a Bakersfield Road Cycling Resource
The SeatBag, Page 2

Clipless Pedal Care and Maintenance
If your clipless pedals or shoes and cleats break down, it can cause minor issues such as annoying noises. But, it can quickly become much worse, such as breaking something that won’t let you click your foot in properly and might even lead to a knee injury if you try to ride very far on it.

So, let’s practice a little clipless pedals system triage and look at what can go wrong and how to address it. But, in our emergency room, we’ll look at the basic stuff first and the more serious issue last, since the former is much more common.

Keep them lubricated
If you’re not already doing it, one of the easiest ways to ensure you can always enter/exit your clipless pedals smoothly (and prevent maddening squeaks and creaks, too), is to apply a light lube to the jaws and pedal surfaces (where the cleats rest). In fact, some companies, such as Speedplay make special lubes for this.

For most riders, applying a little lube every 2 weeks’ worth of rides should do the trick. If you get a build-up of grime, use less or lube less frequently. This simple step makes your clipless pedals and cleats last longer and work optimally longer, too.

Get, carry and use cleat covers

Rubber cleat covers are available for most types of road cleats (they’re not needed for recessed cleats). By getting a pair for your shoes, carrying them on rides, and always slipping them over your cleats before walking in your cycling shoes, your cleats will stay like-new almost indefinitely. And, like-new cleats are much less likely to wear the jaws on your clipless pedals.

Tip: One of the most common causes of slop/play between pedals and cleats is worn-out cleats. If it feels like your feet are moving up and down, side to side or front to back while pedaling, replacing the cleats will probably solve the problem.

If possible, inspect, clean and tighten the pedal parts
Most clipless pedals have multiple moving parts and springs.  A lot of models have nylon parts. With all clipless pedals, when you click your shoes in and out to enter and exit the pedals, these parts open and close. And, whenever you’re riding, they’re always working, holding your feet securely in place. There’s even more stress on systems that allow your feet to pivot to protect your knees.
Lubing helps keep things working properly and prevents most of the wear and tear. It’s also important to inspect the jaws and platforms for dirt that can come from the road, and to clean it off so it can’t damage the pedal or cleats. And look for any screws securing the pedal parts, such as the jaws, and turn them with the correct tool to make sure that they’re not coming loose.

Tip: On many clipless pedals, there are small screws for making it easier or harder to enter and exit your pedals. Don’t turn these screws unless you want to change the effort to get into and out of your pedals. As a general rule, beginners usually prefer easier entry and exit, and advanced riders prefer harder.

Inspect, clean and tighten your cleats

Checking your cleats for tightness is as easy as trying to tighten the bolts with the correct tool. They shouldn’t budge. It’s also wise to look closely at the cleat edges that connect to your clipless pedals. They should be symmetrical with squared edges. If they’re sloped or ramped or chipped, it’s probably time to replace them.

If you’re not sure, you can hold the shoes in your hand and click them into the pedal so that you can look at how the pedals grab and hold the cleats. The shoes should click in and feel tight, not sloppy. Another way to gauge cleat wear is to compare the ones on your shoes to a new pair.

Tip:  It’s smart to always have a pair of new cleats on hand so that you can replace your cleats should you realize, on the morning of an important ride, that they’re bad. As long as you’ve marked your cleat position on the bottom of your shoes (use a contrasting color ink or paint to draw a line around your cleat), it’s easy to replace the cleats.

Inspect and maintain your shoes

Many of today’s road shoes require maintenance, too, such as those with replaceable components and multiple closure systems. For example, on shoes with ratcheting buckles, the buckles are often attached to the shoes with small screws that can loosen and fall out. Likewise, it’s possible for filament laces to come detached from the lace loops, making it difficult to sufficiently tighten your shoes while riding if you don’t notice and fix it beforehand.

Even expensive shoes can fall apart with enough miles, too. I’ve had several pairs of high-zoot carbon shoes where the soles have separated from the shoes after a few years’ use. In one case, I didn’t realize it was happening until an increasingly sore left knee told me something funny was going on. So, be sure to give your shoes and cleats a good going over well before any important ride.

