Bicycle Helmets: The Breakdown

Bicycle helmets only work if you wear them correctly

That’s not breaking news, but anyone that’s new to triathlon might not think they’re necessary. Well, they are and you need to make sure the one you purchase if effective. Especially if you’ve started training for Rookie Triathlon, the first triathlon of your life! 

Your helmet could be the difference between life and death. Here's the lowdown on bicycle helmets, from choosing one that fits your head to avoiding common helmet mistakes. Click To Tweet

Why wear a bicycle helmet?

It’s simple: if you fall from your bike, the helmet will take the force of the blow instead of your head. Wearing a bicycle helmet when cycling is the most effective way to prevent a life-threatening head injury. Don’t assume that bicycle helmets are just for kids. Adults face the same risks as children. Even a low-speed fall from a bike can be dangerous.

Selecting a bicycle helmet

Bicycle helmets are cooler, more comfortable, and easier to adjust than ever before. There are plenty of inexpensive choices that will meet all these needs. Check out these recommendations from the staff at High Five Events.

Remember the ground rules:

Make sure the helmet is safe. Look for a seal of approval from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI). If it doesn’t have a seal of approval from them, don’t purchase it and most certainly don’t ride with it. Aerodynamic helmets should be held to the same standards as regular helmets. A few extra seconds are not worth risking serious injury.

Make sure it fits snugly

You shouldn’t be able to move the bicycle helmet more than one inch in any direction, front-to-back or side-to-side. The sizing pads included with every bicycle helmet can help make the fit more secure. If you have long hair, consider a helmet with a ponytail port. The rules for wearing a bicycle helmet are simple. Wear the helmet flat on the top of your head. The helmet should cover the top of your forehead without tilting forward or backward.

Think about visibility

If the bicycle helmet straps block your vision – even a little bit – choose another helmet. Likewise, make sure motorists and other cyclists can see you; choose a brightly colored helmet.

Fasten the chin strap just below your chin

If it’s not fastened, it won’t help you out much. If the bicycle helmet doesn’t feel snug, use the foam sizing pads that came with the helmet to get a better fit. The helmet shouldn’t rock from front to back or side to side. Some helmets are “one size fits all,” but others come in S-XL. Wear it before you buy it!

Bicycle helmets must be replaced after every crash

If a crack or any sort of puncture is spotted on the helmet, it should be replaced. No questions asked.

Importance of Post-Workout Recovery Foods/Drinks

Recovery foods/drinks provide many post-workout benefits

Most endurance athletes recognize that it’s important to eat and drink within an hour or so after completing a workout to promote muscle recovery. Recovery foods and drinks provide the body with what’s needed to begin muscle refueling, rehydration, muscle/tissue repair, and inflammation control. With some exceptions, just about anything you might choose to eat or drink after a workout is better than nothing, from a recovery perspective. However, some choices are more beneficial than others. So what are the best recovery foods?

The nutrients your body needs most after exercise are carbohydrates for muscle refueling, protein and amino acids for muscle repair, water/electrolytes for rehydration, and antioxidants to manage inflammation. Your post-workout nutrition choices should provide all of these nutrients and little else. You don’t want anything to “get in the way” of the absorption and activation of these nutrients. There are plenty of natural foods (oatmeal anyone?) that will do the job.

Specially formulated post-workout recovery products such as bars and drink mixes offer certain advantages. The best recovery products are carefully formulated to provide exactly what your body needs. They’re formulated with the correct amounts, and nothing extra. They also tend to be more convenient than regular foods. You can take them with you to workouts away from home and not have to wait to eat. And often they are easier to consume soon after workouts when you may not be especially hungry.

Some of our favorites:

nuun performance – rehydrates, provides electrolytes and carbs

Clif Energy Granola – all the goodness you need!

RXBAR – packed with protein, carbs, and sugars

Gatorade Whey Protein Bar – mixture of carbs and protein

Epic Bars – high in protein, gluten-free, grain-free

What are your preferred recovery foods?

7 Steps to a Clean Bike

Not only does a clean bike look great, but it also performs better, lasts longer, and is easier to maintain

Perhaps you haven’t cleaned your bike all triathlon season. Maybe you just went on a long ride and it rained on you. It might be the end of your season and you’re putting your bike away for a few months. Whatever the case, it’s time to clean your bike! Follow the 7 steps below and your bike will be clean in no time. Take care of the bike that takes care of you. Remember, a clean bike is a happy bike.

