Skip to content

Ride On digest

30 July, 2014

The week’s top bike news from around the world, brought to you every Wednesday.

Local news

trackteamAussie track team goes for gold

The Australian track cycling team has done the nation proud at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, riding away with twenty medals, including 7 gold. Go team!

Get the full scoop >>

Willoughby goes for double win

While Anna Meares and her teammates were cleaning up on the track in Glasgow, Aussie BMX rider and Happiness Cycle ambassador, Sam Willoughby, won double gold at the BMX World Championships in Rotterdam. He took out the title in the men’s elite and time trial events.

Get the full scoop >>

SA skimps on bikes

South Australia may appear to be big on bikes—it’s home to the Santos Tour Down Under and hosted the Velo-city Global Conference earlier this year—but the Sate Government has the lowest spending on cycling infrastructure per capita of any mainland state. The state is keen to get more people riding, but allocated just $2.89 per person for infrastructure projects. According to Bike SA Chief Executive Officer, Christian Haag, it’s nowhere near enough: “Unless you provide people with other transport options, like cycling, you will be in serious budget strife regarding healthcare costs.”

Get the full scoop >>

Mountain bikers have your say!

Professional consultants and trail builders, Dirt Art, have been charged to devise a master plan with a view of building up to 100km of new mountain bike trails around Bright, Victoria, and they need your input.

Share your thoughts >>

Sydneysiders consult on new lanes

Concept designs for Sydney’s city centre cycleways along Castlereagh, Liverpool and Park Street are on display for public consultation. Take a look and put in your two cents.

Share your thoughts >>

 

International news

lacourse_podiumgirls-540x502La Course by Le Tour spotlights women’s cycling

On Sunday, millions of viewers around the globe tuned in to watch the world’s greatest cyclists race on the Champs-Élysées, but not all of those riders were men. A special women’s race, La Course by Le Tour, was held before the final stage of the Tour de France. Over 90,000 people petitioned for the women’s race, with the hope of raising the profile of women’s cycling and inspiring a new generation of girls to get on their bikes.

Get the full scoop >>

New algorithm calculates most scenic routes

The digital age has already given us the means to find the quickest and least congested routes from A to B, and soon you’ll be able to calculate the most beautiful route as well. An algorithm, developed at Yahoo Labs in Barcelona, uses data, such as how many Flickr images there are of a location, the positivity of comments attached to these photos and crowd sourced opinions to map a city’s sites of beauty and calculate your journey accordingly. It’s not publicly available yet, but the aesthetes among you should be able to download an app with the technology for your smart phone in the not too distant future.

Get the full scoop >>

Tour gets UK riding

A survey conducted by sustainable transport charity Sustrans has found that hosting the Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire has inspired a quarter of Brits to get on their bikes—and that number could easily rise, with 30% of survey respondents saying they would ride more if there were better infrastructure available. Malcolm Shepherd, Chief Executive of Sustrans, said the Government needs to act on public enthusiasm now: “If the government’s ‘cycling revolution’ is to go ahead they must be quick to capitalise on this public passion to reap the benefits in health, congestion and the economy to be had with higher levels of public cycling.”

Get the full scoop >>

 

Health

active-recovery1Active recovery

If the Tour’s inspired you to get out on some big rides, you may be feeling a bit sore. Here’s our guide to active recovery.

Get the full scoop >>

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video

La Course: the highlights

If you missed it on the weekend, check out the highlights from this historic race.lacourse

 

Upcoming events

dotdotdot 3 August Sydney Tweed Picnic    Sydney, NSW
dotdotdot 3 August Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge Coffs Harbour, NSW
dotdotdot 3 August    Deswil Logan’s Run MTB Marathon Mt Joyce, QLD

 

Ride On content is editorially independent, but is supported financially by members of Bicycle Network Victoria. If you enjoy our articles and want to support the future publication of high-quality content, please consider helping out by becoming a member.

Winter fit: your training guide

28 July, 2014

Cycle coach David Heatley explains how to use your winter riding to gear up for spring events. 

Winterfithero

My most successful clients are the ones with goals to achieve on their bikes. They maintain and build fitness over winter by working towards their goal.

So if you want to stay active over the colder months, I recommend setting yourself a solid riding goal by registering for spring and summer events. You can try Bupa Around the Bay, the RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride, or, for those hardened riders looking to push themselves, the SCODY Peaks Challenge. Being registered for an event gives you the incentive to keep training through winter. There are key elements to a successful winter training program, which can be broken down into some basic steps.

