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Rec.Bicycles Frequently Asked Questions Posting Part 2/5

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Archive-name: bicycles-faq/part2

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
[Note:  The complete FAQ is available via anonymous ftp from
draco.acs.uci.edu (128.200.34.12), in pub/rec.bicycles.]


Subject: 6.4 Commuting - Is it possible for me to commute by bike? From: royce@ug.eds.com (Royce Myers) Not everyone can commute to work on a bicycle. Some people can't cycle to work in a reasonable time because of their fitness or because they live too far away. Other people need their cars for their jobs, or take children to school. Some employers frown on bicycle commuting, and don't provide any facilities. All these obstacles can be surmounted. If you want to commute by bike, you will find a way to do it. A few facilities at your workplace can make commuting easier. Minimally there should be racks in a well trafficked area. Some business will let you park them in your cube, and others might provide a closet or unused room to store them. My company provides enclosed lockers. If theft is a significant danger, consider buying a second, inexpensive bike to be used only for commuting. If your commute is short, and the dress code where you work is relaxed, you won't need to change or clean up after getting to work. The rest of us need to prepare for work. Every workplace has a bathroom where a sponge bath and change is possible. If you're lucky (like me) there's showers and lockers. If your ride makes you sweat a lot, and there is no way to take a shower at work, look around for a nearby gym. Sometimes you can arrange to change and shower there, then walk or ride slowly to work. If you want to get a workout, but there's nowhere to clean up at work, try getting your workout on the way home, making little or no effort on the way to work. If your ride is too long for a round trip, and there's no place to park, put your bike in your car and drive to work on Monday. Monday night, ride home. Tuesday morning ride to work and put your bike in the car. If you're tired Tuesday night, drive home. If there is a vanpool to work, get the vanpool driver to mount racks. Then you can take the vanpool in the morning and ride home in the afternoon. Some people reduce the length of their commute by driving to a "park and ride" area, then riding in from there. Another way to solve a long commute is to find out about bicycle accommodation on buses or other public transportation. Many people use a combination of bikes and buses, subways, or trains to make a long commute possible. Racks, bags and panniers: Some people drive in clothes once a week and buy lunch at work so they don't need to carry much on their bikes. Others need something to carry paperwork, lunch and clothes. A lot of commuters use knapsacks rather than putting racks on a bike, but this raises their center of gravity and increases wind resistance. Racks can be put on any bike, and they come in handy for running errands, touring and unsupported rides. If you're looking for a commuting bike, get one with rack eyelets on the frame for convenience. Another alternative are touring saddle bags, which are hard to find but are very handy on bikes without racks. Get your bike in shape. Replace tires which have cracked sidewalls, or worn casing. Carry a flat kit, a spare tube and enough tools to fix a flat. If you're not mechanically inclined, have a bike shop tune up your bike. Check every part of the drivetrain for lubrication and wear. Make sure your wheels are true, and that the hubs are lubricated and adjusted properly. Contributors: [I did not retain the mail address of contributors who posted to the group without a sig; also, I may have missed some posts that weren't emailed to me] drobinso@mendel.une.edu.au ilana@niwot.scd.ucar.EDU burrows@bcu.ubc.ca jlbell@presto.eecs.umich.edu jones@greg.cs.usu.edu banders@netcom.com curt@cynic.portal.ca doosh@netcom.com "td" "Robert" ae505@yfn.ysu.edu cs4601ah@coral.cs.unm.edu tbd@dfw.net timlee@netcom.com
Subject: 6.5 Commuting - How do I choose a route? From: royce@ug.eds.com (Royce Myers) According to the U.S. Uniform Vehicle Code, drivers of bicycles have the same rights, and the same responsibilities, as drivers of other vehicles. This means that commuters may use any road, street or highway they want, and that they must obey traffic laws. Some states vary from the UVC, and of course, some countries treat bicycles diffently than the US does. John Forester, in his book Effective Cycling, suggests that all cyclists use the following traffic principles: "1. Ride on the right-hand side of the road, not on the left and never on the sidewalk. [Note: this is specific to those countries which drive on the right hand side of the road, like the US. In countries like the UK, you should ride on the left side of the road.] 2. When approaching a road that is larger than the one you are on, or has more or faster traffic, you must yield to traffic on that road. Yielding means looking and waiting until you see that no traffic is coming. 3. When preparing to move laterally on a roadway, you must yield to traffic in that line of travel. Yielding means looking forward and backward to see that no traffic is in that line of travel. 4. When approaching an intersection, you must choose your position according to your destination. Right-turning drivers are at the curb, left turning drivers are at the center, while straight-through drivers are between them. 5. Between intersections, you choose your position according to your speed relative to other traffic. Parked ones are at the curb, medium-speed drivers are next to them, while fastest drivers are near the center of the road." Transportational cyclists want to maximize safety and minimize time. Usually the most direct route between the cyclist and work will be the best choice, but other factors may come into play. Facilities: Multi-use paths (trails shared with bicycles, pedestrians, skaters and sometimes horses) are less safe than the road, according to a recent study published in the Institute for Transportation Engineers journal; this kind of facility is more likely to send cyclists to the hospital than comparable streets. Pedestrians, pets and skaters are unpredictable and require more skill to pass safely. Sidepath intersections are very dangerous because motorists don't expect vehicular cross traffic. Roads with wide curb lanes are safer than narrow roads, but narrow roads may be ridden safely by using an entire lane. Bike lanes may be as safe as the same width roads without lanes as long as the rider is competent to avoid their dangers (e.g., they direct cyclists into right turn lanes, when the cyclist should normally ride to the left of the right turn lane). In California, cyclists traveling at less than the speed of traffic must remain in the bike lane unless preparing for a left turn or avoiding a hazard, like parked cars, a slower cyclist, rough pavement or debris. Traffic: even though arterials usually faster and more convenient than side streets, riding on side streets may be more enjoyable due to lower traffic noise and better scenery. Some cyclists are willing to ride the Huntington Beach multi-use path during the summer even though the fastest safe speed is 5mph. The view is very nice. The compromise among pleasure, safety and time is yours. Once you set your priorities, scout a few routes. Get the best street map you can find and highlight streets that you like. US Geological Survey maps (1:24000 scale) also show the hills, which is handy. They're beautiful maps, too. They look nice on a wall. Contributors: [I did not retain the mail address of contributors who posted to the group without a sig; also, I may have missed some posts that weren't emailed to me] drobinso@mendel.une.edu.au ilana@niwot.scd.ucar.EDU burrows@bcu.ubc.ca jlbell@presto.eecs.umich.edu jones@greg.cs.usu.edu banders@netcom.com curt@cynic.portal.ca doosh@netcom.com "td" "Robert" ae505@yfn.ysu.edu cs4601ah@coral.cs.unm.edu tbd@dfw.net timlee@netcom.com
Subject: 6.6 Commuting - Do I really need to look that goofy? From: royce@ug.eds.com (Royce Myers) Before I started cycling I had no idea why cyclists wore such silly looking clothes. Now I know why, but I still think we look silly. The value of using cycling clothes on a commute depends on the length of the commute. It is hardly worth it to ride 1 mile to work in cycling clothes and then change to regular clothes at work, but 20 miles is a different story. How to dress for the road, from the ground up: 1. Shoes: if you have a short commute with little climbing, virtually any kind of shoes and socks will do. I have seen commuters wearing cowboy boots moving at around 15 mph. If you expect to exert yourself for any length of time, some trade-offs should be considered. Socks made of cotton will retain moisture, while polyester type socks (e.g., Coolmax) will wick moisture and encourage it to evaporate. Cycling shoes are stiffer than casual or dress shoes, so transmitting energy to the pedal is more efficient. On the other hand, they are not comfortable to wear off the bike, so a change of shoes is necessary at work. For most of us, this is not a problem because shoes take up little space and can be left at the office. There are a range of options in cycling shoes, depending on your pedal choice. A note about pedals: - Flat pedals allow easy on-off and may be used with any shoes. If you hit a bump your feet may leave the pedals, which can result in loss of balance and a crash. - Toe clips and straps keep your feet on the pedals. They are designed to be used with cycling shoes, either touring shoes, which have a sole designed to hook onto a pedal, or racing shoes, which have cleats that lock the cyclist to the pedal and improve efficiency. Many people consider clips and straps to be obsolete, but they are a low cost way to improve your efficiency. They will work adequately with street shoes and hiking boots, which some people consider an advantage. - Clipless pedals attach your shoes to the pedals similar to the way skis attach to boots. With practice you can step in and out of them as easily as flat pedals, but they are more efficient than toe clips. These pedals require shoes that are compatible, and are much more expensive than toe clips. I use the SPD style of clipless pedals, which has a recessed cleat allowing you to walk around off the bike. I wouldn't recommend extensive walking in these shoes, but they are perfect for what I need. - Some pedals are flat on one side and clipless on the other, which allows the rider to choose to wear cleated shoes for performance or regular shoes for utility trips. - An adapter is available for some clipless pedals that will turn them into flat pedals with toe-clips. 2. Shorts: Casual cyclists ride at low speeds, at low RPMs, for short distances so no special shorts are necessary. If you ride for any distance you will need to develop a high RPM (80 - 110) for efficiency. When your legs are moving that fast, baggy clothes will chafe, as will the the seams in ordinary underwear, so you'll need something clingy like lycra. And if you exert yourself, you will need to have some kind of liner in these shorts to wick moisture from your privates. Bicycle shorts are meant to be worn with no underwear; they are usually made out of lycra and are lined with wicking pads. A good pair of bike shorts makes long rides a pleasure; in fact, I never get on my bike without them. 3. Jerseys and shirts: Cotton retains moisture, so if you sweat, cotton will keep it next to your skin, making you feel sticky and soggy. Yecch. Polyester fabrics are designed to wick moisture away from you and allow it to evaporate quickly. Bicycle jerseys are made out of polyester, and are cut longer in the back because cyclists usually ride leaning forward to reduce air resistance. Also, jerseys normally have two or three pockets in the back, handy for carrying a handkerchief, banana, etc. When I take my kids on rides I'll wear a tee shirt because I'm not going to sweat much, but I always wear a jersey on my commute. Some people like cotton and other natural fibers because they don't retain odors as much as the polyester fabrics. In cool weather, wool is ideal. 4. Gloves: gloves will make your commute much more comfortable, and will offer some protection in a crash. Long fingered gloves really help you stay warm when it's chilly. 5. Eyewear: If you are commuting at dawn or dusk, you should consider wearing clear glasses to protect your eyes from debris kicked up by cars and wind. In daylight, sunglasses are a necessity to protect against UV as well as road hazards. 6. Helmet: A helmet offers some protection in a crash, but the best way to survive a crash is to learn to avoid falling in the first place. I wear one, but I don't think it's some kind of magic talisman. 7. Other equipment: If there are unpredictable rains in your area, carry rain gear. The articles on riding in the winter are availble through ftp from: ftp://draco.acs.uci.edu/pub/rec.bicycles/wintertips ftp://draco.acs.uci.edu/pub/rec.bicycles/wintertips.pam If you might work late, carry a light. Articles on lights are available through ftp from: ftp://draco.acs.uci.edu/pub/rec.bicycles/arnie.light ftp://draco.acs.uci.edu/pub/rec.bicycles/lights ftp://draco.acs.uci.edu/pub/rec.bicycles/lights2 Contributors: [I did not retain the mail address of contributors who posted to the group without a sig; also, I may have missed some posts that weren't emailed to me] drobinso@mendel.une.edu.au ilana@niwot.scd.ucar.EDU burrows@bcu.ubc.ca jlbell@presto.eecs.umich.edu jones@greg.cs.usu.edu banders@netcom.com curt@cynic.portal.ca doosh@netcom.com "td" "Robert" ae505@yfn.ysu.edu cs4601ah@coral.cs.unm.edu tbd@dfw.net timlee@netcom.com
Subject: 6.7 Commuting - Do cyclists breathe more pollution than motorists? From: royce@ug.eds.com (Royce Myers) The sources for this information vary in credibility, but most of it comes directly from published studies or other reputable sources like the Berkeley Wellness letter. 1. Exercise will extend your life by about the amount of time you spend doing it. So if you spend an hour on your bike, you've added an hour to your life. 2. Drivers of cars are exposed to up to eighteen times more pollution than "ambient air", approximately 300 feet from the road. Cyclists share the road with cars, but they do not trap pollutants, and they take air in at a much higher position than cars (assuming a diamond frame) so... 3. Cyclists breathe approximately 1/2 as much pollution than cars (this appears to be _per breath_). 4. Over _time_, a cyclist will breathe much more than a sedentary driver, since the cyclist is using more than twice as much air. Athletes appear to be very sensitive to foul air. 5. In general, cycling takes longer than driving, so the bike commuter may be exposed to pollution for longer periods of time. 6. A UK study found that cyclists had 1/2 the blood level of CO that drivers did after traveling along a ten mile stretch of congested road. 7. CO blood levels may be less of a problem than inhaled particulates, which are much harder to measure. Masks make breathing difficult if they are properly sealed, and are ineffective if they are not sealed. As a result, the health advantages of commuting by bike depend on several key factors: 1. Would you exercise anyway? That is, would you drive to the gym and ride a stationary bike in relatively clean air if you weren't commuting in traffic. 2. How hard do you ride? The harder you ride, the more air -- and therefore pollution -- you take in. But then the better the training effect will be, so if you don't do any other exercise, this is a wash. 3. How long is your drive compared to your ride? If it takes significantly more time to ride, you may be exposed to more pollution. 4. What kind of car? An open air Jeep would take in and trap less pollution than a sedan. The health effects of exercise far outweigh any additional health dangers from pollution. If you would exercise anyway, though, commuting may not in your best interest. If you commute on low volume side streets, or on sidepaths, pollution might not get you, but other hazards might. Here is a rationalization for those of us who want to believe that cyclists get less pollution than motorists: One thing I've noticed about my commute: when I drive, I am _always_ surrounded by traffic. All us cars meet at the light and move from light to light more or less together. When I ride my bike, I meet cars at lights, but I don't spend a lot of time around them when they're rushing past me to get to the next light. The vast majority of time is spent between packs of cars, without much motor traffic. Since I'm not around cars very much I can believe: - I am breathing more garbage than a motorist when I'm in traffic - I am breathing less garbage than a motorist when I'm not in traffic - I am not in traffic far more often Therefore: I am probably getting less pollution on the bike than in my car! Contributors: [I did not retain the mail address of contributors who posted to the group without a sig; also, I may have missed some posts that weren't emailed to me] drobinso@mendel.une.edu.au ilana@niwot.scd.ucar.EDU burrows@bcu.ubc.ca jlbell@presto.eecs.umich.edu jones@greg.cs.usu.edu banders@netcom.com curt@cynic.portal.ca doosh@netcom.com "td" "Robert" ae505@yfn.ysu.edu cs4601ah@coral.cs.unm.edu tbd@dfw.net timlee@netcom.com
Subject: 7 Marketplace
Subject: 7.1 Marketplace hints/guidelines From: Jim Siler <ksi@panix.com> : Are people really willing to pay 10% less for a "nearly new" MTB when : they : a) often have no assurance that it really hasn't been used : (except of course someone's word) : b) may have to buy, unseen. : c) may not get a transferable waranty on the MTB I think that in general, many people are acutely aware of what they spent for a thing and are woefully unaware of how much value that thing lost when they walked out of the store. Let's assume for a moment that I buy an XTR rear derailleur in my local shop (good practice, worth some added cost) for $100. I use it for a week, and trash my frame and want to part it out. Hmmm... this was $100 new and its only a week old, virtually new. Let's ask $90 o.b.o. and see what happens. Now I change roles and become the buyer. I go to my local bike shop, where I trust the owner and am willing to pay a premium, but no XTR rear derailleur. Next stop mail order. Everyone but everyone has it for $80, plus shipping, but less tax. They will take a credit card. The unit is warrantied, in the box, with instructions (the value of which should not be underesimated). Given this I am unlikeley to even consider the used part. But let's suppose I offer $75, and send off my money order, sight unseen. What can happen? 1 -- It never arrives. After a number of hassles and excuses I realize that there is a major problem. Email stops being returned. I contact his sysadm, who can't do much. I publicly flame him, starting one more interminable flame war. Eventually I either get my $75 bucks back or not. Even if I get the derailleur (remeber, the original object was the derailleur) I have bought myself hundreds of dollars worth of aggravation. 2 -- It arrives and looks like hell. C'est la vie. 3 -- I arrives and one week later it is obvious that something is seriously wrong. No amount of adjustment will cause it to shift reliably for any length of time. See 2, above. 4 -- While waiting for arrival i trash MY frame. Derailleur arrives. Sadly, I have nothing to hang it on. See 2, above. Let's run through the same scenarios having purchased through mail order, using a credit card. 1 -- I don't pay. If they get pissy about it I do too. As most mail order houses have, at best, a fragile relationship with Mastecard/Visa (it is VERY difficult to open a merchant account to accept credit cards over the phone for mail order, so difficult that many use their in store accounts, faking signatures) and are dependent on that relationship to stay in business, they tend to become most reasonable when you make real noise with the credit card company. 2 -- Unlikely, as goods should be new. See 1, above. 3 -- Warranty problem. If you have a good local dealer, you would have been better off there. If you have a so-so dealer you may well be better off through mail order. Worse comes to worst, see 1, above. 4 -- Worst case, you eat a restocking fee. In general, I would be hesitant to buy anything here for much more than 60% of its mail order price, unless the product is exactly what I want and all else is right. I have bought two things this year through this group, a GT Zaskar LE frame, new in the box with slight cosmetic ding for $350 (negotiated from $375) and a Flashlite 2 tent with a tiny hole, professionally repaired, for $100. Both carried resonable prices in the original post, offered to pay the shipping, and clearly spelled out the possible problems with the product for sale. Both sales were satisfactory to all involved, and I am delighted with both. I have seen many other Items for sale that I have wanted and bought elsewhere because the posted prices were so ridiculous that I had no basis for negotiation. Typically, these are reposted with sad wonderings as to why no one has responded. C'est la vie. In general, I think that anyone wanting to move something quickly through posting should do the following: Be realistic with price. Look at the true market value of your goods. It is not what you paid. You are going to take a loss. If your fork, which was the hottest thing in July of this year, cost you $600 in a store is not any better than the new $375 fork that is available in December, its market value is certainly no more than $375, if it is new. Unless limited availability takes it out of the commodity realm (e.g., my Zaskar frame with blemish had only limited availibility) knock off 40% of the realistic market value. Our fork is now down to $225. If this makes you too queasy, up it a bit and throw in shipping, say $275 with U.P.S. ground shipping, hmmm... not too bad. Clearly state everything of importance to the buyer, good and bad. This will avoid later hassles, and greatly increase your trust factor. Don't initially offer at an inflated price, thinking to negotiate down (remember back to Onza Clipless Pedals for sale flame war). It just makes it clear to an intellegent buyer that you are hoping to find a sucker, and will take whatever advantage you can. This may not be true, but it will be clear, nonetheless. Trust factor goes down the toilet. Make phone contact as soon as possible. A human voice is often more comforting than an email address. To anyoune who has read this far, thanks for putting up with my rambling and opining.
