Knowing and using good cornering techniques can be the difference in experiencing a thrilling downhill or frightful descent. Some factors in cornering include anticipating the corner, observing road conditions, speed, weight shift, body position and posture, pedaling, shifting, and braking. Riding consistent is also key and this means taking corners in the same manner when riding with others.
To avoid getting stranded on a ride, there are some basic tools to carry. The number of tools to carry depends on factors such as distance, riding conditions, number of cyclists, etc.
SPARE TUBE(S) & PATCH KIT: A flat tire is the most common issue that cyclists face, so having a spare tube or two and/or a patch kit could solve a blow out or a puncture.
Having two or three tire levers undoubtedly will help you remove the tire from the wheel. The number of levers can depend on your rim depth and hand strength.
BIKE PUMP, CO2 CARTRIDGE, & ADAPTOR:
A micro hand pump and/or CO2 cartridge with adaptor don’t take up much space. You will be glad you have these on hand if a tire is low or flat. Check out various types of adaptors as some you can control air flow. A koozy is recommended for the CO2 cartridge as it becomes quite cold.
Packing a multi-tool can solve many repairs. Some features to include are:
• a variety of hex/Allen wrenches
• a chain tool
• a Phillips screwdriver
• a flathead screwdriver
Having these tools on hand could prevent some riding mishaps.
Whether you ride year-round or ride seasonally, there are several options to prepping your bike for riding. From decades of riding, I suggest finding a professional and reputable shop that can offer minor adjustments to overhauling. Most shops will let you know what needs attention. The do-it-yourself (DIY) method is helpful, so that cyclists can learn more about her/his bicycle and potentially identify issues more easily. Mechanical advice varies depending on your riding style and riding terrain and conditions.
Below is a basic pre-ride checklist. See URLs for more details.
FRAME: Starting with a clean bike, look for paint chips, cracks, and dents. If you detect cracks or dents, take your bike to your chosen bike shop.
WHEELS & TIRES: Determine ideal pressure for you – it depends on your weight, tire size, riding conditions, etc. Inflate tires to inspect for cuts, cracks, and punctures. Additionally, check the tire wear markers. Replace if needed. Test wheels for trueness and for loose or bent spokes. Finally, check that the hubs spin smoothly without any play side to side.
BRAKES: Remove tires to inspect brake pads for wear and debris. Look at and lube cables for smooth operation. Check that the pads contact the rims and not the tires.
DRIVE TRAIN: Clean and lube the chain, front and rear derailleurs, and gears and cables. Looking at a clean chain, look for uneven wear. Chain replacement will depend on how often it and the gears are cleaned along with riding conditions. Adjust derailleurs and cable tension if necessary after running through the gears.
CONTACT POINTS: Make sure the seat post and saddle hardware is tight. Also, inspect handlebars, stem, and well as brake and shift levers. Check all other nuts and bolts for tightness. If you drop the bike 3-4 inches from the ground, listen for loose or rattling items.
PEDALS & SHOES: Pedals need to spin freely. Clipless pedals require that cleats are tight and not worn. If you are fitted to your bike, make sure to have the cleat adjusted, too.
INTERMITTENT MAINTENANCE: Airing up tires each ride prolongs life and reduces the chance of flats. Cleaning and lubing the chain and gears can ensure smooth shifting and longevity of parts.
MAINTENANCE CHART: You can create a simple table or use an app such as Strava to keep track of maintenance. Make sure to include consumables as tires and tubes.
For a more detailed explanation of seasonal maintenance, see:
Finding healthful, nutritious, and simple recipes for cycling can be challenging, but to get started, see bicycling.com and susanstable.com. From there, you could explore allrecipes.com, epicurious.com, or other generic recipe sites. Knowing some basic nutrition and your fitness goals is helpful in choosing recipes. Endurance riding requires different fueling than does sprinting. Also, understanding your personal health needs contributes to selecting various ingredients in recipes (e.g. lactose intolerant, gluten-free, diabetes, etc.). Although many commercially-produced products offer convenience, ease-of-use, and long shelf life, they may not measure up to homemade nutrition bars, snacks, or meals that are easy to make and store.
There is so much nutrition, food, and cooking advice that it is hard to know what or who to follow. Several trusted sources for cyclists, specifically, are bicycling.com and cyclingweekly.com. These articles discuss general nutrition along with pre-, during, and post-riding nutrition recommendations. Also addressed are carbs, protein, fat, glucose, sodium, vitamins, minerals, caffeine, and more. Other cyclist food concerns are covered: amount, frequency, and type of food to be eaten. If you are interested in clean eating, paleo foods, vegan, or other types of food philosophies, they are all briefly covered on these sites.