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Bike Repair Handbook from Park

repair-article-iconPark Tool has always been known for quality tools.
Their products can be seen on the workbench of most Bike shops.
In fact to paraphrase James Crumley. “I don’t trust a shop that doesn’t use Park tools”

Park’s business is about keeping your bike rolling. And to help ensure that it is, the Park Tool Website has an online reference guide to help you perform almost any bike repair.
Each repair references the tools you need to perform it and has detailed pictures of each step.

If you need a little more than some tools and a guide, you can get hands on instruction at the Park Tool School.
All classes are taught at Local Bike shops by expert mechanics.
To Find a shop near you goto:

Essential Items that every Cyclist needs

There are a few essential items that every cyclist should own. Our top three picks were chosen based on quality, function, ease of use, and price.

Essential Item #1 our Top Pick

Joe Blow Floor PumpFloor Pump – First and foremost every cyclist needs a quality floor pump if your tires are flat you arent going anywhere. I highly recommend the Joe Blow Sport II Floor Pump from Topeak
It is simple to use, has accurate pressure gauge, and Dual head grey side for presta vlaves and black for Schrader a yellow lever locks the head in place pump stroke is smooth and efficient with about 15-20 pumps filling a 100% deflated MTB tube to 35-40 psi




Essential Item #2

Topeak Multitool

Multi-tool – The swiss army knife of tools. This compact (fits in your camelback or saddle bag can fix almost anything that comes up on the trail or road.
Our recommendation is the Topeak Alien II 26-Function Bicycle Tool. This Little package contains:

  • 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10mm Allen Wrenches (Fix a Loose stem bolt, adjust a seat, fix a creaking noise)
  • 8, 9, and 10mm Box Wrenches
  • 2 Chain Pin Compartments (Repair a chain)
  • Phillips and Flat-head Screwdrivers (adjust a Derailleur)
  • Chain Tool (Repair a Chain)
  • 15g and 14g Spoke Wrenches (True a Wheel)
  • Knife
  • 2 Tire Levers (Fix a flat)
  • T25 Torx (adjust with precision)
  • Mini Pedal Wrench Fix a loose pedal
  • Bottle Opener (pop open a well deserved cool one after a ride)

Essential Item #3

Park Hex WrenchesHex Wrenches – Where a multitool is great option when you are out on the trail or road. Any home workbench should have a quality set of hex wrenches.
They are easier to use, can provide more torque, and will make your home shop look pro. our 2 picks are:
Basic Level – Park Tool HXS-2 Professional Hex Wrench Set with Holder
Pro Level – Park Tool bike tools PH-1 p-handle Hex Wrench

ParkP-Type (Pictured) Hex Wrenches provide greater torque and are harder to loose than L-type wrenches.


Have a favorite product or Essential Item you think we missed let us know in our comments section

How to train for the Tour de France – The Yellow Jersey

2013 TDF Winner Chris Froome

Chris Froome – Winner of the 2013 Tour de France

The Tour de France has concluded and the yellow jersey (le maillot jaune which identifies the overall race winner) Has been awarded.

The Yellow Jersey recognizes the best racer overall.

Chris won the tour by being at the front during the flat stages

  • Performing well in the time trials
  • Chasing down break-aways with competitors that posed a threat
  • And of course taking time from everyone on the mountain stages.

For our final article in the series we will look at intervals that will develop your ability to climb, time trial, and ride at the front.

The yellow Jersey Awarded to the tour de France overall winner

The Coveted Yellow Jersey

Descending Intervals – will help to increase Anaerobic power, lactate threshold, and repeat-ability to short intense efforts.
How to do it:  I prefer to do these on an indoor trainer but a flat stretch of road will work as well.
Use a moderate gearing and a high pedal cadence of 110+ rpm for each interval.  Attack each interval as hard as possible then jump out of the saddle and continue to go all out if you need to shift to a lower gear but do not allow the intensity to drop. You will be at you max heart rate these intervals are designed to not allow for complete recovery and to train your body to buffer lactic acid better. Perform 2 sets of 4 consecutive intervals. Ride and recovery are the 120 seconds ride time 120 seconds recovery then 90,60, and finally 30
Rest for 5 min between sets.

