Cycling with Makeup

I’m a complete make up novice.  Some how, when learning about all that stuff in the teenage years, I completely missed the boat.  So, now as an adult, I’m fudging my way through.  I don’t typically wear make up in my day to day life but there are certain occasions when I felt it would be an appropriate thing for me to do.  I’m sure many others have successfully tackled riding with make up but this is my take on it.

I had a friend’s wedding coming up and so, as not to look like a clown or like a child who has gotten in to the parents’ stash, I decided to do a few trial runs putting on make up and wearing it to work.  As many of you know, my trip from home to work is about 8km of fairly flat riding.  Of course, when I decided to do this trial, it had to be one of the most rainy (100+mm) and humid (most days over 80%) weeks my area had in ages.  Temps were around 25°C mark.  So, I felt I gave the make up a good longevity trial!

The findings!

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What’s the difference between all those different kinds of bikes?

Have you looked at all those different kinds of bikes out there, and wondered what the difference between them all was?  I mean, road bike, downhill bikes, hybrids… what are they all?

Drop bar Road bikes

pic from giant-bicycles.com

These are bikes for riding road (fancy that).  They generally run skinny tyres with minimal tread and have big wheels so they go pretty quick. They are happiest going straight on smooth roads.  The rims are generally not designed to roll over dirt or pot holes.

As they are deisgned to be pretty quick, they are generally all about aerodynamics – drop handlebars to get you down lower, and low handlebars make you more streamlined, but have the consequence that the riding position is quite hands heavy.

Most road bikes also don’t have braze ons for attachment of a rack

Flat bar road bikes

These bikes are like road bikes (skinny tyres, 700 wheels) but have flat handlebars for a more comfortable riding position.  They are very popular commuter bikes.

pic from bikes.com.au

Hard tail

A hard tail is a mountain bike with front suspension only (hence the ‘hard tail’).  They are quite versatile and are used for things such as racing (lots of the fast people use them for racing as they are super quick over dirt compared with a duallie, but you need to be a comparatively better rider to ride one than a duallie as it has no rear suspension to soak up the bumps). People also use them for commuting (you can also replace the tyres with slick tyres so they roll faster).

They have 26 inch wheels and flat handlebars.

Dualiies

These bikes are for mountain biking.  They have both front and rear suspension (ie dual suspension mountain bike).  They are better for rough riding than a hard tail, as the front and rear suspension soak up bumps better, but are comparatively slower.

They generally have 26 inch wheels (but 29 inch wheels are starting to become quite popular)

Downhill

These are made for one thing, and one thing only.  Going downhill and doing it fast.  They have a lot of suspension both front and rear.  They are best suited to going uphill via a truck or chair lift.

Hybrids

These are a combination of a mountain bike and a road bike.  They generally have mtn bike sized wheels (26 inch), and may also have some light front suspension, but generally run skinnier, smoother tyres than a mountain bike.  They are popular for commuting

Other types

Tandem

Two people… one bike… need I say more?

Recumbents

These bikes let you sit and pedal in a super comfortable position.  They can be great for people that have back problems or hand/wrist problems that don’t allow them to ride a traditional bike.  You can get them in 2 wheeled or 3 wheeled versions, with different kinds of wheel sizes.

(pic from greenspeed.com.au)

Cargo bikes

Need to move house?  This is the bike for you.  These bikes let you carry stuff – lots of stuff.

(pic from cargocycles.com.au)

Magpie Season

After getting swooped twice on the way to work this morning, I guess it is Magpie season.

For those who don’t know, the Australian Magpie is a medium sized, black and white, predominately insectivorous bird who nest in spring.  A small number of nesting individuals rigorously defend their nesting territory and swoop intruders – predominately cyclists seem to be the prime, but not only, target.  These birds often do multiple swoops, beak snapping and, in rare occasions, make contact.  Swooping is most active in September and October.

BQ has a great article with tips on avoiding a swooping magpie and includes the most important tip to always wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.  Especially, after the tragic sight loss reported in the news last week.

