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Thread: Helpful hints

  1. #1
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Does anyone have any helpful hints that lower costs of cycling, or have tips for cycling to share? I bet there are a whole bunch of them.

    For a start, I love my CO2 pump, but the cartridges were unrealistically expensive ($2.00 each). So I went to Wal-mart and got a box of 24 CO2 cartridges (for B.B. guns) for about 1/4 the cost of the bike store types. I have found no difference at all in them.

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    Senior Member Cambronne's Avatar
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    Well, I use pedals with toe clips, so that I can wear cheap shoes.

    My daily commuter shoes are $15 K-Mart soccer cleats, chosen because their soles are as stiff as good bike shoes.

    When rain threatens, I wear sheos that I found at Pay-Less, that appear to have been made for use on personal watercraft. They were only $12.

    Finally, for quick trips to the shops or to the neighborhood swimming pool, nothing beats a pair of canvas "Vans" type sneakers.

    I have nothing against clipless pedals... they do provide a surer bike-rider interface. But, they're needlessly fussy, they cost too much, and they limit one's choice of footwear to not-so-cheap bicycle shoes.

    Besides, my racing career ended abruptly in 1985.

    Toe clips tell the bike community that, although I'm dedicated enough to ride to work and back every day, I don't take the bicycle cult seriously enough to have to have all of the associated kit.

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    i use safety glasses as eyewear... you can buy these from lab supply places for about 5 bucks. the version i've got is a nice sporty wrap-around style. nothing like the ones you wore in high school science class. i ordered these online and was boggled by the hundreds of different styles. and what a bargain compared to the $100 bolle's, especially since sunglasses are easily lost or sat upon. plus, they also come in clear lenses for nighttime or winter riding.

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    Love Me....Love My Bike! aerobat's Avatar
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    Pete, what size tire is the BB *** type CO2 cartridge good for? Do you carry a frame or mini pump as well for back up?
    "...perhaps the world needs a little more Canada" - Jean Chretian, 2003.

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    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Several tidbits:
    1. The standard CO2 cartridges look to be the same as 12 gram cartridges. If you decide to try them, make sure your rig has the ability to use unthreaded. Some will, but some of the minis use only thread on cartridges to keep size to a minimum.
    2. Right on, Junebride. I use some wrap around safety glasses with big clear lenses with no frame along the top to obstruct vision and spiffy red, white and blue earpieces. I have inversely proportional luck with sunglasses and such. I had a $7 pair of Polariods (Forgive me, but I consider unpolarized sunglasses useless; only polarized glasses actually cut glare, others only darken it.) that I managed to wear for 25 years with only minor scratches. When I bought an expensive pair of Raybans, I rendered them useless in months. Go figure. I have a small inexpensive Totes umbrella that I have managed to hang onto for several years. When my wife gave me a nice big Totes golf umbrella that I really liked, I lost it in less than a year. Oh, no, that's right, she stole it back from me to keep at school because it was nice an big. Guess you can't count that one. :-)
    3. I bought 2-3 pairs of light and medium weight Thermax and Thermax/merino wool long undies for $6-9 on clearance from sierratradingpost.com as well as a couple of Duofold long sleeve two layer medium weight t-shirts for $4 each. You can't tell the black longjohns (which, by the way, have Eddie Bauer labels) from $60 cycling tights in the dark and they are comfortable up into the 60's. I put on two pair if it gets in the 20s. Keep an eye on sierratradingpost.com's Bargain Barn and sign up for email specials. Sometimes they have some fantastic bargains. I have gotten where I order two of things when the price is right because so many times I ordered one to check it out and they were out of stock when I called back to order more. You can always send them back. I have also gotten Coolmax bandanas (for under the helmet) and fleece balaclava for $3 each.
    4. I always swore I would probably never have an Old Navy label on my body (I am not much on labels, as you can probably tell). However, when I was looking for a vest for cool weather riding my wife found a fantastic vest with waterproof nylon shell and fleece lining and lots of pockets (I love pockets) on clearance for $10! I got a khaki colored one, but I liked it so much I decided to go back and get an orange one just for riding. I got a lot of use out of it this year.
    I guess I am an inveterate bargain hunter, and, as a daily commuter in the dark, I don't care a whit about fitting the "serious" cyclist mold (though I might be able to squeeze into two of them). My top three priorities are
    1. Safety
    2. Safety
    3. Comfort
    Now after all this talk about bargains, please have the discretion NOT to ask what I have spent on my bike in the last couple of months. :-) Uh, don't ask my wife either because its not the kind of thing we need her thinking about now is it?
    Inexpensively (sorta) yours,
    Raymond

