Subject: 9  Misc


Subject: 9.1  Books and Magazines

  Bicycling Magazine, and Bicycling Magazine+Mountain Bike insert
  33 E Minor St
  Emmaus, PA 18098
  (215) 967-5171

  Bicycle Guide
  711 Boylston Street
  Boston MA 02116
  Mountain Biking
  7950 Deering Avenue
  Canoga Park CA 91304
  Mountain Bike Action
  Hi-Torque Publications, Inc.
  10600 Sepulveda Boulevard
  Mission Hills, CA 91345
  Velo News
  P.O. Box 53397
  Boulder, CO 80323-3397

  Cycling Science
  P.O. Box 1510
  Mount Shasta, California 96067
  (916) 938-4411

  Human Power (The Journal of the IHPVA*)
  (* IHPVA == International Human Powered Vehicle Association)
  PO 51255
  Indianapolis, IN 46251-0255
  (317) 876-9478

  OnTour: The Newsletter for Bicycle Tourists
  OnTour Publications
  2113 Arborview
  Ann Arbor, MI 48103.
  Sample issues are only $1, a six-issue subscription only $6
  R.B.C.A./The Recumbent Cyclist
  17650-B6-140th Ave. SE, Suite 341
  Renton, WA 98058 USA

  Tandem Club of America
  Malcolm Boyd & Judy Allison
  19 Lakeside Drive NW
  Medford Lakes, NJ  08550
  Dues are currently $10/year

  Dirt Rag
  5742 Third St.
  Verona, PA
  (412) 795 - 7495
  FAX  (412) 795 - 7439

  Bike Culture Quarterly is an engaging magazine for "[people] who see
  cycling as a way of life rather than an occasional leisure activity".
  It has interviews with people building interesting bikes (Mike Burrows
  about the Obree bike), travel reports, discussions of bicycle
  advocacy, new equipment, and so on.  Its summer issue is the
  "Encycleopedia"  "a personal selection of unorthodox, thoughtful
  cycling products from around the world".
  Price is (British Pounds) 25/year.
  Order by phone  UK:  (0904) 654654   outside UK:  +44904 654654
  Post: Open Road
        4 New Street
        York  Y01 2RA,
  They accept Visa, Access, Mastercard, and Eurocard.  Eurocheques are
  also accepted.  From the US, it's easiest to use a credit card.

  Bicycling Magazine's Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair
  Rodale Press
  ISBN 0-87857-895-1

  Effective Cycling by John Forester
  MIT Press
  ISBN 0-262-56026-7

  The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt
  ISBN 0-9607236-6-8) English
  ISBN 0-9607236-4-1) German
  Bicycle Maintenance Manual by Eugene A. Sloan
  (a Fireside book, pub. Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
  ISBN 0-671-42806-3

  Anybody's Bike Book by Tom Cuthbertson

  Bicycles and Tricycles
  An Elementary Treatise on Their Design and Construction
  by Archibald Sharp
  Reprint of the 1896 edition, with a foreword by David Gordon Wilson
  Anytime you hear of a "new" invention for bicycles, look it up in
  here, and you'll find it.
  MIT press  - I have a paperback edition labelled $14.95

  Bicyling Science
  by Frank Rowland Whitt and David Gordon Wilson
  A good book, and an excellent reference.
  Second Edition 1982, MIT press, paper $9.95

  Bicycle Road Racing by Edward Borysewicz

  The Woman Cycist by Elaine Mariolle
  Contemporary Books

  Touring on Two Wheels by Dennis Coello
  Lyons and Berrfard, New York

  The Bicyclist's Sourcebook by Michael Leccese and Arlene Plevin
  Subtitled: "The Ultimate Directory of Cycling Information"
  Woodbine House, Inc.  $16.95
  ISBN 0-933149-41-7

  Colorado Cycling Guide by Jean and Hartley Alley
  Pruett Publishing Company
  Boulder, Colorado

  The Canadian Rockies Bicycling Guide by Gail Helgason and John Dodd
  Lone Pine Publishing,Edmonton, Alberta

  A Women's Guide to Cycling by Susan Weaver

  Favorite Pedal Tours of Northern California by Naomi Bloom
  Fine Edge Productions, Route 2, Box 303, Bishop, CA  93514

  Mountain Biking Near Boston: A Guide to the Best 25 Places to Ride
  by Stuart A. Johnstone, Active Publications (1991), ISBN 0-9627990-4-1

  Mountain Bike: a manual of beginning to advanced technique
  by William Nealy, Menasha Ridge Press, 1992, ISBN 0-89732-114-6

  Greater Washington (DC) Area Bicycle Atlas
  American Youth Travel Shops, 1108 K St, NW  Wash, DC 20005 (202)783-4943

  Bicycle Parking by Ellen Fletcher
  Ellen Fletcher, 777-108 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4826
  Cost: $5.95, plus 43 cents tax, plus $3 postage/handling

  Richards' Ultimate Bicycle Book
  Richard Ballantine, Richard Grant (Dorling Kindersley, London, 1992)

  Bicyclopedia: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Bicycles and Bicycling,
  Edited by Steven Olderr, ECI #290".  (Wonder what "ECI #290" means. . . .)
  The Bicycle, by Pryor Dodge.  Paris: Flammarion, 1996.  ISBN 2-08013-551-1.
   Distributed in the US by Abbeville Press (same ISBN), $50.  Lavishly
  produced hardback book about the history of the bicycle, intelligently
  written and superbly illustrated.  Considering what you get, it is good
  value--especially as it is available discounted.  (Amazon charge $35.)
  Bicycling Japan: A Touring Handbook, by Suzanne Lee.  Carmichael, Calif.:
  Zievid Press, 1991.  ISBN 0-9627458-0-4.  $6.95.  In print (I think).  A
  slim paperback with a lot of information about cycling around Japan.  Aimed
  toward people who are new to Japan, but still of use to those who know it
  other than as cyclists.  Lacks information or tips about where are better
  places to go.
  Cycling Japan: A Personal Guide to Exploring Japan by Bicycle, ed. Bryan
  Harrell.  Tokyo & New York: Kodansha International, 1993.  ISBN
  4-7700-1742-1.  2200 yen / US$18.  In print.  A paperback with some tips on
  cycling in Japan, but much more about particular itineraries.  So
  specific--with phone numbers of minshuku (pensions), etc.--that it is
  likely to become dated and should therefore be used with care.

Subject: 9.2  Mail Order Addresses

Here's the addresses/phone numbers of some popular cycling mail order
outfits (you can get directory assistance for 800 numbers at
1-800-555-1212 if you don't see the mail order outfit you're looking for

Bicycle Posters and Prints
  P.O. Box 7164
  Hicksville, NY 11802-7164
  Sells bicycle posters and other stuff.

Branford Bike
  orders:  1-800-272-6367
  info:      203-488-0482
  fax:       203-483-0703

Colorado Cyclist
  orders:  1-800-688-8600
  info:    719 591-4040
  fax:     719 591-4041

  3970 Bijou Street
  Colorado Springs, CO  80909-9946

  (800) 678-1021

  P.O. Box 884
  Adrian MI  49221
    Catalog $1 as of 4/91.

Excel Sports International
  orders:  1-800-627-6664
  info:      303-444-6737
  fax:       303-444-7043
  2045 32nd Street
  Boulder CO  80301

Irvine Bike Source
  (800) 546-6077 (orders only)
  (714) 622-8103
  (714) 622-8562 (FAX)

  17777 Main St, Unit E
  Irvine, CA 92614

Loose Screws
  (541) 488-4800
  (541) 488-0080 FAX

  12225 HWY 66
  Ashland OR 97520

  orders:  1-800-627-4227  (1-800-NASHBAR)
             216-782-2244  Local and APO/FPO orders
  info:      216-788-6464  Tech. Support
  fax:       800-456-1223
  WWW:     http://www.nashbar.com/
  4111 Simon Road
  Youngstown, OH 44512-1343

Pedal Phernalia
  Phone:   1-313-995-1336

  Box 2566-net
  Ann Arbor MI 48106-2566

Performance Bike Shop
  orders:  1-800-727-2453  (1-800-PBS-BIKE)
             919-933-9113  Foreign orders
  info:      800-727-2433  Customer Support
  WWW: http://www.performanceinc.com/PerfBicycle.html
  One Performance Way
  P.O. Box 2741
  Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Schwab Cycles
  orders:  1-800-343-5347
  info:      303-238-0243
  fax:       303-233-5273
  1565 Pierce St.
  Lakewood, CO  80214

Triathlete Zombies

The Womyn's Wheel, Inc.
  (Specializes in clothing and equipment for women)

  P.O. Box 2820
  Orleans MA 02653


Subject: 9.3  Road Gradient Units
From: Jeff Berton <jeff344@voodoo.lerc.nasa.gov>

The grade of an incline is its vertical rise, in feet, per every 100 horizontal
feet traversed.  (I say "feet" for clarity;  one could use any consistent
length measure.)  Or, if you will accept my picture below,

                                              d  |
                                          a      |
                                      o          | y
                                  R  Theta       |
      Grade = y/x        (Multiply by 100 to express as a percentage.)
      Theta = arctan(y/x)

So a grade of 100% is a 45 degree angle.  A cliff has an infinite grade.

[More from Jobst Brandt <jbrandt@hpl.hp.com>]

The steepness of a road is generally measured in % grade, which in
mathematical terms is the slope, or TANGENT of the angle, measured
from the horizontal.  This is the ratio of elevation change per
horizontal distance traveled, often called "rise over run".  Typically
a road that rises 1-in-10, is otherwise called 10% grade.

Measuring the distance along the surface of the road instead of
horizontally gives practically the same result for most road
gradients.  The distance along the road surface gives the SINE of the
angle in contrast to the horizontal distance that gives the TANGENT.
For practical purposes the SINE equals the TANGENT for small angles
(up to ten degrees or so).  For instance, a 20% grade (11.3 degrees),
whereas measuring along the road surface gives a 19.6% grade.

The slope of a road is more useful than its angle because it gives a
direct way to assess the effort required to move forward against the
grade, whereas the angle in degrees does not readily reveal this
information.  A 5% grade requires a forward force of approximately 5%
of the vehicle weight (above and beyond the force it takes to travel
similarly on flat ground).  A 15% grade requires a propulsion force of
approximately 15% of the vehicle weight.

Although the angle may be more easily visualized, it does not convert
to effort without a calculator.  For instance a 20% grade is an 11.3
degree angle and is a steep and difficult gradient.  The relationship
between angle and slope is non linear becoming 100% (1:1) at a 45
degree angle.  Likewise, the propulsion force, related to the SINE of
the grade, becomes 70.7% of the weight at 45 degrees.


Subject: 9.4  Helmets

The wearing of helmets is another highly emotional issue that has been
debated many times on rec.bicycles.  On one side, you have the cyclists
who feel that they can do without - the helmet is too hot, uncomfortable,
or they feel they just don't need it.  On the other side, you have
the cyclists who wouldn't be caught riding without a helmet - they like
their head (and brains) they way they are.

Statistics show that three-fourths of the more than 1000 bicycling
deaths each year are caused by head injuries.  Of those killed, half
are school age children.  According to one study, a helmet can reduce
the risk of head injury by 85%.

Consumer Reports did a review of bicycle helmets in the May 1990 issue.
While their report is not what one would see in a cycling magazine,
it does contain some useful and valuable information.  Their tests
showed that no-shell helmets work just as well as hard-shell helmets,
and in fact, the top 9 helmets in their ratings are no-shell models.

There is some controversy about whether no-shell helmets "grab" the
pavement instead of sliding on impact.  If the helmet grabbed, it
might lead to more serious neck or spinal injury.  This topic has
been hotly debated in rec.bicycles, and some studies are in progress
to see if this is true.

There are two standards systems for helmets - ANSI (American National
Standards Institute) and Snell (the Snell Memorial Foundation).  The
Snell tests are more demanding than ANSI, and a Snell-certified helmet
will have a green Snell sticker inside.  Some helmets claim they
pass Snell, but unless there's a sticker in the helmet, you can't
be sure.  Snell also tests samples of certified helmets to make sure
they still meet the standards.

According to Bell Helmets, the shelf life of their helmets is 8 years.


Subject: 9.5  Terminology
From: David Keppel <pardo@cs.washington.edu>,
      Charles Tryon  <bilbo@bisco.kodak.com>

Ashtabula Crank
        A one-piece crank -- the crank arm starts on one side of the
        bike, bends to go through the bottom bracket, and bends
        again on the other side to go down to the other pedal.
        Typically heavy, cheap, and robust.  See ``cottered crank''
        and ``cotterless crank''.  Ashtabula is the name of the
        original manufacturer, I think.

Biopace Chainring

        Chainrings that are more oval rather than round.  The idea was
        to redistribute the forces of pedaling to different points as your
        feet go around, due to the fact that there are "dead spots" in the
        stroke.  The concensus is pretty much that they work ok for
        novices, but get in the way for more experienced riders.

Cassette Freewheel

        A cassette freewheel is used with a freehub.  The part of
        a normal freewheel that contains the pawls that transfer
        chain motion to the wheel (or allows the wheel to spin
        while the chain doesn't move) is part of the wheel hub.
        The cassette is the cogs, usually held together with small

        A cleat attaches to the bottom of a cycling shoe.  Older style
        cleats have a slot that fits over the back of the pedal,
        and in conjunction with toe clips and straps, hold your foot
        on the pedal.  New "clipless" pedals have a specially designed
        cleat that locks into the pedal, sometimes with some ability
        to move side-to-side so as not to stress knees.

Cottered Crank
        A three-piece crank with two arms and an axle.  The arms
        each have a hole that fits over the end of the axle and a
        second hole that runs tangential to the first.  The crank
        axle has a tangential notch at each end.  A *cotter* is a
        tapered and rounded bar of metal that is inserted in the
        tangential hole in the crank arm and presses against the
        tangential notch in the crank axle.  The cotter is held in
        place by a nut screwed on at the thin end of the cotter.
        Ideally, the cotter is removed with a special tool.  Often,
        however, it is removed by banging on it with a hammer.  If
        you do the latter (gads!) be sure (a) to unscrew the nut
        until the end of the cotter is nearly flush, but leave it on
        so that it will straighten the threads when you unscrew it
        farther and (b) brace the other side of the crank with
        something very solid (the weight of the bike should be
        resting on that `something') so that the force of the
        banging is not transmitted through the bottom bracket

Cotterless Crank
        A three-piece crank with two arms and an axle.  Currently
        (1991) the most common kind of crank.  The crank axle has
        tapered square ends, the crank arms have mating tapered
        square ends.  The crank arm is pressed on and the taper
        ensures a snug fit.  The crank arm is drawn on and held in
        place with either nuts (low cost, ``nutted'' cotterless
        cranks) or with bolts.  A special tool is required to remove
        a cotterless crank.

