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Janet Wilson recently wrote an article entitled Triathlon Bike 101 – Getting Started. Check it out:
I met with one of my new triathlon clients recently and noticed 7 things during a quick 5 minutes review of his triathlon bike (this was after I begged him to bring his bike to one of his swim training sessions). Hopefully you can learn from these 7 issues:
1. Basic triathlon bike maintenance. The first thing I noticed was his chain – it was rusty. Six drops of chain lube could have prevented this rust. Beginner triathletes often know little about basic bicycle maintenance. The chain should be cleaned when dirty and lubricated. Your local bike shop can give you some great suggestions about cleaning solutions and lubricants you can use on your triathlon bike.
2. Brakes rubbing. The second thing I noticed was his front brake was rubbing the wheel. This was mainly due to the fact that the bike was transported loose in the back of a pickup truck. The first rule is to secure your bike if you are carrying it in your vehicle (a rubber mat if it must lay flat in the car – a bike rack is better). Second, always check your brakes before you start your ride (especially if you have to take your wheels off to transport the bike). You can test this by holding the wheel off the ground and spinning it hard. If there is a problem the wheel will not spin freely – you will feel vibration in the frame or hear a rub, and the wheel will slow down. If the brake is rubbing check to see if the wheel was put on correctly (you can also adjust the brake assembly slightly by hand). If the brakes are still rubbing you want to have a bike shop check to see if your wheel rim is warped and needs to be trued.
3. Saddle bag supplies. His saddle bag supplies were the following: cell phone and keys. Not good. Make sure you have at least one spare tube of the correct size (you can find the size on the sidewall of your bike tires), tire levers, some supply of air (either a CO2 cartridge or a bike pump), and a few bucks. Other good things to consider are a tube repair kit and a hex wrench set. The cell phone and identification are also a good idea.
4. Eye protection. He didn’t have a pair of sunglasses or other eye protection. It is imperative to have your eyes protected, not just from the sun but from a 50 mph rock or insect. Not only can these cause discomfort, but they can lead to a wreck with another cyclist or even worse a vehicle. This is just as important as a bike helmet (you’ve got your bike helmet right?)
5. Tire pressure. His tire pressure was about half the recommended pressure. Check the sidewall of your tire – it will give you the recommended pressure range. Get a nice floor pump with a pressure gauge so you can fill your tires properly before you ride. Properly filled tires create less rolling resistance – and let you ride faster with less effort. But be careful not to overfill your tire – that is another good way to get a flat.
6. Learn how to fix a flat. Please don’t be one of those triathletes whose flat repair kit is a cell phone (and you will get a flat). Watch the video above where I show you the proper way to fix a bike flat.
7. Look, listen and feel. We’ve gone over what to look for, but while riding the bike make sure to listen for creaks, pops and rubbing noises. If you hear or feel anything like this pay close attention. These are sure-fire clues that there is something wrong. Most of the time these are things that can be easily fixed by your local bike shop. But left unattended they could slow you down and eventually may cause something to break.
I worked at a bike shop in St. Louis when I was in college. It is important to find a repair shop you can trust. Ask people in your local bicycle club for recommendations. Don’t assume that the bike is ready to go when you get it home. Double-check the whole bike to make sure everything works and is tightened up. Once you find a good bike shop, take your bike in regularly for a tune-up and overall check. You will get a ton of miles and enjoyment (okay, maybe enjoyment is too strong…) out of a well-maintained triathlon bike.
Triathlon Coach Janet Wilson is a USAT certified triathlon coach and ACE certified personal trainer. Janet is an accomplished and nationally-ranked amateur triathlete and she coaches triathletes of all skill levels, from a triathlon beginner to Hawaii Ironman qualifiers. To learn more about triathlon training, swim tips, coaching programs or just great tips on how to stay in shape visit her website at http://www.coach-janet.com
Posted in: Triathlon Cycling