bicycle maintenance

Here is an important tip:
1 of the least expensive things on your bicycle can be replaced often and save you a bunch of money in the long ride. Why this concept hasn’t taken off more by now I do not know! What that concept is that if something were to wear out first – would you rather it be something very expensive or rather 1 of the most affordable components on your bike?

This is such a Great concept! It is your chain!
Yet most people do not realize this.

If you would Replace your chain annually, the gears that it runs on would last MUCH longer!!

Oddly, your chain is one of the least expensive parts of the drive train, and if you replace it often it can save you money because you will not have to replace your chain-rings and cassette as often! You see it is actually your chain that wears out first – due to all the links/joints in the chain. Then once the chain is worn out it wears out the cassette and chain-rings due to the stretched links in the chain.

A great and super easy way to measure your chain is to put your chain onto the big chainring and use a standard measuring tape to measure out the links. The pins in the links should measure up at the 0″ mark and the 12″ mark. Anything exceeding 1/4 (one quarter) of an inch is excessive chain wear, and should have already been replaced.

If you have excessive chain wear and replace your chain there is a good chance that you will have to replace other parts in the drive-train. What can happen is that the worn out parts may allow slipping when put under pressure.
For example, when standing on a steep climb your chain may suddenly skip a tooth on the cog.

So, depending on how much you ride, check your chain once or twice a year – replace as needed. It will save you money because your chain-rings and cogs last longer!

Cycling time

Do you have too much time on your hands? You can fix that by becoming a cyclist.

Tired of your friends saying that you consistently look like you are hungry – in cycling, this will be rewarded & encouraged. Even if it is with comments like “You must be riding a lot miles”, or “are you doing secret training?”

Ever feel like you look like Tyrannosaurus Rex? This too will be awarded and encouraged in cycling.

Have too much money – then you too can show up to the local group ride with the latest $10,000 bike, Pro cycling uniforms, deep dish carbon wheels. But remember, it isn’t how you are riding, but how you look while out cycling. For even though you may not be the most popular guy in the peleton, you will be seen as a Pro cyclist by anyone that dares to drive a car/truck – and you will live for that rare occasion that one of these people will realize you are lost and will point out the direction of France. Because they will realize you would belong right amongst the Pro racers in the world at the only bike race there is, the Tour.

Trouble finding a girlfriend, then cycling will not only not help, it will also discourage you to walk around without a shirt or specific length shorts due to a wacky tan-line.

However, if you find a girl that also enjoys cycling you will be much better equipped to communicate with her more appropriately when she talks about how challenging it is to shave her legs.

Were you a pasty white kid in high school that got picked on because you didn’t quite fit in with the jocks, nor the nerds? Then if you excel in cycling you too will be able to have an attitude due to the national recognition you receive and no one will question your attitude and your snarky sense of humor will be in full glory.

This is just a little tongue-in-cheek comments to some folks that get a little too caught up in the hype and our little cycling community. Don’t forget why you started all this – because it is supposed to be fun, healthy, and bring people together.

can I do cardio later

There is a big mis-conception of doing cardio and weight loss.

I have heard and seen in videos people saying that they can eat something now, and it will not matter, as long as they do cardio later.

While on the one hand there is some truth to this – let’s look more at what this really means.

Many people believe that what calories they burn while on a cardio machine. There are several problems with this.
A: That number is highly inaccurate due to variances of muscle, age, height, bodyfat and metabolism of each individual.
B: The number of calories comes from stored muscle glycogen for the first 45 minutes of exercise.
C: all calories are NOT equal!

Body fat is created when eating foods that raise your blood sugar levels while you are NOT exercising – in other words if you eat sugar while exercising or immediately after, that sugar goes mainly to the muscles as energy.

It takes up to 2 hours for the food that you eat to reach your blood stream.

When someone eats that piece of bread, dessert, the sweetened tea, pasta, etc. then the body ends up storing that extra food/energy as body fat.

