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Monthly Archives: February 2018

A Simple Method for Bringing the Shine Back to Your Steed, It’s Better (and Easier) than Cheating…

I mentioned this, briefly, in a post the other day but didn’t fully understand how it “worked” so I didn’t bother with explaining it (because the last thing this world needs is another noob incorrectly explaining how things work to those who already know the right way, anyway).

Today, things are a bit different… and shinier.

So, the owner of our local bike shop, after having shot my bike frame with clear coat to seal in my name decals, recommended that I use Pledge Floor Care Multi-Surface Finish to brighten up the clear coat. The way I saw it, there were bigger problems than a floor shine product could fix so I went all out and bought an orbital buffer and went to town on my frame… There were still a few imperfections after I was done, though. Small imperfections that could only be seen if the light hit the bike at the right angle… so I tried the Pledge Floor Care Finish (It used to be called “Future” Floor Shine).

Folks, it turns out there’s more than one use for the floor polish beyond shining up floors… Model builders use it to dip their plastic “glass” pieces in so they actually look like glass, not just clear plastic. In fact, it’s common to air brush the stuff on model parts to make them shine… Add brighten bike frames to the list as well.

Now, there are plenty of instructions for how to use the stuff on the internet, but for our purposes in this post, I’m just going to deal with bike frames (for now – eventually I’m going to use the stuff to fix the finish on my old Ultegra derailleurs, but I’ll deal with that later).

First, start with a clean bike and frame.

Get a lint-free shop towel (that lint-free part is very important), wipe the floor polish on the frame wet, and let it dry. It’s self-leveling so it’ll fill minor imperfections in the paint and clear coat finish. Don’t over do it, either, you’re not putting a new clear coat on the bike. Too much and you’ll end up with runs and drips on the frame. Also, don’t over-massage the polish… wipe it on and let it dry – over-massage the polish and it’ll cloud up on you. Let it dry overnight, preferably in a dust-free environment.

To remove it after it dries, if you messed something up, use ammonia or Windex.

It’s simple as that!

One final note, it’s important to get the right stuff…  In the US, this is what the bottle looks like:

PledgeFloorCareFinish.jpg

The way I understand it, the product goes by a different name in the UK and the rest of Europe.  The important thing to look for is the shiny wood floor and “2X MORE SHINE”.

Fighting Weight is One Pound Away, and Three Months Early.

I’ve been on a fairly radical diet for a couple of weeks now. It’s radical in its simplicity, of course, certainly nothing special. Here, scooch in closer… I’ll whisper it to you.

I don’t eat much. An apple and banana for breakfast and a power bar for luch, then I eat a sensible dinner.

To break it down, I’ve got 100 calories each for the apple and the banana. 300 for the granola bar, and figure 1,000 to 1,200 calories for dinner. Do the math, that’s 1,700 calories a day.

My intake, adjusted for my active lifestyle and that it’s winter, is 2,750 calories, give or take. That’s a deficit of 1,000 calories a day over 14 days… 14,000 calories /3,500 is 4.

Here’s the problem: That first two weeks sucks. Getting used to limiting lunch to a few hundred calories is not easy or fun.

Another thing that sucks is that I’m not a happy fellow after my 5pm ride. I have to eat, and fast. My wife has had to be a bit of a saint too, and she has.

The cool side of that though, is that after that second week it gets easier to stay on the path – and the weight reallt burns off when it’s easy.

So, call it two more weeks, maybe three and I’ll be ahead of the Spring game… and none too soon – I wanna ride (even if the weather isn’t cooperating yet)!

A Full Kit for $40? Seriously?… And it’s NOT all Bad.

Seriously, a full kit for $40?Coconut Ropamo Pro Team Summer Bib and Jersey.JPG

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law sent me an Amazon gift certificate for Christmas and after buying a pair of top-notch work boots, I had a little bit of cash left…. $43 to be specific, so I thought maybe I could pick up a cheap, Chinese jersey.  Imagine my surprise when I saw the kit above for $39.98.

So here’s the full skinny on the Coconut Ropamo Team Summer Kit…

The chamois is quite nice.  Surprisingly, actually.  I expected a 20-30 mile kit.  I wouldn’t be afraid to wear that kit on a 100km ride, without hesitation.