1. Base training

Base training helps you build your aerobic capacity, which will result in a huge difference in your fitness come spring. Generally base training is done at lower intensities to increase your heart rate but keep it well below your maximum** heart rate zone (E1 on the table below). Commuting to work is great base training. If you are planning to take on the 210 or 250km distances in an event like Bupa Around the Bay or SCODY Peaks Challenge, I recommend that you ride between seven to 10 hours a week during winter. If your ride to work is a reasonable distance (or you take an extended route) and commute four of the five days a week you’ll accumulate seven hours of riding by cycling just 1.75 hours each day. Then anything you do on the weekend is a bonus to take you over and above your seven hours.

The key to base training is consistency. It’s much better to do regular, smaller rides through the week rather than just one big ride on the weekend. That’s why commuting is a great way to keep fit.

2. Interval training

Interval training builds on your base training and turns you from a slow plodder into a high-performance racing machine. But you have to be a bit careful with what intervals you do.

During winter, I recommend that you focus on a ride or an indoor training session that includes three-to-six, two-to-five minute intervals getting close to your maximum heart rate zone (the E3). I recommend that you do one or two E3 sessions a week with an easy E1 ride or a rest day the day before and after each of these interval sessions.

During winter your aim is to build fitness not taper and peak. You taper and peak when you do really hard efforts in the VO2MAX Heart Rate Zone. VO2MAX is between 92-100%. Focus on the VO2MAX training when you get closer to your event so that you taper and peak at the right time.

VO2MAX training builds on your base. So the better your base, the better the result you’ll get when you do start this higher intensity training. Some people try to short cut this by doing VO2MAX training too early in an effort to ‘crash’ their training. This does lift their fitness. However, if it’s built on a small base then it’s a short term lift, and it doesn’t last—similar to the result you get from crash dieting.

Interval training can be done either on the road or a home trainer. Indoor training is a great way to supplement your on-road riding in poor weather and is very efficient for a few reasons. The most important being that it’s a focused session. On the trainer, you don’t stop for traffic lights or freewheel down hills. The other great thing about indoor training is that you can really work on your pedalling technique.

3. Hills

If you are training for Bupa Around the Bay, then a lot of hill training is not important. However, if you are training for SCODY Peaks Challenge then it’s a whole different story. For SCODY Peaks Challenge, I recommend that you build around a minimum of 1,000 vertical metres of climbing a week into your training. This could be done in a
single ride or across several rides during the week. The gradient and length of the climb are not important—just the total amount of vertical meters. As the weather
improves, you can increase this. Do around 10-15% of this climbing in a gear or two harder that you would usually ride in while focusing on developing a really good pedalling technique. This will help build strength that you’ll call on later on in the season as you start ramping up your training for your event.

Finally, work on a four week training cycle. The first three weeks are for building or maintenance and the last week is for recovery. The building phase is where you gradually increase either the volume or intensity of your riding by no more than 10% a week. During the recovery week, you reduce both volume and intensity. This is important because the training load is the stimulus for developing fitness, but it’s when your body is resting and recovering that the actual adaptation happens.

4. Maintenance

If you aren’t riding any events during the winter, you should go into a ‘maintenance phase’. This means that once you are riding 7-10 hours a week you should hold it there for three weeks then have a lighter week on the fourth. You should continue this four week cycle all the way through to spring.

Weekends are often the best time for longer rides. If you complete your interval training during the week then weekend rides should be done mainly around the E1 Heart Rate Zone with a little training up in the E3 Heart Rate Zone. In a winter maintenance program, the sweet spot for longer rides is around two to three-and-a-half hours. Rides longer than this move towards the law of diminishing returns. That doesn’t mean that you can’t ride for longer than three-and-a-half hours. It just means that, during winter, your time could be better spent doing other things, such as catching up with family and friends. If the weather is really bad, investigate alternate activities that you can do on the weekend, such as swimming, running, walking, mountain biking or going to the local gym and doing a cross fit or indoor cycle training class. Winter is a great time to cross train so take full advantage of it and plan activities that get you out of the house so you can stay active and fit.