  6. #6
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I carry a frame mounted Zefal telescopic pump for partial filling and for backup. The CO2 cartridges are 12 gr. each, which is the same as sold in bike shops. I'm not sure about tire capacities, as I always use the hand pump
    part-way and top it off with the CO2.

    The reason I like the CO2 is that with the hand pump, I have to work harder towards the end of the job, and the
    CO2 makes it quick and easy. Also, if I work too hard pumping, I don't want to wiggle the valve stem too much
    and risk a leak around the base of the stem where it attaches to the tire (you can't patch those up--tire's 86'ed).
    And maybe I'm just lazy. But when I'm somewhere I don't want to stay for very long, it's just one more nicety. Also, I like to use both the hand pump and the CO2 because I like to get the tire started slowly in the beginning,
    especially when fitting the tube, slightly inflated, into the tire.

    Only thing (maybe nothing) is that the CO2 is very cold when it comes out, causing frost on the outside of the valve stem. Does this harm the innerds of the valve? Don't know, but everyone else uses them. Not a problem so far.

    Pete

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    speaking of old navy.... i was doing some casual browsing a couple of weekends ago, and found a long sleeve stretch fleece practically-a-bike-shirt on sale at the gap for... $6.99!

    ok, technically it's not a biking shirt. but a shirt can dream, can't it? it's very close... stretch poly fleece, snug-fitting, stand up collar and long front zip. and although it doesn't have any pockets on the back (rats) it is "screaming neon" yellow.

    and about not letting the spouse in on every little bike purchase... i was going to tell my husband about what a deal the gap bike shirt was, but thought the better of it when i realized i might be setting myself up for a lecture on how even on my casual shopping trips i manage to buy biking stuff, and thought the better of it.

  8. #8
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    My favorite windbreaker came from a thrift store.

    Jb, that's why I love to ride to work. It's a slick way to get in a great cycling challenge and still be home for supper. As for explaining our art to non-cyclists, well, why even go there. Might as well feed vegetables to your cat. But be patient, dear. The day may come when hubby finally says to you, in a hesitant voice, "Maybe we should get another bike, and ride together..."

    Pete

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    I bought a polyester cotton smock in 1985 when I was a student, from the bargain bin at the Youth Hostel Assosiation store in central London. Its a really tough tight windproof weave designed for outdoor activites, and 16yrs later I still use it every day. Cost 12.

    Ron Hill Tracksters are the standard leggings for any UK outdoors enthusiast with more sense than money. They are half the price and twice the quality of designer sports labels, and even have proper zipped pockets for your keys.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    As far as helpful hints for making bicycling more affordable:

    The best advise I can give is to learn how to maintain and repair your bike by yourself. By that, I mean you should be able to repair 100% of your bike. Know how to rebuild your bottom bracket, maintain your derailures, repack bearings; the works.

    Spend the money for the tools you need for your bike. There are few tools that cost as much as a single trip the the bike shop.

    Get a book on bicycle repair that discusses the type/generation of the bike you ride. A lot of commuters ride older bikes. This means you might have to keep your eyes open for bicycle repair books from the '70's, '80's, or '90's.

    Carry tools with you wherever you go so that you can get yourself out of a jam and not subject yourself to taxi rides home or on-the-road repair shops.

    Remember, when you bring your bike to a bike shop, it is often worked on by a kid who is supervised by a mechanic. You can do at least that good.

