Sunday, June 29, 2008

Saturday Morning's 29er ride. (James River Park)

L->R: Scott (HeadLummox), John (Unsafe@AnySpeed), Kevin (KPayton), Joel (UbberGoober), Jay (F5000sl), Joel (DirtSurfer)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Let me start with a very important point, proper hydration should be an everyday goal, not just something you think about prior to/during times of exercise. Especially since there is no real way to hydrate on/during the day of any event.

Know you're limits, which means being honest when you are feeling poorly and taking immediate action to remedy heat related exhaustion.

Dehydration does not suddenly happen, you body gives you many clues along the way which includes during normal daily routines.

Symptoms of dehydration (partial list of main issues from lesser to more severe):
~ Thirst, dry mouth, bad breath, dry skin
~ Infrequent and Medium to dark colored urination
~ Confusion, dizziness and headaches
~ Muscle aches and cramping
~ Rapid Heartbeat and/or breathing

Bottled Water and Your Activity Level:
A person's body weight, and their activity level, determine the amount of water needed to maintain proper hydration. A good rule to follow is to drink at least eight, eight-ounce servings of water a day, adding more for each hour of activity.

Hydration becomes even more complex and important in the heat.
As Temperatures Rise, So Does Your Body's Need for Water When summer comes, remember to keep your body properly hydrated when the 'heat wave' comes.

Heat exacerbates hydration issues, so if:
~ If you find yourself getting tired, do yourself a favor, PLEASE STOP & REST!

~ Cycling is an activity that takes lots of concentration, if you are tired or unfocused, this is when accidents and injuries normally happen.

Summer hydration tips....
* Bring a supply of bottled water with you when traveling.
* Drink extra bottled water in extreme heat to keep body temperature low.
* Drink before you feel thirsty.

Daily water requirements (8-ounce servings) with one hour of activity: Your weight
In Pounds: Light / Activity Moderate /Activity Strenuous
115: 9 servings / 9 1/2 servings / 10 servings
125: 9 / 10 / 11
150: 9 / 10 / 11 1/2
175: 9 1/2 / 10 1/2 / 12 1/2
200: 9 1/2 / 11 / 13 1/4

Thread on Hydration Discussion

Hydration Calulator

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bike Fitment.

This article is also a thread on the forums, you can also visit the forums using the link below to ask questions or see questions asked. Proper Bike Fit (Forums Thread)

Looking for a first bike or new bike or even moving from Brand "X" to Brand "Y", IMO one key fitment procedure is to isolate the TT (top tube) length.

Fitment of the TT is important no matter what style of bike you ride, from road to mountain, from 26" to 29" bikes.

** A lot of conventional thinking was to worry about seat tube height, but that was because in the days of yester most companies used 100% horizontal TT (Top Tubes) which gave less stand over clearance, so by choosing a shorter seat tubed bike, the TT was also mounted lower giving more stand-over clearance.

About TT length:
There are two types of TT lengths, ETT (Effective TopTube) and Standard TT length.
Of the two, the ETT is the most important measurement.

Because of slopping TT's measuring the tube length itself can be decieving when compared to a taking a measurement from a straightline.

How it works:
Measuing up a TT is simply measuring the distance from the center of the ST, to the center of the HT.
That number is your TT size.

But, with many new bikes that have sloping TT's, you need a more accurate measurement to tell you the whole story.

ETT length takes the measure from the center of the ST (seat tube), to the center of the HT (head tube), but is does so using a perfectly level horizontal line. Accurately measuring the straightest distance between the two tubes.

When considering TT lenght, accounting for proper stem length is also important.
This is usually a 100mm stem for most mountian bikes.

Stem length can and will effect how you bike handles. Too long or too short of a stem will slow up or speed up steering as well as add or detract from your weight being centered over certain areas of the bike.

This effects turning, climbing, jumping, descending, and braking.

Example: Your current frame has a 23.5" / 596.9mm / 59.69 CM ETT, and is fitted with a 100mm stem.

If you are using a stem shorter than 100mm, IE a 90mm, consider purchasing a frame with an ETT 10mm less than what you are currently riding. 23.5" / 596.9mm / 59.69 CM ETT - 10mm =23.1" / 586.9mm / 58.69cm

If you are using a stem longer than 100mm, IE a 120mm, consider purchasing a frame with an ETT 10mm more than what you are currently riding. 23.5" / 596.9mm / 59.69 CM ETT + 10mm =23.9" / 606.9mm / 60.69cm

Under normal riding, a stem that is +/- 10mm from the 100mm standard is fine, but if you start moving towards +/- 20mm, you should consider finding a frame or brand closer to your proper size.

Something missed, misinformation, or if you want to add something, feel free to help correct the problem.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ride Preparation

Ride preparation is one of the single most important and easy things you can do to help ensure a fun ride.

Ride preparation includes everything from performing maintenance on your bike to making sure you have enough water, food, gear, maps, etc to make it back from your ride safely. Try to plan your ride in advance, so everything goes smoothly on the day of the ride. Points of interest: gear, ride buddies, carpooling, meet/ride times, maps, weather, etc.

A great start is with the Pre/Post Ride Checklist.

Plan ahead and get organized. Research where you are going and prepare accordingly.
~ Print maps of the route you are taking albeit road or trail
~ Make sure to bring your all your cycling essentials and store them all in one place, like a large gym bag. I keep my shoes, helmet, CamelBak, gloves, and mutlti-tools all in one large bag so I can just grab and go.
~ Plan for the extreme points of the weather that is possible as some long rides can have unforeseen events that might leave you in the elements longer than intended. So when possible, carry an extra layer of clothes, extra food & water, etc.

Eat and drink for a before a ride or event. There is nothing worst than getting 5 or 10 miles down a trail and bonking. Eating properly sometimes needs to be done even days in advance (though this is usually for racing purposes).

