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You should strive for a clean drivetrain

While you’re hanging around this summer, why not try your hand at making sure you have a clean drivetrain? With these simple steps, you’ll be the grease monkey you always dreamed of being! Not only that, but keeping your drivetrain clean and lubed extends the life of your bicycle and helps maintain proper shifting performance and pedaling efficiency.

Steps:

1. When riding primarily on roads, you should clean and re-lube your chain at least once every three or four rides, depending on the conditions (rain, excessive road grit, etc.).

2. Run the chain backward through a clean cotton rag until the chain is fairly clean and dry. Lube the chain with your favorite lube, making sure that some lube gets on each link. Run chain back through the rag once more to remove excess lube. Don’t have a favorite chain lube? Check out 2 of our favorites White Lightning Clean Ride or Bike Medicine Purple Extreme.

3. Clean the cassette or freewheel. You can “floss” the cassette or freewheel with a clean rag to remove built-up gunk. If it is really dirty, you may want to scrub the cassette or freewheel cogs with an old toothbrush and some de-greaser.

4.  Wipe off your front and rear derailleur. Afterward, spray the derailleur pivots with a light, penetrating lube.

5. Wipe off your chainrings from time to time with a clean rag. If they are really dirty, you may want to scrub them with an old toothbrush and some de-greaser.

6. Clean the rear derailleur jockey wheels from time to time with a clean rag to prevent the build-up of gunk.

Tips:

If your chain is really dirty, you may need to remove it to clean it properly. However, if you regularly follow the steps above, you will not need to do this. You can buy chain cleaning kits which run the chain through a solvent bath. You can also use a wide mouth soda bottle, Gatorade bottle, or old water bottle as a chain bath. Again, following the recommendations above should keep your drivetrain clean.

You should generally replace your chain every 2000 miles. If you wait longer than that, your old chain may begin to put undue wear on your cassette or freewheel. Don’t forget to wash your bike!

Happy cleaning!

James Balentine, owner of City Limit Cycles

Learn the difference between trainers and rollers

Bicycle trainers and rollers can come in handy when your training moves indoors. Many factors can force this switch, from weather to time restrictions. Price, skill level, usage, and ability can all factor into your purchasing process. Use the info below to your advantage when shopping for trainers and rollers.

Bicycle Trainers

A bicycle trainer is typically a tri-pod devise that secures the bike into a stationary riding position. The rear wheel is held off the ground by locking the skewer into the trainer. The front wheel is held off the ground by a riser block to make the bicycle level. Some riser blocks have multiple positions to simulate climbing or descending. There are three types of resistance to your wheel:

When talking trainers and rollers, magnetic trainers are the best bang for your buck.

Magnetic trainers are the best bang for your buck.

Wind – This affordable unit runs between $85 and $120, but expect a lot of noise. It is best used for short rehab stints, monthly rainy day riding sessions, or someone on a really tight budget. The noise from this type of trainer is caused by human force against the tire and from the small channels in the unit that catch air and add resistance. Due to the noise level, it is hard to watch television or listen to the radio while in use. Changing resistance levels is cumbersome because one must get off the bike to tighten or loosen the resistance to simulate different terrains. Although affordable, the parts of this unit are not created for heavy everyday use. Unnecessary wear to the rear tire will also occur when used daily.

Magnetic – Based on price ($125-$250), durability, and noise projection, this is the most practical unit of the three. It is not exactly like riding on the road, but similar enough. The mag trainer is set up like the wind trainer, but uses magnetic resistance instead of wind. This trainer allows for TV viewing and music listening.  The unit also stands up to multiple rides per week. It will simulate multiple terrains just by changing the gears of the bike. Some units come with a wired remote shifter to change resistance without getting off the bike.

With the magnetic trainer, cyclists get the most bang for their buck. Click To Tweet
Fluid – The most expensive of the three types of trainers is the fluid trainer. This unit best mimics the feel of being on the road. Prices range from $250 to $399 but will definitely stand the test of time. It is the most durable trainer because it is designed for serious indoor cyclists who will spend hours a day on it. The resistance of this unit is controlled solely with the shifters on the bike.

