Monday, March 27, 2006

What Tech Tips do you have?

Got some comments about the tech tips from downcycles. I don't know about the WD40 or Pam being used to shed mud off the bikes. I wouldn't do this, would you?? Environmental issues aside, it just doesn't seem practical. I think it would be more of a mess to coat a bike with these than to wash off mud. It would get on clothing, maybe cause you to loose your grip on the bars because it is, after all, slippery stuff.

Also got some comments on aligning tire logos with valve stems. I actually am a dork according to the downcycle guys. I align my logo with the valve stem for flat repair reasons. It gives me a point of reference to locate a thorn or glass in the tire which punctured the tube. I never thought of looking at other's tires to see where the logo/stem I know!!!!!!

Here is my own personal tech tip: I like a clean chain, keep the drivetrain running smoother and lessens wear and tear on expensive components. I have put together a cleaning bucket with a box of disposable latex gloves (clean hands), my chain cleaner gizmo that attaches to the chain, bottle of bio-degreaser, rags (seperate ones for wiping down bike and wiping down chain) and brush. After a dirty ride or a few "clean" rides, I grab my bucket and do a quick drivetrain cleaning. Only takes a few minutes for each bike. I'm teaching my bike riding boys to do this also, its part of our after-ride routine and I don't have any gunk build-up issues. Just make sure to wipe off excess lube from the chain, my son was skipping this part and had a very gunky drivetrain in a short amount of time, it was more work to clean it up than to just do this easy maintanance. My Bike Guy always smiles and comments how nice it is to work on a CLEAN bike when we do need to take them in.

I also read a GREAT article in Mountain Bike Action Magazine about breaking in new disk brakes. In a nut shell, break them in on pavement, before riding in any dirt, you do not want to burn in any dirt into the rotors, which are porous. Alternate light squeezing the brakes and getting them hot, then releasing them and letting them cool, even pouring cool water on them to cool off quicker. Repeat this process a few times. *Warnings - using high speeds and a heavy hand application of the brakes will cause glazing over the pads and rotors, which will effect full braking potential. The article goes on to say if your brakes are noisy or not powerful enough after this, they are most likely not properly aligned. Go to for more.

Finally talked my friend into buying a bike and my other friend is also in the process of buying a bike. Good beginner bikes from the Bike Guy's shop. A co-worker bought a Walmart bike but it's all she could afford and it WILL roll, sort of. At least she's making the effort. I'm working on 2 more friends to convince them to get bikes and we can all ride the bike paths at lunch on sunny days. I ride no matter the weather unless it's really windy and know that most of these rides will be "strolls in the park" rather than a real ride but that's ok. The more people who stroll ride, the more I can take off without worring about leaving someone behind alone.

It's amazing at how some people just don't go outside. Talk about stuck in a rut. My office has about 65 employees and all but 11 of us are OVERWEIGHT by 20 lbs or more. At least 50% of them are majorly overweight. Friend #1 with the new bike is really overweight, to the point she was worried that they didn't make bikes strong enough to hold her. I talked to Bike Guy, he assured me he can make a bike work for her. She also has flexibility issues because she can't reach or bend due to her size. Took her into the shop, he showed her some mountain bikes that are beefy enough and in her price range (K2 Zed). He's going to raise up the bars, shorten the stem and she wants one of those HUGE (I'm talking REALLY HUGE) seats, like at least 10 inches wide, weighs a ton. Advised her about chaffing, etc, but she thinks a small seat will "disappear" (good sense of humor) so I see her point. The goal is to get her comfortable as possible and get her out riding. She didn't like the look of the crusiers or comfort bikes. She is also upgrading to mech disk brakes, she doesn't think rim brakes will work for her due to the inertia of her. size.

I'm waiting, waiting, waiting. I feel like I'm on HOLD, can't do the things I want to do until the shoulder is all healed. It is getting better and I have more movement. I'm finally up to some strengthening movements, use this TINY rubber tube to BARELY pull on 1x day. Unbelievably WHOOSEY but it wears my shoulder out and it's sore the next day. Still icing 3x day, passive arm raises using the pulley 3x's day, trying to put my arm behind my back and move it up and down over my butt (this one is difficult) and started trying to raise my arm up under it's own power as high as I can, which is only about 45 degrees, then place my hand on the wall and pull my arm up the wall with my fingers as far as I can go in the pain-free range, with my arm out front and then out to the side.

The out front movement is harder than out to the side, which they tell me is backwards. Im just unusual, I guess: don't recognize "pain" the way most people do (there are sensations that are uncomfortable but not painfull and then there is PAIN). Anyway, I am usually worn out after physical therapy and my shoulder still feels like it's sort of unhinged.

