Cycling Tips

  • Cycling Trainers and Workout Ideas

    Riding inside in the late fall and winter is unavoidable in many parts of the US. The days are shorter, bad weather is a possibility, or maybe you just don’t feel like going outside.

    Both roller trainers and stationary magnetic trainers have their benefits for when your training session brings you indoors. Here is a quick guide to choosing and using these two types of indoor cycling trainers from your friends here at RoadBikeOutlet.

    Roller trainers vs. magnetic cycling trainers

    Conquer Indoor Bicycle Cycling Parabolic Roller Trainer Conquer Parabolic Roller Trainer

    Indoor roller bicycle trainers are simply designed, with most models having two rollers for the rear wheel, and one for the front. The rider puts the bike on top of these three cylinders (rollers), hops on and starts cycling. Concentration and balance are key as you ride. This is great for improving form, pedal stroke and learning to ride in a straight line.

    Conquer now offers an indoor parabolic roller trainer. Parabolic trainers are a good introduction to roller trainers and may be a bit easier for the beginner to learn and stay centered upon.

    Magnetic cycling trainers

    On a magnetic trainer, the rear wheel of the bike is fixed to the unit. Opposing magnetic force creates resistance, and it is adjustable. Benefits of these trainers (like the Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer) include: affordability, stability, compactness and ease of storage.

    Is any indoor cycling trainer completely silent during use?

    You know when your kids are screaming and hollering, maybe playing keep away from their little sister running up and down a hallway while the dog chases everyone and the ball bounces off the hall table and it's NOISY? But… if everybody is outside doing the same thing, the sound is not so bad, right?

    It’s kind of like that with trainers. When riding inside on a trainer, there will be some associated noise when riding inside no matter the type of trainer used.

    When you ride outside, the sounds of your bike shifting through the gears (and you huffing and puffing!) are diffused into the stratosphere with all the rest of the world’s noises. However, when you ride in your 2nd floor apartment, there’s nowhere for the sound of you, your bike and the trainer to go but off the walls and ceiling. Use an exercise mat or replace the rear wheel of the bike with a “slick” or racing tire to cut down noise.

    Conquer Indoor Bicycle Cycling Trainer Conquer Indoor Bicycle Cycling Trainer

    Riding inside is only boring if you let it be! Indoor bike trainers can provide an awesome workout, in the comfort of your home. Try interval training. Watch that DVD you've been meaning to get to, or plug in to your favorite upbeat music.

    Getting training sessions in on your bike during the winter can only help your cycling fitness in the spring and summer. Keep your indoor training fresh and effective, find a workout you like and enjoy yourself!

  • On Cycling Shoe Sizing and Trivia

    Every day we discover something new. That’s what makes life fun, right? We have a good one for you today.

    At roadbikeoutlet.com (the authorized online retailer of Gavin cycling shoes) we get lots of questions about shoe sizing. The Gavin cycling shoes do run true to size, and use the EU shoe sizing conventions.

    Gavin Road Cycling Shoe Gavin Road Cycling Shoe

    If you are unsure of your EU size, we usually suggest a couple of things. First, grab a pair of your sneakers and flip over the tongue. Quite often the EU size will be listed on the tag there. If it’s not, another idea is go to your local bike shop or a shoe store to be sized, and here is how we used to phrase it: “On one of their metal measuring devices.”

    Until today, that is. Did you know it is called (drum roll please):

    A Brannock Device!

    Unless your uncle is a shoe salesman, you have to admit… you’d never heard of it. We fielded a call from a customer this morning who casually mentioned the term and when my coworker hung up we squealed with glee! Well I did, but I’m a girl. Phillip has a much cooler head.

    Brannock Device Brannock Device

    Invented in the early part of the 20th century by Charles Brannock, the Brannock Device quickly became a worldwide foot measuring industry standard. It’s even featured in the hallowed halls of the Smithsonian Institution.

    You’re welcome. Bust out that little tidbit at your next trivia night.

    Don’t forget to check out our great selection of bike accessories and cycling shoes. From MTB/Spin shoes to awesome lightweight carbon fiber road shoes, we have your feet covered for any type of ride or training session.

    PS:  Try to learn something every day.

  • How to Adjust Your Bike’s Brakes

    We don’t need to remind you how important brakes are to your bike and its safe operation, do we?

