Bike Tires & Pressure

This is reference info for me:

  • Pavement Reference: 700c, 28mm @ 120psi for 300 LB ride weight, 60% rear
  • Cruiser Reference: 32er, 55mm @ 60psi for 310 LB ride weight, 70% rear
  • Off-Road Reference: 700c, 40mm @ 40psi for 180 LB ride weight, 60% rear

Slower speed, butt off the seat, you can go lower psi. You’d be risking pinch flats on longer rides, or unseating the bead in harder turns, etc

Tread pattern is coarse for rough terrain, fine for sand & hardpack, and smooth for pavement.

Higher pressure prevents tire flex, and is better on pavement. – Less shock absorption, grippy on soft, loose surface.

Lower pressure increases tire flex, which grips obstacles better. – Increased risk of pinch flats, or rolling off the rim.

General width preferences:

  • Hardpack or pavement – narrow to prevent drag
  • Sand, pea gravel, mud – wide to prevent sinking
  • loose, large gravel – wide to prevent pinch flats, throwing gravel, etc

Weight Distribution

  • Cruiser ~ 70% rear.
  • Mountain ~ 60% rear.
  • Race Road ~ 55% rear.

Proportional adjustments:

  • Narrower tire for larger diameter
  • Lower pressure for lower weight
  • Lower pressure for wider tire

Rim sizes:

  • 559mm = 26er
  • 584mm = 650b / 27.5″
  • 622mm = 700c / 29er
  • 686mm = 32er
  • 787mm = 36er

Bicycle cross-chaining

Mark loves to prod me about cross-chaining, because it’s formally a naughty-no-no. I thought I’d give some observations, since I am a chronic cross-chainer.

Cross chaining wears the sides of the sprockets, which is never what wears out. I ride like I am a 1×9 unless I’m on hills. No problems. All major makers support 1×11 (single gear in front, all the way back and forth in the rear).

Cross chaining puts a side load on chain pins, so use a chain whose plates don’t pop off. Most are made by KMC, with a brand label on them. I found SRAM branded chains hold up better. SRAM was the first to offer 1×11 drivetrains. KMC branded, Shimano branded, etc would pop a link by 600 miles. Maybe better now, but I have no reason to change brands. Bell chains are just too heavy/slow/frictiony, but work fine. Whippermsn chains are super durable, but expensive. Chains with a dimple or flat pin edge are better than the ones that look like a wite cutter went after them.

Wear on the teeth, ramps, and pins of the cassette/chainrings is due to shifting. Side loads don’t matter much, but heavy loads do. Don’t shift under high load, and they will last longer. If you hear a crunch when shifting because you waited to downshift, that’s more damaging.

Wear on chains is mostly from higher wattage, incorrect lubrication, and grit abrasion. Clean and lube your chain any time you can hear it at all. Try different lubes and see what you like. You can even throw it in a jug of 50wt motor oil, or molten candle wax if you like, but make sure to wipe it off well. Oil only needs to be inside the rollers. Anywhere else attracts grit.

Wattage, well, whatever power you can put into a chain is part of the fun, but if you are 285 pounds like me, and stand to power up a hill, expect more wear.

Lastly, when your chain gets to 0.5% stretched, replace it. Letting it go longer causes additional wear on the sprockets.

The only other issue to bring up is practical, not wear related, and that’s dropped chains.

If you are all the way tiny in the back, and shift up to the big ring in the front, expect to drop the chain off the outside, onto the crank arm.

If you are all the way small in the back, and try to shift to the small ring up front, expect to drop your chain between the cranks and the frame.

If you are fast, you can soft pedal, shift 2-3x in the rear, then shift up front, before losing much momentum. Chain guards and idler arms are not super effective at preventing drops caused by cross chaining.

Independence Ride

30-45 miles. Oww oww oww my legs hurt. Hip flexors and low back were unhappy to start with. Kind of crampy now.

There’s a BBQ/pool party too, but I’m not able to make that.
Distance: 52.85 mi
Calories: 2,594 C
Bike energy calc says this is about half my actual burn, but this is firstbeat, which should be good.
So anxious for power meterrrrrr.

