Biking: Catch-all

Thanks for the response LarryC - my diet - when I prepare my own food - really isnt that bad. Takeout is a problem, which is really just a matter of not being lazy and making sure I've got something easy and decent to eat at hand. The booze isnt that big a deal these days, I've naturally cut that down quite a bit as I get older, just need to break a couple of habits. Both of these are kinda things I've been reigning in and just need to improve on a bit more to get in hand.

Exercise is the hardest one - I'm not naturally lazy but can't really get motivated to exercise for exercises sake (if that makes sense - I feel like I need a reason, other than 'gotta exercise!') - I'm hoping by having fun riding a bike around, it'll provide the motivation.

WipEout wrote:
15mm pedal wrench, 5 & 6mm allen keys, needle-nose pliers, and cable cutters. Pretty much all you need for basic bike maintenance.

A bike stand is also nice, but not necessary.

And I'm hoping boogle already has a spare tube and tire levers that travel with him. (And also that he isn't as much of a wimp as I am when it comes to changing tubes. Trying to get the tire back on the rim makes me swear and stomp my feet.)

IMAGE(http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6133/5973108760_b9c994b4f8_z.jpg)

SO I am loving my bike I used to hate fixie, but I switched back. My defence? the fly wheel is absolute crap on this bike and makes a lot of clicking noises. I tried a few different things to silence it and finally just flipped the hub and went for it. As far as commuting the set up is fine, but I went on a 100 km ride (60 miles for you others) and I think I would have appreciated having a fly wheel on that trip.

My next upgrade I am thinking is a larger chain ring and possible a new peddle set. This frame is aluminum so the first thing I changed out was the seat post for a carbon fiber one and that was the best investment I have ever made.

you mean the freewheel? Any decent freewheel will make a lot of clicking noise, especially in the early break-in period. It'll quiet down after a while. Unless it's a Chris King hub, in which case you will be chased by angry bees for the rest of your life. But your bike doesn't appear to be geared or using CK components.

As far as the idea of a taller chainring-- your cheaper option would be a smaller cog and/or freewheel. As for pedals, I recommend SPD-style. Clipless at the very least, with some good MTB shoes. That might even add enough power to your cadence that you won't bother with a new chainring or cog. Although a smaller cog would still be cheaper.

Glad you enjoy the fixed side of things!

Goo:

My brother lives in Sydney. I think he's mentioned some lovely cycling trails around those parts. Might want to check out the local cycling clubs. The trick is to think of cycling as an enjoyable hobby that you're required to do regularly. The fact that it's exercise is just a bonus. I'm sure that if you were required to eat bacon twice a week, you wouldn't mind at all.

Cycling on highway = suicide?

There are some stretches where it's simply illegal but I suspect it's probably pretty unwise even in the legal parts due to the way people drive and the fact that the cars and trucks are going 2-8 times faster than a cyclist. Nonetheless there are people who seem to do it successfully, are they just crazy?

They are. Many of them end up dead.

Husband and son just got back from this year's segment of the Erie Canal Towpath ride. This year's segment was Utica to Albany; they took the train back home. This year's big tip -- if your derailleur is clogged up with stone dust, excess olive oil from a white pizza makes good emergency lubricant, and also makes your bike smell delicious.

IMAGE(http://img831.imageshack.us/img831/1456/201108arrivealbany.png)

So I upped the gear ration on my fixie to 3.06, time for a better work out. I hope it pays off over the long distances.

My wife is looking to pick up a bike, her first since her father ran over her single-speed cruiser when she was in high school.

We're looking to keep the entry price and the complication level really low.

She's been scouring craigslist fairly voraciously, and has come across this one:

Trek WSD 7.2 FX

IMAGE(http://images.craigslist.org/3k83me3of5Y05W25S5b7r74229baef5931531.jpg)

$350 is about what we're hoping to put into this (we know we'll have to spend a little more than the cost of the bike for accessories). Any thoughts?

There aren't enough specs to comment on, and certainly the pic is nothing to go by. The only way to tell how much the bike is worth is to personally inspect it and ride it around a bit. If you can't tell good bike parts from bad ones, better take a mechanic friend along for the optically inspection.

It's a $550 bike for $350? That's an okay deal, but being 2 years old in bike years (2012 Treks are out now, which means the bike you're looking at went on sale mid-2009), I would low-ball my initial offer-- start at $200-250, maybe. The components are nothing to really write home about-- but as a first bike, it'll definitely get her out and riding. Just expect the Acera/Alivio derailleurs to wimp out of tune rather quickly. They're also going to be rather laggy in shifting, and won't shift as smooth as something like Shimano's Deore components, but that's the nature of the cheaper stuff-- it's cheaper for a reason. Just take care of it, keep it clean, lube it regularly, take it in for regular tune ups (every 1000 miles or couple months), and it should be a great (re)starter bike.