Subject: 7.2 Bike Trailers [Ed note: The posting I saved on bike trailers is over 145k bytes, so if you want a copy see the section on "Archives".]
Subject: 7.3 One Less Car T-Shirts From: Alayne McGregor <alayne@gandalf.UUCP> (Ed Ravin panix!eravin@cmcl2.nyu.edu) The T-shirts are produced by Transportation Alternatives, a New York City bicycle activist group. They're 100% cotton, have the TA logo on the front, and ONE LESS CAR on the back. Call TA for colors and sizes currently in stock. They're US$15 each. No refunds or exchanges. Allow 6 weeks for delivery. For people who have to drive but feel guilty about it, they also have "I'm Polluting the Atmosphere" bumper stickers at 3 for $5. Send orders to: Transportation Alternatives 92 Saint Marks Place New York, NY 10009 USA attn: One Less Car I happen to have one of these shirts in my closet right now. Causes lots of comments when my covivant and I ride our tandem with both us wearing our shirts.
Subject: 7.4 Panniers and Racks From: Sharon Pedersen <pedersen@cartan.berkeley.edu> This is a condensed version of a longer article on panniers, low-rider racks, loading and generators. --Sharon pedersen@cartan.berkeley.edu --PANNIERS-- Price--cheaper may not be better, if they fall apart. Commuting to school entails stuffing sharp-cornered books into them thus making sturdiness as important here as for touring. Cut--an angled cut may make those books not fit so well. Pockets--convenient for organization, but cuts down on versatile use of space. You can use stuff sacks for organization instead of pockets. One big and one small pocket on each pannier is plenty. Fastening--lots of options: bungees and hooks, or fixed placement hooks, or straps with buckles or cams. Bungees and hooks have been just fine in my own road experience, but for off-road riding, you will want more security. However, don't get a system with so many attachments that you can't stand to take the panniers on/off. Brands--the following is a by no means exhaustive list, with telegraphic comments made in 1988. Check local stores since features may have changed since then. Eclipse--(no comment); Kirtland--tourers like them; MPacks--panniers made by an actual bike tourer, Mike Center, in Santa Rosa, CA, (707) 545-4624; Maddens--made in Boulder, "superior construction at better than average cost" yeah! (I love mine, write for more glowing testimonials); Performance--low-cost, non-spring attachment; Rhode Gear--expensive; Tailwind--aerodynamic, rigid attachment. --LOW-RIDER RACKS-- Some manufacturers: Bruce Gordon, Blackburn, Vetta, Voyager. The Bruce Gordons are more expensive (~$70 in 1988) but are designed with clearance for the quick-release skewer so you don't have to pry them apart to take the front wheel off. --REAR RACKS-- (No comment in the original article; Blackburns seem to be the standard and durable enough.) --LOADING-- Balance the load side-to-side and, if possible, fore-and-aft. Keep heavier items low and towards the bottom bracket. Rider, bike and luggage together should have 55-60% of weight on rear wheel; remainder on front. Bike with front low-riders is quite stable. --GENERATORS-- The usual location on the left seat-stay interferes with panniers. Mount the generator on the right seat-stay facing the other way, and it will work fine, despite rotating "backwards." Or go with a generator under the bottom bracket, which will have the advantage of putting the wear on the tread rather than the sidewall of the tire.
Subject: 7.5 Clothing materials From: Jim Carson <carson@mu.rice.edu> [Ed note: From a summary Jim posted] Polarlite Fluffy, fleecy stuff also called Polarplus and Synchilla. Comfortable. Incredibly warm, especially under something that breaks the wind. Doesn't wick moisture out very well. Breathes very well. Supplex (nylon) Comfortable. It is breathable and water repellent (but NOT water proof). Seems to absorb a small amount of water if it is really getting drenched Merino (wool) From a "breed of fine-wooled white sheep originating in Spain and producing a heavy fleece of exceptional quality." I guess you could treat this as normal 100% wool. Thermax An improvement on Polypro. The big advantage is heat resistance so you can put it in the dryer. Balance that against the extra cost. CoolMax This stuff seems more like a plastic bag than the revolutionary wicking material it is advertised as. Dacron Trademark name for Dupont polyester. Woven fabric made from dacron is similar to nylon ripstop or taffeta, but not as stretchy. Many of the better clothing insulations are made from dacron. They are usually refered to by more specific trademark names, like quallofil, hollofil, polarguard, and dacron-88. Lycra Used for its stretch, mostly a warm weather (>65 degrees) thing. GoreTex A teflon based membrane with microscopic holes. Gortex's claim to fame is that it will let water vapor (from perspiration) through, but not liquid water (rain). It blocks wind fairly well too. The membrane is delicate, so it always comes laminated between 2 layers of other material. It does not breathe enough. There are less expensive alternatives. Polypropylene Does not wick very well. Can be uncomfortable. Troublesome to care for (e.g. can pill badly) Will keep you fairly warm if soaked. Not very wind resistant. Melts in the dryer. Capilene Wicks moisture away. Very comfortable. Comes in different weights for more/less warmth. [lots of favorable things about it... only really unfavorable thing is the co$t] 60/40 cloth - This is a cloth with nylon threads running one direction, cotton in the other. It was the standard wind parka material before Goretex came along, and is considerably less expensive. Good wind resistance, fairly breathable. Somewhat water resistant, especially if you spray it with Scotchguard, but won't hold up to a heavy rain.
Subject: 7.6 Seats Seats are a very personal thing, for obvious reasons. There are several types of seats: Leather Seats like the Brooks models. Usually used by hard-core riders. Requires breaking in before it's really comfortable. Padded The usual bike seat, sometimes refered to as "anatomic". Has padding where your "sit bones" (bottom of pelvis) supposed to rest. Gel Like the padded seats, except they have a gel (e.g. Spenco Gel) in them for additional padding. Reportedly, the gel can harden and/or shift, making the seat uncomfortable. There are several types of seat pads (gel filled, containing an air bladder, etc) that can be fitted over the seat to make it more comfortable. If you are experiencing pain in delicate areas (especially you women readers) you should make sure your seat is adjusted correctly (see the section on seat adjustment). Women may need a women's type seat, which is wider in the back (women's sit bones are farther apart than men's). Most pain can be eliminated by a correctly adjusted seat, using a women's seat, and riding so your body becomes used to it.
Subject: 7.7 Women's Saddles From: Pamela Blalock <pamelab@pcdocs.com> Many women who cycle have experienced frustration with trying to find a comfortable saddle. It is amazing how many times I end up talking with other women about saddles. This article comes from those discussions and an informal survey of woman's saddle preferences. This is a dynamic article and changes on occasion, so if you have comments please contact me (pamelab@pcdocs.com) and I will incorporate your comments. While this is intended to be an article on women's saddles, since so many other things can contribute to potential saddle pain, it will also address some of these issues as well. Just as women are different from men, we are also different from each other. Since (fortunately) there is no mold into which we were all poured, what works for one woman may not work for another. First, be sure that your bike fits properly. Many women end up with overly padded shorts and a big fat thickly padded saddle instead of with a bike that fits properly. No saddle will be comfortable if the bike is too big, or set up incorrectly. It is important to find someone who knows about fit and specifically about women's fit and get the bike set up properly before making other changes. In addition to being more comfortable, a bike that really fits will also handle better than one that is improperly sized. It isn't always easy to find someone willing to take the time, but when you find a shop that will, give them lots of business and send your friends there! Go to shops during non-prime hours for the best service. You won't get a salesman to spend an hour letting you try different saddles on a Saturday afternoon, but you might on a Tuesday morning. [ See Section 7.8 for more information on bikes for women ] Now to saddles. A woman's hip bones tend to be set farther apart than a man's. (This is a design feature to help with childbirth!) Every woman is different, and there are many women out there with narrower hip bones. To determine where you sit bones are, sit on a low curb. Sorry, a chair won't do! When you sit on the curb, you will be able to feel your sit bones. This is what you want supported by your bike saddle. Avocet used to run a great ad showing a hip bone sitting on a saddle. (look in old copies of bike magazines). With a saddle that's too narrow, a woman may find herself effectively straddling it with her hip bones, or slipping off of one side and pinching nerves - which may eventually cause the legs or feet to go numb. A saddle that's too wide will also cause problems. A saddle that's slightly wider in the back (than the man's saddle that comes on most stock bikes) may offer better support for the sit bones. BTW, I'm not talking about those foot wide saddles you see on exercise bikes at the gym. These are too wide for anyone. I have quite a few retired women's saddles with depressed gel indicating exactly where my bones are. Actually, looking at and feeling your old saddle will tell you a lot about where you do and do not need support! It's important to try out several different saddles to find one that fits. Terry does produce a couple of different width models but they are still somewhat limited. Widths do vary from manufacturer to manufacturer - so for example, if the Terry is too wide or too narrow, try the Vetta or Avocet or some other brand. Ask your local dealer to let you put your bike on a trainer in the shop and try sitting on and riding a few of his saddles. Saddles are fairly easy to change and a good shop should be willing to let you try this. (But not on a busy Saturday afternoon!) Some shops now have a device that makes this easier. It is a stationary bike with merry-go-round of saddles. You can sit on the saddle, pedaling, and then dismount and swing the next saddle to be tried in place. It isn't as good as trying a saddle on your bike, but will tell you a lot more than holding a saddle and poking it, which it seems it how most saddles are purchased! There are several women's saddles on the market, many of which are padded with some form of gel. I have used (and retired) several of these with no complaints. The gel does compress after a while (regardless of sex), so these saddles do have to be replaced (for me it's every 10,000 miles). Brooks also has several different models of women's leather saddles, which some women swear by. I swar at them, but that's me! (And there are women who swear at the saddles I swear by!) And rather than needing to be replaced after 10,000 miles, the Brooks is probably just getting broken in well at that point! Many women who responded to my survey said that they have the nose of their saddle tilted slightly forward to alleviate pressure on the soft tissue. A large variety of saddles were used with this method. One rider pointed out that having a seatpost with infinitely adjustable angles, like the American Classic or Control Tech, will help one to find the perfect angle. With the ratchet type adjustment of most, she was never able to get the angle quite right. One problem with having the saddle tilted too far forward is that you may end up with two much weight/pressure on your wrists and hands. The result is numb hands and pain in the lower back. In John Forester's "Effective Cycling" book, he suggests getting a cheap plastic saddle and carving out a depression in the area where the labia would normally rest. This would place the weight on the sit bones where it belongs, and remove it from the genital area, where it does not. A couple of women used this idea and modified saddle pads in this way. I watched a Spenco pad slowly get modified in this way each day throughout PAC Tour last year. One survey respondent cut up a neoprene pad and put it under the covering of her Flite saddle. There are a couple of women's saddles which specifically address this issue, the Terry Sport and the (formerly) Miyata Pavea (see the end of the article for more info on acquiring this saddle). Both are shorter and wider than the typical man's saddle and both have a hole to suspend soft tissue. These saddles should be comfortable when level. The Miyata leaves the hole exposed, while the Terry is covered in an open-cell low-density foam. I should also point out that with the Terry, the hole is in the nose, while the Miyata saddle has the hole in the middle, further back. While like many women, I tend to bend more at the waist, I also roll my hips forward on a saddle to get in a more comfortable (and aero cycling position). This means that on a standard saddle I am pressing directly on tender tissue. Since I've switched to a saddle with a hole in it, I can without any saddle related discomfort roll my hips forward, and strech out on the aero bars for hours! I heard from Carol Grossman, an Australian rider praising another saddle. She wrote , "I have a Selle Bassano modular seat, which may or may not be available in the US ( I live in Australia now). It has two halves, with the split running nose-to-tail and a gap between them. It joins together at the nose. The width of the seat, and therefore of the gap as well, is adjustable so you can set it to match the width of your seatbones. It has titanium rails, which give it a little bit of spring. I must say, though, that it is quite firm and if I have not been riding much and go for a long ride I do get sore seatbones. But I can live with sore seatbones! Interestingly, the packaging material said nothing about it being for women -- it was marketted as a seat for men who suffered numbness." My concern with this saddle is that as you make it wider in the back to accommodate sit bones, you are also making the middle wider as well. I have not personally triedon e of these yet. T-Gear makes a leather saddle with a diamond shape cut in the middle. The saddle is quite narrow and firm, and didn't fit me, but I've heard some men rave about it. John, my SO found it too narrow in the back, and too wide in the middle. Like the Selle Modular seat it is marketed to men with numbness problems. (Mine is for sale!) Another saddle I have tried very briefly is an Easy Seat. This is actually two separate pieces, which rock independently. The only points of contact are the hip bones - although the backs of my legs rub the saddle. The two pieces can be adjusted for width and angle. I know of a couple of women who used these saddles to salvage Race Across America attempts, when saddle sores otherwise would have taken them out of the race. I mounted this saddle on the bike on my indoor trainer, but we had a wickedly mild winter, so I didn't use it this year. I have used both the Terry and the Miyata a lot. (These were the two most popular saddles in the survey.) I've received lots of positive comments from women (and men) about their experiences with these saddles. The men seem to notice the difference more after the ride later in the evening :) when their partners weren't complaining about saddle tenderness! In 1992 I did BMB, a 750 mile ride in less than 4 days on the back of a tandem. That's a lot of time on a saddle. I'd been using the Terry for over 6 months and it worked great on everything up to 200 miles. But 400 miles into the trip, I was ready to rip the foam out of the hole. Once the swelling started, the presence of the foam became unbearable. Even though there was no plastic shell underneath, there was still something! I asked our crew person to see if he could find the Miyata saddle. It's often quite difficult to find women's products, and I was almost shocked when he showed up 20 miles later with this wonderful saddle with an exposed hole. He had found the Miyata. The difference was immediately noticeable. In addition to the missing foam, the hole was further back (more where I needed the relief). I probably would have finished the ride without it, but I wouldn't have been in a good mood for days! The Miyata is a little harder under the sit bones than the Terry, but that's not where I was experiencing pain, and as Carol said above, it was worth the sacrifice. Of course the saddle is different looking and draws lots of comments and sexual innuendoes, but it saved my ride. Over three years and 45,000 miles later, including 2 x-country rides and another BMB, I still love