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Daily Archives: January 20, 2017

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GCN’s Five Hacks for Perfect Road Bike Shifting…

I’m a big fan of the Global Cycling Network.  I’m a long-time subscriber and I watch as many of their videos as time allows.  This video really caught my eye though, because I’m exceptionally finicky about how my bikes shift.  In fact, I’m so picky I don’t think that last sentence supplies enough emphasis on just how persnickety I can be.  Dude, look at me now, I mean finicky. 

I was fully prepared to watch this video and learn nothing new – and I’m pleased I was mistaken.  The video above provides a few excellent tips and some tremendous camera work that shows exactly how the derailleur limiting screws work for both the front and rear derailleurs.  As a noob, those limiting screws caused me a lot of consternation and if they’re set wrong, enormous damage can be done to your bike and its wheels or frame.

If that wasn’t enough (and I’d have been happy with just that little bit of information), at 2:30 into the video they get into how to properly tighten your shifting cable into the rear mech.

Just 50 seconds later, at 3:20, Si gets into a brilliant trick for setting the front derailleur set screws and cable which, with modern 10 and 11 speed cassettes, can be quite difficult to get right without a bunch of gears rubbing against the derailleur cage.

If you have troubles adjusting your derailleurs or take your bike to the shop to have that done, check out the video above.  It should help your understanding of how things work.  It did mine and I’ve been doing my own cables and adjusting for years.

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Bike Porn Vs. Reality and a Wonderful, If Simple, Cure for Depression

Trigger (heh) warning: Read that disclaimer on the left of the margin.  Read it again.  Okay, proceed, with caution.  If you happen to be easily offended, or I suppose, if you’re prone to believing that your taking offense to words should be someone else’s problem or fault, this won’t be a post for you.  Some $#!+ you can’t unread…  You have been trigger (heh) warned, though I’m surprised you needed it.  You did read the title, no?

You show me a mint ’76 Bianchi Sprint and I’ll show you the owner who still smiles with anticipation as he’s pumping up the tires.

Even if the owner doesn’t know enough to trim their chain, stage the bike or put it in the big ring (sacrilege)

Show me a Specialized Alias and I’ll show you the woman who loves it’s speed, versatility, dependability and it’s smooth feel.

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Show me a Venge and I’ll show you the guy who still keeps it looking new as the day he brought it home and makes sure to get it in the picture, even in the later miles of a 101 mile day…

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Another case in point, with a Trek Madone 9 and a Jens:

The relationship between an owner and a trophy bike is a beautiful thing…. better, trophy bikes aren’t nearly as elusive or difficult as a trophy spouse.

Bikes don’t degrade with age as is so often the misunderstanding, they degrade with a lack of proper maintenance.  If one doesn’t keep the headset clean and lubed, the steering will be loose and the bike’s stiffness will feel slightly off.  Eventually, left to deteriorate long enough, that loose feel will change to binding when turning and clunking when hitting a bump.  Clean the headset and install new bearings and the issues will be solved.  Simple.

Human relations are obviously more challenging, even if they do follow the same basic principles.

Riding the bicycle equivalent  of a “p●rn star” will undoubtedly exceed one’s expectations… especially if you’re going from a low-end road or mountain bike to a super-bike, while an actual p●rn star tends to come with problems…. err….

Say you own a $700 mountain bike, a decent hardtail.  Going from that to a sub-20 pound carbon fiber Trek Stache and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.  Going from a Trek 1.2 to a Madone 9, or a Specialized Allez to a Venge in the road bike category would have the same result – mind blown.

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While many in the world scurry all over themselves to brag up their minimalist green weenie cred, I say don’t follow the lemmings.  In fact, I’m still waiting for this inevitable conversation:

“Oh yeah, well I decided to run my single-speed on bare rims.

“Wait, you what?!”

“Yep, I don’t need to feed the oil industry and the industry that kills rubber trees, contributing to global warming, to make tires so I took my tires off.  I won’t feed “society’s” patriarchal need for schedules anyway.  I take all of the time I want and just slow it down to four miles an hour.”

“But dude, they don’t kill the trees to harvest ru… You know what, whatever works for you I suppose.  By the way, what mountain do you think they leveled to strip-mine the iron for that steel frame?”

“But… wait, it’s steel not iron.”…

“Yeah, to make steel they melt down iron ore and add carbon.  Bam, steel.  You know, I wonder if steel has more carbon in it than carbon fiber, now that I think of it.”

[Crocodile tears…].

First, buy a bike and ride it, preferably a reasonable one so you can see if you actually enjoy the sport.  Had it to do over again, I wouldn’t change a thing; I wouldn’t go all out on a high-end bike as I leapt into the sport (better to get those crash scratches out of the way on a starter bike).  Once you find out that it’s the awesomest awesome that awesome can be and you love it, save up some money for a good bike.  Doesn’t matter if it takes five years or six months (or no months).  Take that wad of cash down to your local bike shop and plunk it down on the counter for as nice a bike as you can justify.  If you need an excuse, think of all the money you’ll save on not needing medication!  There’s blood pressure meds, diabetes meds, alzheimer’s meds…  You could go on all night!
Then ride the wheels off it, join a club, and bask in the joyous glow that is a daily bike ride.

A “cure” for depression might be going a little too far but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.  Trust me.

Just don’t go into debt for it.  A bike porn bike isn’t worth that.