Join us for a fun evening just for women! Clinic will cover how to fix a flat tire and take off the rear wheel like a pro. Learn the best way to easily maintain, wash and use chain lube on your bike. Bring a friend, this event is FREE and open to everyone. Space limited to 20, please RVSP to attend.
RSVP to Lauren at email@example.com or (303)798-5033
You did it. You bought your first bike and you have been enjoying riding it all up and down the front range. But when it comes to actually taking care of your bike, much less knowing what to do when you get your first dreaded flat, you are a bit paralyzed. Let us take the stress out riding and arm you with the tools you need to keep biking longer and more confidently.
Learn the basics of care, maintenance, and safety from CMS’s own Caitlin Standifer and D3’s Alison Freeman. They will be teaching you everything from what are the basic parts of your bike to how to efficiently and confidently change a flat tire. Have more advanced questions? Our mechanic will be standing by to answer any and all questions you may have as it pertains to your bike and you. Food and beverage will be provided.
With the race season well underway, and hopefully a few more races ahead this year, you’ll have gained a lot more experience. No doubt you’ll have had a chance to put to the test some of the tips you’ve heard from other triathletes, and read here on 303 Triathlon.
In this month’s Pragmatic triathlete, I’ll pass on five less well traveled tips aimed at making the remaining races of this season, and your training a little easier.
MAKE IT EASIER… on your head
No more chaffing! After a couple of months of sweating your helmet straps will start to get stiff. The best and easiest way to clean your straps is simply to get a bowl or dish that is narrower than the width of your helmet. Fill the bowl with hot (not boiling) water and add a tablespoon of vinegar. Sit your helmet on the bowl, allowing the straps to hang in the water. Leave it there overnight; capillary action will draw the water up the straps. Next morning throw the water away, rinse the straps under the cold tap, dry the straps with a towel and leave to dry. Then give a light coating with olive oil or similar, making sure you include the plastic retainers etc. which will aid in stopping them from cracking.
MAKE IT EASIER… on your feet
Clean shoes, clean mind! Many people regularly throw their running shoes in the washing machine with a load of towels to get them clean(1). You probably shouldn’t do the same with cycling shoes; even though these days few cycling shoes are leather, they have lots of other components and screws for cleats that you wouldn’t want to submerge in water and soak with soap.
You can overhaul them in a more traditional way with shoe cleaners and polish, but this can be tricky. One of the simpler ways to protect and clean cycling shoes is to get them a wipe down with a wet cloth, then a light spray with WD40. Once you’ve sprayed them, give them a wipe down with a soft dry cloth (old non-tech race t-shirt?)
This will both revive fading and grubby leather/pleather; it will also polish up and help protect any synthetic pieces and give the shoes a coating that will help protect them.
MAKE IT EASY… on your back
Core strength! Now your cycling and running are up to speed, doesn’t your lower back feel stiff from time to time? Try some specific stretches for your hamstrings, shoulders and lower back. The lower and upper halves of your body and anchored in your lower back and the more flexible and strong it is, the more fluid you will be.
MAKE IT EASIER… on the bike
Less rattle, more roll! You don’t need any special mechanic skills to keep your bike chain clean and lubricated. Even if you only use your race bike in the summer, when it’s dry, your chain will still pickup dirt and dust from the road which will make you less efficient. You should probably give your chain a quick clean weekly, and definitely after any ride where there was a lot of dry dust.
Serious cyclists will recommend buying expensive chain specific tools and brushes, and even removing the chain. You can do a basic job with it still on the bike. Use an old toothbrush or other stiff brush; use an old rag doused with some white spirit to remove old oil and dirt. I use bleach wipes for simplicity and speed; change the rag, drip oil around the chain and then gently remove any excess oil. The real trick is NOT to oil a dirty chain, it will make things worse, any dirt will just stick to the oil.
Don’t use WD40! Specialist oils are best, but if you don’t have any, you can use almost anything, baby oil, cooking oil, olive oil, just don’t over apply, wipe off the excess, and make sure you clean it thoroughly next time.
