cycling essentials

I’m sure there has there been a list made of cycling essentials, but I figured I would go over some of the things that I have recently been putting together due to some of my recent 6-7 mt bike, hiking, exploring adventures.

This is a list that I think is more first-aid, emergency oriented rather than the usual ‘how to make a repair and get home’ list of repair items.

Some of these things I wouldn’t necessarily carry for a quick trip around the local trails where you may see 5-10 other riders. This is more of what I pack when I go on adventures looking for trails that most other cyclists do not know about.

On some of my rides I only see military Rangers in training. Most of the time I see no one else except for maybe a couple people near where I park. Usually I see more wild-life than anything else.

1. Water tablets/water filter – Hydration is 1 of the most important things.

currently water filters are about $70+ and weigh almost a pound. So, I am carrying some tablets instead. I have had to use them before.

2. Benedryl – For the 3rd time just this weekend I had to pull out some benedryl for someone who just got stung by a bee, on the lip. A sting from the neck up can be a serious problem for someone that has an allergic reaction. Being able to quickly take a benedryl can minimize the risk. Usually the second thing to happen is a restricted air passage. I would rather someone take 1 of my benedryl, then have something serious happen.

3. compression bandage – this is the stuff for a serious cut/gash. Many of us get scrapes and bruises, but this stuff is for a more serious cut that could occur after a fall. These are pretty easy to find at a pharmacy.

4. para-cord or similar string – I know that many people are wearing the para-chord bracelets, but if you are really in the outback wilderness, there can be many uses for such an item. Tying a splint to hold a broken bone in place or a twisted ankle, tie a sling in case someone breaks a collarbone, tie down broken shoe straps, tie down things onto your pack.

Originally designed for paratroopers, paracord is a kernmantle rope: a braided sheath over a bundle of seven inner cords. This mantle makes paracord very resistant to abrasion. 550 paracord is rated for 550 pounds: 300 pounds for the sheath and 35 pounds for each strand. The cords can be removed from the sheath and divided into two strands if finer string is needed.

Read more: Uses for 550 Paracord |

5. chem-light – this is something I watched the rangers use. They store for a long period, but you just pop the middle and they light up. This is a great tool if you get lost and people are attempting to find you. I wouldn’t say that it doubles as a flashlight by any means, although if tied to a walking stick (as I’ve seen the Rangers do) it may aid you if you are walking.

6. multi-tool – I know most Mt bikers carry a cyclist specific multi, but I also carry a regular leather-man multi-tool. They have pliers, knife, screw drivers, file, etc.

7. compass or compass app. Although I have a good sense of direction and figuring out which way I need to be going – I usually do so based on the sun positioning. I have a back-up plan though – a Free compass App on my phone.

8. Another ‘smart’ phone app is MyTracks When exploring I currently use MyTracks – and I try to remember to keep my phone is ‘airport’ mode to save battery.

What bike should a new triathlete buy

I have this question asked quite often by beginner triathletes: “What kind of bike should I get?” People that are just getting into triathlons are often confused with all the bikes out there. Although they are looking for which brand of bike to purchase – we usually answer with ‘A Road Bike‘. After the odd look, I start to explain my reasoning.

Tri-athletes may think I am crazy when I tell them that they should get a road bike and not a triathlon bike. But there are many important reasons why your first bike should be a road bike, and not a triathlon (TT) bike like this:

Leader 735TT bike

Some of my reasons are:
1) Your hands will never be far from your shifters.

2) Your hands will never be far from your brakes.

3) Your weight is not shifted as far forward (on a road bike) due to less vertical seat tube angle.

4) On a Triathlon bike, your arms & steering points are not as far forward past the steering tube – stem length + aero-bar length.

5) On a triathlon bike, your points of contact are now very narrow, rather than tri-angle shaped (road) points of contact – seat, Left & Right hand. This makes it harder to maintain a straight line while riding.

AND the most Important reason is you can focus on your bike handling skills FIRST!

Unfortunately people often go into bike shops and say, I’m going to do a triathlon, I need a tri-bike. Truthfully, they do NOT. They need a road bike, so that they learn how to ride on the road, before riding a bike in a triathlon or time trial position.