    Taking your bike in to a shop for a tune up is always a great idea. However, there are simple adjustments you can make on your brakes yourself, at home.

    Whether you have mechanical disc brakes, linear pull brakes, or caliper brakes, Vilano Bikes has made a video for you!

    [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSlPOelynjg&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

    The late Sheldon Brown was an authority on bikes and is also an amazing resource. Developed with Harris Cyclery, Sheldonbrown.com is a huge accessible database of technical bike info that I find myself visiting time and again. Here are a bunch of Brown’s articles about brakes.

    I needed some help with the brakes on my Vilano C1 a few weekends ago so I grabbed a cup of coffee and watched Jeff in action as I ate breakfast. Tuning my brakes was simple, and I headed out for a ride in no time. Check out the video below:

    [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2VijRzaquU&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

    Jim Langley (cycling author, bike mechanic, and former Bicycling Magazine technical editor) also has some great informative articles on bike repair, including brake adjustments.

    Roadbikeoutlet.com is proud to be the primary authorized online retailer for Vilano Bikes. Vilano Bikes has an ever-expanding awesome instructional video repository. Check it out for assembly, how-to, and general informational tips.

    Be sure your bike’s brakes are well maintained and in perfect working order every time you head out for a ride.

  • How to Change a Rear Flat Tire on Your Road Bike

    If you ride a bike enough, there is a good chance you will hit a pothole or pick up a nail or a piece of glass in one of your tires. Bicycle flats can be frustrating, and yet changing one is a simple process that can be done in about ten minutes.

    Changing a rear flat can be a little tricky, but like everything, the more you practice the better you will get at it. Don’t wait until you are stuck on the road to learn how.

    Here are the quick steps to changing a rear flat on a multi geared bike:

    1. Shift gears to the highest gear to move the chain to the smallest rear cog.
    2. Open up the brake.
    3. Take the wheel off.
    4. Take the tire and the tube off.
    5. Inspect the tire to try to find what caused the flat.
    6. Install the spare tube and the tire.
    7. Replace the wheel.

    Need more detail? Vilano Bikes made a great video on changing a rear flat on a multi geared bike. Check it out:

    [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tneob00nNK8&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

    Preparing for a flat in the first place helps too. Keep spare tubes around. Ride with a repair kit and tire patches, tire levers and a mini pump. Make sure your bike tires are properly inflated in the first place, as this can help prevent pinch flats.

    A flat tire shouldn't keep you off your bike for long!

  • 6 Tips to Help Prepare You for Spring Bike Rides

    The calendar page has turned, days are getting longer and warmer and you want to get outside and ride! If you are thinking about riding to work or have an upcoming charity ride, these tips will help you get ready to pedal this spring.

    Stretch.  Take care of your body.  Do some light stretching or even throw down a yoga pose or two before you head out and when you get back. This is a great way to limber up and then cool down post-ride.

    Take care of the machine. If your bike sat in the garage all winter, it will need some lovin’. Consider bringing it into your local bike shop for a quick tune up, or better yet, slap it on a repair stand and do it yourself! Clean the bike, inspect the brakes and wheels, inspect the drivetrain, inspect all cables, and check your tires.

    Check your clothes/other equipment. Inventory your on board repair kit to make sure you have a few basic tools, tubes, mini pump, etc. Be sure the cleats on your cycling shoes are sound. Treat yourself to a new pair of cycling shorts (especially if you can’t remember when you last got any). The same thing goes for your helmet. Sweat, sun and the elements eventually wreak havoc on helmets, so it may be a good idea to get a new one.

    Prepare for unpredictable conditions. Be ready for swings in the weather and dress and ride accordingly. Even over the course of a day, the spring season can bring extreme temperature changes and severe storms.

    Take it slow. I am not at all implying you are out of shape from the winter… but admit it, keeping in decent cycling shape can be tough especially if you live in a colder area. Take it easy on your first ride or three! After a few weeks of regular rides, you will feel stronger and faster and ready to dial up the intensity.

    Break up your old routines. Spring is a perfect time for fresh starts. It is easy to do the same route over and over, especially if your time is limited. But why not shake it up? Think about finding a new rail trail in your area to explore. Try a group ride. No group rides in your area? Start one yourself. Sign up for a charity ride or a sprint triathlon to give yourself a training goal.

