Author: Amy Roberts

Recommendations For A Theft-Proof Lightweight Lock

Nobody knows how fast the weight of saddle bags and backpacks can pile up like a daily commuter or delivery rider.

It doesn’t take long to load on the essentials; a water bottle, your work gear, a pair of clip-less shoes, your lunch, a clean shirt and extra deodorant for the get together after school, your laptop and phone with chargers, and your emergency kit that includes your hex wrenches and an extra inner tube. Now you’re already carrying more weight than you ever wanted to transport.

Because all of these things add up so quickly, you will want to cut weight everywhere you can. A smaller laptop, a lighter backpack base weight, a refillable water bottle that will get you from one stop to the next, lunches consisting of gel packs and sandwiches instead of thermoses and heavy pieces of fruit. As you learn to think like a commuter, you will start paring down items like your bike lock as well.

Bike locks can weigh a lot. The gargantuan Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and New York Disc Lock weigh in at over 12 lbs.

Twelve. Ten pounds and then add two more.

Yeah. You don’t want to carry that in your book bag. May as well just carry a brick to throw at a bike thief because you will be too fatigued to walk out of throwing distance.

So, in general, leaning towards a titanium U-lock is the best option, because cables are almost impossible to find truly resistant to bolt cutters. BUT there are a few shackle styled chain locks that add the flexibility of a cable lock to a shortened chain, making them a lighter version of the heavy duty chains.

My favorite lightweight bike lock options I can recommend are:

U-Locks

1. Abus Mini Round Shackle OR Super Ultimate

The Abus Mini U-lock weighs in at just 2.2 lbs and includes a holder that clips to your bike, so that essentially becomes a part of your get-up. It is small enough to fit in your back pocket. Literally. The downside to that is that you can only secure it to smaller poles and racks, and can’t improvise in situations where neither are available.

The Super Ultimate is the big brother to the mini and is a much larger U-Lock which can be used for more variations, but still, weighs in at 4 lbs.

2. The Amazer 12mm Heavy Duty Combination Bike U Lock

At 1 lb, 13oz, this zinc alloy shackle is lightweight but packs a loot of security into less than a couple of lbs.

U-Chain Crossovers

1. Squire Mako Congor

As a super short chain cased in quality PVC, this 4.2 lb option marries the best of the chain world to the U-lock world in a flexible yet super strong combination.

2. Zefal K-Traz A-25

The shorter chain cuts the weight on this one down to 3.8 lbs from the longer K-traz chains — but is still long enough to deal with a lamppost situation where a rack or meter isn’t available.

Good luck choosing! The most important thing to remember in keep your bike safe, though, is awareness. Don’t leave it, regardless of lock type, in neighborhoods that are untrustworthy or at bad times of the day. Put your lock through the main frame of the bike AND the wheel, not on the wheel fork or seat post.

Of course, staying aware of where you lock your bike and checking in on it frequently will be your best defense.

How to stay strong after 50-75-100 miles: Koolaid and Maltodextrin!

Dale Friedkin Webmaster webmaster@bikecentral.org
May 8, 2006

You store sugars or glycogens in your liver and muscles that provide the energy for hard bike rides. To sustain that energy and to replace the depleting stores Gatorade pioneered the idea of the Sports Drink. Nowadays all kinds of products offer up exotic blends at an equally exotic price. The basic marketing principle is wowing you with an overly technical explanation of the superiority of their product that just makes people think–I don’t want to read all boring crap, but all that complicated stuff must mean its good. The fact that I and others would sometimes get stomach cramps with these drinks suggest that something could be amiss. Don’t you just need to replenish your basic source of energy, carbohydrates (or sugars)? I happen to have this great research tool-its called the world wide web- so I put it to use and came up with a recipe that costs a fraction of those boutique energy drinks, and tastes and works great.

Recipe follows:

3 scoops of MALTODEXTRIN. Maltodextrin is a complex and easily digested sugar derived from corn. I tried to find some in town at a couple of places, but couldn’t. It was easier just to buy some on Ebay than to continue looking. I got a product called CarboGain in a 7lbs. size, which is 100% maltodextrin, for less than $20, shipping included. That’ll last me a couple of years.

1 scoop of SUCROSE, that’s regular table sugar. I add this mostly for taste as the malto is tasteless, but also sucrose is a simpler molecule so it will return its energy quicker Have some now and have some later!

.75 teaspoon of LITE SALT, in addition to regular salt, Lite Salt has potassium. This is for your electrolytes.

1 package of KOOLAID, mango flavored. For taste, they put some ascorbic acid(vitamin C) in it too, who knows? maybe that’s good too.
You have to get the Mango flavored at a store that caters to Hispanics, like Food4Less. The Koolaid flavors brightly color the drink, which is fun–that’s one of the reasons kids like it.