 

I hope this provides you with a little inspiration to keep you thinking about what you’ll do over the winter to stay fit and healthy. All the best with your riding.

winterfit

David Heatley is a full time cycle coach, director of Cycling-Inform and Bicycle Network’s Cycle Training consultant. www.cycling-inform.com

Ride On content is editorially independent, but is supported financially by members of Bicycle Network Victoria. If you enjoy our articles and want to support the future publication of high-quality content, please consider helping out by becoming a member.

Ride On digest

23 July, 2014

The week’s top bike news from around the world, brought to you every Wednesday.

Local news

annaAnna Meares announced as Australia’s Commonwealth Games flag bearer

Cyclist and two-time Olympic gold medalist Anna Meares will carry the Australian flag into the stadium at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony tonight. Meares reportedly fought back tears when the announcement was made, saying: “This is so outside the box from what I normally do. I know it is an incredible honour… Go team! I’m just so happy.”

Get the full scoop >>

Riders to run in Victorian state election

Come November, Victorian bike riders will be able to vote for better infrastructure, lower speed limits  and improved road user education, with the Australian Cyclists Party contesting the state election. According to party member Omar Khalifa, riders need a strong voice to represent them in parliament: “We’ve got to fix the roads and we’ve got to fix the behaviours”.  The party plans to contest 16 seats in the upper house and is currently seeking candidates.

Get the full scoop >>

Once you start, you can’t stop

Results from the most recent national Ride2Work survey show that 60% of new riders in 2013 are still commuting by bike at least once a week almost a year later, up from 47% the previous year. According to Bicycle Network’s General Manager of Behaviour Change, Tess Allaway, who oversees the program, “Riding to work is a great way to fit in the recommended 30 minutes of exercise we need to maintain our health around our busy work and family commitments.” Registrations for National Ride2Work Day 2014 open Monday, 28 July.

Get the full scoop >>

 

International news

bike pathLiving near bike paths makes people fitter

A recent British study has found that those living within 0.6 miles (0.96 km) of a bike path spent an extra 45 minutes per week walking and riding their bikes than those who lived 2.5 miles (4 km) away. Better yet, this increase in walking and cycling didn’t amount to a decrease in other forms of exercise. According to the study’s lead author and lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Dr Anna Goodman, “The fact that we showed an increase in overall levels of physical activity is very important, and shows that interventions of this sort can play a part in wider public health efforts to prevent diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions.”

Get the full scoop >>

Free bikes for new workers

West Yorkshire is keen to make the transition from welfare support to employment as easy as possible and is providing transport solutions, including free metro cards and reconditioned bikes, to  job starters who have no way to reach their place of employment. One hundred bikes have already been gifted as part oft he scheme, and a further 150 are marked for distribution.

Get the full scoop >>

Hit the books

For those who revel in facts and figures, publishing group Taylor &Francis Online have made over 100 research papers on cycling and bike infrastructure available for free until the end of August.

Get the full scoop >>

 

Health

snoozeBeat Mondayitis

Staying up to watch the final stages of le Tour this weekend may potentially leave you zonked for the week ahead. Here’s tips to help you watch the race and still show up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the office on Monday.

Get the full scoop >>

 

Video

Aussie rider, Michael Rogers, takes a bow at le Tour

Rogers rode his way to an impressive win on Stage 16 of le Tour. Check out the highlights.

Rogers

Upcoming events

dotdotdot 23 July – 4 August 2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow, Scotland
dotdotdot 24 – 26 July Townsville to Cairns Bike Ride   Townsville, QLD
dotdotdot 25 July – 10 August   Coffs Coast Festival of Cycling Coffs Harbour, NSW
dotdotdot 28 July National Ride2Work day registrations open

 

Ride On content is editorially independent, but is supported financially by members of Bicycle Network Victoria. If you enjoy our articles and want to support the future publication of high-quality content, please consider helping out by becoming a member.

The perfect fit

21 July, 2014

Finding the right riding gear for your body shape can be a challenge—Wheel Women‘s Tina McCarthy looks at the options for riders who need a roomier garment. 

Tina8

Ding-dong! The doorbell rings. It’s that exciting moment when my new cycling gear arrives from the online order. I can’t wait to rip it open—I will look “fabulous” in this new jersey! But wait, something isn’t right—they’ve sent me the wrong size! Surely they’ve made a mistake?

Have you ever made that online order and the gear turns out to be the size and cut of a large garbage bag, or so tiny in all the places that count it is like wearing an external lap band procedure?

For those who fit into the curvier category of body shape like me, finding cycling gear which fits well, looks great and has the technical qualities needed is
a challenge for men and women.

