Monthly Archives: August 2020

Bike Repair: Here’s When You Should Change Tyres

Bike repair of Tyres and brake pads are components that together take a beating from the rough terrain, weather, debris, etc. They deliver their best when they are in optimum condition, providing the rider with better braking and control. Replacing tyres can prove to be a tricky job as it varies based on rider and the terrain one rides on. While at first glance your tyres may look ready to hit the road, a closer inspection may reveal the need for a replacement. The type of tyre, terrain, rider’s weight, handling and conditions where you park your bike, determine the health of your bicycle tyres.Bike repair

You might have observed that the back tyre is more prone to getting worn out as compared to the front tyre. It is a good routine to check your tyres regularly before and after every ride. Refrain from waiting for your tyres to weather away completely as it increases the chances of a mishap.

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While examining your bicycle tyres or any other kind of Bike repair, remember to look for:

Signs of wear and tear:

Cracks:

Small chunks missing on the thread surface

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Flat surface:

Avoid parking your bicycle under direct sunlight or rain. Prolonged exposure to such elements can drastically reduce the strength and resistance of tyres by breaking down the rubber and shortening your tyres lifespan.Also, exposure to sunlight leads to UV degradation.

It is advisable to keep your bicycle indoors in a dry place. You can keep your bicycle mounted or upside-down when storing it or not in use for a long period. Rainwater, extreme cold or heat is enough to cause your tyres to harden or make them crack.

It is advised that you not throw away your old tyres as they can be used in case of an emergency.
The same applies to your brake pads when they harden and tend to crack. You might not always be aware of the debris that fly off your wheels or get stuck in the rim embedding itself in the pads. Not only does it harm your rims, but worsens with every brake.

It is a good practice to remove your wheels and wipe those brake pads at regular intervals, irrespective of the weather conditions you’re riding in. So examining your bike before and after every ride can always be handy. Follow the simple guidelines above and Bike repair tyres and brake pads will be as happy as you are after a good ride.

So examining your bike before and after every ride can always be handy. Follow the simple guidelines above and Bike repair tyres and brake pads will be as happy as you are after a good ride.

Hydration for cyclists -Why is it important?

If you are a fan of biking, chances are you will know the importance of Hydration for cyclists. Hydration for cyclists is an integral part of the sport. Dehydration can be quite severe in its consequences and in some cases may drastically affect your performance. Re-hydration in the form of water and electrolytes is the perfect remedy to the major symptoms of dehydration fatigue, water loss, cramps, and nausea.

Hydration

You might have come across times when you might be so engrossed in your activity that you forget to hydrate yourself. Take a look at everything you need to know about Hydration for cyclists:

The key to hydration for cyclists is understanding your bodies needs along with some common sense. Other factors like gender, cold, heat, humidity also play an important role in keeping yourself hydrated. For example, on a hot day, you might have to gulp gallons of water while on a cold day you may not need the same.

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Signs of dehydration:

  • Dry Lips and mouth
  • Infrequent urination
  • Bright or dark coloured urine(sometimes with odour) – due to severe dehydration
  • Sunken eyes
  • Apathy or lack of energy
  • Sudden Decline in performance
  •  Nausea

So don’t wait for your body to throw an indicator to tell you if you’re thirsty as you might often not even recognize it. Once you have lost lots of water, your body feels tired and dizzy or at times, you might not sweat and become delirious. Follow the motto – ‘Eat before you’re hungry, rest before you’re tired and drink before you’re thirsty’ Without staying hydrated, performing exercises such as cycling or running becomes a struggle.

Dehydration,in a nutshell, reduces the supply of oxygen to the body’s cells, counter-aides blood circulation prevents the removal of byproducts of exercise and imbalances the maintenance of body temperature by sweating.

As we all know, our bodies are made up of nearly 65% water and a minute change can affect any athlete’s performance. Hydration for cyclists, it varies from individual to individual.

Hence, sipping on the water every 8 to 15 minutes is considered a good practice to maintain Hydration for cyclists. It’s always a good idea to have a good amount of water 30 minutes before a workout. This helps restore the lost water and your body is all ready to sweat.