Time: 3:23:43
Moving Time: 3:23:07
Elapsed Time: 4:14:43

Avg Speed: 15.6 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 15.6 mph
Max Speed: 32.4 mph

Elevation Gain: 2,093 ft
Elevation Loss: 2,142 ft
Min Elevation: 494 ft
Max Elevation: 753 ft

Avg HR: 145 bpm
Max HR: 182 bpm
Went over 181, which means heat!

Avg Power: 422 W
Max Power: 1,300 W
Max Avg Power (20 min): 506 W
Extrapolated as 2.737x Strava numbers, based on energy calk.

Avg Bike Cadence: 79 rpm
Max Bike Cadence: 131 rpm

Avg Temperature: 89.9 °F
Min Temperature: 82.4 °F
Max Temperature: 100.4 °F ‎

2014-04-23 Ride CCC IBM

2014-04-23 Ride CCC IBM

CCC IBC ride. Lots of wind. More aggressive.

Distance: 21.55 mi
Calories: 1,398 C

Time: 1:25:41
Moving Time: 1:25:18
Elapsed Time: 1:32:15

Avg Speed: 15.1 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 15.2 mph
Max Speed: 30.5 mph

Elevation Gain: 752 ft
Elevation Loss: 738 ft
Min Elevation: 414 ft
Max Elevation: 556 ft

Avg HR: 153 bpm
Max HR: 186 bpm

Avg Power: 250 W
Max Power: 1,258 W
Max Avg Power (20 min): 310 W

Avg Bike Cadence: 80 rpm
Max Bike Cadence: 129 rpm

Avg Temperature: 77.1 °F
Min Temperature: 74.2 °F
Max Temperature: 81.4 °F

hrTSS: 90 (0.75)
Pa:HR 6.97%
Gain: 751 ft
Loss: – 738 ft
Grade: 0.0 %
VAM: 160
VAM W/Kg: 0.8

Min Avg Max
Speed (mph): 1.9 15.1 30.5
Pace (min/mi): 32:10 03:59 01:58
HR (bpm): 110 153 186
Cadence (rpm): 1 80 129
Elev (ft): 414 484 556
Temp (F): <84 87 91

Total 21.55 mi 1:25:40 (1:32:11)
Lap #1 3.50 mi 0:14:46 (0:15:13)
Lap #2 3.50 mi 0:13:01 (0:13:06)
Lap #3 3.50 mi 0:14:46 (0:16:54)
Lap #4 3.50 mi 0:14:22 (0:16:04)
Lap #5 3.50 mi 0:15:03 (0:15:54)
Lap #6 3.50 mi 0:11:21 (0:12:42)
Lap #7 0.55 mi 0:02:17

Peak Speed
2 sec 30.4 mph
5 sec 30.2 mph
10 sec 29.7 mph
12 sec 29.4 mph
20 sec 28.4 mph
30 sec 27.4 mph
1:00 min 25.5 mph
2:00 min 22.5 mph
5:00 min 21 mph
6:00 min 20.7 mph
10:00 min 19.2 mph
12:00 min 18.7 mph
20:00 min 16.9 mph
30:00 min 16.2 mph
01:00 h 15.2 mph

2014-04-21 CCC IBC ride

IBC ride, cut a little short by the clouds.  Pretty slow pace most of the time, but a little attack at the end.

222 avg watts and 1029 kcal.

Training Peaks:
Total Time: 1:25:41
Moving Time: 1:19:33
Distance: 18.98 mi
hrTSS: 65 (0.66)
Pa:HR 6.87%
Gain: 427 ft
Loss: – 449 ft
Grade: -0.0 %
VAM: 98
VAM W/Kg: 0.5

Min Avg Max
Speed (mph): 1 14.3 24.8
Pace (min/mi): 59:05 04:11 02:25
HR (bpm): 81 140 187
Cadence (rpm): 1 81 122
Elev (ft): 469 543 600
Temp (F): <81 84 88

Peak Speed
2 sec 24.8 mph
5 sec 24.7 mph
10 sec 24.5 mph
12 sec 24.5 mph
20 sec 24.3 mph
30 sec 24 mph
1:00 min 22.1 mph
2:00 min 19.8 mph
5:00 min 18 mph
6:00 min 17.7 mph
10:00 min 16.6 mph
12:00 min 15.7 mph
20:00 min 15.3 mph
30:00 min 15.1 mph
01:00 h 14.9 mph

Garmin Info
Power info from Strava was actually pretty close, within 10%, so I’m using those numbers.
Cadence error at 181 peak – unk real peak as I was spinning pretty well. Probably close to 122.
Temps were all over due to a front moving in. Subbing out the usual 10F for Garmin magic.

