Volume 2 / Issue 018
World’s premiere custom bicycle shop – triathlon bikes
The newsletter for active cycling lifestyles
Volume 2, Issue 18 / ISSN 1945-1776
In this issue:
A Note from Kevin
Welcome to “Perfectly Fit,” our newsletter which is designed to help you get the most out of an active, cycling lifestyle. I have a team of pros from all over the world that will help me provide you with great info and a place for you to find out what you want to know. Your feedback is so important and we will make a place for you to be heard.
First I am happy to announce that KGS Bikes is now offering Formigli custom bicycle frames as part of the KGS Custom bicycle lineup. These pure custom frames are hand crafted in Italy and will be perfect for the cyclist who likes the lines of a Pinarello but wants the benefits of a custom bicycle designed to the level of excellence we provide.
Our main article recounts a ride I did recently with a client who had need of a refresher course in the basics of riding a bike properly and effectively. We all need to master the basics.
Our BikeTech Help Desk has a question regarding the sanity of riding a bike in the early pre-dawn hours. We also have a question about difficulty in changing tires on carbon clincher wheels.
Don’t forget to visit our blog as new stuff is posted there almost daily. It is easy to subscribe to the blog so you can get updates sent to you.
Thanks again for letting me share with you a little about cycling. I respect your time and will strive to continue to make it worth it.
Every Thursday KGS Bikes is joining Alchemy Bicycles to sponsor the Pure Austin Fitness Driveway Series Criteriums at The Driveway in Austin. We will have a tent set up and will look forward to seeing you at the race which is called the Best in Texas.
Every positioning session is an event and one which you will find most valuable. Don’t forget lead times in these custom bikes. With six to eight week deliveries, you need to factor that into your purchase plans so your season can be best utilized for success.
Feature Article – First Bike Ride
While most people reading this article have many miles under their belt, there is a growing number of people who are entering the sport of triathlon from running and swimming. As such, there are more people than you might imagine who may have ridden a bike some as a child, but have little to no experience as an adult.
I thought it would be interesting to share the content of a technical "consulting ride" that I did with a client this week. The best riders are very, very good at the basics, and that is exactly what we went over in our 1.5 hour ride. Here is some background.
Zeke is a marathoner who is entering triathlon. He is doing things the right way, by engaging a swimming coach, a coach to handle training load and periodization for all three elements, swim, bike, run, and brought in a road bike that I helped transfer to a "first year" triathlon bike. Those who know me are familiar with my philosophy that modern road bikes are not designed well for "real" people, but they actually work out surprisingly well as triathlon bikes. No, the tubes aren’t aero, but the position that is attained on a bike with clip on handlebars is much closer to "right" for most adult triathletes than the aggressive position dictated by most tri bikes. That said, Zeke has a bike now, and his coach has prescribed rides, starting this weekend.
While I would spread this amount of information over multiple sessions with many people, Zeke is a quick learner with an intense ability to focus, and he was really paying attention. He didn’t want to embarrass himself on the first real ride and thus was highly motivated to learn some tricks of the trade.
The first thing we did was the most basic of all, having the bike in the right gear to start out, before you stop, then learning to clip out, balance gracefully at a light, start out, clip in, and safely get the bike moving. Back in the 80′s when I raced bikes full time, we had toe clips and leather toe straps that were harder to get into than modern pedals. I spent considerable time in having my foot close to the pedal, being balanced on the bike with the other foot ready to push down hard when the gun sounded. I learned to get my foot into the pedal before I had moved 3 feet. This is what we practiced in the parking lot so no matter what, clipping in and clipping out could become routine and most of all, very safe.
The next part of the session was to discuss gear selection. Once you know how to shift, the question becomes, "What gear is best?" I think that while road racers strive for 90-110 rpms, that is a good goal in training for triathletes, but the reality is, 80 rpms is a more realistic goal. By defining a cadence goal, then the gear selection is based on what will keep the engine (you) in it’s best operating range, which is say, 70-90 rpms when in the aerobars. The next thing to consider, of course, is the terrain. If one is new to riding a bike, it is easy to forget that the hill ahead is much easier to climb if you get in the right gear before the going gets tough.
