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Old September 5th 03, 01:10 PM
Just zis Guy, you know?
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"Richard Bates" wrote in
message ...

I think a regular welcome post explaining who we
are, what urc is about could be what is required.
Perhaps also included in the welcome post could be stuff
about what we see to be courteous/discourteous, for example frequency
of For Sale ads, binaries, TdF spoilers, crossposting to uk.tosspot,

That was the kind of thing I had in mind. Big FAQs won't get read, but any
newbie who hasn't heard of Sh3ld0n's site needs to know of its existence

Much of what goes on in urc starts with somebody posting a question
rather than a statement. I think that an FAQ could quite possibly kill
off some of the threads which keep urc alive.

I wouldn't think so. My expectation would be that the questions would just
come slightly further along the line. The "which bike" question can never
be answered in a FAQ, after all. But we can hope to remind people to do a
bit of background reading before making any statement relating to
polystyrene foam deflector beanies ;-)


WARNING: may contain traces of irony. Contents may settle after posting.

Old September 5th 03, 01:21 PM
Stevie D
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[FAQ re-formatted and tidied up - PART TWO]

11. Where can I get information about races and other cycling events?

In general, information about events rarely gets posted to the
newsgroup (unless the event is one of the big Tours), although a
couple of CTC DAs post information about forthcoming rides. This is
not to say that posting race/results info is frowned upon, it just
rarely happens. For information about forthcoming races on a national
scale, your best bet is to pick up a copy of 'Cycling Weekly', which
has a comprehensive race listing (both TTs/roadraces and MTB events)
and results service. Cycling Plus also has a 'diary' section, but as
C+ is a monthly, the listings aren't as complete as those in CW.

If you're after local information, you could do a lot worse than
looking in your local cycle shop, especially if they're the sponsors
of a local club. If you're actually wanting to join a cycling club,
again, the local bike shop owner will generally point you in the right

A list of AUDAX rides is available on the AUDAX UK website

12. I'm very small/tall and can't find a bike to fit. What do I do?

Most 'off-the-peg' cycles come in a range of sizes, the size being
either the length of the top tube (generally given in centimetres) or
the centre-centre distance between the bottom bracket shell and the
top of the seat tube (generally given in inches). It's a popular
misconception that people of a given height should ride a frame of a
particular size, although there's an element of truth that very tall
riders require large frames eg. I (ssw) am 6'2" and ride either a 23"
or 23.5" road frame - this doesn't mean that every other cyclist who
is 6'2" rides a 23" frame.

All that said, if you happen to be outside the 'normal' height range,
you can have extreme problems buying a bike, even moreso if you happen
to be a woman. Generally, the largest commercially available frames
are in the 25" ballpark, which would probably suit someone who is
either well over six feet tall or has very long legs. For road/touring
frames, the smallest sizes are in the 18"/19" region, but even so,
they're designed with the male anatomy in mind. MTB frames tend to be
smaller, and a reasonable rule of thumb is that you can get away with
an MTB frame 2-3" smaller than an equivalent road frame (I've seen MTB
frames as small as 14.5" -ssw)

People who are small (ie. less than, say, 5'2") have additional
problems, notably with things like cranks and brake levers (especially
brake levers with STI). Dealing with cranks first, 170mm is a fairly
standard size, which is OK if you're an average person. Getting larger
cranks is fairly easy, but getting short cranks can be a nightmare,
and modifying existing cranks is not a trivial task (Highpath
Engineering, better known for their transmission components, offer a
crank shortening service). However, Robin Thorn (of St.John Street
Cycles manufactures crank-shorteners which bolt onto the host bikes
crank (without damaging it) effectively reducing the crank length.
Using these, it is possible to alter the crank length between 118mm
and 154mm (for a 170mm crank). Similarly, brake levers are set up for
'normal' sized hands, so if you have small hands, you're in trouble
(this is apparently a big problem with STI/Ergo levers), although
short-reach brake levers are available. Generally, if you're shorter
than about 5'2", a custom frame is possibly the only way you'll get a
bike that fits. Most framebuilders can build very small frames, and
Isla Rowntree (Islabikes) specialises in building bikes for 'petite'
women (eg. 700C wheels, short cranks, short reach brake levers etc.).
Female cyclists may be interested in an article which appeared in a
back issue of CT&C a while back (no date, sorry!) which road-tested a
series of 'petite' bikes - all the women who took part in the test
were 5'4" or shorter, if memory serves. In addition, at least one
company, Bicycle Belle, deals specifically with equipment for female

