Let’s Keep It Safe

Every now and then something happens, and we have to look at how we address the situation.

Last week I received a mail from a fellow cyclist voicing a concern on how our group was behaving on the Al Qudra cycle track, riding more than two abreast, taking over the entire track, and being unruly.

From the onset ,Team Cycle Safe Dubai, has been a vital and integral part of the Al Qudra cycling track development, being the first group to make use of the road before a cycle track even existed. We have set the standards of how to ride safely, how to ride in groups and how we are all part of a growing cycling community. Continue reading “Let’s Keep It Safe”

Limited offer on Road ID Bracelets


Road ID have come on board for a limited time only, offering 20% off your Road ID bracelet purchases to CSD members only. You have until the midnight of the 13-09-2017 to take advantage of this awesome offer which is open to all group members where you can place your order in one of three ways: Continue reading “Limited offer on Road ID Bracelets”

Keep the creak out of your Pedals



Keep the creak out of your Pedals

Pedals are often overlooked.  They are put through all sorts of weather conditions, and ridden under any and all kinds of cycling conditions, without being given a second thought.  Like all other components on your bike, pedals need TLC too.  Look after them and they will last you longer and perform consistently; but neglect them and you will soon enough find out how terrible it is riding on ill-maintained pedals.  These steps will ensure your pedals keep well maintained and leave you a happier cyclist: Continue reading “Keep the creak out of your Pedals”

Get race season ready

With a month left of summer, the cooler weather just in sight and race season calling, are you as prepared as you can be to go into the season with confidence?

We can all agree that not many of us have done much training over the summer, and chosen vacationing in cooler climates over battling the loop in 40+ degree weather.  But no time like the present to get ready for race season. Continue reading “Get race season ready”

Cleaning And Lubricating Your Bike Chain

Changing times

In an ideal world where we were only concerned with long transmission life we would completely contain the chain in an oil rich environment – with the dirt kept out. This approach was popular at one time with Sturmey Archer hub gears and a fully enveloping chain ‘bath’.

These days most of us are more concerned with keeping the weight of our bike down and our expensive gear changing mechanisms on show – in order to keep it running efficiently and enhance its useful life. How do we do that? The answer is simple – keep it clean and lubricate it well. This sounds a simple process too but can be contradictory when the lube acts as a dirt-magnet.

A few tips

1. Clean your chain often and well – I tend to leave the chain in situ on the bike and use plenty of good quality degreaser to get all the dirt and old oil off. We have found a paint brush coupled with degreaser is the best combination.

We also use a cut off water bottle which can be placed in the seat tube bottle cage, this keeps the degreaser close at hand and also reduces the chance of it getting spilt. Clean the ‘rings, jockey wheels and sprockets too. Wash the degreaser off and dry the chain before lubricating.

2. Lubricate the chain with a good quality bike-specific lubricant. The Tribologists (people devoted full-time to the science of reducing friction) have developed oils and additives which when used properly will make your drive-train more efficient and last longer.

For wet or dry conditions we always use a ‘wet’ lube. Wet lubes penetrate the chain and get to the crucial roller/pin interface and stay wet resisting rain and mud intrusion to the chain – but they do attract dust (so wipe off any excess). In hot, dry conditions this can lead to a ‘paste’ developing which can increase friction and wear – hence the importance of step 1.

3. ‘Dry’ lube reduces the attraction of dust by using a light solvent carrier to get the friction reducing additives into the chain – the carrier evaporating once it’s done its job. But I’m told by Tribolology experts that the additives aren’t as effective as wet lubrication so I tend to use wet lube all year round. In summer I spend a little more time wiping off the excess and a bit more care applying less in the first place.

4. Check your chain ‘stretch’. This isn’t actually stretch but wear to the chain pins and internal surface of the roller will make the chain longer – hence the term stretch. You’ll need a chain checker to do this but they don’t cost much.

The simplest ones slot into the chain and measure 0.75% extension on one side (over the nominal original length) and 1.0% when flipped over to the other side. 0.75% extension means your chain is showing signs of wear – you should check out your local bike shop for a replacement.

1.0% means change your chain for a new one or you will also quickly wear out your chain-rings and cassette – a stitch in time… saves money.



How do I apply the oil to the chain?

If you don’t have a work stand handy – hold the bike upright with the rear wheel between your legs, rotate the left crank backwards with your left hand (holding the centre unless you have very long arms!), apply lubricant to the inner surface of the rollers with your bottle static and the chain moving.

You need to apply enough lubricant to flow into the space between the rollers and the side-plates – and then hopefully it will get between the rollers and the chain-pins. Run the chain round a few times – I ride round a few meters and change up and down the gears to get some oil on the sprockets.