Tip:  Because of how cycling shoes can fail out of the blue, I recommend always having a backup pair with cleats installed. That way you’ll never miss a ride because of shoe or cleat issues. And you won’t ever have to risk a knee injury from having to rush to install a cleat before a big ride.

Dealing with excess bearing play in clipless pedals
With enough miles, clipless pedals can develop play in the bearings. Sensitive riders can feel this as lateral slop in the pedals while riding. You can also find it by pushing/pulling sideways on the pedals with your hands. When you do this, there shouldn’t be any lateral bearing play in the pedals.

If you find that the pedals move in and out, don’t panic. On most clipless pedals, there’s a relatively easy fix. Because all that’s happened to cause the play in the pedals is that you’re ridden so much you’ve used up the grease inside the bearings. All that’s needed is re-greasing them.
It sounds difficult, but most clipless pedals are designed for easy and fast re-greasing. The job is as simple as removing the pedals from the crankarm and then removing the pedal axles and bearings (they are attached as a single unit) from the pedals.

To re-grease the pedals, you simply squeeze or pack enough grease into the pedals to fill the very end (just the end, not the whole cavity inside the pedal), and then screw the axle and bearings back into the pedal. Thanks to the sealed design of the pedals, doing this forces the grease into the pedal bearings and removes the play in the pedals, making them run like new again.

Warning: Do NOT force the pedal axle back into the pedal. If it suddenly becomes hard to tighten, unscrew it. What’s happening is that air has gotten trapped inside. By backing out the axle and trying again – sometimes a couple of times – you’ll be able to tighten it fully without forcing it.

Chain Lube:  Synthetic ATF

(the stuff is kind of a red color)
as some of you may know, a number of us local riders have ridden PacTour Bicycling Camps. At the conclusion of one day's ride, while cleaning/lubing my drivetrain, I picked up an unmarked bottle of chainlube. I continued to use this lube through the rest of the week; At the conclusion of Camp, I asked PacTour director Lon Haldeman what type of lubricant it was. He pulled out a quart bottle of Mobil 1 Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid and proceeded to explain that it possesses all of the qualities of an ideal chain lubricant! All I know is that the stuff works!!   I have personally used Mobil 1 or Valvoline Fully Synthetic ATF on my chains for years now, and it works great!
If you're going to use it, just make sure you wipe it off well after applying to keep it from slinging lube onto your rig.
It does work best, as do most all chain lubricants, when applied to a CLEAN chain.

 fine-tuning derailleur and brake cables

You can tune your bike without touching a tool by using cable-adjusting barrels. Most modern road bikes have them. Look at the derailleur cable stops on the down tube and where the cable enters the rear derailleur. You'll probably see a round fitting ("barrel") that you can turn with your fingers. Same goes for each brake caliper where the cable enters.

 When braking becomes less responsive or shifts to larger cassette cogs are balky, it usually means cables have stretched. Simply screw the barrels counterclockwise to take up slack. Go half a turn at a time on the rear derailleur, then check shifting response. The chain should climb smartly to each larger cog. If it does but also tinkles against the cog's bigger neighbor, you're taken up a bit too much cable. Turn the barrel clockwise just enough to make it quiet.

 When done, you'll have tuned your shifting and braking as well as a pro mechanic -- and you may not even need to clean your hands.
Of course, if you don't want to bother (and keep your hands clean)...go see a pro mechanic!   We've got several fine bicycle mechanics at the local bike shops here in Bakersfield.

Product Recalls
Seventeen brands recall 1.5 million bikes for quick-release issue
By Kristen Legan

         Quick release levers on recall open too far and can come into contact with the front disc brake. Photo: CPSC
         Replacement quick releases are needed to ensure the lever opens with sufficient clearance of the brake rotor.

