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gazing from the shadows
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The other day I went over to a friend's house to get his and his wife's bikes ready for a duathlon. I asked him if he had a workstand, and he pointed to his workbench, covered in junk. I said I meant a bike stand, but I figured he did not have one. I then said "No problem, we will just make one."

Out comes the rope, tossed over a rafter, a slipknot went around the nose of the saddle, and viola! a workstand that made it easy to lube and tune the bikes.

The guy was freakin' AMAZED! He looked at me like a miracle worker.

So, and other basic tricks of the trade people would like to share? Things that you never think about twice, but that a new rider might never think of on their own?

Bonus points if your tip includes duct tape.
 

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Oh, sure, take my best one....

That's such an obvious one I'm surprised how it wows people, but I've done it on camping trips and at races and they stand and gape like I'd invented pressurized air.
Couple of others, obvious to veterans but probably helpful to newbies:
When fitting a chain, just stretch it around the big cog and big ring, add one link and put the sucker together. It will be close enough.
Toe strap (which nobody has anymore, but you can use a shoelace) around the brakes to hold the pads against the rim while you adjust the cable.
Puncture, but no patch or spare tube? You shouldn't let this happen, but if it does, cut the tube right at the hole and tie a figure 8 knot as tight as you can in each end. Insert in tire, pump up and ride (works WAY better with mountain bike tires than road rubber, but it's rideable)
Whang the high spot of a tacoed wheel on a fence post or something to beat it more or less back into shape, then tweak the spokes with a wrench until it's rideable with the brake release open. To be honest, I've only had to do this once, but it fixed a REALLY bad wheel well enough to get us to the next rest stop.
Anybody remember those tool-kit freewheel vises you could use to pull a freewheel so you could replace a drive-side spoke? I still have one, useless now, around the garage. A modern-day equivalent, the Cassette Cracker, is the size and weight of a church key can opener and will spin off a cassette with no other tools. On long rides I carry one, plus a couple of spokes taped to the top or seat tube. Don't know where you'll find a Cracker, though, except in my garage.
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dr hoo said:
The other day I went over to a friend's house to get his and his wife's bikes ready for a duathlon. I asked him if he had a workstand, and he pointed to his workbench, covered in junk. I said I meant a bike stand, but I figured he did not have one. I then said "No problem, we will just make one."

Out comes the rope, tossed over a rafter, a slipknot went around the nose of the saddle, and viola! a workstand that made it easy to lube and tune the bikes.

The guy was freakin' AMAZED! He looked at me like a miracle worker.

So, and other basic tricks of the trade people would like to share? Things that you never think about twice, but that a new rider might never think of on their own?

Bonus points if your tip includes duct tape.
Some people seem to be amazed when I can:

-Put on a tight-beaded road tire with my bare hands.
-Adjust a disc brake so it is dead silent (no rubbing).
-Get a stiff link out of a chain with my hands.
-track stand
-ride and steer my bike without hands
-fix a slashed tire with duct tape :)

Ok, I'm not trying to brag, since lots of people can do those things, but it's fun to show off sometimes :) .

-R
 

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Simple stuff that's good to know:

1. New chains come with a wax paste type covering which prevents them from rusting in the box. It is not lube and forms a gritty sandpaper paste on your chain. You need to clean it off (chain degreaser does the trick) and apply proper chain lube.

2. Proper chain lube and chain cleaning will vastly extend the usable life of your chain, cassette and rings. Old T-shirts are great for general drivetrain cleaning.

3. If you are road riding, you need to carry: at least one spare tube (protected from punctures in your saddlebag), at least two tire levers, a basic multi tool, a method of inflating your tires (pump or CO2 cartridge and inflator), tire patch kit or glueless patches (for double flats ect.) and at least $5 cash. That is the basics, you can carry more stuff but less then that and you will be walking home someday in uncomfortable shoes.

:)
 

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With a cut tire, where the tube will stick out and pop again, place a dollar bill (or 5 pound note...) inside and insert/inflate new tube. Done this several times and I always carry a bill with spare tubes.
 

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Tim M said:
With a cut tire, where the tube will stick out and pop again, place a dollar bill (or 5 pound note...) inside and insert/inflate new tube. Done this several times and I always carry a bill with spare tubes.
energy bar wrappers also work for this.
 

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When you come to an obstacle in the road, push down, pull up, hop over. The first time you manage it -- well, talk about an amazed newbie.
 

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I don't exist
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Cut up FedEx, UPS, DHL envelope (Tyvek)strips are better & ~~free & you still have the $5 bill to spend on a congradulatory beer for your field expediency.
 