Much the same applies if you're extremely tall - even if an 'off the
peg' frame seems right, the top tube may be too small and the ride
will be cramped and hence uncomfortable, leaving the often expensive
option of having a frame built 'to spec'. It's worth remembering that
if you do have to go via this route, framebuilders probably have a
fair amount of experience in building frames for extremely tall/short

The overriding thing to remember is that a frame should feel
comfortable, especially if you're planning long distance riding,
otherwise you've basically got something that's ill-fitting and

13. I'd like to go on a cycling holiday - who offers such things?

The definition of 'cycling holiday' varies from person to person, and
it can be either a 'proper' cycle tour or an organised holiday with a
group of people. Holidays of the latter variety will be considered.
The pace of an organised holiday can vary, ranging from gentle
pottering around the countryside with like-minded people to a full-on
winter 'training camp'.

There aren't many companies that offer proper cycling holidays,
although Bicycle Beano (Bicycle Beano, Erwood, Builth Wells, Powys,
LD2 3PQ - email: ) offer cycling holidays in
Wales and other parts of the UK, and have a very good reputation. In
addition to this, the CTC operate a series of tours in various parts
of the world, and at various parts of the year, a listing of which is
generally found in the January issue of CT&C magazine (as well as on
the Web at
You have to be a CTC member to go on such tours, but in general
they're extremely well organised, and offer a number of options for
riders of different abilities (I haven't heard anything bad said about
them -ssw)

Alternatively, there's the 'training camp', a popular choice both with
roadies and MTB-ers who want to train during the winter months without
falling foul of British weather. Training camps aren't quite as bad as
they sound, but they do allow riders the chance to go on train with
some of the world's top pros in places like Majorca and Lanzarote.
When you go to a 'camp', there's no obligation to do all the rides,
and you can do as much or as little as you wish. The February '97
edition of 'Cycling Plus' has an interesting, if somewhat short
article on training camps, for those who are interested.

14. Which panniers should I buy?

For carrying luggage on a bike, assuming that you have the appropriate
racks, panniers are hard to beat. Unfortunately, there are a number of
different makes on the market, with widely varying prices. The general
concensus of opinion is that there are three makes worth considering:
Ortlieb, Carradice and Karrimor. Some excerpts from a recent thread on
panniers follow:

Garry Lee ) wrote: "Carradice is NOT waterproof. I've a
Carradice saddlebag which is fine but need a binliner inside it. Very
tough otherwise. I have Ortlieb bags (Rolltop rear panniers) and
handlebar bag. These are totally waterproof, dead easy to put on and
off etc. They are bright red. Aargh! Get dark green in preference.
Disadvantage. Only one compartment.

Bottom line. Ortlieb, by a whisker."

Simon Ward ) wrote: "I use Carradice Super-C
panniers for stuff like shopping, taking stuff to/from work as well as
for touring. I've had my rear panniers for about 4 years and they're
still going strong, as are the front panniers, although they don't get
as much use. The only problem with them is that they're not *that*
waterproof, on account of being made of cotton duck - showerproof yes,
but definitely not deluge-proof."

Robert Saunders ) wrote: "Another possibility
might be the Karrimor Aquashield (I think that's what they are
called). These are the welded seam, single compartment panniers with
the roll top. They come in two types, one with a flap lid over the
roll top closure, the other without. I use a pair of the former to
carry sleeping bags when tandem touring. They appear to be totally
waterproof, most recently tested May/June 1996 in a wet tour in
Scotland. Again, not compartmented, but what panniers are? (other than
a side pocket I mean)."