    By working on your own bike, you will know instinctively when something is going wrong with your machine and you can fix it before things get really bad.
    Mike

  11. #11
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip, Mike! I already do a few things to fix my own bike, but it will be a new goal for me to do more and more of my own work. Sounds like fun (are you the guy who has a garage full of bikes and bike parts, which sort of doubles as camoflage for your new bike stuff?).

    Just one more reason that driving a car is a less viable option than cycling for transportation. I have always felt at the mercy of auto repairs and shelled out whatever it took, no matter what the cost, because I had no choice. I have plenty of company. Some people try to fix their own cars to save money, and even do it successfully. But fixing your own bike is far more doable, as I am finding out.

    (Moral: drive a car, but keep it in the garage as much as possible!)

    Easy cycling,

    Pete

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    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Mike,
    I am on the road. My new bike, bought in November, just turned over 1000 miles. Figured it was time for a good once over. Using the "Bicycling" maintenance issue from a couple of months ago, I went over everything, tighening cables, making adjustments, cleaning chain (well, I do that every couple of weeks). Felt good. I have some upgrades in mind that I plan to do myself as things start to wear. I have a couple of questions about derailleur adjustment, but I think I will post them as a new thread over on Bicycle Mechanics.
    Regards,
    Raymond

  13. #13
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Pete and Rainman:

    It sounds like you put a lot of miles on your bikes and are not afraid to do maintanance yourselves- that's super.

    Of all bike repairs and maintanance, though, the one thing (and I mean the ONE thing) that I would not mess with is rebuilding a rear sprocket cassette. It's not that it is so complicated, but once you open it up, you have to find replacements for the worn parts and that isn't worth the hassle in my opinion. Just soak it in oil once in a while to clean and lubricate it. Let the oil find its own way into the sprocket cassette.

    Some cats actually repair cassettes - more power to 'em.

    Everything else is do-able including the maintanance of internal hubs (ever take a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub apart and put it back together? My guess is that a five or seven speed internal hub would be the equivelant of a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Still, it can be done.
    Mike

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    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    I make my own bike repair, that's why I have a little piggy bank to get my hand on when the weather is rough...
    Last edited by orguasch; 04-01-01 at 04:21 AM.
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

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    Senior Member technogirl's Avatar
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    I just started to do a little maintenance on my bike. The first thing I did was to switch out my tires. I saved $3/tire, but it sure took me awhile to do it. Once, I figured it out, it's not so bad. In fact, I took great pride doing it all by myself.

    I bought the Zinn Mountain Bike book, and that has been extremely helpful in giving me information on how to do the little types of maintenance on my bike. I like figuring out why my bike makes those "clicking" noises, and feel great when I've solved the problem...

  16. #16
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Mike,
    Did you see my post "Rolled my own cassette"? I took 7-cog 12-21 and 14-32 cassettes apart and built a 14,15,16,17,18,19,21 because I wanted close ratios in the middle. I found the jumps from 19-17 and 17-15 on the 12-21 a little much since I am really making an effort to build cadence and wanted to be able to get in just the right gear. I am a real novice at this stuff, but I thought building the cassette was a snap. I did read Sheldon Brown's article several times as well as other material and felt like I knew how to proceed. It may be that I am such a novice that I am naive regarding possible pitfalls, but I found this very easy. It took only about 10 minutes to do. If I go on a country ride with the bike club on a route with hills, I would not hesitate to pull it off and slap on a couple of the larger cogs from the 14-32. Now, I was dealing with pretty standard Shimano HG-70 cassettes. Others may be more involved. And it only took a $7 Nashbar sprocket tool (chain whip) and a $5 Shimano FR-5 freewheel remover.
    FWIW,
    Raymond