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As the body already has water, you won’t feel the need to drink water for at least the first 20 to 30 min. From there on, you can start off by having small sips every 10 minutes according to your needs.

During a long workout or while training, you can add sports drinks to your routine to make up for the lost electrolytes. A natural electrolyte source which can be enjoyed is coconut water, an excellent source of sodium, potassium, magnesium and other vital salts that are lost during a workout. Gatorade is considered to be a good energy drink consisting of a mixture of salt, sugar, and water. Hydration for cyclists or any other athletes can be easily maintained by following the above tips.

Water does not have a replacement and a sports drink should not be consumed as a replacement for hydration issues. If you want to achieve peak performance, keep yourself well hydrated before, during and after a workout. A good indicator to know whether you’re well hydrated is by examining your urine colour. If your urine is clear it simply indicates you’re well hydrated. So next time you feel drained out or sluggish, remember to sip on some water along with an energy drink to keep you going.

Disc Brakes vs Rims Brakes (V brakes)

But before we get into the debate of Disc brakes vs Rims brakes, let’s see how they actually work! Rim brakes, power brakes or V brakes are calliper brakes that work by pinching the bicycle rim between two blocks of brake pads.

Rims

These blocks create friction and help you slow the bike down.

Disc brakes:

Disc brakes have always been on motorbikes but with the advancement of technology, they have been modified and fitted onto bicycles. However, they were primarily hydraulic and aimed at the high-end mounting bikes in the market.

Today, these brakes have several models of the cable-actuated disc brake that have evolved over the years. As a result, you will find bikes with disc brakes as standards or as an optional upgrade. These disc brakes come with callipers that act upon a metal ‘rotor’ bolted onto the wheel hub, instead of the rim.

Let’s have a look at some of the important criteria of disc brakes vs rim brakes.

Weight:

Rim brakes require only levers, cables and lightweight Calipers. However, Hydraulic disc brakes, on the other hand, require cables, rotor discs, brake pads, hoses, reservoirs and fluid as well as levers and callipers.

With more parts, disc brakes are far more complicated and heavy as compared to rim brakes.

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Maintenance:

Disc brakes come with extra components. As a result, they can be tricker to work with and maintain. Especially, the process of bleeding can be nerve-wracking.

Power:

Well, there’s no argument here. Hydraulic disc brakes provide more power while stopping. Also, they work significantly well in wet weather where rim brakes find it difficult to grip.

Disc brakes are a win here!

Cost:

With the number of components with the disc brake set up, it is bound to be pricier than rim brakes. So be prepared to spend a little more on the maintenance in the long runs compared to rim brakes.

Modulation:

If you’re into downhill or road biking, you will want to have accuracy at braking. You also want to have more control over the braking power and feel in control. Disc brakes let you do that.

Needless to say, rim brakes can’t match the accuracy offered as compared to hydraulic disc brakes.

This fine degree of braking in disc brakes is what we call, modulation!

Availability of parts:

The biggest advantage of rim brakes is that you will find compatible parts in one form or another anywhere around the world. Whereas, disc brakes still rely on non-standard proprietary brake pads and callipers.

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What’s our take on disc brakes vs rim brakes?

We’ve been riding rim brakes that are badly installed and poorly maintained since we were kids.

But what we realised is that if we install them properly and give care and attention to them regularly, they work really well.

Heck, given due care & attention, V-brakes can deliver a similar level of raw braking power to a cable disc brake.

If you are a beginner, don’t get carried away with a bicycle that offers you disc brakes and suspension at a very low price. It’s just a marketing gimmick that doesn’t work in your favour in the long run.

Instead, get a bicycle with the rim brakes. They work just fine! Besides, it will save money and keep things simple between your legs!

If you have a big budget, go disc!

It will offer you more optimal braking performance no matter what the weather!

Now, it’s your turn…

Which brakes do you use? Disc brakes or Rim brakes?

Or do you have any question to ask regarding disc brakes vs rim brakes?