Crank Axle
        The axle about which the crank arms and pedals revolve.  May
        be integrated with the cranks (Ashtabula) or a separate
        piece (cottered and cotterless).

        Also called a ``mudguard''.  Looked down upon by tweak
        cyclists, but used widely in the Pacific Northwest and many
        non-US parts of the world.  Helps keep the rider cleaner and
        drier.  Compare to ``rooster tail''.

Frame Table
        A big strong table that Will Not Flex and which has anchors
        at critical places -- dropouts, bottom bracket, seat, head.
        It also has places to attach accurate measuring instruments
        like dial gauges, scratch needles, etc.  The frame is clamped
        to the table and out-of-line parts are yielded into alignment.

        A bicycle with one large wheel and one small wheel.  The
        commonest are large front/small rear.  A small number are
        small front/large rear.  See ``ordinary'' or
        ``penny-farthing'' and contrast to ``safety''.

Hyperglide Freewheel

        Freewheel cogs with small "ramps" cut into the sides of the cogs
        which tend to pull the chain more quickly to the next larger cog
        when shifting.

        See ``penny-farthing''.

        An old-fashioned ``high wheeler'' bicycle with a large
        (60", 150cm) front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel, the
        rider sits astride the front wheel and the pedals are
        connected directly to the front wheel like on many
        children's tricycles.  Also called ``ordinary'', and
        distinguished from either a small front/large rear high
        wheeler or a ``safety'' bicycle.

Rooster Tail
        A spray of water flung off the back wheel as the bicycle
        rolls through water.  Particularly pronounced on bikes
        without fenders.  See also ``fender''.

        Named after the ``Rover Safety'' bicycle, the contemporary
        layout of equal-sized wheels with rear chain drive.  Compare
        to ``ordinary''.

        See ``crank axle''.

Three-Piece Crank
        A cottered or cotterless crank; compare to Ashtabula.


Subject: 9.6  Avoiding Dogs
From: Arnie Berger <arnie.berger@amd.com>

  There are varying degrees of defense against dogs.

  1- Shout "NO!" as loud and authoritatively as you can. That works more
     than half the time against most dogs that consider chasing you just
     good sport.

  2- Get away from their territory as fast as you can.

  3- A water bottle squirt sometimes startles them.

  4- If you're willing to sacifice your pump, whump'em on the head when they
     come in range.

  If they're waiting for you in the road and all you can see are teeth
  then you in a heap o' trouble. In those situations, I've turned around,
  slowly, not staring at the dog, and rode away. When I have been in a stand
  off situation, I keep the bike between me and the dog.

  "Halt" works pretty well, and I've used it at times. It's range is about 8

   I bought a "DAZER", from Heathkit. Its a small ultrasonic sound generator
   that you point at the dog. My wife and I were tandeming on a back road and
   used it on a mildly aggressive German Shephard. It seemed to cause the
   dog to back off.

   By far, without a doubt, hands down winner, is a squirt bottle full of
   reagent grade ammonia, fresh out of the jug. The kind that fumes when
   you remove the cap. When I lived in Illinois I had a big, mean dog that
   put its cross-hairs on my leg whenever I went by. After talking to the
   owner (redneck), I bought a handebar mount for a water bottle and loaded
   it with a lab squirt bottle of the above mentioned fluid. Just as the
   dog came alongside, I squirted him on his nose, eyes and mouth. The dog
   stopped dead in his tracks and started to roll around in the street.
   Although I continued to see that dog on my way to and from work, he
   never bothered me again.

   Finally, you can usually intimidate the most aggressive dog if there are
   more than one of you. Stopping, getting off your bikes and moving towards
   it will often cause it to back off. ( But not always ). My bottom line
   is to alway ride routes that I'm not familiar with, with someone else.

   As last resort, a nice compact, snubbed nose .25 caliber pistol will fit
   comfortably in your jersey pocket. :-)


Subject: 9.7  Shaving Your Legs

 How to do it  (Garth Somerville  somerville@bae.ncsu.edu)

  Many riders shave their legs and have no problems other than
  a nick or two once in a while.  Maybe a duller blade would help.
  But some people (like me) need to be more careful to avoid
  rashes, infections (which can be serious), or just itchy legs that
  drive you to madness.  For those people, here is my
  leg shaving procedure:

  Each time you shave your legs...
  1) Wash your legs with soap and water, and a wash cloth. This
     removes dirt, oil, and dead skin cells.
  2) Use a good blade and a good razor. I prefer a blade that has
     a lubricating strip (e.g. Atra blades).  It is my personal
     experience that a used blade is better than a new one.  I
     discard the blade when the lubricating strip is used up.
  3) USE SHAVING CREAM. I prefer the gell type, and the kinds with
     aloe in them seem to be the best.  Shaving cream gives you a
     better shave with fewer cuts, and goes a long way towards
     preventing infection.
  4) Use *COLD* water.  Do not use hot water, do not use warm water,
     use the coldest water you can stand. Run the cold water over your
     legs before you start, and rinse the blade often in cold water.
  5) Be careful, and take your time. Behind the knees, and around the
     achilles  tendon are places to be extra careful.
  6) When finished, use a moisturizing lotion on your legs.

Why shave legs  (Jobst Brandt  jbrandt@hpl.hp.com)

Oh wow, after the initial responses to this subject I thought we could
skip the posturing.  The reason for shaving legs is the same for
women, weight lifters, body builders and others who have parts of
their bodies that they choose to display.  It is not true that General
Schwarzkopf had all the troops shave their legs and arms before going
into combat to prevent infectious hair from killing injured soldiers,
and I am sure it will never happen.

Not only the shaving but the rub-downs with all sorts of oils at the
bike track are for the same reason bodybuilders oil up.  It reflects
well from the muscle defo.  Of course there are others who claim you
can't get a massage without shaving.  There is no medical proof that
hair presents any hazard when crashing on a road with dirt that gets
into a wound.  It must all be thoroughly cleaned if it goes beyond
superficial road rash.

From my experience with cyclists from east block countries before
Glasnost, none of them shaved because it was not in their charter to
look beautiful but rather to win medals.

I think shaved legs look good and I don't mind saying so.  I just find
it silly that those who shave need to put it forth as a preparation
for crashing.  Is it necessary to find a reason other than vanity?  If
you believe these stories then you might consider the whole pile of
lore in bicycling that also has no foundation in fact but is often
retold.  But then some bicyclists and followers of other pursuits,
want to believe in the mysteries that are handed down by the elders
and must be taken on faith.  It forms proof of initiation for some.

Subject: 9.8  Contact Lenses and Cycling
From: Robert A. Novy <ra_novy@drl.mobil.com>

I received on the order of 50 replies to my general query about contact lenses
and bicycling.  Thank you!  To summarize, I have been wearing glasses for
nearly all of my 28 years, and taking up bicycling has at last made me weary of

I visited an optometrist last week, and he confirmed what I had lightly feared:
 I am farsighted with some astigmatism, so gas-permeable hard lenses are the
ticket.  He has had about a 25% success rate with soft lenses in cases such as
mine.  I am now acclimating my eyes to the lenses, adding one hour of wear per
day.  In case these don't work out, I'll try two options.  First, bicycle
without prescription lenses (my sight is nearly 20-20 without any).  Second,
get a pair of prescription sport glasses.

I had a particular request for a summary, and this is likely a topic of great
interest, so here goes.  Please recognize the pruning that I must do to draw
generalizations from many opinions.  Some minority views might be overlooked.
There is one nearly unanimous point:  contact lenses are much more convenient
than eyeglasses.  I had to add the word "nearly" because I just saw one voice
of dissent.  Sandy A. (sandya@hpfcmdd.fc.hp.com) has found that prescription
glasses are better suited to mountain biking on dusty trails.

You can call me Doctor, but I have no medical degree.  This is only friendly
advice from a relatively ignorant user of the Internet.  See the first point


+  Get a reputable optometrist or ophthalmologist.  Your eyes are precious.
[Paul Taira (pault@hpspd.spd.hp.com) even has an iterative check-and-balance
setup between his ophthalmologist and a contact lens professional.]

+  Wear sunglasses, preferably wrap-arounds, to keep debris out of eyes, to
keep them from tearing or drying out, and to shield them from ultraviolet rays,
which might or might NOT be on the rise.

+  Contacts are not more hazardous than glasses in accidents.

+  Contacts improve peripheral and low-light vision.

+  Extended-wear soft lenses are usually the best.  Next come regular soft
lenses and then gas-permeable hard lenses.  Of course, there are dissenting
opinions here.  I'm glad to see that some people report success with gas perms.

+  One's prescription can limit the types of lenses available.  And soft lenses
for correcting astigmatisms seem pesky, for they tend to rotate and thus
defocus the image.  This is true even for the new type that are weighted to
help prevent this.  Seems that near-sighted people have the most choices.

+  If one type or brand of lens gives discomfort, try another.  Don't suffer
with it, and don't give up on contact lenses altogether.


+  Some lenses will tend to blow off the eye.  Soft lenses are apparently the
least susceptible to this problem.


+  Consider disposable lenses.  They may well be worth it.

+  Carry a tiny bottle of eye/lens reconditioner and a pair of eyeglasses just
in case.


From David Elfstrom (david.elfstrom@canrem.com):
  Hamano and Ruben, _Contact Lenses_, Prentice-Hall Canada, 1985, ISBN
I haven't laid hands on it, but it sounds relevant.


Subject: 9.9  How to deal with your clothes

When you commute by bike to work, you'd probably like to have clean
clothes that don't look like they've been at the bottom of your closet
for a couple of years.  Here are some suggestions for achieving this

  Take a week's worth of clothes to work ahead of time and leave them
  there.  You'll probably have to do this in a (gasp!) car.  This
  means that you'll need room in your office for the clothes.

  Carefully pack your clothes in a backpack/pannier and take them to
  work each day.  It has been suggested that rolling your clothes
  rather than folding them, with the least-likely to wrinkle on the
  inside.  This method may not work too well for the suit-and-tie
  crowd, but then I wouldn't know about that.  :-)

I use the second method, and I leave a pair of tennis shoes at work so
I don't have to carry them in.  This leaves room in my backpack for
a sweatshirt in case it's a cool day.


Subject: 9.10  Pete's Winter Cycling Tips
From: Pete Hickey <pete@panda1.uottowa.ca>

I am a commuter who cycles year round.  I have been doing it
for about twelve years.  Winters here in Ottawa are
relatively cold and snowy.  Ottawa is the second coldest
capital in the world.  The following comments are the
results my experiences.  I am not recommending them, only
telling you what works for me.  You may find it useful, or
you may find the stupid things that I do are humorous.



I am not a real cyclist.  I just ride a bicycle.  I have
done a century, but that was still commuting.  There was a
networking conference 110 miles away, so I took my bicycle.
There and back. (does that make two centuries?)  I usually
do not ride a bicycle just for a ride.  Lots of things I say
may make real cyclists pull out their hair.  I have three
kids, and cannot *afford* to be a bike weenie.

People often ask me why I do it....  I don't know.  I might
say that it saves me money, but no.  Gasoline produces more
energy per dollar than food. (OK, I suppose if I would eat
only beans, rice and pasta with nothing on them.... I like
more variety) Do I do it for the environment?  Nah!  I never
take issues with anything.  I don't ride for health,
although as I get older, I appreciate the benefits.  I guess
I must do it because I like it.


Since words like "very", "not too", etc. are very
subjective, I will use the following definitions:

        Cold : greater than  15 degrees F
        Very cold : 0 through 15 Degrees F
        Extreme cold : -15 through 0 degrees F
        Insane cold: below -15 degrees F

Basic philosophy

I have two:

        1) If its good, don't ruin it, if its junk you
           needn't worry.

        2) I use a brute force algorithm of cycling: Pedale
           long enough, and you'll get there.

Bicycle riding in snow and ice is a problem of friction:
Too much of the rolling type, and not enough of the sideways

Road conditions:

More will be covered below, but now let it suffice to say
that a lot of salt is used on the roads here.  Water
splashed up tastes as salty as a cup of Lipton Chicken soup
to which an additional spool of salt has been added. Salt
eats metal.  Bicycles dissolve.



Although I have a better bicycle which I ride in nice
weather, I buy my commuting bikes at garage sales for about
$25.00. They're disposable.  Once they start dissolving, I
remove any salvageable parts, then throw the rest away.

Right now, I'm riding a '10-speed' bike.  I used to ride
mountain bikes, but I'm back to the '10-speed'.  Here's why.
Mountain bikes cost $50.00 at the garage sales.  They're
more in demand around here. Since I've ridden both, I'll
comment on each one.

The Mountain bikes do have better handling, but they're a
tougher to ride through deep snow.  The 10-speed cuts
through the deep snow better.  I can ride in deeper snow
with it, and when the snow gets too deep to ride, its easier
to carry.

Fenders on the bike?  Sounds like it might be a good idea,
and someday I'll try it out.  I think, however, that
snow/ice will build up between the fender and the tire
causing it to be real tough to pedal.  I have a rack on the
back with a piece of plywood to prevent too much junk being
thrown on my back.

I would *like* to be able to maintain the bike, but its
tough to work outside in the winter.  My wife (maybe I
should write to Dear Abbey about this) will not let me bring
my slop covered bicycle through the house to get it in the
basement.  About once a month We have a warm enough day that
I am able to go out with a bucket of water, wash all of the
gunk off of the bike, let it dry and then bring it in.

I tear the thing down, clean it and put it together with
lots of grease.  I use some kind of grease made for farm
equipment that is supposed to be more resistant to the
elements.  When I put it together, I grease the threads,
then cover the nuts, screws, whatever with a layer of
grease.  This prevents them from rusting solidly in place
making it impossible to remove.  Protection against
corrosion is the primary purpose of the grease.  Lubrication
is secondary. remember to put a drop of oil on the threads
of each spoke, otherwise, the spokes rust solidly, and its
impossible to do any truing

Outside, I keep a plastic ketchup squirter, which I fill with
automotive oil (lately its been 90 weight standard
transmission oil).  Every two or three days, I use it to re-
oil my chain and derailleur, and brakes.  It drips all over
the snow beneath me when I do it, and gets onto my
'cuffs'(or whatever you call the bottom of those pants.
See, I told you I don't cycle for the environment.  I
probably end up dumping an ounce of heavy oil into the snow
run-off each year.