As a cycling coach, I wear cycling gear every day, so I buy lots of it. But finding gear that fits my body shape has been a constant issue—I’m no waif and never will be.

I have a 41” (104cm) bust size, and my hips pretty much follow that too.

Despite what you may think my doctor reckons I’m in great shape. I am also a serious rider—and just because I wear a larger size, doesn’t mean I’m not out on the bike every day—so cycling gear manufacturer’s need to take note.

Tina5According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) the average Australian woman is 161cm tall and weighs in at 72kg. That puts me spot on for height and 3kg over on the weight. I’ve got lumps and bumps where I’d rather not have them, a bust many would feel blessed to own, and a set of hips which challenge any pair of knicks. That’s just the way I am—I actually feel pretty good about my body these days! But finding gear to fit has been an ongoing saga.

I asked my cycling buddy Peter Mathison how he felt about the topic. Peter weighs in at 90kg and is 173cm tall. That means according to the ABS he is 2cm shorter and 4kg heavier than the average Australian male. Peter serves as a member of the Australian Defence Force, so I wouldn’t say he’s unfit…to the
contrary, I’ve cycled many hills with Peter and he does just fine.

Since I’ve known Peter, he’s lost a fair bit of weight, but he has described himself as being on the “larger size of big”.

However, since he too is not far off being “average”, according to the statistics, we decided to experiment. Peter usually wears L or XL, so we looked at what was available in one store in that size range—it was clear that is not Peter’s size in cycling gear! After much ego deflating, we realized that Peter would need a 2XL or 3XL to get anything, which was a reasonable fit, but suddenly the options were limited. Coincidentally, everything left on the sale racks was either marked as S, M, or L… does this indicate the larger sizes are the best sellers?

There are many brands whose largest women’s size fits a bust of 36” or 38”. That counts me as “almost Ms Average” out instantly—by a long way! I refuse to squeeze into gear which makes my legs look like a string of frankfurts and body like a shrink-wrapped walrus! But there are a few brands out there which actually understand larger cyclists’ need to be catered for.

So rejoice ladies and gentlemen of ‘average’ and larger sizes, get out of those shrink-wrap jerseys, put away the baggy shorts and sloppy t-shirts and ride proud with your curves and beautifully fitting lycra!

Our curvy person’s gear guide

Legs

Wider is better! Look for wide waist bands and cuffs on the legs – narrow bands create the Frankfurter look. Try to get a little bit of compression in the fabric because it holds escaped curves in a little better.

Bibs

Personally I think bibs work really well for larger women and men. You won’t be forever hitching them up over the bumps and they feel great… I’m a total convert. Until of course I need to visit the ladies’ room!

Body

Go for jerseys and jackets that are described as ‘club cut’, not race cut, or ones which offer a ‘relaxed’ fit—club cut offers a more gentle shape but isn’t boxy. Longer jerseys are great too and some brands make their women’s lines in larger sizes a little longer, with the sleeves cut longer as well.

clothing for all sizes heroThe brands

Santini

I would never fit into their gear… or so I thought! The new Anna Meares signature line has been designed specifically for the ‘average’ Aussie woman (thanks Anna!) Sizes go up to 3XL in that range and the men’s gear goes up to a 5XL! We found the Santini gear looks great, has fabulous technical qualities and is cut to flatter.

For more check out: www.bikesportz.com.au

Pearl Izumi

Both Peter and I wore 2XL. Cut beautifully to flatter, is a little more relaxed than some brands, has fabulous colours, is longer in the hem line and has great technical quality. Really accurate size charts, leggings have generally all got the wider waist and leg bands.

For more check out: www.pearlizumi.com.au

BBB

I don’t think you can go wrong. The gear fits well, is priced well and is pretty easy to find at lots of stores. Their new women’s range is cut really well with great colours. The jersey runs a little on the short side in the length, but wasn’t too short. I wore the largest women’s size of XXL, and Peter needed the largest men’s in XXXL.

For more check out: www.bbbcycling.com.au

Craft

A Swedish brand with beautiful cut. The jerseys are slightly longer in the body and arm length, and pretty generous in size for an XL, which I needed.

For more check out: www.craftsports.com.au

Shebeest

This women’s specific brand from the USA is a favourite of mine. The website has accurate descriptions of cut and sizing, but the best part is that the sizing goes up to a 3X, which is a 49-50” bust (124-127cm). It’s a great range with really reasonable pricing and technical quality great for recreational cyclists.