Common Cycling Ailments: Treatment and Prevention

There are a number of myths and misconceptions about cycling, however, the truth is that; the more you ride the longer you live. Few are aware of the fact that cycling has the ability to turn every soft tissue into hard muscles over time.

Ailments

But sometimes, cycling can cause aches and injuries which may turn out to be severe if ignored. The ideal thing to do in such a situation is to pay a visit to the doctor. Here’s a look at some common cycling ailments often complained of-

Hand pain:

Causes and symptoms:

This pain is not only due to the pressure exerted on your small finger and the ring finger because of your body weight but also due to the vibrations and hits one has to face from the road through the bar.

Moreover, maintaining your position with constant pressure can lead to reduced blood flow leaving you with a tingling sensation or numbness in the hand. This usually occurs due to a monotonous posture maintained for a long period of time.

Treatment and prevention:

If you are going through this common cycling ailments it’s time to redistribute your weight on the saddle. Use of gel padded gloves or gloves with proper padding can help reduce the numbness to a great extent. It’s advisable you loosen your grip and free your hand for a few seconds to allow blood flow. You also get better grips and bar gels which can prove to be of great advantage.

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Neck pain:

Causes and symptoms:

This kind of common cycling ailments arises due to increase in muscular tension. The top three joints in the neck allow movement of the head while the lower joints and the upper back provide a support for the head to rest on. If these muscles are affected then the muscles tighten and causes pain.

Muscles known as deep neck flexors are responsible for holding your head up. But when they get tired, the trapezius muscles which rise from the base of your skull to the shoulder as you lean forward on your bike are strained. The aches and pains increase when these muscles get fatigued.

Treatment and prevention:

Neck exercise has been beneficial for the treatment of aches and pains. These exercises strengthen the muscles. You can even change your posture on the bike. Road bikers can change position by holding from the drops to the top regular bar.

The Mountain bikers or hybrids can install end bars which give you an additional position to hold on to as you ride. Trust me, they make a big difference. See to it you don’t bend your head too low. Fixing your saddle height or the height of your handlebar can straighten your ride and also reduce the pressure on your back.

Back pain

Causes and symptoms:

It’s next to common cold in the list of common diseases. The back is made up of bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. All these structures together, help us stand erect. The human body has evolved over the years, in the same manner, to act against the forces of gravity and the vibrations as we ride. The muscles are balanced in the
standing position but while cycling some muscles are stretched out a lot more. These muscles, if thus stretched for longer periods in the same posture lead to the overstraining of tendons and ligaments and causes back pain.

Treatment:

Back exercises are often the best remedy. It’s better to consult a doctor though instead of relying on self-medication. Stretching is another alternative to prevent back pain and keep your muscles flexible. It is advisable you stretch before cycling. While riding, keep switching your positioning and take breaks at certain intervals.

Knee pain

Causes and symptoms:

Cycling can be the cause of knee pain. A common ailment known as the Patellofemoral Syndrome is when the back of the kneecap rubs against the femur repeatedly. This rubbing results in the grinding of the smooth cartilage of the kneecap as well as the femur.

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Causes:

Overuse of the knee- particularly at times of increased training. Some people have a slight problem in the alignment of the knee. The kneecap needs to glide over the femur and not rub. This can be due to muscle overuse of the knee- particularly at times of increased training. Some people have a slight problem in the alignment of the knee. The kneecap needs to glide over the femur and not rub. This can be due to muscle imbalance (one muscle pulled more than the other). Overuse of the muscle If you are flat-footed. Moreover, the sole needs to be springy and not hard. Injury to the knee can be caused due to other sports like running etc.

Iliotibial band Syndrome:

Symptoms:

A thick fibrous strap of tissue runs from the lateral thigh from the pelvis to just below the knee. This band helps stabilize the knee while doing activities like running and cycling. The knee moves back and forth which cause it to bend and straighten resulting in one of the common cycling ailments. This is the point where inflammation can occur over a period of time. This syndrome is responsible for lateral knee pain. Its symptoms include swelling or thickening of tissue in the area where the band moves over the femur.