Starting at the bottom, on my feet I wear Sorell Caribou
boots. These are huge ugly things, but they keep my feet
warm.  I have found that in extreme to insane cold, my toes
get cold otherwise. These boots do not make it easy to ride,
but they do keep me warm (see rule 2, brute force).  They do
not fit into any toe-clips that I have seen.  I used to wear
lighter things for less cold weather, but I found judging
the weather to be a pain.  If its not too cold, I ride with
them half unlaced.  The colder it gets, the more I lace
them, and finally, I'll tie them.

Fortunately, wet days are not too cold, and cold days are
not wet.  When its dry, I wear a pair of cycling shorts, and
one or two (depending on temp and wind) cotton sweat pants
covering that.  I know about lycra and polypro (and use them
for skiing), but these things are destroyed by road-dirt,
slush and mud.(see rule 1 above).  I save my good clothes
for x-country skiing.

An important clothing item in extreme to insane cold, is a
third sock.  You put it in your pants.  No, not to increase
the bulge to impress the girls, but for insulation.
Although several months after it happens it may be funny,
when it does  happens, frostbite on the penis is not funny.
I speak from experience!  Twice, no less!  I have no idea
of what to recommend to women in this section.

Next in line, I wear a polypro shirt, covered by a wool
sweater, covered by a 'ski-jacket' (a real ugly one with a
stripe up the back.  The ski jacket protects the rest of my
clothes, and I can regulate my temperature with the zipper
in front.

I usually take a scarf with me.  For years I have had a fear
that the scarf would get caught in the spokes, and I'd be
strangled in the middle of the street, but it has not yet
happened.  When the temp is extreme or colder, I like
keeping my neck warm.  I have one small problem.  Sometimes
the moisture in my breath will cause the scarf to freeze to
my beard.

On my hands, I wear wool mittens when its not too cold, and
when it gets really cold, I wear my cross-country skiing
gloves (swix) with wool mittens covering them.  Hands sweat
in certain areas (at least mine do), and I like watching the
frost form on the outside of the mittens.  By looking at the
frost, I can tell which muscles are working.  I am amused by
things like this.

On my head, I wear a toque (Ski-hat?) covered by a bicycle
helmet. I don't wear one of those full face masks because I
haven't yet been able to find one that fits well with eye
glasses.  In extreme to insane cold, my forehead will often
get quite cold, and I have to keep pulling my hat down.  The
bottoms of my ears sometimes stick out from my hat, and
they're always getting frostbitten. This year, I'm thinking
of trying my son's Lifa/polypro balaclava. Its thin enough
so that it won't bother me, and I only need a bit more
protection from frostbite.

I carry my clothes for the day in a knapsack.  Everything that
goes in the knapsack goes into a plastic bag.  Check the plastic
bag often for leaks.  A small hole near the top may let in water
which won't be able to get out.  The net result is that things
get more wet than would otherwise be expected.  The zippers will
eventually corrode.  Even the plastic ones become useless after
a few years.


In the winter, the road is narrower.  There are snow banks
on either side.  Cars do not expect to see bicycles.  There
are less hours of daylight, and the its harder to maintain
control of the bicycle. Be careful.

I don't worry about what legal rights I have on the road, I
simply worry about my life.  I'd rather crash into a snow
bank for sure rather than take a chance of crashing into a
car.  I haven't yet had a winter accident in 12 years.  I've
intentionally driven into many snow banks.

Sometimes, during a storm, I get into places where I just
can't ride.  It is sometimes necessary to carry the bicycle
across open fields.  When this happens, I appreciate my

It takes a lot more energy to pedal.  Grease gets thick, and
parts (the bicycle's and mine) don't seem to move as easily.
My traveling time increases about 30% in nice weather, and
can even double during a raging storm.

The wind seems to be always worse in winter.  It's not
uncommon to have to pedal to go down hills.

Be careful on slushy days.  Imagine an 8 inch snowfall
followed by rain.  This produces heavy slush.  If a car
rides quickly through deep slush, it may send a wave of the
slush at you. This stuff is heavy.  When it hits you, it
really throws you off balance.  Its roughly like getting a
10 lbs sack of rotten potatoes thrown at your back.  This
stuff could even knock over a pedestrian.

Freezing rain is the worst.  Oddly enough, I find it easier
to ride across a parking lot covered with wet smooth ice
than it is to walk across it.  The only problem is that
sometimes the bicycle simply slides sideways out from under
you.  I practice unicycle riding, and that may help my
balance.  (Maybe not, but its fun anyway)

Beware of bridges that have metal grating.  This stuff gets
real slippery when snow covered.  One time, I slid, hit an
expansion joint, went over the handle bars, over the railing
of the bridge.  I don't know how, but one arm reached out
and grabbed the railing.  Kind of like being MacGyver.


There are several ways of stopping.  The first one is to use
the brakes.  This does not always work.  Breaks can ice up,
a bit of water gets between the cable and its sheathing when
the warm afternoon sun shines on the bike. It freezes solid
after. Or the salt causes brake cables to break, etc.  I
have had brakes work on one corner, but stop working by the
time I get to the next.  I have several other means of

The casual method.  For a stop when you have plenty of time.
Rest the ball of your foot on top of the front derailleur,
and *gradually* work your heel between the tire and the
frame. By varying the pressure, you can control your speed.
Be sure that you don't let your foot get wedged in there!

Faster method.  Get your pedals in the 6-12 O'clock
position. Stand up.  The 6 O'clock foot remains on the
pedal, while you place the other foot on the ground in front
of the pedal.  By varying your balance, you can apply more
or less pressure to your foot.  The pedal, wedged against
the back of your calf, forces your foot down more, providing
more friction.

Really fast!  Start with the fast method, but then dismount
while sliding the bicycle in front of you.  You will end up
sliding on your two feet, holding onto the bike in front for
balance.  If it gets *really* critical, throw the bike ahead
of you, and sit down and roll.  Do not do this on dry
pavement, your feet need to be able to slide.

In some conditions, running into a snow bank on the side
will stop you quickly, easily, and safely.  If you're going
too fast, you might want to dive off of the bicycle over the
side.  Only do this when the snow bank is soft.  Make sure
that there isn't a car hidden under that soft snow.  Don't
jump into fire hydrants either.


Freezing locks.  I recommend carrying a BIC lighter.  Very
often the lock will get wet, and freeze solid.  Usually the
heat from my hands applied for a minute or so (a real minute
or so, not what seems like a minute) will melt it, but
sometimes it just needs more than that.

Eating Popsicles

Something I like doing in the winter is to buy a Popsicle
before I leave, and put it in my pocket.  It won't melt!  I
take it out and start eating it just as I arrive at the
University.  Its fun to watch peoples' expressions when they
see me, riding in the snow, eating a Popsicle.

You have to be careful with Popsicles in the winter.  I once
had a horrible experience.  You know how when you are a kid,
your parents told you never to put your tongue onto a metal
pole? In very cold weather, a Popsicle acts the same way.
If you are not careful, your upper lip, lower lip, and
tongue become cemented to the Popsicle.  Although this
sounds funny when I write about it, it was definitely not
funny when it happened.


Subject: 9.11  Nancy's Cold/Wet Cycling Tips
From: Name removed by request

Here are some clothing suggestions, mix and match as you wish:

Rain gear : I forked out the dollars for gore-tex when I did a week tour
  ... and I'm real glad I did. The stuff works reasonably as claimed,
  waterproof, and relatively breathable. (When the humidity is high, no
  fabric will work completely at letting sweat evaporate.) Unfortunately,
  typical prices are high. There are cheaper rainsuits, which I haven't tried.
  For short rides, or when the temperature is over about 50F, I don't
  usually wear the rain pants, as wet legs don't particularly bother me.

Waterproof shoe covers. When the weather gets icky, I give up on
  the cleats (I'm not riding for performance then, anyway) and put
  the old-style pedals back on. This is basically because of the
  shoe covers I have that work better with touring shoes. The ones
  I have are made by Burley, and are available from Adventure Cycling Association,
  though I got them at a local shop. They are just  the cover, no
  insulation. I continue to use them in winter since they are windproof,
  and get the insulation I need from warm socks. These aren't neoprene,
  but rather some high-tech waterproof fabric.
Gaiters that hikers and cross-country skiers wear can help keep road
  spray off your legs and feet.

Toe clip covers. I got them from Nashbar; they are insulated and fit
  over the toe clips ... another reason for  going back to those pedals.
  They help quite a bit when the temperature goes into the 30's and below;
  they are too warm above that.

  [Joshua Putnam <Joshua_Putnam@happy-man.com> reports:
   Nashbar has apparently discontinued its toe clip covers.
   Traditional toe clip covers, also called toe warmers, are still
   made by Kucharik Bicycle Clothing.  Kucharik's model is not
   insulated, just waterproof nylon cloth.  It may be hard to find
   a shop that carries them, but if you have a good relationship
   with your local shop, they might be interested in dealing with
   Kucharik, which also makes great wool jerseys and tights, arm and
   leg warmers, etc.
   The company is:
   Kucharik Clothing
   1745 W 182nd St
   Gardena, CA  90248
   Please remember that this is a manufacturer/distributor, not a
   mail order catalog.  ]
For temperatures in the 40's I usually find that a polypropylene shirt,
  lightweight sweater (mine is polypro) and wind shell work well; I use
  the gore-tex jacket, since I have it, but any light weight jacket
  is OK. I have a lightweight pair of nylon-lycra tights, suitable in
  the 50's, and maybe the 40's; a heavier pair of polypro tights, for
  40's, and a real warm pair of heavy, fleece-lined tights for colder
  weather. (I have been comfortable in them down to about 15-deg, which
  is about the minimum I will ride in.) My tights are several years
  old, and I think there are lots more variations on warm tights out now.
  I use thin polypro glove liners with my cycling gloves when it is a little
  cool; lightweight gloves  for a little bit cooler; gore-tex and thinsulate
  gloves for cold weather (with the glove liners in the really cold weather.)
  It is really my fingers that limit my cold weather riding, as anything
  any thicker than that limits my ability to work brake levers.
  (Note: this may change this year as I've just bought a mountain bike;
  the brake levers are much more accessible than on my road bike. It may
  be possible to ride with warm over-mitts over a wool or similar glove.)

When it gets down to the 20's, or if it's windy at warmer (!)  temperatures,
  I'll add the gore-tex pants from my rain suit, mostly as wind protection,
  rather than rain protection. Cheaper wind pants are available (either
  at bike shops or at sporting goods stores) that will work just as well
  for that use.

Warm socks. There are lots of choices; I use 1 pair of wool/polypropylene
  hiking socks (fairly thick). Then with the rain covers on my shoes to
  keep out wind, and (if necessary) the toe clip covers, I'm warm enough.
  There are also thin sock liners, like my glove liners, but I haven't
  needed them; there are also neoprene socks, which I've never tried,
  and neoprene shoe covers, which I've also never tried, and wool socks,
  and ski socks ...

I have a polypropylene balaclava which fits comfortably under my helmet;
  good to most of the temperatures I'm willing to ride in; a little too
  warm for temperatures above freezing, unless it's also windy. I also have
  an ear-warmer band, good for 40's and  useful with the balaclava for
  miserable weather. I also have a neoprene face mask; dorky looking, but
  it works. It is definitely too hot until the temperature (or wind) gets
  severe. I sometimes add ski goggles for the worst conditions, but they
  limit peripheral vision, so I only use   them if I'm desperate.

For temperatures in the 30's, and maybe 20's, I wear a polarfleece
  pullover thing under the outer shell. Combining that with or without
  polypro (lightweight) sweater or serious duty wool sweater gives a
  lot of options. Sometimes I add a down vest -- I prefer it *outside*
  my shell (contrary to usual wisdom) because I usually find it too
  warm once I start moving and want to unzip it, leaving the wind
  shell closed for wind protection. I only use the down vest when it's
  below about 15 F.


Subject: 9.12  Studded Tires
From: Name removed by request

[A summary on studded tires compiled by Nancy.  A complete copy of
the responses she received, including some that give directions for
making your own studded tires, is in the archive.]

Studded tires do help, especially on packed snow and ice. On fresh snow
and on water mixed with snow (i.e. slush) they're not significantly different
from unstudded knobbies.

On dry pavement they are noisy and heavy, but can be used; watch out for
cornering, which is degraded compared to unstudded tires.

Several people recommend a Mr. Tuffy or equivalent with them; one
respondent says he gets more flats with a liner than without.

In the U.S. the IRC Blizzard tires are commercially available. They
can also be made.


Subject: 9.13  Cycling Myths

Following are various myths about cycling and why they are/aren't true.

Myth: Wearing a helmet makes your head hotter than if you didn't wear one.

Actual measurements under hard riding conditions with ANSI standard
helmets show no consistent temperature difference from helmetless
riders.  Part of the reason is that helmets provide insulated
protection from the sun as well as some airflow around the head.
(Les Earnest  Les@cs.Stanford.edu)

Myth: You need to let the air out of your tires before shipping your bike
      on an airplane - if you don't, the tires will explode.

Assume your tire at sea level, pumped to 100 psi.  Air pressure at sea
level is (about) 15psi. Therefore, the highest pressure which can be
reached in the tire is 100+15=115psi.  Ergo: There is no need to
deflate bicycle tires prior to flight to avoid explosions.
(Giles Morris  gilesm@bird.uucp)
Addendum:  The cargo hold is pressurized to the same pressure as the
passenger compartment.
(Tom ?  tom@math.ufl.edu)

Myth: You can break a bike lock with liquid nitrogen or other liquified gases

Freon cannot cool the lock sufficiently to do any good.  Steel
conducts heat into the cooling zone faster than it can be removed by a
freeze bomb at the temperatures of interest.  Liquid nitrogen or other
gasses are so cumbersome to handle that a lock on a bike cannot be
immersed as it must be to be effective.  The most common and
inconspicuous way to break these locks is by using a 4 inch long 1
inch diameter commercial hydraulic jack attached to a hose and pump
(Jobst Brandt  jobst_brandt%01@hp1900.desk.hp.com)

[More myths welcome!]


Subject: 9.14  Descending I
From: Roger Marquis <marquis@roble.com>

[More up to date copies of Roger's articles can be found at

     Descending ability, like any other skill, is best improved
with practice. The more time you can spend on technical descents
the more confidence and speed you will be able to develop. A few
local hot shots I know practice on their motorcycles before races
with strategic descents. While frequent group rides are the only
way to develop real bike handling skills descending with others
will not necessarily help you descend faster alone.

