the domain name velobob.com is for sale! contact firstname.lastname@example.org
President's Day Ride
Bakersfield Road Cycling Resource
Let me help you turn old cycling gear into CA$H!!
Someone out there wants YOUR old shifters, shoes, brakes, levers, wheels, etc.
I can help you find a new home for your gear!
...and more on that subject:
Five Types of People Who Will Quit Cycling!
Honda Unveils Car Designed to Accommodate CyclistsSeventeen brands recall 1.5 million bikes for quick-release issue
MY $.02 on "BLACK GEAR"
I have noticed that more and more riders are taking to riding in "black gear".
A recent issue of Bicycling mag had no fewer than 33 riders pictured in jerseys that are either totally black, primarily black or in a dark enough color that they might as well be black. It's by far and away the most dominant color jersey, whether in articles or in ads.
Strange.....black is essentially road camo, and in my opinion dressing like a Navy Seal on a night combat mission is like asking to be unseen on the road.
As cyclists, we are conspicuously vulnerable....When we are on our bikes, we should be as conspicuous as possible in order to lessen our near-invisible vulnerability.
Whether by wearing bright or light colored cycling clothing, or riding with front and/or rear lights, being seen is the first step in avoiding the regrettable after-crash comment "I just didn't see him".
HELMET CLEANING IDEAS:
Here is an easy way to clean your helmet. It gets the salt and funk off the straps, and freshens up the foam pads. I use high temp wash but AIR DRY. Place the helmet on the top rack of the dishwasher, and make sure the straps don't hang down to contact any moving parts inside the washer.
Other methods of cleaning:
Spray off the helmet in the sink using the dish sprayer, then let the helmet dry in the dish drainer.
Some riders wear their helmet into the shower to clean their helmets!
What’s in it, And How it Works
Sunscreen works in one of two ways: It either blends into the skin and absorbs UVA and UVB rays (more on those below), or it sits on top of the skin and reflects damaging rays.
The types that blend into the skin use chemical blockers such as avobenzone and Mexoryl, which can degrade in the heat and through sweat. They must be reapplied regularly if you’re exposed for an extended period of time.
The other type, the physical blockers, that sit on the skin include zinc oxide (made famous on the noses of lifeguards) and titanium dioxide. While they may work better for some folks with sensitive skin, they’re obviously not ideal for cyclists.
What Do the Letters and Numbers Mean?
UVB rays are the ones that cause sunburns and skin cancer. The sun-protection factor (SPF) number provides an indication of how long the sunscreen formula resists those harmful UVB rays. For example, if your skin typically would start to burn after 10 minutes of exposure, a liberal coat of SPF 30 will multiply that time by 30, giving you roughly 300 minutes of protection against UVB rays.
Again, though, environmental factors (swimming, sweating, heat, etc.) degrade many sunscreens, decreasing the SPF and requiring regular reapplication to maintain protection. Some sunscreen is water-resistant, but none is waterproof. If it is labeled “water-resistant,” it is supposed to remain effective for 40 to 80 minutes of swimming or sweating (the label should state the claimed time).
Also, the SPF number does not describe protection against UVA rays, those responsible for prematurely aging the skin; UVA rays can also cause cancer. So, to provide protection against both UVB and UVA rays, you need to use a sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum” protection.
How Long Does a Tube or Bottle Last?
Just as environmental factors degrade sunscreen on your body, the product in the tube or bottle can likewise be degraded if left in the heat or direct sun. Keep an eye on the color and consistency of the product; if it changes, toss it. And consider doing the same with whatever’s left if the bottle at the end of summer.
FDA Labeling Regulations
As the scientific testing of sunscreens has become more advanced, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rolled out new sunscreen labeling regulations to both simplify and clarify the claims and labels used by manufacturers.
Under the regulations, sunscreen products that protect against all types of sun-induced skin damage are labeled "Broad Spectrum" and “SPF 15” (or higher) on the front.
The labeling also tells consumers on the back of the product that sunscreens labeled as both “Broad Spectrum” and “SPF 15” (or higher) not only protect against sunburn, but, if used as directed with other sun protection measures, can reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.
The FDA regs announced in 2011 included these additional labeling provisions:
Sunscreen products that are not broad spectrum or that are broad spectrum with SPF values from 2 to14 will be labeled with a warning that reads: “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”
Water resistance claims on the product's front label must tell how much time a user can expect to get the declared SPF level of protection while swimming or sweating, based on standard testing. Two times will be permitted on labels: 40 minutes or 80 minutes.