It gives a stinging sensation just above the knee joint and is felt on the outside of the knee or along the entire length of the iliotibial band. Pain may not occur immediately during activity but may intensify over time. Pain is most commonly felt when the foot strikes the ground.

(1) Causes: Positioning the feet “toed-in” to an excessive angle when cycling, inadequate warm-up or cool-down, muscle imbalance or excessive uphill and downhill running

Treatment and prevention:

Avoid strenuous use of the knee. For acute IBT one can imply the RICE method.( i.e rested, iced, compressed and elevated). This will reduce pain and inflammation. A session of stretching can also be of great help. A massage can help relax the muscle.

Ultrasound has often been used to relax the muscle and so have steroid injections. Some severe cases may require surgery to immobilize the band. In most cases it is advisable to go visit the doctor or a physiotherapist.

(2) Causes: Right Float Foot position also can be a cause of pain.Too much float can be dangerous. Most of the cyclists should be comfortable with a float of 4.5. While no-float pedals can cause damage, your cleat angle should mirror the natural angle of your heel. The pedal float is important because of the impact on the joints especially the knee. These common cycling ailments also impact your performance.

Treatment and prevention:

For beginners, it is advisable not to jump on to harder gears. It might harm your knees and ligaments. Pedal in circles and see to it that your knee is not protruding outside or inside.

Hip pain:

Causes and symptoms:

This pain is caused mostly due to overtraining. Muscles and tendons can get overused in this process. Age also determines the damage. The hip consists of a ball and socket joint, in which there is a cartilage which helps reduce the friction whenever we use the hip. With overuse, these muscles and tendons can get inflamed and cause pain. The pain can disappear with regular strengthening exercises and stretch.

Pain in the groin, hamstrings, hip flexors, gluteals and quadriceps may also be observed.

Treatment and prevention:

It is important to recognize the pain and treat it in order to prevent common cycling ailments. Moreover, bike fit is critical as it can reduce your performance. You need to slowly and gradually increase your workout frequency and intensity. Do not overtrain. Every cyclist should use cycling shorts with gel padding which will reduce the spanking to a greater extent.Yoga can be handy too.

Other options such as cross training, jogging and circuit training come in handy and help in the long run. These steps not only help in improving fitness but also core strength.

Geared vs Non Geared Cycle- [Which one to buy?]

Everyone these days is looking to buy the latest bicycle in the market. Some prefer road bikes while others prefer mountain bikes or hybrids. There are also a few who prefer buying a commute bicycle or a foldie. While the bicycle might certainly vary according to their taste, there is one thing that is common – bicycle gears. No matter what bicycle people choose, they ensure the bike comes with gears. However, little do they know the advantages when compared to the gearless bicycles that are slowly dying.

Geared

If you are curious to know the difference between a Gear Cycle and a Gearless Cycle, here are some pointers that will clear all your doubts on geared vs non geared cycle. Which one should you buy? So without any further delay, let’s dive right in – geared vs non geared cycle!

With gear:

A bicycle with gear offers a variety of gear ratios to choose from. This gear ratio makes cycling easy up or down a hill. For instance, if you are cycling uphill on a lower ratio, then your pedalling rate increases but your effort will decrease. Moreover, bicycles with gear will allow you to adjust your cadence. This reduces the stress on your muscles and makes cycling enjoyable.

Without gear:

A bicycle without gear comes in two varieties, fixed wheel and freewheel. A fixed gear bicycle comes with a fixed rear cassette, which keeps the pedals spinning any time the wheel are turning. On the other hand, a freewheel bicycle comes with a free rear cassette hub, which can coast freely when the bike is moving without the need to pedal constantly.

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LEVEL OF COMFORT: Geared vs non geared cycle

With gear:

The right frame size and the right bike fit play a vital role when it comes to comfort. However, while going uphill, cycling can be uncomfortable. With a geared bicycle, uphill cycling is not an issue.

Without gear:

A bicycle without gears does not offer any gear variation, hence, this could cause a lot of stress on your muscles. Not only that, it could also force you to get of the saddle and burn more energy.