Seventeen bike brands are participating in a joint voluntary recall involving certain bikes equipped with front-wheel quick-releases and disc brakes. The recall is being conducted by the brands in conjunction with the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA), U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Health Canada, and the Consumer Protection Agency of the United Mexican States.

The recall addresses bicycles equipped with a front quick-release lever that can come into contact with the front disc brake when improperly adjusted or left open while riding. An open quick-release can result in the front wheel coming to a sudden stop or separating from the bicycle, posing a risk of injury to the rider.

“Rider safety is our top priority,” said Patrick Cunnane, Chair of BPSA’s committee. “We are pleased to be able to serve a role in bringing together the participating companies and facilitating this unprecedented large group effort.”

Bike brands and model years involved in this recall:

Diamondback: 2004-2015
Raleigh: 2004-2015
Breezer: 2005-2015
Fuji: 2005-2015
SE: 2005-2015
Cannondale: 1998-2015
GT: 1998-2015
Felt: 2006-2015
Jamis: 2005-2015
Giant: 2003-2004
Haro: 2000-2015
Norco: 2000-2015
Access: 2009-2015
Civia Cycles: 2008-2012
Novara: 2002-2015
Ridley: 2014-2015
Specialized: 2002-2015

This follows a similar recall involving Trek Bicycle earlier this year, in which nearly 1 million Trek bikes were recalled due to the same quick-release/disc brake concerns.

A rider should check the Quick-Release Recall website to see if his or her bike is part of the recall. A rider with a bike that is subject to the recall should stop riding the bike and take it to a dealer to have a new quick-release installed. In many cases, the replacement can be accomplished in as little as five minutes.

Specialized Pedal Axle Extenders 

This recall involves Specialized Body Geometry Pedal Axle Extenders that are used to extend the outward reach of the pedals. The Pedal Axle Extenders can break, and the rider can lose control, posing a fall hazard.

There have been 10 reports of the pedal extenders breaking, including two reports of minor injuries, involving scrapes and bruises.

They are sold in pairs and mount directly into the bicycle crank arms. Pedal extenders are made of stainless steel and fit a 9/16 inch pedal thread. They are labeled with an “L” and an “R”. The extenders being recalled were sold by authorized Specialized retailers and online at  from January 2009 to June 2015 for about $40.

Consumers should stop using the recalled pedal extenders immediately and return them to an authorized Specialized retailer for a full refund.

SRAM Road Hydraulic Brake Recall
On November 4th, 2013  SRAM identified and announced a technical issue with respect to a narrow production range of its RED 22 and S-700 Hydraulic Road Brakes. At that time, it was described as a performance and safety concern with no reported failures in the field.
It has recently come to our attention that during last weekend’s Cyclocross racing in the US, in sub freezing temperatures, several failures were reported. In these conditions the master cylinder seals failed to hold pressure resulting in abrupt loss of brake power, and an inability to stop the bike. These failures are related to product that is outside the originally stated date code range and unrelated to the original failure mode. No injuries have been reported to date.
As a result of this new finding, SRAM requests that anyone who has a bike equipped with SRAM Hydraulic Disc or Hydraulic Rim Brakes stop using the bike immediately. All products shipped to date, and currently in the market or in inventory will be recalled.
Further, we are asking our Bike Brand customers, OE factories, Distributors and Dealers to cease all sales and shipments of SRAM RED 22 and S-700 Hydraulic Road Brakes. A total of approximately 19,000 brake systems have been shipped to date into the global market.
Quarantine efforts currently underway with Factories, Bike Brands, and Distributors will be broadened to include all Dealers with inventory on bikes, or as Aftermarket product. Additional information related to timing and replacement of product will be forthcoming.
As originally announced we have reported this issue to the US CPSC and will be cooperating with the agency to announce a Safety Recall. We will also be contacting and working closely with appropriate like agencies in Europe and globally.
SRAM engineering and manufacturing is committed to the highest Quality standards. On behalf of all employees at SRAM we apologize for the business disruption to our customers business and to the individuals who have placed their trust in our products.

