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  1. #1
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Tips, Tricks, Modifications, and Hacks

    We all have tips and tricks for gettin' stuff done.

  2. #2
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    My LBS is going to hate this thread.
    "My biggest fear is that when I die, my wife will sell my bicycles for what I told her they cost."

  3. #3
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Getting stuff from the car to the infield in 1 trip:

    (I apologize in advance for the random google photos to tell this story)


    I use a Camelbak BFM backpack.

    CamelBak | BFM Large Capacity Cargo Pack - Military & Tactical



    I got it for free. Search for "Military Backpacks" on Amazon and you can find similar for under $30USD! They are generally VERY tough and can handle carrying heavy loads and the handles are stitched on very well. Designed for abuse.

    In it I can fit:

    Inside:
    - Track Sack (chainrings, cogs, tools, etc...)
    - Cycling shoes
    - Clothing (skinsuit, bibs, jersey, jacket, arm warmers, etc...)
    - Camelbak water bladder (I don't use this though)

    On the sides/outside
    - 2 water bottles (in the side pockets, completely zipped up)
    - checkbook (to pay race fees)
    - Helmet (via a D-clip hitched to one of the loops on the outside)
    - wallet, ID cards, etc...


    It opens flat for easy access to everything inside.




    Now your hands are free.


    Rollers:

    Learn how to cinch up your rollers like this:



    If you do it right, the rollers won't open on you when you are carrying them.

    You can carry the rollers horizontally by one of the side rails or stand them upright like this:



    Now imagine if you have a belt or piece of rope looped through. You can put the belt/strap/rope on your shoulder and carry the rollers like so:



    Race wheels:

    I have a Pika Packworks double wheel bag which is very similar to the Zipp double wheel bag (I used to use this).



    There are a few out there. You have to squeeze your track axles in. Go for bags that offset the wheels (like the Zipp) that way the long track axles don't line up and push against each other.

    Make sure to get a luggage strap long enough so that you have length options.

    Put this on your shoulder on the side that you hold the rollers.



    With your other hand, you simply walk your bike.



    It's maybe 80lbs of gear all-in-all. But, I can do it in one trip Ever go from the parking lot to the infield at the LA velodrome? That's a LONG walk
    Last edited by carleton; 01-28-15 at 09:30 AM.

  4. #4
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    The standard way of wrapping bars is bottom-to-top then finish off with tape.

    If you wrap them from top-to-bottom you simply end the bar wrap with the bar plugs, you won't need the tape. It's a much cleaner look.

    (Right-click and "view image" for detail)

    (My old bike)


    (My current bike)

    This does lay the tape in the opposite direction. But, if you wrap it snugly, it actually won't roll up. I've been doing this for 15+ years on my road and track bikes.

  5. #5
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    Someone literally asked me today "what tools should I leave at the track" (we have locker cages)

    Im not the person to ask, as I dont leave any and fit everything I need for a training session in 1 bag (the chicago velo bag). Im a minimalist, I carry enough to change gears, change bars, anything else is a 'later' project. If you are traveling for a big race its a different story, but for the 60min session you do a few times a week, don't carry something you don't really need back and forth. Take the risk of a broken chain, as really you probably are not fitting another one on the spot anyway. Different strokes here.

    Regardless of the bag you get, get a BACKPACK and not a shoulder duffel bag. Trust me, when you have a bike in one hand and whatever else in the other, trying to go through doors or wherever, the stupid duffel will swing around. Plus the compartments on a backpack are helpful.

    I like that double wheel bag, will have to look into one. Its a pain carrying the 2 bags, your stuff and your bike.

  6. #6
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    You don't need an expensive power meter to track your progress.

    For short efforts like the flying 200M, (generally speaking) max speed is directly related to the fastest time. If you don't have a friend to time you, just use a $50 Cateye Strada wireless (or similar) and log your gearing and max speed. There are plenty of free workout apps in the iOS/Android app stores. Just create a custom exercise and log your max speed and gearing from every effort. MAKE SURE to reset after every effort!

    However, if you can afford it, get a head unit that will record the entire workouts for download and review like the Garmin 500 etc...

    If you want to check your form or want splits as you prep for a big event, use an iPod/Android tripod and record yourself:



    When you download the video at home, play it and use your stopwatch app or the time markers in the video to get your splits. Try to record all of your major and minor TT events for review later. You can calculate your average speed for each split based on the time and distance traveled. You can use my app to calculate your cadences, too
    Last edited by carleton; 01-28-15 at 09:59 AM.

  7. #7
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    When traveling for races, when given the option, take 2 double beds instead of a single king.

