Monthly Archives: July 2011

What are the pockets for in a Cycling Jersey?

For many, the oft brightly colored cycling jersey seems to be all about performance—its skin-tight lycra serving two main purposes: aerodynamics and sweat wicking.

These aspects are certainly true. I remember donning my first proper cycling jersey on an 88 degree day in the city and was astounded at how dry and cool I felt as I was picking up speed on the bike path home. It seemed like Giordiana has actually woven magic into that shirt.

So why ruin all that performance with pockets? If you’re serious about cycling then you are also serious about mileage and where you can go with your bike. If you are traveling away from home you are going to need some supplies. Here is a visual packing list of what you will need for most trips (in no particular order):

Packing list for cycling

1) Food

Bonk has a way of sneaking up on you; you’ll be rolling along and feeling great when all of a sudden you’ll notice that you’re breathing a little harder on the hills, or maybe your legs just aren’t pushing with the sprightliness of the beginning of the ride then *wham*, you are having a difficult time even crawling along at half speed. Make sure to have some snacks and if you’re on a long ride make sure to eat them. How often will vary on your level of fitness but generally you should be snacking on something at least once an hour.

2) Hydration

For rides on hot days or for longer than an hour or two you should bring two bottles with you. The pros like to do electrolytes (eg: cytomax, gatoraide) in one bottle and water in the other (which you can drink, or dump on your head if things really heat up)

3) Bike Pump

Learn from my mistakes: get a good bike pump. It doesn’t have to be a full frame-length pump, but it shouldn’t be the smallest/lightest thing you can find either. I had an ultralight that fit great in my pocket, but when it came time to actually use it it was difficult to get up beyond 80psi and it took forever. Even if you have “puncture resistant” tires it pays to have a good bike pump

4) Presta-> Schrader converter

This little item can come in handy when you’re in the middle of nowhere and have a pump fail or break. Pretty much all gas stations have air pumps, but none have presta valves. This converter costs nothing, takes up no space and can be a life-saver when straits get dire.

5) Tubes

Though a bit of a pain, bring two tubes. Why? Because your rear tire follows your front tire and if you hit the right kind of sharp object when you are rolling along at 25mph…well, you get the picture.

6) Tire Lever

Some tires pry off by hand, but don’t wait until you have a flat to find out that yours are too tight. Tire levers are a must-have.

7) Multi-tool

Random things happen on the road that you can’t anticipate; your saddle could start slipping down, a tree branch could get jammed in your derailleur, a brake hood could slip. Your multi tool will allow you to Macgyver your way back out of most mechanical problems.

8) Zip-lock bags

Of all the expensive equipment a cyclist arms him/herself with, there is one is often overlooked: the humble ziplock bag. Pack anything in these that you don’t want to get wet with sweat or rain (money, cell phone), things that you don’t want to get rubbed around too much (eg: spare tubes) or use them to cluster and organize your things in. When it comes to packing for your ride zip-lock bags are your friends.

9, 10) ID/RoadID, Health Insurance Card

Should anything unforeseen happen to you, it will be important for people to be able to identify you and know who to contact for help. On the flip side, you will also need your ID to get into bars.

11-12) Cash, Credit Card

On the road, cash is king. You should bring a 20 to get snacks, lunch, drinks while adventuring. Since bills are fairly sturdy you can also fold and place one between your inner tube and tire to limp to a bike store should you gash your tire bad enough that the inner tube starts to pop through. A credit card is good for larger bills like bike parts or a bus ride home.

13) Cell Phone

Great for taking group pictures and texting your significant other to say that you are running late.

Happy Trails!

Tips for long summer rides

It’s that time of year again: Summer! Where the days are long and hot, and the rides are longer and harder. While you may be starting to feel invincible, there are some things that you should keep in mind as you sign up for that century ride in the mountains:

(1) Fit, fit, fit:

Once you start to pile on the miles fit will become increasingly important so make sure that your bike has been adjusted to your body. While a long reach to the handlebar will simply give you sore shoulders, a poorly adjusted seat can injure your IT band or meniscus and send you into a *long* recovery.

(2) Know your stretches.

As it turns out, your hamstrings are three groups of muscles and simply leaning forward does not target and stretch them all. While stretching your hamstrings turn your foot inward, straight up, and outward for 30 seconds at each position.

(3) Rollers and other torture devices:

After a long day in the saddle you may need to do more than just stretch sore muscles. A foam roller is well worth the money. This will be most helpful along the outsides of your legs from your knees to your hips (your IT band) but can be used on your quads and other muscle groups.

You may also want to get “the stick” (which is a plastic roller) for bigger muscles like your hamstrings)

(4) Cross training, while not as fun as cycling, helps.

  • Running helps work other muscles in addition to your legs. It also helps to maintain bone density as you get older.
  • While you’re out for a run, throw in some lunges at the end when you’re warmed up. These help build strength and stability and are convenient if you’re not a fan of the gym
  • Weight training helps to build strength which, in turn, helps with oxygen consumption as well as maintaining good posture

(5) “Eat before you’re hungry and drink before you’re thirsty”.

You’ve heard it many times before but it’s important to avoid bonking, especially if you do long races. If you have a bike computer you might set a mental timer and make sure that every 20 minutes you are taking a sip, pacing yourself to roughly 1 bottle per hour and one gel pack per hour. Keeping the tank topped off means keeping your legs turning.