Supplies

  1. An old shirt or a few rags
  2. Dish soap
  3. Small bucket
  4. Water hose
  5. Bicycle lubricant

Guideline for a clean bike

Step 1:

Set the nozzle on the hose to a light spray and spray down the entire bicycle. You do not want the pressure of the water to be too powerful. It could remove grease in areas that will be difficult for you to replace.

Step 2:

Tear the shirt into a few pieces and place in the bucket with a cap full of dish soap. Fill the bucket halfway with water and mix the water and soap around with the rags. Take one rag from the bucket and scrub the entire bike. Get the tires, frame, spokes, rims, hubs, drivetrain, and any other part of the bike that seems dirty. Check out this bicycle cleaning kit, it can make it easier to get to some of those hard to reach spots.

Step 3:

Take the water hose again and spray your bike off one more time. This should remove the remaining grime that has been loosened up by the scrubbing.

Step 4:

Take one of the remaining rags and dry the bicycle off. You can allow it to drip dry for a few minutes to make this easier.

Step 5:

Now that your bicycle is clean and dry, it is time to re-lube the drivetrain and other moving parts. Take your bike lube and cover the entire chain. Drip a few drops on the cassette of the bicycle. Now drip a few drops on each side of your wheels were your skewers go through the hub. Finally, drip a few drops on the brake calipers where the center bolt passes through and connects to the frame. This blog post provides more specifics on cleaning a drivetrain.

Step 6:

Now put your helmet on and take your bike for a little spin. Make sure you shift into every possible gear on your bike to spread out the lube. If you do not want to ride, just lift your rear wheel off the ground and shift the bicycle into every gear that way.

Step 7:

Last but not least, wipe the chain and drivetrain down one more time with a clean, dry rag to remove excess lube.

Happy cleaning!

Basic Home Mechanic Tool List

Perform general maintenance yourself with this home mechanic tool list

Maintaining your own bike can be fun, but it can also be confusing. What do I need? Are certain sizes needed? Where can I find these items? Below is a recommended home mechanic tool list for general maintenance of the average road or off-road bike.

* Bicycle repair stand

Bikehand Pro Mechanic Bicycle Repair Rack Stand.

* Metric wrenches (8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm, 13mm, 15mm, 17mm, 19mm open ended box wrench)
* Hex wrench set (1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm)
* Cone wrench (13mm-16mm)
* Screwdriver set (3/16″ and 1/4″ straight blade and #0 and #2 Phillips)
* 12″ adjustable wrench
* Drivetrain cleaning kit (how-to instructions)
* Cable cutters

A floor pump is essential to your home mechanic tool list.

A floor pump is essential to your home mechanic tool list.

* Chain lube
* Zip ties
* Shop rags
There are several ways to purchase tools, including local bike shops like Mellow Johnny’s. Non-bicycle specific tools are usually available at hardware stores, automotive shops, tool stores, and some department stores.

Understanding Brake Issues

Become knowledgeable about brake issues with this advice

Having brake issues? If so, you might be able to identify the problem yourself. There are three main reasons brake levers typically malfunction:

  • Your brake pads are not close enough to the rims
  • The system is not tight or fully “engaged”
  • Your levers are damaged or dirty

Always check that your brake pads are close enough to your wheel rims. Before you reposition them, check that the pads are not too worn down. Replace the pads if needed.

If the pads are okay, then turn the cable adjustment knob counterclockwise until the desired pad-to-rim distance is achieved (1/8th of an inch is standard). The cable adjustment knob is located either where your brake cable enters your lever or on the brake caliper.

Most modern braking systems have a quick-release mechanism that allows you to loosen the cable system without affecting your brakes effectiveness. This is the “slack” in the system needed to open the brake arms wide enough to get your wheel out. Some quick-releases are located on brake assemblies. Others are located on brake levers or elsewhere along the cable route. If you find too much “slack” in your braking system, check these quick-release mechanisms first to make sure they are engaged properly.

You may need to clean or repair the brake levers if your brake quick-releases are connected properly but the levers function poorly.

If you’re still having brake issues contact James Balentine of City Limit Cycles. You can schedule an appointment and he’ll make repairs at your home or office!

3 Riding Quotes That’ll Get You Back in the Saddle

Riding quotes to reignite your flame

The weather. Work got busier. Kids are sick. Your bike needs a tune-up. Recovering from injury. Whatever the reason, you haven’t been riding lately. These 3 riding quotes will get you back in the saddle in no time (unless you’re injured, get better first). Go for a quick ride on one of these three routes or get your friends together for a group ride. Just get the wind blowing in your face again. You’ll appreciate it!

