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Hints And Tips List

High Inflation Welcome

posted 27 Feb 2012, 11:37 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 27 Feb 2012, 11:38 ]

With a few of the crew getting a visit from the puncture fairy recently during races and training runs, I thought it would be a good idea to remind everybody about the best way to avoid punctures.

Correct tyre pressure for road and mountain bike cycling is essential. If you have the incorrect tyre pressure in your bike you honestly have to expect problems. For a road bike with 700c high-pressure wheels, the correct pressure will be around 100 to 120 psi. For a mountain bike being ridden off-road, the tyre pressure will be anywhere from 35 to 60 psi.

Upturned Bike with punctured wheelOn a road bike, read the sidewall of your tyre. There you will find the manufacturer's tyre pressure recommendation. It will say something like "max pressure 110psi." My recommendation is to run your bike at this max pressure. If everything is in good condition, that is tyres, tubes and rim tapes, then running the maximum pressure will not cause blowouts but it will improve your rolling resistance and greatly decrease your chance of getting a pinch flat.

On your mountain bike things are not so clear cut. The ideal pressure will depend on a lot of variables, for example, tyre brand, type of tube used, terrain that you will be riding over and your weight. So as you can see, it is hard to make hard and fast rules.

The most important point here is to experiment a bit to find out what tyre pressure works best for you and stick to that. If you run too low a pressure you will be forever getting pinch flats and if they are too high your tyres will slide around too much. You will be very surprised at the difference 2 or 3 pounds will make.

All this information is irrelevant if you don’t own an accurate tyre pressure gauge. There is no other way you will know whether you have 95 psi in your road bike tyres or 110, or if 40 or 45 works best in your Mtb. And remember; check your tyre pressures every time you are planning on going for a spin, as you will find that over 24 to 48 hours your tyres will deflate by 5 to 20 psi.

Group Cycling

posted 13 Feb 2012, 12:34 by Kevin Monaghan

A few basic skills are needed in order to successfully cycle with any group. You must be capable of cycling a straight line, controlling your speed, anticipating possible problems and watching the road ahead of you. At the same time, be alert for activity in your peripheral vision.

Hold your line -- If you have watched a professional cycling race, you know that every rider needs to "hold a line." This means that cyclists need to be capable of riding a line parallel with the edge of the road. Practice this skill by riding 12 to 24 inches to the left of the hard shoulder line while trying to keep parallel with that line.

The Slipstream – Group spins incorporate pace lines—or some version thereof—into their sessions. In its most basic form, a pace line occurs when one rider pulls a line of other riders behind them. Each person follows the rider in front of them by staying within a few inches to a few feet of their leader's rear wheel. This area of least wind resistance is known as a slipstream. Staying in the lead rider's slipstream is called drafting. Riders that are in the draft position save upwards of 30% of energy compared to the lead rider. If you've ever had a chance to draft, you know that riding 20 miles per hour is significantly easier when you're following rather than leading. The difference is even more pronounced in a head wind.

Control your speed -- The lead rider in a pace line can stay at the front for just a few seconds or for several minutes. When you join a group that is rotating the lead position and it is time for you to lead, resist pouring on the gas to show everyone how strong you are. A pace line is happiest when the pace is steady. Fast accelerations or jerky braking motions disrupt the line and can cause a crash.

Keep eyes and ears open -- The first person in the group can see clear road. Thus, they need to point out road hazards—as do the rest of the people in the line. Pointing out hazards and verbal communication skills are important. For this reason, do not use headphones in a group riding situation. When you are following someone, avoid getting a visual fixation on their rear wheel. Look several feet ahead, keeping the distance between your front wheel and the rider ahead of you in your peripheral vision. Watch for road hazards as well as motion to either side of the pace line. Listen for cars approaching from the rear & give the “CAR Back” call to warn the rest of the group.

Group Cycling


posted 6 Feb 2012, 14:39 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 6 Feb 2012, 15:09 ]

Whatever the weather conditions, your fluid requirements will increase significantly when cycling. Losses from exhaled breath and from sweating will serve to reduce your blood volume, resulting in your heart having to work much harder. By the time you feel thirsty you will already be dehydrated, so try to drink small, frequent quantities of water or a sports energy drink throughout your spin. It is also important to drink plenty before you start out on your cycle especially in the morning as you haven’t been taking in fluids during the night.