Then wipe off the excess with a rag pulling the rag along each section of chain. Take care not to get lube on brake rims or discs – I don’t use a spray for this very important reason.

Should I lubricate a dirty chain?

If you think you can get oil into the roller/pin interface without carrying some dirt and grit along with the lube then go ahead. Please let me know your technique and if you can perform any other miracles! If like me you can’t do it – go to step 1 – clean the chain!

Should I clean a new chain?

No – it’s already clean and very nicely lubricated. Add more lube and wipe off the excess if you like.

What oil/lubrication should I use?

If you only buy one get a bike specific ‘wet’ lube.

Article via British Cycling

Top Tips For Riding In Warmer Weather

Here are six things to keep in mind about cycling in warm weather!

Acclimate Yourself
“The biggest warm-weather mistake cyclists make is riding in the heat without preparation,” says Stacy Sims, PhD, founder of Osmo Nutrition. If you don’t acclimate to warm-weather riding, you won’t reap as many benefits from your workout and you’ll increase both perceived effort and potential for injury. Instead, ride early or late in the day, when it’s coolest, and use your down time to get used to the heat—try Bikram “hot” yoga or a sauna.

Protect Yourself
A sunburn does more than fry your skin, Sims says. It contributes to fatigue and increases your metabolism. The latter might sound like a good thing, but it also increases fluid needs, which can be a problem on a warm day when you’re already struggling to stay hydrated. Do everything you can to prevent sunburn: Always wear sunscreen; choose jerseys, shorts, and arm skins with built-in sun protection; and wear a cap under your helmet to shield your head.

Plan Ahead
To prevent your drink from quickly turning the temperature of warm tea, freeze one bottle at half full and another at the three-quarter mark before topping them off. (Mountain bikers: Put ice cubes into your hydration pack.) For longer rides, figure out in advance where you can restock with cold beverages.

Get Wet
While it may be tempting to toss ice cubes down your jersey, don’t. Sims advises against it: “Ice against the skin causes blood vessels to constrict, which shoots hot blood back to your core.” If your core temperature climbs too high, performance and health can suffer. Instead, pour cool water over your neck and forearms, or wipe them with a cool, damp towel.

Ease Up
Don’t try to maintain the same pace or power you’d put out on a milder day, says cycling coach Derick Williamson, cofounder of Durata Training in Austin, Texas. “Once the sum of the temperature in Fahrenheit plus the relative humidity gets above 130, we dial power ranges back by about 10 to 15 watts,” he says. “If you’ve been doing 15-minute intervals at 220 to 240 watts, that becomes 205 to 225, or we may reduce the efforts to 10 or 12 minutes.” If you’re racing in steamy conditions, cut your warm-up time in half or more.

Hydrate Right
In the days leading up to a big ride, increase your consumption of watery fruits and vegetables (such as watermelon and grapes), Sims says. Sodium helps your body hold on to the fluid you’re drinking, so sip an electrolyte beverage during your ride. Sims’s company makes Osmo Active Hydration, but there are many others to choose from. Aim to drink at a rate of 10 to 12 milliliters per kilogram of body weight, about a 20-ounce bottle every hour for a 150-pound rider. Postride, “a protein-based recovery drink will rehydrate you faster than a carbohydrate-only one,” Sims says. Protein pulls water with it when it travels to muscles. If you opt for plain water after a ride, pair it with a snack or meal that contains protein, carbohydrates, and sodium.


Article via bicycling.com


Riding Rollers – How To Do It

You’ve probably seen them before at a race, ride, or event. Riding rollers is a way to ride your bike in place without having to hook it up to a trainer or other contraption. The drums the wheels rest on spin to keep the rider upright but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to ride. Just how is riding rollers done?

Riding Rollers – The Benefits

Rollers can be intimidating and may even evoke fear in the hearts of some cyclists.  They’re simple enough but in the wrong hands, can be dangerous. Once you get the hang of rollers, you’re in for a ride that offers you benefits of balance, bike handling, and fitness.

Rollers Have Evolved

At least part of a new outlook on rollers comes from evolution. Contemporary rollers employ smaller drums and upgraded bearings that allow for more control. They’re overall easier to use than older, clunky rollers from the past.

For Starters

Before starting a roller session, always check that the rollers are on a perfectly flat surface. You don’t want them to rock from corner to corner, tip, slope or tilt.

Check the Length

Check that the rollers fit your bike. Stand the bike on the rollers. Draw a visual line vertically down from your front axle. The axle should be just behind the apex or top of the roller. In other words, the position of the roller should be just longer than the wheel base of the bike. If not, the front drum is typically adjustable. The two drums in the back are not.