“If you worried about falling off the bike, you’d never get on.” Lance Armstrong

“Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” Charles M. Schulz

“She who succeeds in gaining mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.” Susan B. Anthony

Tips to Clean Your Helmet and Shoes

Smell good on your next ride when you clean your helmet and shoes

When was the last time you washed your bike helmet, your bike shoes, and your running shoes? If you haven’t done so in the past month, they probably stink. If you can’t smell it, ask someone else to, then look at their face; the truth comes without words being spoken. Follow the advice below when you clean your helmet and shoes.

THE HELMETImage result for washing cycling helmet

Are the straps white with salt deposits? Are the little pads slippery from sunscreen and hair product? Is the outside stained with grime? I rinse my Rudy Project helmet after almost every ride. It is five years old and still looks brand new.

TO WASH IT

Turn on your kitchen sink and let the water run lukewarm. Run the water on the helmet, the pads, and the strap. Take a tablespoon of shampoo, dish soap, liquid hand soap, or liquid laundry detergent. Rub it between your hands and fingers. Then apply it to all the surfaces that absorb water. Rinse it thoroughly, shake it to get excess water out. Place it in the sun to dry. Wipe the outside with any cleaner like Simple Green or Pedro’s Bike Wash. Stay away from stronger detergents. Any residual that is not rinsed will run into your eyes when you sweat in it again.

RUNNING SHOES

Related image

I train with socks in training shoes and race without socks in flats. A lot of my training is on the bea

ch and if the tide is high, my shoes getwet with salt water (life is tough in La Jolla, CA). So I wash them a lot.

TO WASH THEM

Machine wash them in cold water with some laundry detergent. Wash 4 or 5 pair at a time. When they are done spinning, immediately put them in the sun or dry-room to dry. Believe it or not, most quality running shoes can withstand about 20-30 washes. The midsole and outsole these days are glued so well that they can withstand this sort of care. For most of us that is about a wash a week before it is time to replace the shoes anyway.

BIKE SHOES

I still can’t understand people that train without socks all the time (and I am no Felix Unger). You can do this now and then to simulate a race, okay, but not all the time. Bike shoes are a lot more resilient than I would have imagined first by racing NORBA during a few very wet and muddy seasons, but more recently by doing spinning workouts and indoor stationary bike interval workouts. I have a pair of SIDI Triathlon shoes that I have rinsed and washed with regular shampoo in the shower 100 times and they are still in good condition.

TO WASH THEM

Use the sink again. Get room temperature water, mild detergent, and an old toothbrush. Shampoo works too. Wet the shoes, clean as needed, shake really well, towel dry as much as possible, then set to dry in the sun. If the shoes have leather, saddle soap works well to preserve the softness. I am testing bee’s wax right now on a brand new pair of SIDI Triathlon Shoes so I will report later.

Keep your gear smelling and looking better when you clean your helmet and shoes. This will also reduce the likelihood of acne, infection in the eyes and ears, and promote healthier feet, toes, and toenails.

Emilio De Soto II
Founder/President/Triathlete
De Soto Sport Triathlon Company

Preventing Flat Tires

Use these tips to prevent flat tires

Tired of monkeying around with flat tires? Then check out these prevention tips:
What’s the number one cause of tire problems? If you guessed too little air pressure, then you’re right. Having a good floor pump is essential in helping to prevent flats. The pumps usually include gauges. A good floor pump will inflate tires faster and easier than the pump you carry on your bike for emergencies.

Monitor your tires for wear and tear. Road tires generally last about 1,500 miles when used on the rear and about twice that on the front. If you go any longer than that, flat tires are more likely to occur.

Regularly check your tread for cuts and debris. Outside objects aren’t always the culprit for flat tires. Sometimes the culprit is something sharp inside the rim. If the hole is on the “belly” of the tube (the same surface the valve is on), something inside the rim popped the tube. If the hole is on the outer surface, it was caused by something that penetrated the tire and tube.

For punctures on the tube’s belly, make sure that the rim strip is fully covering the nipple holes and that it can’t move out of position. If you find anything sharp on the rim, sand it smooth with a file or sandpaper.

Dealing with flats

If you follow all these steps and still suffer more than your share of flat tires, there are several additional options available, such as flat-resistant tires, tubes, and tire liners.
These tips are meant to prevent flats and help extend the life of your tires. All cyclists now flat tires are going to happen. If you’re on a ride and you have a flat, memorize these 10 steps for repairing your flat!

