Other Advice

Holding a long wheelie to impress the girls

The key is to loft the front wheel and then hold it at the balance point. The balance point is where the combined centre-of-gravity of ride plus bike is though the rear spindle. You’ll actually want the CofG to be slightly forward of the rear spindle and use your pedalling action to counter-balance whilst driving you forward. This isn’t something to practice on a carbon road bike since the shock of continually smashing the front wheel down, which will happen, is not going to do your expensive lightweight machine very much good at all.

Btw: this is all theory, I can’t do this. I keep trying and I keep failing but one day, one day I’ll grow old enough to stop trying. Maybe.

How can I break my chain?

Snapping chains is cool right? The awesome power, the sheer macho devilry? Well, here’s some tips to make it easier.

  • Crossing the chain (big crank, big cog; or little crank, little cog). If you look at it you can see the chain has to bend when it leaves the crank at the front and bend again when it gets to the cog at the rear. It copes, but the bend makes it weaker and therefore easier to snap.
  • Get a 10 or 11 speed chain. Grunty old 7 and 8 speed chain were heavier, stronger much harder to break.
  • Use low rpm on a big hill, get out of the saddle and give it some real weight through the pedals. The slower the pedal rate, the tighter the chain tension the better. Big guys get a real advantage here.
  • Smash into potholes, the sudden jarring can be all you need to make the final difference.

No guarantees though and on their own all of the above are unlikely to be enough. Combining them helps though you will still need a measure of raw power or fortunate circumstance.

Oh, you didn’t want to snap your chain and spend ½ hour trying to repair it by the side of the road before calling the missus for a lift home? In that case try avoid some of the above or at least try avoid combining them all together (extreme chain crossing is probably the most important one to avoid)

Bunny-hop over pot holes?

It may look like adolescent tomfoolery but can at times save a puncture or even a crash. Did you see Mark Cavendish on that roundabout in the Tour de France a year or two ago? Squeezed out by the cars he hopped on the kerb and then back off, avoiding a nasty crash. Back in the slow lane, a bunny hop is a simple lift of the bike. In the very first instance it’s a wheelie, yank on the handlebars and the front wheel will lift slightly off the ground. This is much better for your wheels, tyres, stability and safety than hitting a pot hole with your front wheel. For a bunny hop you stand on the pedals, pedals horizontal with bent knees and action a ‘jump’ with your body. Then as your body rises you bring your feet up too. Hey presto, up comes the bike. (you need to be clipped in to your pedals). It works better at speed, and gets easier with practice. The bunny hop is another tool in your armoury to avoid unforeseen hazards.

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