The Bike Whisperer Speaks

The Bike Whisperer Speaks

Preparation – Mind, Body, Bike

You might not believe it, but summer is here.  For a lot of recreational riders, summer means event rides. Elephant Rock just had  great weekend.  Ride the Rockies just kicked off. Oh, and the Triple Bypass.  Pretty sure you haven’t forgotten about that. Now, let’s all just admit that we’ve all gotten off to a slow start in our riding this year.  Here’s the thing, if you are off to a slow start, your bike is too.  So here’s a quick rundown on stuff to check and get taken care of before your event: bullet point style. Pew. Pew. Pew.

  • Please get your tires checked and replaced if even close to necessary. I’ve worked dozens of these events and worn, bad, or inappropriate tires are one thing that ruin rides for good.  If your rear tire is flattened across the top, replace. If they’re cracking, replace.  Also, please rethink using performance race tires for your events. They might be light but they are not durable. They wear quickly and the provide little to protect against flats. For example, a 23mm Michelin Pro 4 is a poor tire choice for events like the Triple Bypass.  The tires we change at the side of the road are almost always performance race tires. Get something sturdier in nearly as wide as your bike will fit and enjoy the ride.  A good bike shop will take care of you.
  • People don’t usually expect the wrench to get worked up about fit but it’s so important.  If you haven’t been fit or you are experiencing discomfort, get it looked at.  No you don’t have to spend hundreds on fancy fits with lasers and robots and neural transmitters.  It doesn’t hurt to have a quick evaluation though. It could make or break your day.
  • So some things we can fix easily at the side of the road; shifting, brakes, even tires.  Wheels are  a different situation altogether. With so many spoke variations it is impossible for us to have everything we need to fix wheels. If you have broken 2 or 3 spokes in the past year then your wheels are very likely getting worn. You should replace them. Your bearings may be blown. Freehubs wear and seize.  These are all things that potentially end your ride or make it very unpleasant.  Speak with your mechanic about your wheels now and replace them before they ruin your day.
  • Did you know the Triple Bypass includes a little bit of climbing?  It does. Are you 100% sure your bike has the adequate gearing to make it easier on you?  The bike industry has done a lot in the last few years to make wider gearing more accessible.  If you have wondered at all if  could have just a little bit more range, talk to a good mechanic and they’ll make sure you have all the options you need.
  • It’s time to double check your extra gear. Bag. Pump. CO2. Tubes. Patch kit. Multi-tool. Small first aid. Sunscreen. Lip balm. Satellite phone. Sunglasses. Nutrition (take nutrition while your ride, not just at aid stations). Rain jacket. Inflatable raft. Layers. On these bigger rides it’s totally ok to carry a bigger bag or even pack than you normally would. Preparation is critical.

Just remember, the ability to remain comfortable and relaxed is so much more important than speed.  You’re in one of the most beautiful places on earth on your bike; soak it in.

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