Ask Bi­cy­cling

Bicycling (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - By Bi­cy­cling Staff

We an­swer your ques­tions on patch­ing a tube, pass­ing oth­ers on the road, and wear­ing gloves.

BE­FORE YOU PATCH, IN­SPECT THE TYRE FOR TEAR OR PUNC­TURE- CAUS­ING OB­JECTS.

Then lo­cate the hole in your tube by par­tially in­flat­ing it and ro­tat­ing it close to your ear to lis­ten for es­cap­ing air. Now you’re ready to get to work. Patch kits come in two com­mon va­ri­eties. The quicker of the two con­tains sticker like patches that ad­here in sec­onds. “That’s a fast re­pair, but it’s only in­tended to get you home,” says Paul Schoen­ing, di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing at Park Tool. The other va­ri­ety re­quires you to ap­ply glue be­tween the patch and tube. It’s a per­ma­nent fix, but the ad­he­sive takes longer to dry. This method re­quires that you first scruff the rub­ber around the punc­ture with a rough­en­ing de­vice (in­cluded in most kits). Next you ap­ply the glue, but wait un­til it looks dry be­fore press­ing on the patch; and don’t in­flate the tube un­til it’s in the tyre. Patches cost less than new tubes and waste less ma­te­rial, but we don’t rec­om­mend them for races or other events in which you need a quick tyre change. And it’s wise to carry a tube on any ride where you’ll risk mul­ti­ple punc­tures. “Ev­ery­one should have a new tube with them,” Schoen­ing says, “and a patch kit as a back-up.”

What is en­duro rac­ing? I keep hear­ing peo­ple talk about it.

This rel­a­tively new style of moun­tain­bik­ing race sep­a­rates a course into two sec­tions: up­hill and down­hill. Only the de­scents are timed, with the up­hill sec­tions used to con­nect the dots and al­low rid­ers to com­pose them­selves.

Many events send com­peti­tors down steep, rugged ter­rain, so de­scend­ing skills are crit­i­cal. But rid­ers also need short bursts of power to speed over short climbs, and stamina to sum­mit the un­timed as­cents. That means en­duro rac­ers need to be ver­sa­tile. “You have to be good at climb­ing and de­scend­ing, have bike-han­dling skills, and be able to jump,” says Kirt Vor­eis, who com­petes in the En­duro World Se­ries. “It’s also a friendly style of rac­ing be­cause af­ter you com­pete alone against the clock, you can dis­cuss your runs with other rac­ers on the climbs. En­duro en­cour­ages a sense of ca­ma­raderie, be­cause it feels like you’re all play­ing the same game.” The for­mat started in Europe roughly a decade ago, but has gained global pop­u­lar­ity in the past two years. Events are pop­ping up all over the coun­try, with most lo­cal events last­ing sev­eral hours. ( There are some in other coun­tries that are known to last sev­eral days.)

When pass­ing a cy­clist or pedes­trian, should I call out “On your right!” or ring a bell?

Cy­cling eti­quette (and some moun­tain- bike trail sys­tems) dic­tate that you give an au­di­ble warn­ing when pass­ing, says cy­cling safety ac­tivist Andy Clarke. So ei­ther way works. Some rid­ers be­lieve that the cheery ding of a bell is friend­lier than shout­ing, and it also cuts through noise bet­ter. “I use my bell when I see peo­ple with ear­buds, or who are lost in their phones,” Clarke says. “If it’s a cy­clist ahead, I tend to use my bell from fur­ther back.” Avoid bark­ing “On your right!”, which not only seems rude, but can also back­fire if you star­tle the tar­get, and he or she then jumps to the right. A cheer­ful “Com­ing around!” of­ten goes over bet­ter. Just be sure to give a wide berth when pass­ing.

Do I re­ally need gloves? They get so sweaty, and they stink!

It de­pends on rid­ing con­di­tions and your pref­er­ence. In hot weather, gloves ab­sorb sweat and can pre­vent your hands slip­ping off the han­dle­bar. They also pro­vide a layer of pad­ding that can dampen road rat­tles. But the cush­ion­ing makes it harder to sense what your bike is do­ing, so some rid­ers go glove­less. “I race with them on the road, but I al­most never wear gloves for shorter trips to the shops,” says pro cy­clist Mered­ith Miller. Miller also wears gloves for ex­tra pro­tec­tion when moun­tain bik­ing. “I’m more prone to crash on a moun­tain bike,” she says. If you find full-fin­ger gloves too hot, as an oc­ca­sional al­ter­na­tive con­sider fin­ger­less ones, with a padded palm and breath­able mesh top. Or go glove­less and use a stick­ier bar tape. To pre­vent your gloves from stink­ing, wash them with your kit – ev­ery time. For truly of­fen­sive odours, try adding a cup of white vine­gar to your laun­dry.

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