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Here is a thread for us to post tips and tricks and bits of wisdom that we have learned over our years of riding. What seems obvious to you might be a hidden gem of knowledge to others.

I realized this the other night on a group ride when a rider dropped his chain and pulled over.

If you drop your chain to the inside on a downshift and have some speed to spare, oftentimes you can shift the front derailleur up to the big ring and it will push the chain back on and you can keep rolling.
 

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A secondary deterrent to someone wanting to steal your bike is to put a regular padlock on your crankset through one of the ring openings and around the chain. If the shackle fits tightly around the chain the ring, it makes it much more difficult for anyone to cut the lock without totally destroying the chainring. Most thieves that steal bikes want to get rid of them quick. Taking the time to mess with cutting the lock that close to the chainring and damaging the bike will make most of them think a little before snatching it. Plus, a pawn shop won't take it with a padlock on the chainring.
 

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My tip for newbies is to get to know your gears. At first, I never messed with mine because what gear it was in was the best for me then I started messing with them more and figured out I could go a lot faster lol. My friend wont mess with his at all and he claims I am cheating when I go faster than him because I am using my gears, haha.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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Great idea for a thread, Xela!

+1 to Shawn's comment on gears. They are there for a reason. Learn not only to use them, but also how NOT to use them. Trying to shift between front rings under full power, for example, will not work well at best, and will leave you stranded with your chain stuck between the rings at worst.

Anticipate the need for a lower gear and make your shift before you're straining to climb the hill. Later, learn to shift while climbing by spinning the cranks with very little 'torque' just long enough to catch the next ring, but before you lose all your momentum and fall over ;) Don't forget that your derailleurs have VERY little 'power' to work with in making a shift. Your push of a thumb, twist of a wrist, etc. is all the energy they have available. It isn't much next to your legs.

Clean your chain regularly and keep it well-lubed. Too much lube is as bad as too little here. A little bit goes a long way. A properly-lubed chain reduces mechanical drag and lets you put more of your pedal-stroke toward moving yourself and the bike forward rather than working to circulate the chain. It goes without saying that the chain will last longer when it's properly lubed. If you notice squeaking out of your drivetrain while riding, it's probably been too long. Stop. Oil your chain.

Adjust. Your. Seat. Height. Please. Doing so will literally make you a stronger rider. When your seat is too low, you aren't giving the muscles in your legs the ability to fully engage the cranks to move you forward. A too-low seat also puts inappropriate stress on your knees. Over time, this can damage them badly. It takes time to get seat height dialed in perfectly, but you should see an immediate gain in power and comfort from even gross adjustments. That said, too high is just as bad, if for different reasons, as is too low.

Never leave home without at least a patch kit, pump and preferably also a spare tube. If you run 'slime' or one of its analogs, forget the patch kit and just carry a spare tube - some road debris will take out your slimed tube like it's not even there. It's great to not have to walk when this happens, as it did to me just this weekend - I never saw what it was, but hit something that left a 1/4" gash through both the outside and inside of my tube. Slime or no, that one's done.

Even if you're not a 'slime' person, this kind of situation is why it's wise to still carry a spare tube in addition to the patch kit. You (hopefully) won't need the spare tube often either way, but when you do, it makes up for all the miles you've carried it. Your experience may vary. Don't forget your tire levers ;) I count them as part of the patch kit.
 

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Clean your chain regularly and keep it well-lubed. Too much lube is as bad as too little here. A little bit goes a long way. A properly-lubed chain reduces mechanical drag and lets you put more of your pedal-stroke toward moving yourself and the bike forward rather than working to circulate the chain. It goes without saying that the chain will last longer when it's properly lubed. If you notice squeaking out of your drivetrain while riding, it's probably been too long. Stop. Oil your chain.
Amen bother!
 

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Okay. I noticed a little problem I'm having recently with my gloves. Sweat. The sweat between my hands and the gloves makes for a slippery situation.

Has anyone ever used baby powder and talcum powder inside their gloves to combat this problem. Seem it would work for a while, but would it hold up over a 50+ mile ride?
 

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Two skinny J's
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Paying 12 bucks for Camelbak cleaning tablets for a package of 8 really??? Aint happening with this happy camper! Efferdent Power Clean Crystals ( 48 packets for 5 bux! )are the ticket!! These handy packets work well in stubborn bottles as well. I use well water so that can be an issue.
 

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Two skinny J's
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Paying big bucks for Sports clothes cleaning products to keep them fresh and odor free?? Not me!! A dash of Arm & Hammer baking soda when you wash those kits works miracles!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
With all the synthetic materials in our bike clothes, there's usually not a option for wiping your glasses mid-ride as sweat and grime build up. A simple squirt from your water bottle does a great job at getting the lenses clean(ish).
 

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Keep a few $1 bills in your bag.

Use #1- refill your bottles.
Use #2 - for side wall blowouts, take the bill and put it inside the tire, over the split. Remount with patched or new tube.
The bill will keep the tube from pushing through the hole in the tire and help you to ride, with your head held high, all the way home.
This works. Trust me. ;)
 

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If you carry a spare tube, put it in a plastic baggie and dump a bunch of baby powder in there which will help when installing the new tube. Seal the bag and shake vigorously. Most people dump the excess powder, but I do not, here's why. . .

If you have a difficult-to-seat bead, the excess baby powder, when rubbed along the bead (you'll need quite a bit) helps mounting the bead easier. If you notice baby powder in your saddle bag, you'll know the bag may have been ripped by your multi-tool, tire levers, etc. It's a warning to inspect the tube for possible cuts. The extra powder can also be used on a other riders tubes in case you do not give them your tubes.
 

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Do you have any of those old film canisters in your junk drawer? You know, the ones that were black with a gray top or entirely semi-clear?

Put latex gloves in them! I used to keep a few canisters in my bunker pants cargo pockets; the number of times you could use a pair of gloves is amazing. Roadside repair and don't/want to get dirty? You have gloves protected from the elements. Injured yourself or found another injured rider? Gloves! Want to keep your kids entertained in the kiddie trailer? Gloves! Super-duper last resort patch? Gloves!

And best of all?

Use them under your riding gloves when there is a cold, biting wind. I rode through three states in February 2009 this way.
 

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Make sure your shorts are on snug. Loose rubbing shorts make for a bad time. :-/
 

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The best bike for a beginner is the one that they will enjoy riding. I've seen people buy road bikes that then sit in their garage because they don't like the riding position of a road bike. Don't worry about the crowd or The Rules, just get a bike that is comfortable to you, and ride the heck out of it.
 

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BeginnerCycling said:
The best bike for a beginner is the one that they will enjoy riding. I've seen people buy road bikes that then sit in their garage because they don't like the riding position of a road bike.
BUT, if you do rush out after The Tour, and buy that top of the line road bike you just saw on TV, and decide you don't like it...
I feel certain there are a few people here that will give you a "fair" used bike price for it. ;). :D
 
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