I am turning into a slug and a whiner. I feel the strength leaving my body from inactivity. It's bugging me. I tossed around the idea of a light jog, gave it up quickly because the jarring would cause PAIN and probably cause things to swell up. The weather is warming up a bit, sun has been out but still cold with windchill. I was looking out the window yesterday, it's time to get out the road bike and start riding. I got on my new, unused Santa Cruz, bounced on the suspension a few time (was holding my self up against the wall), I'm able to reach the bars now and was REALLY TEMPTED to take it OUTSIDE for a RIDE! But with no real control yet of my arm, I am sure it would be a huge mistake. I need to get the studded Nokians off it, but can't because they are the tightest tire I have ever tried to get on/off and I just can't do it even with a fully functioning arm/shoulder. I will have to schlep all my tires from my bikes and my son's bike to the bike shop and let Bike Guy do it.

So...was this post long enough??


steve said...

Some of my favourite tech tips:

* Save magnets, especially rare earth magnets (as seen in hard drives, once they're ripped open).

* Chain cleaner can be recycled many times before it starts losing its cleansing power. Take two plastic containers (I use icecream tubs), one is the "clean" tub and one is the "dirty" tub. Put a magnet in the bottom of both (see, they're turning out handy already!). Pour used chain cleaner into the dirty tub. Once the dirty tub is full, take a couple of containers like coffee tins or mayonnaise jars, use elastic bands to hold coffee filters on top, then strain the dirty chain cleaner through. Empty the containers into the clean tub, and you have chain cleaner ready to be used again. The magnets will pick up most of the dirt, fish them out every now and then and wipe them off.

* If your chain cleaning device doesn't have a magnet, affix a magnet to the bottom. It's amazing how much extra dirt will get pulled off.

* My chains get really dirty in winter (even though I clean them daily), so to make them last longer I get a spare chain and a sheet of KMC masterlinks (I don't like the SRAM ones - the KMC's are disposable, but at least they're easy to get off, even if it is with a chain tool). After I've cleaned the chain with the chain cleaner at the end of the week, I break the chain and put it in a coffee tin (yes, I drink quite a lot of coffee). Next, I spray the chain heavily with WD40, put the lid on the tin, and leave it for a few minutes. Drain off the amazingly dirty WD40, then fill the can with hot water - though not boiling. Let the chain soak in there for a few minutes to lift up the WD40 to the surface, then drain it off. Put the chain in another can, give it a light spray of WD40 (otherwise the surface of the chain may lift off and attach to the coffee tin, if it's metal) and put it to one side until next week.

* At the start of winter season, give the bike a good cleanup, and when it's dry, I use car wax to polish it up. This will have the same effect as WD40/Pam, but will last pretty much all season. Yes, it's messy, but it's a once a year thing.

* Chain cleaner does a great job of cleaning off rims and rim brakes. This is especially important in winter - if I don't clean off the rims and brake pads nightly I can feel the salt and dirt grinding off a layer of the rims the next morning! I also take the pads off once a week and use a sharp knife to pick out the bits of metal that invariably accumulate in there - I don't know if they're coming up off the road, or off the rim, but I always have at least one chunk in there...

* Save inner tubes that can't be repaired (blown valve core, completely shredded, whatever). The rubber can be cut up and used for shims (eg, for lights), covering chain stays to prevent chain slap, emergency bungee cords, rubber bands with non-standard width... The list goes on. The rubber also has the weird property that after it's been rinsed off and exposed to air for a while, it'll stick to itself - not quite self-adhesive, but sticky enough to give a really good grip.

* Try Continental brand inner tubes. They have a nut that screws onto the valve, so when you're pumping up the tube the valve doesn't try and pop under the rim. They also seem to hold air better than generic Chen Shin tubes. They're about $1.50 more than generic tubes at MEC.

I rambled on a bit there, sorry :-)

Hope your shoulder gets all healed up soon - I presume you haven't been drinking your cocktails due to the pain meds?

Tim said...

I've always considered the idea of coating your bike with oil to be one of the dumbest ideas in the sport. Dirt sticks to wet lubes, which is why I won't let WD-40 near my chain, much less my frame. Mud and dirt wash off far more easily than oily substances. Besides, who wants to ride a slimy bike?

George said...

You guys *clean* your bikes?

Just kidding.

I usually ride my SS when I know it's gonna be a muddy ride, way easier to maintain then the geared hardtail.

One swipe on the chain with a rag and a squirt of oil and I'm done:-)

Hope you get back on the bike soon, don't worry about losing fitness, I'm sure you have a good base to work from.

Michelle said...

Thanks guys! No, don't worry, I don't mix pain meds with cocktails! I am really into staying alive :)