Distance: 18.98 mi
Calories: 1,089 C

Time: 1:19:33
Moving Time: 1:19:12
Elapsed Time: 1:25:44

Avg Speed: 14.3 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 14.4 mph
Max Speed: 24.8 mph

Elevation Gain: 373 ft
Elevation Loss: 400 ft
Min Elevation: 469 ft
Max Elevation: 600 ft

Avg HR: 140 bpm
Max HR: 187 bpm

Avg Power: 208 W
Max Power: 1,222 W
Max Avg Power (20 min): 237 W

Avg Bike Cadence: 81 rpm
Max Bike Cadence: 122 rpm

Avg Temperature: 74.2 °F
Min Temperature: 70.6 °F
Max Temperature: 77.8 °F

2014-02-22 Gran Fondo 2

Over 130km!  Thanks to the group that rode with me, and extra thanks to Sharon, Betty, and Norm who rode the whole loop.

VERY windy, making the return tough. Looks like we had about 15mph wind (or so). Varied from 12-30.

All stats corrected here and on Garmin Connect. Wrong on Strava (no wind wonders). Runkeeper is close.

Distance: 81.73 mi
Calories: 5,247 C

Time: 5:41:48
Moving Time: 5:38:41
Elapsed Time: 9:02:47

Avg Speed: 14.3 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 14.5 mph
Max Speed: 33.2 mph

Elevation Gain: 2,687 ft
Elevation Loss: 2,687 ft
Min Elevation: 540 ft
Max Elevation: 766 ft

Avg HR: 142 bpm
Max HR: 182 bpm

Avg Power: 363 W
Max Power: 1,292 W
Max Avg Power (20 min): 512 W

Avg Bike Cadence: 79 rpm
Max Bike Cadence: 122 rpm

Avg Temperature: 66.5 °F
Min Temperature: 52.6 °F
Max Temperature: 77.8 °F

2014-01-11 Cartwright Ride

Flower Mound to Highland Village to Lantana up HillTop to Hickory to Elm for lunch at Cartwright’s. Most of us met up at the AMC Highland Village. Longest ride was about 45 miles. Mine was about 36. We had a mix of riders and a few extra stops, but overall not too many mechanicals and no lost riders. Food at the restaurant was good, and the route was fun. Was a good workout for me, since I’ve been pretty lazy over this winter break. I’m happy for the warmer weather, but I know my plants are going to suffer through the thaw/freeze cycles.

Anyway, on with the stats.

Distance: 35.98 mi
Calories: 2,193 C

Time: 2:44:25
Moving Time: 2:40:49
Elapsed Time: 5:19:24

Avg Speed: 13.1 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 13.4 mph
Max Speed: 31.0 mph

Elevation Gain: 1,302 ft
Elevation Loss: 1,293 ft
Min Elevation: 532 ft
Max Elevation: 697 ft

Avg HR: 137 bpm
Max HR: 184 bpm

Avg Power: 122 W
Max Power: 1,125 W
Max Avg Power (20 min): 114 W

Avg Bike Cadence: 67 rpm
Max Bike Cadence: 104 rpm

Avg Temperature: 58.9 °F
Min Temperature: 47.2 °F
Max Temperature: 72.4 °F

2014-01-01 New China Wed Lunch Ride

Group ride to New China for lunch. First ride out in a few weeks. Found a new Max Heartreat of 191, which is higher than age-estimates.