We discussed "claiming the lane" which to me is critical in the safety of riding on the road. I demonstrated to Zeke what a bike looks like from 30 feet ahead, 3 feet out into the road vs on the edge. He noticed a big difference in the visibility of the rider and it made more sense than just trying to visualize and take my word for it.
We have yet to leave the parking lot and have spent about 40 minutes going over the basics, demonstrating, repeating, and practicing, so these basic concepts really made sense. I showed Zeke what was really going on when drafting, and since we were stopped, he could see easily what happens when wheels overlap. The other interesting thing is to see what happens when wheels touch, and how important it is to turn into the wheel in front of you if this happens to you.
Now that the basics were covered, we hit the road to practice climbing, riding in the aerobars on the straights and corners, plus more detail on the physics of cornering. We discussed the advantages of late apex turns and how keeping the weight on the pedals was so important. When training for triathlons, learning to stay in the aerobars the whole time is very important. The bike will handle differently and if you can’t stay in the aerobars to train, it will be hard to stay in them to race.
After this session, Zeke felt like he had covered the things that cyclists need to know on a first big ride, but were afraid to ask. I believe it is important to keep working on the basics as they can then become good habits. Handling skills, awareness of the terrain, roads, obstacles and surroundings, plus vigilance in staying alert to things that may happen, never go out of style.
Until next time,
BikeTech Help Desk
I have a busy schedule and thought I could train in the very early morning as that is the only time I have these days and I figured it beat not riding. A friend said that I should not ride in the dark as it is unsafe. I already purchased and installed a headlight and bright taillight on the bike. What do you think?
I believe that riding your bike is at least as safe as driving a car, assuming the following:
In conclusion, bike riding is inherently safe if you do the right things, but all activity has some degree of risk. Go ride!
I just got a set of Zipp 404 clincher wheels (against your advice to get tubulars) for my triathlon bike. I had a flat the very first ride and I couldn’t get the tire off the rim no matter how hard I tried. I also cut my knuckles on the spokes when the tire tool slipped. As a surgeon, I need my hands! What is the problem here? I thought Zipps were good wheels.
I am so sorry that you have problems with your tires. Here is the reason. First, carbon clincher wheels have to be "bigger" than aluminum wheels. The reason for this is simple. When braking, the brake pads rub on the rim and your forward kinetic energy is converted to heat by the friction of the pads on the rims. When aluminum rims get hot, they expand. When tires get hot, they expand. When carbon rims get hot, they don’t expand! A potential problem exists, because the tire can expand enough to "blow off" the carbon rim! If the rim is bigger, however, this problem is minimized.
The solution is to have a deeper channel inside the rim for the tire bead to go to when the tire lever is used to pull the bead over the flange. Many manufacturers, including Zipp, miss the target on this design element. This makes tires inherently difficult to mount or dismount on certain rims. The other issue is, some tires are bigger in diameter around the bead than others. I don’t have a comprehensive list as I have not done a study but some experimenting will allow you to get a tire that will work with that wheel.
Yes, I did recommend tubulars but that is a topic of a different discussion! Good luck.
We only recommend products, services or companies that we have actually tried or worked with personally. A recommendation, like a reputation, is very important and we do not take this responsibility lightly. The following links are to our friends at the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas. Dr. Kenneth Cooper is considered "The Father of Aerobics" and has put together a group of world class companies that have a direct impact on us as cyclists and as professional people:
These links are to our frame builders and other providers that make KGS Bikes the premiere fitting studio and cycling boutique in the world:
About KGS Bikes and Kevin
KGS Bikes is known around the world as the premiere bicycle fitting studio and cycling boutique. Kevin Saunders, President, has over 25 years experience in bicycle fitting and high-end bicycles. He also has a broad knowledge of anatomy, structural engineering and industrial design. In addition to fitting services, KGS Bikes sells bicycles from Parlee, Serotta, Zinn, Co-Motion, Storck and Guru. They also feature Lew wheels, custom shoes by Rocket7 and the best available components from around the world. Visit kgsbikes.comfor more information, including beautiful photography of the bikes carefully created for their owners.
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