Trek Madone 2013 Bike Recall
Trek has issued a recall on some of its 2013 Madone models due a brake problem, 6,800 in total, citing a potential for front brake failure resulting in a crash.
The affected models were built with a faulty attachment bolt on the front brake quick release. The bolt can come loose, allowing the cable clamp to detach, the consequences of which are predictably bad.
The recall includes model year 2013 Trek Madone bikes with model numbers 5.2, 5.9, 6.2, 6.5, 7.7, or 7.9, and serial numbers starting with WTU and ending with G or H. Recalled models include some custom-ordered Project One Madones as well.    The bikes were sold U.S.-wide between July 2012 and December 2013.
Trek has received five reports of loose front brake bolts thus far, though no injuries have been reported. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled bicycles and take them to a Trek dealer for a free replacement front brake system.
To find out if your Madone is affected, visit Trek’s Safety and Recall website and look for your frame’s serial number under the “List of affected serial numbers” link.
For more information, visit the CPSC website or Trek’s Safety and Recall website, or call Trek at (800) 373-4594 from 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. CST.

Specialized Bike Recall
Specialized has announced a recall of more than 12,000 bikes sold over the past two years. The recalled models include all of the 2012 Tarmac SL4, 2013 Tarmac SL4, 2013 Crux and 2013 Secteur Disc bicycles and framesets. 
The recall is taking place because of a defective steerer tube that could fail and lead to crashes. The problem came to light after several riders reported the carbon fiber steerer tube cracking or breaking while riding. 
"We are proactively recalling these bikes as a precaution and out of safety for our riders, which is our highest priority," said Mike Sinyard, Specialized's founder and president, in a release. "We take quality very seriously and are working with our dealers to inspect these bikes and get our riders back on their bikes quickly and safely." 
If you own one of the recalled bikes, Specialized and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) advise you to stop riding it immediately and take it to a Specialized dealer. The dealer will coordinate repair or replacement of the fork, which entails shipping the fork to Specialized's facility in Salt Lake City. The repair is estimated to take two weeks. 
Specialized is offering all owners of the affected bikes a $100 store credit for Specialized merchandise in part to compensate for the inconvenience. 
Click  to read the CPSC press release, which includes photos of affected bikes and framesets.

Specialized Bicycle Forks

Specialized has issued a recall of 14,200 bicycles spec’d with carbon forks manufactured by the Advanced Group of Taiwan. The issue, shown above, is that the brake’s post-mounts may crack and disengage from the fork, rendering them useless at best or get into the spokes and send someone flying at worst. Full CSPC details after the break, or hit their website for pics of the bikes affected.   This recall involves the following nine, 2011 model year bicycles with Advanced Group carbon forks: Sirrus Expert, Sirrus Comp, Sirrus Elite, Vita Expert, Vita Comp, Vita Elite, Vita Elite Step Thru, Tricross Sport, Tricross, and Tricross Comp. All bicycles have the brand name “Specialized” on the lower front frame tube. The model name is on the top tube.   Sold at: Authorized Specialized Retailers nationwide from June 2010 through August 2011 for between $700 and $2,000.

SalsaCycles Stems

Salsa Cycles has announced a voluntary recall of about 6,500 chromoly stems. The company says the stems can crack or break. There has been one report of a stem breaking that resulted in minor injuries. The recall involves all CroMoto S.U.L. 25.4 and 26.0 threadless handlebar stems and all CroMoto S.U.L. 26.0 quill handlebar stems sold after April 1, 2010. The stems are black, with the word "Salsa" painted on the extension. Manufactured in Taiwan, they retailed for about $65. Owners of the stems are instructed to stop riding bikes equipped with them and contact an authorized Salsa Bicycles dealer for a free inspection and a stem replacement or a full refund. For additional information, visit

Felt model B12, B16 and S32 road bikes 
Sold at U.S. bike shops from October 2008 through May 2010 for between $2,300 and $3,100. About 2,100 of these Chinese-made bikes are being recalled because their carbon fork's steerer tube can break, causing the rider to lose control and fall. Seven such incidents have been reported. Owners should immediately stop riding the bike and contact a Felt Bicycles dealer for a free repair. See photos of the recalled bikes.