my Miyata and won't ride anything else. Not all women like the wider saddles. Some women find all women's saddles too wide. Several women responded to the survey saying they prefer a man's saddle. Some of these even felt they had wide hip bones. For those who use a narrow saddle, finding one that was flat on top seemed to help with the above mentioned problems. Others who liked various women's saddles still found them a little thick in the middle, even if they were the right width in the back. Someday, maybe we will see women's saddles in various widths. We must create the demand though. Terry does makes a men's version of their Sport saddle. It is narrower and has a longer nose and hole than the women's model. It also doesn't say Terry on it anywhere. Instead it is marketed under the initials TFI. Both this saddle and new models of the Sport have a (politically correct) simulated leather covering. I know of several men who really like this saddle, especially when using aero-bars. Women who find the Terry Sport too wide may want to check this one out. I've seen Terry saddles change a bit over the past couple of years. One change is from a lycra cover to a simulated leather cover. Some women didn't like the feel of the lycra. (I do.) Another women noticed after replacing a stolen one with a new one that the foam in the hole seems to be getting firmer, kind of negating the benefit of the hole. Terry does offer a 30 day money back guarantee on their products, so you can *painlessly* decide if you'd like a Terry saddle or not. They have also produced a couple of racing saddles. The first was the same width in the back as their Sport model, but narrower through the middle and had titanium rails. I was one of the lucky few to get one of these. They replaced it with a Flite lookalike with holes drilled in the nose. I tried one of these and must say for me it was the most uncomfortable thing I ever came into contact with. But if you prefer a narrow saddle like a Flite, you'll probably like this one. Speaking of which, many women do LIKE Flite and other really narrow saddles. I know that at their cycling camps, Betsy King and Anna Schwartz get many women on them. They stress the flexibility of the saddle with it's titanium rails and thin shell. They are very good for mountain biking where you want to slide off the back of the saddle for balance where a wide saddle would get in the way. I even know of a few women who use them for distance cycling. Two women used them on the x-country ride I did in 93, but they had very narrow set hip bones. The other 15 women had women's models of one type or another, including Terry, Brooks and of course I had my beloved Miyata. And I would be completely negligent if I didn't mention that one respondent said that recumbents almost always solve the uncomfortable saddle problem. (Thanks to David Wittenberg for pointing this out. His wife won't ride anything else.) Other suggestions for improved saddle comfort included trying different shorts. There are a lot of different shorts out there - far more than saddles and just like saddles, they all fit differently. The common theme from most women was to stay away from shorts with seams in the center. This includes seams in the lycra as well as the chamois (good luck!). On multiday rides, you may want to use different brands of shorts, since having the seam in the same place day after day may also cause irritation. Shorts that bunch up in front may cause also discomfort. Pearl Izumi and Urbanek make very nice women's shorts. And of course Terry produces women's shorts. Some have fuller hips, longer legs, wider elastic leg grippers, etc. I really prefer bib or one piece suits, since there is no binding elastic at the waist. These are less convenient for quick bathroom stops, but I prefer the added comfort. Some women like longer legs, some shorter. Some prefer thick chamois, some fake, some real. Try on as many different types as you can, until you find one that fits you the best. Women are even more varied on their opinions about shorts than on saddles, so just keep trying new ones until you find the perfect pair for you. (And while on the subject of saddle comfort, I use a combination of Desitin (or some other diaper rash ointment) and powder sprinkled liberally in my shorts to keep myself dry and rash-free.) I can't stress enough that each woman is different and no one saddle is perfect for all of us. Just because a local or national racer, or your friend, or this author uses a particular type of saddle doesn't mean that it will work for you. Don't let anyone intimidate you into riding something that is uncomfortable, or changing the angle of your saddle because it's different. Use the setup that's most comfortable for you. Among the saddles recommended by respondents were Terry Women's (most popular of the survey) Miyata Pavea (my favorite and a close second in the survey) TFI (men's version of the Terry Sport) women's Selle Italia Turbo Avocet O2 (said to be as comfy as the above Turbo, but lighter) WaveFlo Avocet Women's Racing saddle Viscount saddle San Marco Regal Brooks B-17 and Brooks Pro Flite Terry Racing (like a Flite with holes drilled in the plastic) Selle Bassano modular seat (Of course some women swear at saddles that others swear by! Did I mention that we are all DIFFERENT?) Since Miyata no longer imports into the US, another source has been found for the saddle with the hole in the middle. Tandems East is now carrying this saddle (with their name imprinted on the back.) You can contact Mel Kornbluh at Tandems East at (609) 451-5104 or (609) 453-8626 FAX.
Subject: 7.8 Women's Bikes This subject has been compiled from different sources. Part 1 is Lynn Karamanos' discussion from her questions about purchasing a Terry bike. Part 2 is the information from Pamela Blalock about the differences in fitting women's bikes and suggestions for what to look for. Part 3 was added by Marcy Stutzman and is a listing of different types of bikes that are either scaled down with smaller wheels or specifically designed for women. Part 1 Lynn Karamanos <karamano@esd.dl.nec.com> Here's a summary of the info I received on whether or not to purchase a Terry bike. 1.) First, find a good bike shop, one that will try to find a bike that fits you, not just sell you what they have in stock. 2.) Ride many different bikes to see what's best for you. You may be able to find other bikes that fit just as well as a Terry once you've made some adjustments/replacements (stem, crank arms, etc.). 3.) If you can't find any other bike to fit you, then a Terry's worth the extra money. 4.) Except for about two people who sent me email, everyone who's ridden a Terry has loved it. Even those two people said they knew others who loved Terry bikes. Bottom line: the fit depends on your build. Women with long legs/short torso seem to be the ones who like them, not necessarily just short women. 5.) Also a few people mentioned that there are other road bikes that are specifically "designed for women" or that fit women well. The names mentioned: Fuji, Miyata, Bridgestone, Specialized (Sirrus). Also, someone mentioned that the same production line in Japan that makes Terry "proportioned" bikes also makes them under other labels. (Also one mountain bike was named, Mongoose Hilltopper, and two hybred bikes, Univega Via Activa and Giant Inova.) 6.) Something to keep in mind if you buy a Terry with a small front wheel... replacement tubes and tires for smaller wheels could be more difficult to find and/or more expensive. 7.) In case you're looking at older model Terry's, a few people mentioned that until a couple years ago, some Terry bikes were $200-$300 less than they are now. Part 2 Pamela Blalock pamelab@pcdocs.com Considerations for women buying bikes. Most production bikes are built proportionally for the AVERAGE MAN. But the average man tends to be taller than the average woman, so women, especially smaller women, may have a much more difficult time finding a bike that fits. Using the old guidelines of sizing a bike by straddling the top tube may leave you a bike with a top tube that is too long, since many of these smaller bikes have shorter seat tubes, but the top tubes are left at the same length as larger bikes, so the bike is no longer scaled proportionately. Of course this is not strictly a woman's issue, but one that all smaller riders face. Empirical evidence has come to suggest that many women are more comfortable with a shorter top tube - stem combination than men. Originally it was theorized that this was due to women having longer legs and shorter torsos than men of the same height. Statistics have proven otherwise. But despite the similar proportions, many women still felt stretched out on bikes that men of the same size felt comfortable on. There is no one definitive explanation for this. Some have proposed that women may bend from the waist while men pivot more at the hips, which would explain why two riders with identical torso lengths might still want different top tube stem lengths. Georgena Terry has observed that women tend to sit further back on their saddles than men, which she believes is due to different distributions in muscle mass. Again this could lead to that stretched out feeling. I struggled for the longest time to get comfortable on a bike. I always wanted to sit further back than I could. I finally found a gadget that I could use to mount my saddle further back on the seat post. This really helped. What helped even more was when I switched to a softride bike. I switched for comfort, but discovered a very pleasant benefit, that with the 5 inch range (fore/aft) of saddle adjustment along the flat part of the beam, I could effectively choose any seat tube angle I wanted. I could finally get my saddle far enough back. A riding position that leaves the rider too stretched out can cause saddle pain. It is not necessary to run out and buy a new bike right away if the top tube on your current bike is too long. Using a shorter stem on a this bike MAY give you a more comfortable reach. Very short stems, less than 40 mm, are available, but may have to be specially ordered. Some shops use a fitting system called the Fit Kit. The numbers generated from the Fit Kit are just guidelines and may not work for everybody, especially women, since most of the original data was collected for men. It is important to RIDE your bike and make adjustments to achieve a perfect fit. Others may use an infinitely adjustable stationary bike. One has been developed by Ben Serotta to help choose the perfect size bike - whether it is a Serotta or not. Adjustable stems are available to help you and the shop pick a perfect length stem the first time, rather than the expensive trial and error method of buying different length stems repeatedly until you find the right size. Unless your current bike is a really, really poor fit, you should be able to make a few relatively inexpensive changes to improve the fit. Then when upgrading or buying a new bike, use what you have learned to buy a bike that fits better. Some builders tried to shorten the top tube by increasing the seat tube angle, which then may place the rider uncomfortably far forward over the pedals. This forces the rider to use an adapter in the seat post to get the saddle back, which counteracts the *shorter* top tube. A steep seat tube angle may be good for a time trial or triathlon, but is not comfortable for longer distances, recreational riding or touring. And if it is true that women tend to be more comfortable sitting further back, then this is really counterproductive. A sloping top tube has been used by many manufacturers to achieve a shorter seat tube and more standover clearance, but this leaves the top tube length the same as that for a larger bike, so the smaller rider still feels streched out on a somewhat out of proportion bike.. Several manufacturers have started building bikes proportionally sized for smaller riders to specifically address those needs. There are several different ways of getting the smaller geometry. Some bikes have a small 24" wheel in front and a 700C or 26" wheel in back, others have two 26"or 650C wheels. To truly scale down a frame keeping it in proportion, it is necessary to go with smaller wheels. To avoid confusion, let me state that by 26", I am referring to 559mm bead seat diameter. This size wheel is most commonly used in mountain biking. Thanks to mountain bikers use of very narrow rims, and a few tire manufacturers willingness to make narrow, slick tires for this size, these wheels can be used to build smaller bikes with proper proportions. Several manufacturers make 1.25 high pressure slicks which are very nice for loaded touring or casual riding. Specialized has the ATB turbo, which they advertise as 1 inch wide. I am currently using these on my commuter in good weather. And I understand from recumbent riding friends that other 26X1" tires are available through 'bent specialty shops. While the selection of narrow tires is somewhat limited, it is growing. I understand there is more variety in Germany, and soon both Ritchey and Continental will have narrow tires available in the US market. By 650C, I am referring to wheels with a bead seat diameter of 571mm. These wheels have found their way onto many triathlon bikes. These wheels are also occasionally referred to as 26" wheels, which is why the bead seat diameter number is so important. Tires for these two different *26 inch* wheel sizes are NOT interchangeable, and it is very important to know which one you have. Currently there is a very narrow range of tires available for this wheel size, and I mean narrow in more ways than one. In the US, the widest available tire is a Continental 23 or Michelin 20. In my opinion, neither of these tires is really wide enough for general purpose use on rough roads, and definitely not quite up to touring standards. Of course I live in New England where road surfaces are quite rough. I have used wheels of this size on a softride equipped bike. I don't believe I could take the shock from such a skinny tire on a non-suspended bike, at least not for longer rides. 700C is of course ISO 622, and is the most common wheel size for road bikes in the US today. In addition to a shorter top tube, women's bikes may also have smaller brake levers, narrower handlebars, shorter cranks and wider saddles. Georgena Terry was the pioneer in this area, but many other manufacturers now build women's bikes. They may cost a little more than a comparably equipped man's bike, due to higher production costs for fewer number of parts. But, I believe that the extra initial cost to get a properly fit bike will pay off in the long run, since you will either stop riding an uncomfortable or poorly fitting bike, or you will eventually replace the poorly fitting parts at additional cost. Part 3 Womens Bikes manufacturer list by Marcy Stuzman, mls3z@virginia.edu I have compiled a partial list of what bikes I have heard of that are designed specifically for women or small people. I have only ridden one of these bikes myself, so I really can't comment on any of them. I would like any comments from owners about these mailed to me so that they can be included in the future. Marinoni manufacturers a small frame, but it is not featured in their homepage. For a description of this bike, you can visit Wedgewood Cycles home page which does give a description of this bike. The Marinoni comes in sizes up to 52 cm and has 26 inch wheels, which can use slick mountain bike tires. Bianchi makes a version of their bike called the Eros that comes with the smaller wheels, but their web page so far is only finished in Italian, so I couldn't discern much about the bike. Cannondale manufacturered two bikes last year with the compact frame (R500 and R800), but for 1997 is offering only the R600 in the compact size. Rodrigues is manufacturing a small bike which was featured in the Jan 1997? issue of Bicycling magazine. One nice feature is that this bike uses Dia Comp's small hands brake levers and bar end shifters, which may be easier for women with small hands to use than the Ergo or STI shifters that are popular. Waterford makes a bike, but I have been unable to find much more information on this manufacturer. Performance made a bike in 1994 called the Expresso that used a scaled down design and 650c tires, but this design has been discontinued. Rivendell also designs 50 cm bikes the 26" mountain bike sized wheels and offers shorter top tubes on their bikes if you need it. Trek offers its 470 roadbike in sizes as as small as 43 cm with 700c wheels. Terry bikes have been discusses extensively earlier in this article and they don't yet have a home page, so I will just refer you to the discussions above. (e-mail: tpbike@aol.com) It was brought to my attention that Bike Friday, a folding bike with 20" wheels, does come in very small frame sizes for short people. Many different brands of mountain bikes come in smaller sizes, including Bontranger, Fat Chance and Ibis, but small mountain bikes are somewhat easier to find than small road bikes.