The jersey isn’t well cut for fit.  For me, the arms are a little tight and the body is a little loose and long, though my daughter said I look good.

The bibs feel really nice though the upper shoulder straps have that seam right up the middle.  That’s a little off-putting but I’m not one to have problems with seams, so they felt great to me.

Here’s the one problem:  Like many higher quality kits on the market these days, you can tell my religion in those shorts.  My wife has informed me that I am not to wear them in the presence of other women and I will be relegated to non-stop rides so I won’t have to get off the bike.  I don’t necessarily blame her for implementing the rules, either.

Still, if you’ve got serious budget limits, you could do a lot worse, for more money, than the Coconut Ropamo kit.  The kit is much better than the price tag suggests, especially the chamois – and that’s the part that really counts anyway.

Some Tips for Polishing Your Bike: Sometimes a Bull in the China Shop not only Works, It’s just what the Frame Doctor Ordered.

As you may or may not remember, I had my Trek in for a couple of decals… I had my name added to my top tube. Well, it didn’t come back the way it went in… It came back ugly, and part of that is due to the fact that I didn’t break the bike down so it couldn’t be baked after the decals were clear-coated in. Long story short, I waited two weeks for the moisture to work its way out naturally and it cleared up a little bit, but not much…

Now, normally to brighten up a clear-coated frame, you hand buff it with Pledge Future Acrylic Floor Polish (seriously, and you need the right flavor so be careful here). In this case, however, I was pretty sure elbow grease wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

Before:

Folks, I didn’t have high hopes of applying some floor polish to that and it going away.  Not only that, I couldn’t, for the life of me, find the right polish, so I went with what I knew would work. I bought a Ryobi random orbit polisher for $26 and some McGuire’s polishing compound and went to town… First with the applicator cover, then the polishing cover, making sure never to stop in one place and not to hit one area too hard. This is what I ended up with after about ten minutes of easy, careful work:

Bob literally is my uncle.

There are a few common sense things to remember, random orbit polishers create heat. Heat and carbon fiber do not mix.  You have to keep moving or you burn through the clear coat or worse, delaminate the carbon fiber. BE VERY CAREFUL. Other than that, the fix was a lot easier than I anticipated and I had time to sit back on the couch and type this post before dinner… Oh, and I fixed a blemish on my wife’s bike, as well.  That took less than five minutes.  I had never polished anything before.  Not once, ever.  I watched a YouTube video.

Some repairs take a little more than the dainty approach. For those, be a bull and polish those blemishes out… or don’t if you’re not mechanically inclined – it would be far better to take it to a shop that can charge you a ridiculous amount of money to polish the frame than mess up and burn a carbon fiber frame.

Now, there is one other way to shine up a cloudy frame but it’s scary. See, when a frame is shot with clear coat, if you can’t bake the moisture out, it can cloud the finish. To get that out, you can take a heat gun and on the low setting, “bake” the moisture out. Now if I have to tell you about heat and carbon fiber frames, you don’t want to try this. If I don’t have to tell you, then you’re likely too nervous to do it anyway. I tried and it did clear it up a little but you can see in the photos above, there was still a lot to be desired. The polisher did the heavy lifting.  I didn’t have a heat gun though, and I wasn’t about to buy one.  I used my wife’s hair dryer.

They say to drink a lot of water, I just filter mine through ground coffee beans first… Thanks Again, California. You give New Meaning to the Phrase “Stick in the Mud”… Ya Dopes.

Trigger (heh) warning: I don’t particularly like California or Californians. I don’t like their arrogance or the fact that, somehow, they’ve come to rely on politicians who continually screw up all things good and happy, causing everyone to hate everyone else. This post will reflect that disdain for politicians, Californians and other general sticks in the mud. This post will not be my fit in my usual PG category posts. You have been trigger (heh) warned.

California is at it again, taking the best in life and exploiting it to remove all of the joy and happiness, bastardizing scientific research in the process… and all in the name of your safety. It’s kind of what California does (that gives me an idea, but we’ll get to that in a minute). In California, nobody can ever be happy, people must live on the screwed up edge of: “We must do more! We MUST remind the people of how necessary and brilliant we are!” I don’t like California because its idiocy tends to infect the rest of the US. When they threaten session, I say they can’t get there fast enough.

