AAA to offer roadside service for bicycles!!!
In a nod to the growing acceptance of cycling as a means of transportation and the distance we sometimes ride from home (and a reality check on how many of its long-time services, such as free maps, route guides and such are now virtually obsolete) AAA recently announced that it is extending roadside service to bicycling members as well as driving members.
All bicycles and tandems, including rental bicycles and bicycle trailers, are eligible for roadside pickup and delivery to a safe destination if the bike can be safely delivered using normal servicing equipment.
Bicycle transportation service is provided only for the rider whose bicycle has become disabled or inoperable. Coverage applies to any eligible bicycle the member is riding at the time the bicycle becomes disabled. Just like when driving, the member should be with the bicycle and have their AAA Membership Card in hand at the time of service.
Under the terms of the pickup service, AAA will transport you and your bike to any point of safety within the limits of your coverage, based on the level of membership:
Classic: Get up to four transports within a 5-mile radius of the bicycle breakdown.
Plus: Get up to four transports within a 100-mile radius of the bicycle breakdown.
Premier: Get one transport, up to a 200-mile radius of the bicycle breakdown; remaining transports are 100 miles.
Think about that: With Plus membership, you can actually get picked up and driven 100 miles if necessary to reach a safe destination. Premier gets you up to 200 miles (but just once a year).
What You Don't Get
The service is strictly a pickup and delivery service that seems to be a "last resort" option. It does not include any type of repair or parts supply. In fact, there's a laundry list of "not included" items, including but not limited to:
Airing or changing a flat tire
Pickup from anywhere not reachable from a paved, "regularly traveled" road
Parts, including tires
Pickup for "fatigue and physical inability to continue with ride"
Locksmith services, in case you accidentally lock up your bike
Still, in a situation where you can't get a friend or family member to SAG you in – for example if you're touring far from home, on vacation, etc. – it's a service that could come in very handy when in need.
Let’s look at some common maintenance issues: what checks and maintenance to do to help avoid hitting the deck.
Some of the best road tires today last seemingly forever, especially on the front wheel where there’s less weight and drive force. Because of this, it’s easy to take these tires for granted and just keep logging the miles.
The problem is that tires wear from use and also from age. Even if there’s still tread all around the tire and no threads from the casing are showing through, an old tire may be ready to fail due to weak sidewalls or thin spots in the tread.
When a bad tire fails – front or rear – it can easily cause a crash. If you’re lucky it’ll happen when you’re crawling along a flat, straight road. If it blows on a fast descent, it can be very hard to slow and stop without having the bike go out from under you.
To prevent tire troubles like this, inspect your tires at least monthly during the riding season for signs of wear, aging and damage. Look for worn out tread or bald spots, cracking, brittle or damaged sidewalls, gashes in the tread and S-shapes, bulges or twists in the tire when you spin the wheel and watch it. If you see any issues and you know the tire has seen over a year’s riding, you should probably replace it.
When clipless pedals and their cleats wear enough, it can be hard getting into and out of the pedals. And if your feet suddenly won’t come out when you’ve already committed to stopping, you can fall hard and even break an ankle or wrist.
It’s also possible for a foot to slip off a clipless pedal under pressure when a worn cleat or pedal doesn’t hold fast as it should. That’s another crash-causing glitch. Unfortunately, these problems usually surface on rides rather than in the repair stand. So the best plan is to regularly inspect your pedals and cleats for things that can cause these problems.
For example, worn cleats can make it hard to get in and out of pedals and/or let your feet slip off. But, it can be hard to tell just how worn they are. I like to always keep replacement cleats on hand so I can compare my old ones with the new to tell how worn the old ones are.
Or, if you know you’ve got mega miles on your cleats and you’re starting to feel a difference getting into and out of your pedals, it’s probably smart to replace the cleats.
Inspect pedals for any loose parts that might allow shoes to slip or interfere and prevent getting in. Some clipless pedals have screws that can loosen, rise up a bit and block entry. And look for worn or damaged jaws that grip the cleats. Most pedals tend to hold up a lot longer than cleats, but since clipless systems require both the pedal and cleat to function correctly, you do want to check the pedals and make sure nothing’s about to fail.
Regularly check that your front and rear wheels are firmly fastened in the frame. If wheels aren’t tight, they can move in the frame. On the front, this might only mean the brake dragging. But, on the rear, you might pull the wheel out of the frame accelerating and stop the bike abruptly, causing a crash.
Wheels can get loose because they weren’t tight enough to begin with and because the quick release adjustment loosened and you didn’t realize it. Or it can happen if the wheels get taken on and off a lot, for example if the bike goes in and out a car a lot or onto a fork-mount car rack.
To check quick release wheels, try opening the QR lever to make sure it resists. It should take a decent amount of force to open the lever. If that's not the case, open the QR, adjust it so it’s tighter and close the lever again. For bolted wheels, check tightness with the appropriate wrench.
Handlebars, stem and controls
Three of the most important things to make sure stay tight on road bikes are the bars, stem and levers. If any of these loosen, it can cause a loss of control and crash because we put so much weight on the front end of the bike – especially when climbing while standing.
I’ve seen riders flip over the bars when the handlebars moved under them and others crash when a loose stem swung to the side when they were trying to turn. Loose levers can surprise and cause crashes, too.
Handlebars, stems and levers are easy to check and snug up. Stand in front of the bike, holding the front wheel from moving with your legs. Now, holding the drops, pull up on the handlebars. Next, put your hands on the brake hoods and push down on the bars and sideways on the levers. Lastly, try turning the bars with a little force to both sides.
When you do these tests, nothing should move or give way. If it does, tighten the bolts and recheck to make sure everything’s tight. Most components today have torque specifications that you can often find printed on the part, or on the maker’s website. You’ll also need a torque wrench with the appropriate allen tips for your components to tighten them right.
Seats and seatposts
Like the handlebars and stem, since so much weight and force can be on it, the seat and seatpost slipping can surprise you and cause a crash. And like the bars and stem, all it takes to prevent issues is keeping the seatpost tight in the frame and the seat tightly fastened to the post. Here’s another place your torque wrench comes in handy.
Lastly, chains can jam, skip and break, causing crashes. Just keep in mind that if you’re noticing a noise or sensation that only occurs when pedaling, it’s a good idea to carefully inspect the chain and see if something’s wrong. You might find something about to fail and prevent a crash.
...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!
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!
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
How to check for chain wear:
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 6:00 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
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!
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.
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.