     The most important aspect of fast descending is relaxation.
Too much anxiety can narrow your concentration and you will miss
important aspects of the road surface ahead. Pushing the speed to
the point of fear will not help develop descending skills. Work
on relaxation and smoothness (no sudden movements, braking or
turning) and the speed will follow.

     A fast descender will set up well in advance of the corner
on the outside, do whatever braking needs to be done before
beginning to turn, hit the apex at the inside edge of the road,
finally exiting again on the outside (always leaving some room
for error or unforeseen road hazard). The key is to _gradually_
get into position and _smoothly_ follow your line through the
corner. If you find yourself making _any_ quick, jerky movements
take them as a sign that you need to slow down and devote a
little more attention further up the road.

     Use your brakes only up to the beginning of a corner, NEVER
USE THE BRAKES IN A CORNER. At that point any traction used for
braking significantly reduces the traction available for
cornering. If you do have to brake after entering the curve
straighten out your line before applying the brakes. If the road
surface is good use primarily the front brake. If traction is
poor switch to the rear brake and begin breaking earlier. In auto
racing circles there are two schools of thought on braking
technique. One advocates gradually releasing the brakes upon
entering the corner, the other advises hard braking right up to
the beginning of the curve and abruptly releasing the brakes just
before entering the curve. A cyclists would probably combine the
techniques depending on the road surface, rim trueness, brake pad
hardness and the proximity of other riders.

     Motorcyclists and bicyclists lean their bikes very
differently in a corner. When riding fast motorcyclists keep
their bikes as upright as possible to avoid scraping the bike.
Bicyclists on the other hand lean their bikes into the corner and
keep the body upright. Both motorcyclists and bicyclists extend
the inside knee down to lower the center of gravity. To _pedal_
through the corners make like a motorcyclists and lean the bike
up when the inside pedal is down.

     One of the most difficult things about descending in a group
is passing. It is not always possible to begin the descent ahead
of anyone who may be descending slower. If you find yourself
behind someone taking it easy either hang out a safe distance
behind or pass very carefully. Passing on a descent is always
difficult and dangerous. By the same token, if you find yourself
ahead of someone who obviously wants to pass, let them by at the
earliest safe moment. It's never appropriate to impede someone's
progress on a training ride whether they are on a bicycle or in a
car. Always make plenty of room for anyone trying to pass no
matter what the speed limit may be. Be courteous and considerate
and you'll be forever happy.

     Remember that downhill racing is not what bicycle racing is
all about. There is no need to keep up with the Jones'. This is
what causes many a crash. Compete against yourself on the
descents. Belgians are notoriously slow descenders due to the
consistently rainy conditions there. Yet some of the best
cyclists in the world train on those rainy roads. Don't get
caught pushing it on some wet or unfamiliar descent. Be prepared
for a car or a patch of dirt or oil in the middle of your path
around _every_ blind corner no matter how many times you've been
on a particular road. Take it easy, relax, exercise your powers
of concentration and hammer again when you can turn the pedals.

     If you're interested in exploring this further the best book
on bike handling I've read is "Twist of The Wrist" by motorcycle
racer Keith Code.

Roger Marquis (marquis@roble.com)


Subject: 9.15  Descending II
From: Jobst Brandt <jbrandt@hpl.hp.com>
Date:    Fri, 17 Oct 1997 10:00:05 PDT

Descending or Fast Cornering

Descending on mountain roads, bicycles can reach speeds that are more
common on motorcycles.  Speeds that are otherwise not attainable, or
at least not continuously.  Criterium racing also presents this
challenge, but not as intensely.  Unlike a motorcycle, the bicycle is
lighter than the rider and power cannot be applied when banked over
low.  The hard and narrow tires of a bicycle have little traction
margin, so that a slip on pavement is usually unrecoverable.

Drifting a Road Bicycle on Pavement

Riders have claimed that one can slide a bicycle in curves on dry
pavement to achieve greater speed, as in drifting through a turn.  A
drift, in contrast to a slide, means that both wheels slip, which is
even more difficult.  This notion may come from observing motorcycles,
that can cause a rear wheel slide by applying power when banked over.
Besides, when questioned, the ability was always seen, done by others.

A bicycle can be pedaled only at lean angles far less than the maximum
without grounding a pedal, so that hard cornering is always done
coasting.  Therefore, there is no power in the curve.  Although
bicycles with high ground clearance have been built, they showed only
that pedaling imbalance has such a disturbing influence on traction,
that pedaling at a greater lean angle than that of a standard road
racing bicycles has no benefit.

That bicycle tires have no margin for recovering a slip at the maximum
lean angle, has been measured by lean-slip tests on roads and testing
machines.  For smooth tires on pavement, slipout occurs at slightly
less than 45 degrees from the road surface and is precipitous and
unrecoverable.  Although knobby tires have a less sudden slipout and
can be drifted around curves, they begin to sideslip at a far more
upright angle, because they exhibit tread squirm, whereby the tread
fingers walk rather than slip.  For this reason, knobby tires cannot
achieve the lean angle of smooth tires, offering no advantage.

How to Corner

Cornering requires assessing the required lean angle before reaching
the apex of the turn, in which the angle with the road surface is the
critical parameter.  This angle is limited by the available traction
so to assess it the rider must have an sense for velocity and
traction.  For good pavement, the angle is about 45 degrees, in the
absence of oil, water, or smooth and slick spots.  Therefore, a curve
banked inward 10 degrees, allows a lean of up to 55 degrees from the
vertical, while a crowned road with no banking, where the surface
falls off about 10 degrees, would allow only up to 35 degrees.

The required lean angle for a curve must be estimated from the
apparent traction and the expected speed after braking to the apex of
the turn.  The skill of visualizing the effects of speed, traction,
braking, and curvature is highly complex but it is something humans
and other creatures do regularly in self propulsion.  The difficulty
arises in transfering this to speeds higher than customary.  When
running, we anticipate how fast and sharply to turn on a sidewalk,
dirt track, or lawn, to avoid sliding.  Although on a bicycle the
consequences of error are more severe, the method is the same.

Cornering requires reflexes to dynamics that are usually developed in
youth, but that some have not exercised in such a long time that they
can no longer summon these skills.  A single fall strongly reinforces
doubt, so cautious practice is advisable while regenerating these


Countersteer is a popular subject for people who belatedly discover or
rediscover how to balance.  What is not apparent, is that two wheeled
vehicles can be controlled ONLY by countersteer, there is no other
way.  It is the means by which a broomstick is balanced on the palm of
the hand or a bicycle on the road.  The point of support is moved
beneath the mass to align with the combined forces of gravity and
cornering.  This requires steering, counter or otherwise.  It is so
obvious that runners never mention it, although football, basketball,
and ice hockey players conspicuously do it.


Once the basics of getting around a corner are understood, doing it
fast involves careful use of the brakes.  Besides knowing how steeply
to lean in curves, understanding the brakes makes the difference
between the average and the fast rider.  When approaching a curve with
good traction, the front brake can be used almost exclusively, because
it is capable of slowing the bicycle so rapidly that nearly all weight
transfers to the front wheel, at which point the rear brake is becomes
useless.  Once in the curve, more and more traction is used to resist
lateral slip, as the lean angle increases, but that does not mean the
brakes cannot be used.  When banked over braking should be done with
both brakes, because now neither wheel has much traction to spare and
with lighter braking, weight transfers to the front diminishes.  To
develop a feel for rear wheel lift-off, practice at low speed.

Braking in Corners

Why brake in the turn?  If all braking is done before the turn, speed
will be slower than necessary early in the turn.  Anticipating the
maximum speed for the apex of the turn is difficult, and because the
path is not a circular arc, speed must be trimmed all the way to the
apex.  Fear of braking in curves usually comes from an incident caused
by injudicious braking at a point where both front and rear brakes
must be used with a fine touch to match the conditions.

Substantial weight transfer from the rear to the front wheel will
occur with strong use of the front brake on good traction.  This
should be done just before entering the curve.  When traction is poor
or the lean angle is great, deceleration and weight transfer is small,
so light braking with both wheels is appropriate.  If traction is
miserable, only the rear brake should be used, because although a rear
skid is recoverable, one in the front is generally not.  An exception
to this is in deep snow, where the front wheel can slide and function
as a sled runner.

Braking at maximum lean

For braking in a curve, take for example a rider cornering with good
traction, leaning at 45 degrees, the equivalent of 1G centrifugal
acceleration.  Braking with 1/10g increases the traction load on the
tires by one half percent.  The sum of the braking vectors is the
square root of the sum of the two accelerations squared,
SQRT(1^2+0.1^2)=1.005 or an increase of 0.005.  In other words, there
is room to brake substantially during maximum cornering.  Because the
lean angle changes as the square of the speed, braking can rapidly
reduce the lean angle and allow even more braking.  For this reason
racers nearly always apply both brakes into the apex of turns.


Beyond leaning and braking, suspension helps substantially in
descending.  For bicycles without built-in suspension, it is furnished
by the legs.  Standing up is not necessary on roads with fine ripples,
where just taking the weight off the pelvic bones is adequate.  For
rougher roads, enough clearance must be used so the saddle carries no
weight.  The reason for this is twofold.  Vision will become blurred
if the saddle is not unloaded, and traction will be compromised if the
tires are not kept in contact with the road while skimming over bumps.
The ideal is to keep the tire on the ground at uniform load.

Lean the Bicycle, the Rider, or Both

Some riders believe that sticking the knee out or leaning the body
away from the bike, improves cornering.  Sticking out a knee is the
same thing that riders without cleats do when they stick out a foot in
dirt track motorcycle fashion.  On paved roads this is a useless but
reassuring gesture that, on uneven roads, even degrades control.  Any
body weight that is not centered over the bicycle (leaning the bike or
sticking out a knee) puts a side load on the bicycle, and side loads
cause steering motions if the road is not smooth.  Getting weight off
the saddle is also made more difficult by such maneuvers.

To verify this, coast down a straight but rough road standing on one
pedal with the bike slanted, and note how the bike follows an erratic
line.  In contrast, if you ride centered on the bike you can ride
no-hands perfectly straight over the same road.  Leaning off the bike,
the trail of the front fork causes steering on a rough road,
especially in curves.  Centered over the bike gives the best control,

Outside Pedal Down

It is often said that putting the outside pedal down in a curve
improves cornering.  Although most experienced riders do this, it is
not because it has anything to do with traction.  The reason is that
it enables the rider to unload the saddle while standing with little
effort on a locked knee, and this can only be done on the outside
pedal because the inside pedal would hit the road.  However, standing
on one extended leg is not enough if the road is rough, because a
stiff leg cannot absorb road bumps nor raise the rider high enough
from the saddle to avoid getting bounced.  Rough surfaces require
rising high enough from the saddle to avoid hard contact while the
legs supply shock absorbing knee action, pedals horizontal.


Where to direct vision is critical for fast cornering.  Central vision
should be focused on the pavement where the tire will track, while
allowing peripheral vision, with its low resolution and good
sensitivity to motion, to detect obstacles and possible oncoming
traffic. Peripheral vision is monitoring the edges of the road and its
surroundings anyway, so the presence of a car in that "backdrop" does
not require additional consideration other than its path.

If central vision is directed at the place where an oncoming vehicle
might appear, its appearance presents a new problem to be confronted
and it will bring image processing of the road surface to a halt for a
substantial time.  Because the color or model of car is irrelevant,
this job can be left to peripheral vision in high speed primitive
processing, while concentrating on the surface and composure of the

When following another bicycle or a car downhill, the same technique
is even more important, because by focusing on the leading vehicle,
pavement and road alignment information is being obscured and the
tendency is to mentally become a passenger of that vehicle.  Always
look ahead of the vehicle ahead keeping it in the peripheral vision.

Many riders prefer to keep their head upright in curves, although
leaning the head with the bicycle and body is more natural to the
motion.  Pilots who roll their aircraft do not attempt to keep their
head level during the maneuver, or in curves, for that matter.

The Line

Picking the broadest curve through a corner may be obvious by the time
the preceding skills are mastered, but that may not be the best line,
either for safety or because the road surface is poor.  Sometimes it
is better to hit a bump or a "Bott's dot" than to alter the line,
especially at high speed.  Tires should be large enough to absorb the
entire height of a lane marker without pinching the tube.  This means
that a minimum of a 25mm actual cross section tire is advisable.  At
times, the crown of the road is sufficient to make broadening the
curve, by taking the curve wide, counterproductive because the crown
on the far side will restrict the lean angle.

Mental Speed

Mental speed is demanded by all of these.  However, being quick does
not guarantee success, because judgment is even more important.  Not
be daring but rather to ride with a margin that leaves a feeling of
comfort rather than high risk, is more important.  Just the same, do
not be blinded by the age old presumption that everyone who rides
faster than I is crazy.  "He descends like a madman!" is one of the
most common descriptions of fast descenders.  The comment generally
means that the speaker is slower.


Subject: 9.16  Trackstands
From: Rick Smith <ricks@sdd.hp.com>

                How to trackstand on a road bike.
        With acknowledgments to my trackstanding mentor,
                     Neil Bankston.

  Practice, Practice, Practice, Practice, ....

  1. Wear tennis shoes.
  2. Find an open area, like a parking lot that has a slight grade to it.
  3. Put bike in a gear around a 42-18.
  4. Ride around out of the saddle in a counter-clockwise circle, about
     10 feet in diameter.

     Label Notation for imaginary points on the circle:
       'A' is the lowest elevation point on the circle.
       'B' is the 90 degrees counterclockwise from 'A' .
       'C' is the highest elevation point on the circle.
       'D' is the 90 degrees counterclockwise from 'C' .

      /   \
     D     B       Aerial View
      \   /

   5. Start slowing down, feeling the different sensation as the bike
      transitions between going uphill (B) and downhill (D).
   6. Start trying to go real slowly through the A - B region of the circle.
      This is the region you will use for trackstanding.  Ride the rest of
      the circle as you were in step 5.
      The trackstanding position (aerial view again):

               ---|   /
        ------| |----/
           |---     /

      The pedal are in a 3 o'clock - 9 o'clock arrangement (in other
      words, parallel to the ground).  Your left foot is forward, your
      wheel is pointed left.  You are standing and shifting you weight
      to keep balance.  The key to it all is this:

          If you start to fall left, push on the left pedal to move the
          bike forward a little and bring you back into balance.