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    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    I just bought something kind of interesting. I have been looking at arm warmers though the time for needing those is about over for this year. Received an MSC Industrial Supply flyer that has Kevlar Knit Sleeves for working aroung hot materials or sharp edges. Available in lengths from 10 to 24 inches and cheap - $2.06 each for 10" to $4.89 for 24". I ordered two 18" at $3.56 each. They are very nicely knitted about the feel of a medium weight sweater and come in a cyclists' favorite color - yellow. They do not have a super soft feel (Kevlar is a tough fabric), not uncomfortable, just not cushy and squeezably soft. I have largish arms, and they stretch to fit without binding. Should fit small arms fine, too. I decided to give them a try for the price figuring they would not only serve as arm warmers but that the Kevlar would also provide protection from scrapes in a fall.
    FWIW,
    Raymond

  18. #18
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I use large 3 inch round red reflectors and large oval amber reflectors on the rear which I bought at auto parts and home improvement type stores for probably $2.00 for the lot. Man, when lights hit me from behind, I am "on"! I just don't trust those puny reflectors that came with the bike. This combination works good with one or two cheap LED's. And I keep my LED's bright as possible with freshly recharged batteries.

    Also, zip ties are good for attaching things, like those reflectors and such.

    When I patch a tube, I save it as a spare for the next flat. To ready it for carrying, I roll it up like a roll of tape, which squeezes the air out gradually as I roll it, until it has "no" air. Ends up looking like a hockey puck.

  19. #19
    Slow Moving Vehicle Jean Beetham Smith's Avatar
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    Raymond, don't want to rain on your bike parade, but Kevlar might be so tough that it will give you road rash if you crash and they slide along your arms. I think the kind of arm protection you are talking about is meant for people carrying sharp edged things, not high speed impacts. Don't know who you could ask, perhaps the manufacturer.

  20. #20
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Ask the seller if the arm protectors would prevent road rash?!! ASK??

    Come on, Jeane, we aren't "askers" on this forum. We are "doers".

    Ya! That's right for sure!

    I say test them kevlar arm protector do-majjiggies by yourself.

    Get up a speed of say 16, no, no, say 21 miles, no let's say 22 miles per hour. OK, forget it, 17 miles per hour - OK, 17 miles per hour. That should do it.

    Anyway, get up some reasonable speed (as defined above at 17 miles per hour) and fall off your bike. Fall right onto the road to do a true similation. Be sure to fall on the kevlar armbands the first time so you don't have to do it again.

    Please write back (or have someone do it for you) and tell us how they work.

    You could really be on to something here and I, for one, am excited to hear the results.
    Mike

  21. #21
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    Mike Come on why will you ask the guy to fall on his bike, that would be an awfull thing to do, be nice to the guy, Jeane might just do it, so be carefull with what you, write
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

  22. #22
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Actually, Oscar, it is Raymond who has the kevlar arm bands.

    I dunno, I have a good feeling about Raymond. I think he is the kind of hero of a man that makes us proud to be in the same community of bicyclists as he.

    I think he would take the fall for us and tell us how it is.

    Think, if Edison had not had the courage to say to his hetrosexual male assistant "Come here, I want you", the world would be a different place.

    I'm for Raymond doing the experiment. Hey, I did the raw cookie dough diet thing and the drunken rider test - all at great risk to my own safety, but for the benefit of all.

    This could be Raymond's big day in the sun.

    raymond! Raymond!! RAYMOND!! RAYMOND!!!
    Mike

  23. #23
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    well I am also for it, so let Raymond, do it, but don"t want any party to a lawsuit later on Mike,Eh,
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

  24. #24
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    I would officially like to state here publicly and officially that asking Raymond to fall off of his bike was all Oscar's idea.

    Oscar asked me to write the above suggestions because he had some lame excuse. Now I see the real motive - he is afraid of legal recourse.

    SO with that, I wash my hands and transfer full responsibility to OSCAR for his savage, uncaring, and dangerous suggestion.

    Raymond, God bless you if you are already off trying this dangerous experiment. Please, please please understand that it was ALL OSCAR'S fault!
    Mike

  25. #25
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Another helpful hint I have is to keep a close eye on Mike...

    Listen--just take a close look at our pictures: me, Oscar and Mike. Now, tell me, who would YOU trust?
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 04-01-01 at 12:06 AM.

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