In fact, did you know the self-esteem movement, that which has likely led to more unmarriageable men than any other single “idea” in the history of humankind, can actually be traced back to California? Better, and not surprisingly, the science that was used to back up the need for changes to the education system was skewed and manipulated to support that lunacy.

Well, California is at it again, this time training their keen brand of idiocy and ignorance on coffee.

See, according to California’s “Council for Education and Research in Toxics (CERT).” coffee causes cancer (specifically a chemical created in the roasting process). Now, if you don’t know already, the study used to suggest that there may be a link to the chemical and cancer was conducted using the overdose method, where testers take the maximum tolerable amount of a chemical and inject it into a small animal. If the small animal gets cancer, bingo. The rub is that the small animal would have to inject something like the equivalent of 486 gallons of coffee a week into its body to cause cancer. Then you have to adjust that to human proportions… And folks, I’m not over exaggerating… I’m under exaggerating. In other words, there’s just no freaking way.

In fact, and let this sink in for just a second, The American Institute for Cancer Research lists coffee as a food that fights cancer. Allow me to channel Samuel L. Jackson for just a moment. Mother f***er, click on the mother****in’ “Research” tab. I’m not even going to copy and paste the quote, mother****er. Better, have a look at all the cancers coffee is shown to fight. Hey, here’s a mother****in’ idea, what does the World Health Organization say about coffee? Well, let’s see:

The World Health Organisation has cleared coffee of causing cancer

So, in other words, everyone else on the freaking planet has discovered that coffee is actually good for you, and in many cases decades ago, but that’s not good enough for the anti-science fun police in California. They’ve deemed it necessary to make convenience stores label coffee as a possible cause of cancer.

Here’s that idea I wrote of earlier…. How about a little truth in advertising, there California? I want the next commercial from the tourism board of California (whatever that bureaucracy is named) to include a disclaimer that while California may be one of the more beautiful places in America, its political apparatus foments hatred and division of its people by constantly attacking happiness itself and that human contact should be kept to a bare minimum lest you accidentally bump into one of those who support a life devoid of happiness and are infected with that resident’s penchant for supporting those attacks.

Motherf***in’ @$$#oles.

What I know about abnormal pain and cycling; Distinguishing REAL pain from “my butt hurt ‘cuz I rode hard”…

Trigger (heh) warning:  I’ve always had a problem with the phrase “listen to your body” and I’ve poked fun at it from time to time.  I’m about to do it again, but only mildly.  You have been trigger (heh) warned.

I’ve always had a problem with the phrase “listen to your body”.  If we’re being honest, all too often “listening” isn’t the problem, it’s the interpretation of what the body is saying that messes people up.  All too often I’m amazed at what people take time off riding or running for.  Little tweaks, minor disturbances, tiny discomforts, a little twinge here or there under the guise of “listening” to… um… something.

I go by this simple rule:  If I can walk, I can ride.  This isn’t to say that has the possible chance of being the wrong thing to do, I just haven’t run into a situation like that yet, pardon the pun.

Last week, I wrote about my back barking at me.  I was in a fairly ridiculous amount of pain all day, every day – I messed it up, somehow, but I couldn’t figure out how.  I thought the issue might be tight hamstrings, but when I think back, I never have problems with tight hamstrings unless I’m riding on a saddle that’s too wide and I haven’t changed any saddles.  Then I went back to when it started hurting in the first place – when I took the Trek to the shop to have my name put on the top tube….  I rode my gravel bike on the trainer for a week or so.  The set-up is more upright compared against my other road bikes and it doesn’t have as much cockpit reach (22″ opposed to 22-1/2″)…  That’s when my back started barking.

Still, if I can walk, I can ride…

And I could definitely still walk.  The first day outside on the bike (last Friday) in a month, hurt pretty bad but I loosened up around mile fifteen (give or take).  I didn’t care anyway, I was outside!  Saturday, Mrs. Bgddy and I took the tandem out and that hurt.  All of that time in the saddle and pedaling a lot harder (tandems are about 20-30% harder than a single bike on the captain).   Still, outside, didn’t care.  Sunday was more of the same on the tandem.  You know the drill.  I could walk, so I could ride.