 Muscle Tension Intervals – will develop cycling specific strength for climbing.
How to do it: Perform on a long moderate climb or  trainer with the front wheel raised. Cadence will be low between 50-55 rpm.
Gearing is high 53×12 to 53×15. This gearing and the incline will put stress on your muscles especially your quadriceps make sure your form is good engaging the core pulling with your arms and pedaling circles not squares

OverUnder Intervals – Build power above lactate threshold.
How to do it: On a relatively flat road or trainer use a moderate gearing and a high pedal cadence of 100+rpm lowly bring your Heart rate up to your lactate threshold (80-85% of your max hr) Maintain this intensity for 5 min then increase your Heart rate by 3-5 beats and hold at that intensity for 1 min then drop the intensity back to Lactate threshold. Continue this pattern for 3 cycles a total of 18 minutes. These intervals will train your body to buffer lactic acid and improve your tolerance.

Training Notes:
Do not perform any Interval without first establishing a good foundation of base miles.

Other articles in the series

Young Rider


The White Jersey - Awarded to the Best Young RiderBesides the yellow jersey (le maillot jaune) which identifies the overall race winner, there are three other contests that play out during The Tour de France.

Each Jersey recognizes the best racer in their respective category.

By incorporating interval training into your rides you can develop your tour winning fitness.

Each article in the series will cover a different Jersey – Today we will look at the Best Young Rider Category.

Best Young Rider - White Jersey

The White Jersey is awarded to the best rider under 26 years of age.
The Tour de France is a race like no other with 21 stages and over 3,000 Kilometers many stages include climbs that are beyond categorization, strong headwinds, crashes, and crazy fans and caravans that can take out a rider in an instant. Experience plays as much a role as fitness and tactics.

The best young rider needs to have an excellent base fitness and handling skills. – below are some intervals and training tips to help develop these.

Tempo – will help to increase your aerobic capacity and prepare your body for more explosive workouts.
How to do it:  After warming up ride at around 80% of your Max HR cadence should be low at around 70-85 rpm during climbs stay seated to strengthen connective tissues and supporting muscle groups.
Ride time at tempo can be between 30 to 120 minutes depending on development stage.

Steady State – will increase your lactate threshold.
How to do it: Ride between 80-85% of your max HR and a cadence between 85-90 RM on flat road and 70-80 RPM while climbing.
Perform 2 intervals of 20 minutes each with 15 min of recovery
Steady state intervals can be incorporated into your Tempo workouts.

Aspects of a TurnBike Handling

  • Practice cornering
    • Control your speed – Brake prior to entering the turn a free rolling wheel tracks better and allows you to carve a turn.
    • Weight the outside pedal down to increase pressure on the wheels and improve bike stability.
    • Pick your line – Identify the apex of the turn and pick a line that has straightest arc (Entry,Apex,Exit)
    • Pedal out of the turn – Pump the apex of the turn and pedal through the turn exit.

Types of Pacelines used in Road Cycling

  • Learn to ride in the group
    • Take your turn pulling – maintain the groups speed, hold a straight line, look ahead and call out obstacles.
    • Drop off – After your pull is over quickly look back to check for traffic then move to the left of the paceline about a shoulders width and slow your pedal cadence enough to allow the paceline to pedal past.
    • Drop back – Don’t move out too far to the left. stay close enough to the paceline to maintain wind protection as the last rider pulls through smoothly transition back into the line.

Training Notes:
Do not perform any Interval without first establishing a good foundation of base miles.

Click here for more on riding in a paceline

How to train for the Tour de France – King of the Mountains

TDF Stage 2 Climbing

TDF Stage 2 – The main Field Chasing down Thomas Voeckler

Besides the yellow jersey (le maillot jaune) which identifies the overall race winner, there are three other contests that play out during The Tour de France.

Each Jersey recognizes the best racer in their respective discipline.

By incorporating interval training into your rides you can develop your tour winning fitness.

Each day we will cover a different Jersey – In honor of today’s stage we will focus on climbing.

