Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bike lessons that I learned over the years

Wheels of Happiness

Rizal Philippines
September 13, 2015

I have been itching to write this post for a long long time but I had no time to gather my thoughts. For the last 7  years, I got the following tips which I dare share to others:

1.  Stay focussed on why you want to bike:  say health, strong body, adventure and do not be distracted with crashes, mechanical problems,  or expenses. Other keep on saying that what you spend on your bike would just be one day at ICU (knock on wood if you get sick)

2. Spend on your bike up to a certain limit, and love your bike afterwards.  Do not be afflicted with UPGRADITIS ie buying a new bike, a new wheelset, new handlebar or seat.    Love your bike and focus how it could be your good partner on many of your adventure and long rides.

     1.  Clean it after every ride.  As you clean it you note what is wrong.  Inspect the tires, the spokes, the gears, the cables  Wipe and polish the metal parts;  lubricate the cables and the chains.

     2.  Check the bike before riding.  Check for glass, nails, even stapler wires at the tires, Check the tire pressure.  Say 90 to 110 psi.  Check if the brakes and derailleurs work.  Spin the wheel and check for trueness, and if the axle is turning freely.

    3.  When you rest the bike, rest the STI and the cables of the derailleur by shifting to the smallest gears.

    4.  Be sure your bike fits you well:  the handlebar width, the height, the seat distance.  You will ride better and faster if your bike fits your body like a well fitting shoe.  You will have less pains:  at the back hand and arms

   5. Invest in your drive train.  Make them light:   tires,interior, wheel set, chains, cranks and shoes. It took  me a long time to realize that this is the correct priority   I used to buy cheap tires and shoes but they were heavy and made me tired after a short ride.  Here is the idea:   if your shoes are heavy by say 200 grams than the carbon fiber model, multiply that by say 10,000 revolutions and that would mean several more tons of hard effort.

    If you buy a cheap Taiwan or other tires, it is not only difficult to change it when you get flat, but that would mean same extra effort when pedalling.  That goes true for the tire interior and wheel set


3.  Practice practice practice

    1.  Ride at least 3x a week if you have time

    2.  Practice hill climb, long rides, TT, and sprints.  TT means you have to ride at same hard pace for 5 to 10 km

    3. Have large and small chain ring days.  You just shift the rear cogs only. even if you need to go on speed or go up hill;

    4. Practice group ride.  Learn to pursue your companions and ride at their pace, and not your pace.  You get stronger that way

    5.  Practice spinning and faster leg speed by shifting to low years (idol uses 53 x 26)  or the bike stand/trainer.

    6.  Practice riding the drops.   It is more aerodynamically efficient but will also make you stronger and faster rider

4.  Ride safe:

    1.  Wear bright colored clothes so that you will be noticed.  Red yellow and or combination can make you visible.

    2.  If OK with you place reflective stickers on your helmet, bike, and even shoes.

    3.  Install rear lights, and headlights.  I have one permanently on.

    4. Be alert all the time when you ride:  especially if you are in a heavy traffic area, with a group, or if MC are in the vicinity.

   5. Never take off your eye  from the road as you ride:   like looking at which gear you are on, looking at your cyclocomputer (I removed them) or if you are on TT mode (even at Bugarin or Jalajala)   A dog, a child may dart on the road, or car from the garage, or a fellow biker may come at the wrong side of the road.  Or a water tank is parked in the middle of the road, and you thought.....

  6.  Anticipate dangers:

  1. From a jeepney that has stopped (what  who are the dangers)

  2.  A jeepney that just overtook you  (what would he do?  Sudden stop, or a passenger would just jump of the rear door?

  3.  The other guys on the road may be thinking of other things, or may be inclined to do stupid things and you cant blame him if you crash because of him.  A crash is a crash; an injury is an injury is an injury.  The reasons that some people are jeepney or tricycle drivers is that they know less than you ..Otherwise, they would be riding a P300,000 bike just like you

 4.  A horde of MCs just passed you by or you hear the roar of a group from a distance. What could go wrong?

 5. It rained. What are the possible dangers? Hidden potholes in water puddles, slippery road paints, mud, steel manhole covers.  They are slick slippery and dangerous and can cause painful crash.

 6.  Know the limits of friction (braking) adhesion of the tires on the road;   know how to countersteer how to corner

 7.  Bring a cellphone  which you can use to call relatives in case something happens

Nutrition and hydration:

  1.  Keep yourself well hydrated   If you dont, you may bonk.  Drink before you feel thrirsty

  2.  Eat well while riding.   Banana, chocolate candies would be a good bet.  Take lunch or breakfast when it is the time to do so.  Eat light though.

  3. Eat plenty of carbo because it is what gives you energy.

  4. Vitamins and amino acids supplements are supplements;   Focus on the food instead.  Balance protein, carbohydrates.  Eat plenty of raw fruits too.

Other exercise

  1.  Biking is one of the best exercise that there is.  However you need to strengthen your core muscles because that is where you get your strength when you climb or sprint.

  2.  Do crunches and push ups to strengthen your upper body and abs.  Do about 100 reps daily

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great tip. thanks.