The replacements of salt is very important also, to do this I generally take two bottles with me on a spin one with an electrolyte/energy combination and one with plain old water! After your spins it also helps to keep taking on the fluids (I don’t think BulmersCounts!) to help the body recover. Most professional cyclists usually take a protein shake straight after a race or tough training session to help the body and muscles recover.
Not the way to hydrate!Bulmers is not the most suitable form of Hydration!

Wet Weather Cycling

posted 30 Jan 2012, 15:29 by Kevin Monaghan

After the weekend's wet spin we've put a few pointers together that might help you for your next spin!

Dress to Stay Dry: The wetter you get the colder you are going to be. Being cold and wet is a quick way to get sick. Keep your core warm. A waterproof vest or jacket is essential for heavy conditions. Wear a wicking base layer to wick sweat away from the body. Cover your shoes with neoprene overshoes to insulate them when they are soaked, and use full fingered water- and wind-resistant gloves.

Clear Lenses:
In low light, clear or yellow lenses for eye protection are critical. When riding in the rain, normal sunglasses cut out too much light and can make road obstacles hard to see. If you are still having issues seeing, a cycling cap placed under the helmet will shield some of the rain and road spray from hitting your glasses.

Puddles: It may be fun to speed through puddles but avoid them. More than one cyclist has broken a wheel on a submerged pothole in what appeared to be a harmless stretch of standing water.

Watch Those Brake Pads: A mixture of road grit and water turns out to be the fastest method to erode rubber brake pads. Pads that last a full season in the dry will run metal to metal on the rims in a month of wet-weather training rides. Also, most rims require a full revolution before the brake pads squeegee the water from the braking surface and begin stopping. Plan ahead and brake early.

Watch the Corners:
Cornering in the rain can be tricky and dangerous. Shift as much of your weight on the outside pedal as possible. Use the body to keep the bike more upright when cornering. Lean your body more than the bike. By doing this, you will be able to corner with a reasonable amount of speed, as the body will tend to remain balanced over the bike when the tyres slide over painted lines and unseen oil patches.

Mudguards: We won’t go into all that again, but they are essential!

Chain Lubrication: Use a heavier chain lube. The lube won't penetrate into the links unless the chain is completely clean and dry when you apply it, do not use WD40 as a lubricant on your chain.

Wet W
Racing In The Rain  (2010 EXpert Mullingar 2-Day)

What to Eat

posted 23 Jan 2012, 10:05 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 23 Jan 2012, 12:20 ]

Cycling Food
Many cyclists wonder what they should eat before, during and after their cycle. Proper nutrition can make a big difference in your performance, endurance, speed and energy. The key is to experiment and find out what works for you and your body, because different rides require different nutrition. Use your training rides as practice and see what suits you and your stomach. Here are some basic guidelines.

Before your Spin:
Unless you are riding a short distance at an easy pace, it's difficult to cycle in the morning on an empty stomach. You need to get your blood sugar up for energy and you need calories for your body to burn as fuel. One to two hours before your ride, have a light, high-carbohydrate meal. Toast with peanut butter, yogurt, a banana and whole wheat cereal are good choices. I generally have a bowl of porridge with honey!

During your Spin:
If you are riding longer than 2 hours, you will need to consume some calories, carbs and electrolytes or you may “get the knock” when your glycogen stores are used up. Bring along sports drinks, sports beans or other healthy snacks such as fig cookies, bananas or energy bars. About every 15 to 20 minutes, consume some liquid, and about every 45 minutes a snack. For rides shorter than 2 hours, water is usually sufficient.