Distance: 7.25 mi
Calories: 432 C

Time: 42:29
Moving Time: 41:05
Elapsed Time: 1:59:44

Avg Speed: 10.2 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 10.6 mph
Max Speed: 28.8 mph

Elevation Gain: 325 ft
Elevation Loss: 279 ft
Min Elevation: 554 ft
Max Elevation: 663 ft

Avg HR: 121 bpm
Max HR: 191 bpm

Avg Power: 87 W
Max Power: 1,102 W
Max Avg Power (20 min): 112 W

Avg Bike Cadence: 55 rpm
Max Bike Cadence: 175 rpm

Avg Temperature: 69.6 °F
Min Temperature: 66.2 °F
Max Temperature: 84.2 °F

NOTE: Temp is high by 10 degrees

Bicycle Selection ramblings

Rambling thoughts about bike selection.

Wal-Mart bikes can be a fine fit. It’s just that the moving parts wear out quickly (100-500 miles vs 1000-5000 miles).

There are a lot of systems for bike fit, but mostly, it’s about what feels comfy.
1) Start with a big, squishy seat (saddle). Sunlite has a “Cloud 9” brand for $20 that is awesome. The less you “sit” on it, the less support and padding you need, but start big. Basically, your squishy bits shouldn’t hurt after your longest ride, but your butt-bones probably will.

2) If you slide off the front of the seat, you should not crack your pelvis. If you don’t have some room there, the bike frame is too tall for you.

3) The seat should be high enough that while sitting on it, you can touch one but not both feet to the ground.

4) The seat post should have at least 4″ inserted in the frame to do #3, or your frame will break. Longer seat posts are $10.

5) With the pedal all the way down, your knee should be almost but not entirely straight.

6) The distance from the seat clamp to the handle-bar clamp should be 2/3 – 3/4 of your height minus your inseam. Inseam is crotch to floor while barefoot.

7) Minor adjustments can be made with seat & post, handlebars and stem, etc. Basically, you shouldn’t put a ton of weight on the handlebars, or your hands get sore or numb.

Bike costs vary substantially:
If you like tinkering, repairs with upgrades will put you ahead of the game. A $90 bike would take around $400 over the course of a year to become a solid, long-life bike with great components.

If you don’t like tinkering, then Bikes Direct can set you up for $700, and you’ll spend maybe $150 over the course of a year for it to be solid with really good components.

If you hate tinkering, then a local bike shop can set you up for $900 for acceptable components, and you can spend $200+ per year having them maintain it for you.

Parts is Parts:
For longevity, sealed bearings are what you want. Cranks should be a cartridge, not loose bearings with a shiny steel plate holding them in. Wheels should be quick-release, otherwise they will have loose bearings inside. All of this can be replaced/upgraded along the way, or even repaired. (Great bearings, grease, and races can be had for about $12 per set – or sealed cartridges in the $30 range that last 5000 miles.)

7/14/21 speed chains are heavy duty and last longer. However, shifting the front gears can be a pain sometimes. The 9-11 speed chains are easy to break, though SRAM chains are best. (Use the size of chain your actual gears.)

Changing the number of gears on your bike is a major undertaking. Expect to replace shifter levers, the actual mechanism/arms (derailleurs), maybe the cables, as well as the hub/wheel. There are several systems from each manufacturer and many of them are not interchangeable. Getting a mismatch means you might drop the chain, wedge the chain, or keep auto-shifting between gears. As such, stick with the # it came with unless you’re building a whole new bike on a frame you really love.

Go for the cheap tubes. Kenda/Q-Tubes/Summit are great. They stay inflated longer. Puncture resistant suck and are heavy and slow. Presta tubes are weird, and need a special pump. They also don’t go flat at the end of the week.

Tires matter. Crappy tires will puncture easy and roll very slowly. Continental, Vittoria and Ritchey tires are worth the money because they get fewer flats. Wider tires are easier to inflate and softer on bumps. Thinner tires are easier to pedal and go faster on smooth pavement. Knobby tires are only good for mud and rocks. The less tread in the center, the better. Even slicks have more grip than you’d think. If you have to hit sand, then something smooth in the middle with bumps on the edges works well.

Wheels only matter a little. The main wheels are called a bunch of things, but really they are 700c (622mm) (27″ to 29″ wheels), 650b (584mm) (26.5 or 26″ wheels), or 26″ (559mm) wheels. Smaller wheels go a little slower and ride a little harder, but mostly, the wheel size ties to the frame size. Whatever of these three come with a bike that fits you are fine, but the 559 and 622 are easiest to come by.