Manufacturers cannot make claims that sunscreens are “waterproof” or “sweatproof” or identify their products as “sunblocks.”
Also, sunscreens cannot claim protection immediately on application (for example, “instant protection”) or protection for more than two hours without reapplication, unless they submit data and get approval from FDA.
Finally, the FDA created the following, which you’ll find nearly verbatim on the back labels of your sunscreen container:
Spending time in the sun increases a person's risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. To reduce these risks, consumers should regularly use a Broad Spectrum sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 or higher in combination with other protective measures such as:
Limiting time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM when the sun's rays are the strongest. [Tip! Most online forecasts have a UV Index listing. You can see that mid-day listings typically reach 10, the highest rating indicating the strongest UV rays.
Wearing clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun (long-sleeved shirts, pants, sunglasses, and broad-brimmed hats) when possible
Using a water-resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating
Reapplying sunscreen, even if it is labeled as water resistant, at least every 2 hours. (Water-resistant sunscreens should be reapplied more often after swimming or sweating, according to the directions on the label.)
EVERYTHING YOU WONDERED ABOUT WHEELBUILDING
new road id app!!
The all new Road ID App is a great tool for runners, cyclists, hikers, walkers and basically anyone not glued to their couch. With amazing features like eCrumb Tracking, a Stationary Alert, and a custom Lock Screen creator, the Road ID App is your perfect training partner. With the ability to track your workouts in real time, your friends and family can stay better connected whenever you head outdoors...delivering peace of mind like never before.
WE DEPEND ON EACH OTHER
In my experience when someone calls clear, the other riders in the group don't even look, they just proceed through the intersection. I can't speak for you, but I do make the occasional mistake. A couple of years ago I happened to be at the front of the group. I looked, yelled "clear" -- and it wasn't. There was a car that I'd missed seeing, and a couple of riders came very close to being hit. I wouldn't want to have to live with that for the rest of my life. Follow-the-leader is, in my opinion, way too prevalent in group cycling, and when riding in a group, stressing that each rider is responsible for
their own safety sometimes seems to fall on deaf ears.
Responsibility on Both Sides
Namely, the fact that even the most experienced cyclists on the road can sometimes miss seeing, or misjudge, an oncoming vehicle, leaving some fellow riders in possible harm’s way. Second, that some riders in groups “blindly” follow the leader without taking the time, or assuming the responsibility, to see for themselves and verify that the coast is, indeed, clear. I think we can all agree that there is inherent responsibility in both the lead and follow positions in a group. If you’re the leader, it’s your job to spot, and call out/point out road debris, obstacles, impending stops, etc. And it’s your responsibility to check for traffic and adequate crossing time for the entire group at intersections and other potentially dangerous spots on the road. By the same token, as a member of the group, you have the responsibility to verify for yourself, and those riders around you, that it remains “clear” and safe to continue. Anybody
can make a mistake in judgment, leaving you with your you-know-what hanging out. And when it comes right down to it, you alone are responsible for your own safety on the road. Heck, I verify when riding with only one other buddy – and I fully expect him to verify my “calls,” too. Just as I hope you all do the same. Yes, of course I trust my regular riding buddies. But I verify, too, because it’s the right thing to do.
interesting VeloNews article about amateur racer who gets caught doping....
Bike made out of Cardboard!
check out this interesting short video.....
That’s right. Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni, 50, has developed a way to produce a working bicycle made almost entirely of cardboard.
The actual cost of materials for one of the bikes is about $9. However, using government grants to help offset production costs, he and his partner hope to mass produce the bikes effectively for free and give them away in poor countries.
After the cardboard is cut and shaped, it is treated to make it waterproof and fireproof. The final product is then painted. The tires are made of recycled rubber and are solid, estimated to last for 10 years. The drivetrain uses a automobile timing belt instead of a chain. Then entire bike requires no maintenance or adjustments. A full-size model weighs about 9 kg (20 lbs).
"In six months we will have completed planning the first production lines for an urban bike which will be assisted by an electric motor, a youth bike which will be a 2/3 size model for children in Africa, a balance bike for youngsters learning to ride, and a wheelchair that a non-profit organization wants to build with our technology for Africa," said Nimrod Elmish, Gafni's business partner.
