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How to Find a Good Bike Mechanic

How to Find a Good Bike Mechanic

At some stage or another, every cyclist will experience an issue with their bicycle and need to take it to a bike mechanic. For anyone who has been to one before, they are well aware of the difficulties one faces when trying to describe the problem at hand. Major issues can be spotted with the eye and are not of much concern, but it is the niggling problems where something just isn’t quite right where the communication issues can arise.

Just like a car driver trying to explain to their mechanic about a clunking sound coming from a certain part of a car, a cyclist may not know the correct names for every part on their bike. The ability to understand and comprehend what their customer is explaining is one of the main factors which sets apart the good mechanic from the average ones. Finding that person who knows exactly what you are trying to tell you them can be a long and arduous task, but one worth making an effort for.

If you can find a mechanic who can understand your vague lingo, then this is a great sign that you have found a good bike mechanic. If they can also interpret problems from listening to you replicate the bikes problem sounds with your mouth, then you are definitely onto a winner. Also look out for the hesitation factor. If they can immediately get to work to fix the issue it shows they have successfully translated your problem description, while if they need to think for a while then they might not have caught on to what the issue is.

The communication with a good bicycle mechanic goes both ways. In addition to them needing the ability to comprehend your explanations, they must also have the ability to successfully relay to you what they have done to rectify your bikes problems. There is no point using technical descriptions which go over a customers head just to impress them, and it is much more beneficial for them to explain what action they took using layman terminology and give the customer complete satisfaction that the job was done correctly.

Many cyclists feel that they must take their bicycle in for repairs at the bike shop it was purchased from, but if the mechanic there is of average standard, then you will always encounter the same problems. Don’t be afraid to switch to another bike shop in your search for the best bike mechanic. Look for a bicycle mechanic who uses a checklist for bike services, as it shows they are prepared, planned and pay attention to detail, and don’t just do jobs on the whim. Another facet to look for in a good bike mechanic is one who has a policy to contact you and get permission before proceeding with any expensive work. Let me assure you that coming to collect your bike and receiving a large bill for unexpected work is something which you want to avoid at all costs.

Having the knowledge that you use the best bike mechanic can be more rewarding than wearing the best cycling jerseys. So, if you can follow all of these steps and find that brilliant bike mechanic you have been searching for, it is well worth making an extra effort to establish a good rapport with them. Whether it is remembering their name, thanking them for their work, or cracking a few jokes, if the mechanic likes you they will continue to provide a good service to you in the future, and with any luck a little discount too.…

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Road Bikes – Cycling Fitness Myths

Road Bikes – Cycling Fitness Myths

According to an article in Bike Radar magazine, there are many myths that are applicable to road bikes and are concerned with improving fitness. These myths have been challenged by scientists and from experimental evidence.

These myths are often things of which we are all aware or have at least heard of before. For example, it is often said that riders of road bikes should shave their legs in order to help them go faster – and many do. However, there are no studies to show that this works – even though a lack of hair may increase one’s muscle definition, or make cleaning one’s legs easier. Riding road bikes however is different to swimming, where reducing the friction with denser water does carry significant benefits to the athlete in terms of speed over distance.

Another supposed myth is that those riders of bikes for the road who perspire quicker and more heavily than those that don’t are less fit. This is apparently untrue according to Dr Nick Gant of Loughborough University. He said that “after repeated training your body becomes more efficient at cooling, so you start to sweat earlier and produce a greater volume of sweat.” If this is the case, then the sweatier riders of road bikes could be the best – although they may not look it of course!

Riding road bikes can take a lot out of an athlete, including water leading to dehydration. However, the myth that cycling without eating will lead to your body drawing on the unwanted fat that can be found around your pot-belly, and thus reducing the size of it, is also apparently unfounded. This is quite simple to understand. If road bikes are used for exercise before breakfast, the road biker will at some point during the day intake calories equivalent to that lost when exercising without food.

Another myth is that when riding road bikes pumping up the tyres to be very hard will make the bike go faster (presumably by reducing the friction between road and tyre). Apparently, through an experiment conducted by Dr Timothy Ryschon when at the University of Texas, it was found that there was very little difference between tyres that are pumped to the correct or normal pressure and those that were over inflated to make them very hard, rendering the benefits of this advice as negligible.…

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How to Shop For a New Mountain Bike

How to Shop For a New Mountain Bike

Buying a new mountain bike can be a very exciting experience, although be prepared to face some daunting challenges. Regardless of the process that comes with finding the right mountain bike, it’s only a short time away that you’ll be enjoying your new bike on the trails! By following these tips, finding the right mountain bike will be a much easier process as you sift through many different bikes on the market.

