I’m reading Peter Singer’s book The Life You can Save (you can freely download the book from the website), in which he makes a profound observation. He challenges the assumption about our behavior that permeates western, and particularly American, culture: “the norm of self-interest”: Alexis de Tocqueville, that sharp observer of the American psyche during the formative years of the United States, noticed the norm even then: “Americans,” he wrote in 1835, “enjoy explaining almost every act of their lives on the principle of self-interest.
Rules Fail Fast Be Paranoid Avoid inserting defects Find/Fix Defects Close to where they are inserted Accept and deal with the 4Fs of war - friction, fog, fluidity, fatigue
In cycling, “contact points” are critical: bum on saddle, hands on handlebars, feet on pedals. But the most important one of all is “where the rubber meets the road”. Tires may be the most important component on your bike. The right tire at the right pressure makes a huge difference to your safety - your “grip” on the road - as well as to your comfort, and efficiency. Diving into detail on tires, with a focus on tire width, tire pressure, and tire quality, we will discover:
You will crash - learn to crash properly I’m in the middle of a tight pack of two dozen racers at the Pan-Am Games velodrome, 5 laps from the end of the race, averaging 45kph. There’s a sudden slowing as riders position themselves for the finishing sprint. I hear swearing, and the unmistakable sound of carbon wheels scraping each other as multiple riders make contact at speed. A rider just above me goes down and slides across my rear wheel.
In the previous article, we mentioned that many serious cycling injuries happen when cyclists are slowing and preparing to stop. So let’s discuss some techniques to prevent low speed falls. Now all this may seem like a lot of effort. But it’s much preferable to broken bones! (As the old aged goes… you can say me now or pay me later!) Cleats and Unclipping How many times have you heard:
I’ll be blunt: “Given the amount of time I spend on a bike, I recognize there is a significant probability that my cycling career, or even my life, could end as a result of a serious cycling accident”. As a cyclist, the risk of injury requiring hospital treatment (per km travelled) is significantly greater than when in a motor vehicle. The more you cycle, the greater the risk - You will crash!
BANG! Hisss…! A Puncture! But who? Where? I’m riding in a peloton of 24 tightly packed riders in the middle of the steep banking on the Pan-Am Games Velodrome in Milton Ontario. It’s impossible to stay up on the banking after a puncture. Everyone knows someone is going down, and is going to take other riders with them. I’m a loser of this lottery. The rider with the puncture slides down in front of me and I flip over their bike at 34KPH, as four of us go down.