A Reuters reporter who rode one of the bikes wrote, “A ride of the prototype was quite stiff, but generally no different to other ordinary basic bikes.”
....cue "Twilight Zone" theme music!
Wouldn’t it be amazing if a bike of the future allowed you to shift using only your thoughts? Guess what? That bike already exists!
Bike maker Parlee and auto maker Toyota, as part of its Prius Projects program, have designed and built a streamlined carbon road bike that uses a “hacked” Shimano Di2 electronic shifting system connected to a “neural headset” that reads brain waves and shifts gears according to the rider’s thoughts.
The neural headset is incorporated into a helmet, and a rider uses an iPhone app to help train the system to read his or her brainwaves when thinking “shift up” or “shift down.” Once the system can differentiate the thoughts, it’s ready to roll.
To see this amazing display of ingenuity in action, click http://tinyurl.com/43grgcn.
Check out this POV view of a downhill MTB race in urban Chile!
Use A Heart Rate Monitor?
Not going to spend time extolling the virtues of HRM training, but to suggest using an "Electrode Gel" if you use a Heart Rate Monitor. I had experienced intermittent and irregular readings on my HRM, and after checking all batteries, decided to try an electrode gel. Problem solved! I have found that it's essential to have good electrical conductivity with the chest strap, and the inexpensive gel insures that much better than saliva or tap water. Trying to get the local shops to carry this stuff!
GPS Cycle Computers and Mapping Websites
Many of us are riding with GPS enabled cycle computers. Not only are they wireless and need no bike calibration; they can be transferred from bike to bike and they provide all of the usual minutae (and more!) that conventional cycle computers provide. Some integrate Heart Rate Monitor, Cadence and Wattage (power) functions. I have been riding with the Garmin Edge 500 for the past few years, and I love it. Oh, it has its minor issues, but overall, it's a great device. Even non-users can go onto www.garminconnect.com to lookup rides in pretty much any geographic location. Let's say you go someplace where you're unfamiliar with the local ride options. Go to www.garminconnect.com, search for the location, and....voila!...a list of user submitted rides will pop up! Ride distance, elevation profiles, and maps are all available, and you don't even need a Garmin device to access most of the information! (Garmin's website serves as a training log for users of Garmin devices) In addition to proprietary, dedicated sites such as Garmin's, there are other websites which are not device specific, such as www.strava.com
Houchin Bike Team
The Houchin Community Blood Bank Bike Team can be seen gliding along local roadways, pushing up hills, and sprinting across finish lines throughout Kern County and beyond. The team members raise awareness of Life Across America and blood donation each time they train or race. Some of the team members are, from left to right, Greg Walker, MT Merickel, Richard Beene, Katie Nickell, Dr. Bob Smith, Rogers Brandon, Herb Benham, and Scott Garrison. Not present in the photo are Glenn Hammett, Steve Hereford, Ryan Rickard, David Lari, Rhonda Grundeis, Rob Baker, Mike Moseley and Brian Crook. For more info on Houchin Community Blood Bank, visit www.hcbb.com
"It's as strong as Carbon Fiber"
If you're interested in the integrity of carbon-fiber bike parts, here is a website that may creep you out!
STICKER ("goathead") SHOCK?
Bike Path/Kern River Parkway
Bakersfield Recreation and Parks Department is very tuned in to keeping the Bike Path in optimal condition, so if you wish to make your opinion heard:
Director City Parks/Rec:
ROAD SURFACE ALERT!!
Hey, it's been fixed! Well, maybe not yet...but, you can get your pet road defect attended to and repaired! Give a call to KC Roads (862-8850) or City of Bakersfield Roads (326-3111) (depending on location/jurisdiction), and the folks there are usually very interested in trying to please. My theory is that they toil on an endless list of projects and get minimal positive stroke for all their effort. If we take the time to call about a specific issue, at least they know that someone cares about what they do! Take the time and give them a call about that pothole, asphalt chunk, debris or dangerous spot on the roads!
is an acronym for "Manufacture d'Articles Velocipediques Idoux et Chanel"...it was originally founded by Charles Idoux and Lucien Chanel in 1889
these are just three of a whole series of youtube videos with some great observations on our sport!