There are many different types of mountain bikes, so first decide what you plan on using the bike for. Do you plan on riding cross-country? Free-ride or downhill rides? These are just some of the different possibilities, but the bikes will all vary depending on the intended use. Cross-country bikes can be used on all trails and should be lighter and more agile. Freeride/downhill bikes are usually sturdier and weigh more, which allow for more speed, jumps and downhill rides. All-mountain is a mix of the previous two options and then there are dirt jump bikes, which are similar to BMX bikes.

After choosing the type of course you plan to ride, also consider the terrain as this may vary. If you’re planning on riding trails with steep hills that are rocky, I suggest a full-suspension. For smoother paths that are flat, you won’t need a suspension included.

We all want to get the best deal out there, so it’s important to understand what the different components of the bike are responsible for. The drivetrain, brakes and shocks are extremely important parts of the bike. There maybe some other components important to you, which you should also consider. For example, there’s a lock-out feature available on many bikes, which tightens the shocks to make riding up hills a smoother and easier climb. You can also choose between different types of shifters, design and more.

Choosing the right size bike is one of the biggest factors in finding a comfortable bike. A bike shop can help you figure out the right size bike or if you’re purchasing online, all sites will provide a size chart.

With the options available on the internet, there’s a huge variety of bikes to choose from. There are also fantastic deals to be found on the internet as well. In the past, it was very hard to order bikes online, but has some great options and always read the reviews to get feedback from current owners.

Once you’ve decided the type of bike and budget that suits your needs, you’re ready to buy a new bike! When you’re making your purchase, look for the components you had in mind or feel free to ask for the changes as many places are able to make the changes (such as pedal options or a different saddle).

The last piece of advice, is always ride safe. Make sure to purchase a quality helmet for your rides, not matter what terrain you plan on riding on. All surfaces can easily cause permanent damage, however a helmet can certainly protect you from injury. If you’re riding at night, wear reflectors. I hope this guide has helped you understand what to look for when shopping for a mountain bike! Good luck with your search!…

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Getting the Most From Your Cycling Efforts

Getting the Most From Your Cycling Efforts

If you want to lose weight from cycling, you’ll find that riding on a regular basis will help you do just that, but it will take time. To make your efforts begin to pay off in less time, you should definitely consider designing your own training regimen.

Doing this is not as difficult as it sounds. For one thing, after riding for a few weeks, you will gain a few cycling skills, especially in handling your bicycle on the road. You’ll also be more familiar with the main roads and the more quiet ones that feature gentle hills as well as flats. Even more important, you’ll find yourself riding faster for a longer even trying to keep up with the (probably) more experienced cyclists who speed past you. How you wish you can ride like that! But you can. And you are taking the first step by focusing on training and losing weight at the same time! How’s that for getting great results?

The first step, as I said earlier, is designing your own regimen is by focusing on a single goal.. To do this, you should have been riding a few weeks and have become familiar with your cycling strengths and weaknesses. For example, your pedaling has improved, but you still get winded after climbing a hill. Or maybe you want to improve your pedaling skills. Start with a simple goal.

Next, go online and Google cycling and fitness or consult two or three books on becoming a good cyclist and look over recommended exercises. You might even be lucky to find complete cycling regimens all worked out for you, but be careful about using those. They have good stuff, but are presented as “one size fits all” and that’s not necessarily the case. Everyone is different! To that end, everyone’s cycling exercise regimen will necessarily be different.

Ok, pick at least three of the suggested regimens or alternatively, five cycling exercises that are directly related to your goal, ie, improving pedaling skills.

Now, list the exercise items that you like and can easily do. Then decide which one of those exercises you can do first, then second, then third and so on. Make a list of these exercises.

Next up, on a calendar, mark the dates that you will focus on your first chosen exercise. Because you don’t know what the weather will be like in say, three weeks, you might want to consider allowing three-four extra days for inclement weather.

Plan on one or two exercises per month and keep written records. What did you weigh before you started a month ago? What do you weigh now? What improvements have you noticed? What do you still have to work on? Remember that diets count too! Avoid greasy, sugary foods and stick to eating fresh fruits and vegetables.…

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The Advantages of Measuring Heart Rate and Cadence in Cycling

The Advantages of Measuring Heart Rate and Cadence in Cycling

Cadence, when used in the cycling context, means literally the number of revolutions of the crank, per minute; basically, the pedalling rate of the cyclist. Most cyclists have a preferred cadence at which they feel comfortable and at which they are achieving the best velocity, but in training most keen cyclists like to keep an eye on their cadence and try to improve it, measured against a power meter and heart rate. A racing cyclist will average between 80-120 rpm, although a sprinter may reach 170 rpm over short distances. But within that range, the cyclist will have found their comfort zone and will aim to stay within it, no matter what the gradient or conditions, by using extra effort or the gearing of the cycle.