The Polka-dot-Jersey is given to Best Climber. Known as the King of the Mountains This rider Posses an excellent Aerobic Capacity and Strength to weight ratio.

To help develop these attributes – here are three intervals that you can add to your workouts.

Climbing repeats – will help to increase your climbing lactate threshold which determines your endurance performance.
How to do it: Find a long (1 mile or more) steady climb and perform 2 intervals of 12 minutes each at 78-83 % of your max HR recover for 10 minutes between each interval.

Hill Sprints – will increase your power for uphill accelerations.
How to do it: Find a flat road leading into a steep uphill ride into the hill at about 15-20 MPH as you reach the hill, jump out of the saddle and give it all you have for 8-12 seconds allow a full recovery of about 10-20 minutes between intervals. When performing interval focus on your form and gearing to ensure that all your power is transmitted to the pedal and your are not wasting energy with superfluous movements.

Hill Accelerations – Build power and acceleration at lactate threshold.
How to do it: Begin slowly on a long moderate climb as you reach the last 500 yards of the climb gradually
increase your speed Try to time it so that at the end of the interval you are near your max hr.
perform 2 hill accelerations with full recovery between efforts.

Training Notes:
Do not perform any Interval without first establishing a good foundation of base miles.

If you live in northern NJ a favorite place for climbing intervals is the Alpine boat basin to the top of 9W

How to train for the Tour de France – Sprinting

TDF Stage 1 Sprint Finish winner Marcel Kittel

Stage 1 Sprint Finish winner Marcel Kittel

Besides the yellow jersey (le maillot jaune) which identifies the overall race winner, there are 3 other contests that play out during The Tour de France.

Each Jersey recognizes the best racer in their respective discipline.

By incorporating interval training into your rides you can develop your tour winning fitness.


Each day we will cover a different Jersey – In honor of today’s Stage we will cover Sprinting


The Maillot Vert - Green Sprinters Jersey

The Maillot Vert – Green Sprinters Jersey

Sprinters Posses explosive power for fast accelerations, high top end speeds, and high pedal cadence.
To help develop these attributes here are three intervals that you can add to your workouts that will have you crossing the line first..or at least be first to the coffee shop.
Power Starts – will increase your power to the pedals
How to do it: Start in a high (hard) gear at very slow roll, then jump out of the saddle and begin to stomp the pedals as hard as you can; pulling on the bars for leverage and tilting the bike back and forth to position your body over each pedal as you drive it down.
Perform 5 power-starts of 10-12 seconds each and recover between 5-20 minutes between efforts.

High speed Cadence – will improve your pedal stroke and train you to keep your body “quiet” while your legs are moving like crazy.
How to do it: I prefer to perform this interval on a trainer but you can perform on a long flat stretch of road. Pick a low gear (easy) and ramp up your cadence to 100-120 RPM.
Start with 3×5 min intervals and a 10 minute recovery. As you get better with these, increase the time up to 1×15 minute interval.
Your HR will be extremely high during these but focus on the RPM.

High Speed Sprints – will increase your top-end-speed and peak power.
How to do it: On a slight downhill pedal at a high speed. (not your top speed) Then, Jump out of the saddle and accelerate to your top speed. Return to sitting but maintain Speed for 8-12 seconds.
Be sure to employ proper form and a high cadence (110+)
Perform 5 High Speed Sprints of 8-12 seconds with 5 to 20 minutes of recovery between efforts

Training Notes:
Do not perform any Interval without first establishing a good foundation of base miles.
Perform one of the above intervals 1-2 times per week.

Selecting the Perfect Mountain Bike Tire

tiresPicking a tire for your bike can be a daunting and expensive tasks. Quality tires start at around $40.

So before you plunk down your hard earned cash for a new set of tires take a moment to understand the properties that affect tire performance.

Primary performance factors are: Traction, Durability, Ride Quality, Braking, Rolling Resistance.

There are two wheel diameters for mountain bikes which.

1) The traditional 26″ Wheel
2) The increasingly popular 29″ wheel.
Benefits of the 29″ are better traction and braking due to a larger contact patch.

Width is another story, much like women’s clothing, tire width designation can vary by manufacturer and tire model.