The general concensus is that if you want truly waterproof panniers,
go for the Ortliebs, or if your wallet can't stretch that far,
Karrimor Aquashield would seem like a cheaper alternative (there's not
a lot of difference between the price of Ortlieb and Carradice Super-C
panniers). Carradice panniers, although very good, are only
showerproof at best, necessitating the use of binliners if you want to
keep things dry! (my opinion, YMMV -ssw)

Ortlieb have a web site, although it is heavily frame-orientated and
dislikes Mosaic intensely. The UK distributor for Ortlieb is:

Lyon Equipment Ltd.
Rise Hill Mill
LA10 5QL

PHONE: (01539) 625493
FAX: (01539) 625454

Carradice are reachable at:

Carradice of Nelson
Westmorland Works

and finally, Karrimor can be reached at:

Karrimor International Limited
Petre Road

PHONE: 01254 893134 (Factory Shop)
WEB: http://www.karrimor.co.uk/

In addition to Ortlieb, Carradice and Karrimor, the 'Freedom
Bikepacking' range of luggage is being sold by St.John Street Cycles
under the name of 'Thorn Luggage'. This represents good value for
money, and although maybe not as waterproof as Ortlieb bags, they are
better value than Carradice - possibly good for commuting purposes.

Smaller articles of cycle luggage such as frame packs and under-saddle
wedge packs (very handy for keeping tools in) are available from a
number of companies, notably Trek and Cannondale, and Marin have
recently introduced a rather smart range of cycle bags. 'Traditional'
saddlebags are made by Carradice, the 'Camper Longflap' being popular
with both tourists and long-distance riders (it has the capacity of a
pair of front Super-C panniers ...)

15. I'm going touring for the first time - what should I take?

Luggage for touring is a very personal thing. Somebody asked a similar
question ('What should I take?') on rec.bicycles.misc last year and
there was a veritable deluge of replies and luggage lists. What you
take on a tour depends on a) how long the tour is going to be and b)
how paranoid you are. I [ssw] have a tendency to overpack, but a list
of what I'd take on a short tour (say, a week or so) is given below:

TOOLS etc.

* Toolkit (2x10mm combination spanners for brakes, 4/5/6/8mm Allen
keys, crank extractor, HyperCracker, spoke wrench, puncture kit, tyre
levers, spare batteries, small adjustable spanner and spare set of
brake blocks)
* Spare spokes (taped to one of the seatstays)
* Spare inner tube (or two)
* Grease (kept in an old film container)
* Cable ties (multitudinous uses!)

For extended periods out in the sticks, I'd include a spare chain (and
cassette, if I'm feeling truly paranoid!). If you're got a Shimano
equipped bike, the HyperCracker is an invaluable tool, and is
infinitely lighter and less hassle than a chainwhip and spline
remover. All of the above fits nicely in an old bumbag or under-seat
wedgepack. (side note: For those people who are lucky enough to be
riding non-Shimano equipped bicycles, the Hypercracker is a splined
tool for removing cassettes on the road. The tool is placed in the
cassette lockring, and the frame provides the necessary leverage to
undo the lockring when the pedals are turned - it works very well,
although isn't recommended for use with aluminium frames as people
have reported that the tool can dent the chainstay)

An alternative is to buy one of the multitude of multi-tools that are
on the market. The Cool-Tool[tm] is the best known (contact: Ison
Distribution, 01223 213800) and consists of an adjustable spanner
(narrow enough to adjust cones at a pinch), 4,5,6 and 8mm Allen keys,
a chainlink remover and a 14mm socket. Optional extras include a
headset adaptor and a crank extractor. Alternatively, the Topeak
Survival kit contains most of the features of a Cool-Tool[tm] within a
small box which clips to the bike frame. The 'Survival Kit' also
contains a puncture repair kit.