(They seem kinda dopey when first watching, but they really grow on you)
"Thar she blows"
So, what is it about cycling that makes it necessary for some riders to constantly launch "snot-rockets" and expectorate (that's "spit" in plain English!) while riding? I'm pretty certain that doing this while participating in most any other athletic endeavor would be frowned upon by fellow athletes. Can you imagine a basketball player driving the lane and letting loose a loogie? How about tennis players sliming the baseline with snot? Yet, we seem to tolerate those peloton partners in our midst who shower us with snot or spit. If you have an upper respiratory problem, maybe you need to see an ENT doc and get it solved, but please don't subject fellow riders to your DNA bath! At the very least, make sure that if you absolutely must blow in the peloton, you do it at the back of the group, or well clear of any other riders!
.....some hilarious observations on road cycling!
"the keepers of the cog"
(remember rule #5)
Another Cool Video!!
you've gotta check out these two women cyclists doing truly acrobatic stuff:
Chain Care and Feeding
The condition of your chain is critical to the operation of your bike. A well-maintained chain not only shifts better, it will save you money by helping to avoid premature wear and failure of expensive drivetrain components
YouTube videos worth watching
How to check for chain wear:
WHEEL SUCKING ETIQUETTE
When you get passed by a rider going a bit (a lot?) faster, it's tempting to catch his or her draft to enjoy some free speed. That's fine, but proper etiquette requires asking 2 questions.
First: "Okay if I tag along?" It annoys some riders to have uninvited company, especially if the company is benefitting from the lead rider’s work and not contributing to the effort. So ask first, suck second.
Once you get permission, even if you don’t really feel up to it, at least ask "Want me to take some pulls?" Your new friend may welcome your help, but she may also be on a ride where it isn't necessary or desired. By asking, you've shown your willingness not to be a mere mooch, and the ground rules are established.
WEEKEND GROUP RIDES!
moderate to race pace with occasional re-groupings at the discretion of those present; routes determined by those present; typically distances range from 25 to 75 miles
Saturday 8:00 am Beach Park
***Woody Crossover Road: Please Respect Private Property Owners....Don't Just Assume that They Want Cyclists Using Their Water Spigots!***
***Breckenridge Climb: Water IS available at Pine Saddle ("Peacock Ranch")***
***Piute Store (top of climb between Walker Basin and base of backside of Breckenridge) is Closed for Business***
***Round Mtn. Road: Oilfield traffic! Be careful out there and share the road respectfully***
some useful and interesting links:
www.bikebakersfield.org http://pvcycling.wordpress.com www.kernwheelemen.org www.661fixed.com www.pactour.com www.velominati.com
www.ibikekern.com http://www.areavibes.com/library/best-places-to-bike-ride-in-america/ www.groupride.com www.partsgeek.com/brands/guide_to_bicycle_safety.html
CUSTOM STEM CAPS!
Legally Speaking: What To Do If You Are Hit by a Car
by Bob Mionske for VeloNews
Picture this: You are riding along on your regular training route and nearly home. The light is green ahead, so you stand up on the pedals. If you make that one, you will make the next three. You clear the first light. Sweet — Now you will be home in three minutes!
Then, it happens. Someone pulls out from a driveway as though you are invisible. You are knocked to the roadway, but miraculously, you are unhurt. Naturally, your thoughts soon turn to your bike, and that’s when you discover that it didn’t fare as well as you. The forks are snapped, and your wheels are both crunched.
Of course, the driver is apologetic. He practically jumps out of his vehicle. “Sorry, I didn’t see you,” he exclaims. After making sure that you are OK — You assure him that yes, you are OK — he offers to pay for the bike and other damage. He seems like
a good guy, and you take down his number.
Sound familiar? It does to me. I have received this call so many times; I know what is coming next. The “good guy’s” phone number is wrong, or he won’t pick up, or he now refuses to pay, pointing out that you “came out of nowhere” like “a bat out of hell.”
Why did the driver’s story change? It is a repeated pattern: A contrite driver starts to think about how the collision happened, and a possible latent injury. Now he’s looking at a claim of tens of thousands of dollars against his insurance. He starts worrying about his insurance rates. His version of events changes over night. It wasn’t his fault — so why should he be the one who gets jacked?
So now what do you do? You don’t have his insurance information. You didn’t get any witness names or contact info, and the police didn’t respond to the scene of the crash. You might not have his license plate number. What a mess — the bike and wheels are worth over $10,000.