Optional 1 scoop of WHEY PROTEIN POWDER, there is a theory out there that some protein in the mix adds to to the bodies utilization of the drink. Studies have had mixed results. Wild Oats house brand is good stuff at a good price. Be wary of substituting Soy protein. People like the idea of soy protein because it is not an animal product. That does not automatically mean its better for you, in fact, there is some evidence to the contrary.

The scoop I use is 31 grams which are a bit more that an ounce. I use about two scoops of the final mix to a quart or liter or water bottle–they’re all about the same amount.

You only use up your glycogen stores when you are exercising at close to your anaerobic threshold. At less intense levels you are getting energy from your bodies fat. If I’m not doing a long, hard ride or race, I just drink water. There’s a lot of people out there doing short pokey rides with their drinks and bars wondering why they don’t drop weight. As for a recovery drink, I don’t believe in them. I use something else that is quite good for you-though you often hear otherwise-and is quite enjoyable. It’s called FOOD!

 

 

How to watch the Giro on TV

 

Dale Friedkin Webmaster webmaster@bikecental.org
May 11, 2005

The first few days of the Giro d’Italia have been full of drama and controversy. Unfortunately, it is nowhere on tv except weekends. We can expect the same for the Tour de France when Lance leaves the arena. The promise of 500 cable channels has digressed to infomercials and reality tv. For those of any out of mainstream, sophisticated taste, like following Pro Cycling, the internet will increasingly be the place to go. To watch the Giro:
Sign up for the live feed at
-It costs $6; you can watch it live or a replay of any stage. The only audio is the helicopter and motorcycles. Mute that and go to for live audio. I’d prefer Ligget, Serwin and Bob Roll but the Eurosport guys are competent. In the sea of jerseys of the peloton, you could use some explication of what’s going on, especially with all the nuances of this dynamic sport. If you can’t watch it live to refer to the live report transcripts at or
Watch it on your tv by connecting the tv-out on your computers video card to your tv. If you do not have a video card that does that they can be had for $50 or even less.

BIGFAT Saga (Con’t)

 

Woke up before 4 for the final day and couldn’t fall back asleep, felt like crap, finally drank a bunch of coffee and felt fine. That is until I checked the weather. This days ride was a 20 mile, 2k or so feet ascent of Cache Mountain and then a screaming singletrack descent. Cache Mountain is just over Santiam Pass next to Suttle Lake. The report over there was Heavy Rain. Listened to my favorite old blues guy, Lightning Hopkins on the drive there. In one song he sings, Lord have mercy, that stuck in my mind the whole day. I knew there would be no mercy though, the ethic of the BigFat is to go beyond the pale and today’s ride instead of being a little endcap to the weekend would put an exclamation mark on the epic. Nothing was going to stop me from getting that t-shirt(if you finish all three days of the Epic ride you get a t-shirt that says, I finished the EPIC), I was motivated. Had a running joke with a couple of the other riders all day. In the face of the adversity, we’d say, bemused with the absurdity, Gotta get that t-shirt!

Got there in the heavy rain and it was cold too. Good thing I just bought that rain jacket. We huddled under a canopy and ate some doughnuts from the Sisters Bakery, then abruptly someone said let’s go, and all were off. I didn’t have my helmet on-it was in my car and fumbled trying to stuff a water bottle under my four layers. The pack was well up the road by the time I got going. I was riding strong though and with the weather to contend with didn’t even think of any of the pain inflicted from the previous days riding. I picked up riders the whole way up and got a bit of ego retribution after being humbled by the talent and strength of the riders in this crew. I caught on to some guys wheel and got a nice pull. Didn’t get sprayed because he put fenders on! I’m sure he was the only one to do that. My hands and feet were swimming, it went from rain to a mix, to snow and finally rode in an inch of snow. Glasses fogged, so I carried them in my teeth-should’ve brought the ski goggles. Reached the top and took a look at the steep singletrack. Now for the hard part of the ride! Unlike most riders who are on disc brakes, I ride rim brakes. They don’t work well when its wet and even worse they grind down like a candle to a welders torch. I was concerned that I would run out of brakes. The descent started soft, super steep and muddy. My brakes were fully engaged, but I stayed within a controllable speed. Within about a half a mile my levers crept all the way into my grips, I stopped and turned the adjusters on my levers all the way out. Soon the trail leveled out, and it seemed as if, Lord have mercy, I’d make it with some brake left. But now I was getting seriously cold. I was wet, my hands were aching, and the trail wouldn’t turn up to warm me. Then the trail crossed a road and Lord have mercy; a support van was parked there. I wrung out my gloves and dried them on Van’s heater. Sat up front, got warm and ate some food. Took off, it even stopped raining, I thought I was home free. Not exactly…after a few miles of some easy to take moderate downhill the final leg I found out was going to be a steep climb out of a river canyon on a torn up soft and muddy trail. I was still feeling strong and was ready to ride out of hell if I had to-Gotta get that t-shirt! But all the mud clogged up my front derailleur, and I couldn’t get it in the small chainring. Couldn’t even clean it with a stick. I couldn’t get a rhythm going; it was too steep. I’d hop on and off, walking it up the steeper parts. Making the matter worse is that I ride the long obsolete 747 pedals. 747’s have largely been abandoned because of their inability to shed mud. So it was frustrating and slow going, but I finally got there and got that frigging t-shirt, and there were only 15 people who did!

