in a recent email conversation about the merits of tubeless vs. clincher tires. We agreed, for our purposes, that we'll stick with clinchers, based on the ease of use and the fact that we seldom get a flat. Michael's tip comes from his method to prevent flats – and the results are astonishing. Here's what he wrote: I've only had one flat in the 10-15 years since I went from sew-ups to clinchers. I take my time when installing tires and tubes:

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Extolling the Merits of High-Cadence Riding

Seems like I was a cruncher forever, with a max cadence of 80rpm other than on the occasional downhill. About four years ago I did serious damage to a quad. Still not sure how but the 'diagnosis' by the doctors was overuse caused by my ability to ignore pain and keep pushing. At that time I met a trainer who was big into high cadence riding, using one's cardio system and saving the muscles for special events. I was a bit skeptical when he told me to try to spin at no less than 90rpm as much as possible. It took a while for it to feel natural. But once I got the hang of it, there was no going back!

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Funky Gear Cleaning Solutions from Readers

Last week we asked for reader solutions to the problem of bar tape getting mucked up with sweat and grime during the hot summer months. We also mentioned helmet padding and straps getting funky, and shoes getting a bit ripe, too. RBR Review Crew member Paul Smith – who was the source of the question – mentioned that one of his riding buddies swears by using Windex to spray down and clean his bar tape. We got a few other suggestions as well, about the entire range of gear:

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Keep Your Sweaty Gear Smelling Fresh

RBR product reviewer Paul Smith, who, like me, lives in the "heat and humidity belt" of the South wrote to complain about what a sweaty and stinky mess his riding gear was becoming this summer. When you're literally dripping and sometimes nearly pouring sweat during a ride, you come home with soaked gear that can get really funky and nasty if you don't stay on the top of the problem. I immediately wrote Paul back and told him I had a solution for his helmet – and for his shoes – that would keep them smelling fresh ride after sweaty ride: Stuffitts (click to read my product review).

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Replace the Little Bits for a Like-New Look

When I crashed back in April, the damage to my bike was minimal – but aggravating. I'm particular about keeping my bike pretty clean, looking good, and in sound order. If something's not quite right, it bothers me to no end. And I fix it ASAP. Some riders I've known over the years will ride around for months with their bar tape hanging loose, or with dirt caked on their rear brake, with their seat bag hanging by one strap – or far worse. It spikes my blood pressure just to write about those things!

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