Spare Tires and Tools

Who needs a spare tire and a pump on a bike ride?

I rode for years without a spare tire, pump, or any tools with me. I never had the first problem. I have ridden 100 mile rides with no tools of any kind. Everyone else had their tools and made like I should have tools but why did I need them? That was for those guys that had to have all of the right stuff. All of the right gear to be like the other guys that they hung around with and rode with.

The ride

I didn’t ride for several years and last year I decided to pick it up again and started getting back into shape. After about six or eight months I decided to set out on my first fifty mile ride sense I started back to riding. Ten miles out in the middle of nowhere I began to feel bump eddy bump and my stomach sank.

I had taken the day off in the middle of the week so everyone that I know was at work, including my wife. I called my Mom but she was waiting on someone to come to her house and couldn’t come pick me up for about two hours. I walked about eight miles and I assure you that it was a lot more fun riding them than it was walking them.

The first place that I visited before my next ride was my local bike shop to by a new tire to put on and a new tire, tube, and pump to carry on the bike with me.

Learn from my lesson. Don’t get caught in the middle of nowhere just because you are hardheaded like me. Here is a great video that will show you exactly how its done. If it is a back tire do take a minute to look at how the chain goes around the gears. Its not that hard but you can get confused your first time. I did. I was surprised how easy it was when I did mine. You will be too. Because sooner or latter you will have to.

 

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Buying a bicycle

Buying your first road cycle

If you have been riding an old bike and you’ve discovered that you love riding and want to get a road bike that you’ll be able to enjoy for years to come. Then it is time for you to put your shopping shoes on.

What should you be looking for in a bicycle?

The first thing that you want to consider before you start shopping for that new bike is comfort. If you buy a bicycle just because it looks ok and its the right price then you’ll have problems latter on down the road. Those things are important but fitting a bike to your build should be your most important step.

You will need to consider your height and proportion when you are looking to fit yourself with the right bike. There are some very good tutorials online for doing that. The first basic principle is that you should be able to stand flat footed over the bike without having to lean sideways. Best case scenario is that you have a couple of inches between the top of your inseam and the top tube of the bicycle. In some cases however you will not be able to have that couple of inches if you have short legs for your height. I myself am 6’1” but I have short legs for that height. It is however recommended that you fit your upper body rather than your lower body because if your bike is too short from seat to handle bars you will be crunched up and your back and neck will pay the consequences. Here is a guide that will get you close to the right bike for your height. Height Guide.

How much should you pay for your bike?

There are some very nice bikes out today for around 200 dollars. There are really nice bikes out there for around 1000 dollars. Then there are the 2600 dollars and up bikes. I have owned one of each. I presently ride one that falls in the 1000 dollar range. If you look carefully at the different bikes and there differences you will see that there are some important differences between the 200 dollar bike and the 1000 dollar bike. But it is my opinion that there is not that much difference between the 1000 dollar bike and the more expensive ones. I think that the most difference I find is availability and service. You get a lot more service from the sellers of the expensive bikes than you do the cheaper ones. They will fit you to the right bike and make sure that you have everything that you need. But if you take a little time to research the bikes and be sure that you get the right bike for you then you will be just as happy and still have some money left in your pocket.

That’s all for now. See you on the road.

Tony R.

Adjusting the Shimano Front Derailleur on a Road bike

The Derailleur Failure

Recently I ran into a problem I had no idea how to deal with. I am not sure if hitting a small pothole caused the problem or not but after hitting it I found that I could no longer shift into the big chain ring (or big gear on the peddle side) and was bound to use the small one for the rest of the ride. I have been working on getting strong enough to use the harder gears more and have started to get the hang of it. So this totally bummed me out. Those of you with some riding experience know that you use your easy gears to rest your legs and your heavy gears to rest your lungs. Doing this back and forth throughout your ride can make you last a lot longer on a ride.

Not having time the rest of the week to work on my bike, thanks to work, I decided this Saturday to try and get that derailleur set up so that I would be able to ride Sunday. After all it couldn’t be that hard. There are only two screws. One sets the outside distance movement of the derailleur and the other sets the inside distance. You can  usually bet that if you think that something that you have never done before is going to be easy you’re in trouble.

Now I knew that the inside screw would adjust the inside distance so I made sure that that was set properly then I used the outside screw to adjust the distance on the outside but that didn’t seem to move the derailleur at all. I turned it one way and then the other. No good. I tried it out by riding the bike and found that it was ten times worse than it was before I started with it. What to do? I started searching the web for answers and found a lady’s post that recommended never messing with the screws once they had been set by a professional but to adjust the tension on the cable with the barrel adjuster. You turn it toward you to loosen it and away from you to tighten it. I sure wish that I had found that post before I had messed with the screws.

I then looked for a video and found one that walks you through the entire process of setting up the derailleur professionally. I found that the whole problem had been that my cable needed to be adjusted as it had become too loose and possibly the bump had pushed it over the edge.

Now I recommend that you watch this video at least once to familiarize yourself with this process so that you are not caught unprepared like I was. You should also add to your travel pack on your bike, if you don’t already have these tools there, a Philips screw driver, a small pare of plyers, and a medium size Allen pack. That is all that you will need to correct this problem out on the road.

That’s all for now. See you on the road.

Tony R.

Health Benefits of Cycling

Diabetes and cycling

Diabetes has definitely become a plague in the United States today. It is estimated that somewhere in the neighborhood of 29 million Americans have diabetes today (Reference). The worst part of that is that many of these Americans are under the age of twenty years old.