General guidelines:
1.8-2.0 Light Trail and XC Racing
2.0-2.3 Aggressive XC and All-Mountain
2.4-3.0 Downhill and Free-Ride

In general a wider tire will provide a smoother more subtle ride, a more narrow tire will have less rolling resistance.
The trick is finding the sweet spot for your type of riding.


Next we will look at the tires casing. This weaved thread is what makes up the foundation of the tire. Threads per inch (TPI) can range from 30-300. The higher the count the better the quality. (think bed sheets) A higher thread count will positively affect tire weight, traction, and puncture resistance.

The more aggressive the tread the better the traction and cornering. But there is a trade-off between traction and rolling resistance.

Tread spacing and depth: Wide spaced treads shed mud and debris.
Deeper knobs maintain better traction when riding in loose and/or muddy conditions, but have greater rolling resistance when riding on hard-pack surfaces.
A tight tread pattern with shallow knobs will roll well in hard-pack conditions but traction suffers in loose and muddy conditions.

There are a number of tread patterns designed to fit your riding style.

  • Slick: Asphalt, commuting.
  • Inverted-Tread: Asphalt light trail, rough commuting.
  • Semi-slick: Dirt paths and Light trail riding.
  • Knobbies: Trail riding, Downhill, and Free-ride.

Durometer: Natural rubber is sticky and unstable. So a process called vulcanization is used to make the rubber more suitable for use in Bike Tires. By adding Sulfur or other polymers and cooking, manufactures can create rubber that is as hard or soft as they require.
Tire hardness is measured in Durometer, the higher the number the harder the rubber and the more durable the tire. Most tires range in Durometer from 42 to 70. Higher durometer tires roll fast but sacrifice traction, especially in wet conditions. A 42 durometer tire will have great traction but wear quickly and roll slow, most tires will fall in between. Better, more expensive tires often will have a dual or triple compound of around 55 for the center knobs and 45 for the side.

Front and Rear specific TiresDirectional and Front/Rear specific Tread:
Directional Tires have tread designed to run in a specific direction usually with ramped knobbies and/or a chevron pattern that performs optimally in a one direction or another. The mounting direction of the tire is usually noted on the sidewall of the tire.
Front/Rear specific tires – Front tires are designed for carving turns with better traction when cornering.
Rear tires are designed to provide optimal power transmission and rear wheel control.


Parts of a MTB Tire and RimBead:
Wire Bead tires are less expensive and heavier than their Aramid bead counterparts but generally stay on the rim even at low tire pressure
Aramid Bead Tires are more expensive but lighter up to a 100 grams but run a greater risk of coming off the rim during a flat. (Also known as Kevlar or folding bead tires)

Tube vs Tubeless

Tubed tires require an inner tube to hold air. Bike tubes have two valve types: Schrader and Presta the one that you require is determined by your rim type.
Schrader valves are the same as the valve on most cars. Presta valves have a long skinny metal shaft with a threaded top. Pros of tubed tires – Generally less expensive easier to repair flat on the trail. Cons – Prone to pinch flats.

Tubeless tires allow you to ride at a lower pressure providing better traction without pinch flats.
Tubless Tire Systems:
UST – Universal System for Tubeless set standards for rim and tire manufacturers to work towards. UST compatible systems allow you to install the tire by hand and inflate with a standard floor pump. The tires have an extra layer of rubber inside the carcass to seal against leaks. They do not have to be used with a liquid sealant.
Tubeless ready systems and the use of Rim strips can benefit from the use of No Tubes Stan’s Tire Sealant.
I have used Stan’s on both Mavic UST wheels and Shimano tubeless ready wheels to guard against flats, however some tire manufacturers warn against this. And use of a sealant and will void the tires warranty.




Ride your bike through the winter with these dressing tips

Someone was asking me the other day when I would stop riding for the winter because of the weather. While I am not so hardcore that I ride on the road when it is minus two degrees and snowing. I am usually able to hit the trails on most weekends. It all really comes down to dressing correctly for the weather. In this article I will try to provide some guidelines and tips to keep you warm and dry without overheating.