While riding with people of like abilities can be relaxing, when you ride with people who are of different skill level than yourself you are pushed to excel and this is key to growing your skills.

More experienced riders have knowhow and will teach you by watching them or instruction which in turn you can share with others later. This can be tremendously helpful to those less experienced and you will gain confidence as you share the skills you have learned.

Have patience: Do not try to ride above and beyond your skill level, you will always see someone better, and only saddle time will get you there. Sometimes walking a new trail first can give you more of an idea of what to expect then just riding it.

Group Riding and trail Etiquette

Everyone has different tendencies and ways to ride, so in group and trail riding situations it's important to know a few common riding tips to help keep everyone safe and having a good time.

These suggestions can be adapted for both road and mountain biking.

1. First and maybe foremost, Have fun!
2. Be patient. Remember that we all had to start somewhere.
3. Be encouraging to other riders, respect others skills, abilities and learning curves.
4. When you fall on an obstacle, make every effort to clear the area for the next rider and allow them the opportunity to try it as well.
5. Give loud verbal Warnings to otehr riders, such as "rider up!" as you head around a blind turn, or "obstacle", "Stopping" to alert riding behind you of an upcoming event.
6. Group rides are just that, "group rides." So make sure you come back with everyone you started with. It's common to regroup at road & trail intersections.
7. Always move off to the trails side and avoid stopping in the middle of the trail, near obstacles or the bottom of hills if you can help it, this way others can continue by.
8. Approaching others. Slow down and say "Hello" as you approach other riders & trail users. If you need to pass, ask then let the person(s) know "Passing on the left." It's common to announce how many more riders are in your group that still need to pass. Allow faster and smaller groups to "play through" so that they can move at their pace.
9. Ask riders with mechanical issues if they need a hand. It's kind, curious, and you may need a hand one day also.
10. Respect the trail design. Please only ride on open trails and keep from using/making short cuts.
11. Keep a reasonable distance between you and the rider in front of you. This allows them room to make mistakes while allowing you time to react. This is especially true when riding over obstacles, descents, or difficult climbs.
13. It's not rude to ask to go ahead or ask to be passed. A group will find it's natural speed and you will feel more comfortable knowing your not holding someone up or slowing yourself down.
14. Designate a sweeper to ride last if there are beginners or riders of varying skill level on the ride.

Cycling Essentials, Safety, & Gear:

Helmet: No matter what your cycling discipline is, please wear a helmet. In most parks it's a rule. Riding without helmets jeopardize can trail access for everyone. If you see somebody without a helmet, be a friend and remind him or her to get one.

Gloves: Gloves can really help remove some of the stress placed on you palms and protect your hands in the event of a crash.

Shorts, Shirts, & Shoes: There are so many choices it is hard to decide, this is really a personal preference. The important part is to make sure that you feel comfortable in whatever you choose, and make sure you are dressed for the conditions outside!

Hydration & Snacks:
Very important! Be sure to have water bottles or hydration packs. Exercise equals sweating and sweating leads to dehydration. So always carry some water during hot days and/or long rides. It also never hurts to carry a little something like a candy bar, cookies, or energy bars to help put if you bonk on a trail.

Basic Tool Kit:
At minimum you should have some basic tools to fix your bicycle.
While many "standard/automotive" tools can be used to repair your bike, they are many special tools that are sized to work with bike related applications.
Many bike shops carry "multi-tools" which are tools designed to carry with you on your bike while on a ride, these tools are temping to use as your main tool for home use also, but I have to stress that these tools are not designed to be used as everyday tools, so definitely consider purchasing a separate home tool kit.

Home Tool Kit:

~ First, buy yourself a small toolbox that you set to the side just for your bike tool collection. This will keep all your tools organized and keep your "cycling" specialty tools separate from your standard tools.

~ Pumps, there is are two different style tube stems, schrader and presta. So when buying a pump, look for one that will work on both valves.
** Little adapters can be purchased to make presta valves look like a schrader valve.
** Also note that a floor pump is for "home" use, while what are call "mini" pumps are used to carry along on your bike.

~ Tire Levers, buy 2-3 levers so that 1 can act as a pry-bar and the others to remove the tire.
** Consider levers labelled "Steel Core" as they will last longer and the only levers strong enough for very tight rim/tire combinations.
~ Hex/Allen Wrenches (Usually a grouping of 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, & 10 mm are a good start)
~ Quality Phillips & Flat head screwdrivers. (Make sure the tips remain in good condition)

~ MORE to come...

Tools to Carry on a ride or commuter:

Safety tips: Try to always ride with a buddy, but if you can not, it is a good idea to bring a cell phone, or at the very least let somebody know where you are and when you'll be back!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pre/Post Ride Bike checklist:

Before a ride & after a ride there are always a few things you should check over on your bike.

At a minimum you checklist should include checking:
~ Tire pressure
~ chain tension
~ quick releases (tightened)
~ lube chain
~ proper function of your shifters and brakes.

An expanded checklist might include:
~ Look for wearing and cracks in your cables & brake lines
~ Wheels straight?
~ Inspect the joints and welds of your frame for cracks and chipped paint
~ Tears in your tires (in pattern and sidewalls)
~ Overall tire wear
~ Inspect brake pads
~ Chain length
~ Inspect cassette and chainring teeth for excessive wear.
~ Nuts and bolts tight on: Cranks, pedals, handlebar, stem, headset, seatpost clamp.

Personally, I like to clean my bike after each ride, this usually means using "Honda Polish" (mc polish, similar to furniture polish for bikes) or good old mild soap & water. This really helps you look over your bike well. When drying off, look for paint chips, stress cracks, and cracks in the welds of your frame.