For more check out: www.shebeest.com

These brands are available from Australian bike stores.

Ride On content is editorially independent, but is supported financially by members of Bicycle Network Victoria. If you enjoy our articles and want to support the future publication of high-quality content, please consider helping out by becoming a member.

Ride On digest

16 July, 2014

The week’s top bike news from around the world, brought to you every Wednesday.

Local news

vbjf9qwf-1405466942Can riders can do more for friendlier roads?

Associate Professor Craig Fry from Victoria University’s Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing writes in The Conversation that while drivers and the media aren’t always fair towards bike riders, riders who merely point the finger aren’t helping matters either.

Get the full scoop >>

 

Tour Down Under 2015 route revealed

Pro cycling fans can now take a peek at the terrain their favourite riders will tackle when they head to Aus  in January 2015.

Get the full scoop >>

Inspiration comes in many forms

While Richie Porte is doing Australia proud at Le Tour, Sydney Morning Herald‘s On Your Bike blogger Michael O’Reilly finds that the pros aren’t the only ones who make great role models for riders.

Get the full scoop >>

Newcastle Challenge a no-go in 2015

The Newcastle Challenge won’t be going ahead next year. According to event organiser, Bicycle Network, “We’ve exhausted every avenue to improve this event. Our research shows that the route between Gosford and Newcastle is not the best option for riders, and our thousands of friends and members deserve better.”

Get the full scoop >>

 

International news

n-BIKE-WINNERS-large570Science says: ride your bike

Here’s six, scientifically proven reasons riding your bike more often makes you a better person.

Get the full scoop >>

 

Helsinki  to ditch private car ownership by 2025

The Finnish capital has revealed plans for an innovative, ambitious and highly personalised public transport system that would link mini buses, driverless cars, share bikes and ferries and require a single payment for multi-modal trips. The city believes that if the system is successful, there will be little incentive for people to own a private car.

Get the full scoop >>

Tour update after first rest day

Le tour de France 2014 is proving to be a real road of trials for the peloton, with several big names forced to retire from the race before the first rest day. But it’s not all bad news; going into Stage 11 Aussie rider Richie Porte is currently in second place behind Vincenzo Nibali (Italy).

Get the full scoop >>

 

Health

jqvcbj9r-1358293157Can you pay off your ‘sleep debt’?

For all of you who are looking a bit bleary-eyed from late nights watching the Tour, make yourself a strong cup of coffee and find out if and how you can make up for lost sleep.

Get the full scoop >>

 

 

Video

Playing catch up

Check out a quick recap from Stage 10 of the Tour before the race gets under way again tonight.

stage10

 

Upcoming events

dotdotdot 23 July – 3 August 2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow, Scotland
dotdotdot 24-26 July Townsville to cairns Bike Ride Townsville, QLD
dotdotdot 25 July – 10 August Coffs Coast Festival of cycling   Coffs Harbour, NSW

 

Ride On content is editorially independent, but is supported financially by members of Bicycle Network Victoria. If you enjoy our articles and want to support the future publication of high-quality content, please consider helping out by becoming a member.

Untangle muscle tension

15 July, 2014

Got knots and strains stretching can’t fix? Myotherapist Andrew Pell has self-massage techniques to target the common ones.

Muscle tightness and discomfort is a regular problem for many people. This can result from long training rides, previous injuries, general fatigue, poor posture and, most commonly, being desk-bound during the week. Muscles often develop hypersensitive ‘knots’ called trigger points. Identifying these points can sometimes be easy due to the area being tender under light touch. It is also common for these points to refer pain to a distal location when pressure is applied. Unfortunately, trigger points do not always respond to stretching and periods of rest. If not treated and managed correctly trigger points can lead to early muscle fatigue, loss of strength, further injuries and overall reduced performance. However, in conjunction with a consistent stretching regime, the use of self-massage techniques such as these can be a powerful tool to deactivate trigger points, promote blood flow to tight spots and keep your muscles feeling fresh.

Iliotibial band and quadriceps

One of the most common complaints among bike riders is tightness in the quadriceps muscle group and iliotibial band (ITB). Although the ITB is not a muscle but a band of connective tissue called fascia, it responds very well to self-massage with a foam roller. Trigger points and tightness in this area can cause discomfort and pain, particularly around the knee and hip joints. This easy self-treatment eases quad tightness and, over time, should decrease ITB tightness too. The best thing is that you can even do it while watching TV!