Easton EA 30 Stems
Thousands of these Chinese-made handlebar stems are being recalled because they can break and cause the rider to lose control. EA30 stems are black with white-and-gray graphics. They have a 4-bolt face cap. They were stock equipment on $500-$1,200 Raleigh and Diamondback bikes, among other brands, sold between August 2007 and August 2009. They also were sold in the aftermarket for about $30. For ID info and photos, click the link on the Easton home page at .  Riders should stop using a recalled stem and contact Easton or an Easton Sports dealer for a free replacement.

Clif Bar
Clif Bar is recalling 14 products sold in the U.S. and 4 in Canada because they contain peanut butter from the Peanut Corporation of America. PCA is being investigated as the source of a recent salmonella outbreak. Affected products include various Clif Bars, Clif Builder's Bars, Clif MOJO bars, Clif Kid Organic ZBaRs and Luna Bars. Specific info is on the company's website at

Giant TCR Advanced SL
Giant wants back about a thousand 2009 TCR Advanced SL road bikes and frames because the forks can break. One report of cracking has been received, according to the company. The affected bikes and frames were manufactured in Taiwan and sold at Giant dealers in the U.S. (only) from August through December 2008 for between $3,300 and $7,500. If you have a bike that might be affected, see the Giant website at  for detailed ID info and instructions.

Mavic R-Sys Wheel
Details at:

Deda Stems
About 400 Deda Forza black carbon handlebar stems (2008 model) have been recalled because 4 have cracked. The stems were manufactured for Deda Elementi in Taiwan and Italy and have a gloss finish. Deda Forza stems with a black matte finish are not being recalled. The suspect stems are found on high-end Bianchi road bikes and were sold separately (primarily in the U.S.) for about $400. The company will replace them with Deda Zero 100 forged aluminum stems. Photos and return info are at 

 Cervelo forks
Cervelo has recalled about 5,800 Wolf SL carbon forks manufactured by True Temper in China. The steerer tube can break during normal use, causing the rider to lose control and crash. Cervelo has received 12 reports of these forks failing, resulting in one rider suffering a broken wrist and another receiving abrasions. The recalled forks have the words "Wolf Superlite" and a related logo just below the crown on each leg, and the letters "SL" above each dropout. The recalled forks may be on Cervelo bicycle models R3, R3 SL, Soloist Carbon, Soloist Carbon SL and some P3 Carbon framesets and bikes. Also, some shops sold these forks for about $475 from November 2005 through July 2007. If your bike has a Wolf SL fork, stop riding it and contact a Cervelo dealer to have a replacement fork installed without charge. More info and ID photos are on the Cervelo website at

Keo pedals
Look Cycle USA has recalled 40,000 pairs of Keo pedals following reports of breaking axles. Fourteen incidents have come to light, resulting in various injuries to riders. All recalled pedals are black and include the Keo Classic, Keo Sprint, Keo HM and Keo Carbon. The model name is printed in white on the side of the pedal. Date codes between January 2004 and December 2005 are included in this recall. These French-made pedals were sold at U.S. bike shops from January 2004 through July 2007 for between $100 and $500. If you have recalled pedals, stop riding them and return them to the place of purchase, or contact Look Cycle USA at  to arrange for free repair or replacement. The website shows where to find date codes to determine if pedals are part of the recall. 