    Have fun as you head out on the road or trail!

  • My bike got stolen! What do I do?

    The scene: You leave work, home, the store that you ran into for only a minute. You get outside and see the pole where you locked your bike up and… your heart sinks. Thoughts race: “Is that just my front wheel?” “Wait, is this where I locked it?” “Oh no! Where’s my trusty steed?!?”

    The bike thief left the wheel and broken lock. The bike thief left the wheel and broken lock.

    Now what? One option is to hop on the mope-wagon, cut your losses and go buy another bike.

    But won’t taking action feel a little better? Here is what you need to do in the unfortunate event your bike is stolen.

    • Call the police and report it! Make sure to provide them with as much information as possible, including a good photo of your bike, its serial number, any distinctive features, and a receipt or invoice if possible.
    • If your bike was insured, contact the insurance company as soon as you can (within 24 hours). Keep in mind that if you carry a renter’s insurance policy, if the bike was parked outside of your apartment it may be covered as well.
    • List your bike as stolen on websites like Bike Index and National Bike Registry.
    • Check online sites like Craigslist and eBay to see whether your stolen bike has been listed for sale. The listing description will most likely be generic and broad, without much detailed information of your bike’s features. You can also create “alert” searches on these sites to email you daily with listings of products that match your search. If you think you have found your bike, notify the police first before confronting or meeting anyone.
    • Shout it out and let people know! Blast it on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, etc. Look at bike theft forums and be sure to visit or call local bike shops, especially those that sell or trade used bikes. Make up posters with the bike’s photo and your contact information and post them in your neighborhood and around town. Both friends and strangers may be able to help you spread the word and the more you do, the more likely that someone will make a connection.

    stolen bike flyer stolen bike flyer

    Need transport and prefer pedal power? Borrow a friend’s bike for now. If you do not have access to a spare bike, see if your city has a bike share program. Eventually, see if your local police hold periodic bike auctions. If they recover a bike, yet cannot find the owner, it may be sold at one of these sales.

    Moving forward, whether you borrow or purchase a new/used bike, take preventative measures so it doesn't happen again. Lock the bike well with a U-Lock/cable, and or heavy duty chain/lock combo.

    Documenting ownership of your bike is vitally important, too! Keep a file in paper or electronic form. Take photos of your bike and its serial number and email them to yourself. Most bike manufacturers will have an online registry. The process is usually simple, entering a few pieces of info on a web form. It is crucial for there to be a record of your serial number for law enforcement in the best case scenario of your bike being recovered.

    If you have a Vilano bicycle and you haven’t done so already, I urge you to register it on the Vilano Bikes website.

    It is not impossible to recover your stolen bike. Taking these steps will increase your chances.

  • The Conquer Vertical Climber

    For a complete body, low impact, high intensity workout all in one machine, check out the Conquer Vertical Climber! From the same folks that offer a great line of inexpensive cycling trainers, Conquer has once again come up with an excellent exercise option with its new fitness climbing machine.

    Conquer Vertical Climber Conquer Vertical Climber

    A perfect addition to any home gym, this climber provides an awesome whole body workout and is offered on roadbikeoutlet.com at an amazing price.

    Conquer Vertical Climber Conquer Vertical Climber, folded for storage

    Your own body weight provides all the resistance you need on this ingenious climbing machine. Use the adjustable height handles and exercise your upper and lower body, or rest your arms on the stationary handles and work your legs. The ergonomic grips are comfortable, non-slip and easy to clean.

    The climber is simple to assemble with the included tool and hardware. The base is wide and stable, with four non skid rubber feet. If space in your exercise area is an issue, the climber has a slim profile when opened, yet it easily folds for out of the way storage when not in use.

    Build strong core muscles and get a great cardio work out at the same time! The Conquer Vertical Climber will help you burn calories, tone muscles and have fun while keeping fit.

  • 4 Quick Tips for Winter Cycling

    No matter what the groundhog said (and why do we listen to a rodent’s weather predictions anyway?), much of the country will still be in winter’s grip for at least a few more weeks. For some of us, staying inside to ride or taking a spin class are good enough options.

    But if cabin fever has you antsy to get out there for a bike ride, here are four quick tips to help you succeed.