1) Position yourself as shown in the picture below and slowly roll up and down over the side of your thigh. It’s important that you use light pressure the first time you attempt this technique to see how your body responds. If you use too much pressure initially, your muscles may respond negatively and tighten up even more.

2) Roll up and down the area several times for around 2-3 minutes each leg or until you feel a softening in the muscle group. Stop and hold areas of increased tightness and soreness—these spots are likely to be trigger points and may refer slight discomfort down to the knee. Relocate the foam roller to ensure the entire section of muscle and fascia is worked thoroughly.

130704BNV_Aug-Sep_091_CMYK

 

 

Calf and lower leg

Muscle tightness and fatigue through the back of the lower leg is another common complaint among bike riders. The calves and surrounding lower leg muscles are well used in the down-stroke of the pedalling motion, particularly when powering up hills.

1) Resting on your hands, place the foam roller under your lower leg as seen in the picture.

2) Gently roll up and down each leg for 2-3 minutes focusing on those tender spots.

3) Ensure you cover the whole muscle group from the Achilles tendon right up to just below the back of the knee.

130704BNV_Aug-Sep_093_CMYK

 

Glutes

Your gluteal muscle group is extremely strong and an important stabiliser of the pelvis and hips. Trigger points within the glutes can lead to lower back pain and poor muscle activation.

1) Place a tennis ball or spiky massage ball under your gluteal muscle group as seen in the picture below.

2) Gently move your hips to target different tender points. When you find a tender spot, hold for 20–30 seconds until the muscle releases and the discomfort eases.

3) Another option when you find a tender spot is to slowly straighten out your leg. This is more of an active release for those feeling confident.

130704BNV_Aug-Sep_106_CMYK

 

Thoracic spine and pectoral muscles

Stiffness and soreness through the top of the shoulders and thoracic spine is a very common problem. This can occur from having a desk-bound job, a hunched riding position, poor posture and tight muscles through the middle and upper back.

1) Gently position yourself as shown below and ensure your head is supported either on a Posture Pole, foam roller or a pillow.

2) Position the Posture Pole or foam roller in the middle of your back and gently allow your arms out to the side. Aim for a comfortable stretch through the front of the chest (pectoral muscle group).

3) Take three deep breaths in the position and feel your arms relax closer to the ground as the muscles release through the front of your chest.

130704BNV_Aug-Sep_109_CMYK

 

Please note that the best self-massage programs can be specifically designed by musculoskeletal specialists. 

Andrew Pell is a Myotherapist in Northern Myotherapy in Brunswick, Melbourne. 

 

Ride On content is editorially independent, but is supported financially by members of Bicycle Network Victoria. If you enjoy our articles and want to support the future publication of high-quality content, please consider helping out by becoming a member.

Back to basics: how to change a bike tube

14 July, 2014

Punctures are enough to leave anybody feeling flat, but as Iain Treloar demonstrates, it’s easy to get rolling again. 

P44-45 hero

There are three certainties in any bike rider’s life: death, taxes and punctures. Regrettably, Ride On can’t help much with the first two. Happily, we can help with the last one. From changing tubes to preventative measures to reduce the risk of punctures happening in the first place, here’s our survival guide for one of life’s deflating scenarios.

Diagnosis

There are two primary causes for punctures—one that you can to some extent control and one you can’t.

The first is what’s known as a pinchflat and is caused by tyre pressure being too low, causing the tyre to compress when hitting a bump and pinching the tube against the rim. What this looks like is two thin slits in the tube. This gives a pinch flat its other name: a ‘snakebite’.

One way of avoiding such punctures is by ensuring you maintain correct tyre pressure. This is usually marked on the sidewall of your tyre (given in PSI). Your optimal pressure may depend on a range of different factors, including surface conditions, weather, tyre volume, your personal preferences for a harder or softer ride and your weight. Let’s just focus on the last one for now. Simple solution: if you’re at the heavier end of the spectrum, inflate the tyre closer to the upper limit, as more weight presses the rim closer to the ground, increasing the risk of a pinch-flat. If you’re a lighter rider, it’s safe to run the pressure toward the lower end of that range; if the tyre is too firm, you may find the ride is uncomfortably jarring, and lose grip as the tyre won’t conform to the ground.

