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Tag Archives: riding tips

  • Rico's Rants: Don't get too upset over a little mud.

    Rico's Rants

    It's that time of year again. Everyone is pumped to get out on the bike without four layers and a full beard to keep the frost bite away. With more people on the trail come more problems, however.

    One problem here in our neck of the woods is spring rain and muddy trails. Nothing sparks more of a debate on the socials like a picture of a good, old rutted-out mud hole on your favorite trail. Mud is murder, right?

    Muddy MTB trail

    No, mud is not murder.

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  • How to Draft when Cycling

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    If you have ever watched the Tour de France or any professional cycling race, you have probably seen the riders lining up in single file and riding very close behind one another. This is called drafting and is an important technique that cyclists use to reduce energy output and increase speed on long races.

    However, it's a technique that is not only important for racers. Touring cyclists or anyone else who rides long distances in potentially windy areas should know how to draft; it can be the difference between a great afternoon ride and a hellish time fighting against the wind.

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  • 5 DIY Solutions for Cyclists

    DIY fender

    Many cyclists take pride in their ability to improvise solutions to various problems on the road. One of the best we've ever heard of was a touring duo who experienced too many flat tires on a remote stretch of agricultural land in the Midwest. Their solution? Take out the tube and stuff the tire with hay to preserve the rims and make it to the next town. It sounds bumpy, but it worked.

    Many cyclists have stories like this: times when they've had to think on the fly about how to get home or keep a bike limping along much further than its natural life. It's a great skill for cyclists to have, and in this article we're diving into some similar DIY solutions for non-emergencies. We're talking about creative things that can be both functional and easy to do. Sound fun? Let's jump into it.

    1. DIY fenders

    This is a trick that has been known to bike messengers and other urban cyclists for a long time, and it's used by the folks who don't want to break the smooth lines and cool style of their bike with fenders. Instead, do the DIY option: grab a piece of cardboard and cut or rip it into a strip about 8 or 9 inches wide and a couple of feet long. Take this piece and bend it down the middle, slotting it into the frame above the brakes on your rear wheel to intercept the water flicked off your rear wheel. It might not last long, but it will get you to your job or your date looking clean, all for the low price of free. Not bad!

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  • Tips for cycling in awful weather - Part 2

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    This is part two of an article looking at riding techniques for the worst weather. In part one, we went over some tips for snowy, blazing hot, and heavy rainfall conditions. In part two, we will look at riding in high winds and freezing cold temperatures. Let's jump into it!

    Raging winds

    When high winds rage across the landscape, cycling can be extremely difficult. Right up front we'd better say that sometimes biking is impossible (or impossibly dangerous) when it's extremely windy -- but there are some windy conditions that can be ridden in. Here are a few tips for getting it done.

    If the wind is blowing from directly behind you, congratulations! You're getting the best side of the wind without any of the drawbacks, and this article isn't for you. However, if the winds are blowing from the sides or the front, this advice will apply to you. Read on and learn.

    The wrong way to ride a bike in the wind.

    First, you will want to make sure to have the right posture. Try to block as little of the wind as possible -- the less resistance you have, the better. Tuck your elbows in towards your body and bend forwards to show as small of a profile as possible. This will be tougher on a mountain bike, but try. Every little bit helps.

    If other cyclists are around and are experienced with the technique, try drafting or forming an echelon formation to block as much of the wind as possible. If possible, try to take a route that sticks to low terrain -- higher elevations are more likely to get blasted by the wind.

    Along the same lines, try to secure any parts of your bicycle or clothing that may flap around in the wind, creating an annoyance or safety hazard and increasing your drag. Tuck in your jersey, tighten the straps and buckles on your bags, and make sure that everything is securely fastened. You don't want a nasty surprise when a loose strap blows into your chain, do you?

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  • Tips for cycling in awful weather - Part 1

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    Riding a bike in the worst weather can be a huge challenge. Rain, snow, sleet, hail and wind can be significant barriers, and all but the hardiest riders will stay home. Some folks are made of tougher stuff, though, and they have figured out the tricks for riding in these harsh conditions. This will be the first article in a series of two dealing with the subject: look out for the second article soon. Now, let's jump into it and learn some of the tricks of the hardiest riders in the world.