Subject: 7.9 Bike Rentals From: Various <people> Skate Escape Ph. 404-892-1292 1086 Piedmont Ave. (Corner of 12th & Piedmont) Atlanta, GA. 30332 Lincoln Guide Service Lincoln Center Lincoln, MA (617) 259-9204 Rents mountain, road, kids bikes, and trailers. About 11 miles west of Boston, within sight of Lincoln Center commuter rail stop. Team Bicycle Rentals 508 Main Huntington Beach, CA (714) 969-5480 12spd $29/day, MTB $29/day, Santana tandem $69 Gregg's Greenlake Seattle, WA Second Gear Seattle, WA New York City Area: All phone numbers are area code (212). A West Side Bicycle Store -- 231 W 96th St -- 663 7531 Eddie's Bicycles Shop -- 490 Amsterdam Ave -- 580 2011 Country Cycling Tours -- 140 W 83rd St -- 874 5151 AAA Central Park Bicycle Rentals -- 72nd St/ Central Pk Boathouse -- 861 4137 Midtown Bicycles -- 360 W 47th St -- 581 4500 Sixth Avenue Bicycles -- 546 Avenue of the Americas -- 255 5100 Metro Bicycle -- 1311 Lexington Ave -- 427 4450 Larry and Jeff's Bicycles Plus -- 204 E 85th St -- 794 2201 Gene's 79th Street Discounted Bicycles -- 242 E 79th St -- 249 9218 Peddle Pusher Bicycle Shop -- 1306 2nd Ave -- 288 5594 A Bicycle Discount House -- 332 E 14th St -- 228 4344 City Cycles -- 659 Broadway -- 254 4457 San Francisco Park Cyclery -- 1865 Haight street (at Stanyan) -- 751-RENT Start to Finish -- 599 2nd Street at Brannan -- 861-4004 Pismo Beach, CA Beach Cycle Rentals, 150 Hinds Avenue, Pismo Beach, CA 93449 (805) 773-5518 http://www.fix.net/~pismobill/ or E-Mail pismobill@fix.net Marin County, CA Caesars Cyclery -- 29 San Anselmo Ave San Anselmo -- 258-9920 Far-go bike Shop -- 194 Northgate #1 Shopping Center San Rafael -- 472-0253 Ken's Bike and Sport -- 94 Main Street (Downtown Tiburon) -- 435-1683 Wheel Escapes -- 1000 Magnolia Ave Larkspur -- 415-332-0218 Austin, TX area [all stores rent ONLY mountain bikes] Bicycle Sport Shop -- 1426 Toomey Road -- (512) 477-3472 University Schwinn -- 2901 N. Lamar Blvd -- (512) 474-6696 University Schwinn -- 1542 W. Anderson Ln -- (512) 474-6696 Velotex Inc -- 908-B W 12th St -- (512) 322-9131 Boulder, CO Boulder Bikesmith, Arapahoe Village, Boulder, (303) 443-1132 Bike'n'Hike, 1136 Main St, Longmont, (303) 772-5105 High Wheeler, 1015 Pearl St., Boulder, (303) 442-5588 (MTBs, Road and MTB tandems) Lousiville Cyclery, 1032 S. Boulder Rd, Louisville, (303) 665-6343 Morgul-Bismark, 1221 Pennsylvania Ave, Boulder, (303) 447-1338 Doc's Ski and Sport, Table Mesa Center, Boulder, (303) 499-0963 University Bikes, 9th and Pearl, Boulder, (303) 449-2562 (MTBs and Tandems) Full Cycle. 1211 13th St., Boulder, (303) 440-7771 High Gear, 1834 N. Main, Longmont, (303) 772-4327 Cutting Edge Sports, 1387 S. Boulder Rd., Louisville, (303) 666-3440
Subject: 7.10 Bike Lockers This article has been removed due to out of date information. If anyone would like to redo this, please submit it as per the instructions at the begining of this FAQ.
Subject: 7.11 Bike computer features [This table was created from information contained in Performance and Nashbar catalogs. In the table below, 'Y' means that the computer has the feature, 'O' means it is an optional feature.] Speed Ave Max Total Trip Elpsd Clock Auto Count Speed Speed Miles Miles Time OnOff Down Avocet 30 Y Y Y Y Y Y Avocet 40 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Avocet 50 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Cateye Micro Y Y Y Y Y Y Cateye Mity Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Cateye Mity 2 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Cateye Wireless Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Cateye Vectra Y Y Y Y Y Y Cateye ATC Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Ciclo 37 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Ciclo IIA Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Performance ITV Y Y Y Y Y Y Vetta Innovator Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Vetta HR1000 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Vetta C-10 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Vetta C-15 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Vetta C-20 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Vetta Two Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Vetta Wireless Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Specialized Y Y Y Y Y Y Y S Speed Zone Cadence Wireless Altitude Heart Rate Avocet 30 Avocet 40 Avocet 50 O Y Cateye Micro Y Cateye Mity Cateye Mity 2 Cateye Wireless Y Cateye Vectra Cateye ATC Ciclo 37 Ciclo IIA O O O Performance ITV Vetta Innovator Vetta HR1000 Y Vetta C-10 Vetta C-15 Vetta C-20 Y Vetta Two Y Vetta Wireless Y Specialized Speed Zone
Subject: 7.12 Recumbent Bike Info From: David Wittenberg <dkw@cs.brandeis.edu> (updated by Gary Walsh grwalsh@interlog.com) Here's my standard response to questions about recumbents. I'd be happy to answer more specific questions. Here's some info I posted in the fall of 1990. I think it's still pretty much up to date. Changes from the last posting are in []'s. --David Wittenberg A few words about recumbent design, and then I'll provide a much larger list of recumbent manufacturers. There are three main choices in designing (or buying) a recumbent. Frame material -- all the ones I know of are either Alumninum or Steel. Wheelbase -- The front wheel can either be in front of the bottom bracket (long wheelbase) or behind it (short wheelbase). You can't have a medium wheelbase without a lot of extra work because the wheel and the bottom bracket would interfere with each other. Long wheelbase is reputed to be a bit more stable, while short wheelbase machines are often easier to fit into cars for transport. Some long wheelbase recumbents fold in neat ways to fit into a remarkably small space. Handlebars -- under seat or in front of the rider. Under seat is probably a more comfortable position when you get used to it (your hands just hang at your sides), and may be somewhat safer if you get thrown forward as there is nothing in front of you. High handlebars are somewhat faster as your arms are in front of you instead of at your side, thus reducing the frontal area. Some people find them more natural. [There are long wheelbase bikes with both high and low handlebars. I don't know of any short wheelbase, low handlebar recumbents, but there may be some I don't know of.] The following updated by Gary Walsh (gary.walsh@canrem.com) March 2000. Recumbent Bicycle FAQs: http://www.ihpva.org/FAQ/ http://www.recumbents.com/faq.htm Recumbent Mailing Lists HPV mailing lists http://www.ihpva.org/mailing_lists/ HPVSO mailing list http://www.hpv.on.ca/hpvso/maillist.htm W.H.I.R.L mailing list http://www.topica.com/lists/whirl/ Linear mailing list http://www.linearrecumbents.com/LinearMailList.html Recumbent Bicycle Organizations and Clubs The International Human Powered Vehicle Association: http://www.ihpva.org An association of national associations and organizations, dedicated to promoting improvement, innovation and creativity in the use of human power, especially in the design and development of human-powered vehicles (not just bicycles). Human Powered Vehicles of Southern Ontario http://www.hpv.on.ca Washington's Happily Independent Recumbent Lovers (W.H.I.R.L) http://www.recumbents.com/whirl/Default.htm Recumbents.com's list of Recumbent and Human Powered Vehicle Clubs http://www.recumbents.com/clubs.htm Recumbent Publications Recumbent Cyclist News http://www.recumbentcyclistnews.com The premier source of recumbent news and reviews of commercially available recumbents in North America. Human Power http://www.ihpva.org/pubs/human_power.htm The technical journal of the IHPVA HPV News http://www.ihpva.org/pubs/hpv_news.htm Newsletter of the Human Powered Vehicles Association. Recumbent UK http://www.btinternet.com/~laidback/recumbentuk/ A British recumbent quarterly magazine. Bike Culture Quarterly http://bikeculture.com Published by Open Road in the UK. They also publish the yearly buyer's guide, Encycleopedia. Bent Rider Online http://www.bentrideronline.com An e-mag that started with the January 2000 issue. E-Bent http://www.e-bent.com Another new (in 2000) e-mag. Other Recumbent Links Recumbents.com http://www.recumbents.com/ A good source of recumbent links and information. Bicycle HPV Recumbent Resources and Sources http://www.bikeroute.com/Recumbents/ By Cycle America the National Bicycle Greenway in action. Manufacturers and Dealers See lists at: The Human Power Source Guide - http://www.ihpva.org/SourceGuide/ http://www.bikeroute.com/Recumbents/ http://www.recumbents.com/manufacturers.htm http://www.recumbentcyclistnews.com/pages/resources.html http://www.hpv.on.ca/hpvso/links.htm [This has been copied from a flyer written by Robert Bryant of the Recumbent Cyclist Magazine. He has given me permission to submit it for the FAQ. - GW July 1992] Have You Ever Considered a RECUMBENT BICYCLE? WHY RECUMBENT BICYCLES? There are many reasons to consider a recumbent. First and foremost is comfort. When you ride a recumbent bicycle you will no longer have an aching back, stiff neck, numb wrists or a sore a sore bottom. You will sit in a relaxed easy-chair position. You will be able to ride longer with less fatigue and arrive at your destination feeling refreshed. The recumbent position offerd you a great view of the countryside. While seated you will look straight ahead. This allows your lungs and chest more open and free breathing. Recumbents are very versatile machines. They can be used for a wide range of applications: recreational/sport riding, for the daily commute, a fast double century and they are great for long distance touring. RECUMBENT PERFORMANCE Recumbents hold all of the human-powered speed records. This is because they are aerodynamically superior to conventional bicycles; less frontal area means less wind resistance. The Lightning F-40 currently holds the Race Across America speed record of five days and one hour. Gardner Martin's Easy Racer Gold Rush, ridden by Fast Freddie Markham, was the winner of the Dupont Prize for breaking 65mph. You can currently buy production versions of these bicycles. Fairings for street use are common and optional equipment on most commercially built models. They protect you from rain, cold and wind, with up to a 30% reduction in drag. Commercially available recumbents are not always faster than conventional bicycles. It depends mainly on the individual rider. Your best bet is to do you homework and if your goal is performance and speed, be sure that you look for a recumbent designed for this purpose. COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RECUMBENT BICYCLES 1) Do recumbents climb hills well? Yes they do, although climbing on a recumbent requires a different technique, you must gear down and spin. Maintaining an efficient spin takes some practice & conditioning, once mastered, it takes less physical effort to climb hills. Depending on your riding style, your speeds can range from slowwer to even faster than on a conventional bicycle. 2) Can recumbents be seen in traffic? Recumbents with a higher seating position may be better suited for riding in traffic than some of the low-slung designs. The use of use of proper safety devices such as safety flags and reflective devices is recommended. Recumbent bicycles are different, futuristic and they get noticed. Many riders feel they get more respect from motorists while on their recumbents. 3) Are they safe? Recumbent's are safer than a conventional bicycle. Due to the low centre of gravity, they stop faster. Brakes can be evenly applied to both wheels simultaneously providing more traction without throwing the rider over the handlebars. In crash situations, the rider goes down to the side absorbing the impact with the hip and leg rather than flying over the handlebars and absorbing the impact on your head and shoulder. Straight ahead vision is also better on a recumbent, however, rear view mirrors are necessary for proper rearward vision. RECUMBENT PAST HISTORY Why are recumbents such a rare sight? Space age technology? New type of bicycle? Not really, recumbent bicycles actually go back as far as the mid to late 1800's with the Macmillan Velocopede and the Challand Recumbent. In the 1930's, a series of events took place that changed bicycling history. A French second category professional track cyclist named Francois Faure rode the Velocar, a two wheeled recumbent bicycle designed and built by Charles Mochet, to record-shattering speeds, breaking both the mile and kilometre records of the day. This created a storm of controversy within the U.C.I. (United Cycliste International), bicycle rating's governing body. The debate centred on whether the Velocar was a bicycle and were these records legal? In 1934 they ruled against the Mochet-Faure record, banning recumbent bicycles and aerodynamic devices from racing. Were U.C.I. members worried that the recumbent bicycle would displace the conventional design? Did they realize this would freeze bicycle and human-powered vehicle development for the next forty years? This is why bicycles of taday look very similar to the Starkey and Sutton Safety (upright/conventional) of 1885. Just think where bicycle technology would be today if the U.C.I. decision had gone the opposite way. MODERN RECUMBENT HISTORY Recumbent development was fairly quiet until the late 1960's. Dan Henry received some media attention for his long wheelbase design in 1968. In the early 1970's, the human-powered revolution was starting up on both the U.S. east coast by David Gordon, designer of the Avatar, and on the west coast by Chester Kyle. These pioneers recognized the need for further development of human-powered vehicles. In the late 1970's and early 1980's, this lead to the first commercial recumbent bicycle designs such as the Avatar, Easy Racer and Hypercycle. In 1990, the Recumbent Bicycle Club of America was founded by Dick Ryan who currently manufactures the Ryan Vanguard and was also involved with the Avatar project in the early 1980's. In 1988 recumbent promoter Robert Bryant got his start writing "Recumbent Ramblings," a column for "HPV News." In the summer of 1990, Robert founded the "Recumbent Cyclist Magazine," and in a short two years, RCM has become the source for recumbent bicyle information in the world today.