Heart Rate

HR in a training context is very important and shows the athlete how they are improving their overall fitness. Cycling computers that keep a record of your pulse against cadence and power output are very useful in this. Many cycling computers in the higher end even have an audible alarm when the heart rate goes out of the average parameters. This is useful in the first instance of preventing the cyclist from straining beyond their fitness level, but also shows as a peak on any stored graph to show the other conditions the cyclist was under when the peak occurred. Calculating training zones by using Maximum Rate and Resting Rate can be quite complicated mathematics, but a reasonably sophisticated cycle computer can calculate this for you.

Using Computers

Cycling computers which measure heart rate and cadence can help enormously in any training programme. A simple heart rate monitor is useful alone up to a point, but without a measurement of the pedalling rate is not a full aid to training. Most cyclists aim for a steady cadence first; this does not come naturally, as it is the body’s reaction when tired or when heart rate rises to slow down the work done. This is partly due to the build up of lactates in the muscles, which in turn is linked to heart rate. It takes a while to be able to push through, and the guidance given by the cadence monitor is a great help with this. When the cadence training is complete, using the heart rate as well will show how well the cyclist can manage to keep up a regular pedalling pattern when the power output is being increased by gradient or other conditions.…

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Cycling Glasses for Increased Safety While Riding Down the Hill

Cycling Glasses for Increased Safety While Riding Down the Hill

It is a treat to go out in a sunny day when the sun makes the day look so perfect. However, it is also a truth that bright sun can inflict havoc to your eyes and can cause disruption in your vision during your bike rides. Especially when you are riding in the mountains, possibility of hindrance in vision due to the sun rays increases manifold. Mountain bike helmets may not offer complete protection to eyes from bright sun rays.

A very bright sun can cause glares on the road, on any vehicle passing by, and even on your own bike. The glares can force you to squint and sometimes even close your eyes. This can be risky especially when you are riding in a crowded place or taking a tricky turn. Exposure to too much of sun can also cause permanent damage to your vision and can distract you from what’s happening in your surroundings. Due to all these reasons, a pair of high quality cycling glasses are a must have protection accessory while riding mountain bikes.

Cycling glasses are not only helpful while riding in the sun but they are also very helpful to protect your eyes in a windy day. If you are not wearing your mountain biking helmet in a windy day, there are chances of dirt and dust entering your eyes and giving you a tough time controlling your bike. Also, cycling glasses act as a shield to protect your eyes from debris, insects, or other unwanted particles floating in the air. Of course you will not want all these unwanted particles to affect your vision while you are riding downhill.

Clearly, cycling glasses can prove to be a vital addition to your list of protection gears along with mountain bike helmets and pads. They ensure a comfortable and safer ride. A large variety of cycling glasses are available in the market these days. So, you can easily find one that is perfect for you. The kind of glasses you should select depends largely upon the vision requirements you have and of course your budget. In addition, you also need to check the compatibility of your mountain biking helmet with the glasses. If you use a full face mountain bike helmet, then it is wise to try both the items together before buying the cycling glasses. Also, make sure that the glasses fit your face well and do not slip when you are riding at high speed. After all, you will not want your favorite pair of glasses to fall down and get crushed in the hills.…

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10 Reasons to Visit the Czech Republic

10 Reasons to Visit the Czech Republic

If you’ve been tempted to visit the Czech Republic, then you might already have been. If you haven’t been yet, this is what you’re missing out on.

1. Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With over a millennium of history it’s not surprising there are many museums, and galleries to see.

2. Thanks to it’s history, this country is home to 12 UNESCO sites, which goes to show how important the unique heritage of this country really is.

3. There are lots of castles and churches to visit too, and no matter where you are in the country, you’ll be able to find incredible architecture and impressive buildings.

4. Natural parks are important here too, and if you like wildlife, and enjoy walking or just watching, then there are lots to choose from all over the country. This could be the perfect place for you.

5. As well as the history and the culture, there are over 70 golf courses, so you’ll want to bring your golf clubs with you.

6. Thanks to the outstanding scenery, cycling holidays in the Czech Republic are increasingly popular. No matter whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride and want to take in the views, or will be leading your cycling club on a more demanding ride, if you’re a cyclist, you’ll definitely want to ride whilst you’re here.

7. As well as the golf and cycling facilities, there are several ski resorts in the country. If you’re fed up with expensive and overcrowded winter holidays, why not come skiing here for a change?

8. If you want to get away from it all, or perhaps recover after a round of golf or a day in the saddle, why not visit one of the many spas in the country? You’ll find it the perfect way to relax, especially if you think that a holiday is time to do less, not more.

9. Czech beer is legendary, and if you’ve never experienced it in it’s home country, then you really are missing out. You’ll also find great food and wines here, as well as a warm welcome.

10. Because there are lots of things going on at all times of year, you’ll find plenty to see and do no matter what time of year you decide to fly to the Czech Republic.

Now you know more about what there is to see and do here, perhaps now is the time to book your flights to the Czech Republic, and experience this amazing country for yourself.…