* Two pairs of cycling shorts
* Two or three sets of underwear (ie. undies+socks)
* Spare pair of socks (in case you get seriously soaked!)
* 'Decent clothes' (ie. pair of jeans and a couple of T-shirts)
* Sandals or flip-flops
* Sunblock (!)
* Toiletries
* A space blanket

This little lot should fit nicely in one large pannier, leaving lots
space for miscellaneous bits and pieces in the other pannier. If
you're running with two sets of panniers (ie. front and rear), it's
quite easy to fit a sleeping bag into one of the front panniers and
keep tools etc. in the other front pannier (most people I know who
have handlebar bags generally use them for keeping a camera in, plus
wallets, keys etc.) For those who are taking a tent, it makes sense to
attach it to the top of your rear rack with bungee cords.

As far as loading goes, try and distribute the weight 60/40 rear/front
so that the steering isn't affected too much. Before you start off,
take the bike for a short spin to make sure that nothing rattles too
much and the handling of the bike is OK. If things don't feel right,
don't hesitate to repack things. If you're using a handlebar bag,
don't forget that they can have a pretty drastic affect on steering.
Also before you set off, make sure that your brakes are in good
working order. Stopping a laden bike (especially with two sets of
panniers) takes longer than stopping an unladen bike, especially in
wet conditions. Be prepared to stop in good time and apply the brakes
gently - it's not impossible to pull a laden bike out of a rear-wheel
skid, but it's damned hard work!

16. What is the 'End-To-End'? How do I go about doing it?

The 'End-To-End' is possibly the ultimate UK cycle route, and it is
exactly what it says it is, a trip from one end of Britain to the
other (Lands End-John O'Groats, or vice versa) covering, on average,
about 800 miles (1300km). Needless to say, it's a fairly popular
charity ride (recently completed by Phil Liggett and a number of
others) and it's also a fairly popular ride for people attempting to
break records of various kinds (the current record is held by Andy
Wilkinson, if I recall), and no doubt riding the length of Britain
would make the good basis for a cycling holiday, either solo or as
part of a group.

The 'End to End' isn't administered as a 'proper' cycle route in the
strictest sense of the word, although the CTC do publish their own
'suggested' route (details from them). For members of AUDAX UK, it's
possible to do the run in a number of different formats, ranging from
8 consecutive rides of 200km to their 'Tourist Award', in which the
1360km must be ridden in less than 2 weeks (details are published in
the AUK Handbook). Most other people just get their maps out and plan
their own route.

There are a number of 'End-To-End' reports on the Web, and if you're
planning on doing the ride, reading such reports can be quite
informative, as well as giving a few hints on how to approach such an
undertaking. The URLs of a couple of these reports are given below:

Paul Smee's End-To-End Tour Report
End-To-End with Bicycle and Three Others

[NOTE: A Web search for 'John O'Groats' will turn up quite a few
End-To-End tour reports, but be prepared to wade through a bit of
information about John O'Groats itself!]

17. How can I go about transporting my bike(s) on my car?

In general, there are two types of bike rack, roof-mounted and tow-bar
mounted. A recent thread on roof-mounted carriers yielded this
article. Information of tow-bar mounted carriers is given below.

Michael Hoath ) wrote: "I would suggest Thule. They
are better made than anything else I have ever used or seen. I load
mine with a tandem and two solos. No problem.

Bike carrier.
I couldn't afford the Thule ones. I suggest you buy the best you can
afford though. Forget the upside down ones. They wreck your bar tape
and saddle. They are also difficult to use if your handlebars are
cluttered with rapid fire shifters and computer mounts. Wheel-out ones
are fine. Very secure. But you have to take a wheel out and carry it
elsewhere. Wheel in, upright ones are fine, but beware of cheap ones.
Go for something that looks as though the designer thought about the
frame clamp. Also, make sure that the wheel mounting place offers a
strap to secure the wheels.

