So, I’m getting close to 1,000 outdoor miles for 2015 already, in fact I should cross that hurdle tomorrow morning. It’s time to tighten the bolts. This isn’t a metaphor.
It’s literally, time to tighten the bolts. On the right is a most excellent tool, Bontrager’s 5 Nm 4mm torque Allen wrench. Did you know that on most newer bikes, a lot of the important bolts are 4mm? Ah, yes. Also, carbon fiber bikes, especially ones that you have closing in on $5,000 invested in, require the use of a torque wrench and between 4.6 and 5 Nm of torque. In other words, it’s a perfect tool. The stem bolts and seat post bolts are 4mm…
I’ve read articles suggesting tightening the main bike bolts before every ride but if you lube the threads correctly, every now and again should suffice. Here’s the reason we lube threads… Dry threads give you a false “tight”. They’re “sticky” so what shows as tight on a torque wrench, isn’t always. When the threads are lightly lubed (with bike grease), there is no “stick” – you get a proper tight that will remain tight. It might seem counterintuitive, but it works.
Still, I tightened up today and I got an 1/8th of a turn on the saddle bolt, 1/2 turn (!) on the seat post bolts and 1/8 turn on the two lower stem bolts. I lubed and tightened all of those myself… In other words, they’ve loosened over time. Not much, but enough. I also got 1/8th turn on the brake mounting bolts by the way.
The physics are pretty simple when you think about it a minute. On a normal, jaunt around the park bike, the parts aren’t under all that much stress. On a race bike that sees heavy action and ridiculous torque, everything is under a tremendous amounts of stress.
So, folks, every now and again, take ten minutes to tighten your bolts. It’ll take the creaks out of your bike and maybe even give you a more solid ride at speed. Just don’t overtighten them. That’s bad too.
Fourteen years ago I was maybe six months to a year from becoming fat. Already overweight, obese was only a couple dozen pizzas and two-liters of Coke away.
Along came an impromptu photo (read that, a photo I didn’t have the wherewithal to pose for) and I saw the double-chin. I’m 6′ tall and weighed 140 pounds when I sobered up – Pro cyclists would have been jealous of my weight back then! I pulled out a scale… 195. I stood in front of the mirror and looked at my gut – and decided to let myself get fat. Seriously.
The next day I changed my mind and started running. Just a touch more than 24 hours later. A mile and a half that first day, something like a 9:30 min. mile. Two days later it was two miles, then three. Over the course of the next year I got down to 170 and there I stayed there. I didn’t hate running but I only did it because I did hate the idea of getting fat and riding a $160 Sears mountain bike wasn’t all that exciting. Riding a bike was for kids, I thought…
Nine years later I bought a bike, a cheap $20 garage sale mountain bike – and I started to ride. Then I bought another. And another. And one more. I went from 15 mph for just four miles on the mountain bike to 21 for 30 miles on a road bike (solo), in two years. I was hooked, and I mean hooked on cycling. I dropped 20 pounds so fast it was scary – and my legs became awesome (I added muscle and lost a BUNCH of fat, in other words).
A couple of months ago, one of the racers in our Tuesday night group decided to get anyone in our group who wanted, hooked up with a club kit. Our local bike shop is represented on a sleeve, as are a few other companies, and our group along with a small map of our 33 mile route… Three weeks ago the fit kits came in and we all tried them on. They’re pro-fit so I figured my normal medium would became a large. The large was really tight so I decided to go with an XL which fit perfectly. They came in yesterday and I tried the jersey on. It’s not nearly as tight as when I tried it on just a few weeks ago.
Three weeks at between 150 and 190 miles a week and I have to think about ordering a large for later in the summer – and I’m trying to keep my weight where it was. Let’s just say I’m not exactly pushing myself away from the table.
Besides the obvious, eating to fuel (not just to eat), there are a few tricks to my continued success in dropping weight through cycling. I ride hard, I ride fast and I ride long. During the week, work only allows an hour a day (except our Tuesday club ride which is just shy of two, including the warmup). On Friday and through the weekend though, I’m on the gas for at least seven hours.
A typical Friday, Saturday, Sunday looks like this: 25-35 fairly easy miles with Mrs. Bgddy, 50-75 hard miles on Saturday and 40 easy with Mrs. Bgddy on Sunday. Eventually, that Sunday will have to go into the hard column to get ready for DALMAC (4 days, 415 miles) but for now it’s great fun hanging with my wife that extra day.
This is how my week breaks down:
- Monday – easy or off
- Tuesday – HARD
- Wednesday – medium 18-19 mph
- Thursday – hard or medium (depends on legs)
- Friday – easy
- Saturday – hard
- Sunday – easy
The simplest way to put the difference between running and riding is that now it’s not about losing weight or maintaining weight (though the maintaining part can get tricky, trying to replace all of those calories spent on the bikes)… It’s about having a good time. That’s what cycling did for me and that’s why I’m blessed to bike. I look forward to putting in the miles – all day long. It’s my escape.
I’m not saying my way is the right way but I will say this: It sure beats eating twigs, leaves and tofurkey. It beats cutting carbs or counting calories. It’s macro in lieu of micro-managing. It works if I work it.
And it is good.