    When it snows outside

    Studded winter bike tire

    When the snow falls, smart cyclists stay inside. Suffice it to say, some of us aren't that smart. But in all seriousness, riding in the snow can actually be pretty safe if you do it right. First, forget about your road bike. Slick tires aren't going to cut it; you will want something pretty knobby. A few companies even make studded bike tires especially for the winter. Whatever tires you use, be extra careful of cars (they can slide too) and try to take back streets. You will be riding a lot slower than usual at any rate.

    Next, let a bit of air out of your tires. Running below maximum PSI will flatten your tire a bit for more contact with the road surface and better grip. Another pro tip: lower your saddle a bit; it will make it easier to stick out a leg to regain your balance. Watch out for ice, especially black ice that is hard to spot. Like in a car, steer into slides if you start to lose your grip. Fighting gravity will only put you on the ground quicker in this case! If you do take a tumble, try to roll into the fall and use your momentum to move sideways rather than straight down onto the hard ground (your body will thank you).

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  • Cycling in the Heat

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    In the summer months, many people avoid their bikes for the opposite reason that they don't ride in the wintertime. Now, the excuse is blazing heat and baking sun, rather than snow and frigid temperatures.

    Riding in the summertime has some unique challenges, foremost among them sun and heat. This article will share some strategies for dealing with hot summer rides.

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  • Cross-country (XC) Riding 101

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    Cross-country (XC) riding

    Cross-country (XC) mountain biking describes most styles of mountain biking. In recent years, there has been a push towards diversifying this group into other genres of MTB, which include all-mountain and trail bikes. These genres have been created to help differentiate the bikes' intended purposes and have helped specialize the diverse nature of XC riding.

    Cross-country riding, for the purposes of this article, is any situation where a rider is able to ride the entire trail without having advanced technical skills -- like needing to cross a 6-foot gap to stay on the course -- and is able to start and stop from the same spot (no shuttle or lift is needed). Point-to-point riding is a part of XC riding, but you have the capability of going in the reverse direction without outside assistance. This leaves a broad spectrum of what's considered XC, which is why so many people have embraced this style of riding as it encompasses so many different skill levels.

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  • How to ride a bike in the rain

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    Riding a bicycle in the rain is very intimidating to new riders, many of whom have memories of wet, miserable (and short) rides as children. It makes sense. Wet rides can be cold and uncomfortable, with saturated clothes causing painful chafing of cold, tender skin within minutes.

    Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way! Riding in the rain can be an enjoyable, warm, dry and comfortable activity with the right plan and the right gear. This guide will walk you through some of the basics of riding in the rain. With the information contained here, you will be able to ride on the wettest of days with confidence.

    Rain gear

    Cycling rain jacket

    The first thing we have to consider is how to stay dry, and that starts with rain gear. Waterproof clothing is essential to riding in the rain with comfort. For anything but the shortest rides, you should wear clothes made of waterproof and breathable fabrics like Gore-Tex.

    Unlike waterproof but non-breathable fabrics, clothing made from waterproof/breathable fabrics will wick sweat and moisture away from your body, which is critical. Without the ability to transfer sweat away from your body, even a normal-speed bike ride can leave you drenched from the inside.

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  • Bike Commuting 101

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    Bicycle commuting can be intimidating for new riders. Because of concerns about safety, weather, proper equipment and arriving at your destination sweaty, most people stick to their same old travel methods.

    They are missing out! Bike commuting is not only a great method of transportation, it’s a great way to explore the area you live, get exercise and fresh air, and reduce your environmental impact. With the proper preparation and the right equipment, bike commuting is easy and fun. Let’s dive into some of the important considerations.

    The Bike

    Commuter bike

    Choosing the right cycle is an important part of having a good commuting experience. While any bike could work for commuting, ideally you want an efficient cycle that has fender attachment points to keep mud off, rack mount points to carry pannier saddle bags, good handling for city streets, and comfortable geometry.

    Most commuters prefer either a road bike with drop handlebars -- which is the most efficient and fastest option -- or a specially made commuter bike with medium-size tires and a flat handlebar. Many riders also use mountain bikes, but these will be less efficient and are not ideal for longer distances.

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  • Bicycle Safety 101

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    One of the biggest considerations for bicycle riders is safety. Hundreds of cyclists are hurt in crashes and collisions every year. Unfortunately, most cyclists are not well briefed on safe riding. A few basic riding techniques could prevent the majority of these injuries.

    The methods of safe riding are easy but take practice and forethought. Most riders do not know these methods intuitively. It usually takes many years of regular riding to develop a good sense of traffic safety, but with this set of tips you can speed the process along and learn from more experienced riders.

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