Subject: 7.13 Buying a Bike One thing to decide before buying a bike is what type to buy. Here's a brief list: Road bike Once known as a "ten-speed", most are now 12 or 14 (or even 16) speed. There are several sub-types: racing, sport, and touring, the difference mostly in frame geometry. ATB All-terrain bike, also known as mountain bike. Great for riding in the dirt, these bikes usually have fat, knobby tires for traction in dirt and gravel. Hybrid A bike that borrows from road bikes and ATBs. For example, they have the light frame and 700c wheels of road bikes and fat knobby tires, triple cranks, wide-range derailleurs, flat handlebars and cantilever brakes from mountain bikes. Bike buying hints When you're ready to buy a bike, you should first decide what you want to use the bike for. Do you want to race? Do you want to pedal along leisurely? Do you want to ride in the dirt? Next, you should decide on a price range. Plan to spend at least $350 for a decent quality bike. Now find a good bike shop. Ask friends who bike. Ask us here on the net. Chances are, someone here lives in your area and can recommend a shop. Now that you are ready to look for a bike, visit the shop(s) you have selected. Test ride several bikes in your price range. How does it feel? Does it fit you? How does it shift? Does it have the features you are looking for? How do the shop personnel treat you? Remember that the shop gets the bike disassembled and has to spend a couple of hours putting it together and adjusting things, so look for sloppy work (If you see some, you may want to try another shop). You might want to try a bike above your price range to see what the differences are (ask the salesperson). Ask lots of questions - pick the salesperson's brain. If you don't ask questions, they may recommend a bike that's not quite right for you. Ask about places to ride, clubs, how to take care of your bike, warranties, etc. Good shops will have knowledgable people who can answer your questions. Some shops have free or low-cost classes on bike maintenance; go and learn about how to fix a flat, adjust the brakes and derailleurs, overhaul your bike, etc. Ask your questions here - there are lots of people here just waiting for an excuse to post! Make sure that the bike fits you. If you don't, you may find that you'll be sore in places you never knew could be so sore. For road bikes, you should be able to straddle the top tube with your feet flat on the ground and still have about 1 inch of clearance. For mountain bikes, give yourself at least 2-3 inches of clearance. You may need a longer or shorter stem or cranks depending on your build - most bikes are setup for "average" bodies. The bike shop can help you with adjustments to the handlebars and seat. Now that you've decided on a bike, you need some accessories. You should consider buying a helmet a frame pump a tube repair kit tire levers (plastic) a pressure gauge a seat pack (for repair kit, wallet, keys, etc) gloves a water bottle and cage a lock The shop can help you select these items and install them on your bike.
Subject: 7.14 Kid's Bike Clothes There are several places selling shorts and jerseys for kids: Performance Bike Shop (see listing in section 9.2) Nashbar ( "" ) Rad Rat Ragz 303/247-4649 (CO) Freewheelers 617/423-2944 (MA) Teri T's 503/383-2243 (OR)
Subject: 7.15 Repair stands The Bicycle Service Station WWW site is at: http://members.home.net/wwseb/bike.html
Subject: 7.16 Updated Bike Locker listing From: john.thompson@londonlife.com (Thompson, John C.) Date: Wed, 08 Apr 1998 00:28:59 -0400 Bicycle Lockers - a Survey on the Internet - by John Thompson At the January, 1998 City of London, Ontario, Canada Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, engineering department staff mentioned that City Hall would be implementing facilities to better store bicycles for employees who bicycle to work. I understand that the planned facility is to be a fenced, locked compound with a method of providing keys to the shared facility for users. At that meeting, I agreed to do a survey of bicycle locker facilities on the Internet, to add possible improved options for the City to consider. I had also been interested in bicycle lockers at my place of employment for quite some time now. I have had my bike vandalized at work more than once. Also I find it takes too much time each day to remove the "gear" from my bike (such as lights, handlebar bag and pump,) so it doesn't get stolen or vandalized. I'm interested in acquiring a bicycle locker at work. Here are the results of my survey, done in March, 1998. The first source of information I came across was an excellent start, and I must give credit to the author, David H. Wolfskill, e-mail <david@catwhisker.org>. I found this material first at the rec.bicycles news group Frequently Asked Questions, and the article is located at: http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/7.16.html. I also ran across many other versions in my search. This article seems to be the definitive material on bicycle lockers to this point. I took the 12 companies David posted, adding 4 new Internet accessible vendors, for a total of 16 companies. I also added the Internet address for the companies that I found on the "net", also adding e-mail addresses, and pricing where they existed. I have not checked any of the 11 companies for which I could not find a web site. I have looked at the 5 Internet sites, and the products there offer a reasonable range of capability. I have summarized some of the interesting points: (This was formatted for a Word 6.0/95 document, and didn't make it very well to the text version.) Construction # bikes Bike Position In use since Shape Size Bike Guard Steel or Stainless Steel 1 standing 1996? Wedge 47.5" x 73" x 72" high on rear wheel Bike Lid Polyethylene with steel base 1 or 2 Upright in 1996 Form fitting 43" x 96" x approx 50" high a wheel stand Dura-Locker fiberglass, molded HDPE, 1 or 2 Upright ? Rectangle 40" x 75" x 51" high powder-coated steel, and stainless steel Crankcase Class Walls, top and door frames 1 locker of 14 gauge galvanized sheet metal. Doors of 12 gauge galvanized sheet metal 2 Upright ? Rectangle 42" x 75" x 45" high Guardian Bicycle Molded Polyethelyene 1 Standing ? Wedge (unknown, but looks a bit larger than a Bike Guard) Locker on rear wheel One of the key issues will be shipping cost, so I am investigating the SPI Industries company because it is in Ontario, relatively close to our London Location. I included this information in my submission to the BAC for its April, 1998 meeting as an FYI item. I will also print some copies of the web information and bring it to the meeting to hand out to interested members. Here's the full updated Bike Locker company information: Manufacturer: American Bicycle Security Co. Product: BIKE SAFE Address: PO Box 7359 Ventura, CA 93006 Contact: Thomas E. Volk Phone: 805-933-3688 & 800-BIKESAF Fax: 805-933-1865 WEB_Site: Pricing: Manufacturer: Bike Gard Address: 8149 South 600 East, Rexburg ID 83440 Product: Contact: Phone: 208-356-0744 Fax: WEB_Site: http://www.ida.net/users/bikegd Pricing: Manufacturer: Bike Lid Address: 322 W. 57th St., Suite 495, NY, NY 10019 Product: Bike Lid Contact: Phone: 212-245-6623 Fax: 212-765-9803 WEB_Site: www.bikelid.com Pricing: $845US for one, plus shipping 15% Manufacturer: Bike Lockers Company Address: PO Box 445 W. Sacramento, CA 95691 Product: BikeLokr Contact: Phone: 916-372-6620 Fax: 916-372-3616 WEB_Site: Pricing: approx. $300US/locker, small quantities Manufacturer: Bike Security Racks Co. Address: PO Box 371, Cambridge, MA 02140 Product: ? Contact: Phone: 617-547-5755 Fax: WEB_Site: Pricing: Manufacturer: Bike Stable Co., Inc. Address: PO 1402, South Bend, Indiana 46624 Product: ? Contact: Phone: 219-233-7060 Fax: WEB_Site: Pricing: Manufacturer: Bike-Lokr Mfg. Co. Address: PO Box 123, Joplin, MO 64802 Product: ? Contact: Jim Snyder Phone: 417-673-1960/800-462-4049 Fax: 417-673-3642 WEB_Site: Pricing: approx $450US/locker, which holds 2 bikes Manufacturer: Cycle-Safe Inc. Address: 2772-5 Woodlake Rd. SW Wyoming, MI 49509 Product: Contact: Phone: (616)538-0079 Fax: WEB_Site: Pricing: Manufacturer: David O'Keefe Company Address: P.O. Box 4457, Alamo,CA 94507 Product: Super Secure Bike Stor Contact: Thomas & David O'Keefe Phone: 415-637-4440 Fax: 415-837-6234 WEB_Site: Pricing: Manufacturer: General Machine company Address: PO Box 405 Vacaville, CA 95696 Product: Bicycle Locker Contact: Vitto Accardi Phone: 707-446-2761 Fax: WEB_Site: Pricing: Manufacturer: J.G.Wilson Corp Address: PO Box 599, Norfolk, VA 23501-0599 Product: Park'n'Lock Bike Garage Contact: J.L.Bevan Phone: 804-545-8341 Fax: 804-543-3249 WEB_Site: Pricing: Manufacturer: Madrax, A T.L. Graber Co. Address: 2210 Pinehurst Drive, Middleton, Wisconsin 53362 Product: Dura-Locker Contact: Phone: 800-448-7931 or 608-831-9040 Fax: 608-831-7623 WEB_Site: http://www.madrax.com/duralock.htm Pricing: Manufacturer: Palmer Group Address: 1072 Folsom, Suite 328, San Francisco, CA 94103 Product: CrankCase Contact: Phone: 415-985-7128 Fax: WEB_Site: http://www.bikeparking.com Pricing: Manufacturer: SPI Industries Inc. Address: Box 10, R.R. #2, Shallow Lake, Ontario, N0H 2K0 Product: Guardian Bicycle Locker Systems Contact: Phone: 800-269-6533 or 519-935-2211 Fax: 519-935-2174 WEB_Site: www.spiplastics.com/bike.htm Pricing: $841 CDN if you buy 1-10, $747 CDN for 11-70 Manufacturer: Sunshine U-LOK Corp. Address: 31316 Via Colinas Suite 102, Westlake Village, CA 91362 Product: Secura Bike Locker Contact: Doug Devine Phone: 818-707-0110 Fax: WEB_Site: Pricing: Manufacturer: Turtle Storage Ltd. Address: P. O. Box 7359, Ventura, CA 93006 Product: ? Contact: Phone: Fax: WEB_Site: Pricing:
Subject: 7.17 Electric Bikes From: RobMeans@aol.com Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 21:37:27 EDT Practical transportation for errands and short commutes. Electric bikes are everyday bicycles with an added battery-powered electric motor. The motor helps you pedal (a lot) whenever you want. Enjoy that cruising feeling all the time - even when you start from a stop, go uphill, or buck a head wind. Electric bikes make cycling quick, safe, and fun! FLEXIBLE AND UTILITARIAN You can be riding your first EV for under $1000. Add a trailer and you've got a small, easy-to-use vehicle capable of hauling 100 pounds of cargo over five miles at 15+ mph. Without the trailer and cargo, you and your e-bike can easily cover 10 miles at nearly 20 mph. For most of us, that's enough for our local errands. For some, it will get us to work faster than driving - and with less stress. E-bikes provide advantages of an extra car without the burdensome costs. In addition, electric bikes combine well with bus and train for point-to-point transportation. Multi-car households would do well to consider replacing one car and sharing an e-bike. All electric bikes give your pedaling an assist. Although capable of pushing you along without your help, electric bikes perform noticeably better when you pedal. The average "couch potato" who normally rides at 10 mph can do 15-20 mph with the same effort for a range of 10 miles before recharging. Power is easily activated by a switch mounted on the handlebar - or in response to your pedaling. When activated, the bike immediately responds with a nearly silent push. When you release the switch (or stop pedaling), the motor coasts - like "neutral" on a car. Standard bicycle hand brakes and gearing round out the controls. TWO BASIC DESIGNS Electric (or "electric-assist") bicycles come in two basic designs - adaptive and purpose-built. The adaptive type starts with a bicycle and adds a drive system to it. A purpose-built e-bike is a designed from the ground up. Adaptives are less expensive, less stylish, and may require installation (allow 3 hours if you're familiar with tools; otherwise your local bikeshop mechanic will charge about $75). Purpose-builts offer interesting designs and features (like brake-activated tail lights). Regardless which type you use, you don't need a driver's license, vehicle registration, or insurance. In California, an electric bike is legally a "bicycle" (CVC 406(b)). Rechargeable batteries power the electric drive motors. Charging requires less than 5 of electricity from a standard 110 VAC outlet. Charging times for different brands, however, vary widely. (ZAPWORLD.COM's DX systems recharge in less than three hours.) If you own a bike, you can motorize it for as little as $400. Or buy a purpose-built type for up to $1500. SAFETY An electric bike, by California law, is limited to a top speed of 20 mph (speed limits vary from state to state). That speed limitation prevents riders from over-riding their capabilities. The improved acceleration provides an extra margin of safety by helping a rider dodge traffic. The extra speed reduces the speed differential between you and cars, allowing them more time to see you and adjust. The extra speed also allows you to crest hills sooner, so you spend less time at those vulnerable slow speeds. This can be expecially important on freeway overpasses. Finally, an e-bike's large battery can power a big, bright headlight to warn oncoming traffic that you're coming. For more information and an overview of most e-bike offerings in the U. S., see www.electric-bikes.com/others.htm Electric tricycles (adult three wheelers) are covered at www.electric-bikes.com/trikes.htm
Subject: 7.18 Cycling loaded: bags, panniers, and trailers From: Mark Buell <mbuell@midsouth.rr.com> Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 20:52:00 -0500 A FAQ covering courier bags, backpacks, panniers, saddle bags, and trailers. There is an existing FAQ on panniers, but it doesn't cover courier bags, etc. However, for more info on panniers, please refer to it. Courier bags, backpacks, panniers, and trailers, Which system is superior? The real answer is "None." But that's a little confusing, and not very illuminating, eh? In this article I try to offer some of my experience, that of other experienced cyclists I've known, and opinions that have been found on rec.bicycles.misc from time to time. Critical Questions To Answer. 1: Distance. How far are you traveling? 2: How much weight are you carrying? 3: What is YOUR sense of style? 4: What kind of cyclist are you, and what is your ability level? 5: How do you feel most comfortable dealing with traffic? 6: Traffic levels and roadway conditions, i.e. off-road, city, Mongolian track or US highway? Changing your answer to one of the above may well change your decision about how to carry your cargo. These questions are all important, but numbers 1 and 2 are at the top because they are arguably the most important. Technical factors to consider: Center of gravity. Load stability. Ease of access. Comfort. Personal style (again). THE OPTIONS AVAILABLE. There are a lot of options! You can get panniers, front and rear, in a thousand different styles. Then there are handlebar packs, for which every manufacturer has different mounting hardware. You can choose from backpacks, fanny packs, courier bags, Carradice bags, and trailers! I've used all of these at some time, and, I've worn out a few. In this article I discuss backpacks, Carradice bags, courier bags, fanny packs, handlebar bags, panniers, racks, underseat bags, and trailers. CHARACTERISTICS RANKING Following the description is a table showing how I rate the systems for the characteristics above. A rating will vary, possibly a lot, due to hardware particulars of a brand or design, how the hardware is packed, and purely from subjective opinion. A user may find they prefer, say, the ease of access of a set of panniers over that of a backpack. LOAD CAPACITY The bottom line is "Do you feel in control of your bike, and comfortable with your choice?" The ratings in the descriptions are for a useable range of load capacity. This is not a maximum capacity, nor a minimum. This is what I have found to be a wise capacity in real life, used on a bicycle. On one extreme, you can use touring panniers for a single jacket and camera, but it would be total overkill to use a trailer for that same load. Obviously, too, some people will safely use their system with larger loads, and they will happily tell you so. But, the rider with the 100 pound touring rig knows how to pack those panniers - very well. Larger loads increase the likelihood of problems. There is a lot of gray area here. Higher quality equipment will enable larger loads, but the principles still apply. PRICE One ng commentor wanted prices. I will say that this is the easiest thing for the reader to find. Since the systems vary so widely it is a hard question to answer here. But some generalities may be useful. Quality costs more. Backpacks can be real cheap, but the ones designed for cycling are only available at medium backpack prices and above. Right now that means at least $50 to $90. Courier bags, good ones, can be had for under $100. Panniers mean you have to buy a rack too, so you're probably over $100 there, for quality. Fanny packs can be cheap, or expensive. Trailers are easily over $100, and most likely more; they are not a cheap solution. Carradice, or saddle bags seem to be competitive with good backpacks and courier bags. =================================================================== BACKPACKS Backpacks are convenient, cheap, readily available, and the first