Again, I’m bored and another thought popped into my head. I have loved reading everyone’s Unpopular Cycling Opinions. But now I want to know what are your lesser known / personally developed cycling tips (RIP the magazine)
These can range from the useful to the plain esoteric. Just want to hear from the community what wisdom / tips they’d impart to others in their journey on cycling.
Mine is that you should immediately find and download the pdf installation / maintenance manuals for your bike’s groupset. File it away for future use and reference. You’d be surprised how these docs can save you if you run into an issue and/or you need to take it to the bike shop.
When all of my traits was done outside, I’d always check my tires carefully for glass shards and I’d have a small pocket knife that I would use to dig them out. I must have saved many hours fixing flats by this preventative measure.
The pre-ride bike shake. Grab your bike, and shake it so you can hear if there are any rattles.
For mounting or un-mounting very tight tires, I use a little lubricant around the rim to help. Makes a world of difference.
On cold rides, tape up any vent holes on shoes or even line the outside of your socks with plastic.
I’m a very heavy sweater and no matter if I use headbands or not, sweat always gets on my sunglasses and leaves a large water droplet. For the past few years, I’ve been using Rain-X (plastic water repellent) and it has made a huge difference. I understand that original formula Rain-X isn’t good for lens coatings, but the above formula is made for plastic surfaces, including my Oakley sunglasses. Several years of use and no issues.
If you don’t ride in the mountains, with gnarly huge rocky descents, a cyclocross bike is the only bike you’ll ever need, regardless of what discipline you ride/race.
A gravel bike is just a road bike with more tire clearance. A TT bike is just a road bike with clip ons. A Track bike is a road bike with no gears or brakes. A Tri Bike is a road bike that comes with long socks. A mountain bike isn’t necessary for most MTB trails where you live…
You don’t need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to try different disciplines, where in the majority of cases, a 2nd set of tires will get the job done.
Came around to this opinion after having my road bike run over and broken in half…and realized I could not tell the difference between that and my CX bike, either in feel or performance.
When I rode mountain bikes, someone gave me the tip of always looking 30-50 yards ahead of where you’re riding (or as far as the single track allowed) instead of looking directly in front of your wheel. This tremendously improved my stability and preparedness in bike handling.
I no longer mountain bike anymore, but this tip helps incredibly in all facets of cycling. Especially in pacelines. I dont even know what to call it other than expanding your ‘spatial awareness’ or if you’ve ever played ball sports i’ve heard it called ‘court awareness’.
This has definitely helped me in my forays into gravel riding.
Took me a while to get over the “oh look a massive rock, best avoid that. Wait on, why am I still aiming for that massive rock. Bang, over it I go” thing by staring to close to my wheel
I think that ‘looking ahead’ technique is most important for cornering honestly…effectively what you’re doing is creating one long arc of travel for yourself through the corner…rather than looking 15 feet ahead, getting there, readjusting line, and repeating 5 times through the corner…
I think I may have just used the example of ‘looking ahead’ as a means of explaining of increasing the spatial awareness around you. Looking ahead definitely helps with cornering, but when I first started riding bikes my bubble of awareness was very small and it lead to making a lot of decisions on the bike that made it more difficult. When I was able to increase my spatial awareness (by practicing looking ahead) I was able to be less anxious and make better decisions on the bike that extended past just cornering.
This goes double for anyone using campag (like myself)
Those docs are a god send. You realize many tolerances that throw things out of wack if you alter them. Plus, they revise their lines often so what works for the current version doesn’t necessarily work for the version 2 years ago. Learned all this the hard way.
I grew up racing motocross. My Dad used to always say (in a positive, supportive way), “trust the bike. You’ll never be better than the bike.” Meaning, relax and just let it go. I think this is true for most cyclists on a mid-level bike or better.
I think about this often riding my bicycle on anything technical. Maybe it’s nostalgia, but thinking about it always relaxes me, allowing me to go faster, corner harder, etc.