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A Few Training Tips For Beginning Mountain Bikers

The popularity of mountain biking has exploded over the last two decades. Riders love the freedom that comes with being able to explore off road areas and getting away from pollution and city congestion. Beginning mountain bikers need to take care in getting the proper training to maintain energy and prevent injury.

-- It is essential to be in good physical condition before taking to the trails. If you don't exercise much at all, visit with a doctor first to make sure you are able to take on more strenuous sports. Then, consult with a trainer to get more information on what kind of regimen might be best for you to get started. Once you have been actively getting into shape for four to six weeks, you should be ready to start cycling training.

-- Mountain biking means riding over rough and uneven terrain. Leg cramps are common complaints for both novices and experienced riders, and they are often caused by their own negligence with warming up properly. A warmed up muscle is more elastic and able to withstand the ups and downs and other demands on the trail. A warm up also increases blood flow throughout the body and into the musculature. Take the time before your ride to stretch and warm up properly.

-- Once your muscles are stretched, take it easy for the first 15 or 20 minutes of your ride as part of your warm up routine. Your route should not be too steep either going up or down, and your pace should be fast enough to cause you to break a sweat but not cramp up or get winded.

-- Assess your body temperature at this point: are you too warm or is the air temperature still cool enough to require a jacket? Dressing in layers will allow you to accommodate your warmth needs properly. It is important never to overheat: stay hydrated, even during the warm up phase.

-- Keep your rides short at first in order to get your body used to utilizing the new muscles cycling demands. Overdoing it can be the kiss of death for a beginner since successful mountain biking is as mentally challenging as it is physically demanding. Your brain is constantly at work guiding your bicycle to avoid obstacles. Give yourself time to learn how to properly marry the mental with the physical as it is probably a novel experience.

-- It is best to learn how to mountain bike under the guidance of an expert who can help you pace yourself and develop the right warm up and training techniques and routines to meet your needs. It is truly great exercise, but it should be fun and relaxing too!


Taking Care of Carbon Fiber Bicycle Parts

Have you ever held or rode a carbon fiber bicycle? Were you surprised by how light it was? Were you in awe at its speed, control, strength and comfort? Indeed, carbon fiber bikes have proven its mettle in a lot of tough racing conditions like the Tour de France and the 24 Hour Mountain Bike World Championships.

However, unlike steel or other metals, carbon fiber bicycle parts do not bend or deform when damaged--- they could suddenly break or fail and might cause serious injury or even death to its rider. Carbon is actually a synthetic composite material made up of fibers that have been soaked in epoxy resin which were then compressed, heated and cured. It is essentially a super strong fabric that should be maintained and cared for quite differently as compared to steel, aluminum and titanium. As long as you treat your carbon gear properly, there is really no reason for concern and you can enjoy riding it for a long time. Here are some tips on maintaining and caring for your carbon fiber bicycle parts.

Thoroughly read and understand your owner's manual. All vital information, like torque settings, special tools or techniques, warranties, contact information, about your specific gear is there. This also ensures that the parts you are putting together are compatible with each other.
Make sure that there are no rough spots, dirt or metal shards that could cut or harm the carbon when the carbon fiber bicycle parts are being assembled and tightened.

Over torquing causes a lot of cracks in carbon fiber bicycle parts. To avoid this problem, always use a torque wrench and the company's torque chart when working on your bike.

Park it safely. You could either lay it down in a safe place or leaning against a wall, making sure that it doesn't fall on its side or slam into anything.
If you ever crash your bike, have them checked out immediately. Most shops are trained to inspect carbon fiber bicycle parts for damage which may not be visible to most people. Do not ride your bike until you are sure of its safety. Even if you have never crashed it, always inspect for any deep scratches, gouges, cracks or loose fibers. When cleaning your carbon bike, pay attention to any snags that your rag makes since it could be a sign of damage. Creaking, cracking or popping sounds could also be a sign that there is a problem. You should also stop and check your bike carefully if there is a change in your bike's ride quality or handling or if it isn't shifting or braking properly.

If you live near the ocean, clean and rinse the salt from the carbon fiber bicycle parts thoroughly to prevent corrosion of the metal parts. You could use warm soapy water but never directly aim the water at bearings since it could wash the grease out. After drying add some bike polish or spray wax for extra protection.

If you experience chain suck with your mountain bike, stop pedaling immediately and try not to use the gears that are causing it. It could saw into the frames and damage it. Clean, adjust or replace the faulty carbon fiber bicycle parts or bring your bike to a mechanic. If you did pedal and mar your frame, they should also take a look and make sure it's okay.


How to Calculate to Correct Bicycle Size

If you are a bike rider, you need to know how to calculate the correct bike size for your own comfort and safety. If you have a bike that fits well, you will use it regularly. To get the correct size, you will need to be aware of your own measurements.

There are bike-sizing charts which say about stand-over height and top-tube length. You will need to know your measurements for you to understand such chart. The first thing to do would be to put on your cycling shoes and stand behind a wall. Make sure your feet are a shoulder apart. Get a large coffee book and put its spine against the crotch and as far away as it can go. The lower edge of your book must be placed against a door. To obtain your inseam length, get someone to measure the upper edge of the book down to the ground.

While the book is still in its original place, measure the upper edge of your book to your neck's "V" located above the sternum. This shall be the measurement of the length of your torso.

Take off the book as you will need the measurements of the length of your arm. Outstretch an arm to the sides to make it parallel to the ground and then make a fist. The thumb must be the one close to the ceiling. Take the measurements of your collarbone's end down to the middle of your fist. This is measurement of the length of your arm.

You will need to know your clearance which is the bike's stand-over height subtracted from your inseam length. If you want a road bike, it needs 1 to 2 inches of clearance. If you want a mountain bike, this shall require 2 to 4 inches of clearance.

The top-tube length is another vital measurement in bike sizing charts. To get the right top-tube length, you will need to add the measurement of your arm length and torso length and divide the sum by two and subtract six. The outcome would be the size of the top-tube length in inches. When you follow these measurements, you would be able to get the proper size of the bike.

It is important to also calculate the size of the bike frame. Bikes have various sizes that fit individuals of a certain body type or size. It is an important factor to get the right frame size so as to have a safe and comfortable ride. The size of a bike frame has been measured in centimeters or inches but currently, they are nonlinear and more streamlined; thus, bike sizes are measured whether they are small, medium, large or extra large.

To get the correct bike frame size, find the seat tube's top and measure this down to the middle of the bike's bottom bracket. This is the measurement of the frame size and should be in either centimeters or inches. For instance, if your measurement is 24 inches, the bike's frame size is therefore 24 inches.

Now that you have the frame size, multiply this by 2.42 so as to get the measurement in centimeters. If you wish to get the number in inches, just multiply the measurement by .39. You should therefore get the measurement in both inches and centimeters as there are manufacturers that have the frame size in centimeters or in inches. If you have a measurement that is equivalent to 55.7 centimeters, round this off to 56 centimeters, thus the frame size of your bike should be this measurement.

You need to calculate the correct bicycle size and frame size if you wish to be safe and at ease while riding your bike.


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