Five years of riding BigFat and I finally get a t-shirt

Dale Friedkin Webmaster webmaster@bikecental.org
March 9, 2005

Last October’s BigFat was the 5th time I’ve ridden it and each time was epic. My first two years, I did the intermediate ride. The 50 miles of the first year was the first time I had ever done an organized ride and at that point was probably was one of the hardest rides I had ever done. I was stoked to have had been the 1st to finish. The second year was easier and shorter and a lot of fun up front with a small group of stronger riders. Given my prior good results and that I had since taken up road biking and had gotten some legs taking on Centuries and other hard rides, I decided to go big league and do the Epic(completing the Epic is three days of riding, including the infamous marathon big day). The third year, after a grind up Khwol Butte and a long lava rock is strewn descent I shattered my rear derailleur on a Bungie(small tree stump)amidst the obstacles on the Lava Lake Trail. Unbelievably, another BigFat rider came up the trail who had a spare. He also was cool enough help me wrench it on. After losing precious time, I got back on the trail. But my chain was slipping off with any torque. All my adjustments were useless. Repeatedly, it got jammed between the cassette and the spokes, and I almost didn’t get it out a time or two. I couldn’t get any rhythm going, and the haul up to the aid station at Dutchman took forever. At the Station, some guy was there who was a crack bike mechanic, and he bent my dropout and got my bike functioning again. All this took up time, and I didn’t make the cutoff. I’m only mortal, to finish the big day of Big Fat everything has to go right. Mike Beale, on the other hand, had something like three flats and two chain breaks and still was the third to finish.

The next year the organizers came up with a brutally hard course. After climbing from Shevlin to Dutchman, you then faced the Khwol climb-which was hard enough the last year on fresh legs. Given the energy demands, I scarfed at the food station at Dutchman. The physical demands were so great that my digestive system broke down. Again I ended up limping on the Lava Lakes trail, this time my body-not my bike-broken, I then took the easiest route back, the Cascade Lake hwy. I wasn’t the only carnage on the side of the road, only six people finished the big day, and a paltry four got the ‘I finished the Epic’ t-shirt for completing all three days. My aborted ride still added up to 82 miles and was the worst day I ever had on a bike.
For ’04 I was I was primed. I did prep rides like the Aufderheide. 115 road miles with a lot of climbing and I walked a 60-mile loop from Phil’s trailhead to the base or Broken Top. I also did 100 other rides, and my bike was dialed in. At dawn the shuttle got us to top of Paulina Peak, the weather was perfect. Our destination was 95 miles away in Sisters. A long day indeed. I was up at 4 am, out the door before 5 and didn’t get home until close to 8. My riding bud, Anthony and I rode together for most of the way and finished together. It was good and very helpful to have company. It became evident not too far into the ride that it was going to be doable–though it was certainly a haul. We averaged about 1.5 mph faster than we figured we needed to finish before nightfall. 9.5 hours on the bike with 6k+ climbing, 10k descending. 2 more rides and I get a t-shirt!

The second day you get shuttled up to Dutchman Flat and finish at Shevlin Park. I wasn’t too worried, kind of long but just a lot of downhill…well sorta of. The trail up at Dutchman climbs about 1000 feet before you start the down. You drop all the way to Skyliners no-park and then climb almost all the way back up. Much slower going than the first day and more climbing relative to the distance. The pressure wasn’t like the first day though; I was able to take longer, casual breaks and took it a little easy on the big climb. After the last aid stop, I had a lot of energy left and blistered the trail for the last 15 miles. 48 miles for the day with 3400 feet of climbing. 5 hours + 5 min. on the bike.

At the finish of the second day, they have a party and give you dinner. So I did that, went home and had another dinner. Plunked down on the sofa, my heart hurt from beating so much the last couple of days, and the pads of my hands were like hamburger. I’m putting bag balm on my hands for rides like this in the future. Muscle soreness all over, but it lessened some between day 2 and 3.