Halfords do two upright, wheel-in racks (to the best of my knowledge).
The more expensive one is (I'm pretty sure) about 30 ukp. This one
offers two frame clamps for round or oval down tubes. The wheel clamps
are strapped. The rack is also very easy to fit. My only doubt is the
rivets that fit the hinged frame clamp to the main part of the rack. I
might be inclined to replace these with a more substantial bolt,
washers and self locking nut. Anyway, this is the sort I use at
present and it's fine. Put a strap around the hinged clamp bar to hold
it down against the rack when not in use. Otherwise it jumps about. A
note of caution. (Five in fact).

1. Be careful when tightening the frame clamp. Aluminium and other
lightweight frame tubes could easily be crushed.
2. I always secure the bike with two further staps at 45 degrees
between the chainstays (rear horizontal forks) and the roof rack
itself. The whole lot becomes more secure.
3. Check the roof loading limit for your car. Bikes on the roof car
have a nasty effect on handling.
4. You'll be surprised how easy it is to forget the bikes are up there
and drive under a low branch.
5. Check your car insurance.

Arno straps. Self locking straps made of something tough. These are
excellent tie-down straps. They sell them in Millets. They sometimes
break though.

Failing the roof rack idea, a tow bar mounted rack that supports the
bike wheels is very effective. eg HOBO. I never trusted the strap on
rear bike carriers.

The Cyclists' Touring Club can offer good advice if you are a member.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the information given is based only on my
opinions experience, which is limited. I am NOT an expert and you must
satisfy yourself that loads are safe. Don't take my word for it, I
could be wrong. I cannot be held responsible for any action you take
as a result of my opinions given above, they are only offered as

Much of the above can also be said for tow-bar mounted racks, although
these have some obvious advantages, notably that bikes strapped on the
back of a
car won't affect the handling as much as bikes strapped to the roof,
but bear in mind that although you don't have extra height to worry
about, you'll have extra length instead! Also, be aware that bikes
mounted on tow-bar carriers are going to be very susceptible to
road-spray, so removing wheels is a wise move.

Both types of cycle carrier are available through most good bike
shops. St.John Street Cycles keep a good range, which also includes a
tandem carrier.

James D Annan ) wrote:
"Another frequently overlooked method for carrying bikes on cars is
simply to put some roof bars on, pad them, and lie the bike down flat
(tying it on of course). This cuts out the surprisingly common problem
of driving under low obstacles that the standard upright method
sometimes has. We manage a tandem on the top of a Nissan Micra this
way - the roof is shorter than the wheelbase so other methods would be

18. I want to buy a trailer/trailerbike for my child. What is

Trailers and trailer-bikes are two methods which allow a child to
cycle with their parents. Trailers are mostly used for carrying
toddlers or very small children, whereas trailer-bikes actually allow
the child to pedal along with the parents. For family cycling,
trailers/trailerbikes are generally used in conjunction with tandems,
although they can just as easily be fitted to solos.

Regarding trailerbikes, Michael Hoath ) writes:

The most well-known trailerbike is that made by IslaBikes. There are
others of older and newer design.

When buying a trailer bike, there are a number of considerations:

* Method of attachment to parent bike.
The ones I have seen attach either by a 4-point rack onto the usual
braze-ons, or onto the parent's seat pillar. The rack type would seem
to be favourite, providing strength and the opportunity to use saddle
bags etc. It is important to follow the setting up instructions
provided by the manufacturer to get the position of the pivot right -
otherwise handling can be affected. Islabikes can provide a second
mounting frame so parents can use the trailerbike on more than one

* Wheel size on trailer.
Some include a standard 700c wheel. I would favour a smaller wheel
with a wide low pressure tyre. This is more comfortable for the child
and facilitates the use of a smaller frame size.

* Effects on handling.
I have heard some people claim the trailer affects handling. Of course
it does but not badly and it's not at all difficult to set it up

* Child's pedals and crank length.
Much shorter cranks. Pedals with toe clips are important as the whole
stability of your child on the bike depends on feet staying put.