Cars won’t see you, especially at intersections. Be on the look out. Use lots of flashy lights.

ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET even if it messes up your hair. If you fall and bonk your head on the curb, your brains get scrambled. Helmet is important. Snug, but not tight. Strap should keep the helmet on your head when you fall.

Frames are the #1 way to spend too much money. A $90 complete bike from Wal-Mart has the same quality frame as a $150 internet frame. A $1000 frame is probably worth 5% speed difference. A $10000 frame is worth probably 6% over the Wal-Mart bike, but it also will have some cool features, like integrated sensor mounts, etc. Mostly it will have some cool manufacturing technology, or the blessing of wood elves, or a custom paint job, or whatnot. If you want to spend that much, then have one made by hand by an artisan to your exact physiology.

Suspension is great if you ride down mountains, but just slows you down on streets and sidewalks. 30 pounds vs 20 pounds matters if you’re going up a lot of hills, but you’ll change more than that in your own body weight throughout a month. Steel vs aluminum vs plastic doesn’t matter much either until you’re riding 30+ miles or racing.

Quality of mechanics DO matter for comfort and reliability. When things wear out, you can replace them with better quality parts. 5xxx to 7xxx series Shimano parts are great. Above that only for racers. Below that is okay if you ride less than 5 miles at a time, but expect to drop the chain from time to time.

Consider parts to be around $10 times the series number for Shimano gear. SRAM comparisons vary, so search the web. Retail is 30-60% over internet, and internet is 30-60% over wholesale. The difference is the amount of service, advice, warranty, and similar you can get. If you pay retail but don’t get the service, go somewhere else. There are plenty of great bike shops and resources around.

Road bikes, with drop bars, are magically more expensive. Only do this if you plan to ride 20+ miles in the wind more than twice a week. What would be a $35 shifter/brake lever on a flat handlebar would be a $200 device on drop-bars.

The difference between a $90 and a $9000 bike (not just frame) is about 30% speed. Unless you are training hard to earn the same out of yourself, don’t listen to anyone who poo poos your $90 bike. Ride it and have a great time. Upgrade or replace only the things that bug you, and you’ll have a much better time. Plus, if a $90 bike is stolen, you’re only out $90 to replace it.

If you have comfort problems, find someone you trust, who isn’t trying to sell you something. That might be a bike shop, or a friend, or a biking group. All of those might also lead you into the trap of having to “buy a better bike” or “buy this magic device” when really maybe you just need to tilt your seat or handle bars.

2013-12-04 Argyle Lunch Ride

Ride from Pilot Knoll park to Cachette, 144 Old Town Blvd, Argyle, TX by way of Hickory Hill Rd in Copper Canyon. Lunch, then ride back, and then I rode the rest of the way home. Co-conspirators were Phil, about on par with me, and Will, for his 4th ride out. Lunch was sandwiches, coffee, and lots of water. Lots of stops and pauses to keep the group together, get photos, gab, etc. Was a very fun ride.

Distance: 19.87 mi
Calories: 1,341 C

Time: 1:31:00
Moving Time: 1:29:43
Elapsed Time: 3:19:46

Avg Speed: 13.1 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 13.3 mph
Max Speed: 34.0 mph

Elevation Gain: 804 ft
Elevation Loss: 758 ft
Min Elevation: 572 ft
Max Elevation: 785 ft

Avg HR: 142 bpm
Max HR: 181 bpm
Z1 Endurance < 112 2:57 3% Z2 Moderate 112 - 148 54:42 59% Z3 Tempo 148 - 166 24:11 26% Z4 Threshold 166 - 184 10:34 11% Z5 Anaerobic > 184 0s 0%
Points in the red: 17 (Z4+Z5 hours * 100)
Suffer Score: 58 ((Z2+Z3 hours * 33) + Red Points)

Avg Power: 121 W
Max Power: 1,275 W
Max Avg Power (20 min): 140 W

Avg Bike Cadence: 62 rpm
Max Bike Cadence: 127 rpm

Avg Temperature: 82.9 °F
Min Temperature: 78.8 °F
Max Temperature: 89.6 °F