Fortunately, this is a preventable mess. Before anything like this happens to you, let me walk you through what you need to know when confronted with this situation.
What to do (and what not to do) after any collision:
DO call the police. That doesn’t mean they will always show up; they may not show up if you are uninjured. But are you sure that you are not injured? How do you know? A knee, shoulder, or hand injury may not develop for a day or two. What about that head knock? I’ve had many cases that began with the cyclist feeling “OK” immediately after the crash, only to have pain show up a few days later. So instead of emphasizing that you are OK, see if you can get the police to respond. If they ask if you are injured, tell them that you were hit pretty hard and need a medical exam.
DON’T volunteer that you are “OK.” Ever. If an entirely legitimate injury develops later, it will look fishy to the insurance company if you initially assured the driver that you were OK. If you feel you have to say something at the scene, be vague about your sensations, and be clear that you need to go to a doctor for a medical evaluation.
DO get the driver’s insurance, license, and contact information. If the cops don’t show up, you are taking his word that he will pay. Remember, he’s a complete stranger to you. You don’t know him well enough to take his word about anything. Get his plates, ask to see his driver’s license and insurance information, get his phone contact (have him call you to verify the number — but that is no guarantee either with pre-paid phone numbers). Take pictures of his car, license plate, driver’s license, vehicle, collision scene, your bike, and damage to vehicle.
DO get witness information. Ask any witnesses for their names and phone numbers in case you need somebody to say what they saw.
DO go to a doctor afterward. If the doctor gives you a clean bill of health, that’s great. But if you tell everybody that you’re fine and don’t go to a doctor, and then injuries begin to show up afterward, you will have a harder time convincing the insurance company that you’re not faking it and that their driver injured you.
DO preserve your evidence. You may want to get your bike repaired right away — DON’T! Leave your bike in exactly the state it was in after the crash. Take photos. Have a mechanic take a look at it but don’t fix anything. What you need is the mechanic’s expert opinion about the condition of the bike after the crash. Keep your bike in exactly that condition until after you settle with the insurance company.
One final note: In my experience, insurance companies are more responsive to cyclists who have been hit by their covered drivers when there is an injury — even a minor one. Conversely, I have noticed a trend of property damage-only claims being denied or ignored by insurance companies. So while you never want to fake an injury (that’s insurance fraud, by the way), you have no reason at all to play down an injury. Save your toughness for race day, and let your doctor decide what injuries, if any, you have suffered.
Now read the fine print:
Bob Mionske is a former competitive cyclist who represented the U.S. at the 1988 Olympic Games (where he finished fourth in the road race), the 1992 Olympics, as well as winning the 1990 national championship road race. After retiring from racing in 1993, he coached the Saturn Professional Cycling team for one year before heading off to law school. Mionske’s practice is now split between personal-injury work, representing professional athletes as an agent and other legal issues facing endurance athletes (traffic violations, contract, criminal charges, intellectual property, etc.).
Disc Brakes Not Expected to Gain Universal Pro Appeal
An interesting article in VeloNews noted that the UCI has approved disc brakes for use in the pro peloton in 2016 – but questions whether all (or any) riders will elect to ride disc-equipped bikes by season's end. In the article, despite there being no argument that discs offer superior braking performance and stopping power in many conditions, Trek road product manager Ben Coates expects adoption to fall somewhere in the middle, for a variety of reasons. First, and foremost, is the slight weight penalty that comes with riding disc brakes. Even Trek still can't get the weight of its Domane pro model below 7 kg, though Coates expects it to eventually reach the pro weight limit of 6.8 kg. Climbers, especially, are expected to be extremely intolerant of any weight disadvantage. Even a few ounces in the pro ranks can potentially be a difference-maker, and certainly would be psychological baggage. “There’s no argument discs work better,” said Coates in the article, “but they’re not better in all scenarios. Regardless of the brake performance, the weight up a hill will sit in a rider’s mind… you’re going to have a hard time convincing somebody to get on a disc bike.” It's a paradox, to be sure, considering that mountain descents (especially wet ones) would be among disc brakes' biggest benefits. However, Coates expects another of disc's big benefits – tire clearance – to lead to their use on flatter (and bumpier) courses like the fabled spring classics. Wider rims and tires on cobbles offer a significant advantage, and pro teams are already regularly running 28mm and even wider tires. It wouldn't be surprising to see pro teams test the limits with rubber as wide as 34 mm, according to Coates. Finally, the articles points out that some pros might question the safety of discs in terms of braking power and modulation. If too much, too quickly, on a screaming descent, or not enough at exactly the right time entering a curve or hairpin turn, a crash or even death could result. Some may prefer the old tried and true technology they've always used. “I think there’s an interesting future coming with discs,” Coates said. “There’s no argument discs work better. But they’re not better in all scenarios. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes down in the pro peloton.”