          If you start to fall right, let up on the pedal and let the
          bike roll back a little and bring you back into balance.

    7. Each time you roll through the A - B region, try to stop when
       the left pedal is horizontal and forward.  If you start to
       lose your balance, just continue around the circle and try it

    8. Play with it.  Try doing it in various regions in the circle,
       with various foot position, and various amounts of turn in your
       steering.  Try it on different amounts of slope in the
       pavement.  Try different gears.  What you are shooting for is
       the feel that's involved, and it comes with practice.

The why's of trackstanding:

  Why is road bike specified in the title?
      A true trackstand on a track bike is done differently.  A track
      bike can be pedaled backwards, and doesn't need a hill to
      accomplish the rollback affect.  Track racing trackstands
      are done opposite of what is described.  They take place on the
      C - D region of the circle, with gravity used for the roll
      forward, and back pedaling used for the rollback.  This is so
      that a racer gets the assist from gravity to get going again
      when the competition makes a move.

  Why a gear around 42-18?
      This is a reasonable middle between too small, where you would
      reach the bottom of the stroke on the roll forward, and too big,
      where you couldn't generate the roll forward force needed.

  Why is the circle counter-clockwise?
      Because I assume you are living in an area where travel is done
      on the right side of the road.  When doing trackstands on the road,
      most likely it will be at traffic lights.  Roads are crowned - higher
      in the middle, lower on the shoulders - and you use this crown as
      the uphill portion of the circle (region A-B).  If you are in a
      country where travel is done on the left side of the road,
      please interpret the above aerial views as subterranial.

  Why is this done out of the saddle?
      It's easier!!  It can be done in while seated, but you lose the
      freedom to do weight adjustments with your hips.

  Why is the left crank forward?
      If your right crank was forward, you might bump the front wheel
      with your toe.  Remember the steering is turned so that the back
      of the front wheel is on the right side of the bike.  Some bikes
      have overlap of the region where the wheel can go and your foot
      is.  Even if your current bike doesn't have overlap, it's better
      to learn the technique as described in case you are demonstrating
      your new skill on a bike that does have overlap.

  Why the A - B region?
      It's the easiest.  If you wait till the bike is around 'B', then
      you have to keep more force on the pedal to hold it still.  If
      you are around the 'A' point, there may not be enough slope to
      allow the bike to roll back.


  What do I  do if I want to stop on a downhill?
      While there are techniques that can be employed to keep you in
      the pedals, for safety sake I would suggest getting out of the
      pedals and putting your foot down.

Other exercises that help:

    Getting good balance.  Work through this progression:
      1. Stand on your right foot.  Hold this until it feels stable.
      2. Close your eyes.  Hold this until it feels stable.
      3. Go up on your toes.  Hold this until it feels stable.
      4. If you get to here, never mind, your balance is already wonderful,
         else repeat with other foot.


Subject: 9.17  Front Brake Usage
From: John Forester <jforester@cup.portal.com>

   I have dealt for many years with the problem of explaining front
brake use, both to students and to courtrooms, and I have reached
some conclusions, both about the facts and about the superstitions.

   The question was also asked about British law and front brakes.
I'll answer that first because it is easier. British law requires
brakes on both wheels, but it accepts that a fixed gear provides the
required braking action on the rear wheel. I think that the
requirement was based on reliability, not on deceleration. That is,
if the front brake fails, the fixed-gear cyclist can still come to a

   In my house (in California) we have three track-racing bikes
converted to road use by adding brakes. Two have only front brakes
while the third has two brakes. We have had no trouble at all, and we
ride them over mild hills. The front-brake-only system won't meet the
normal U.S. state traffic law requirement of being able to skid one
wheel, because that was written for coaster-braked bikes, but it
actually provides twice the deceleration of a rear-wheel-braked bike
and nobody, so far as I know, has ever been prosecuted for using such
a setup.

   The superstitions about front brake use are numerous. The most
prevalent appears to be that using the front brake without using the
rear brake, or failing to start using the rear brake before using the
front brake, will flip the cyclist. The other side of that
superstition is that using the rear brake will prevent flipping the
bicycle, regardless of how hard the front brake is applied.

   The truth is that regardless of how hard the rear brake is
applied, or whether it is applied at all, the sole determinant (aside
from matters such as bicycle geometry, weight and weight distribution
of cyclist and load, that can't practically be changed while moving)
of whether the bicycle will be flipped is the strength of application
of the front brake. As the deceleration to produce flip is
approached, the weight on the rear wheel decreases to zero, so that
the rear wheel cannot produce any deceleration; with no application
of the rear brake it rolls freely, with any application at all it
skids at a force approaching zero. With typical bicycle geometry, a
brake application to attempt to produce a deceleration greater than
0.67 g will flip the bicycle. (Those who advocate the cyclist moving
his butt off and behind the saddle to change the weight distribution
achieve a very small increase in this.)

   A typical story is that of a doctor who, now living in the higher-
priced hilly suburbs, purchased a new bicycle after having cycled to
med school on the flats for years. His first ride was from the bike
shop over some minor hills and then up the 15% grade to his house.
His second ride was down that 15% grade. Unfortunately, the rear
brake was adjusted so that it produced, with the lever to the
handlebar, a 0.15 g deceleration. The braking system would meet the
federal requirements of 0.5 g deceleration with less than 40 pounds
grip on the levers, because the front brake has to do the majority of
the work and at 0.5 g there is insufficient weight on the rear wheel
to allow much more rear brake force than would produce 0.1 g
deceleration. (The U.S. regulation allows bicycles with no gear
higher than 60 inches to have only a rear-wheel brake that provides
only 0.27 g deceleration.) I don't say that the rear brake adjustment
of the bicycle in the accident was correct, because if the front
brake fails then the rear brake alone should be able to skid the rear
wheel, which occurs at about 0.3 g deceleration. The doctor starts
down the hill, coasting to develop speed and then discovering that he
can't slow down to a stop using the rear brake alone. That is because
the maximum deceleration produced by the rear brake equalled, almost
exactly, the slope of the hill. He rolls down at constant speed with
the rear brake lever to the handlebar and the front brake not in use
at all. He is afraid to apply the front brake because he fears that
this will flip him, but he is coming closer and closer to a curve,
after which is a stop sign. At the curve he panics and applies the
front brake hard, generating a force greater than 0.67 g deceleration
and therefore flipping himself. Had he applied the front brake with
only a force to produce 0.1 g deceleration, even 100 feet before the
curve, he would have been safe, but in his panic he caused precisely
the type of accident that he feared. He thought that he had a good
case, sued everybody, and lost. This is the type of superstition that
interferes with the cycling of many people.

   My standard instruction for people who fear using the front brake
is the same instruction for teaching any person to brake properly.
Tell them to apply both brakes simultaneously, but with the front
brake 3 times harder than the rear brake. Start by accelerating to
road speed and stopping with a gentle application. Then do it again
with a harder application, but keeping the same 3 to 1 ratio. Then
again, harder still, until they feel the rear wheel start to skid.
When the rear wheel skids with 1/4 of the total braking force applied
to it, that shows that the weight distribution has now progressed as
far to the front wheel as the average cyclist should go. By repeated
practice they learn how hard this is, and attain confidence in their
ability to stop as rapidly as is reasonable without any significant


Subject: 9.18  Slope Wind, the Invisible Enemy
From: Jobst Brandt <jbrandt@hpl.hp.com>

Wind as well as relative wind caused by moving through still air
demands most of a bicyclists effort on level ground.  Most riders
recognize when they are subjected to wind because it comes in gusts
and these gusts can be distinguished from the more uniform wind caused
by moving through still air.  That's the catch.  At the break of dawn
there is often no wind as such but cool air near the ground, being
colder and more dense than higher air slides downslope as a laminar
layer that has no turbulent gusts.

Wind in mountain valleys generally blows uphill during the heat of the
day and therefore pilots of light aircraft are warned to take off
uphill against the morning slope wind.  Slope wind, although detectable,
is not readily noticed when standing or walking because it has
negligible effect and does not come in apparent gusts.  The bicyclist,
in contrast, is hindered by it but cannot detect it because there is
always wind while riding.

Slope wind, as such, can be up to 10 mph before it starts to take on
the characteristics that we expect of wind.  It is doubly deceptive
when it comes from behind because it gives an inflated speed that can
be mistakenly attributed to great fitness that suddenly vanishes when
changing course.  If you live near aspen or poplars that tend to fan
their leaves in any breeze, you will not be fooled.


Subject: 9.19  Reflective Tape
From: Jobst Brandt <jbrandt@hpl.hp.com>

Reflective tape is available in most better bike shops in various
forms, most of which is pre-cut to some preferred shape and designed
for application to some specific part of the bike or apparel.  The most
effective use of such tape is on moving parts such as pedals, heel of
the shoe or on a place that is generally overlooked, the inside of the

First, it is appropriate to note that car headlights generally produce
white light and a white or, in fact, colorless reflector returns more
of this light to its source than ones with color filters or selective
reflection.  Red, for instance, is not nearly as effective as white.

Placing reflective tape on the inside of the rims between the spokes
is a highly effective location for night riding because it is visible
equally to the front and rear while attracting attention through its
motion.  It is most effective when applied to less than half the rim
in a solid block.  Five inter-spoke sections does a good job.  One can
argue that it isn't visible from the side (if the rim is not an aero
cross section) but the major hazard is from the front and rear.

Be seen on a bike!  It's good for your health.


Subject: 9.20  Nutrition
From: Bruce Hildenbrand <bhilden@unix386.Convergent.COM>

Oh well, I have been promising to do this for a while and given the present
discussions on nutrition, it is about the right time.  This article was
written in 1980 for Bicycling Magazine.  It has been reprinted in over 30
publications, been the basis for a chapter in a book and cited numerous
other times.  I guess somebody besides me thinks its OK.  If you disagree
with any points, that's fine, I just don't want to see people take exception
based on their own personal experiences because everyone is different and
psychological factors play a big role(much bigger than you would think)
on how one perceives his/her own nutritional requirements.  Remember that
good nutrition is a LONG TERM process that is not really affected by short
term events(drinking poison would be an exception).  If it works for you
then do it!!!  Don't preach!!!!