The Safety Net

Place an object on both sides of the rollers for you to hang on to. You can use two high-backed chairs,  or something that you can brace yourself against. One option is to set the rollers inside a doorway and use the sides of the doorway for balance. Once you get on, you can lean your shoulders against the doorway to regain balance and prevent falling.

Check Your Gearing

Start with your bike in an easy gear so when you start pedaling you can quickly bring your wheels up to speed which is what will keep you upright. As you get rolling, you can then shift down to a harder gear for added resistance.

Getting on The Bike

To get on the bike, first place it so both wheels are on the rollers. Then if getting on from the left side, place your left foot on the roller stand so you can get high enough to swing your other leg over the back wheel and sit your butt on the saddle. With one hand on the bars and another on a chair or something else stable, bring your left foot to the pedal and clip both in.

Starting to Pedal

With one hand still holding on to something to balance and one hand on the handlebars, start pedaling slowly. Keep the front wheel straight and ideally in the center of the drums. The magic of balancing a bike happens because of the gyroscopic effect of the turning wheels which is what keeps you upright while riding rollers. It will be very difficult to balance while pedaling slowly so speed up by pedaling harder and shifting to a harder gear. You will feel the bike become less twitchy and more stable. Keep holding onto the support for a few minutes until you start to get comfortable.

Riding Without Support

Once you feel comfortable, start lifting your hand away from the support but holding it in the air just above it should you need it. As you get more comfortable you can move it closer to the bars and eventually completely on the bars. This will take some time and practice to get t0 and to be comfortable with so it’s alright if you can’t do this right away.

Keeping Your Focus

The good, or bad thing with riding rollers compared to a trainer is that you have to pay attention. If you don’t, you will ride off the side of them or fall over. Particularly when starting out, you will have to focus hard on staying in the center of the rollers and keeping your balance. As you get better and better your focus can drift.

One Minute Per Gear

When you get the hang of it, shift to the easiest gear in back while keeping a high cadence. A good starting workout for a beginner is to ride one minute in each gear, shifting to a harder gear after one minute. If you have ten gears that’s ten minutes, each progressively harder if you’re keeping an even cadence. If that’s not enough, repeat running through the gears for a total of twenty minutes. Three times through or thirty minutes could be something to work toward.

Getting Off the Rollers

To get off the rollers, stop pedaling and put one hand on whatever you’re using to balance. Then un-clip the foot opposite that you’re getting off on and then un-clip the side that you are getting off on. Place the foot of the side you’re getting off on onto the roller stand and swing your other leg over the back of the bike to get off. It may be awkward at first but you’ll get the hang of it quick.

Basic Tips

  • Set the rollers up between two objects: chairs, doorway etc.
  • Use the right gears to start; easier is better.
  • Focus a few feet ahead. Don’t look down just at your front wheel
  • Don’t use a death grip or tense up. Hold the handlebars lightly.
  • Use you hips to drive the pedals. If you get wobbly, add speed.

Article via ilovebicycling.com

What to eat and when

Whether it is a gruelling race or a long training ride, optimal nutrition, along with consistent training and realistic pacing, is one of the key requisites for success. Get it wrong, too little or too much, and you may come to a  halt, reduce training benefits and significantly increase the time you will need to recover from the ride.

Day before

Eat normally the day before a big ride but pay particular attention to hydration. You want to make sure you are optimally hydrated in the 24 hours leading up to a ride rather than having to try and play catch-up in the morning which will tend to result in more toilet stops than is necessary. If you are travelling to a sportive the day before, don’t rely on service station food. Pack a healthy wholemeal bread sandwich, some fruit and unsalted nuts as a mid-afternoon snack. Check ahead and make a booking for your evening meal at a suitable restaurant nearby, and ensure that your hotel is able to do an early breakfast.


The evening before a race or long training ride, avoid eating too late, or it might impact on the quality of your sleep. There is no need for the vast plates of pasta commonly consumed for the outdated concept of “carb loading”.

Your body can only store a certain amount of energy in the form of glycogen and, a combination of your normal diet and a taper or rest day, will mean that it is more than likely already full. Avoid heavy and hard to digest red meat, but instead opt for lighter proteins such as chicken or fish. Don’t overdo the fibre and steer clear of highly spiced food. Some carbohydrates, in the form of pasta, rice or potatoes are great, but remember you don’t need to overload.

A milky hot drink can also help you to relax and get to sleep.

Ride day – 7-7.30am

Aim to have your breakfast 90-120 minutes before you start riding. If you know that the ride will start at a very easy pace and does not have a significant climb early on, you can push this to 60 minutes. Porridge is the perfect pre-ride breakfast but, for longer rides, an additional 2-3 egg omelette will give you some more slow release energy. Many cyclists can’t function without coffee, but ensure you keep hydrated and sip at 500 ml of water or isotonic sports drink in the time leading up to your ride.