 Product Rave!  
Camelbak's insulated Podium Ice bottle

 These bottles are said to keep drinks cold (or hot) about twice as long as other insulated bottles and 4 times longer than plain plastic ones. Generally, I am somewhat slow to adopt new products,  being a bit of a skeptic and not wanting to pay for the privilege of doing the manufacturers' R &D.  But in an unusual display of impulse, I purchased some of these water bottles.  They aren't cheap at around $20 a bottle, but let me tell you, they DO work!!   On a hot summer ride of over 3 hours, the water was still cold at the end of the ride.   And the performance benefits, although probably negligible for me, are supposedly significant.   Cycling physician Gabe Mirkin, explains: "Drinking cold fluids lowers body temperature. More than 70% of the calories used to convert food to energy are lost as heat. So the more intensely you exercise, the more heat you produce. A rise in body temperature slows you down because the heart has to work harder to pump extra blood from your hot muscles to your skin to dissipate the heat. Seven studies show that cold beverages lower body temperature and improve performance by an average of 10%." 
I highly recommend these bottles; head down to one of our local bike shops and get yourself a pair of them!

To Stretch or not to Stretch?
(what a weird word...look at it..."stretch"...weird!)
That's always been the question among cyclists. A new study has come up with an answer, sort of: Yes!  Stretch if you like to stretch and want a small amount of defense against soreness and injury. No!  Don't bother if you don't have the time or interest. The study found that stretching does not reduce the overall risk of injury, although it can reduce the likelihood of certain injuries to muscles, ligaments and tendons. In addition, people who stretch have only about an 8% less chance of experiencing soreness than people who do not stretch. A summary of the study with links to greater detail is at

Why Can I "Exceed" My Max Heart Rate?

Q: According to the "220 minus age" formula, my maximum heart rate is 170 beats per minutes. I can reach this number whenever doing hard intervals. Not long ago, I got up to 173 bpm while being chasing up a hill. How come I'm able to ride at my maximum and even exceed it?

Coach Fred Matheny Replies:  Max heart rate is the greatest number of beats per minute you can attain during an all-out top-end effort -- like a sprint up a hill.

You can't hold max very long -- just a few seconds -- because your muscles and energy delivery system quickly tire.

 And, of course, it's logically and physiologically impossible to exceed your max. By definition, your heart can't beat any faster.

You're exceeding your calculated max heart rate because the "220 minus age" formula produces a number that is almost always wrong. It's accurate only by chance because it's a statistical average.

 There's only one way to find your max with certainty and safety:  By having a medically supervised stress test. 

In a lab setting, the technician will gradually increase the resistance on a stationary bike until you simply can't continue pedaling at the specified rate (usually 80-90 rpm) no matter how hard you try. The resulting heart rate will be close to your true max if not right on it. It depends on your motivation to push yourself 100%.

It's possible -- although not recommended -- to do your own test if you have a heart monitor. Ride faster and faster up a gradual hill. When you feel you absolutely can't go any harder, sprint! The highest pulse rate displayed will be close to your lab-determined max. 

Even riders in good health should have medical supervision during such a test, and they certainly should never do it alone. Realize too that sprinting all-out while trying to read the numbers on a heart monitor can be dangerous.

In the end, max heart rate isn't even essential for training purposes. It's much more important to know the highest heart rate you can sustain for 30-60 minutes. That's your lactate threshold (LT) heart rate. Generally, the closer you ride to it in a given workout, the more productive that day's training will be.


 Make Roadside Repairs Without Tools!
Ideally, you'll have everything necessary to remedy breakdowns. But when you get stuck without the item you need, heed the example of ultracycling legend Lon Haldeman. He claims he can fix any bike problem with materials commonly found on a short roadside walk. The fact that there is so much junk out there is as much a blessing (in this one instance) as it is disgusting.

At one of his PAC Tour cycling camps, Haldeman proved his assertion by hoofing a quarter mile out and back on an Arizona highway with a big plastic bag. Here's a list of what he collected -- and how to use such items for emergency repairs.

On a personal note, in March of 2010, I was riding with Lon when the seat tube of his decade-old Specialized (steel frame) Road Bike broke just above the bottom bracket.   Lon "just so happened" to have a hose clamp in his seat bag....he took said hose clamp and strapped it around the seat tube to hold the separated segments together.   Although he couldn't ride out of the saddle too well, it this on-the-road fix did get him through the day's ride!!! 