MAINTENANCE: Geared vs non geared cycle

With gear:

A bicycle with gear has far more moving pieces like the derailleurs, shifters, multiple cogs that need to function together. If one component gives issues, the whole drivetrain might not function smoothly. As a result, these bikes need regular care and timely maintenance.

Without gear:

Single speed or a fixed wheel bicycle has far fewer components, which eliminates the need for regular maintenance.

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COST: Geared vs non geared cycle

As compared to a non-geared bicycle, a bike with gear is versatile and complex, hence the cost is higher. If you are looking for speed, better comfort and are competitive, a multi-speed bike is ideal for you. That being said, a single speed bicycle comes with a simple design, which makes it easier to repair and maintain.

LONG RUN: Geared vs non geared cycle

No matter what bike you choose to buy, these bikes will guarantee to reach a lifetime. Just ensure to give them the attention they need from time to time.

Muscle Cramps: Types, Treatment and Causes

Although studies have failed to prove the exact cause of Muscle cramps owing to their unpredictability, they have always been the enemies of athletes: enemies that can be avoided if precautions are taken. Otherwise, they are just uninvited guests. Sometimes, the pain caused by the contraction of Muscle Cramps is so severe that you may end up dancing in pain and singing quite an unmelodious tune. It might also make you swear and at times, give up when you don’t want to, or leave you lying down in awkward positions.

Muscle cramps

Some common causes of Muscle Cramps are exposed to high temperatures, dehydration, inadequate oxygen supply, low blood electrolyte levels, pregnancy, and other diseases such as diabetes. These Muscle cramps may last for a few seconds, minutes, or even longer.

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Cycling is a vigorous activity during which one may lose a large amount of water through perspiration, resulting in electrolyte disturbance: this imbalance leads to Muscle cramps. Tightening of muscles fibres can also lead to muscle cramps. So, don’t forget to stretch those big muscles before and after cycling.

Types of Muscle cramps

Cramps have been classified into several types depending on the type of muscle involved.

  1. Abdominal & hand cramps
  2. Muscle cramps: They can occur without any warning. The cramps occurring during or after a workout are painful but not dangerous.
  3. Menstrual cramps: The uterus contracts and sheds the inner lining of vascular tissues that have been accumulated over time. This contraction is triggered by prostaglandin (it regulates the contraction and relaxation of smooth muscles).

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Prevention & Treatment Muscle cramps

  • Firstly, be prepared mentally, make stretching an integral part of your schedule before and after your workout, and keep yourself well hydrated.
  • Get your breathing under control and take deep breaths. By doing this, you supply oxygen to the deepest arteries.
  • Gently stretch your muscles, depending on where you feel the pain, to relieve the cramps.
  • Energy drinks like Gatorade and other electrolyte-containing solutions will help restore the electrolyte balance.
  • A healthy diet rich in vitamins and other essential minerals(calcium, magnesium and potassium) can reduce the occurrence of cramps.
  • Switch to Electoral and drink gallons of water. Drink water before you begin and during the ride.
  • The shift to lower ratios and keep spinning those pedals. If you wait, you allow lactic acid to accumulate, which causes more cramping. Lactic acid accumulation causes fatigue, which results in cramps. Lactic acid accumulation can be prevented by oxygen supply: so breathe.
  • Consume a high carbohydrate diet (low carb levels can cause cramps).
  • Regular massage can also be of great help. For better results massage the affected area with lavender oil, rosemary oil or eucalyptus oil.
  • Daily intake of honey(2tbs) can also help prevent cramps.
  • Rest and recover well!
  • Food rich in potassium: potatoes, orange and bananas
  • Calcium: Milk, cheese, Yoghurt and leafy vegetables
  • Magnesium: Nuts- Almond, cashew, peanuts, spinach, dates, raisins, bananas and chocolates. ( the order of the food item is arranged from larger to smaller amounts of nutrients.)

NOTE: If these Muscle cramps are caused frequently and do not improve on taking a break or if they are associated with swelling or any other irregularities, don’t ignore nature’s warnings: please visit a doctor.