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Cycling Clothes for Colder Weather

The proper cycling clothes can protect you on your winter bike rides

Not wearing enough cycling clothes can keep the body from warming up properly, leaving you with a greater chance of injury and staying cold. Your cycling clothes can also help protect your skin by helping to prevent chafing and irritation. The material helps to limit the loss of body heat by keeping your skin dry.

When cycling in cold weather, it’s usually best to wear layers. Layers will give you the option of taking clothing off if you become too warm, but otherwise keeping you warm enough to stay safe.

Winter cycling clothes checklist:

  • Toe/shoe covers
  • Full-fingered gloves
  • Coolmax undershirt
  • Arm/leg/knee warmers
  • Ear covers or skull cap

These items in combination with your standard cycling shorts, jersey, and socks will keep you happy all winter long. Don’t forget to conduct this pre-ride safety check and follow these group ride guidelines before your next ride.

Two Reasons for Skipping Chains

Learn what causes skipping chains and what you can do about it

There are two main causes for skipping chains. The most common cause is the misalignment of the rear cogs and the chain itself. The second most common cause of skipping chains is wearing on the chain, cassette, and/or the chainrings. Read below to see what causes each and how you can prevent chain skipping and extend the life of your bike.

There are several things that can cause the misalignment of the rear cogs and the chain.

  • Improper cable tension. When the tension is incorrect the chain does not sit inline with the corresponding cassette cog and it is trying to jump to the next cog.
  • Dirty cable. The dirt prevents the cable from moving like it needs to.
  • Slightly bent hanger for the rear derailleur. Can affect the alignment.

Learn what you can do about skipping chains on your bike.Skipping chains will wear on the chain, cassette, and/or the chainrings. The chain is the most likely to wear out first since it is made entirely of small, moving parts. Those parts tend to wear out faster when they are dirty or ridden dry. Chains on most modern drivetrains usually last anywhere from 1500 to 2000 miles. This can change depending on your riding style and how well you maintain your bike. If you keep your drivetrain clean and you tend to spin at a slightly higher cadence then you will get more mileage out of your chain. Follow these six steps to clean your drivetrain.

When the chain wears, it no longer sits evenly on the cassette cogs and chainrings. As this goes on the chain will eventually start to jump since the chain wears much faster than the cassette and chainrings. If you let your chain go too long it will start to wear down the teeth of the cassette first and then the chainrings. If the chain is replaced before it is too worn the cassette and chainrings will outlast the chain many times over. You’d much rather want to replace your chain than the cassette and chainrings.

Use this bike tool to measure chain wear at home. You can also call James Balentine at City Limit Cycles. He can measure it for you and make any necessary adjustments and/or fixes.

Proper Air Pressure

Proper air pressure can make all the difference

There are a lot of questions out there about how much air pressure a road bike tire should have. Proper air pressure is a hot topic among wheel and tire manufacturers and triathletes alike. Most of the major companies have invested time and money into testing what is really faster. Nearly every test had the same results. Most people were a little surprised about the results.

The tests showed that the pressure that had the least amount of rolling resistance was actually around 90psi. The general rule of thumb (up to this point) was the higher the pressure, the less resistance you had. People aired their tires up to whatever the tire was rated. Tires bounced on the small bumps that pavement has when they were aired up to more than 120psi. This bouncing caused the tire to lose momentum and it took more effort to keep the tire going at the same speed. When aired up to 90psi, the tire deformed over the bumps and kept the momentum going.

This same result also showed up when using 23mm tires versus smaller, “faster” tires. The 23mm tires deformed over the bumps and the 19mm tires bounced on the bumps.

If you’re going with the experts, then roll with 90psi.  If you feel like more air is better, despite the testing, it’s still best to keep it 120psi or under.

Pre-Ride Safety Inspection

Use the 8 tips below when conducting your pre-ride safety inspection

Before each ride, perform a safety check of your bicycle. This pre-ride safety inspection should take a minute or two. Click To Tweet

This pre-ride safety inspection will help prevent avoidable accidents and keep you spinning happily!

  • Check your tires for proper inflation (marked on the side of the tire)
  • Check the tire treads for excessive wear or other damage, such as embedded glass or other objects
  • Check the brakes; spin the wheels to check for rubbing and apply the brakes to ensure they stop the bike smoothly and evenly
  • Check the brake pads for excessive wear
  • Check the cables and housing to make sure there is no fraying or splitting
  • Check the wheel quick release levers to ensure they are secure
  • Check for any loose parts or other mechanical problems
  • Do a slow-speed ride and inspect bicycle, brakes, and shifting before you leave your driveway

Following this pre-ride safety inspection guideline will go a long way to enjoying your bike rides. It’s easier to remain motivated in the offseason when your bike is in great shape. It will often help you prevent unexpected incidents or a long walk home.