---Motor oil bottles.  Need some lube in a hurry for a squeaky chain or cleat that's driving you nuts? There's always a little oil left in the bottom of discarded containers. If you're caught in a hard rain that washes away your chain lube, this trick will return the sound of silence.

---Aluminum cans.  If your seatpost is slipping or your handlebar is rotating down, cut or tear a piece of soda or beer can to shore up the loose part.

---String.  If you've blown out a tube so a patch won't repair it, you can tie off the bad section with string and stuff it back into the tire. This tourniquet won't be airtight, but the tube should stay firm enough for you to make progress between each pump-up.

---Wire.  Use it to snug a rattling fender or accessory that's coming loose.

---Grass and paper.  If you've flatted and have no spare tubes or patch kit -- or your pump is broken -- pack the tire tightly with grass and anything else you can stuff in there. The biomass will provide enough thickness in the tire to protect the rim as you ride, slowly, to your destination.

---Plastic bags.  Emergency rainwear or frigid air blocker.

---Chunk of broken glass.  A suitably sized piece with sharp edges makes an emergency knife.

---Plastic cup or foil.  Use it to boot a slashed tire.

Keep your eyes wide as you search for the piece of junk you need. It's amazing what items of value you can find by the roadside. Wrenches, screwdrivers and other perfectly good tools bounce out of pickup trucks all the time.

What to Wear in Various Weather

(adapted from and Coach David Ertl)
What follows are Coach Ertl’s guidelines for what you might wear across a range of temperatures. Everybody is an experiment of one when it comes to finding what’s exactly right for you, so try different combinations and see what works best.  

If head, hands, feet are not mentioned below, then do nothing special for them
70 Degrees (21C):  
Shorts and short-sleeve jersey. 
60 Degrees (15.5C):  
Shorts and long-sleeve jersey or long-sleeve thin undershirt or baselayer.
50 Degrees (10C):  
Tights or leg warmers; heavy long-sleeve jersey with sleeveless or short-sleeve wicking undershirt; or lightweight long-sleeve jersey with long-sleeve undershirt or baselayer.
45 Degrees (7C):  
Tights or leg warmers; long-sleeve wicking undershirt/baselayer and lined cycling jacket;  thin full-fingered gloves; headband covering ears; wool socks and shoe covers.
40 Degrees (4.4C):  
Tights or leg warmers; long-sleeve heavy mock turtleneck and lined cycling jacket; medium-weight gloves; headband covering ears;  winter cycling shoes, shoe covers, wool socks.
35 Degrees (1.7C): 
Heavyweight tights; long-sleeve heavy wicking turtleneck undershirt and heavy cycling jacket; heavy-weight gloves; headband covering ears;  winter cycling shoes, shoe covers, wool socks with charcoal toe warmers.


So, my helmet is several years old, but not completely uncool by helmet style standards. It appears to be in good condition. However, even though it hasn’t been damaged it in a crash or with rough treatment, I’ve heard that helmets lose some of their protective ability as they age. Should I junk this brain bucket and buy a new one?
The reason that some recommend that helmets be replaced every 3 years or so is that the foam degrades due to sun, heat, salty sweat and other environmental factors, added to the usual knocks of regular cycling activity. These things make the foam unable to provide full protection in the event of a head impact. Of course, it also is very much in the best interests of bicycle retailers and the helmet industry!
 Without question, a helmet should be replaced after it's smacked in a crash or even dented by a hard drop.  However, some experts (presumably those not working for helmet companies) maintain that a helmet will do the job no matter what its age as long as it's undamaged. In their view, there is no age limit. No question, a new helmet every 3 years will keep you current with comfort and safety features as well as style. Helmet lightness, ventilation and fit have definitely improved through the years; almost every new model has a "cradle" for the lower rear of the head. This makes a helmet more stable on bumps and rough roads, meaning that it'll stay in place better when the reason for wearing a helmet is happening.
Key point: whatever helmet you have….if you’re on the bike, wear it!

