Castelli decided to buck the trend of traditional “insulation-plus-shell construction” of conventional winter cycling gloves, instead using a full neoprene shell similar to those used in wetsuits. Despite the minimal 3mm-thick material, the Diluvios are amazingly warm, even in just-below-freezing temperatures. As with many winter gloves when you put them on right before a ride no moisture will build up and your hands will stay dry, however as the ride evolves it is quite possible that they will eventually get very cold. With the Diluvio gloves you can put them on just before a ride and they will keep your hands warm even if you need to pull the gloves off mid-ride for whatever reason. The no-slip gripper palm provides a secure and real connection to the bar, also making it easy to shift, brake and even work your cycling computer. The key to the Diluvios’ impressive warmth is also the source for my biggest complaint. The neoprene does not breathe well, so while your hands stay warm, they get clammy in a hurry. This also makes them very slow to dry after washing, since machine drying is a definite no-no. However, I can live with that for warm hands on the coldest of days as I have tried many winter gloves only to find myself with frozen fingers by the end of the ride.
Any cyclist from the commuter to the recreational rider to the Cat 1 racer can enjoy the benefits of a precision bike fitting. The right fit can increase your power, leverage your strengths as a cyclist, help you descend and corner with confidence, and accommodate any injuries or limitations you may have. Even if you’re new to cycling, you’ll experience a new level of riding enjoyment with a bike position that’s biomechanically optimal and uniquely yours.
One can train their body’s physiology to produce more power and speed, increase endurance capacity or the ability to pedal day after day. Yet regardless of how well-trained the body might be, the contact points to the bicycle (saddle, pedals and bars) define the body’s biomechanical range and how well this integration between body and bike functions. The three-contact-points concept may seem simple, but when we look at the multitude of positioning variations and the sum of these as they affect biomechanics, bike fitting quickly becomes more complex. Of course, you could simply adjust your saddle height to the point that “feels” right, and as long as you can reach and hold the bars without major discomfort, that might seem good enough. But if you are looking to optimize the way the body integrates with the bike, your economy of energy expenditure, bike handling and stability, while minimizing risk of injury or accommodating current or past physical challenges, then a more precision, detailed approach to your bike fit may be the answer.
Everyone should have a good fit to the bike, regardless of experience or ability. You don’t need to be uncomfortable or in pain to be a fitting candidate, only have the desire to improve the body-bike integration. If you are wondering whether you should consider it, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Do you experience discomfort or pain in your body on the bike?
Are your knees, hips, low back, neck, shoulders, feet and hands completely happy when riding?
Do you feel entirely stable on the bike, especially when cornering or descending?
Do you find yourself moving around on the saddle a lot throughout a ride or as terrain changes?
Do you ride climbs primarily standing out of the saddle?
Do you change your saddle position often to try finding a comfortable spot?
If you answered yes to any of these, your fit can likely be improved. Finding the right bike fitting option is the next step. Fitting has become a very popular service these days as more and more cyclists have realized the benefits. However, bike fittings are not all the same. Each cyclist is unique, even though we all share similar aspects in cycling. A good fit is specific to the person, one that adjusts the bike and shoes to the cyclist, taking into account the cyclist’s body history, goals, and feedback. After all, a proper fitting adjusts the bike to the rider, not the rider to the bike. Fitting “systems” that use fixed parameters such as formulas, video or lasers to determine one’s fit lack the ability to take your uniqueness into account. A computer or formula doesn’t know that your knee hurts or why, or that your hands go numb after 20 minutes, or that you broke your arm when you were a kid. Technology and formulas and are simply tools, and the effectiveness of a tool is only as useful as its application and the experience of the user. How the fitter uses his tools and experience is what matters most. A good bike fitter has a range of fitting options to employ and can explain clearly and in detail the whys behind fitting elements and philosophy.
A flat tire is a huge bummer out on the road, but it’s easy to be prepared for a flat and to fix it it no time. The causes of flats are numerous from pinch flats caused from low tire inflation to a puncture to a leaky or defective valve stem. Here are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Removing The Wheel
If your flat is on the rear tire, the first thing you want to do, even before you pull over and get off the bike is to shift down to your smallest cog. This makes getting the wheel off the bike, and reinstalling the wheel much easier. Obviously if it’s a front flat this is not necessary. Removing the wheel is a two-step process.
First, Release Your Brakes
Most brake assemblies sit very close to your wheel rims and use a quick-release system to disconnect and reconnect them easily. The exact location and design of these release systems will depend on the style of brakes you have.
- Most hybrids, cyclo-cross bikes and mountain bikes have a knob at the end of the pull-cable that catches on a notch in the caliper arm. Squeeze the brake arms together to release the cable.
- Road bikes and flat bar road bikes typically have a quick-release lever, just like on your axle, which can be opened to release the brakes.