As materials used in bicycle inner tubes are slightly porous, it’s normal for them to lose pressure over time. As such, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of checking your tyre pressure weekly.

The other major cause of punctures is something working its way through the tyre, pricking the tube and causing it to deflate. This can either be instantaneous, or a delayed process presenting itself some way down the track—always, it seems, at a time of great inconvenience. Keep an eye on the condition of your tyres and every so often, deflate the tyre, and go around it picking out any fragments of glass with a sharp point. To prolong the life of your tyres, a dab of superglue on larger slits will help seal the hole.

Never leave home without…

  • Spare tube
  • Patch kit
  • Tyre levers
  • Pump or CO2 canisters

My tyre is flat. What do I do?

  • Remove the wheel from your bike, and let out any remaining air in the tube by depressing the valve.
  • Insert one tyre lever under the bead of the tyre, and lever it over the rim. Repeat this process until one side of the tyre is sitting outside the rim [Figures 1 through 4].
  • Remove the flat tube and store it away for repair.
  • Run your fingers around the inside of the tyre to feel whether there’s anything sticking through the tyre casing. If you find anything, remove it. [Figure 5].
  • Check the sidewalls of the tyre for any cuts or slashes.
  • If you still haven’t found any obvious cause for the flat, run your finger around the inside of the rim—check that the rim strip/tape is in good condition and hasn’t exposed any spoke holes.
  • Inflate the replacement tube just enough for it to hold its shape inside the tyre—this limits the risk of it sitting under the bead of the tyre and pinching on full inflation.
  • Insert the valve of the tube through the valve hole and then work your way around, inserting the tube into the inside of the tyre [Figures 6 through 8].
  • Slowly work the tyre around onto the rim. You should be able to do this with your thumbs most, if not all, of the way around. As soon as you use tyre levers, there’s a far greater risk of pinching the tube and taking yourself right back to square one [Figures 9 and 10].
  • Once you’ve seated the tyre correctly on the rim, inflate the tube about halfway, check that there are no unsightly bulges or asymmetries, and then inflate fully. Job done!
Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 3

basic mainteance 4

Figure 4

Caption 5

Figure 5

Caption 6

Figure 6

Figure 7

Figure 7

Figure 8

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 9

Figure 10

Figure 10

 

I’m out of spare tubes: how do I patch one?

  • Inflate the tyre until you can hear the air hissing out. Locate the source, then mark it with a dab of saliva.
  • Let any remaining air out of the tube.
  • Rough up the area around the hole to help the patch stick [Figure 1]. All patch kits come with a square of sandpaper or a course metal tab for this purpose.
  • If your patches are self-adhesive, remove the backing and firmly press down. Hold for a couple of minutes to be on the safe side.
  • If your patches are glue-on, apply a generous film of rubber cement around the hole. The glued area should be larger than the size of the patch so that it doesn’t peel off [Figure 2]
  • Leave the glue to sit until it’s tacky, rather than wet. Then peel off the foil back of the patch and place over the hole. Press and hold for several minutes [Figures 3 and 4].
  • The plastic sheet covering the patch is technically supposed to be removed. In reality, don’t bother. peeling it off risks lifting the edge of the patch and compromising the deal.
  • Install tube and inflate.
Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 4

Handy hints

  • Realign any logo or branding on the tyre with the valve hole. Not only does it look neater, but will also help you locate what caused the puncture, as when you locate the hole in the tube you have an instant reference point tracing back from the valve for where the tyre was pierced.
  • Use plastic, not metal tyre levers (and definitely not spoons). Most rims are made from comparatively soft aluminium these days, and metal levers can damage these. Tyre levers cost between $5 and $10 a set.
  • If you don’t wish to repair your tube, at the very least put it in a bin rather than dumping it on the side of the road.
  • If you have a handpump that clamps onto the valve, brace the valve and pump head with one hand when inflating. If you’re pumping away without doing so, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll break the valve or tear it from the rubber at its base. Neither of these two outcomes is repairable. If you’re in the market for a new mini-pump, Ride On recommends models that have a hose that threads onto the valve, meaning you won’t have to brace the valve and freeing up a hand for on the pump instead. Happily, this style is becoming increasingly popular, with Lezyne, BBB, Giant and Airace all making variants.

Ride On content is editorially independent, but is supported financially by members of Bicycle Network Victoria. If you enjoy our articles and want to support the future publication of high-quality content, please consider helping out by becoming a member.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 285 other followers