Riding on the road is dangerous. Learning the fundamentals of steering, braking, shifting, dealing with traffic, riding near other cyclists, food and drink, all should be learned before purchasing a triathlon bike. Although it may sound expensive to purchase a road bike to ride for 2 years before getting a triathlon bike, it is actually a much smarter decision to work on the fundamentals of cycling. Also, a Triathlon bike is not the ideal bike for every triathlon, a road bike can be a faster bike on some hillier courses.

Team RoundHere Racing new Parlee bikes

A great tip that I give to people attempting to fuel while on the bike is to use the hand that controls the front brake to get food, drink. This way your rear brake hand remains near the rear brake. It maybe awkward at first, but it can save you a lot of trouble in case anything happens.

Riding a Criterium

If you are like many other people, you have hunkered down most of the winter. Hopefully you did your gym workouts and your base miles through the winter. But now that the time has changed and Spring is here, you are itching to get out and either A) do a training crit or B) enter your first crit race.

Congratulations! This is a big step, whether you are an experienced racer, or a novice rider, jumping into a big ride – the first crit of the year is always an exciting and nerve racking experience. You will be around many other lycra clad cyclists all riding on tires that are about the width of your thumb – now let’s add TURNS!

Here are some tips to help you and your fellow riders remain upright for the whole ride.

Hold your line. Everyone tells you to go Outside, Inside, Outside of the turn. This is true, if you are off the front, or off the back of the pack, but not when you are IN the Pack! You see the pack will generally take that line, but you must keep in mind how the other riders around you are also going through the turn, and what lines they are taking.

Imagine you are riding in the car with a race car driver, he will take the optimal line through the turn, and the whole time the driver and the passenger are equal distance from each other. The same thing goes for the pack, you go with the pack as a whole keeping the same distance between each rider equal through the turn.

Be predictable – no fast twitching movements.
Other than the actual corners, The bike should always being moving forward. Then if needed you may move forward and slightly left or slightly right… not swinging left or right. Although the rider behind you is responsible for their actions, you can help keep them safe, just as you rely on the rider ahead of you.
Unfortunately, I saw a crash happen that the front rider caused because he swung to the left. The rider behind him had too much momentum and they just happened to be overlapping wheels at that moment, and the 2nd rider went down. Maybe the 2nd rider should not have been overlapping wheels, but the 1st rider should have been more predictable and steady with his movements.

There should be a minimal input into the handlebars. Your steering will come more from your body.
1) Head – the human head weighs 8 pounds (just ask Jerry McGuire) – this is why it is so easy to veer when you turn your head. Just tilt your head slightly in the direction you want to go.
2) Hips – this will involve the whole trunk of the body. You can use your hips and thighs to move the saddle.
3) Knees – the most common way of adjusting your center of gravity. moving a knee out from the top tube will move your center of gravity slightly usually causing the bike to follow.

– Watch where you are going and Look where you want to go.
Generally if you stare at something you don’t want to hit, you will hit it (Jerry McGuire effect). Look where you want to go.

The very first Historic Roswell crit race we organized, I worked on setting up the last turn, which was a tighter than 90 degree turn. Just after we finished they sent off the beginner’s category. I watched as the first racers navigated out of the turn. Just as I had thought that everyone had gone by, a lone rider came into the turn looking at the wall of hay bales, and never looked away. His bike took him directly where he was looking, into those hay bales!

Once the front wheel stopped, the rear wheel kicked-up – causing the man did a face plant into the hay. Strangely he then came right back down on his feet! Bewildered, he then attempted to get clipped back-in. Luckily the referee was right there and gave him a free lap to check to make sure everything was ok. Luckily he was just fine, but learn from his lesson :)

Relax – the more tense that you are the more energy that is not going to the pedals, and the sooner you will feel fatigued. The more you start to relax the more you will be able to bend like a reed in the wind. A more relaxed body will allow you to meander around people and obstacles.

– Once you are getting fatigued, and your power output is drained, it is OK, to slowly move off the back, cool down, then stop for the day. Most accidents with beginners happen when they are pushing their bodies so hard that they loose focus, and make a mistake. This can be avoided if you recognize that you are pushing too far into fatigue. When training using power, once an athlete can not hold a set wattage for each interval they stop the workout because they know they will no longer get any benefit from the workout.

So, at the next training criterium you go too, work on these tips to be safer and enjoy the ride even more!