Bike Tips

Bike Riding in Texas

Some of us bike to eat. Others spend as a little time as possible on this activity. From time to time the question comes up about what to eat during a bike ride. Energy bars have attempted to fill this need but in my opinion they are too expensive and contain too much fat. My personal favorites:

* Animal crackers – these are low in fat, taste sweet, and are cheap. If you want to vary these you can mix in some of the frosted variety with the plain. A handful or two in a plastic bag and you are ready to roll. Hello Animal Planet!
* Cereal – my favorites are Kellogg Raisin Squares and Quaker Oat Squares. Compare the price of a box of these against 1 energy bar. All you need to add is a plastic bag. Fiber and sweet taste, what more can you ask for? Kellogg has other flavors if raisin is not your choice.
* Pop Tarts – a number of years ago a guy I rode with started taking these on our Saturday rides. This was way before Power Bars had hit the road. There is a hint of cardboard in these but they come self-contained, a variety of flavors and are compact. Personally I don’t take these much any more but this an option.
* Bagels – Earthgrains makes several flavors besides plain. First on my list is Raisin/Cinnamon. Next is apple/cinnamon. These are economical, long lasting and low in fat.

All of us have seen the rider with the grease marks on their calf. Also you can grip the chain and not coat your hand in grease. My way to avoid this is to use parafin wax as the chain lube. Not everyone agrees with this choice. In certain situations it does not work. Heavy exposure to water is one reason not to use wax. But if you do choose to use wax a major problem is how do you melt it and not make a mess. My wife has banned me from the kitchen as a waxing place. My solution: a fry baby in the garage. This small electric deep fryer is perfect. It is deep enough to not splash wax when you dip the chain, it heats the wax quickly and stores it when you are finished. When the wax is dirty you just heat it a little to turn loose from the inside and then stick a coat hanger in it and dump it in the trash. Gulf Wax is in almost any grocery store in 1 pound blocks at about $1 a block. A chain with a quick release link works best with this since you tend to wax more often than you would add grease/oil.
Saddles are a very personal fit item. If you are like me this is probably the bicyclist’s equivalent of the search for the Holy Grail. To me the important part is getting the seat cushion part to line up with my sit-bones. How do you do this? My thought is to take a piece of rather soft styrofoam about 3/4″ thick as a template to capture your sit-bone size, postion and width. Here is how to do it:

* place the foam on a hard surface where you can sit as you would on your bike
* sit on the foam, being sure to make the sit-bones produce an impression into the foam
* now you can get fancy if you like, make a plaster-of-Paris casting of the impression
* take this casting or sheet of foam with you when inspecting saddles at your bike shop to compare your position versus the saddle positions.

This may not answer all of the questions but it is a way to get the locations of what connects with the saddle without buying it and taking a chance it won’t work.

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