    You'll sleep in one bed and the other will be your staging area for crap. It pretty much becomes a workbench

    Oh, and ask for a room on the first floor. Carrying all that crap on to a crowded elevator is a pain in the butt!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtrob View Post

    Regardless of the bag you get, get a BACKPACK and not a shoulder duffel bag. Trust me, when you have a bike in one hand and whatever else in the other, trying to go through doors or wherever, the stupid duffel will swing around. Plus the compartments on a backpack are helpful.
    I think that I need a svelte personal assistant in micro dress, like this one: ;-D

  9. #9
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldergeek View Post
    I think that I need a svelte personal assistant in micro dress, like this one: ;-D
    The skinny ones can't carry much

    The wife of a teammate of mine says that she hates traveling with him to Master's Nationals because it's not th vacation he promised...she's working as a sherpa all week!


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    If you can resist the urge to wear a speedo and sleeveless jersey some of the triathlon gear bags are set up nicely like the Zoot Men's Bags | Ultra Tri Triathlon Bag and the helmet is inside so it is not swinging around.
    For lap timing I am playing with IR lap timers used for motorcycles and go carts. It is fairly cheap and fits on the handle bars, you just set up the transmitters on the lines. Still trying to figure out how much fuzz is on the sensing distance. At walking speeds it seems pretty good, given the target market it should be ok at high speeds but not sure yet.
    And don't forget the folding chair for the infield - that straps on the backpack or wheelbag. Note that the offset wheels in a Zipp bag make a disk likely to get damaged by the other wheel's axle so those go in a single bag. A strap through the handles of the wheel bags makes carrying 2 as easy as 1 double bag.

  11. #11
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Glue the backsides of your chainring bolts in to your spider with tubular glue. It makes changing chainrings a lot easier.

    If you're running low on kit and need something tomorrow, shower in your kit after your training session, squeeze it out, and hang it to dry in front of a fan.

    Tell the airline that you're carrying a trade show display. or art supplies.

    If TSA repacks your bag improperly and puts a hole in your disc wheel on your way to elite Nats, you can cover it with a sticker and keep racing until you repair it for cheap at the end of the season.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  12. #12
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Dura Ace cogs have very hard to read stamps for the tooth count (or my eyesight is failing). Also, the stamp is covered by the lock ring when installed. So it's difficult to verify which cog is on the wheel.

    Get some paint pens or (simply paint) from the art supply store and color code your cogs like so:



    Use the same paint to put your initials (or a simple mark) on your chainrings and anything else you might loan out while at the track.

    I've used the same set of Allen wrenches for 6 years minus the 5mm that I think my teammate borrowed while I was looking and failed to return. Honest mistake. If it were marked I would know it when I saw it.
    Last edited by carleton; 01-28-15 at 11:29 AM.

  13. #13
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    you can remove or install a cog without a chainwhip using the Rotafix method.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  14. #14
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    Zipp sells these things for protecting the sides of your disc wheel: Zipp - Speed Weaponry | Accessories | Accessories | Disc protector board set

    They're cheap, they work well, and you can keep your track cog on the wheel while you transport them.

    Another easy way of telling what size cog you have: Hold the cog between your thumb and forefinger or thumb and middle finger like so:


    If each finger is touching only one tooth like above, the cog has an even number of teeth. If one finger is touching one tooth, and the other is touching two, it's odd.


    Most people can tell a two tooth difference in cogs (14 vs 16, 13 vs 15).

  15. #15
    Senior Member taras0000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Dura Ace cogs have very hard to read stamps for the tooth count (or my eyesight is failing). Also, the stamp is covered by the lock ring when installed. So it's difficult to verify which cog is on the wheel.

    Get some paint pens or (simply paint) from the art supply store and color code your cogs like so:

    Use the same paint to put your initials (or a simple mark) on your chainrings and anything else you might loan out while at the track.

    I've used the same set of Allen wrenches for 6 years minus the 5mm that I think my teammate borrowed while I was looking and failed to return. Honest mistake. If it were marked I would know it when I saw it.
    Nail polish is cheap, and you can find it anywhere in plenty of different shades. If you pick shades that aren't standard, (burgundy vs red), you'll be able to identify if it's your should it so happen that someone else has done the same thing. Make a little "palette" of the colours you own on some paper, and cover it with packing tape. You'll have a reference to match the colours should you find something that previously went missing.

    To mark cogs and rings, engrave or scratch your initials into them, deeply, then paint over the marks with a light coat. Your marks will show through and as the paint wears off, will stay embedded in the markings. If you do this on the backside of your cogs and rings, your opponents are less likely to catch onto what gear you are using.
    Taras - :noun. 1. Typically an overweight has-been that can sometimes be seen pootling around a velodrome on an old Look KG 233.

  16. #16
    Senior Member taras0000's Avatar
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    If you're going to wrap with tape, use good bar plugs. I used to use the Cateye plugs with the expander wedge on the inside. No more plugs falling out of your bar ends on the way to the track or while riding.
    Taras - :noun. 1. Typically an overweight has-been that can sometimes be seen pootling around a velodrome on an old Look KG 233.