  • Dress in layers: I am sure you have heard this one before. It is sage advice. This is the most important part of being able to stay warm. Heat gets trapped in the layers and moisture is wicked away from you skin. If you start to overheat you can always peel off a layer.

  • Layer Basics

  • Base layer: This is the layer that you put next to your skin. It should be light, tight, and wicking to move moisture away and keep you warm.
    Under Armour and Hind are excellent choices. I usually wear a cycling jersey over my base layer. This provides me with pockets if I need them and a layer that zips if I start to get warm but not so much that I want to drop a layer.
  • Insulating Layer: This layer is the one that has the most variation. For a forty degree day an additional base layer garment may suffice. Below forty to thirty a smart wool long sleeve jersey is a good choice. Below thirty I usually wear my Fox Insulated Jersey which is warm and wicking. Pearl Izumi also has some good choices.
  • Shell: The shell is the your top layer and is responsible for keeping out the elements while allowing moisture and some heat to escape. Shells are the most technical garment you will probably own. Some shells have a lining to provide additional warmth and can be zipped out when not needed. Some have sleeves that zip off and zippers for venting. All this in a package that folds up to fit in your jersey or camelback.
    Hind and Pearl Izumi, and Gore-Tex make good choices
  • Use your Head: Due to the number of blood vessels and lack of fat on your head you can loose up to ten percent more heat through you head than other parts of your body. Make sure you keep your head covered. There are varying head covers. I have three, all of which are made by Nike. One is a full head and face cover which is great for colder days. The other two are beanie type head covers. All three are made of synthetic stretchy material.
  • Down to your toes: I use Lake Cycling Boots and Pearl Izumi or smart wool winter socks. I find the Lake boots to be toasty down to temps of 15 degrees or so. Pedaling hard—and wearing good lofty socks—most riders will be fine even in temperatures approaching zero degrees. But I also use Neoprene shoe covers for the coldest of days.
  • Don’t forget your hands: Cold hands will ruin an otherwise good ride. If you can not hold onto the bars you can not ride. I have tried a variety of winter cycling gloves but my hands get cold easily, so now I use ski gloves which keep my hands warm. After riding with them a few times they have become worked in enough to not feel bulky anymore.
  • Last but not least keep your legs warm: This is one of the easier parts of your body to keep warm since your legs are performing most of the work. Tights will usually suffice. On days that fall below thirty degrees you may want a tight with some additional insulation. Pearl Izumi makes some tights with a fleece lining that will do the trick. When out on the road something with WindStopper on the front is a good idea.

  • Dress for the coldest part of the day: Make sure you have clothes to keep you warm for the coldest part of the day you can always peel off a layer, but if you are not warm enough you only have what you brought with you.
  • Ride a later in the day: By riding in the late morning or early afternoon you will be taking advantage of the warmest part of the day. The difference can be a substantial ten to twenty degrees.
Get Outside and Enjoy the Ride

Wear your Sunscreen

Rise of melanoma in men

By Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters
Monday, May 11, 2009

Older men should visit their doctors to check for melanoma because they are less likely to find it themselves in time, US researchers said.

Many men over 40 are not aware of their skin cancer risks, or the need for regular exams to check for early signs skin cancer, when it is easiest to treat, they said.

Trained doctors are more likely to spot a dangerous skin cancer early, Dr. Susan Swetter of Stanford University Medical Center in California and colleagues wrote in the Archives of Dermatology.

“For men 40 years or older, who constitute more than half of all melanoma deaths in the United States, we have identified at least two key variables (physician exams and education) as major targets for new interventions to promote earlier melanoma detection,” the researchers wrote.

Melanoma, the rarest and deadliest form of skin cancer, is becoming more common and death rates are climbing, especially among men over 50.

Swetter and colleagues surveyed 227 melanoma patients age 40 and older between 2004 and 2006 within three months of being diagnosed. Fewer than 20% of the men were aware of melanoma warning signs and fewer than half practiced skin self-examinations.

A quarter of the men had thick, harder-to-treat tumors. Those whose tumors were smaller and thus more treatable were more likely to have been aware of skin cancer risks and the importance of skin cancer exams by doctors.