The problem with they way that some people think about this is that eating an extra 100 calories of pasta would equal doing an extra 100 calories worth of time on an elliptical machine. But this is not created equal.

In order to actually start to burn off that body fat – using an treadmill/elliptical/rowing machine, you must first get past the 45 minute mark for the fat burning to kick-in.

So, now that you realize this – is that sweet tea/bread before dinner/ dessert worth that extra time required to burn it off? Only you can be the judge of that. But I hope at least now you have a more accurate realization of what it truly means and why this makes it so hard to ‘cheat’ and still get 6 pack abs.

chainsaw practice

After attaining my US Forestry Chainsaw certification I had to go back to my Mother’s house in SC, which just happened to give me a chance to practice some of the techniques that they had just taught us.

The yard has/had 2 dead trees that I have been needing to cut down (fell).
1 of which was a pine tree which was further away from the house – so I conveniently choose to practice with this tree first. I found an old flag and placed it out in front of the tree based on where I wanted to drop it and about where I figured the top of the tree would be.

final Faceplate cut.  Maybe over 70 degrees?

This also gave me a specific location to aim for. After doing that I lined up the saw and made the initial face cut, as usual I think I dug-in too deep. Then I lined up the first cut to make the 2nd cut to finish the face-plate. I was shooting for over 70 degrees and probably just got that much. More would not have hurt tho.

Next I scored both sides of the tree – again, something specific to aim for when I make the bore cut. Then I went ahead with the bore cut (being very careful to use the ‘attack’ part of the blade and avoid the ‘kickback’ area) and also being very careful not to cut the ‘hinge’ of the trunk. Since this is a softer pine tree, I planned for a 2″ hinge. My angle was a little low, but I was satisfied with it. Standing on 1 side of a big pine tree and attempting to bore a chainsaw straight through is a little more challenging than you may think.

Scored, then bored.  A lil low, but not bad.

Now I started the wedging. I placed a wedge on either side of the bore cut, and drove them slightly into the tree facing in the general direction what I wanted the tree to fall. After ensuring that both of them were snug – I cut the back-strap.

I finished the back-strap cut, but the tree didn’t move. At this point all that is holding the tree upright is the hinge and the wedges. So, I started hitting the wedges and having them dig deeper into the trunk. After several hits on each the tree suddenly started to topple.

Faceplate and hinge, doing it's job.  Guide the tree until she is down.

Now that I have the tree down on the ground, I was surveying my face-plate cut, and the Hinge that is used to guide the tree during the fall.

I was thinking about the steps that I had just taken to fall this tree. It seemed so calculated. I had made a plan, then executed that plan. The only difference was that the tree didn’t fall as soon as I cut the back-strap.

The face-plate is at the bottom of the picture – the fibers are left from the hinge, then the bore-cut.

Good hinge on this, about 2" across the pine.

I had to hit the wedges but this fact proved how effective it was that the tree didn’t topple backwards.
Look almost in the center of the picture, just to the left of the trunk.

Suddenly, as I looked up the tree I remembered that I had put a flag out to use as a guide. I walked up the tree and started to look around, when I found it surprisingly closer to the tree than I had even expected.

That is pretty darn close to the flag - beginners luck!

Beginners Luck is what I figured…. I mean I have experience cutting down trees, but that tree fell really close to the flag.

Well, that was the fun part….. next is clean-up. I ‘bucked’ up the tree and started loading it into the trailer. We won’t use this soft pine for firewood, so I was free to cut it up into what ever was manageable.

Pine tree all loaded up, no firewood here.

With some work I was able to drop this tree and since it was already dead there weren’t any pine needles or smaller twigs – this made the clean-up process much quicker than usual. So, it wasn’t much later that I got that tractor stuck in the woods while attempting to unload. Luckily I was stuck right where I unload brush and just had to unload the trailer to get it all unstuck and cruising back to the house for a cold beverage.