Replacing Your Clipless Pedal Cleats

The cleats on the bottoms of our cycling shoes are some of the most well-worn pieces of equipment a cyclist has. They get walked on, shoved into a pedal against spring pressure, scraped onto the ground, and are forgotten about until they become a problem. Kind of like tires on your car. I decided to shoot a little video for this topic. The quality isn’t great so please bear with me as I try something new. I had to replace mine last week when I noticed my shoes weren’t feeling as ‘solid’ when clipped in. A close inspection revealed some pretty good wear that required replacement. Here’s a couple of pictures of my well-worn cleats. You can tell in the second pic that I had a huge chunk missing out of the leading edge of my cleat. No wonder it felt weird. Why Change Your Cleats? As your cleats become worn, they lack the surface area to keep them securely fastened to the pedal. A worn clear can cause the following: Lack of power transfer. The whole purpose of having cleats is to make our power transfer from foot to pedal better. If the cleats are worn then they aren’t transferring power properly. Injury. If your cleats are worn, and you’re not regularly checking them, your first indication may be when your foot comes unclipped while pedaling. This would be a bad thing if you’re involved in a group sprint or out of the saddle while climbing. Not only could this injure you but you could cause a crash involving other riders. Tips When Changing Cleats I mentioned a...

Don’t Get Caught Without A Rubber

I had some great plans this weekend and I was excited. I posted a pic on Dailymile of the five-day forecast and the great weather we were going to have. It made for a great opportunity to get out and work up a sweat. Then, on Saturday, I was given a dose of reality as I violated one of those unwritten rules every dude should know. I got caught without a rubber. Sorry about that but I just couldn’t resist that post title. The rubber I’m referring to is, of course, a tube for my road bike. The weather this weekend has been perfect here in North Florida and I was super excited about a nice two-hour early morning ride on Saturday. Fate, on the other hand, had different plans. I got up, went through my whole morning routine of getting kitted up, drinking 4 oz of water mixed with 4 oz of juice, and eating half a banana. I even had about half a cup of coffee. What was even better was that I was going to be able to ride without tights and arm warmers. That alone had me totally jacked to ride. Ah, ignorance is bliss. Once down in the garage I immediately noticed my back tire was flat. If I was going to have one I’d rather it be now than out on the road so I set about changing it. I had one spare tube in my seat bag so I pulled it out and quickly swapped it out with the bad one. Before putting the new one in, an inspection of the tire...

Chain Cleaning and Racking Up the Miles

Last week saw me only able to get two rides in due to some nasty, rainy weather almost all week. Plus, on Saturday, I woke up with some serious sinus issues that kept me from riding. I’m actually quite lucky I haven’t gotten real sick with my wife and two of my daughters under the weather. Luckily, I’ve dodged that bullet. Like I said, only about 24 miles on the bike last week which, honestly, stinks. Not much I can do about it though except start this week off right and that’s what I did this morning. I was up at 5 AM and rolling by 5:20. Aside from being about 40F outside, the weather was perfect – crystal clear and no wind. I felt like I pushed it hard this morning but know in spots I let the pace slack off some as I’m just not conditioned yet to maintain a high pace for my full hour ride. I’m getting 16-17 mph comfortably for some parts of the ride so I’m hoping that before long I’ll see my pace for these morning rides increase to the upper 14 mph range and start pushing 15 mph plus. That 15 mph pace is kind of a barrier for me and I’m not sure if it’s physical or mental. Probably a little of both but likely more physical than mental. Anyway, the numbers for today’s ride are: 13.1 miles in 57 min at a 13.8 mph pace. I really thought I was faster than that. Tested out the Chain Cleaner If you follow the Biking To Live Facebook Page you know...

The Crank Problem Is Far From Over

Yesterday I explained in length how I was missing the compression nut (actually called an ‘External Crank Arm Fixing Bolt) on my cranks and that’s what was causing my left crank arm to keep coming loose. Remember how I went to the bike shop in town that sold Specialized bikes to get the part? Well, they sold me the wrong one. Go figure. This was discovered when I took my bike to my favorite local bike shop to have yhe bottom bracket serviced and the nut put on (due to needing a special tool). After some searching, the mechanic verfied they don’t have what I need in stock and couldn’t find one via their online sources. They will call Sugino (the maker of the cranks on my Allez) to see if they can get the part. If they can’t, I did find what looks to be the right part on Amazon. It also looks like you don’t need a special tool for it but I’ll have my BB serviced anyway. In short, it looks like I’ll be without my road bike for at least the weekend and into next week. Why, oh why didn’t I take care of this when I wasn’t...

Cranks, Nuts, and a Tshirt

This mornings ride was very low key because I can’t ride my road bike right now (see below) and because I’m taking it easy until my body readjusts to riding again. I took the hybrid out for a short three mile loop. I’ll ride the hybrid for a few more days until I get the Allez back from the shop. Why I Have A Crank Problem Yesterday you may remember that I had a problem with left crank arm again where it wants to come off during my rides. I’ve replaced both bolts that hold it on to no avail. Yesterday, while heading to Lowes (a local home improvement store) to get some Blue Loctite, I stopped into a local bike shop to talk to a mechanic about my crank problems (no jokes please). It turns out that I’m missing the compression nut that screws into the left-side of the crank arm. The mechanic says that without that nut I’ll never be able to keep the crank arm on. Here’s a diagram of what I’m talking about. The compression nut is part #5. This particular shop would have had to order me a nut (no, my nickname isn’t Juan Pelota) because they don’t sale Specialized bikes. I left there and headed over to the shop that carries Specialized bikes to pick up the nut which was only $5. Today I’m going to take my bike back to shop #1 to have them overhaul my bottom bracket and put the nut on. Just so you know, that nut requires a special tool (TL-FC16 in the figure above). It looks like...

Six Tips To Repairing A Bicycle Flat Tire

Getting a flat while out riding will happen to all of us at some point. It’s inevitable. Just as sure as the Sun will come up each day we can all look forward to it. It doesn’t have to be the end of the days ride though if you’re prepared and know a few tips to make it easier. Six Tips To Easier Flat Repair Be prepared. If you’re out riding with no way to repair your own flat then you’re riding on borrowed time. If you’re riding with friends you may be able to bum something off one of them but if you’re all alone and 30 miles from nowhere then you’re what I like to call ‘screwed’. Being prepared starts with having the equipment needed to repair your own flat – patch kit, tube, tire levers, pump/CO2, etc. Most all of this can be easily carried in a seat bag and I discuss this in the article I wrote about what you should carry in a bicycle seat bag. Having the right tools doesn’t help if you’ve never used them though. Practice changing tubes while at home until you get the hang of it. Shift to the smallest cog if the flat is on the rear. Putting the chain on the smallest cog on the cassette will make it much easier to remove and install the rear wheel. Chances are you won’t be in the smallest cog when you notice the flat. To get the chain there just shift the gears, pick up the rear wheel by grabbing your seat with one hand, grasp a pedal with...
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