My First Real Bike: The One that Started it All

You won’t find many triathletes who can’t remember their first real bike

Some of the High Five Events staff were chatting about bikes the other day during lunch. Then the inevitable happened: we started reminiscing about our first real bike. For some, their first real bike experience took place many years ago. One staff member purchased their first real bike earlier this year. One thing remained constant: everyone remembered their first real bike vividly. Read about our first bikes and their corresponding stories. Let this blog take you down memory lane, conjuring memories of your first real bike. Then share that experience with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Emily

I got my first real bike (silver Felt ZW) in 2013, two weeks after I registered for my first triathlon, the Rookie Tri! I hadn’t ridden a bike in more than 20 years! Getting used to riding was both scary and exhilarating. I dinged it up pretty good when I fell over at a red light and hit a curb. I forgot my feet were clipped in! Three people got out of their cars to check on me and all I wanted them to do was go away. HA!

Emily's first real bike: silver Felt ZW road bike.

Emily’s silver Felt ZW.

Stacy

My first bike was a Bianchi Giro 105. I got it in 2001 and remember being able to ride in certain parts of Austin that I wouldn’t even consider riding today!

William

Late last year I decided to train for my first triathlon, Rookie Tri. Earlier this year I traveled to Jack and Adam’s Fredericksburg and purchased my first bike, a black FeltZ 100. My first real ride took place on the Veloway. The entire time I kept thinking back to how often we rode bikes as kids. This bike was different that those of my childhood, but the feeling remained the same. Powering your bike, the wind in your face, leaning into turns, it all eventually came back. Now I love riding my bike to work to save on gas and help the environment.

William's first real bike: FeltZ 100.

Fresh off the rack with zero milage.

Tina

My first real bike was black with pink and purple stripes. I remember it came with a huge red bow! It was my first bike with gears and hand brakes. I crashed into a huge agave bush on my first ride and got all scratched up. I’m from Corpus Christi and my family and I would go on rides along the seawall.

Joey

Way back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth… I was just getting started in triathlon and ended up tearing my calf on the run at a race in North Carolina. Prior to that, I was riding a road bike when racing, but I really wanted a tri bike (like the cool). During my recovery I bought a Quintana Roo Kilo as motivation. I counted down the days until I could go out and ride my shiny new toy. 4 QR’s later I still have fond memories of that first race bike. Racing and training with friends led to hundreds of fun miles.

Do you have fond memories of your first real bike? Share your story with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

4 Reasons to Register for Jack’s Generic Triathlon

If you’re on the fence, these 4 reasons will push you to register for JGT

You’ve debated registering for Jack’s Generic Triathlon for some time now. Friends are racing. Your triathlon club will be there.

You plan to register, just haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Why? Perhaps you forgot, maybe it slipped your mind. Every time you think about registering for JGT you’re not near a computer. When you’re near a computer, you forget. It happens. Well, you’re on the computer now. Read the 4 reasons to register for JGT, on August 26th, below and make it happen.

New date, venue, and distance

The Rookie Triathlon - Beginner Triathlon Runner Rookie TriJGT will take place at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park (aka Decker Lake) on Sunday, August 26th. Previously, the event has taken place at Texas Ski Ranch and Lake Pflugerville. JGT now features the sprint distance only. Aquabike and Relay options are available. The sprint distance will consist of a 600m swim, 11.2-mile bike, and 5K run. Here’s to slightly cooler temperatures at the end of August *quickly knocks on wood*.

Year 16

That’s right, JGT is in its 16th year. There’s a reason people return year after year: they’re more than a number, they’re a barcode. From Day One, JGT has focused on the participant. Sure there have been elites and awesome swag, but the focus consistently remains on you: the athlete. Plus it is fun and clever.

3rd Texas Tri Series event

If you’re taking on the Texas Tri Series then you need to register and complete Jack’s Generic Triathlon. That goes for volunteers too! JGT is the third event in the much-loved series. Triathletes are challenged to participate in or volunteer for four Central Texas triathlons throughout the summer. Many use it as a means to stay active over the summer. Some use it to advance in distance. There are folks out there who just want to challenge themselves. Regardless of why clubs and groups travel from all over to cheer on their athletes as they take on the Texas Tri Series. You can expect a supportive and energetic atmosphere on August 26th.

Sweet, we mean generic, shirt/medal combo

Now that you have this year’s Rookie swag, this combo is perfect for your growing collection. I mean, can you find a better looking shirt/medal duo? We’ll wait… This year’s shirt is perfect for wearing around town or during your post-JGT workouts. And the design is sure to catch everyone’s attention.

The shirt is super-soft and one you’ll gladly add to your collection. The medal matches the shirt and commemorates the accomplishment of crossing the JGT finish line. Make your triathlete friends who don’t race JGT jealous. Or challenge them to join you so they can join in on the fun!

REGISTER!