thing an Average Joe looks to for carrying a small load. They are also not particularly well-suited to using with a bicycle. There are two reasons I give them any positive thoughts at all. First is because masses of less- experienced cyclists pick them up and use them simply because they are the most convenient answer to carrying cargo. Second is because many cyclists on rec.bicycles.misc use them and argue persuasively in their favor. Those cyclists who do so universally note that they use one of the backpacks designed specifically for use while cycling or other heavy physical activity - they are designed for lateral stability and with good back ventilation. Most backpacks are directly next to the back, and thus have an instant ventilation problem. A loosely fitting backpack carrying a few textbooks can be a dangerous threat to your stability. Personally, I think the stability problem here is a little less dangerous than instable panniers or handlebar packs, because an inexperienced cyclist will readily feel the instability of the backpack. Panniers and handlebar packs can and will go instable with little or no warning to an inexperienced or less- skilled cyclist. But instability is easy to recognize in backpacks. There is one circumstance where load instability will occur that may be less readily recognized by the inexperienced: leaning in a turn. When this happens the pack, or its contents, slides to one side of the body, creating a situation where the pack changes the center of gravity - its weight is then pulling to one side or the other. This is the worst possible time for this to happen, with the cyclist already in a balancing act. Things to look for are back ventilation, and adequate suspension for the load (waist straps for heavier loads). Backpacks C. of G. Very Poor-Poor Stability Poor Ease of Access Good Comfort Very Poor-Good Typical usage: Short distance/around town, Commuting Weight carried: very light to medium (25 lbs.), more could be carried, but would create extreme stability and control problems. CARRADICE BAGS Actually a brand name for saddlebags. They are convenient and simple. The smaller ones don't require special hardware (racks), and are pretty much out of the way for the cyclist - off the body, and on the bike. They can also easily be unstable, and care must be taken to avoid shifting loads. I would choose something like this to carry those few extra items (eg. Camera, cell phone, etc.) on longer, casual, day rides, century rides, and short tours. The larger seat bags will usually require some sort of rack to keep the bag off the tire. Like backpacks and handlebar bags, these are not my preference, but other riders seem to like them. My use of one was quite a few years ago. They have made quite a comeback in the marketplace since then, and the designs today appear to me to be more advanced. They were ok at that time, and then it seemed to me to be more a matter of preference. I thought panniers were more convenient, and simpler to pack and fuss with. However, the hardware for larger Carradice bags would be less in the way of wheel maintenance than a rack. This is where a seatpost mounted rack device would, in my opinion, be worth something. I will also say that I might look at Carradice bags again in the future, as they might carry a load while not creating a foot clearance problem, something that larger panniers do. Carradice bags C. of G. Good Stability Poor-Good Ease of Access Poor Comfort Very Good Typical usage: Short distance/around town, commuting, day trip/century Weight capacity: Up to 25 lbs. would be typical. COURIER BAGS My favorite for around town shopping and shorter commutes, they are generally stable, simple, and convenient. I find them only becoming less comfortable at distances over 10 to 15 miles. In my opinion, for comfort and convenience they are unmatched. They are easy to get into and out of. They are completely unfussy as to how they are packed. You can toss in a laptop or a briefcase - they will carry unweildy and oddball loads any other system (except trailers, or baskets, which aren't covered here) would choke on. They are readily available, relatively inexpensive, and don't require hardware on your bike. They are also easily misused and can easily be unstable. Stylish, look- alike, copycat designs are often much less stable. However, if they are unstable, in my experience, they do so in such a way that this can be controlled by the rider. Example, if the load is going to shift on you, it does so before you are all the way into a lean, and not when you are already deep in a lean. You can easily compensate for such a shifting load with a simple blocking move of your elbow. Design features that make the courier bag stable (and convenient) are the width of the bag, the width of the strap, and the addition of a chest or waist strap. The courier bag design is wide. Chest straps have been added in recent years for greater stability. The bag is worn low on the body, putting the weight on the hips. This keeps it from being top-heavy. The width of the bag also allows it to "wrap" around the hips; which helps provide extra security against load shifting. A wide (2") shoulder strap means it is comfortable on the shoulder, and also helps keep it from shifting. It is worth noting that a CHEST strap is preferred by most couriers over a waist strap for stability. The reason for this is quite simple: a waist strap allows the bag to rotate (load shift) around the body, which is exactly how it wants to shift when it is unstable. So the waist strap, for most, prevents nothing. On the other hand, the chest strap triangulates the load security and greatly decreases the likelihood of a shifting bag. My first courier bag was made before there were chest straps, and I found that I knew when it was unstable, and would ride accordingly. I pretty much wore that bag out. My second and current bag has a chest strap. And, last of all, there is the matter of style. I found when I commuted and shopped with panniers I got more "odd looks". I have a certain level of tolerance, but I generally don't like getting "odd looks". A courier bag, on the other hand, is not out of place in an office today. The grocery store clerk who looks at panniers with a completely bewildered expression doesn't give my courier bag a second glance. Final analysis: what else can I toss my laptop, a 6-pack, or a watermelon into with equal ease? Courier bags C. of G. Poor-Very Good Stability Good-Very Good Ease of Access Very Good Comfort Very Good Typical usage: Short distance/around town, commuting, light shopping Weight capacity: Up to 35 lbs. would be typical. FANNY PACKS Convenient and simple for light and small loads. You can't get an easier way to carry the camera and phone. But for heavier loads, and longer rides, most people will prefer other systems. Larger fanny packs are made, but for riding most people find they are less comfortable, due to ventilation issues. Stability and control are generally not an issue. If you can load it in the pack, you can probably safely carry it. fanny packs C. of G. Very Good Stability Very Good Ease of Access Very Good Comfort Good Typical usage: Short distance/around town, commuting, day trip/century Weight capacity: Up to 5-7 lbs. would be typical. HANDLEBAR BAGS Handlebar packs or bags are a subset of panniers, but I treat them separately because they have many avid proponents, and have enough individual considerations that they need to be treated separately. And, really, there are two types of handlebar bags or packs. There are bags, which strap to the handlbars without the benefit of a frame, and packs, which use an external rigid mounting frame or rack of some sort. I'm not going to distinguish between them for this article, and I will use the names interchangeably. Handlebar bags have two distinct advantages: they can be used to carry a map that is always visible, and they are highly accessible. They also have distinct and potentially dangerous disadvantages. They are extremely easy to overload. When they are overloaded they readily cause instability and a steering effect on the handlebars that can be dangerous. Their mounting systems tend to be less than ideally stable. I have used them for their advantages, and I find that to be a small advantage, indeed - too small for me to bother with. But, they have folks who love them, and who really appreciate the advantages I mentioned. So if you like the idea, I will say this: don't overload them. They are suitable for a jacket or two, a camera, a cell phone, and a map, and nothing more. They are not suitable for school books, laptops, or other dense items. They have enough space to pack this way, an inexperienced cyclist probably wouldn't even think about it, they would just toss in a couple of textbooks because there's enough room for them. A couple of textbooks can easily weigh 10 pounds, and this would be an overload! As for me, I'll pass on looking at my map all the time. A fanny pack or pockets will be fine. The one exception would again be long distance self-contained touring. Long hours in the saddle would mean my comfort level demands as little constraint on my body as possible. So, then, combined with whatever else I used for the real load, there would be a place on my bike for a handlebar bag. Handlebar bags C. of G. Very Poor Stability Poor-Good Ease of Access Very Good Comfort Very Good Typical usage: Short distance/around town, commuting, day trip/century, touring (self-contained) Weight capacity: Up to 5-7 lbs. would be typical. PANNIERS Please note that there is a more complete coverage of panniers in a very good seperate FAQ. Handlebar packs actually fit in this category, but have enough individual characteristics that I discuss them separately. Panniers are the original champion load-carrier, but in my opinion they have been dethroned. However, for long distance touring with load, they and trailers are still the only reasonable choices. When I started looking around they were the "only" choice for "cyclists". Carradice bags (large saddle bags) were then almost extinct, known mostly as a throw-back to an earlier era of riding. Trailers were rare and mostly handmade, although there were a couple of brands just coming to market. Backpacks were pooh-poohed by anyone serious about their riding (for which there were good reasons, as we will see) Panniers are attached to the bike at multiple points; which, when done properly, has several advantages. Properly loaded, panniers have a low center of gravity, lower than any other system except a trailer. Load stability can be high. They are not the best for ease of access, although they can be good. Since the rider is unencumbered, comfort is usually rated highly. Things to watch for are: your racks, how the panniers mount to the racks, and the pannier design. The racks should have multiple mounting points. More mounting points mean greater stability. Stability is critical. A 3- point mount can be fine for the lighter load generally associated with commuting, but can fail under the higher pressure of loaded long-distance touring. Quality is important. Unlike many other parts that, on failure, will give you time to find a repair or replacement, a failing rack can easily fall into the "catastrophic" failure class. A failed rack can drop a rack leg into your spokes, or suddenly loose a loaded pannier completely. As for front low-rider racks, when they first came out they were a little controversial. Now they have proved their point. I suppose somebody could make an argument for the original front rack style, but I can find better answers to any problems that might solve. The pannier design should include a solid connection to the rack. A pannier that is only held on by the spring pressure of a bungee-type cord at the bottom and a hook at the top is not suitable for larger loads. Hit a bump with a big load and you can loose your load. Bah-da-bing, that fast. For lighter loads, though, they are ok. I may be dated, as I think most panniers sold today have a firm connection at the top. Good thing! Most people also want an "easy-on, easy-off" system. My first set of panniers had a solid connection to the rack (they were strapped on with nylon belting), but took several (irritating) minutes to get off. Pannier manufacturers today do provide hardware systems that answer this requirement. On bag design: foot clearance is important with rear panniers. If you have long feet, clearance can be a big problem. I could never use the type of pannier that you can just drop a shopping bag in. If I fit them to the bike so that they didn't interfere with my feet, they would be so high as to be instable, or so far back that my front wheel would be in the air. But, if they work for you, great! Bag design greatly impacts ease of access. One of the biggest complaints I have with panniers is that they have to be packed with the care one reserves for packing a full backpack for self-contained hiking/camping. In other words, carefully, and with attention to detail. This also means that if you want to get at that heavy item you had to put on the bottom, you have to unpack everything on top. Larger items are difficult to manage, as are odd sizes and shapes (i.e. map tubes, or a light cardboard box for shipping). On the good side, you can drop considerable weight (a laptop, for instance) in a pannier without noticing it much on your ride. A well- designed system is easy to get on and off your bike. A well-designed and properly packed system can carry very significant loads with relative ease. If I were ever to do self-contained touring again I would elect to do it only as a group of riders, with a combination of panniers for most riders combined with a trailer for bulky and heavy items. If I had to go solo, my decision would lean toward panniers, but only very slightly. panniers Final analysis: A must for self-contained touring, but it seems like a different bag is required for each type of riding and load. In my opinion they are best saved for serious loads. C. of G. Poor-Very Good (only poor for odd shapes or poor packing) Stability Good-Very Good Ease of Access Poor-Good Comfort Very Good Typical usage: Short distance/around town, commuting, day trip/century, shopping, touring (self-contained) Weight capacity: Up to 50 lbs. More is possible, but I don't think you'd want to peddle the bike with that. RACKS and ATTACHMENTS A word or two about racks and attachments. Stability and strength are your prime considerations. I have had loads shift and break loose in a number of ways. I have seen racks bend, break, and sway. A rack should have a firm mount to the bicycle at as many points as is possible. It should be of firm and rigid construction. Look for triangulation in the legs - the struts should be mutually supporting. Quality 3-point mounted racks are almost as good as quality 4-point mounts. Brazed-on 4-point mounts are the ultimate. Single point mounted racks and flimsy racks are only suitable for very light loads. The only exception to this is using one of these racks to keep a Carradice bag off the rear wheel. Trailer attachments are either on the seat-post or the rear triangle. Mine is on the seat-post, and I've never had any reason to be unhappy with it. Mostly you want strength in this attachment. UNDERSEAT BAGS Available in a huge variety of sizes, of which the Carradice bag is a premium version. Carradice is a brand name for saddle bags. They offer models ranging from small up to pannier-competition. The ordinary smaller versions are absolutely essential for the emergency tools, spare tube and patch kit, or spare tire for the sewup set. They are also very inexpensive. For larger loads and bags please see the Carradice bags review. TRAILERS Trailers are the ultimate load machine. Giving up the car and going grocery shopping? I guarantee you a trailer is the only way to go. How else can you carry cases of soda on a bicycle? How about taking that cooler on the bike club picnic? I've used mine to carry a side of beef and many cases of soda. Want to go surfing, and ride your bike to the beach? I remember as a teenager trying to carry a surfboard under my arm while riding. Whew, talk about stability problems! Every little breeze blew the board one way or another, and each way was in my way! The first commercial bike trailer I ever saw was produced to tow a surfboard. Towing children versus putting them in bike seats is a topic all its own, with good points on both sides. I won't get into the debate over attachment points. My trailer uses a seatpost clamp, and I like it just fine. So, when it comes to carrying loads, the trailer is king. It does increase your riding width profile, and it slows you down, but trailers are stable when riding, and it matters little how you pack them. Ease of access is the best, once you've dismounted. Some trailer designs are a bit problematic in parking stability, but to me, this is an inconvenience issue, and not a safety item. Trailers C. of G. Very Good Stability Very Good Ease of Access Very Good Comfort Very Good Load capacity: the only way to go for truly heavy loads. Two kids could easily weigh 75 - 100 lbs. My trailer is rated up to 125 lbs. Typical usage: for bringing the kids on a recreational ride! Also suited to serious grocery shopping or self-contained touring. What else can you use to carry your surfboard or cases of soda?