Weapons we can use against Diabetes

The number one Weapon that we have for fighting diabetes is a healthy diet filled with protein and lacking in carbs and fast food. We need to have some carbs in our diet but they should be offset by more protein. That protein is best derived from vegetables but protein from fresh caught seafood as well as chicken and other lean meats are good also (Reference). Our children have become fast food junkies and there is no sign of them getting any better any time soon. It is a popular understanding that bread is not good for you and that is pretty much true. However many people with this understanding think that they can buy a cheese burger from one of the popular fast food restaurants, take the bread off and it is ok. NO! The meat that is on that sandwich is worse than the bread. Studies show that consuming processed meats increase your risk of diabetes by 19 percent not to mention what it does for heart disease statistics (Reference). It takes a little longer to prepare your own food but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
The second weapon that we have against diabetes is exercise. Diabetes attacks every organ in your body as you get older. One of the biggest ways that it does this is by destroying your arteries and veins. At first it’s not the big arteries but the small arteries that feed oxygen to your tissues. In this way it kills your organs layer by layer until they no longer function.
Diabetes does affect your heart and larger arteries in much the same way. However your arteries, unlike your organs, have to flex in order to work. The effects that this process has on your arteries is that they begin to harden and no longer flex. Then when the blood tries to flow through the shrunken hard arteries they split causing, depending on where they are, a stroke or a heart attack.
By staying active and maintaining regular exercise, along with a healthy diet, you can help to maintain your arteries and veins health. One of the best ways to do that is to cycle. Cycling maintains continues blood flow through your circulatory system and sends lots of extra blood and oxygen to your organs which helps them to stay young and healthy.
Many exercises are not good for your knees, ankles, and internal organs because of the constant pounding they take such as when you jog or run. Unlike running or jogging, riding a bike provides very little trauma to your knees, ankles, organs or any other part of your body while still providing all of the benefits that any other exercise provides. Many doctors, for that reason, recommend riding to their old patients but why wait till you are older. Start while you are young and benefit from a lifetime of riding your bicycled.

Conclusion

So if you are interested in riding give it a try. It’s fun, good for your health, and you will never know what you are missing until you get out there.

New riders must know

Beginners

New to bike riding? Are you struggling to fit in with the experienced cyclist in your area? Don’t. If you do a little lite reading on the subject and get out there and start riding you’ll figure it out all in good time. Try out some of the riding techniques that you read about on the web and see which ones work for you. Know that it will take time before you are riding like one of the pro’s but I promise if you do it and don’t try so hard to be one of those guys then you will soon find that it is not about being one of those guys but it is about the love of the sport itself and the experience that you have when riding through some small unknown town that you would have never seen otherwise.

Ways to learn about riding

Reading riding magazines, reading about riding on the web, and buying books about riding are some very good ways of finding out about riding and riding techniques but the best way to find out about riding…………….

Ask someone that rides. All of the cyclist that I ride with and have come in contact with during the time that I have been riding love nothing more than to tell someone about what they love, riding. Just like anywhere else there are some riders that are stuck up and think that if you don’t ride just the right bike or if you are not bone skinny you don’t fit in but please don’t let people like that get you down. There are many more that are just the opposite. You don’t have to do any of that to be a good cyclist.

What you have to have to get started riding

Obviously you have to have a bike to ride. If you are just starting out and you’re not yet sure that riding is for you then I recommend that you rent a bike from a bicycle rental service and try it out.

I worn you up front that it does take time and work to get into riding shape. However, contrary to what some riders may tell you, it is not all about loosing weight. You don’t have to be pencil thin to ride. I am sure that it would be easier to ride up a hill at 160 pounds as apposed to 275 pounds but I wouldn’t know because that is how much I weigh. I have seen some little skinny guys that couldn’t keep up with me going up hills. It is about strength, riding technique, and lung and heart conditioning.

As with any sport safety should come first. Whether you are road riding or trail riding you should always have on the appropriate riding apparel. I can’t stress enough that you should wear a helmet. Knee pads and elbow pads I would recommend more for trail riding and gloves are a good ideas for both but especially for road riding because it helps cushion your hands against the handle bars and gives your wrist some support as well.

The number one thing that you have to have to get started riding is the desire to ride. If you really have the bug to ride then nothing or no one will stop you. Don’t let them.

That’s all for now. See you on the road.

Tony R.

Why Tony Loves Cycling

Freedom

First and foremost I love cycling for the freedom that I feel when I’m out on the road. Just me and the bike I’m riding. I feel this feeling most when I am road riding but I still enjoy an occasional romp on a good trail with a trail bike.

Health

There are many health benefits to riding regularly. It has been proven to increase circulation, weight control, and helps to reduce high blood pressure. You should however get cleared by your doctor before you start any knew exercise routine.

Social

There are great social benefits to cycling as well. It seems that any bike ride containing more than two bicycles becomes a social event. Cyclist will come from all around the country to ride in any popular event such as the Claxton’s Cruisin in the Country. This was my first really organized ride and I will never forget it. It was the first time that I had ridden 100 miles on my bike. There were rest stops about every ten to twelve miles with all kinds of refreshments and Gator Aid a plenty. There is also what is known as SAG patrol which looks out for the welfare of all of the riders in the ride to ensure their wellbeing. You don’t however have to ride 100 miles to do this ride. They have marked off for you 25, 50, and 75 mile markers as well.

Conclusion

So take it from me, get you a bike and get out there enjoying all of the sunshine, exercise, and meeting new interesting people that your little heart can stand. Life is good live it good with biking.