MAKE IT EASIER… in transition
Less stuff, more speed! Over recent years there has been a huge increase in the amount of “stuff” people take into transition. Athletes regularly tote huge plastic boxes into transition full of stuff, most of which they won’t need. To me this just says, “Novice: lacks confidence in race plan.” Take only the minimal stuff you actually need and will use during the race(2). Arrive early, set-up transition, and take everything else back to the car. With less mess, you’ll be faster in transition, no matter how orderly your stuff is, it will become a mess, it takes up valuable space and will slow down decisions.
Enjoy your upcoming races, next time I’ll take a look at some challenges to change things up.
1) Both cycling and running shoes will benefit from having their insoles removed and washed, especially running shoes, which will potentially have grit and talc after races. Pay attention to wear and tear of insoles, you can replace them, but they are also a good indication of the overall condition of the shoes themselves.
2) When you are out on the bike, the only things left in transition are swim googles, wetsuit and cap; and the equipment you’ll use on the run.
Mark Cathcart took up triathlon in the late 90’s to get fit for adventure racing, which to this day he has never done, and has since taken part in 170+ events. His pragmatic approach to training, racing, and life have lead in from being the Chairman of one of the bigger UK Triathlon clubs 15-years ago; British Triathlon volunteer of the year; a sometime race organizer; The organizer and ride leader for Austin Texas award winning Jack and Adams triathlon shop; doing sometime Sports Management for development and professional triathletes; he has attended all the Triathlon Business International, and Triathlon America conferences, where he usually asks the questions others won’t; moved to Colorado in 2016 and is a co-owner of Boulder Bodyworker
Inspiration for new products/services can often come from frustration. How many of us have sticky notes and random receipts stuffed in drawers to help us keep track of when we last did what to which bike? It was exactly this sort of thing that prompted Feedback Sportsto develop their bicycle maintenance app. #nomorestickynotes#yourbikedeservesbetter#releaseyourinnergeek
A couple of weeks ago, I bought a new work stand from Feedback Sports. While I was looking around the site, I noticed that Feedback offers a free maintenance tracking app.
Upon a closer look at the app, I quickly realized it is exactly what I’ve been looking for to keep track of my bike’s components and maintenance schedule. (In fact, I wrote a sticky note to myself about two years ago with an idea for this very same app. I’m glad they read my mind and built it!)
It comes in both iOS (Apple) and Android versions. You can find them on the App Store and at Google Play. Here are links for info:
For each of your bikes (you can also take a photo of each bike for reference), you can easily input all of your various components (and fit specs like saddle height and reach) across categories including:
For the components, you can add detail including the date added to your bike, the weight, cost, description, etc. What you’re left with is a front-to-back, top-to-bottom snapshot of every single jot and tittle about your bike, including the serial number, which could come in handy in case of theft, for warranty purposes, etc.
Then you can set a maintenance schedule and keep records of your maintenance using the app.
Zen-Like Experience Recording It All
I sat down in front of a fire on a recent weekend day when it was too nasty out to ride and worked through the details, hunting down any stray receipts I had, jogging my memory of when I put on those shifters, when I rebuilt my custom wheels, and so on.
I found it a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. And while I know I was likely not exact in the dates for everything, I now have a consolidated, easily referenced and pretty accurate record of every single aspect of my main bike. (One bike at a time!)
So now I can quickly see exactly when I installed my last chain, rings, cassette, tires, shift and brake cables, etc. (You can even catalog your tubes, but I drew the line there). And I can set up a maintenance schedule for any component. For instance, I’ve set up a reminder to check my chain near a date at which I think it might be worn enough to change.
I suspect I’ll be checking on various components more by feel than by set reminders, but the main thing is that I’ll be able to know exactly when they were installed. To me, that’s half the battle and will totally remove any future guesswork.
I’m glad I stumbled upon this app. I know it’s going to be super-useful over time.
Conclusion: Annnnnnd it’s free. Has anyone mentioned this? Get your bikes dialed. Your bike shop will thank you when you actually have an answer for “When was the last time you____?” instead of standing there, mouth agape with a blank look on your face.