Subject: 8a Tech General
Subject: 8a.1 Technical Support Numbers From: Joshua Putnam <Joshua_Putnam@happy-man.com> [This list is now in the ftp archives as it is too long to put here]
Subject: 8a.2 Using a Quick Release From Mark Irving <mhi@uk.gdscorp.com> The odd-looking thing which attaches most front wheels, many rear wheels and some seatpins is not a sort of wingnut. It is a quick release lever. If it is not properly fastened, your wheels are loose. If this description isn't clear, go to any bike shop or find any local bikie person and get them to show you. It's hard to describe, not obvious until you've done it yourself, and it is important to get right. It's easy when you know how -- road racers can get their wheels changed in five seconds! 1. Make sure the floppy lever is pushed over to its "OPEN" side. This lever operates a cam to close up the 'skewer' later. 2. Loosen off the little nut on the other end of the skewer just enough to get the wheel into the dropouts in the frame. Slide the wheel into the frame, and balance it there while you do the next bits. 3. With one hand, hold the operating lever straight out (parallel to the axle), halfway between OPEN and CLOSED. With the other hand, tighten the nut opposite until you feel resistance. 4. Push the operating lever over to CLOSED. This should be a tough operation, if you've got the nut adjusted right. It should not hurt, but it should leave a dent in the palm of your hand for ten to twenty seconds afterwards! If you have the tension right, the wheel is now very safely and solidly held. 5. If the lever really won't close all the way, open it (the full 180 degrees to OPEN), loosen the nut about 1/4 turn, and go back to step 4. If it closes all the way without much resistance, open it all the way, tighten the nut 1/4 turn, and go back to step 4. If your bike doesn't have the stupid bumps, clips and 'lawyer lips' often added, you'll never need to adjust the nut again. The only action needed is to flip the lever between CLOSED and OPEN. The subtle extra is to point the Q-R lever down, towards the ground, in its CLOSED position, so that it doesn't get caught on anything solid when you're riding. This is infinitely less important than doing it up properly.
Subject: 8a.3 Workstands There are a variety of workstands available, from about $30 to over $130. Look at the mail order catalogs for photos showing the different types. The type with a clamp that holds one of the tubes on the bike are the nicest and easy to use. Park has a couple of models, and their clamp is the lever type (pull the lever to lock the clamp). Blackburn and Performance have the screw type clamp (screw the clamp shut on the tube. If you have a low budget, you can use two pieces of rope hanging from the ceiling with rubber coated hooks on the end - just hang the bike by the top tube. This is not as steady as a workstand, but will do an adequate job.
Subject: 8a.4 Workstands 2 From: Douglas B. Meade <meade@bigcheese.math.scarolina.edu> >>>>>>>>>> BICYCLE REPAIR STAND SUMMARY <<<<<<<<<< The Park PRS6 was recommended by several (>5) responders; all other models were recommended by no more than one responder. Park PRS6 PROS: full 360\degree rotation spring-loaded clamp is adjustable very stable CONS: not height adjustable not easy to transport clamp probably can't work with fat-tubed mtn bike COST: ~$150 SOURCE: catalogs, local bike shops Park Consumer PROS: foldable convenient portable CONS: not as stable as PRS6 COST: ~$100 SOURCE: catalogs, local bike shops Park BenchMount PROS: stronger, and more stable, than many floor models CONS: must have a workbench with room to mount the stand COST: $??? SOURCE: ??? Blackburn PROS: The stand folds flat and is portable. It has a 360 degree rotating clamp. It is relatively stable. CONS: crank-down clamp does not seem to be durable crank bolt is not standard size; difficult to replace hard to get clamp tight enough for stable use clamp scratchs paint/finish problems getting rotating mechanism to work properly COST: ~$100 SOURCE: catalogs, local bike shops Performance PROS: CONS: not too stable Ultimate Repair Stand PROS: excellent quality includes truing stand includes carrying bag CONS: COST: ~$225 SOURCE: order through local bike shop the U.S. address for Ultimate Support Systems is : Ultimate Support Systems 2506 Zurich Dr. P.O. Box 470 Fort Collins, CO. 80522-4700 Phone (303) 493-4488 I also received three homemade designs. The first is quite simple: hang the bike from coated screw hooks (available in a hardware store for less that $5/pair) The others are more sophisticated. Here are the descriptions provided by the designers of the systems. Dan Dixon <djd@hpfcla.fc.hp.com> describes a modification of the Yakima Quickstand attachment into a freestanding workstand I picked up the Yakama clamp and my local Bike shop for around $25. What you get is the clamp and a long carraige bolt with a big (5") wing nut. This is meant to be attached to their floor stand or their roof racks. The roof rack attachment is ~$60; expensive, but great for road trips. I, instead, bought a longer carraige bolt, a piece of 3/4" threaded lead pipe, two floor flanges, and some 2x4's. (about $10 worth of stuff). You say you want to attach it to a bench (which should be easy) pipe +- clamp | wing nut | | | V | +--+ V | |---------+ V | | O | | | |\_________/| | | / | | -O- |=| _________ |=| |==I | | | |/ \| | | \ | |---------+ | | O | | /\ /\ | |<-2x4 | | | | flanges--+---------+ | | | | Excuse the artwork, but it might give you and Idea about what I mean. You could just nail the 2x4 to the bench or something. I really like the clamp because it is totally adjustable for different size tubes. Eric Schweitzer <ERSHC@cunyvm.cuny.edu> prefers the following set-up to the Park `Professional' stands that he also has. My favorite 'stand', one I used for many years, one that I would use now if my choice of stand were mine, is made very cheaply from old seats and bicycle chain. Two seats (preferably cheap plastic shelled seats) (oh...they must have one wire bent around at the front to form the seat rails...most seats do) have the rails removed and bent to form 'hooks'. The 'right' kind of hooks are placed in a good spot on the ceiling about 5 or 6 feet apart. (really, a bit longer than the length of a 'typical' bike from hub to hub. If you do a lot of tandems or LWB recombants, try longer :) Form a loop in one end of the chain by passing a thin bolt through the opening between 'outer' plates in two spots on the chain. (of course, this forms a loop in the chain, not the bolt). The same is done at the other end to form loops to hold the seat rail/hooks. First, form the hooks so they form a pair of Js, about 2 inch 'hook's The hook for the front of the bike is padded, the one for the rear looped through the chain, squeezed together to a single hook, and padded. To use, hook the rear hook under the seat, or at the seat stays. Hook the front with each arm on oposite sides of the stem. Can also hook to head tube (when doing forks). Either hook can grab a rim to hold a wheel in place while tightening a quick release skewer or axle bolt. There is no restricted access to the left side of the bike. I try to get the BB of a 'typical' frame about waist height. In closing, here is a general statement that only makes my decision more difficult: My best advice is to consider a workstand a long term durable good. Spend the money for solid construction. Good stands don't wear or break, and will always be good stands until the day you die, at which point they will be good stands for your children. Cheese will always be cheese until it breaks.
Subject: 8a.5 Working on a Bicycle Upside-down From: Jobst Brandt <jobst.brandt@stanfordalumni.org> Date: Tue, 04 Nov 1997 14:33:14 PST > Should I continue to turn my bicycle upside-down to fix a flat, > the way I learned it as a youth? Nothing can be done to a bicycle upside-down that cannot be done better with it right-side-up, except to spin the rear wheel while hand cranking the pedals. In fact, that is what most children do when they haven't anything better to do with their bicycles. That is how I discovered that a bicycle wheel is not well balanced, because the bicycle began to hop when I cranked fast. I also found that this wore a hole in the saddle, and scratched the handlebars and grips to the dismay of my parents. Many riders who have taken up the sport after years off the bicycle, recall only a few things from their earlier experience, and turning the bicycle upside-down seems to be one of them. I defy someone to show me how they can change a rear wheel easily on an upturned bicycle, be that with one speed or a derailleur. Even chain removal is more difficult on the inverted bicycle, but this should be apparent because no bicycle shop works on upside-down bicycles. Beside the inconvenience, damage to the saddles, handle bars, and speedometers is expensive. Warranty claims for damaged speedometers with cracked LCD's and housings first brought this practice to my attention, the failures being unexplainable under normal use. The solution was to reinforce the speedometer's case so it could support the load of the bicycle. The most common explanation for this practice is that there was no way to keep the bicycle from falling over during a tire change. Laying it on its side somehow doesn't seem right, so the bicycle is turned on its head. It might not look fallen over, but it is worse off.
Subject: 8a.6 Where to buy tools You can buy tools from many sources. Some tools can be purchased at your local hardware store (wrenches, socket sets, etc), while the special bike tools can be purchased from your local bike store or one of the mail order stores listed elsewhere. You can buy every tool you think looks useful, or just buy the tools you need for a particular repair job. Buying the tools as you need them will let you build up a nice tool set over time without having to drop a lot of money at once. Some common tools you will need are: Metric/SAE wrenches for nuts and bolts (or an assortment of adjustable wrenches). Screwdrivers, both flat and phillips. Metric allen wrenches. Pliers. Wood or rubber mallet for loosening bolts. Special tools and their uses: Cone wrenches to adjust the hub cones. Chain tool to take the chain apart for cleaning and lubrication, and to put it back together. Tire irons for removing tires. Spoke wrenches for adjusting spokes. Cable cutters for cutting cables (don't use diagonal pliers!). Crankarm tools for removing crankarms. Bottom bracket tools for adjusting bottom brackets. Headset wrenches to adjust the large headset nut.
Subject: 8a.7 Common Torque Values From: Mike Iglesias <iglesias@draco.acs.uci.edu> These torque values are from the Third Hand catalog. All values are in inch pounds (in lbs); to convert to foot pounds (ft lbs), divide by 12. Stem binder bolt 100-120 Brake levers to handlebars 75-95 Handlebar binder 145-200 Brake cable binders 55-75 Controls to frame 35-45 Straddle nut (yoke) 50-70 Front shifter to frame 25-45 Brake pads to brake 45-75 Front shifter to cable binder 25-45 Brake dome nut 50-80 Rear shifter to frame 120-145 Crank bolt 250-300 Rear shifter cable binder 25-45 Chainring bolts 100-120 Jockey wheel bolt 25-45 Nutted front hub 180 Seat binder bolt 35-55 Nutted rear hub 300 Caliper brakes to frame 100-120 Waterbottle cage 25-35 Cantilever brake to frame 45-60 Fender to frame bolts 50-60 Cantilever brake link wire 35-45 Toeclips to pedals 25-45 Kickstand 60 [Here is another list of torque values from Barnett Bicycle Institute sent in by Richard Ney <rtn@gis.net>. All values are inch pounds.] BMX handlebar binder bolts 240 BMX stem binder bolt 170-180 Bottom bracket fixed cup 240-300 Bottom bracket lockring 240-300 Brake levers on drop handlebars 60-72 Brake levers on MTB handlebars 36-60 Cable carrier pinch nut 48-72 Cantilever arm pinch nut/bolt 36-48 Cantilever brake caliper mounting nut 24 Cast-type BMX brake lever 36-60 Centerpull caliper mounting nut 12-36 Chainring bolts 48-72 Clamp-mount shift lever bolt 24-30 Cotterless crank arms 300-360 Crank arm dust caps 48 Crank extractor into crank arm 180-240 Double bolt integral seat clamp bolts 72-96 Drop handlebar binder bolt 205-240 Drop bar stem binder bolt 145-170 Front axle nuts (wheel mounting) 180-240 Front derailleur cable pinch 36-48 Front derailleur mounting bolt 36-48 Handlebar end-mounted shifter 48 Headset locknut 300 (minimum) Hub locknuts 175-220 Mounting nut on threaded stud brake shoes 48-60 MTB multiple handle binder bolt 60-84 MTB single handlebar binder bolt 175-240 MTB stem binder bolt 170-180 Nonintegral seat clamp nuts 130-170 One-piece bottom bracket fixed cone 300 (minimum) One-piece bottom bracket lock nut 240 Pedal installation 350 Pedal locknuts 100-125 Rear axle nuts (wheel mounting) 240-300 Rear derailleur cable pinch 36-48 Rear derailleur to hanger 72-84 Rollercam cam plate pinch nut 48-72 Rollercam roller locknut 36-48 Seat post binder bolt 72-96 Sidepull caliper cable pinch 48-72 Sidepull caliper mounting nut 72-84 Sidepull caliper pivot locknut 48-72 Single bolt integral seatclamp bolt 120-145 Stem mounted shift lever bolt 24-30 Thumb shifter mounting bolt 12-18
Subject: 8a.8 WD-40 From: rgibbs@his.com (Rich Gibbs) Date: Wed, 09 Sep 1998 04:03:00 GMT There have been many opinions posted here on WD-40's composition, but here is what the Material Safety Data Sheet [MSDS] says (it's from Oct 93, the latest I could find): 50% Stoddard solvent (mineral spirits) [8052-41-3] 25% Liquified petroleum gas (presumably as a propellant) [68476-85-7] 15+% Mineral Oil (light lubricating oil) [64742-65-0] 10-% Inert ingredients (The numbers in square brackets '[]' are the CAS numbers for the ingredients, as listed in the MSDS.) Mostly, WD-40 is a solvent, with a bit of light oil mixed in. It doesn't contain wax (except incidentally, since it's not exactly a reagent-grade product). Personally, I use it sometimes for small cleaning jobs, but it's not a particularly good lubricant for anything that I can think of, offhand.