After your Spin:
It is very important to refuel within the of 10 to 15 minutes, when your body needs nutrients to repair muscle tissue and replace glycogen stores. Consume a mix of carbs and protein. Eggs, toast, protein shakes, protein bar, yogurt, a smoothie with fruit or a turkey sandwich are all good choices. Eating immediately will alleviate muscle soreness and fatigue that you might experience later in the day.


posted 17 Jan 2012, 14:09 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 17 Jan 2012, 14:13 ]

The committee would like to ask everybody attending club spins on Sunday mornings to try and be in place in your designated sections and ready to leave for 9:00 a.m. By doing so we can get the spins rolling out on time so we are not gone all day, thus keeping our better halves happy!   To facilitate this, I find that by getting your gear and bike ready the evening before a spin means that you’re more efficient with your time in the morning. Preparation is the key to a good spin.

Road Cycling - Climbing

posted 9 Jan 2012, 15:11 by Kevin Monaghan

With most of the groups now concentrating on hillier roads, this week’s tip is on how to ride them for efficiently to get the most from your spin. Select the proper gear for the hill. Find a gear that allows you to maintain your rhythm. If the grade changes, you may need to shift often to stay in the groove. Stay relaxed. If you tense up, it will make getting up the hill all the more difficult. Keep your arms loose. Don't hold the bars in a tight grip. Sit back on the seat and focus on your spin. Pedal smoothly. Try not to favuor one leg or the other.

Standing up in the pedals from time to time is good. It allows you to switch muscle groups and stretch out a bit.  Concentrate on breathing out. Breathe all the way out and let your lungs fill back up on their own. Power over the crest of the hill. Many riders start to ease up before they get to the top. Keep the power turned on and you will have a smoother transition into the flat or downhill.
Ballindurrow (aka Piggery) Hill
Ballindurrow (aka Piggery) Hill

Safe Cycling

posted 2 Jan 2012, 14:39 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 3 Jan 2012, 04:56 ]

This week’s tip is about rider safety  and good road sense. First off you should ALWAYS wear a helmet!  Most cycling deaths are due to head injuries.

Don't wear headphones, you're depriving yourself of one of your senses . Headphones block out the sounds of oncoming traffic and traffic approaching from behind .

Maintain good road sense - Ride with traffic, obeytraffic lights and all signs, and give right of way to cars. Use hand signals to alert drivers to your intentions.

Watch out for potholes & debris on the roads and if in a group call out the hazards to your fellow cyclists.


Pre-Cycle Checklist

posted 22 Dec 2011, 06:31 by Kevin Monaghan

Brake Blocks
This week we’ll look at what we should do with our bikes before we set off.  First thing we should do is to check our tyre pressure, it is very important to have our tyres pumped up to the correct pressure as an under-inflated tyre has more rolling resistance, is more prone to pinch flats, and may even come off the rim. You should check your tyre wall to see the recommended pressure for your tyres as they can vary with different manufacturers, but for this time of year 100psi is a about right.

Checking both your front & back brakes for rubbing, on the wheel-rim or frame, is the next step. This stops damaging the rim or frame & also makes the spin more enjoyable as the wheel moves more freely. You should also check that your brakes are working correctly & adjust accordingly if they are not.

Checking your chain is well lubricated is also worth checking. There are many different types of different lubricants available but for this time of year a wet lube is advisable to use.

What to Carry With You On A Cycle

posted 12 Dec 2011, 13:59 by Kevin Monaghan

Cycling Repair Kit
This week’s tip is: what we should carry with us while we’re out on a spin. This may seem pretty straightforward but they’re essential.  A spare tube or two (especially if you’re on your own), tyre levers (At least two), a pump or CO2 tyre inflator & canister, the latter is very good at getting your tyres up to a high pressure to complete your spin, a multi tool with various size Allen keys, flat & Philips head screw driver. These come with many other tools but if you have one with these tools it should get you out of most situations. 

A fully charged mobile phone is essential if you are on your own, because you never know what might happen. A couple of self-sticking patches can come in handy for various reasons, e.g. put on inside of tyre if you get a tear when you puncture. Another mistake a lot of us make (including me) is that we don’t carry I.D; again this is very important if you are out on your own! 

Finally money: for various reasons, for getting the all-important cup of coffee/tea, for phone call if you are stranded or for bribing the strongest rider not to drop you!

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