Nutrition in athletics is a very controversial topic.  However, for
an athlete to have confidence that his/her diet is beneficial he/she
must understand the role each food component plays in the body's
overall makeup.  Conversely, it is important to identify and understand
the nutritional demands on the physiological processes of the body
that occur as a result of racing and training so that these needs
can be satisfied in the athlete's diet.
For the above reasons, a basic nutrition primer should help the athlete
determine the right ingredients of his/her diet which fit training and
racing schedules and existing eating habits.  The body requires three
basic components from foods: 1) water; 2) energy; and 3)nutrients.
Water is essential for life and without a doubt the most important
component in our diet.  Proper hydrations not only allows the body to
maintain structural and biochemical integrity, but it also prevents
overheating, through sensible heat loss(perspiration).  Many cyclists have
experienced the affects of acute fluid deficiency on a hot day, better
known as heat exhaustion.  Dehydration can be a long term problem,
especially at altitude, but this does not seem to be a widespread
problem among cyclists and is only mentioned here as a reminder(but
an important one).
Energy is required for metabolic processes, growth and to support
physical activity.  The Food and Nutrition Board of the National
Academy of Sciences has procrastinated in establishing a Recommended
Daily Allowance(RDA) for energy the reasoning being that such a daily
requirement could lead to overeating.  A moderately active 70kg(155lb)
man burns about 2700 kcal/day and a moderately active 58kg(128lb) woman
burns about 2500 kcal/day.
It is estimated that cyclists burn 8-10 kcal/min or about 500-600
kcal/hr while riding(this is obviously dependent on the level of
exertion).  Thus a three hour training ride can add up to 1800
kcals(the public knows these as calories) to the daily energy demand
of the cyclist.  Nutritional studies indicate that there is no
significant increase in the vitamin requirement of the athlete as a
result of this energy expenditure.
In order to meet this extra demand, the cyclist must increase his/her
intake of food.  This may come before, during or after a ride but most
likely it will be a combination of all of the above.  If for some
reason extra nutrients are required because of this extra energy
demand, they will most likely be replenished through the increased
food intake.  Carbohydrates and fats are the body's energy sources and
will be discussed shortly.
This is a broad term and refers to vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates,
fats, fiber and a host of other substances.  The body is a very complex product
of evolution.  It can manufacture many of the resources it needs to survive.
However, vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids(the building blocks of
proteins) and fatty acids cannot be manufactured, hence they must be supplied
in our food to support proper health.
Vitamins and Minerals
No explanation needed here except that there are established RDA's for most
vitamins and minerals and that a well balanced diet, especially when
supplemented by a daily multivitamin and mineral tablet should meet all
the requirements of the cyclist.
Proper electrolyte replacement(sodium and potassium salts) should be
emphasized, especially during and after long, hot rides.  Commercially
available preparations such as Exceed, Body Fuel and Isostar help
replenish electrolytes lost while riding.
Food proteins are necessary for the synthesis of the body's skeletal(muscle,
skin, etc.) and biochemical(enzymes, hormones, etc.)proteins.  Contrary
to popular belief, proteins are not a good source of energy in fact they
produce many toxic substances when they are converted to the simple sugars
needed for the body's energy demand.
Americans traditionally eat enough proteins to satisfy their body's
requirement.  All indications are that increased levels of exercise do
not cause a significant increase in the body's daily protein
requirement which has been estimated to be 0.8gm protein/kg body
Carbohydrates are divided into two groups, simple and complex, and serve
as one of the body's two main sources of energy.
Simple carbohydrates are better known as sugars, examples being fructose,
glucose(also called dextrose), sucrose(table sugar) and lactose(milk sugar).
The complex carbohydrates include starches and pectins which are multi-linked
chains of glucose.  Breads and pastas are rich sources of complex
The brain requires glucose for proper functioning which necessitates a
carbohydrate source.  The simple sugars are quite easily broken down to
help satisfy energy and brain demands and for this reason they are an ideal
food during racing and training.  The complex sugars require a substantially
longer time for breakdown into their glucose sub units and are more suited
before and after riding to help meet the body's energy requirements.
Fats represent the body's other major energy source.  Fats are twice as
dense in calories as carbohydrates(9 kcal/gm vs 4 kcal/gm) but they are
more slowly retrieved from their storage units(triglycerides) than
carbohydrates(glycogen).  Recent studies indicate that caffeine may help
speed up the retrieval of fats which would be of benefit on long rides.
Fats are either saturated or unsaturated and most nutritional experts
agree that unsaturated, plant-based varieties are healthier.  Animal
fats are saturated(and may contain cholesterol), while plant based fats
such as corn and soybean oils are unsaturated.  Unsaturated fats are
necessary to supply essential fatty acids and should be included in the
diet to represent about 25% of the total caloric intake.  Most of this
amount we don't really realize we ingest, so it is not necessary to heap
on the margarine as a balanced diet provides adequate amounts.
Now that we have somewhat of an understanding of the role each food
component plays in the body's processes let's relate the nutritional
demands that occur during cycling in an attempt to develop
an adequate diet.  Basically our bodies need to function in three
separate areas which require somewhat different nutritional considerations.
These areas are: 1) building; 2) recovery; and 3) performance.
Building refers to increasing the body's ability to perform physiological
processes, one example being the gearing up of enzyme systems necessary
for protein synthesis, which results in an increase in muscle mass, oxygen
transport, etc.  These systems require amino acids, the building blocks of
proteins.  Hence, it is important to eat a diet that contains quality proteins
(expressed as a balance of the essential amino acid sub units present)fish,
red meat, milk and eggs being excellent sources.
As always, the RDA's for vitamins and minerals must also be met but, as with
the protein requirement, they are satisfied in a well balanced diet.
This phase may overlap the building process and the nutritional requirements
are complimentary.  Training and racing depletes the body of its energy
reserves as well as loss of electrolytes through sweat.  Replacing the
energy reserves is accomplished through an increased intake of complex
carbohydrates(60-70% of total calories) and to a lesser extent fat(25%).
Replenishing lost electrolytes is easily accomplished through the use
of the commercial preparations already mentioned.
Because the performance phase(which includes both training rides and
racing)spans at most 5-7 hours whereas the building and recovery phases
are ongoing processes, its requirements are totally different from the
other two.  Good nutrition is a long term proposition meaning the effects
of a vitamin or mineral deficiency take weeks to manifest themselves.
This is evidenced by the fact that it took many months for scurvy to
show in sailors on a vitamin C deficient diet.  What this means is that
during the performance phase, the primary concern is energy replacement
(fighting off the dreaded "bonk") while the vitamin and mineral demands
can be overlooked.
Simple sugars such a sucrose, glucose and fructose are the quickest
sources of energy and in moderate quantities of about 100gm/hr(too much
can delay fluid absorption in the stomach) are helpful in providing fuel
for the body and the brain.  Proteins and fats are not recommended because
of their slow and energy intensive digestion mechanism.
Short, one day rides or races of up to one hour in length usually require
no special nutritional considerations provided the body's short term energy
stores (glycogen) are not depleted which may be the case during multi-day
Because psychological as well as physiological factors determine performance
most cyclists tend to eat and drink whatever makes them feel "good" during a
ride.  This is all right as long as energy considerations are being met and
the stomach is not overloaded trying to digest any fatty or protein containing
foods.  If the vitamin and mineral requirements are being satisfied during the
building and recovery phases no additional intake during the performance phase
is necessary.
Basically, what all this means is that good nutrition for the cyclist is
not hard to come by once we understand our body's nutrient and energy
requirements.  If a balanced diet meets the RDA's for protein, vitamins
and minerals as well as carbohydrate and fat intake for energy then everything
should be OK nutritionally.  It should be remembered that the problems
associated with nutrient deficiencies take a long time to occur.  Because
of this it is not necessary to eat "right" at every meal which explains
why weekend racing junkets can be quite successful on a diet of tortilla
chips and soft drinks.  However, bear in mind that over time, the body's
nutritional demands must be satisfied.  To play it safe many cyclists
take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement tablet which has no adverse
affects and something I personally recommend.  Mega vitamin doses(levels
five times or more of the RDA) have not been proven to be beneficial and may
cause some toxicity problems.
"Good" nutrition is not black and white.  As we have seen, the body's
requirements are different depending on the phase it is in.  While the
building and recovery phases occur somewhat simultaneously the performance
phase stands by itself.  For this reason, some foods are beneficial during
one phase but not during another.  A good example is the much maligned
twinkie.  In the performance phase it is a very quick source of energy
and quite helpful.  However, during the building phase it is not necessary
and could be converted to unwanted fat stores.  To complicate matters, the
twinkie may help replenish energy stores during the recovery phase however,
complex carbohydrates are probably more beneficial.  So, "one man's meat
may be another man's poison."
This term refers to the quantity of nutrients in a food for its accompanying
caloric(energy) value.  A twinkie contains much energy but few vitamins and
minerals so has a low nutrient density.  Liver, on the other hand, has a
moderate amount of calories but is rich in vitamins and minerals and is
considered a high nutrient density food.
Basically, one must meet his/her nutrient requirements within the
constraints of his/her energy demands.  Persons with a low daily
activity level have a low energy demand and in order to maintain their
body weight must eat high nutrient density foods.  As already
mentioned, a cyclist has an increased energy demand but no significant
increase in nutrient requirements.  Because of this he/she can eat
foods with a lower nutrient density than the average person.  This
means that a cyclist can be less choosy about the foods that are eaten
provided he/she realizes his/her specific nutrient and energy
requirements that must be met.
Now, the definition of that nebulous phrase, "a balanced diet".  Taking into
consideration all of the above, a diet emphasizing fruits and vegetables
(fresh if possible), whole grain breads, pasta,  cereals, milk, eggs, fish and
red meat(if so desired) will satisfy long term nutritional demands.
These foods need to be combined in such a way that during the building and
recovery phase, about 60-70% of the total calories are coming from carbohydrate
sources, 25% from fats and the remainder(about 15%) from proteins.
It is not necessary to get 100% of the RDA for all vitamins and minerals
at every meal.  It may be helpful to determine which nutritional
requirements you wish to satisfy at each meal.  Personally, I use breakfast
to satisfy part of my energy requirement by eating toast and cereal.  During
lunch I meet some of the energy, protein and to a lesser extent vitamin and
mineral requirements with such foods as yogurt, fruit, and peanut butter
and jelly sandwiches.  Dinner is a big meal satisfying energy, protein,
vitamin and mineral requirements with salads, vegetables, pasta, meat and
milk.  Between meal snacking is useful to help meet the body's energy
All this jiberish may not seem to be telling you anything you couldn't
figure out for yourself.  The point is that "good" nutrition is not
hard to achieve once one understands the reasons behind his/her dietary
habits.  Such habits can easily be modified to accommodate the nutritional
demands of cycling without placing any strict demands on one's lifestyle.


Subject: 9.21  Nuclear Free Energy Bar Recipe
From: Phil Etheridge <phil@massey.ac.nz>

                Nuclear Free Energy Bars
Comments and suggestions welcome.

They seem to work well for me.  I eat bananas as well, in about equal quanities
to the Nuclear Free Energy Bars.  I usually have two drink bottles, one with
water to wash down the food, the other with a carbo drink.

You will maybe note that there are no dairy products in my recipe -- that's
because I'm allergic to them.  You could easily replace the soy milk powder
with the cow equivalent, but then you'd definitely have to include some
maltodextrin (my soy drink already has some in it).  I plan to replace about
half the honey with maltodextrin when I find a local source.  If you prefer
cocoa to carob, you can easily substitute.

C = 250 ml cup, T = 15 ml tablespoon

1 C Oat Bran
1/2 C Toasted Sunflower and/or Sesame seeds, ground (I use a food processor)
1/2 C Soy Milk Powder (the stuff I get has 37% maltodextrin, ~20% dextrose*)
1/2 C Raisins
2T Carob Powder

Mix well, then add to

1/2 C Brown Rice, Cooked and Minced (Using a food processor again)
1/2 C Peanut Butter (more or less, depending on consistency)
1/2 C Honey (I use clear, runny stuff, you may need to warm if it's thicker
        and/or add a little water)

Stir and knead (I knead in more Oat Bran or Rolled Oats) until thoroughly
mixed.  A cake mixer works well for this.  The bars can be reasonably soft, as
a night in the fridge helps to bind it all together.  Roll or press out about
1cm thick and cut.  Makes about 16, the size I like them (approx 1cm x 1.5cm x

* Can't remember exact name, dextrose something)


Subject: 9.22  Powerbars Recipe
From: John McClintic <johnm@hammer.TEK.COM>

Have you ever watched a hummingbird? Think about it! Hummingbirds
eat constantly to survive. We lumpish earthbound creatures are in
no position to imitate this. Simply, if we overeat we get fat.

There are exceptions: those who exercise very strenuously can
utilize - indeed, actually need - large amounts of carbohydrates.

For example, Marathon runners "load" carbohydrates by stuffing
themselves with pasta before a race. On the flip side Long-distance
cyclists maintain their energy level by "power snacking".

With reward to the cyclist and their need for "power snacking"
I submit the following "power bar" recipe which was originated
by a fellow named Bill Paterson. Bill is from Portland Oregon.

The odd ingredient in the bar, paraffin, is widely used in chocolate
manufacture to improve smoothness and flowability, raise the melting
point, and retard deterioration of texture and flavor. Butter can be
used instead, but a butter-chocolate mixture doesn't cover as thinly
or smoothly.


1       cup regular rolled oats
1/2     cup sesame seed
1 1/2   cups dried apricots, finely chopped
1 1/2   cups raisins
1       cup shredded unsweetened dry coconut
1       cup blanched almonds, chopped
1/2     cup nonfat dry milk
1/2     cup toasted wheat germ
2       teaspoons butter or margarine
1       cup light corn syrup
3/4     cup sugar
1 1/4   cups chunk-style peanut butter
1       teaspoon orange extract
2       teaspoons grated orange peel
1       package (12 oz.) or 2 cups semisweet chocolate
        baking chips
4       ounces paraffin or 3/4 cup (3/4 lb.) butter or

Spread oats in a 10- by 15-inch baking pan. Bake in a 300 degree
oven until oats are toasted, about 25 minutes. Stir frequently to
prevent scorching.

Meanwhile, place sesame seed in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over
medium heat. Shake often or stir until seeds are golden, about 7 minutes.

Pour into a large bowl.  Add apricots, raisins, coconut, almonds,
dry milk, and wheat germ; mix well.  Mix hot oats into dried fruit

Butter the hot backing pan; set aside.

In the frying pan, combine corn syrup and sugar; bring to a rolling
boil over medium high heat and quickly stir in the peanut butter,
orange extract, and orange peel.

At once, pour over the oatmeal mixture and mix well. Quickly spread
in buttered pan an press into an even layer. Then cover and chill
until firm, at least 4 hours or until next day.

Cut into bars about 1 1/4 by 2 1/2 inches.

Combine chocolate chips and paraffin in to top of a double boiler.
Place over simmering water until melted; stir often. Turn heat to low.

Using tongs, dip 1 bar at a time into chocolate, hold over pan until
it stops dripping (with paraffin, the coating firms very quickly), then
place on wire racks set above waxed paper.

When firm and cool (bars with butter in the chocolate coating may need
to be chilled), serve bars, or wrap individually in foil. Store in the
refrigerator up to 4 weeks; freeze to store longer. Makes about 4 dozen
bars, about 1 ounce each.

Per piece: 188 cal.; 4.4 g protein; 29 g carbo.; 9.8 g fat;
           0.6 mg chol.; 40 mg sodium.


Subject: 9.23  Calories burned by cycling
From: Jeff Patterson <jpat@hpsad.sad.hp.com>

The following table appears in the '92 Schwinn ATB catalog which references
Bicycling, May 1989:
(mph)    12   14   15   16   17   18   19
Weight         Calories/Hr
110     293  348  404  448  509  586  662
120     315  375  437  484  550  634  718
130     338  402  469  521  592  683  773
140     360  430  502  557  633  731  828
150     383  457  534  593  675  779  883
160     405  485  567  629  717  828  938
170     427  512  599  666  758  876  993
180     450  540  632  702  800  925 1048
190     472  567  664  738  841  973 1104
200     495  595  697  774  883 1021 1159

 (flat terrain, no wind, upright position)


Subject: 9.24  Road Rash Cures
From: E Shekita <shekita@provolone.cs.wisc.edu>

[Ed note:  This is a condensation of a summary of cures for road rash that
Gene posted.]

The July 1990 issue of Bicycle Guide has a decent article on road
rash. Several experienced trainers/doctors are quoted.  They generally

   - cleaning the wound ASAP using an anti-bacterial soap such as Betadine.
     Showering is recommended, as running water will help flush out dirt
     and grit. If you can't get to a shower right away, at the very least
     dab the wound with an anti-bacteria solution and cover the wound with
     a non-stick telfa pad coated with bactrin or neosporin to prevent
     infection and scabbing. The wound can then be showered clean when you
     get home. It often helps to put an ice bag on the wound after it has
     been covered to reduce swelling.

   - after the wound has been showered clean, cover the wound with either
     1) a non-stick telfa pad coated with bactrin or neosporin, or 2) one
     of the Second Skin type products that are available. If you go the telfa
     pad route, daily dressing changes will be required until a thin layer
     of new skin has grown over the wound. If you go the Second Skin route,
     follow the directions on the package.

The general consensus was that scabbing should be prevented and that the
Second Skin type products were the most convenient -- less dressing changes
and they hold up in a shower. (Silvadene was not mentioned, probably because
it requires a prescription.)

It was pointed out that if one of the above treatments is followed, then
you don't have to go crazy scrubbing out the last piece of grit or dirt
in the wound, as some people believe. This is because most of the grit
will "float" out of the wound on its own when a moist dressing is used.

There are now products that go by the names Bioclusive, Tegaderm,
DuoDerm, Op-Site, Vigilon, Spenco 2nd Skin, and others, that are like
miracle skin. This stuff can be expensive ($5 for 8 3x4 sheets), but
does not need to be changed.  They are made of a 96% water substance
called hydrogel wrapped in thin porous plastic.  Two non-porous plastic
sheets cover the hydrogel; One sheet is removed so that the hydrogel
contacts the wound and the other non-porous sheet protects the wound.

These products are a clear, second skin that goes over the cleaned
(ouch!) wound. They breathe, are quite resistant to showering, and
wounds heal in around 1 week.  If it means anything, the Olympic
Training Center uses this stuff. You never get a scab with this, so you
can be out riding the same day, if you aren't too sore.

It is important when using this treatment, to thoroughly clean the
wound, and put the bandage on right away. It can be obtained at most
pharmacies.  Another possible source is Spenco second skin, which is
sometimes carried by running stores and outdoor/cycling/ stores.  If
this doesn't help, you might try a surgical supply or medical supply
place. They aren't as oriented toward retail, but may carry larger sizes
than is commonly available. Also, you might check with a doctor, or
university athletic department people.


