All the top tips for cycling straight from Chris Willemse Cycles
Some of you might remember my post about Why You Should Never Take Up Cycling – it caused quite a stir among our two-wheeled friends. Maybe, before that inaugural cycling race, I should have listened to these tips instead…
One can probably write a book to cover tips for riding a bike, but I believe in the end it all comes down to the two most important things: your bike and your body!
Here’s some tips for the bike component:
Make sure that the bike fits you properly
Many riders make the mistake of buying a bike that does not fit properly. Surely, you would not buy a shirt or a pair of shoes that is too big or small? It is common to see riders on the trails on bikes that are too big. Funnily enough, I have hardly ever seen anyone riding a bike that is too small … Remember, a mountain bike frame should be much smaller than that of a road bike and frame size is much more dependant on top tube length than seat tube length. If you are in the market for a new bike, ask your bike shop for a custom bike fit. Even if you just want to have peace of mind on whether your current bike is the correct size, pop into your LBS and ask them for a quick check.
Make sure that your bike is in a sound mechanical condition
You often see riders on the trails stuck with some kind of mechanical break-down. It is true that sometimes the problem was caused by the trail or conditions, but very often the problem is brought about by poor bike maintenance which could have been avoided if you had spent some time on a basic check-up before you are off for a training ride or a race. I suggest you do the following:
- check your tyres for wear
- check that your gears are set properly
- check your chain for wear [a simple, cheap tool will help you do this]
- check your brake and gear cables – are they frayed/dirty/rusted?
- check your brake pads for wear
Make sure that your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure
One of the most common mistakes that riders make, is to ride their tyres either too hard or too soft. Too hard and you are in for a bumpy, uncomfortable ride; too soft and you may damage your rim if you ride over a rock or through a ditch. In this modern age of mountain biking, tubeless tyres have become common and tyre pressure can be lower than in the past when everyone was still running tubes in their tyres. Tyre pressure is dependent on rider weight and terrain. I suggest you experiment a little and once you get to the pressure that feels just right, make a note of it and check it every time before you go out for a ride.
Speaking of tyres: do not leave your house without sealant in the tyres, especially in the summer when it is high season for the notorious “duwweltjie” [thorn]. The sealant will fill small holes that caused the puncture in your tyre and it saves you the trouble of fitting a new tube on the trail or in the race.
Remember the essential tools
Do not hit the trails with at least the following in your saddle bag:
- spare tube
- tyre levers
- multi-tool with a chainbreaker
- chain links [make sure they are 9/10/11 speed, depending on your drive-train]
- CO2 cartridge [bomb] + connector or a pump
- plugs [for tubeless tyres]
- money [for coffee or other emergencies]
Chris Willemse Cycles will be working with the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund, and will manage all logistics for the inaugural ‘Ride 4 Rugby’ mountain bike experience happening in Caledon from 8 to 10 October 2017. This exclusive two day stage ride will see a number of SA’s most iconic rugby legends hitting the trails in an effort to raise funds for Rugby’s Caring Hands.
Funds raised through the ‘Ride 4 Rugby’ experience will be used to assist seriously injured rugby players who need support as they adjust to living life with a disability.
If you are keen on purchasing a team entry for this exclusive tour please contact the Players’ Fund and request to be added to the growing ‘Ride 4 Rugby’ waiting list.
- Date: 8 to 10 October 2017.
- Venue: Tsogo Sun’s, the Caledon Hotel and Spa
- Price: R30 000
- Tickets: contact firstname.lastname@example.org book a spot
For more info on the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund get in touch via the following platforms:
- Website: www.playersfund.org.za
- Telephone: (021) 659 5615
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PlayersFund/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/playersfundsa