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.