5 Tips for Training in the Heat

Summer is settling in, take precautions when training in the heat

Even with summer thunderstorms, temperatures in Central Texas consistently hit the mid-90s. Take a look at the heat index and it’s almost always triple digits. High temperatures won’t keep you from training, so you need to make some adjustments. Training in the heat does have some benefits, but being smart and altering your schedule/plan ensures your training regimen rolling right along. Incorporate these 5 tips for training in the heat and you’ll be prepared for your next race.

Hydrate more when training in the heat.

Hydrate more when training in the heat. Photo – Ed Sparks

HYDRATE!

This is the most obvious and most over-looked training in the heat tip. You know to hydrate in the summer months, but you don’t always do it. Sometimes you forget, perhaps you get sidetracked at work, often times you hydrate, just not enough. It’s recommended that we drink 64 ounces of water a day. In the summer months that should increase. And if your training in the heat, that amount should increase even more. Your body is losing fluids and you need to replace them. Don’t just drink water either, incorporate an electrolyte-enhanced drink, like nuun. Alternate between water and electrolytes. If you’re training in the heat you should aim for no less than 100 ounces of water/electrolytes every day. Drink up!

Train in the mornings/evenings

It’s no secret that the hottest part of the day is noon – 5:00 p.m. If you can avoid training during that timeframe do it! During the summer months, your training should occur earlier in the mornings or later in the evenings. Training early in the morning before work is your best bet. That’s the coolest part of the day. Your body will thank you for not having to work as hard keeping you cool. Not a morning person? Move your workouts to an evening time. 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. would be an ideal time for a workout. It’ll be warm, just not as hot as midday. Bonus – the sun’s angle is lower during the morning and the evenings. This means there will be more shadows on your run or ride.

Wear light-colored, breathable clothing

Darker colored clothing attracts and absorbs more of the sun’s heat. Cotton shirts and shorts absorb and carry sweat, weighing you down. Wear light-colored, breathable clothing when training in the heat. The lighter colors will reflect the sunlight and not absorb as much heat. Breathable clothing will wick sweat from your body and not weigh you down. This allows your body to stay cool and work more efficiently.

Run/bike on the trails

Hit the trails! The pavement’s temperature can soar as high as 140 degrees when you’re running or cycling. This heat can last well into the evening. Visit the trails for your next run or ride. The shade from the trees helps keep the temperatures down. There’s often little-to-no vehicle traffic. The ground is softer than the hot concrete. Often times there’s a creek or river nearby that you can jump in if needed. Check out our four favorite trails. Bonus – the trails will make you a better runner/cyclist!

Apply sunscreen

Swimming, biking, running. It doesn’t matter. Apply sunscreen! Even if you run in the shade or ride on the trail, apply sunscreen. If you’re swimming indoors you don’t need sunscreen, but if you’re outdoors, lather up! Look for sunscreen that’s sweat and water-proof. It’ll last long during your workout and ensure the sun’s ray don’t impact your skin, especially if you take off your shirt mid-run. If you’re racing for an extended period of time, apply sunscreen throughout. Training with a sunburn is not comfortable. Plus, the sunburn will warm your body and make it that much more difficult to keep your core cool.

These tips don’t apply to every scenario. There are various options you can choose from that variate from these tips. Modify them to your training plan, location, and life schedule. This advice will lead you to build a training plan that’s suitable for you. You’ll be ready for that next event. And think, when the temperatures start cooling off in the fall, you’ll be ahead of the training game!

City Limit Cycles – Official Bike Mechanic

Meet your Jack’s Generic Tri Official Bike Mechanic – James Balentine owner of City Limit Cycles!

Although you need to get your bike tuned up before race day and know how to change your own flat tire, James will be available race morning for any unexpected last-minute issues.

For more than two decades, James worked as a bike mechanic at bike shops, including a decade as Head Mechanic for Jack & Adam’s Bicycles in Austin.  For the past 14 years, James has traveled the world volunteering as the mechanic at Triathlon World Championships for Team USA.  He has also helped Olympians for Team USA Paratriathlon in Brazil and continues to volunteer for Team USA Paratriathletes.

James likes bikes. He likes to see and hear them running perfectly because he likes to see you riding them with a smile. His service experience is built around a lifetime passion for all things cycling. He’s been a pro racer, a pro mechanic and pro level bike geek.

Through it all James brings a high level of professionalism and attention to detail. He has cared for all kinds of riders from recreational to pro and literally every kind of bike on the planet, quiz him. Click To Tweet

City Limit Cycles is James’ mobile bicycle repair company.  Now a world-class bike mechanic comes to your door so you can focus on what you love most – more saddle time.  We’re lucky to have someone of his caliber at Jack’s Generic Tri.