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When using any hand held pump, find a stone or a fence post and rest the end of the pump on it; effectively converting your hand pump into a mini track pump.

I also second the no lever approach to taking tyres on and off.

Cold day that's gonna warm up? few sheets of newspaper up the jersey, take out when warm.

Putting wheels in? Front first; it's the easiest and lifts the front of the bike making the rear easier, and always remove the wheel in the smallest sprocket, that way you know where it goes when replacing.

Arm warmers are the greatest bit of kit.

Shaving legs? always shave towards the knee, ie down at the top, up from the feet.

Good trick? picking up a dropped cap while riding along.

Best bottle cages? Metal 'cos you can bend them in to grip the bottles for cobbles and rougher races.

Rainy day? cotton cap under helmet = dryer eyes.

Power Bars take more energy to chew than you get from the bar itself. ;)
 

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Spicy Dumpling
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HAL9000 said:
Cut up FedEx, UPS, DHL envelope (Tyvek)strips are better & ~~free & you still have the $5 bill to spend on a congradulatory beer for your field expediency.
I use tyvec CD/DVD holders as a bag for my tubes in my seatpack. It protects the tube from my toolkit and other stuff in the bag, and can be used to boot a tire like you said.
 

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olr1 said:
Power Bars take more energy to chew than you get from the bar itself. ;)
DEFINITELY don't store your Power Bar away from body heat when it's cold. They could break your teeth! Clif Bars are another story .... much softer and tastier.
 

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scruffy nerf herder
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My tips....

Im sure the arguements will come, but after many years and threads read, this is my price for performance tips. All of these answers have their caveats, but these ARE the correct answers for the newbies.

1. The best upgrade for your money: If your frame fits you CORRECTLY: Wheels, wheels, wheels otherwise FRAME FRAME FRAME
2. The best frame material for your money: Aluminum
3. Ultegra vs 105s, for the money: 105s
4. Carbon handlebars, Cranks, or handlebars: For the money, Handlebars
5. Shimano vs Campy: again price for performance: Shimano
6. the best sports drink....: price for performance.... Water with a touch of salt
 

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Just Riding Along
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32 spoke wheels...

are the best long term value. Low spoke count wheels may look cool but can also leave you walking home or waiting for a factory rebuild.
 

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cycling said:
i third the no tool/tire off method

and to learn that it takes...well.........practice

i cant repair a flat within 2 minutess now w/no tools(Execpt patches_
certain combos are a real pain though. carry your tire irons just in case or you may end up with blisters on your thumbs.
 

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scruffy nerf herder
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oh yeah?

Shimano is better than campy!

honestly (I agree).
 

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Squirrel Hunter
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Yeah!

funknuggets said:
Shimano is better than campy!
Interesting, not even the one I was warning newbies about. Sounds like someone may have a predisposed bias.

funknuggets said:
...this is my price for performance tips...
1. The best upgrade for your money: If your frame fits you CORRECTLY: Wheels, wheels, wheels otherwise FRAME FRAME FRAME
After you have a properly fitting and fitted bicycle the best upgrades are changing stock components that do not fit your body or riding style. Saddle, tires, cassette, shoe & pedal combination, computer with cadence... Buy a couple of pairs of good shorts.

funknuggets said:
2. The best frame material for your money: Aluminum
Although for a newbie comfort often times trumps performance and they may develop their riding ability quicker on a bike that they can put long miles on rather than an aluminum rocket that lets them go fast over shorter distances.

funknuggets said:
3. Ultegra vs 105s, for the money: 105s
Hmmmm, is this still true in the longer term with Shimano's transition of its product lines to 10 speed? Certainly something to think about depending on the short and long term goals of the newbie.

funknuggets said:
4. Carbon handlebars, Cranks, or handlebars: For the money, Handlebars
Well handlebars over cranks but properly sized handlebars should have been dealt with in the bike fit and carbon is really not necessary although it may look cool. Why would you be putting carbon handlebars and cranks on a 105 level bike?

funknuggets said:
5. Shimano vs Campy: again price for performance: Shimano
Maybe or maybe not. A lot of factors to look at and the old rule of thumb from 2 or 3 years ago may have changed with recent developments in the market. Certainly a point to be researched and discussed in a different forum.

funknuggets said:
6. the best sports drink....: price for performance.... Water with a touch of salt
Print this list so you can put it in your pocket and read it while you try to gather enough energy after bonking to make it back home.
 
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