Bicycle Rollers

Wikipedia describes rollers as “a type of bicycle trainer which makes it possible to ride a bicycle indoors without moving forward. However, unlike other types of bicycle trainers, rollers do not support the bicycle. They normally consist of three cylinders, drums, or “rollers” (two for the rear wheel and one for the front), on top of which the bicycle rides. A belt connects one of the rear rollers to the front roller, causing the front wheel of the bicycle to spin when the bicycle is pedaled. The spacing of bicycle rollers can usually be adjusted to match the bicycle’s wheelbase. Generally, the front roller is adjusted to be slightly ahead of the hub of the front wheel.”

When deciding between trainers and rollers, know that rollers require more skill.

Rollers require great balance and handling awareness.

Like trainers, rollers also come in different levels, but they all use the same type of resistance – human resistance.  The main reason to use rollers is to work on bike handling skills. Rollers increase handling skills by increasing balance on the bike. This is crucial for draft-legal racing and riding in tight quarters. Rollers take a constant state of awareness while in use. The price of rollers (between $175 and $399) is determined by the type of material from which the drums are made – aluminum or plastic.  Aluminum rollers cost a little more but will last longer. Plastic rollers will generally not last as long and will also wear the tire out quicker.
Both trainers and rollers have their purpose in the sport of triathlon. Trainers are more practical for everyday use because they meet the needs of the fitness cyclist: set the bike up, pop in a movie and ride. They are safer (than rollers) and easier to use for a large number of people positioned in one place. They are a good replacement for getting a nice ride on the road. Rollers, on the other hand, are more of a tool than a ride replacement device. They are used for serious cyclists to help increase cadence efficiency and balance on the bike. Rollers are not recommended for beginner cyclists because of the safety factor. Both trainers and rollers are foldable and easy to store.
Common brands:  Cycle-Ops, Wahoo Kickr, and Kinetic

Represent a Reason and take your training to the next level!

People race Kerrville Triathlon for many reasons. It’s the most scenic triathlon in Texas. Most race to prove to themselves they can complete a longer distance triathlon. Others race to beat their previous time. Some participate to stay in shape. Whatever your reason you choose to race Kerrville Tri, you can make your training and race day that much more meaningful when you Represent a Reason! Click To Tweet

When you Represent a Reason you have the opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the nonprofit organization of your choice. Fundraising becomes your defacto fourth discipline when you’re training for Kerrville Tri and racing on Saturday, Sept. 29th, or Sunday, Sept. 30th. Use your triathlon training to take your impact beyond race day! You can get your friends, family, and training groups/clubs involved too. Anyone can Represent a Reason and make a difference for their preferred charity. Start fundraising today using the steps below!

Step 1: Register for the race and create a fundraiser

  • Click “Set Up Your Fundraiser” and choose your charity – a page will be created and you’ll be ready to start fundraising.

Step 2: Share with the world

  • Your fundraising page allows friends and family to donate directly to your cause and helps you share your story.

Step 3: See your impact

  • Your personal page collects your fundraising totals together in one place – your overall impact.

Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram what charity you’ll support when you Represent a Reason!

Take care of your bike and it’ll take care of you

Triathlon season is rapidly approaching for most triathletes! If you’ve been riding all winter or are brushing the cobwebs off, take the time to learn about/be reminded of a replacement timeline for the parts on your beloved road/tri bike. Whether Kerrville Tri is the only race on your calendar or you’ll close out your tri season on the most scenic triathlon course in Texas, the below replacement recommendations will help ensure your trusted ride is ready to roll when you exit T1. Keep in mind, every triathlete’s replacement timeline is different. If you ride more frequently replace your parts sooner.

Bike care replacement timeline

Bike care is as vital as training.

Tune up: once a year or as needed
Cables replaced: replace every six months or as needed
Tires: 2500 miles
Tubes: until they flat
Chain: 10-speed: every 2000 miles; 9-speed or less: every 2500 miles
Cassette: replace every 15,000 miles (if the chain is replaced regularly)
Bottom bracket: replace when loose or rough
Brake pads: replace when worn halfway through
Bearings: replace when rough
Carbon bars and seat post: replace every 1.5-2 years.
Find yourself in need of some maintenance? Contact City Limit Cycles in Austin or Jack and Adam’s Fredericksburg.

Best of luck this triathlon season. We’ll see you in Kerrville on September 29th and 30th!