Another analysis of the data by Alan Geller of Harvard found more than half of patients whose melanomas were detected by a doctor were 65 or older.

Americans over 65 have health coverage under Medicare, the federal insurance program for the elderly, and tend to make more frequent visits to their doctors.

Most of the melanomas were on the patient’s back, and Geller and colleagues said the findings suggest the need for “Watch your back” education campaigns that stress the need for physician screening programs, particularly for this high-risk group.

Melanoma accounts for less than 5%of skin cancer cases but causes most skin cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 62,480 new melanomas were diagnosed in the United States during 2008.

Get Outside and Enjoy the Ride

10 tips for your first Mountain Bike Race

Mount Snow Mountain Bike RacerSo you want to enter a mountain bike race but you are not sure if you are ready or what to expect. Here is some information to help you .

Let me start by saying that everyone who is serious about riding should do at least one race.

Why? It makes you a stronger rider by pushing you in a way that other rides wont.
What should you expect and what should you do to prepare for your first race?

1) Pick a race far out enough to prepare for – now is a good time The H2H series has 8 races slated for 2009.

2) Get Fit – Start with a month or two of long rides of 2 or more hours 3 times a week other rides can be recovery rides. After you get a base add intervals to build intensity. Two weeks before your race do a practice run at near race pace. The week of the race perform a taper decreasing ride lengths but still having some short intense efforts to keep legs fresh.

3) Get Skilled – Practice the skills necessary to confidently ride the race of your choice. Expect to encounter logs, rock gardens, quick transitions, switchbacks, and steep descents.
4) Make sure your bike is race ready – Ensure that your bike is in proper working order especially shifting (a finicky derailleur can ruin your day), braking, and tires.
5) Get the right Gear – Baggy shorts and a loose fitting tee may be okay for a quick trail ride and some beers with your buds but, on race day you will be better off with Lycra shorts (preferably bib shorts) and a form fitting bike shirt with three back pockets for stuff and a 3/4 front zipper. You can use a camelback but I would suggest traveling as light as possible an extra five pounds on you back can get pretty heavy after an hour and 1/2 of hard pedaling.
6) Get your race routine ready – Try out and know what you will eat on race day from breakfast to post race. Too much and you will feel sick. Too little and you may bonk. Know what you will eat and drink during the race and pick points on the course where you will eat and drink. Have a post race recovery drink and sandwich waiting as well. Make sure you get your bike ready the night before: Lube the chain and cables, pump your tires, check shock pressure. Then put your pumps, tools, and lube in your car in case you need anything on race day. Lay out your race kit the night before and pack post race clothes as well as something to cleanup with. (I find that wintergreen alcohol a towel and a gallon jug of water to do the trick)
Fill your water bottles the night before. The less you have to worry about on race day the better. Being organized and prepared will help you to feel more confident and calm your race day jitters.

7) You will need a one day license and money for the entry fee this will run you between 25-40 for both. If you know that you will be doing a series or more than a few races apply for a license at USA Cycling for $60 you can race any Domestic event (race fee not included) and you receive quite a few discounts with USA Cycling affiliate partners as well.

8) Expect race time to be between 45-2 hours in duration depending on your class. The Beginner is races are usually around 5-8 miles where sport races are about 10-15 miles.

Mountain Bike Race Registration9) Get to the race venue about an 1-1/2 to 2 hours before. Register online to save some time. You will still need to fill out a waiver at the race and you will want to be warmed up before you go off. You should be on the start line with a light sweat but feeling energized. Despite what some people may say do not ride the entire course on a race day. Ride 5-10 minutes of the beginning of the course and the end. This should be enough time to warm-up without fatiguing yourself up and enable you to review your start and finish strategy.
10) Unless you are injured or you bike is broken do not quit. If you are pushing yourself hard you will probably want to but, dig deep and finish strong. Oh and remember to have fun it’s “only a race”.
When done You should feel good about yourself you just competed in your first mountain bike race – Well done.
Warning: Racing can be addictive!

I have compiled a list of Books Related to this Article: at Amazon

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Get Outside and Enjoy the Ride