Also do what LarryC suggested, and ride the thing a bit-- even up and down the block a couple times. And ask if the bike has ever taken a spill-- if it fell on the drive side, things could be really out of whack, and only half-ass tuned to a semi-working state. In my experience, the average entry-level cyclist won't spend the money to have a bike properly repaired after an accident, since they feel the initial investment was already way more than they wanted to spend. If you find a large number of scrapes and scratches on the body of the rear derailleur, make sure to run it through the gears and be sure that it shifts cleanly and properly.

Can I get some recommendations on sunglasses? I've come to the point where my $20 shades don't seem to be cutting it, but I'm not ready to drop $150 either, especially since I don't really know what I should be looking for. The local shop that I take my bike to only stocks a handful of Rudy Project glasses, all of which fall into the $175-300 range.

I think I have three different questions:

  • Where can I find out more about sunglasses for cycling?
  • About how much should I expect to pay for a decent pair? I think $100 is my upper limit, but I'd be much happier in the $60-80 range - but I don't even know if that's realistic or not.
  • Where do you shop for accessories if your local store doesn't carry what you're looking for? I'm also in the market for cycling shorts and shoes down the line.

Thanks.

Scaphism wrote:

[*]Where can I find out more about sunglasses for cycling?

I would just do some research online, maybe cycling forums. Barring that, talk to some people at your local bike shop. Sunglasses are a pretty subjective, as every face is different and what fits me won't necessarily fit you. IF you can, just try on as many different pairs as you can until you find a pair that you like that doesn't also look f'ing retarded.

Scaphism wrote:

[*]About how much should I expect to pay for a decent pair? I think $100 is my upper limit, but I'd be much happier in the $60-80 range - but I don't even know if that's realistic or not.

$60-80 is a reasonable range. Check online and places like Sports Authority, or if there's a bargain sports store they might have something on sale.

Scaphism wrote:

[*]Where do you shop for accessories if your local store doesn't carry what you're looking for? I'm also in the market for cycling shorts and shoes down the line.

Thanks.

http://www.bestwebbuys.com/bikes/

Hope that helps.

I have a 7.2FX from a few years back, and straight from the shop, it's serviceable. It rides fairly well on roads, and shifts were smooth and crisp for the first couple of months I owned it, but the derailleurs did get out of whack around then and had issues from around then. Overall, I'm pretty thrilled with it, but will probably be replacing components when I get back home with moderately nicer stuff.

I've decided I want a Cyclocross bike. Mostly as a commuter, but would like to dabble into some racing.

Surly Cross Check looks awesome!

Semi random note, someone pointed me toward these derailleur adjustment videos a while back. I'd been messing around with adjustments and have a copy of Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance that I reference constantly, but the derailleur adjustments just never really clicked for me until I saw these videos. Highly recommended.

Front:

Rear:

Those are nice videos, Serengeti!

Quick tip: when adjusting the rear derailleur, remove that small bit of cable housing that loops around to the derailleur from the chainstay, so the cable is slack and the derailleur swings back out to the small gear. Then you can adjust the limit screws while moving the derailleur by hand, confident in the fact that the cable tension isn't going to affect limit screw settings.

I finally purchased a bike to use the trails around here. I tried the Specialized Sirrus, Trek 7.2 FX and finally settled on the 2012 Giant Escape 2. I still need to get lights, gloves, and a bag (if anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears).

Today I managed to get a flat tire; the trail near me turns into crushed gravel and I guess either a rock got to it or my weight + a bump caused it to rupture. The stock tires are pretty smooth, does anyone know if putting more aggressive cyclocross or wider tires would prevent this in the future? I've only been out a half dozen times so far and I feel like I could use a little more stability, but I really don't want to give up the speed I get on pavement with the regular tires.

I have Vittoria tires on my bike (Randonneur Pros), because I was having more flats than I liked. They have added puncture resistance, and come in multiple styles, so maybe one of them would suit you. (They are a pain in the neck to get on to the wheels, though.)

Always inflate your tires to maximum pressure, and get either the Randonneurs Katy mentioned (excellent, excellent tire), or Continental Ultra Gatorskins (not as classy as the the Randonneurs, but they are also very good).

Bags: Timbuk2 are solid, as are Chrome. The latter tend to be a bit overpriced, IMO, but the seatbelt buckle system is nice.

Lights: Knog lights are great. Waterproof with a silicone rubber body that'll wrap around pretty much any tube on your bike.

Gloves: get your bike fitted first if your wrists/arms are giving you grief, but if you absolutely need gloves (for road rash protection, more so than sore wrists), Northwave makes some food ones. And if you absolutely need extra padding, Sugoi has a nice pair called C9 that are fingerless with lots of comfy gel.

http://centurioncycling.com/canada/

Doing the 50 mile this weekend. Totally undertrained, but should be fun.