Subject: 9.25  Knee problems
From: Roger Marquis <marquis@roble.com>

[More up to date copies of Roger's articles can be found at

As the weather becomes more conducive to riding, the racing season gets
going, and average weekly training distances start to climb a few of us
will have some trouble with our knees.  Usually knee problem are caused
by one of four things:

     1)  Riding too hard, too soon.  Don't get impatient.  It's going
to be a long season and there's plenty of time to get in the proper
progression of efforts.  Successful cycling is a matter of listening to
your body.  When you see cyclists burning out, hurting themselves and
just not progressing past a certain point you can be fairly certain
that it is because they are not paying enough attention to what their
bodies are saying.

     2)  Too many miles.  The human body is not a machine.  It cannot
take all the miles we sometimes feel compelled to ride without time to
grow and adapt.  Keep this in mind whenever you feel like increasing
average weekly mileage by more than forty miles over two or three weeks
and you should have no problems.

     3)  Low, low rpms (also excessive crank length).  Save those big
ring climbs and big gear sprints for later in the season.  This is the
time of year to develop fast twitch muscle fibers.  That means spin,
spin, spin.  You don't have to spin all the time but the effort put
into small gear sprints and high rpm climbing now will pay off later in
the season.

     4)  Improper position on the bike.  Unfortunately most bicycle
salespeople in this country have no idea how to properly set saddle
height.  The most common error being to set it too low.  This is very
conducive to developing knee problems because of excessive bend at the
knee when the pedal is at, and just past top dead center.

If you've avoided these 4 common mistakes, yet are still experiencing knee
problems first make sure your seat and cleats are adjusted properly (see
http://www.roble.com/marquis), then:

     1) Check for leg length differences both below and above the
knee.  If the difference is between 2 and 8 millimeters you can correct
it by putting spacers under one cleat.  If one leg is shorter by more
than a centimeter or so you might experiment with a shorter crank arm
on the short leg side.

     2) Use shorter cranks.  For some riders this helps keep pedal
speed up and knee stress down.  I'm over 6 ft. tall and use 170mm
cranks for much of the off season.

     3) Try the Fit-Kit R.A.D. cleat alignment device and/or a rotating
type cleat/pedal system.

     4)  Cut way back on mileage and intensity (This is a last resort
for obvious reasons).  Sometimes a prolonged rest is the only way to
regain full functionality and is usually required only after trying to
"train through" pain.

Roger Marquis (marquis@roble.com)


Subject: 9.26  Cycling Psychology
From: Roger Marquis <marquis@roble.com>

[More up to date copies of Roger's articles can be found at

     Motivation, the last frontier.  With enough of it any ordinary
person can become a world class athlete.  Without it the same person
could end up begging for change downtown.  Even a tremendously talented
rider will go nowhere without motivation.  How do some riders always
seem to be so motivated?  What are the sources of their motivation?
This has been a central theme of sports psychology since its beginning
when Triplett studied the effects of audience and competition on
performance in the late nineteenth century.  Though a great deal has
been written on motivation since Triplett it is still an individual
construct.  As an athlete you need to identify what motivates you and
cultivate the sources of your motivation.  Here are a few popular

     GOALS.  One of the best sources of motivation is setting goals.
Be specific and put them down on paper.  Define your goals clearly and
make them attainable.  Short term goals are more important than long
term goals and should be even more precisely defined.  Set short term
goals for things like going on a good ride this afternoon, doing five
sprints, bettering your time on a known course, etc.  Set long term
goals such as training at least five days a week, placing in specific
races, upgrading...  DO NOT STRESS WINNING when defining your goals.
Instead stress enjoying the ride and doing your best in every ride and

     GROUP TRAINING.  Training with friends, racing as a team, and all
the other social benefits of our sport are also great for motivation.
This is what clubs should be all about.  With or without a club group
training is vastly more effective than individual training.  The same
intensity that can make solo training a challenge comes naturally in a
good group.  Ever notice how easy a smooth rotating paceline seems,
until you arrive home to find a surprising soreness in the quadriceps?
Why beat yourself over the head when a few phone calls (or emails) will
generally find plenty of like minded compatriots.  Try to limit solo
training to between 10% and 50% of total miles.

     RACING.  The best European pros actually do very little training.
Need I say more?  There simply is no better way to improve cycling
fitness.  Whether racing to place or to train the savvy racer will do
all the racing his or her motivation allows.

     REGULARITY.  It's nice to be regular, in more ways than one ;-)
Regularity makes difficult tasks easy.  If you make it a point to ride
every day, or at least five times a week (to be competitive), making
the daily ride will become automatic.  Riding at the same time every
day can also be helpful but be careful not to become a slave to the

     AS WELL as cycling books and videos, new bike parts, new clothing,
new roads, nice weather, losing weight, seeing friends, getting out of
the city and breathing fresh air, riding hard and feeling good and
especially that great feeling of accomplishment and relaxation at the
end of every ride that makes life beautiful.


     While high levels of excitation (motivational energy) are
generally better for shorter rides and track races, be careful not to
get over-excited before longer, harder races.  Stay relaxed and
conserve precious energy for that crosswind section or sprint where
you'll need all the strength you've got.  Learn how psyched you need to
be to do your best and be aware of when you are over or under aroused.

     It's not uncommon, especially in early season races, to be so
nervous before the start that fatigue sets in early or even before the
race.  Too much stress can make it difficult to ride safely and should
be recognized and controlled immediately.  If you find yourself
becoming too stressed before a race try stretching, talking to friends,
finding a quiet place to warm-up, or a crowded place depending on your
inclination.  Remember that this stress will disappear as soon as the
race starts.  Racing takes too much concentration to spare any for

     Every athlete needs to be adept in stress management.  One
technique used to reduce competitive anxiety is imagery, also known as
visualization.  While mental practice has been credited with miraculous
improvements in fine motor skills (archery, tennis) its greatest value
in gross motor sports like cycling lies in stress reduction.

Actually winning a race can also help put an end to excessive
competitive anxiety.  But if you have never won nervousness may be
keeping you from that most rewarding place on the podium.


    If you find yourself getting overstressed when thinking about
winning, or even riding a race try this; Find a quiet, relaxing place
to sit and think about racing.  Second; Picture yourself driving to the
race in a very relaxed and poised state of mind.  Continue visualizing
the day progressing into the race and going well until you detect some
tension THEN STOP.  Do not let yourself get excited at all.  End the
visualization session and try it again the next day.  Continue this
DAILY until you can picture yourself racing and winning without any
stress.  If this seems like a lot of work evaluate just how much you
want to win a bike race.

     Visualization is not meant to replace on the bike training but can
make that training pay off in a big way.  Eastern European research has
found that athletes improve most quickly if visual training comprises
fifty to seventy-five percent of the total time spent training!  Like
any training imagery will only pay off if you do it regularly and
frequently.  My French club coach always used to tell us: believe it
and it will become true.

(C) 1989, Roger Marquis (marquis@roble.com)
See also Velo-News, 3-91


Subject: 9.27  Mirrors
From: Jobst Brandt <jbrandt@hpl.hp.com>

> Mirrors are mandatory on virtually every other type of vehicle on
> the road.  Competent drivers/riders learn the limitations of the
> information available from their mirrors and act accordingly.

I suppose the question is appropriate because no one seems to have
a good explanation for this.  In such an event, when there is much
evidence that what would seem obvious is not what is practiced, I
assume there are other things at work.  I for one don't wear glasses
to which to attach a mirror and putting it on a helmet seems a
fragile location when the helmet is placed anywhere but on the head.

These are not the real reasons though, because I have found that when
looking in a head mounted mirror, I cannot accurately tell anything
about the following vehicle's position except that it is behind me.
That is because I am looking into a mirror whose angular position
with respect to the road is unknown.  The rear view mirror in a car
is fixed with respect to the direction of travel and objects seen in
it are seen with reference to ones own vehicle, be that the rear
window frame or side of the car.  I find the image in a head mounted
mirror on a bicycle to be distracting and a source of paranoia if
I watch it enough.  It does not tell me whether the upcoming car is,
or is not, going to slice me.

I additionally I find it difficult to focus on objects when my
eyeballs are distorted by turning them as much as 45 degrees to the
side of straight ahead.  You can try this by reading these words with
your head turned 45 degrees from the text.

I believe these two effects are the prime reasons for the unpopularity
of such mirrors.  They don't provide the function adequately and still
require the rider to look back.  I do not doubt that it is possible to
rely on the mirror but it does not disprove my contention that the
information seen is by no means equivalent to motor vehicle rear view
mirrors to which these mirrors have been compared.  It is not a valid


Subject:  9.28 ==> Powerbars NO more ---> homemade -- YES!!!
From:    econrad@teal.csn.org (Eric Conrad)

I don't know about any of you out there in cyber-mtbike-land, but I was
getting tired of buying Powerbars and other nutrition supplements to enhance
my riding.  However, I do understand the benefit of having a quick, nutritious
snack that is full of energy on hand during a ride.

So I asked around and came up with a recipe for Powerbar-like bars that seem
to have a lot of what we need.  I'll place the recipe here on the Usenet for
all to copy, distribute ... [but please don't market them, cause I'll only
kick myself for not doing it first ;-)  ].

Please make them and enjoy them before you think about flaming me.  Trust me,
you'll like them much more than Powerbars, and they're cheaper to make than to
buy their counterpart.




1 Cup dark raisins                1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Cup golden raisins            1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 Cup butter or Margarine       1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup sugar                     1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg                             1/2 Cup liquid milk
1 1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour       1 Cup quick cooking oats
1/4 Cup toasted wheat germ        1 Cup sliced almonds (optional)
1/2 Cup golden molasses (dark is ok also)
1/2 Cup Nonfat dry milk

Chop raisins (in food processor if possible).  Cream butter, sugar, molasses &

Combine flour, dry milk, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, salt and
ginger.  Blend into creamed mixture with liquid milk.  Stir in oats, raisins,
and half the almonds (if desired).

Pour into greased 13x9x2 inch pan and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with remaining
almonds (if desired).

Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 30 minutes.  Cool in pan and cut into 1x4 inch


Subject:  9.29  Lower back pain
From:    "David LaPorte (Biochem)" <david-l@lenti.med.umn.edu>

I'm not a medical expert, but I've had my share of low back pain and I've
learned a few things.  When in doubt, go see a medical professional.

Low back pain is one of the most common problems afflicting humans.  It's
been estimated that about 80% of these problems arise because of poor
posture.  These posture problems occur when we stand but are even more
significant when we sit or ride a bike.  We tend to round up our low
backs, stressing the ligaments and tendons which lie along the spine.  It is
the irritation and inflammation of these ligaments and tendons which leads
to most low back problems.

It is important to remember that back pain results from the sum total of
ALL the stresses your back experiences.  Even if you only experience pain
when you're riding, poor riding posture may not be your only problem.
For example, you may be sitting poorly at a desk all day or lifting boxes

**Low Back Pain and Posture**

Since posture is the problem, it is also the solution.  Those of us who
suffer from low back pain need to be constantly vigilant.  We need to
maintain some arch in our backs as much as possible.

Sitting is a particular problem.  Most chairs, coaches, car seats, etc
provide little low back support.  You can buy low-back support pads at some
drug stores.  Try them before you buy them because they are not all
comfortable.  Alternatively, you can fold a towel and put it behind your
low back.  The key is to maintain some arch without being uncomfortable.

Position on the bike is also important.  Get your bike fit checked at a
shop that you trust.  You should also work on maintaining a flat back
when riding.  One way to achieve this is to push your belly button toward
the top tube.


Stretching is an important way to achieve flexibility and improve your
posture.  A very useful stretch is to place you hands on you butt and
push your hips forward while standing:


you should feel this in the front of your hips.  Tight hip flexors
prevent an upright posture.  After a few seconds, arch your back and
slide your hands down the back of your thighs:


This movement puts the arch in you low back.  You can do this stretch
many times a day.  It is particularly useful to do it periodically when
you have to sit or ride for an extended period of time.

A more potent stretch that can be done a couple of times a day starts
with you lying on your front.  Using your arms, push your shoulders off
the floor.  Don't lift with your back.  Keep your low back as relaxed as
possible.  Let your hips hang down, staying as close to the floor as


This is a powerful stretch and should be started gradually.  Otherwise,
it can do more harm than good.  However, done properly, it can be
enormously helpful.  Over a period of weeks, you should gradually
increase the height you achieve and the time you hold the position.  It
is also less stressful to do this stretch for short periods with a little
rest than for a long period (for example, 3 X 10 sec with 5 sec rest
rather than for 30 sec straight).

Once your back starts to heal, you will probably need to stretch it
deliberately.  This is apparently because of the scar tissue that built
up during healing.  Keep it gentle, especially at first.  You could
easily reinjure your back.  Here's a good one: lie on your back with your
legs straight.  Pull your knees up, grasp your thighs by your hamstrings
and gently pull your knees to your chest.

Stretching the ham strings can also help relieve low back pain.  Tight
ham strings tend to pull the pelvis out of line.  This can stress your
low back.  The problem with most ham string stretches is that they also
tend to stretch the low back by forcing it to round up.  The most
appropriate stretch I know requires the use of a doorway.  Lie in the
doorway with your butt near the wall.   Gently slide your foot up the
wall until you feel the stretch.


Two ways to make the stretch more gentle are (1) bend the lower leg,
keeping only your foot on the floor or (2) move your butt further away
from the wall.  To make the stretch more intense, loop a cord or towel
over your raised foot and gently pull it away from the wall.  As with all
stretches, this shouldn't hurt.


Another key to preventing low back pain is to keep your abdominal muscles
strong.  These muscles help support the back.  Do abdominal crunchers,
not sit ups.  Sit ups emphasize the hip flexors, not the abs, and can be
hard on the back.  Crunchers are done by lying on your back with your
knees bent.  Press your low back into the floor and curl your head and
shoulders off the floor.  Hold for a couple of seconds, then lower back
to the floor.  Repeat until you can't get your shoulder blades off the
floor.  Abs can be worked every day.

Strengthening the low back muscles can also be helpful.  To start, lie on
your front with your arms and legs extended in a straight line with your
body.  Raise your right arm and left leg.  Put them down and raise your
left arm and right leg.  Put them down and continue.  As your back
strength improves, try raising both arms and legs at the same time, arching
your back in a "reverse stomach crunch".  There are, of course, more
powerful back exercises, but they are also more stressful and shouldn't
be considered until your back is 110%.