All this week I was in pain but I rode anyway… till Wednesday.  My daughter had a swim meet and there was no way I had enough time to fit in a ride, even on the trainer.  So I took a day off for the first time in two weeks.  My back didn’t straighten up.  I spent the day with a nagging back.  Still, I could walk, so I could ride.  I got home from work and dutifully mounted the Trek on the stand at quarter after Five… and 20 minutes in, I could feel my saddle nose in a way one doesn’t want to feel a saddle nose whilst riding.  I rode for another 10 minutes to see if I could shift my way into feeling better.  Nope.  At 30 minutes in, I dismounted, grabbed my Allen wrenches from the bike room, and adjusted the nose of the saddle down an eighth of a turn each on the back and front bolt (back out the back bolt, tighten the front – that’ll lower the nose).  I got back on the bike and the adjustment was a little too much.  It felt like I was sliding off the saddle, from back to nose.  I loosened the front bolt a sixteenth.

Bingo.

I rode the last fifteen minutes and felt quite nice actually.  Take a guess at whose back doesn’t hurt so bad this morning…  It’s not completely healed but the pressure is off and I don’t feel it sitting here writing this post, a distinct change for the better.

Folks, the normal “listen to your body” deal is take a bunch of time off and heal up, then continue at a cautious pace, blah, blah, blah.  If I’d have done that, it’d be another two months before I figured out what the real problem was, I’d be slower, fatter, and I’d have missed out on four fantastic days of outdoor cycling in the middle of winter…  Instead, I’m fitter, faster, and I fixed the root of the problem – all because I told my body to shut up and take it.

I am not a doctor and I don’t play one on this blog.  I don’t trust my doctor, either, because he’d have me taking time off too…  That’s what doctors do.  So, how do I know when to take time off and when to tell my body to suck it up?  I don’t have a good answer, other than “if I can walk, I can ride”.  The rest tends to work out in the wash.

The answer, methinks, is to do what you feel is right.  Just make sure the interpretation is the right one.  And if you’re going to hurt yourself, don’t do what I do!  Listen to your body and take some time off!  Or somethin’…

 

Is Lance Armstrong “Cycling’s Greatest Fraud”?

I watched a video on YouTube the other day that labeled Lance Armstrong cycling’s greatest fraud. How true is that though?

Look, I’m not going to try to explain away what Armstrong did. He doped and he’s a cheater, he lied about it. On the other hand, has anyone ever not lied about it until they were absolutely f***ed into a corner? No. He also did just like most in cycling back then – lest we forget the huge French doping bust the year before he first won a TdF. There’s no doubt and no arguing against the fact that he cheated, but cycling’s biggest fraud?

Please. Let’s back off from the hyperbole for just a second.

Eddy Merckx, the greatest cyclist of all time, was caught doping three times more often than Armstrong (that’s 3 for Eddy, 1 for Lance). In 1998 a French team was caught with a whole entire car-load full of dope. If you actually listen to those in the know, the vast majority of teams were doping back then, it was just what you did. There’s a truckload of athletes in the mix with him, too. Cyclists, football players, baseball players… Take your pick.

See, here’s my problem: With all of the hyperbole surrounding Armstrong, and the “he is the worst cheater ever” crowd, it never rises above emotion. There’s no reason he’s the worst ever, he just is and I’m at fault for some crazy reason because I actually need a reason, not just a bunch of emotion.

I watched that whole documentary and I didn’t see anything that resembled evidence making him “worse” than any other of the cheaters except… that he was a better liar than Floyd Landis. Floyd admittedly sucked at lying.

In other words, take the emotion out and you’ve got another doping cyclist and a great liar. Just like every other doping cyclist. Except Floyd Landis.

Armstrong isn’t cycling’s greatest fraud – any cyclist who dopes fits that bill.

Call him the sport’s biggest “liar, liar, pants on fire” or even “cycling’s nastiest meany pants” but he’s no more a fraud that everyone else who cheated… which is basically almost every pro.

Look at it this way, prior to 2007, I know of two male pro cyclists who didn’t cheat. Two. Greg LeMond and that other guy. I don’t remember his name. Ironically.

One final note… if you have to hate Armstong, hate him for this: