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Ass-o-meter – finding your ideal bike fit

Bike fitting was once a service only racers sought out.  These days anyone riding a bike can make massive improvements in comfort and performance with even a basic fitting if done by a good fitter.  Saddles are often the most painful part of riding a bike but that is becoming a thing of the past.  The Ass-o-meter from Specialized has solved many of these complaints.  Now anyone wanting to be more comfortable can be sized for the correct width saddle (Specialized makes 4 widths of their better saddles, as well as offering different levels of padding for each) in less than a minute.  The “ass-o-meter” consisting of gel pads that take an imprint of your sitz bones and measures them matching them to your ideal saddle width.  

Dr. Andy Pruitt, Godfather of bike fitting and inventor of Ass-o-meter at Specialized

The next consideration after measuring your sitz bone width is how much padding do you need.  It is counter-intuitive, but the longer you ride
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Blog, Coach Articles, Cycle U News, Dean's Letter, Training, Uncategorized

Dean’s Letter: Make Yourself Do It

CrossMud

I gave my 1000th racing class this week on a typical rainy Seattle day. I taught a few new guys the ropes, told them about protecting their front wheel, riding straight and predictable, looking before moving around. I described how the pack moves like an amoeba and explained how to save energy by drafting off your fellow riders. For almost an hour I gave them racing tips as we rolled over the course to get warmed up and scout out obstacles. Then it was time to decide whether to race or not.

In my class advertisements I say that I ride with my students, but I have a personal policy not to race in the rain at Pacific Raceways. Cars leave so much oil on the roadway that racing in the rain can get sketchy fast. But I made a commitment to ride, so I donned an extra layer and headed to the start line. I would race with my students, at least for a lap or two.

On the first lap I was yelling comments out to all the riders. This was a beginner race, so I had plenty of coaching to do. Road grit and water clung to my teeth, leaving a nasty taste in my mouth. I noticed one of our guys was fading fast so I drifted to the back of the pack, giving him a wheel to focus on catching. By the end of the circuit, he had pushed forward and rejoined the group.

The race gained intensity on the second lap and we split into two groups. I tried to glue the pack back together, encouraging my racers to work steadily so they didn’t overexert themselves early on.

Our third lap around, my straggler was barely hanging on. He was struggling to keep up but gritted his teeth and stayed with the group up the hills. The other riders were doing fine, so I stayed back to support him. As we were approaching the next big downhill I yelled for him to stay back, but he powered to the front. He was first on the descent, but he had ignored racing tip #74: Don’t attack on the downhill when you are tired. You will get chewed up in the ascent and spit out the back of the group. Sure enough, it was his last lap anywhere near the chase group.

One of the lighter riders in our group made similar mistakes. She was blown back on downhill stretches by heavier riders with more momentum, but climbed back to the front every time. I explained to her that on descents it is better to stay behind the rider you are following, even if you are 20 feet apart. The draft has a tail which helps you coast up into the bottom of the next hill, making it easier to climb. After giving her a few tips I moved on, coaching my way around the chase group.

Before I knew it, we were on the last lap and I had done the whole wet miserable race, loving every minute of it. I was reminded that the hardest part can be convincing yourself to just get out there and go for it. I am so glad I didn’t talk myself out of racing before I had a chance, and I hope you do the same. Putting your nose out there and going for it is the only way you will find out how much fun you would have missed.

C U on the Road,

Craig Undem

 

 

 

 

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The only flat bicycle ride in Seattle

The only flat bike ride in Seattle follows the Duwamish river to Tukwila and beyond.  The route can be a little tricky getting through a few areas, but we are leading a ride this Saturday at noon to go from West Seattle Cycle U to Tukwila and back which is 22 miles and we will be going a 12-14mph pace and regrouping as needed. 

This route actually links a few great and less used bike paths together going South and when linked to the Burke Gilman trail North after Magnolia (which can be too busy when the weather gets this nice, but it is flat) can give you more flat miles than most people want to ride in a day.

The ride we are leading on Saturday is the basis for a longer flat ride South.  From Cycle U in West Seattle to Sumner it is a pretty flat 33 miles if you want to keep going past Tukwila, round trip would be roughly 66 miles.  Here is a link with cue sheet and map that shows it as part of a longer ride going into Browns Point, but the route is from mile marker 35-49 but like most rides it is better to have someone show you the first time to save wrong turns and poor roads- Link to cue sheet and Map  With this weather it is time to get out and ride!

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STOKED! on cycling

Do you remember when cycling was exciting and new? When you got that little rush of excitement when you were gearing up and heading out to tackle a ride?  Getting stoked on cycling is as easy as trying something new, and these days there is no shortage of new stuff to get excited about.  The gear, the clothing, the electronics, the disc brakes, the fat bikes, the gravel.  There are hundreds of splinter-cell cool things going on in cycling right now besides the traditional Road, Mountain, Cyclocross and Track, so pick one and get after it!  You don’t have to race, you can just try out something new. 

You have to be stoked and a little “in love” with the whole thing or it won’t keep you working. That is what keeps me coming back and finding fresh excitement for something I have done non-stop since 1985.   I have been through 3 year obsessive phases in road racing, mountain bike racing and cyclocross racing, and that only got me to 1997.  If you are starting off this season and not feeling the “Stoke” then you need to mix it up.  Show up to a new ride, sign up for a new event, or try a different kind of cycling to keep it fresh and challenging.  The cool thing is that when you come back to what you first loved, in my case Road cycling, it is fresh once again years later like returning from a long around the world trip to your home.  Get out there and get stoked!!! –  Check out Meet Up to find new things, here is our page to get you started that lists all our rides and clinics for the summer:  Meet Up-Find cool groups or events to try near you

 

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Fix a Flat clinics at Cycle U, Free all summer!

This Saturday May 2nd we do our Fix a Flat, lube your chain and basic maintenance clinic at West Seattle store 11-11:45am.  Ready to start commuting, running errands or working out with your bike?  Learning to change your own flat tire is something everyone needs to know, and we make it simple and fun.   On Saturdays we then lead a free shop ride at noon of about 20 miles with Head Coach Craig Undem.  Parking always free across the street in our gravel lot.

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This free Fix a Flat class is offered at West Seattle Store 3418 Harbor Ave SW:

-Saturday Mornings:
May 2nd, June 6th, July 11th, August 1st, September 5th, October 3rd
11-11:30am

-Wednesdays Nights:
May 20th, June 17th, July 15th, August 19th, September 16th, October 21st
7-7:45pm

This class is essential for all cyclists, learn not only how to change a flat but also how to lube your chain.  This along with airing up your tires is all you will need to know to be ready to go anywhere by bike!

Weekly free rides Saturdays noon from the West Seattle shop.  Hope to see you at one of these or at one of our free classes where maybe you will get to see a flat changed in person!


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