* Gears.
A Sturmey-Archer 3-speed. Your child needs to be able to keep up with
the pedals on the flat and climbing. Believe me, you will need the
child's help when climbing at times. The Sturmey provides reliable,
low maintenance, effective gears. There is little chance of the chain
jumping off, derailleurs slipping, or anything that might cause the
rear wheel to jam. The child finds the gears easy to manage and can
change gear at virtually any time.

* Ability to attach panniers to parent bike.
Some manufacturers provide pannier attachments for their trailerbike
mounting rack. In the case of Islabikes, the pannier bit is effective
and the whole thing looks just like an ordinary rack when the trailer
id not attached.

* Mudguard attachment on trailer.
Make sure that it is possible to fit one.

* Mudguards on parent bike.
Fit a rear mudguard and flap. Otherwise you child gets a mouthful of

* Size range.
A small frame with a long seat post and handle bars that move up and
forward. This configuration will be useful from an early age to 9 or

* Child's comfort.
The saddles provided are often a bit nasty. Fit something wide and
soft, preferably without a plastic cover (sweaty). Your child will be
most comfortable in a fairly upright riding position. This allows them
to look around, hold conversations and avoid the constant sight of
parent's back wheel. Use soft handlebar grips and narrow-ish bars.

* Transportation.
Because they come apart, a trailer bike can be transported just as an
ordinary bike.

* Frame material.
Usually plain guage steel. This gives a fairly soft ride. 531 is

Remember that the child's comfort and enjoyment is of prime
importance. There will be extra work for the parent but it is
surprising what the child can contribute. (My son managed to push me
several miles when my bottom bracket jammed). The trailer produces a
strong and enthusiastic cyclist.

The above is based purely on my opinions and personal experience.

For more information about both child seats and trailerbikes, two of
the biggest manufacturers, Burley and Rhode Gear, have their own web
sites at http://www.burley.com and http://www.rhodegear.com,
respectively. In addition, the Rhode Gear site also contains
information about their range of car racks.

19. Is there a definitive way of determining correct saddle height?

Generally, an ideal saddle height is one where your legs are almost
fully extended at the bottom of the pedalling stroke. This way, the
rider is able to put a more power into his/her pedalling. In order to
adjust your saddle, it helps to either have someone hold the bike for
you, or to prop it against a wall. The following steps are useful:

1. Adjust the saddle height so that your legs are slightly bent at the
bottom of the pedalling stroke (an angle of about 170 degrees between
thigh and calf is quite acceptable)

2. Take the bike for a quick spin (a mile or so) - if you're having to
move your hips from side to side as you pedal, the saddle is probably
too high. Adjust as appropriate. If you feel any discomfort, ride home
and readjust the saddle (alternatively, take the appropriate tools
with you - a 6mm Allen key is all that is generally necessary)

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the saddle is at a height you find
comfortable. You should not be able to place your feet flat on the
floor without straddling the top tube of your bike (if you can't even
do this, your frame is probably too large)

Naturally, you won't get the saddle height right first time, and some
fine tuning may be necessary. If you experience any knee pain,
lowering the saddle by about half an inch may solve the problem, as
such pain is often caused by overextension of the leg.

Saddle height isn't the only important parameter when it comes to
comfortable riding, the orientation of the saddle itself is just as
important. Both men and women have a large concentration of nerves in
the genital area, and an improperly adjusted saddle can lead to nerve
damage (although this is probably more of a problem for men). Most
seatposts allow saddles to be adjusted backwards and forwards (along
the saddle rails) and up and down (the angle of the saddle with
respect to the top tube). Whilst riding, your body weight should be
resting on the bones in your pelvis (anyone got the proper name for
them?!), which in turn should be resting on the rear of the saddle -
if your weight is resting on any other area, you'll soon know about
it! The saddle should be adjusted so that your pelvic bones rest on
the rear of the saddle. As for up-down orientation, most people will
have their saddles either dead level, or pointing nose down slightly.
This is a matter of taste, of course - personally, I have my saddle
adjusted nose downwards slightly, mainly to keep my not inconsiderable
weight off my genitals! Under no circumstances should the nose of the
saddle be pointing upwards, otherwise genital nerve damage is a
distinct (not to mention painful) possibility.