Can I just say that it's really, really, important to take some salt/potassium pills along on a long ride? I've wanted to do a century ride for about 15 years now, ever since I learned that normal people sometimes do century rides, and last Saturday was the day. The heat got into the 90's in the middle of the day, and by about 65 miles I'd stopped peeing even though I really felt like I had to go. Oh yeah, and I was on a mountain bike with commuter tires. At about mile 95 (out of 108) I decided I just had to take a rest. Only I couldn't get off my bike because every single muscle in both legs just seized up. It took about a minute to figure out that if I just set the bike down I could step over it, which I did, and then I went to lay down in a ditch. It seemed like a good idea, but it really wasn't any more comfortable, so I got back on the bike.

At mile 100 there was a water stop and I pretty much fell off the bike, at which point other riders took pity on me and loaded me up with fluids, gels, and pills. That got me to the finish line, whereupon everything seized up again and I just sat there for about an hour.

But hey, I finished. And according to my friend, the lesson is always take your salt/potassium pills with you.

El-Producto wrote:
http://centurioncycling.com/canada/

Doing the 50 mile this weekend. Totally undertrained, but should be fun.

Some serious hills in that route. Have fun!

Yeah, salt pills have saved my ass in Marathon's, Long Distance Triathlons/Ironman's many a time.

Congrats on the Century.

Scaphism wrote:
Can I get some recommendations on sunglasses? I've come to the point where my $20 shades don't seem to be cutting it, but I'm not ready to drop $150 either, especially since I don't really know what I should be looking for. The local shop that I take my bike to only stocks a handful of Rudy Project glasses, all of which fall into the $175-300 range.

I'd just get some sports sunglasses with interchangeable lenses--you at least want the standard light-reducing lenses plus clear. Polarization is a plus, but not required, and not getting polarized lenses can drop the price by a ton. I have a pair of Smith glasses similar to these that I got a REI. As you no doubt are aware, riding without glasses sucks because all sorts of crap gets kicked up into your face by passing cars, wind, etc. I never get on my bike without some form of eye protection.

Serengeti wrote:
Semi random note, someone pointed me toward these derailleur adjustment videos a while back. I'd been messing around with adjustments and have a copy of Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance that I reference constantly, but the derailleur adjustments just never really clicked for me until I saw these videos. Highly recommended.

Thanks for the tip. I've had this weird issue with my rear derailleur than I keep putting off fixing, and these videos look like just the thing. In short, sometimes when I downshift while cranking in the middle of my cassette the gear change doesn't take, and I have to shift up and down a bit to get things sorted out. Now all I need is a bike stand :-p

What were you eating along the way? Fruit and other quickly-metabolized sugars are good, but you need to get some sort of pretzels or something along with it (and hopefully a smattering of protein) to keep your salt up, as well as some sort of sports drink instead of water (though it should get more dilute every time you refill it). I've done several centuries in blistering heat and not really had a problem with it.

WipEout wrote:
Always inflate your tires to maximum pressure, and get either the Randonneurs Katy mentioned (excellent, excellent tire), or Continental Ultra Gatorskins (not as classy as the the Randonneurs, but they are also very good).

Bags: Timbuk2 are solid, as are Chrome. The latter tend to be a bit overpriced, IMO, but the seatbelt buckle system is nice.

Lights: Knog lights are great. Waterproof with a silicone rubber body that'll wrap around pretty much any tube on your bike.

Gloves: get your bike fitted first if your wrists/arms are giving you grief, but if you absolutely need gloves (for road rash protection, more so than sore wrists), Northwave makes some food ones. And if you absolutely need extra padding, Sugoi has a nice pair called C9 that are fingerless with lots of comfy gel.

Thanks for the tips (both of you). I ended up getting a heavy duty tube to replace the punctured one and some slime to put inside. If that doesn't do it I'll spring for the heavy duty tires, but I'm going to try the cheaper option first.

I did end up buying a bike bag, some tools, and lights.

I'm not actually having too many problems with my wrists or hands, but I think I'm going to get some gloves just to keep my hands warm and to have a better grip.

Minarchist wrote:
What were you eating along the way? Fruit and other quickly-metabolized sugars are good, but you need to get some sort of pretzels or something along with it (and hopefully a smattering of protein) to keep your salt up, as well as some sort of sports drink instead of water (though it should get more dilute every time you refill it). I've done several centuries in blistering heat and not really had a problem with it.

I ate plenty - I have to as a Type I diabetic - but ran low on water as well, and I'm more of a cold weather guy. I probably can't pinpoint it, but I know that next time I'll take along some pills and force more water down the hatch.