Antiinflamitory medication can be helpful.  Ibuprofen, naproxin and
aspirin are all available without a prescription.  Acetominophen (eg.
Tylanol) is NOT an antiinflamatory.  These drugs are most effective if
they are taken early since inflamation is hard to get rid of once it's
become established.

A danger in antiinflamatory drugs is that they are also pain killers.
Pain is your body's way of telling you that your doing damage.  If you
block the pain signals, you can easily aggravate your injury without
knowing it.

Muscle relaxants are sometime prescribed for back problems.  These should
only be obtained from a physician.

***Ice, Heat and Massage***

Ice is a great way to reduce pain and inflamation.  A good way to apply
ice is to freeze water in a paper cup.  Peel the cup back to expose the
ice and then use the cup as a handle while gently rubbing the ice over
the effected area.  Ice is particularly good for the first couple of
days.  Some people find that it's useful to continue ice treatments
beyond that.  Others find that the ice treatments make their backs tight
if they continue beyond a couple of days.

Heat, especially moist heat, can be useful.  However, it should not be
used for a couple of days after injuring your back or after aggravating a
current injury.  Regardless of the timing, if you feel worse during or
shortly after heat treatment, stop doing it.

In the later stages of a back problem, I find that my low back muscles
get tight.  Gentle massage seems to help them relax, promoting the
healing process.  I suspect that massage could make things worse in some
cases, such as when the injury is fresh.


An excellent book on this subject is "Treat Your Own Back" by Robin
McKenzie, Spinal Publications Ltd., P.O. Box 93, Waikanae, New Zealand
ISBN 0-9597746-6-1.  They use this book at the Low Back Center of the
University of Minnesota Hospital.


Subject: 9.30  Saddle Sores
From:    greenla@umich.edu (Lee Green MD MPH)

> I think I'm developing a couple of saddle sores. I'm curious as to an
> effective treatment for them, and effective preventative measures I can

It recurs intermittently here.  Lots of comments about keeping clean to
keep the bugs at bay, all to the good.

However, there is more to saddle sores than infection.  Skin has several
defenses against bacterial invasion, all of which must fail before
infection occurs.

Abrasion breaks the physical barrier, and preventing it is the reason for
good bike shorts.  Lubrication is sometimes helpful too.  I recommend not
Vaseline but Desitin.  Yup, the diaper rash stuff.  Some advocate bag balm
(there seems to be a whole cult of folk medicine around bag balm,
actually) but I'd say best avoid it: it softens skin, which is just what
you don't want.

The point that most posters here seem to miss is probably the most
important though: tissue ischemia.  That is, the skin and subcutaneous fat
between your bones and the saddle get compressed.  Blood doesn't flow
through them much.  Low blood flow is "ischemia", meaning not much oxygen,
nutrients, antibodies, white blood cells, and other good things delivered
to the area.

Ischemic tissue is highly susceptible to infection, heals poorly, and can
break down and form a sore just from ischemia, without any infection at
all.  It's similar to the pressure sores that nursing home patients

Keep clean, use lubricants if they seem to help, but especially wear good
bike shorts, *make sure your saddle fits properly*, and *get off the
saddle often to allow blood flow through the tissues.*

There is more to saddle sores if you're interested in a lot of technical
detail regarding oxygen tension, shear forces, etc but e-mail me if you
want the gory details.


Subject: 9.31  Group Riding Tips
From: Roger Marquis <marquis@roble.com>

[More up to date copies of Roger's articles can be found at

There are some things that you just know are great the first time you
experience them.  For many of us that first time riding in a tight
paceline was just such an enlightenement.  Here are some ways
to make your group ride excellent.

*   Pacelines, Pacelines, Pacelines.  Single or double, rotating
quickly or slowly but always smooth, tight, and enjoyable.  This is the
single overriding feature common to every good group ride.

*   Wheelsitters are always welcome, but please stay at the back.
There's nothing more disruptive than someone who rotates to the front
only to slow down on hitting the wind.  If you're feeling extended,
tired, or otherwise not inclined to pull through there's no problem
with sitting at the back, just let the riders who are rotating know
when they've reached the back of the rotating section.

*   Accelerate slowly and with an eye to keeping the group together.
Attacks, jumps, short-hard pulls and other race-like riding may be fine
for certain smaller rides but have no place in a group oriented ride.
I'm often surprised that novice riders sometimes think this kind of
aggressive riding is better training than a good rotating paceline.

*   Go hard on the hills (and elsewhere) but don't forget to regroup.
This doesn't mean waiting for every last straggler but always make a
reasonable effort to regroup after the harder sections.

*   Don't open gaps and if you find yourself behind a gap close it
slowly.  A skilled group will remain in a tight paceline through 95% of
an average ride including stops, corners, short climbs and descents,
and traffic.

*   Don't point out every single pothole, oncoming car, or other
obstacle.  Each rider has to take responsibility for themselves.  This
means that everyone should be paying attention to the traffic and the
road, even from the back.  The frontmost riders should point out
unusual hazards of course, and steer the group gradually around glass,
potholes, slower riders and such but don't give anyone the impression
that they can leave it up to other riders to watch the road ahead.

*   The lead riders are most responsible for the group's behavior and
must take this into account at stop signs and lights.  Don't accelerate
through a yellow light unless you know the back of the group can make
it too.  If the group does get split ride slow until the rear group has
caught back on.  If you're at the back please don't run the
intersection just to maintain contact unless it is clear that traffic
is waiting for the entire group to pass.

*   Don't accommodate elitist attitudes.  Perhaps the best thing about
good group rides, aside from the training, is the socializing.  Team
affiliation, racing experience, helmet use, type of bicycle, etc. are
all matters of individual preference and should be left as such.  As
long as the rider is safe and able to keep up they should be welcome.

*   Experienced riders should point out mistakes.  This must be done
diplomatically of course but it is important to make people aware of
unsafe riding, hard braking, cutting blind corners, unnecessarily
obstructing traffic, etc.

*   It's also helpful to meet at a popular, central location.  Cafes,
plazas, and bike shops are all good places to wait and talk before the
ride starts.

*   See http://www.roble.com/marquis/clinic for more pointers on group
riding skills.

*   Don't use your tri-bars in a group. In fact don't use any fancy riding
techniques (look Ma no hands) that may slow down your access to the
controls. (From Adrian.Hobbs@mailhost.dpie.gov.au)

Roger Marquis


Subject: 9.32  Riding in echelon
From:    Kevin metcalfe <metcalfe@ecis.com>
Date:    Fri, 13 Sep 1996 16:47:03 -0700 (PDT)

The "fan" you guys are talking about is called an echelon.  It is
something that even a lot of good cat 1 and 2 riders can't do properly.
It looks something like this:  (Each "|" is a rider.)

Wind from the left                 Wind from the right
||                                              ||
  ||                                          ||
    ||                                      ||
      ||                                  ||
        ||                              ||
          ||                          ||
           |                          |
           |                          |
           |                          |

The single file guys at the bottom of the picture are "in the gutter".
Though they may be behind another rider they are getting almost no draft
and their days are numbered unless they can get into the echelon proper.

The riders in the echelon will rotate through from the sheltered side to
the front and then back in the windward side.  i.e.  With wind from the
left you rotate counter clockwise and you rotate clockwise when the wind
is from the right.  If you are riding in a echelon and you want to keep
things smooth and together you will NEVER take a big long pull on the
front.  You will always just rotate through.  If you take a big pull at
the front, the previously pulling riders will continue to drift back.
Especially since the last guy to pull is still in the wind waiting for
you to swing over and give him a draft!  What you'll end up with is a
single file echelon.  This is bad because the number of riders that can
fit into an echelon is determined by the width of the road.  If you go
single file, then only half as many can fit into the echelon and you've
got a lot of pissed off riders pushing the wind.

A strong team (like ONCE) can cause a lot of damage in a cross wind.  By
putting the whole team on the front and making the echelon just wide
enough for the team, they can drive the pace up front hard enough to
shatter the field.  Smart riders will start forming second and third
echelons behind the original.  This is the best thing to do.
Unfortunately there are two problems.  First, as soon as you get close,
some moron will try and jump across to the first echelon.  This is
usually stupid because the reason you are in the second echelon is
because they're no room in the first one.  So the offending moron will
often find himself stuck in the gutter unless he can muscle his way into
the echelon.  (A lot like trying to knock Abdu off of his leadout man
with 300 meters to go.)  The second problem is that most of the stronger
riders are probably already in the first echelon so you're at a
horsepower disadvantage.

Often, early in a race, the field might encounter a strong cross wind and
break into as many as eight or ten echelons.  Each echelon will be within
50 to 100 meters of the next one.  They will continue like this until the
course turns either into or with the wind and the group will reform.
Just because you aren't physically connected to the front group in this
situation IS NOT NECESSARILY A REASON TO PANIC.  If there are only ten
miles to go however, feel free to panic. :)

There's nothing about an echelon that makes it faster than a regular pace
line.  The reason it will break the field up is that only part of the
field will fit in an echelon.


Subject: 9.33  Mirrors II
From:    Richard Moorman <rmoorman@rmii.com>
Date:    Tue, 8 Oct 96 22:42 MDT

Helmet mirrors are very useful for nearsighted people with glasses.  I use
my mirror to determine what's going to affect my travels in the next ten or
fifteen seconds.  I don't worry about absolute accuracy, I just want the big
picture.  If I want that information without a mirror, I have to twist my
body and head around so that I can look at the road behind me through my
glasses.  To do this correctly I have to take my left hand off the bars,
disorient myself, and risk wobbling around a lot.  It's dangerous.  With the
mirror, it's just a glance up and to the left for a second or two.  Mirrors
aren't for everyone, but for some of us they're wonderful.  I use a mirror
despite the bad design that makes the plastic ones ridiculously breakable.
I hope that someone develops a flexible, springy mirror mount.  It seems an
enormously obvious idea.


Subject: 9.34  Thorns aka Puncture Vine
From:    Jobst Brandt <jbrandt@hplabsz.hpl.hp.com>
Date:    Tue, 11 Nov 1997 11:01:06 PST

Those who suffer from thorns should become familiar with the plant
before spending much effort selecting tires that will survive thorns.
Recognition is a large step toward avoiding flats.  The plant is not
mobile and does not propel its seed pods away from its tendrils.
However, some riders think nothing of pulling thorns from their tires
and throwing them on the road for other bicyclists to encounter.  This
practice seems to be part of not understanding avoidance.  In my
experience, riders who suffer most from thorns, have no idea of the
plants appearance or its habitat.  Most, think the yellow star thistle
is puncture vine.  It is not and is also incapable of causing a flat.

Puncture vine, known as tribulus terrestris, grows mainly on barren
soil, typically on roadsides that have been sprayed with herbicides to
prevent cigarette initiated grass fires.  It germinates in early
summer after the first hot days, and grows, radiating with flesh
colored tendrils, from a central root to a radius of about 30 to 50cm,
having 1 x 3 cm filigree dark green leaves that follow the sun.  It
has five petal yellow blossoms 1 cm in diameter that produce seed
clusters of five tetrahedral pods with a heavy base and two 3 mm
thorns, one of which preferably points upward when breaking from the
clusters that the plant produces throughout its annual growth.


Subject: 9.35 Gyroscopic Forces
From:  Jobst Brandt <jbrandt@hpl.hp.com>
Date:    Tue, 16 Sep 1997 11:10:32 PDT

What keeps the bicycle upright?

The question is often asked and, as often as not, is an introduction
to expound on the gyroscopic forces of the rotating wheels that make
bicycling possible.  This claim is as accurate as the one that
authoritatively explains that spokes support the bicycle wheel by
hanging the hub from the upper spokes.  They don't and it doesn't.

Some who propose the gyroscope theory, also explain that the advanced
skill of making fast turns on a bicycle involves a technique they call
countersteer.  In fact, a bicycle cannot be ridden without
countersteer, commonly called balance, and it is this balance that is
used to keep the bicycle upright, just as one does while walking,
running, ice skating or roller skating.  To say that the gyroscopic
forces of rotating wheels keep the bicycle upright, ignores that
roller skates are operated the same way and have so little gyroscopic
moment that one cannot detect it.  On ice skates the argument fails
entirely.  Besides, a bicycle can be ridden at less than three miles
per hour, at which speeds there is no effective gyroscopic reaction.

Those who ride no-hands sense and make use of the small gyroscopic
effect of the front wheel to steer.  This, together with trail of the
steering geometry stabilize steering.  Without trail, the bicycle
would have no straight ahead preference and would rapidly fall if one
were to attempt riding no-hands.  Many bicyclists never master riding
no-hands because the gyroscopic forces are too small to be detected.
Hands on the handlebars completely obscure these forces.

For those who ride no-hands, the countersteer effect should be visible
and obvious because the bicycle must be leaned away from the preferred
lean angle and direction of a curve so that the turn can be initiated.
With hands on the bars, this opposing lean is unnecessary, because the
front wheel can be steered without leaning.

A good example of a bicycle without gyroscopic action is the ski-bob,
a "bicycle" has short ski runners in place of wheels.  This bicycle,
that has no rotating parts, is ridden downslope easily by anyone who
can ride a bicycle.


Subject: 9.36  Going over the bars
From:    Jobst Brandt <jbrandt@hplabsz.hpl.hp.com>
Date:    Fri, 05 Sep 1997 17:31:23 PDT

Many bicyclists fear using the front brake because they believe it, in
contrast to the rear brake, might cause the bicycle to overturn.  What
is not apparent, is that overturning a bicycle with the front brake is
much harder than it seems, and that braking itself, is not the cause
of most pitchovers.

The primary cause of bicycle pitchover, is that the bicycle stops and
the rider does not, after which the bicycle overturns when the rider's
thighs strike the handlebars.  Overturning can be simulated by walking
next to the bicycle, both hands on the bars, and applying the front
brake to raise the rear wheel.  This experiment should make apparent
how small a force will overturn the bicycle when it stops and the
rider does not.

Beginners overturn when they use the front brake because they are not
aware that, unless they brace with their arms, only the friction on
the saddle prevents the bicycle from stopping without them.  However,
even riders, who don't make this mistake, can pitchover from a
front-wheel jam that leaves no time to react.  A stopped rear wheel
usually does not cause pitchover, because even if the rider moves
forward, unloading the rear wheel, effectively releases the brake.

Typically, front wheel jams occur from a stick in the spokes, a fender
jamming into the fork crown, a front cantileve