For long distance riding, it is not possible to completely eliminate
discomfort whilst riding, although proper saddle setup will delay the
onset of such discomfort. Padded cycling shorts are useful, and can be
obtained quite cheaply from nearly all decent bike shops - these
shorts are generally made of Lycra, and should be as tight a fit as
possible (men in particular should wear shorts that don't allow their
genitals to move downwards too much). For those who wear 'work'
clothes to cycle in, it is possible to buy padded briefs (in both mens
and womens fits) which are designed not only to minimise discomfort
but to be worn all day under 'normal' clothes (it is possible to wear
lycra shorts under a pair of jeans, but it gets a bit uncomfortable in
hot weather!)

20. I'm looking to buy a new saddle for my bike, what would you

One of the most personal aspects of cycling is choice of saddle, and
determining whether or not your backside is comfortable is about the
most subjective thing imaginable. Nowadays, saddles can be split into
two different categories: gel saddles and leather saddles.

A gel saddle usually incorporates a layer of gel between the saddle
itself and the riders backside, with the gel conforming to the rider
and thus reducing pressure on the more sensitive parts of his/her
anatomy. Leather saddles are what they say they are, made of leather.

Dealing with gel saddles first. In general, they are comfortable, but
it is vitally important not to buy a saddle with a plastic cover if
you plan to ride long distances, as sweat will remain in contact with
your body, leading to skin irritation. Most middle or top-end gel
saddles have leather or faux-leather coverings. The San Marco Rolls
and Selle Italia Turbo saddles are commonly cited as relatively
inexpensive and comfortable saddles, with the Rolls generally getting
the thumbs-up from AUDAX riders, who tend to be particular about what
they sit on! If you're not wanting to spend loads of money on a
saddle, Viscount and Vetta manufacture a wide range of saddles for
both men and women (more on womens saddles later) which are both
inexpensive and comfortable.

When people think of leather saddles, they think of Brooks. Indeed,
the fact that Brooks have been making leather saddles since the early
days of cycling and are still in business is glowing testimony to
their products. It is perhaps unfortunate that leather saddles,
Brooks' in particular, have a kind of stigma attached to them, and are
generally associated with aged cycle tourists. This is unfortunate,
since a well looked-after leather saddle is possibly the most
comfortable thing you can put on a bike. A lot of people are also put
off by the myth that a leather saddle needs 'breaking in' - this is
purely a subjective thing, and as with any saddle, the more you ride
it, the more you'll get used to it. Brooks saddles are popular with
both long-distance riders and cycle tourists, with the Brooks B17 and
B66 being commonly cited as good buys. ATB riders are catered for with
the Brooks Conquest, a sprung version of the B66 which although
looking old fashioned, is incredibly comfortable. Although many Brooks
saddles would probably considered too heavy for racing purposes, a
number of manufacturers are producing leather racing saddles,
including Brooks themselves, who a reproducing the Ti-railed Swift.

Because cycling was (is?) viewed as a male-dominated sport, many
saddles, like the bikes they are put on, are designed to conform with
the male anatomy, and a great many women find 'ordinary' saddles quite
uncomfortable. Fortunately, a large number of manufacturers produce
saddles aimed directly at women, up to and including full-on racing
saddles. Georgina Terry is perhaps the best known manufacturer of
womens saddles, with the advantage that they're designed for the
female, rather than the male, anatomy (the nose of a great many
saddles points slightly upwards, which can cause pressure on the more
tender parts of the female anatomy - properly designed womens saddles
do not suffer from this problem). In addition to their standard range,
Brooks also manufacture a saddle aimed at women (the B66 Champion).

21. My chain keeps skipping on my cassette/freewheel - what should I

NB. In the following section, the terms cassette and freewheel can be
taken to be synonymous.