There is conflicting evidence over what will actually prevent an attack so best to just avoid those routes where birds are active if possible.

How to lube your bike chain

Maybe you’ve just cleaned up your chain, maybe it’s rained a lot, maybe you’ve got a lot of riding coming up, maybe it’s something you haven’t done in a while.  Time to lube your chain!  Don’t worry, this is a very easy task to do!

Lubing your chain reduces the friction between the chain and the other components.  This reducing the scraping and reduces the amount of wear caused by normal use.  Regular lubing will extend the life of your bike.  You should lube your chain when it loses that oily sheen.

Equipment:

  • Chain lube
  • Rag (optional to catch drips)

How to clean your bike chain

After Cycle Qld, 8kms of dirt and 570km of riding, my chain was looking a bit dirty.  You might want to clean your chain if you have been riding in the rain a lot (water flicks dirt up on to the chain) or have to ride over dirt or sand.  A chain looks dirty when there is caked on, grainy black stuff on it.  Cleaning the chain removes all the dirt, sand and grime from your chain which reduces the grinding and wear on your moving components.  This will extend the life of your bike.

This is a bit of a dirty job, so don’t wear your best clothes and be prepared to get a bit of grease on your hands.

Here is what you will require:

  • Chain cleaning tool
  • Stiff brush or tooth brush
  • Degreaser / Citrus cleaner
  • Rags
  • Lube for afterwards

If you don’t have a chain cleaning tool, that is ok.  Just use a tooth brush.  It will be a bit more time consuming though.

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How to reassemble your bike

Well, since I’ve just got my bike back from the courier from Cycle Qld, I thought I’d do a quick post on bike reassembly.  This post is targeted to bikes that were transported in a cardboard bike box.  If you have a bike bag or some other arrangement, your mileage may vary.

I pulled out all of my bike bits and put them together.  They consist of the frame plus rear wheel, the handlebars dangling by the cables, the front wheel, the pedals and the seat.  I have removed all the packaging and padding that was used to protect the bike.

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Buying Riding Gloves

I like to ride in gloves.  My hands get sore when I don’t. And, they help to protect me from the sun.  Definitely a good thing in Australia.  So what should you look for when buying gloves?

Firstly you need to decide if you want half gloves or full finger gloves.  Half gloves are great for riding when it’s warm, as they aren’t so hot.  Full finger gloves will be warmer, and also offer better protection is you are in the habit of coming off your bike (eg downhill or technical cross country).

Half gloves

So, what do you look for in a pair of gloves?  Well, nothing really is essential, apart from them fitting, well… like a glove.  Apart from that, though, there are a few “nice to have” features.

On half finger gloves, a little grab loop to help you get them off, is really useful.  As they are quite tight, it can be challenging to pull them off.  A grab loop will help to do this.

A little bit of padding in the palm can help with the hand and wrist fatigue at the end of the day.

A terry towelling type fabric insert at the side of your thumb can be good for wiping perspiration away, or even (shock horror) the runny nose you get on cold mornings whilst riding your bike.  It sounds gross, but it’s pretty useful.

Lastly, if you are planning on commuting and want to be extra specially visible, some gloves have reflective piping on them.

Anyhow, whichever you choose, the most important part is that the fit nice and snugly, and don’t wrinkle up, or cut off circulation to your fingers.  Too tight, and your fingers will fall off (no, only joking – they’d have to be very tight, but they may get tingly and sore), and too loose and they will give you blisters.

What to put in a saddle bag

I don’t always ride with a saddle bag.  If I have panniers, I prefer to use them to carry stuff.  Also, when I’m commuting, I rarely use one because I don’t want to leave the bag on the bike if I lock the bike up somewhere and someone help themselves to the contents.  So, I mainly use the saddle bag for longer rides where the aim of the ride is just to ride.  I guess a training ride or just a joy ride.

What you put in your saddle bag is up to you.  But here are some suggestions and ideas as to what will fit in a saddle bag.

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