Eat, Drink and Be Wary in a Paceline

There can be a serious problem in a fast group on a long ride: You get so focused on sticking with the paceline that you're too busy, or too stressed, to eat and drink. Suddenly you're bonked, dehydrated and struggling to maintain the pace. This can even be dangerous because a tired rider is a squirrelly rider.

Here's how to keep the calories going down, even in close quarters with fast company: 
---Do your dining at the back. When you're last in the rotation you can relax a bit and take on food and fluids without disturbing anyone. There's no one behind to get crashed by your movements or a dropped bottle. 
---Use your bottle without looking down. Keep your eyes on the riders and road ahead. Grip the bar on top near the stem for stability, then use your other hand to grasp the bottle in the fat part just below the top. Put it to the corner of your mouth and raise it to the side so it doesn't obscure forward vision.

---If you think about the path your hand travels as you take out the bottle, it's relatively easy to reverse it without looking down. If necessary, use your thumb (grasping the bottle) to feel for the side of the cage. Then center the bottle and slide it in. Practice will make this automatic.

---Prepare your food for easy access. If you're comfortable riding no-hands, simply sit up when you're at the back, reach into a jersey pocket for your energy bar, open the wrapper and start eating. Hold it in one hand and put the other on the bar top near the stem.

---If you don't like to ride no-hands, open the wrapper before the ride. Then use one hand and your teeth to do the rest on the move.

Bite Size On-Bike Food

 Wrappers can be astoundingly difficult to open on the bike, particularly when the wind is gusting, the road is bumpy, other riders are nearby, you're wearing long-finger gloves or you're just not comfortable with both hands off the bar.  

As a result, you don't eat regularly or eat enough to keep your "tank topped off" in the words of TDF race commentator Paul Sherwin. You slow down and struggle to finish. 

The solution: First, decide how much you should eat on the ride. In normal conditions, one 250-calorie bar per hour is about right if you're also sipping sports drink. Then open the wrappers before mounting up.  

If your brand of bar doesn't stick to its wrapper you can simply open one end. Then when you want to eat, work some of the bar out and chomp it off. It's easy to do with one hand. 

Even better, especially for stickier bars, cut them into bite-size pieces at home and transfer them to a baggie.  It may be helpful to first turn the baggie inside-out, so it tends to keep the “mouth” of the bag open. 

Don't seal the baggie. Just fold it over and put it in a jersey pocket. Then you can pull it out with one hand, work a piece of bar to the opening and grab it with your teeth. This technique also works great for fig bars and other bite-size foods.

Quick Tip:   
Control Inflation

Here's a little-known fact: Most bike tires can withstand 2 times the maximum pressure inscribed on the sidewall. (Don't be stupid enough to try it!)  Companies make them that way for a large safety margin. While that's interesting to know, it's not something that will benefit your riding. In fact, even inflating road tires to maximum recommended pressure will make them wear faster, cut more, corner worse and rattle your teeth.    For the most commonly used size, 700x23C, an inflation of 95 psi front and 100 rear will give you excellent performance, no matter how much pressure the sidewall says could be used. Heavy riders can go up 5 psi
or so in each tire to prevent pinch flats.         


With cooler weather, your piggies might be whining that they're chilly.  Wool socks, neoprene liners, booties are all options, but how about this low cost (cheap!) idea....use a sandwich baggie (non-ziploc) over your stocking'd foot inside the shoe.  Works great to insulate against heat loss and if the going gets wet, will even keep your foot somewhat dry.  If the day warms up, just take 'em off and put in your jersey pocket.

Quiet those rattling CO2 Cartidges

So, I was following behind a riding buddy the other day and I heard his CO2 Cartridges clanging against each other in his seat bag...the racket they made brought to mind a simple fix that I stumbled upon some time back....cut a finger off of a disposable latex glove, pull it over the CO2 Cartridge (yeah, you know, kind of like THAT) and presto! it acts to cushion and keep the cartridges from making noise if they contact each other.  If some wiseguy asks, you can tell him that your cartridge is wearing a raincoat or hat!