The commonest cause of chain skip is chain wear, sprocket wear or a
combination of the two. This is a fact of life, and even the best
maintained drivetrain will succumb to wear eventually. The symptoms of
this are generally the chain skipping over the cassette under load. In
many cases, only the most frequently used sprockets are affected
(usually the smaller ones).

Wear of freewheel sprockets is usually most noticable when a new chain
is fitted to a bike, and, more often than not, a new cassette will
have to be bought as well (in some cases, a chain has been known to
'bed in' to the old cassette, but this increases the rate of wear of
both the chain and the cassette).

Because of the stretching forces that a chain is subjected to, it
generally has a shorter life than other drivetrain components - exact
mileage varies due to the type of chain, road conditions etc. In
general, a chain should be binned if it measures more than 12 1/8"
over twelve links (a new chain should measure 12" over twelve links,
the distance measured from the centres of the rivets). Chainrings and
sprockets should be replaced when the teeth have a hooked or 'shark
tooth' appearance. Chainring wear is easy to spot, cassette wear less
so, and with this in mind, Rohloff produce a device which allows
measurement of how far gone your cassette cogs may (or may not) be.
Unfortunately, the construction of current freehub cassettes,
especially Shimano, is not conducive to replacement of single cogs,
although it is possible given the correct equipment)

An equally common, and slightly more tricky to track down, cause of
chain skip is a stiff link. This is a likely cause if you experience
problems with a new chain and new freewheel/cassette. Personal
experience has shown that the best way to isolate the stiff link is to
slowly turn the pedals by hand, and the stiff link will generally
cause the chain to jump as it passes through the rear derailleur.
Curing this is easily done, with the aid of a chaintool, by ensuring
that the rivet in the offending link is flush with the sideplates of
the chain.

It is not possible to completely eliminate wear of drivetrain
components (except by not riding the bike) but a generally accepted
method of minimising drivetrain wear, thus saving money on new
cassettes etc., is to run two or three chains in rotation, cleaning
and changing them every 500 miles or so. Good chains, eg. the Sachs
SC40 (known as the Sedis 'black'), are cheap enough to make this a
reasonable course of action, especially if the bike is heavily used.

Stevie D
\\\\\ ///// Bringing dating agencies to the
\\\\\\\__X__/////// common hedgehog since 2001 - "HedgeHugs"
___\\\\\\\'/ \'///////_____________________________________________
Old September 5th 03, 01:24 PM
Just zis Guy, you know?
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Anyone know of a reliable mail-to-news service? I could set up a scheduled
mailing of the welcome/FAQ.


Old September 5th 03, 04:52 PM
Arthur Clune
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David Nutter wrote:
: Anyone know of a reliable mail-to-news service? I could set up a scheduled
: mailing of the welcome/FAQ.

: How's your perl? Net::NNTP is quite a nice, friendly (despite being written in
: perl) module. You should be able to write an autoposter quite quickly which
: can then be run by cron.

I can both do this and set up the cron job to run it if you can't.

Old September 5th 03, 06:23 PM
external usenet poster
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Would that be the same ISP that caused me to receive four identical
mails, entitled Cycling in Paris, from you this morning? ;-)

If you got four *identical* in content - I apologise - that shouldn't have
happened. I shall investigate.

Cheers, helen s

This is sent from a redundant email
Mail sent to it is dumped
My correct one can be gleaned from
h*$el***$$n*$d$ot$**s**i$$m*$m$**on**[email protected]*$$a**$*o l*$*.*$$c$om*$
by getting rid of the overdependence on money and fame
Old September 5th 03, 10:58 PM
Steph Peters
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"Just zis Guy, you know?" of wrote:

Anyone know of a reliable mail-to-news service? I could set up a scheduled
mailing of the welcome/FAQ.

Demon have one. Pop a toe into demon.service and ask there - it's the last
hangout of those who use it.
The desire of knowledge, like the thirst of riches,
increases ever with the acquisition of it. Laurence Stern
Steph Peters delete invalid from lid
Tatting, lace & stitching page http://www.sandbenders.demon.co.uk/index.htm

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