    Layer, layer, layer! It is important to dress for success in cold, wet or otherwise unpredictable conditions. Start with a thin, moisture-wicking base layer then add an insulating one. Top it off with a water resistant wind breaker. You can always take off a layer if you get too warm, but you don’t want to be 15 miles in and realize you’re unprepared for the day’s ride.

    Safety first! While the days are indeed getting longer, you still need to outfit your bike with proper lights so you are visible to other road traffic. Check weather conditions before you ride. File your “flight plan” so someone knows where you are headed. Cycle defensively and always wear your helmet.

    Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! You may not feel as thirsty when the thermometer’s mercury is low. But it is just as crucial to maintain proper hydration during a ride in winter as it is in hot summer months. Take along a hydration backpack and drink lots of water.

    Take care of your bike! The thought of getting the hose and washing off your bike may not be appealing on a freezing February afternoon. Residual sand and salt from icy road treatments will eventually take a toll on your trusty steed, and it’s better to take care of cleaning it off right away. Look at it like this; you wouldn't wait three days to take your own shower after a training session, would you? Respect the machine, and it’ll take care of you.

    Think of the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you rise to the special challenges of cycling outdoors in the winter. Avoid the boredom of staring at your garage wall while sitting on a cycling trainer, outfit yourself and your bike correctly, and get out there for a ride.

  • Wintertime Dehydration?!

    With the holidays right around the corner, Winter is almost here.  The days are getting shorter, temperatures are getting lower, and those sunny days spent at the beach are long gone.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), the desire to ride still remains.

    As we bundle up and set out on the road, often times the last thing we think about is a cold drink, but we should.  Dehydration is still a very serious threat during cold weather, though it happens in a slightly different way than what we typically think.  You know how your lips will tend to become chapped during the winter?  The same process can happen to skin anywhere on your body.  As our bodies sweat, the cold air sucks moisture out through our skin, drying you up from the outside in, even though you may not feel as thirsty as you would when facing dehydration in the summer months.

    Conquer 2L Hyrdration Backpack w/ BPA Free Bladder (16.5" x 8.5") Conquer 2L Hyrdration Backpack w/ BPA Free Bladder (16.5" x 8.5")

    The perfect tool to help combat this is the Conquer 2L Hydration Backpack.  With its 2 liter BPA free bladder, you can conveniently transport plenty of water on any ride and stay hydrated hands free.  It’s reflective piping helps you stay visible during night time, and with its lightweight mesh material, you’ll hardly even notice you’re wearing it.

    We all like to add some Winter base miles to our training, so being able to carry plenty of H2O is never a bad thing.   Don’t succumb to dehydration this winter, pick up the Conquer 2L Hydration Backpack and always be prepared.

  • Indoor Cycling Trainers

    Has cooler or inclement weather driven you to ride inside? Are you time-crunched and looking for a quick fitness option that can be done in the comfort of your home? Did Daylight Savings Time set the clock back on your outside workouts?

    An indoor cycling trainer is a great choice for beginners through advanced cyclists, or even those folks who are interested in cross-training.

    Conquer Indoor Bicycle Cycling Trainer Exercise Stand Conquer Indoor Bicycle Cycling Trainer Exercise Stand

    At Road Bike Outlet, we have a great selection of magnetic resistance cycling trainers. This category of stationary cycling trainers is the least expensive, and of course we offer the highest quality bike trainers at the lowest prices.

    The Conquer Indoor Bicycle Cycling Trainer Exercise Stand will have you riding your road bike through the winter. This bike trainer is simple to set up and has many awesome features. The Conquer Indoor Cycling Trainer is compatible with 26”, 27” and 700c bikes, comes with a front wheel riser block, and a quick release skewer (which will replace the rear wheel skewer on your bike to make it compatible with this bike trainer). When not in use, the bike trainer folds up and can be easily stowed until your next indoor riding session.

    Conquer Indoor Bicycle Cycling Trainer Exercise Stand Conquer Indoor Bicycle Cycling Trainer Exercise Stand

    The resistance on an adjustable magnetic resistance cycling trainer is determined by the amount of separation between magnets and changes when the magnet unit is adjusted. Of course, when you are using a bike trainer you may also change the gears on your bike to increase and decrease the amount of resistance as well.

    Don’t let poor weather or lighting keep you out of the saddle! An indoor bike trainer is the perfect solution to keep your training going year-round, no matter the conditions.

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