Holiday Gifts For Cyclists

It can be difficult finding holiday gifts for cyclists on your list.  Hunting through the Black Friday deals, searching for the perfect item to put a smile on their face can be fraught with peril when you don't have much of an idea of what this cycling thing is all about.  How can you expect to get the perfect gift when you don't know the difference between a cassette and a headset, but you don't want to lame out and get them a Visa gift card with the directive “go buy what you want?”

That's why I'm here to help you out.

In this holiday gift roundup, I'm including a little of everything from the low cost to the lavish.  There's something for everyone from the beginner to the lifelong rider.  So check through the list and check out the links.  In many cases, you'll find something that you hadn't thought of before, or maybe you'll not only find something for that special cyclist, you'll find something for yourself too.


Wrenching: Sizing a New Chain

We can all appreciate a slick shifting drivetrain, and we all hate it when our drivetrain turns on us.  One of the easiest ways to prevent this from happening is to ensure your chain is sized correctly.  When too long, it can cause premature derailleur wear, shift poorly and bounce around with the potential of derailing.  When too short, it can jam the drivetrain or cause the derailleur to actually snap. But you don't have to worry about this unless you have to put on a new chain, right?

Not necessarily.  Quite often, this issue starts at the LBS: many chains are not properly sized from the factory and some shops don't necessarily check this on every bike.  If you should try to “match the length” of the current chain when putting on a new one, this can often result in a chain that is too long or too short, depending on the condition (and length) of the previous one.  But how do you become a pro at sizing your chain to the correct length?  It's as simple as doing the one thing you never should:  crosschaining.

You can read more about it after the jump:


Zipp Tangente Tubular Tire Review

Tubular tires seem to be going out of style these days, but there is still a very loyal following of people who love the supple feel and unmatched ride quality of a tubular tire.  As I noted back in my Vittoria Rubino Pro III review, there's a huge spectrum of tires, from the “lightweight and supple for racing on smooth roads, durable, high volume and puncture resistent for riding gravel grinders, or somewhere in between for everyday training tires.”  In the case of Zipp's Tangente Tubulars, we're talking not about a high durability training tire, but a lighter weight racing tubular.  And after a season of riding (and racing) Tangentes, here are my thoughts on these “aerodynamic wonders.”


Coaching Q&A #2: Components, Power and Nutrition (Podcast #39)

Riding on dirt roadsIt's that time again:

It goes without saying that as the summer wears on, the itch to get out and ride more really starts to bite.  As we go out to ride more and more we also get more and more urge to dig into our performances and try to figure out how we can perform even better.  To this end, the internet becomes flooded with questions, whether they be an innocuous  “which upgrade will make me better” or a flame war instigating “which diet will make me perform better.”

This week, I'm picking a few of your most asked questions and I'm going in depth into them, including some of the following topics:

  • Is a rear derailleur a cost effective upgrade? (@9:28)
  • What is the best hand position on the bars?  Tops, drops or hoods? (@17:23)
  • What is the best power meter for a new racer?  Beginner to training with power?  Someone on a budget? (@25:18)
  • How many carbs do I need while I ride (And a discussion on nutrition and high carb vs high fat diets.) (@50:17)

Some of the information I referenced in the nutrition discussion of this podcast can be found right here: Biohacking Energy Systems: The Citric Acid Cycle

As always, if you enjoy what you hear, head over to the Tailwind Coaching Podcast on iTunes and rate it 5 stars.  Don't forget to post any questions to the Tailwind Coaching Facebook page, and don't forget to support our sponsors and help to keep this podcast free.

With the summer here, it's time to get serious about your summer fitness!  Check out my modular training plans in my online store and get started on the path towards killer criterium fitness today.  And don't forget to save 10% with the coupon code in this week's podcast.

Building Your Own Bike – Rear Derailleur Installation (Podcast #35)

BMC ProMachine ModuleBuilding your own bike can seem like a daunting task to anyone.  Beginners to the sport, long time riders, racers…almost everyone has some hangup about building a bike.  When you break it down into easily digestible bites, building a bike is nothing more than a series of simple part installations.  From a simple derailleur install to complex drivetrain tuning, this series of video blogs will detail the process of building a bike (in this case my BMC ProMachine SLC01 race bike for this season) from a bare frame into a functioning ride.

If you're following this series in order, we've installed our bottom bracket and crankset and mounted our front derailleur so far.  In this post, my video blog will detail the installation of the rear derailleur onto the derailleur hanger.  After watching the video, check below to see a few of my tips and tricks, and remember to post any questions to the Tailwind Coaching Facebook Page.