Worthwhile Phone App:
"What to Wear Cycling"
never wonder how to dress when you are headed out for a ride!
THIS is VERY COOL!...short video worth watching
Tire air pressure has almost NO effect on a tire's speed! Don't believe it? Click here!
200+ mph on a bike
"PANTANI: THE ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF A CYCLIST"
One man had no limits. This is the epic story of the rise and fall of Marco Pantani, "il pirata" or the pirate. Less than five years after winning the Tour De France. he was found dead in mysterious circumstances. This is the tragic tale of how a young cyclist became trapped in the organized crime of professional sport gone bad.
"SLAYING the BADGER"
If the intensity of the Tour de France, has left you wanting more, there’s a terrific new TdF documentary out that practically drips drama. Called "Slaying the Badger," the ESPN film chronicles the ferocious rivalry between Greg LeMond and teammate and defending Tour champion Bernard Hinault (“the Badger”) as they dueled for the 1986 Tour title. The young LeMond had supported Hinault the previous year, and as the film all but stated outright, LeMond fairly easily could have won that year’s Tour. Yet, he stuck to his agreement to support Hinault in his quest for a 5th title, in exchange for Hinault’s agreeing to support LeMond the following year. Turns out, Hinault and the rat-like Director Sportif of the La Vie Claire team, Paul Köchli, along with team founder Bernard Tapie, had other plans in mind. Hinault attacked LeMond early in the race, with LeMond ordered to stay in the peloton. The attacks never stopped, and LeMond knew he had been utterly betrayed, and was in the fight of his life to win the Tour. Great stuff, with enlightening interviews of all the main characters. What truly stands out, nearly 30 years down the road, was how truly despicable the behavior of Hinault and Köchli was, and how bad their continued “justifications” or “revisionist history” continues to make them look today.
"RISING FROM ASHES"
Rwanda's first national cycling team (organized and coached by cycling legends Tom Ritchey and Jock Boyer) struggles to move past their country's horrific genocide to make it to the 2012 Olympics.
Good film, worth watching....currently available on Netflix
"Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame"
The film tells the story of cycling icon Giuseppe Marinoni, who found his calling when he transitioned from champion racer to master bike craftsman.
Born in Italy in 1937, Marinoni was a champion cyclist as a young man. In 1965, he was invited to Canada to participate in a race, and after meeting the love of his life, decided to stay in Canada for good, where he dominated competitive cycling for years.
When his racing career came to a natural end, Marinoni started tailoring fine steel bicycle frames from his shop in Montreal, where he has been perfecting his craft for over 40 years, earning him cult status in the world of cycling.
The Italian-Canadian has a cult following among roadies for his handmade bicycles.
"Ask a Mechanic"
a series of online bike maintenance videos
repair a tire without a patch?
To Listen, or Not to Listen? That is the Question
Some believe you can safely listen to music or other audio while riding – and many road cyclists do. Others believe that leaving your ears open to the full range of ambient sounds while you ride is the only safe way.
It's important to keep our senses engaged when we ride. We need to see, and hear, and feel everything going on around us to remain safe. Many audio users find that if they keep the volume down, only use an ear bud in their right ear, etc., they can adequately hear the ambient noise and ride safely.
2 Key Issues with Listening While Riding
First is the issue of responsibly listening to audio while riding. In my experience, many audio-using riders do not, in fact, keep the volume down and cannot hear ambient sounds.
As a safety measure when riding in close quarters, I'll often call out “on your left” as I approach to overtake another rider. The reason is to let the rider ahead know I’m coming around, so that neither of us endangers the other with any sudden moves to avoid objects, etc. I consider it the courteous thing to do.