  17. #17
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by taras0000 View Post
    Nail polish is cheap, and you can find it anywhere in plenty of different shades. If you pick shades that aren't standard, (burgundy vs red), you'll be able to identify if it's your should it so happen that someone else has done the same thing. Make a little "palette" of the colours you own on some paper, and cover it with packing tape. You'll have a reference to match the colours should you find something that previously went missing.

    To mark cogs and rings, engrave or scratch your initials into them, deeply, then paint over the marks with a light coat. Your marks will show through and as the paint wears off, will stay embedded in the markings. If you do this on the backside of your cogs and rings, your opponents are less likely to catch onto what gear you are using.
    Wow. Nailpolish is a much cheaper and more accessible idea!

  18. #18
    Senior Member taras0000's Avatar
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    Although I have one, I've never like relying on the little track bags/keirin totes that only hold chainrings and cogs, and maybe a couple of small tools like allens wrenches. They're great for minimalists. I use an electricians tote to haul my tools. Still pretty small, but big enough that it can accommodate large chainrings. Has pockets to keep all your tools organized, a couple of zippered pockets to keep small parts, room to carry a spare tube or two, and it stands upright, so you only need one hand to get at things. Also has room for a notebook as well, so you can log your splits/speeds... I've used everything in it while at the track, and never have been wanting for something I've left at home. All the tools are dedicated to that bag, so they never come out to do work on something else. This means I can just grab it and go and never have to worry that I've left something behind. It need not be expensive, mine was $20.

    Much like Carleton's set up for getting out of the lot, I strap my rollers the to top/around my backpack. Shoulder strap of the tool back over the head with bag on left, backpack on, bike in right hand, and left hand is free to open doors.
    Last edited by taras0000; 01-28-15 at 05:03 PM.
    Taras - :noun. 1. Typically an overweight has-been that can sometimes be seen pootling around a velodrome on an old Look KG 233.

  19. #19
    Senior Member taras0000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Wow. Nailpolish is a much cheaper and more accessible idea!
    And it has sparkles!
    Taras - :noun. 1. Typically an overweight has-been that can sometimes be seen pootling around a velodrome on an old Look KG 233.

  20. #20
    Senior Member taras0000's Avatar
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    If you ride sockless like I do, get a cheap pair of dollar store flip flops to wear at the track. These also fit in my toolbag and never leave.
    Taras - :noun. 1. Typically an overweight has-been that can sometimes be seen pootling around a velodrome on an old Look KG 233.

  21. #21
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    It's maybe 80lbs of gear all-in-all. But, I can do it in one trip Ever go from the parking lot to the infield at the LA velodrome? That's a LONG walk
    I have a locker
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

  22. #22
    Senior Member Velocirapture's Avatar
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    To keep your cycling shoes 'fresh', fill a couple of small socks with the crystal-type of cat litter, and stuff into shoes after riding. I use rings cut off an inner tube as an elastic band to close the mouth of the sock, as well as one or two along the sock to keep a better shape.
    "All this talk of climbing is making me feel kinda queasy..." -- Baby Puke

  23. #23
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
    I have a locker
    Hahaha, stop bragging!

  24. #24
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by taras0000 View Post
    Nail polish is cheap, and you can find it anywhere in plenty of different shades.
    I did some digging a while back. The standard is green for 16, red for 15, and yellow for 14. (as an enduro I don't need anything else, of course)

    Quote Originally Posted by taras0000 View Post
    If you're going to wrap with tape, use good bar plugs. I used to use the Cateye plugs with the expander wedge on the inside. No more plugs falling out of your bar ends on the way to the track or while riding.
    Also, keep an extra pair of bar plugs in your track sack. Don't want to miss a race because one falls out somewhere!

    Quote Originally Posted by taras0000 View Post
    If you ride sockless like I do, get a cheap pair of dollar store flip flops to wear at the track. These also fit in my toolbag and never leave.
    I took some old sneakers, removed the laces, and then attached the tongue loosely to the uppers so they'er basically slippers. Now I don't have to clomp around the infield in my cycling shoes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Velocirapture View Post
    To keep your cycling shoes 'fresh', fill a couple of small socks with the crystal-type of cat litter.
    Used or unused?
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  25. #25
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    This may be obvious to the veterans and an "Why didn't I think of that?!" moment for newbies:

    Food and hydration:

    Newbies, you don't need to buy $5 cycling water bottles for use at the track. Heck, you don't even have bottle cages on your bike Any non-glass container will work. I use a big Nalgene bottle primarily because of its odor resistant and mold/mildew resistant properties.

    Powdered electrolyte drinks are usually the most cost effective. Buy a tin of powdered Gatorade and keep it in your car/bag and just get water at the track. Also, using powder you can control how sweet or not the drink is. Gatorade in a bottle is too sweet for my tastes. If I buy a bottle, I'll cut it 50/50 with water.

    You don't need to buy super dense and portable Clif Bars and the like for food at the track. Pack fruit/lunch in a lunch box

    The meals you eat the day before race day fuel race day.

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