- If your bike has disc brakes, be careful not to touch the rotor when opening the quick-release mechanism. The rotor is located very close to the quick-release lever and can become hot enough to burn you. Also, if you have hydraulic disc brakes never press the brake levers when the wheel is off, not even out of curiosity, just don’t do it.
Then, Release Your Wheel
Once you’ve disengaged your brake assembly, your wheel is still held to the frame or fork (depending on if it’s the rear or front wheel) by the wheel axle. To release the axle, check to see if you have a quick-release (lever) axle or a bolt-on (nut) axle and then follow the steps below.
Quick Release Axles:
- Front wheel: To remove a front wheel, simply open the quick-release lever to release the tension holding the wheel in place. Assuming your brakes are disengaged, your front wheel will probably drop straight out.Note: Some bicycles have retention devices designed to hold a wheel in place even when its quick-release lever is open. If your wheel doesn’t pop out after you open the quick-release lever, check the owner’s manual that came with your bike for details on its particular release-and-retention system.
- Rear wheel: Removing the rear wheel is almost as easy as removing the front wheel. This is where you will be happy that you shifted to your smallest rear cog. With the bike upright, on its side or upside down, turn the rear axle quick-release lever until it’s fully open. You may need to unscrew the nut slightly on the opposite side. Pull back on your rear derailleur to give yourself a little slack, then lift out the wheel with your other hand. The wheel should pop free without getting tangled in your chain. If your wheel stays put, it’s likely there’s a retention device holding it in place. (See “Note” above.)
These work just like quick-release axles except that they must be loosened with a wrench instead of a lever, so it takes a bit longer.
To loosen a bolt-on axle, simply grab both ends of the axle with 2 good-fitting wrenches and turn both wrenches a couple of full turns. If you only have one wrench, alternate between ends of the axle bolt, loosening each a half turn or so at a time. If you’re removing a bolted rear wheel, follow the procedure described above to avoid getting it hung up in your chain.
Step 2: Check For Damage
It’s important to find the origin of your flat tire. It may be a nail that is now long gone, leaving you with a hole in your tube and tire. Or it may be a thorn or piece of glass that is still stuck in the tire and could damage your newly repaired or replaced tube.
When searching for the cause of a flat, begin on the outside and work your way in.
- First, check the outer surface of the tire for any signs of damage or wear—things like foreign objects lodged in the tread, cuts or tears in the tread or tire sidewall, or worn/cracked tread patterns.
- Next, get inside the tire (see below) and check the inside surface of the tire for similar damage.
Getting Inside Your Tire
Most bike tires are held inside the rims with a combination of physical grip and air pressure. The grip comes from the edge—or “bead”—of the tire interlocking with the edge of the rim. The pressure comes from the inflated tube pressing the tire against the rim.
First, release all of the remaining air from your flat tire by depressing the small plunger in the center of your tire valve (Presta valves must be opened first. To do so, turn the valve counterclockwise.) Next, unseat your tire bead using the following procedure:
- Using a tire lever, start on the section of your tire opposite the valve (to avoid damage to the valve stem). Use the longer end of one tire lever (lip up) to pry the bead of the tire up and over the edge of the rim.
- If you can’t unseat the tire with just one lever, place a second one in a similar manner, 2 or 3 spokes to either side of the first. (Tires levers come with a handy notch that can be secured against a spoke, keeping the lever in place.) Some tire manufacturers suggest sliding the second lever along the rim away from the first to unseat more of the tire. Others suggest using a third tire lever instead to avoid possible tire and/or rim damage.
Once a section of the tire bead is free, you should be able to unseat the rest of the bead with your fingers. Remove the inflatable tube from beneath the tire by pulling the valve stem out through the rim first. The rest of the tube will slide out easily when pulled.
Finding The Cause Of Your Flat
Tube damage can be difficult to spot. If you don’t see any obvious punctures or blowouts, try inflating the tube so you can check for escaping air. To find very small leaks, pass the tube close to your eye or submerge it in water and look for bubbles.
Tip: Leave the tire in its same location on the wheel so you can check for tire damage once the tube leak is discovered.
If you can’t find any tube damage, check the valve. If the valve stem or base is cut, cracked or severely worn, it may be leaking. If so, the entire tube will need to be replaced.
If the valve is in good condition, check the thin strip along the inside of your rim. Look for protruding spoke ends or areas where the strip may have come free and pinched the tube against the rim surface.
Once the tube damage has been found, check your tire for damage as well. Use the valve stem to relocate the tube so you can find the same location on the tire. Look for any embedded objects in the outside tread. Then turn the tire inside out and do a full visual inspection of the inner surface, making your way slowly around the tire. If you find any cuts, squeeze them to pull apart the rubber and look for anything embedded in the tire. Use a tweezer to remove any foreign debris.
Step 3: Reinstalling Your Tube and Tire
- Make sure the rim strip is seated properly.
- Partially inflate your new or repaired tube to give it shape and ensure it holds air.
- Then place the tube inside the tire.