Almost always, the rider ahead says “thanks” as acknowledgement and moves a bit to the right, if there’s room. I get by them as quickly as possible and say “thanks” as well.
On all types of rides – solo, fast group rides, large organized centuries – I have noticed many riders wearing ear buds or earphones, and a number of them have been completely oblivious to what's going on around them.
These riders are not only endangering themselves by not being able to hear what’s going on around them – but they’re also endangering fellow riders.
The second issue is the issue of distraction. We cyclists constantly – and for good reason – harp on the distracted drivers we regularly see on the road. Distracted driving – whether it’s phone-glued-to-the-ear gabbing, hands-free yakking or, worst of all, texting while behind the wheel – is an epidemic, to be sure. A distracted driver’s senses are not fully engaged in the task of driving. The human brain simply cannot divide its attention in such a way for any length of time to allow safe driving.
In the end, of course, it’s a personal decision that each cyclist must make. If you choose to "listen while riding", please keep the volume down to hear riders, cars, and the goings-on around you. And do maintain focus on the road and ride safely.
...pretty certain we can all learn something here!
"Lost Art of the Group Ride"
by Peter Wilborn from www.carolinacyclingnews.com
Every so often, I’ll ride a recreational group ride. I love the comraderie of cyclists, the talk, the last minute pumps of air, the clicking in, and the easy drifting out as a peloton. “I miss riding in a group,” I’ll think to myself.
The magic ends by mile 10. The group will surge, gap, and separate, only to regroup at every stop sign. I’ll hear fifteen repeated screams of “HOLE!” for every minor road imperfection. And then no mention of the actual hole. Some guy in front will set a PR for his 30 second pull. Wheels overlap, brakes are tapped, and some guy in the back will go across the yellow line and speed past the peloton for no apparent reason. A breakaway?!
I curse under my breath, remembering why I always ride with only a few friends. Doesn’t anyone else realize how dangerous this ride is? How bad it is for our reputation on the road? There are clear rules of ride etiquette, safety, and common sense. Does anyone here know the rules? Who is in charge?
But no one is in charge, and the chaotic group has no idea of how to ride together. As a bike lawyer, I get the complaints from irritated drivers, concerned police, controversy-seeking journalists, and injured cyclists. It needs to get better, but the obstacles are real:
First, everyone is an expert these days. The internet and a power meter do not replace 50,000 miles ofexperience, but try telling that to a fit forty year-old, new to cycling, on a $5000 bike. Or, god forbid, a triathlete. No one wants to be told what to do.
Second, the more experienced riders just want to drop the others and not be bothered. It is all about the workout, the ego boost, or riding with a subset of friends. As riders get better, they seek to distinguish themselves by riding faster on more trendy bikes; but as riders get better they need to realize two things: 1) there is always someone faster, and 2) they have obligations as leaders. Cycling is not a never ending ladder, each step aspiring upwards, casting aspersions down. It is a club, and we should want to expand and improve our membership.
Third, different rides are advertised by average speed, but speed is only one part of the equation. This approach makes speed the sole metric for judging a cyclist, and creates the false impression that a fit rider is a good one. Almost anyone can be somewhat fast on a bike, but few learn to be elegant, graceful cyclists.
Fourth, riding a bike well requires technique training with more emphasis on fluid pedaling and bike handling.
Before the internet it was done better. Learning to ride was an apprenticeship. The goal was to become a member of the peloton, not merely a guy who is sort of fast on a bike. Membership was the point. You were invited to go on group ride if you showed a interest and a willingness to learn. You were uninvited if you did not. You learned the skills from directly from the leader, who took an interest in riding next to you on your first rides (and not next to his friends, like better riders do today). Here is some of what you learned:
To ride for months each year in the small ring.
To take your cycling shorts off immediately after a ride.
To start with a humble bike, probably used.
To pull without surging.
To run rotating pace line drills and flick others through.
To form an echelon.
To ride through the top of a climb.
To hold your line in a corner.
To stand up smoothly and not throw your bike back.
To give the person ahead of you on a climb a little more room to stand up.
To respect the yellow line rule.
To point out significant road problems.
To brake less, especially in a pace line.
To follow the wheel in front and not overlap.
The ride leader and his lieutentants were serious about their roles, because the safety of the group depended on you, the weakest link. If you did not follow the rules, you were chastised. Harshly. If you did, you became a member of something spectacular. The Peloton.