Thursday, May 22, 2008

My New Book!

Everyone - I'm happy to announce the release of my third cycling book, Your Home Bicycle Workshop. I know that most cyclists enjoy working on their bicycles as much as riding them - and there's nothing better than having a clean, organized workshop for doing this. I realized that while I provide basic tips on my website, and in the other books I've written, that there wasn't a comprehensive guide to setting up a home bike workshop, so I decided to write one!

Your Home Bicycle Workshop ($19.95) is an ultra-modern book, an eBook that you immediately download to your computer. What you get is a 68-page book with over 201 photos. If you want, you can certainly print out the book and read and use it that way. And, you can also read it on your computer as an Adobe Reader pdf file. When reading it on your computer, you'll have access to all the links that make it easy to visit other sites, jump around the book and find additional information.

Even cooler, besides the many color photos in the book, I've included some of my favorite vintage photos and ads from my collection and helpful pop-up photos that are embedded in the book so by simply mousing over little icons, you can view pictures (no waiting for them to load). These are used throughout the extensive tool list in the book. I spent 6 months writing the book so I could go on and on, but I mainly wanted to tell you about it here. If you are interested in setting up a home workshop and would like to learn more about the book, please visit
this link. And, if you buy the book, please let me know how you like it. Thanks and ride safe,

Monday, May 19, 2008

Q&A: Installing brake pads; higher gearing; bike noise fix

Q: Hey Jim - What can I use to lubricate Campy brake pads to get them to
slide more easily into the sleeves?


A: Try breathing on them, John. The moisture in your breath is usually enough to make them slightly slippery and allow them to slide into place. If that doesn't work, try isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). This will wet them more but evaporate almost immediately to not cause any problems. It won't hurt the rubber either.

Also, some brake shoes have set screws that you have to remove before you can remove and replace brake pads. I'm assuming yours don't have these and/or that you loosened yours before putting the new pads in.

Have fun!

Q: Hi Jim. I have a hybrid bike with the following lineup in the drivetrain: Shimano Tourney SIS Index, SR SunTour, SRAM GripShift MRX 21 Speed and a Shimano 14-34T SIS Mega-Range cassette, and a SR SunTour aluminum triple 48/38/28T crankset. The bike is a tad on the heavy side, but it is very sturdy, and has 700 x 35c tires, so I can hit some of the back roads around here. I really don't need the lowest of the low gears, and I would like to get a little faster high-end out of the bike. I only need to gain a couple of mph, in order to keep up with the local traffic. Is there any way that I can do this, without replacing the whole drivetrain?


A: Hi David,
It should be pretty easy to get a higher gear. What I recommend is visiting your local bike shop and purchasing a cassette with a higher gearing range (they should be happy to install it for you for about $10 plus the cost of the cassette and you can keep the old cassette - or you could buy the tools to do it yourself and be able to switch them whenever you want). You might look for one that starts with a 12 tooth or 13 tooth cog. That will give you a significantly higher high gear and allow you to achieve a higher speed. You will probably end up with a slightly harder to pedal easiest gear, but if you can ride at those speeds you are probably strong enough to get up hills on it just fine.

I hope this helps and ride safe out there,

Tip: Jim - Here's a tip on fixing a bicycle noise that I didn't find on your webpage of bicycle noises My bicycle is an 07 Raleigh Competition, which is equipped with an Easton EA70 carbon fork. The bike came with a stack of (5) 5mm headset spacers beneath
the stem. I replaced it with a single 25mm spacer from Chris King. A creaking noise came when I would get out of the saddle on steep climbs. I went through many potential causes and fixes with no change. Then one evening the ol' light bulb went off. Surely, I thought, there must be some amount of deflection in the steer tube when I stand and climb a steep grade. Could this deflection be causing the noise?

I removed the stem and spacer and lightly lubed the steerer, and each contact surface as I reassembled. I also snugged the assembly down a bit more than I had in the past, being careful not to preload the bearings too much. And YES, the noise has gone away!

Corbin, KY

Reply: Thanks a lot for sharing, Dave! I'll add this great tip to my noises page sometime soon.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Santa Cruz Bike to Work Day!

Bike to Work Day 2008 was magnificent with a huge turnout, wonderful weather, tasty treats at the free B2W breakfast site I pedaled to, and the ultimate ride to work. Click here to join me for my B2W ride across Santa Cruz!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Let Levi And Rick Ride

You've probably heard of the Let Levi Ride campaign, as in Tour of California champ, Levi Leipheimer, who's banned from the Tour de France (along with his entire Astana team) for questionable reasons by the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO), which runs these races. If you haven't already, you might want to click the link above and add your voice to the 60,000 fans demanding ASO change its decision.

Well, I recently learned about another campaign for a banned rider, the Let Rick Ride campaign. Rick Oberle is being prevented from doing the DALMAC (Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw Bicycle Tour) simply because he doesn't want to attach a flag on a pole to the back of his bicycle (photo). He's willing to carry a flag in his pocket or attach it to his clothing, but he believes flags on poles are a safety hazard (a valid point, as they're angled back and can stab or poke following riders). For this, the ride organizers have banned him from entering the event, even though he actually served on the DALMARC ride committee and has ridden the ride many times. By clicking the link above you can learn more, support Rick's cause, and maybe persuade the organizers to compromise on the flag issue. (From a mechanical point of view, if these flag poles attach via brackets attached beneath the rear-wheel quick-release, they're creating another safety issue [loose wheels] by forcing people to install them.)