Pacing and fuelling are intrinsically linked. If you ride too hard, your body won’t be able to absorb and use the fuel you are giving it. Settle into an intensity early on, that you know is sustainable and realistic. Sip at your bottle right from the start of the ride.

You should be aiming to consume 500-1000 ml of fluid per hour depending on your build and conditions. If you tend to forget to drink, which many riders do, especially in cold conditions, set an alarm to go off every 5 minutes as a reminder.


Carbohydrates need to be consumed early, in small amounts and frequently. Thirty minutes into a ride might seem too early but you are not eating for that moment, but for 15-30 kilometres down the road. You will need 0.5-1g of carbohydrates per kg of bodyweight each hour depending on intensity, and you should aim to spread that over 2-3 micro feeds every 20-30 minutes.

500 ml of typical sports drink mixed at 6% will give you 30 g of carbohydrate, as well as essential electrolytes, so, on top of this, a 80-90 kg rider might also consume:

  • Two gels (30 g of carbohydrates each) = 60 g
  • Five fig rolls (12 g of carbohydrates each) = 60 g
  • Three mini pitta breads with peanut butter (18 g of carbohydrates each) = 54 g
  • Two brioche rolls with jam (28 g of carbohydrates each) = 56 g

So, it is not too hard to take on enough, but also fairly easy to overdo it. We are all individuals and while some riders thrive on gels alone, others need some form of real food. It is essential to experiment in training with what and how much food works for you. It can be a good strategy to eat more real food earlier on in a ride and then switch to gels later on, when you might not be able to stomach real food.

Your body will struggle to process more than this and, trying to force too much down, will result in you feeling bloated and maybe suffering from gastric distress. Pacing and fuelling are intrinsically linked and, if you are pushing too hard, you won’t be able to digest your food. There are however a number of steps you can take to avoid stomach problems on the bike.

On training rides, if you are trying to lose weight, you will want to stick towards the lower end of this scale but you will have to pay close attention to pacing as you will be more reliant of your fat stores for energy and your body can only access these at relatively low intensities.


You will be taking your second or third micro feeds and getting to the end of your first bottle. Keep drinking consistently and have an item of food every 20-30 minutes.


At some point in your training ride you might have a café stop or, if you are racing, come to a feed station. Both of these situations and any food you consume need to be factored into your fuelling strategy. If you know you are coming to a feed station or café, try to not eat within 30 minutes of it. If, for example, if you have a large flapjack, that will be about 40 g of carbohydrates as well as a decent dose of slower burning fat. That isn’t a bad thing, you will burn off the fuel, but it has to be accounted for.

Rest of the ride

Stick to the same structure and discipline throughout the ride. A common mistake is for riders to lose focus towards the end of a ride and to neglect fuelling. If you hit one of your 20 or 30 minute feeds, even if you think there are only a couple of kilometres to go, take that fuel on.

It isn’t unusual for race distances not to be 100% accurate and, even if you are just training, a puncture or a mechanical can easily make that final stretch drag on. Some riders like to use caffeinated products to give them a boost near the end of a ride but these should be reserved for the final 60 minutes, when you really need them.


If you have fuelled and paced your ride correctly, you should finish the ride feeling hungry but not ravenous. Have a protein and carbohydrate recovery drink made up and ready to go in your fridge or kit-bag. This will kick-start your recovery and make sure that while you are sorting out your kit and bike and getting showered and changing, you have got some energy.

It will also help to prevent you overeating when you do have some real food, which is likely to be a late lunch. This meal should contain some quality protein and carbohydrates, a tuna sandwich would be ideal. If you are able to have your real food straight away, within 20 minutes of finishing your ride, you can skip the recovery drink. Even in this situation, lunch doesn’t need to be huge and getting out of the, ‘I’ve ridden so I can eat what I want’ mindset is key if you are wanting to drop a few pounds.


A few hours after you have finished your ride, if you didn’t fuel correctly during it or soon enough after, you will suddenly feel really hungry. Take note of this and tweak your during and post race fuelling next time, as this is when it is all too easy to polish off whole packs of biscuits or massive slices of cake. You should have a snack but opt for some unsalted nuts, seeds and some fruit.


Again don’t use the fact that you have ridden as an excuse for a blow out, unless you are celebrating finishing your main event for the year. A sensible sized dinner containing foods that will aid recovery and reduce inflammation is the intention, rather than trying to replace all the calories you burned. Some oily fish such as mackerel, with broccoli and spiced potatoes, followed by some berries would be perfect.

Article via British Cycling