Subject: 8a.9 Sheldon Brown's web pages From: Mike Iglesias <iglesias@draco.acs.uci.edu> Sheldon Brown has written many articles on cycling, repairs, maintenance, etc., and put them up on his web site. See the links below for more information. http://sheldonbrown.com/glossary http://sheldonbrown.com/articles http://sheldonbrown.com/beginners http://sheldonbrown.com/brakes http://sheldonbrown.com/commute http://sheldonbrown.com/diy http://sheldonbrown.com/lights http://sheldonbrown.com/cyclecomputers http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed http://sheldonbrown.com/france http://sheldonbrown.com/gearing http://sheldonbrown.com/humor http://sheldonbrown.com/oldbikes http://sheldonbrown.com/repair http://sheldonbrown.com/tandem http://sheldonbrown.com/touring
Subject: 8b Tech Tires
Subject: 8b.1 Patching Tubes From: Jobst Brandt <jobst.brandt@stanfordalumni.org> Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2004 12:07:59 -0800 The question often arises whether tubes can be practically and safely patched. I suppose the question comes up because some riders have had leaky patches or they consider it an imprecise exercise. Either way, it need not be difficult if simple rules are followed. Why patches come loose Tubes are made in metal molds to which they would stick if mold release were not sprayed into the mold. The release agent is designed to prevent adhesion and it can do the same for patches, some of it having transfered on and into the surface of the tube. To make a patch stick reliably, mold release must be removed. For this reason patch kits have sand paper that is not there to roughen the surface but to remove it. Failure to remove the 'skin' of the tube is a main cause of leaky patches. Once mold release has been removed, rubber solution can be applied with the finger by wiping a thin film over the entire area that the patch is to cover. After the glue has dried, with no liquid or jelly remaining, leaving a tacky sheen, the patch can be pressed into place. Patches can be made from tube material but this must be done carefully following the same procedure as preparing the tube. However, butyl tube material, unlike commercial patches, is impervious to rubber cement solvents and will not cure if the glue on the tube and patch is not completely dry. This presents a substantial problem. Patches Patches commonly have a metal foil cover on the sticky side and a cellophane or impervious paper cover on the back. The foil must be pulled off to expose the adhesion surface before pressing the patch into place. The backing paper or cellophane often has perforations so that it will split in half when tube and patch are manually stretched. This makes peeling the cover of the patch from inside to outside possible and prevents peeling a newly applied patch from the tube. REMA patches, the most commonly available in bicycle shops, have a peculiarity that not all have. Their black center section exudes a brown gas that discolors light colored tire casings in daylight. This causes the brown blotches often seen on sidewalls of light colored tires. Leaky Patches Assuming a patch was properly installed, it may still leak after a few miles, if used immediately after patching. Because tubes are generally smaller than the inside of the tire to prevent wrinkles on installation, they stretch on inflation, as does the patch. The stretched tube under the patch wants to shrink away from the patch, and because there is no holding force from inflation pressure at the hole, the tube can gradually peel away from the patch starting at the hole, while the tube under the remainder of the patch is pressed against it by air pressure. Flexing of rolling bias ply tires also loosens patches. Laying a standard 3.5x2 inch paper business card between tire and tube will show how severe this action is. After a hundred miles or so, the card will have been shredded into millimeter size confetti. If the puncture is a 'snake bite', chances of a leak are greater. Pinch flats from insufficient inflation or overload are called snake bites because they usually cause two holes that roughly approximate the fang marks of a snake. Although a single patch will usually cover both holes, these will be closer to the edge of the patch and have a shorter separation path to its edge. In a rolling tire, the patch and tube flex, shrink, and stretch making it easier for the tube to separate from a partially cured patch. To test how fast patches cure, a patch can be pulled off easily shortly after application, while it is practically impossible after a day or so. For reliable patches, the freshly patched tube should be put in reserve, while a reserve tube is installed. This allows a new patch more time to cure before being put into service. A tube can be folded into as small a package as when it was new and practically airless, by sucking the air out while using the finger opposite the stem to prevent re-inflation. This is not done by inhaling but by puckering the cheeks. Although the powders inside tubes are not poisonous in the mouth, they are not good for the lungs, but then that's obvious. Patch Removal The best remedy for a leaky patch is to remove it and start over. However, after several days of curing, a patch is hard to remove. With heat supplied by a hot iron or heated frying pan at moderate temperature, patches come off easily. Pressing a patch against a hot surface with the thumb until the heat is felt will allow the patch be pulled off easily. Patch remnants can be cleaned off with rubber solution (patch glue) or sand paper. Minutia Separating patches are often hard to find because separation always stops at the edge, air pressure preventing further separation. Slow leaks that occur, often close when the tube is inflated outside a tire, so the offending patch cannot be found. Old tubes to be discarded often reveal patch separation when cut through the center of a patch with shears, to reveal talcum powder from the inside of the tube under most of the patch. Although talcum powder on the outside of tubes does nothing useful, it is essential on the inside, where it is found in any butyl tube. Without it tubes would adhere to themselves after manufacture and not inflate properly. Externally, talcum may prevent adhesion to the tire, slight as it is, and may help prevent sudden air loss in the event of a puncture but it does nothing for the wellbeing of the tube. When inflated, tubes act like an integral part of tire casings with or without talcum. Tires are less flexible at a patch so tread may wear slightly faster there, but patches have no effect on dynamic balance since wheels naturally have a greater imbalanced than patches can cause and have no effect on the heaviest position of the wheel which is either at the valve stem or the rim joint. Heat from braking can accelerate separation of a fresh patch but this generally does not pose a hazard because leaky patches usually cause only a slow leak.
Subject: 8b.2 Mounting Tires From: Douglas Gurr <dgurr@daimi.aau.dk> A request comes in for tyre mounting tricks. I suspect that this ought to be part of the FAQ list. However in lieu of this, I offer the way it was taught to me. Apologies to those for whom this is old hat, and also for the paucity of my verbal explanations. Pictures would help but, as always, the best bet is to find someone to show you. First of all, the easy bit: 1) Remove the outer tyre bead from the rim. Leave the inner bead. Handy hint. If after placing the first tyre lever you are unable to fit another in because the tension in the bead is too great then relax the first, slip the second in and use both together. 2) Pull out the tube finishing at the valve. 3) Inspect the tube, find the puncture and repair it. Now an important bit: 4) Check tyre for thorns, bits of glass etc - especially at the point where the hole in the tube was found. and now a clever bit: 5) Inflate the tube a _minimal_ amount, i.e. just sufficient for it to hold its shape. Too much inflation and it won't fit inside the tyre. Too little (including none at all) and you are likely to pinch it. More important bits: 6) Fit the tube back inside the tyre. Many people like to cover the tube in copious quantities of talcum powder first. This helps to lubricate the tyre/tube interface as is of particular importance in high pressure tyres. 7) Seat the tyre and tube over the centre of the rim. 8) Begin replacing the outer bead by hand. Start about 90 degrees away from the valve and work towards it. After you have safely passed the valve, shove it into the tyre (away from the rim) to ensure that you have not trapped the tube around the valve beneath the tyre wall. Finally the _really_ clever bit: 9) When you reach the point at which you can no longer proceed by hand, slightly _deflate_ the tube and try again. Repeat this process until either the tyre is completely on (in which case congratulations) or the tube is completely deflated. In the latter case, you will have to resort to using tyre levers and your mileage may vary. Take care. and the last important check: 10) Go round the entire wheel, pinching the tyre in with your fingers to check that there is no tube trapped beneath the rim. If you have trapped the tube, deduct ten marks and go back to step one. Otherwise .... 11) Replace wheel and reinflate.
Subject: 8b.3 Snakebite flats From: Jobst Brandt <jobst.brandt@stanfordalumni.org> Date: Mon, 23 May 2001 14:13:14 PDT Snakebites, otherwise known as pinch flats, are so called because they usually cause adjacent punctures about 10mm apart (for tires with about a 25mm diameter cross section). They occur when the tire casing bottoms on the rim, causing a compression failure in the tube for both clinchers and tubulars, much like pinching the cheek with thumb and forefinger. The finger tips simulate the tire casing and the cheek the tube. Reasonably inflated tires can bottom when crossing RR tracks, riding up a driveway with a raised lip at street level, or riding on rough roads with ruts and rocks. Although higher inflation pressure helps, it does not guarantee protection. Watching how, and how fast, such obstacles are encountered helps more. Because latex rubber of tubes commonly used in better tubular tires is several times more stretchable than common butyl rubber, such tubulars are less susceptible to snakebites. When sheet rubber is compressed, it stretches laterally like a drum skin, and the farther it can stretch the less likely it is to tear. In contrast, when ridden over such obstacles, tubular rims are often dented without the tire going flat. However, because thin latex tubes hold air so poorly that they must be inflated daily, snakebites from under-inflation were more common in the days when most riders rode tubulars. Snakebites can be identified by inspecting the tube under grazing light that will reveal diagonal tire cord impressions at the perforation. This is especially important when only one hole occurs, the other not penetrating. Riders have claimed that the hole occurred spontaneously on the underside of the tube and demand reimbursement. Underside snakebites, the least common, occur mostly on fat MTB tires that are often ridden with low pressure on soft terrain. At low pressure, such a tire can roll to one side and pop back, without disengaging the rim. A snakebite caused by this mechanism appears on the underside of the tube similar to laying your head to one side while pinching the skin at the Adam's apple. Such flats are erroneously attributed to rim tape failure and other obscure causes, when in fact it was under-inflation that can no longer be assessed. Here cord impressions also give evidence of a snakebite.
Subject: 8b.4 Blowouts and Sudden Flats From: Jobst Brandt <jobst.brandt@stanfordalumni.org> Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2004 09:21:09 -0700 Bicyclists often report tube failures that they believe occurred inside a tire casing. They believe these are blowouts caused by faulty tubes that split or were cut by the rim tape. However, they also heard a bang, after which the tire was flat. On removing the tire casing from the rim with tire irons, the burst tube is found to have a long slash. If there was an audible bang, then the tire was off the rim, exposing the innertube. However, the undamaged tire usually remains on the rim because tires usually fall back into place after exposing a tube. A tube cannot blow out inside the tire with a bang, because a bang is caused by a sudden change in volume, an expansion. Such an expansion is not possible within a tire casing that is essentially air tight. The resulting clean slash in the tube cannot occur from rim tape that would cause a gradual failure along an abraded line extending beyond the end of the split. A burst into a spoke hole in the rim would cause a starburst hole that is smaller than the rim socket because the tube shrinks when no longer inflated. Tire blow-off occurs most commonly on tandems where substantial energy of descending mountain roads is converted to heat in rims by braking. In contrast a single bicycle is usually able to dissipate enough of its descending energy by wind drag to not suffer from this. Rim heating with rim brakes on continuous steep descents can increase inflation pressure substantially. For this reason some mountain passes in the Alps prohibit descending by bicycle while up hill riding is permitted. For instance, Zirlerberg between Zirl and Seebach (Innsbruck), a major road between Germany and Austria, is one of these. The road has several runaway tracks for motor vehicles with brake failure. Formerly, base tapes made of gauze-like tubes, filled with Kapok, were offered for mountain touring. The padding served as insulation between rim and tube to prevent rim heat from increasing pressure. These rim tapes have not been available lately, probably because bicycle shops did not recognize their purpose. Short tubes, that must be stretched to fit on the rim, can contribute to tire blow-off because a stretched tube tends to rest in the space on the bed of the rim where the tire bead should seat for proper engagement with the hook of the rim sidewall. A tube under the tire bead can prevent proper engagement with a hooked rim to cause blow-off even without excess pressure. Valve stem separation is less dangerous because it usually occurs during inflation. While riding it generally causes a slow leak, as the vulcanized brass stem gradually separates from the tube. When this occurs, the stem can usually be pulled out entirely to leave a small hole into which a valve stem from a latex tube of a tubular tire will fit. Stems from tubulars have a mushroom end, a clamp washer, and a locknut, that fit ideally. Such a used stem should be part of a tire patch kit. Tubes with an encircling ribbed zone near the stem are "welded" together at this point and have occasionally developed a leak from no external cause other than tire flexing. Stretching the tube manually at the joint can exposes this weakness before installation. Both this defect and stem separations are quality control problems that in time may be resolved, considering the many tubes of similar manufacture that do not display these faults.
Subject: 8b.5 Blown Tubes From: Tom Reingold <tr@samadams.princeton.edu> Charles E Newman writes: $ Something really weird happened at 12:11 AM. My bike blew a $ tire while just sitting parked in my room. I was awakened by a noise $ that scared the livin ^&$% out of me. I ran in and found that all the $ air was rushing out of my tire. How could something like happen in the $ middle of the night when the bike isn't even being ridden? I have $ heard of it happening when the bike is being ridden but not when it is $ parked. This happened because a bit of your inner tube was pinched between your tire bead and your rim. Sometimes it takes a while for the inner tube to creap out from under the tire. Once it does that, it has nothing to keep the air pressure in, so it blows out. Yes, it's scary. I've had it happen in the room where I was sleeping. To prevent this, inflate the tire to about 20 psi and move the tire left and right, making sure no part of the inner tube is pinched.
Subject: 8b.6 Tube Failure in Clinchers From: Jobst Brandt <jobst.brandt@stanfordalumni.org> Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 15:02:23 PDT Riders occasionally tell about a tube that blew out with a loud bang INSIDE their tire, leaving the tube with a long slash. The tube blew out, but not as described. If there was a bang, the tube was outside the tire. That is, the tire lifted off the rim and fell back in place after the tube burst. Tubes do not burst inside tire casings, although they may leak, the most they can do is give off an audible hiss, assuming it is otherwise quiet enough. An un-socketed double walled rim can make a dull pop if the tube is exposed to the inner rim volume. The concept that a tube can explode inside a tire is dangerous, because it leads people to believe that tubes can mysteriously fail without apparent cause INSIDE a tire. With few exceptions, the cause is an improperly mounted tire. Without understanding the cause, a rider may continue to risk a blowout, without realizing that tire lift-off can be caused by the tube lying between the rim and the tire bead. In this position, the tube prevents the tire from seating properly in the hook of the rim, a condition that, under the right circumstances, will cause a blowout. This cannot occur inside the tire casing. To prevent blow-off, the tire seat must be inspected by pushing the tire away from the rim, upon which the tube should not exposed at any point around the tire. Valve stem separation is another common failure, but it is less dangerous because it usually occurs while inflating the tire. If it occurs while riding it causes a slow leak, as the vulcanized brass stem separates from the tube. When this occurs, the stem can be pulled out entirely to leave a small hole into which a valve stem from a latex tube of a tubular tire will fit. Stems from tubulars have a mushroom end, a clamp washer, and a locknut, that fit ideally. Such a used stem should be part of a tire patch kit.
Subject: 8b.7 More Flats on Rear Tires From: Jobst Brandt <jobst.brandt@stanfordalumni.org> Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 18:15:42 PST Many sharp objects, especially those that lie flat on the road like nails and pieces of metal, more often enter rear tires than the front tires. That is because the front tire upends them just in time for the rear tire to be impaled on them. For example, nails seldom enter front tires. When dropped from a moving vehicle, nails slide down the road, and align themselves pointing toward traffic, because they prefer to slide head first as they would when laid on a slope. The front tire rolling over such a lengthwise nail, can tilt it up just in time for the rear tire to encounter it on end. I once got a flat from a one inch diameter steel washer that the front tire had flipped up so that the rear tire struck it on edge. When following another wheel closely, the front tire can get the "rear tire" treatment from the preceding wheel. The front wheel set-up effect is especially true for "Michelin" wires, the fine strands of stainless wire that make up steel belts of auto tires. These wires, left on the road when such tires exposes their belt, cause hard to find slow leaks almost exclusively in rear tires. When wet, glass can stick to the tire even in the flat orientation and thereby get a second chance when it comes around again. To make things worse, glass cuts far more easily when wet as those who have cut rubber tubing in chemistry class may remember. A wet razor blade cuts latex rubber tubing in a single slice while a dry blade only makes a nick. As for pinch flats, aka snake bites, they occur on the rear wheel more readily because it carries more load and is uncushioned when the rider is seated. The rider's arms, even when leaning heavily on the front wheel, cushion impact when striking a blunt obstacle.

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