- Starting with the valve stem, place the tube and tire onto the wheel. (Then release any air from the tube so you can close the tire)
- Reseat one edge (or “bead”) of the tire completely.
- Beginning close to the valve, reseat the other tire bead inside the rim. Check that the valve stem is straight and not at an angle.
- Proceed around the wheel (in both directions at the same time), reseating more of the tire bead. This will get harder as you go.
- Pinch both sides of the tire in towards the center of the rim to make things easier, or carefully use a tire lever to complete the job (Be very careful if you use a tire lever, they can easily pinch a tube when using it for installation).
- Once the tire and valve are in place, check along its edges to make sure that the tube is not caught between the rim and the tire bead. This could cause another flat.
- Now inflate your tire slowly, checking both sides of the rim to make sure that the tire bead stays firmly seated. Double-check the valve as you go to ensure it remains straight. To make sure your tube doesn’t get caught between your tire and the rim, go around the whole tire once and pinch both sides of the tire inward. Inflate the tire to its recommended pressure (printed on the tire itself or in your owner’s manual). If you don’t have a gauge, use your thumb as a guide. If your thumb presses in easily, keep pumping.
If you try and install a new tube in a tire with a cut or a gash, the tube will seep through the tire as you inflate it and burst. To avoid this, you will want to use a “boot” to secure the tube inside the tire. A boot acts like a barrier, not allowing the tube to seep through the cut in the tire.
So, what can you use for a boot? This is where you can get creative. Most cyclists carry paper money on them when they ride in the event of an emergency, this is an emergency. Take your paper bill, any denomonation will work, and fold it into quarter sections. Once you have the new tube inside the tire, and before you close it up, place the bill inside the tire so that it completely covers the hole. This will prevent the tube from seeping through the hole and keep your tube intact and inflated. So, you don’t have paper money? No worries, other items that work include empty gel packs (please make sure they are empty) and pieces of an old tube. That’s right, take an old tube and cut a few strips from it. Keep those strips in your flat kit in the event of this type of emergency. What’s a flat kit? Keep reading…
Step4: Reinstall The Wheel
Simply reverse the procedure you used to remove it. Reattach the wheel to your frame dropouts, holding the derailleur out of the way if you’re reinstalling the rear wheel.
If a bolt-on axle holds the wheel in place, you must tighten it securely. If a quick-release mechanism is involved:
- Make sure the quick-release lever is open before reinstalling the wheel in the frame dropouts.
- Make sure that the wheel is installed evenly, centered in the dropouts.
- Turn the quick-release lever to the fully open position, then turn the adjusting nut on the opposite side of the axle clockwise until it resists turning (don’t use a tool to tighten this nut).
- Close the quick-release lever. Resistance should be snug but not overly tight. Do not close your quick release levers against the fork or frame as you will not be able to open them next time you need to.
- Make sure you close the quick release lever on your brakes
- Spin your wheel to make sure it rotates freely. On road bikes with “center-bolt” brakes, it is possible to knock the brake off center when installing the wheel. If you rotate the wheel and it is hitting brake pad on either side, you can re-center the brakes with your hand so that the pads are again evenly spaced on both sides of your rim.
Carry a flat kit: This is a often a saddle bag filled with th essentials:
1) a spare tube (check size and valve type to make sure it’s right for your bike), 2) tire levers (usually in sets of two or three) and 3) an inflation device (a hand pump or a CO2 device and spare cartridges).
Also, remember to check your air pressure before every ride…
Kim Stepien DPT, received her Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from Ithaca College. As a former collegiate athlete, she has a special interest in Sports Medicine and is a certified Pilates for Rehabilitation instructor. Kim treats with a comprehensive approach with an emphasis on manual based therapy and functional dynamic training. She is currently certified in
trigger point dry needling and is working towards obtaining a Certified Integrative Manual Therapy (CIMT) certification through Great Lakes Institute of Physical Therapy. She performs video gait analysis with runners and enjoys coaching swimming, cycling and personal training in her free time.
A current client writes…
“I started going to Kim when I was diagnosed with Plantars Fasciitis. The conventional treatments were fine, but I was looking for more. Kim uses a whole body approach looking at all possible causes and the most effective treatments. She started using dry needling on my calves and ultra sound on my heel. Along with massage and ice on the foot and stretching exercises, the pain is greatly reduced. Additionally, she also took a look at my leg length and determined that one was slightly longer than the other, a likely factor in my diagnosis. I highly recommend Kim for any kind of sports injury or need for physical therapy. ”
In an effort to get commuters to “switch from cars to bikes,” Scott USA is offering easy to fit fender guards and rear-wheel racks for the entire lineup of SUB commuter bikes.
Scott’s new Urban Kit fender/carrier system is quick and easy to fit – four bolts for the rear and three for the front.
The carrier is attached directly to the rear aluminium and plastic guard, and road tests indicate that this new design is far stronger than similar systems.
Curious? Come test ride a new Scott SUB and see if one of our fender kits will work for your bike!