Some Like it Hot: A Cyclist’s Guide to Embrocation

embrocation

 

Fair-weather riders, listen up! Cyclists have long relied on a secret salve to help adapt to the changing seasons. Embrocation is the answer to those cool fall mornings when leg warmers are too toasty, but the thought of bare skin is goose bump inducing. Want to keep your legs happy as old man winter nips at your heels? Here’s the lowdown on embrocation and reviews of a few of my favorites. 

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Lazer Z1 Review: The Swiss Army Knife of Helmets

lazer z1 review

Updated 9/30/17

Helmet hair. Helmet head. Forgoing a helmet altogether.

It’s rare for cyclists to display much love for their lids. And for good reason. There’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable or ill-fitting helmet rattling your skull for hours. The best helmet is one you forget about until you actually need it.

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How to Find the Best Bike Pump: The Ultimate Guide to This Key Bike Tool

best bike pump

 

Updated 12/26/16

A good floor pump is the one tool every cyclist should own. Running tires at their optimal pressure not only improves performance, but reduces the risk of pinch flats. The goal is to spend less time wrestling with a pump and more time in the saddle.  Here are our top picks. 

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Essential Bike Tools: Buyer’s Guide for the Beginner Mechanic

essential bike tools

Updated 11/20/16

DIY bicycle wrenching might sound intimidating, but consider this: Having a few essential bike tools and the skills to perform basic maintenance will not only save you significant cash in the long run, but could also save you from a long walk home if you snap a chain or pop a spoke in the middle of nowhere.

There are a few basic bike tools that every cyclist should own, some aren’t even bike specific (ie: they can be found cheaply at a hardware store). Every cyclist should know how to lube a chain, fix a flat and properly clean a bike. In fact, a cleaned and degreased bike should be first on the list before a tool ever touches it.

The right tools will help you replace a chain, cables and housing, as well as adjust brakes, remove a cassette or straighten misaligned wheels. I suggest pairing this guide with a bicycle maintenance book such as The Big Blue Book of Bicycle Maintenance or the recently updated Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance and, if in doubt, always consult your local bike shop before attempting a hero move that could compromise your bike or result in more repairs.

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The Best Bikes for Women (that aren’t pink-colored men’s frames!)

best bikes for women

Last updated: October 20, 2016

Let’s begin by clearing up one common misconception: Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you have to ride a women’s specific design (WSD). If you’re struggling to find a bike that fits, trying a WSD model is a great first step. After all, companies try to design the best bikes for women to address their specific needs like a shorter reach and torso. Remember that it’s always best to find a bike that fits well over one that was chosen just to save a few bucks. You want to buy a bike you’ll still love to ride years later.

Though some women’s specific frames are the same as the men’s version, just repainted or with slightly different components, a true women’s specific bike is more than just a pink version of the men’s and those true WSD bikes are the only ones I’m recommending here.

To find the best bikes for women, look for a varied frame geometry and components that are specific to a woman’s smaller hands, narrow shoulders and shorter reach. Whether you’re looking for an entry level road bike or a bike fit for racing, you’ll find the cream of the crop here.

Read moreThe Best Bikes for Women (that aren’t pink-colored men’s frames!)

What to Look For in an Entry Level Road Bike

 

entry level road bike

If you’ve started looking for an entry level road bike, but feel paralyzed by so many choices, you’re not alone. Buying your first road bike is a big decision. But knowing what to look for in a new bike is half the battle. Here are some considerations that will help lead you to the perfect ride, along with a few of my favorite bikes for beginners.

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The Best Cycling Rollers: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

best cycling rollers

Last updated 2/14/17

If you’ve ever struggled to ride in a straight line or nearly swerved off the road reaching into your jersey pocket, then cycling rollers could improve your balance and coordination. Any pro rider will tell you that it’s not necessarily the size of the engine that matters most, but how efficiently you use it. Developing a smooth, efficient pedal stroke will not only teach you how to ride more economically, but also improve balance and core stability. Not all rollers are created equal. Here’s our roundup of the best cycling rollers to fit the needs of recreational riders and racers.  

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Shimano Camera Review

Shimano Sport Camera Review

When Shimano threw their hat into the lifestyle gear ring with the launch of their CM-1000 Sport Camera in 2014, they left out a key component— the camera’s accompanying software. Users had to wait until August of the following year to get their hands on the tools that promised to enhance the camera’s functionality by integrating metrics like power, speed, heart rate and Di2. Now that this sprinter has his leadout man, we can finally tell if Shimano’s point of view sport camera lives up to the initial hype.

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Bont Vaypor and Vaypor Plus Review

Stiff and light. These two qualities comprise the holy grail of cycling. In a competitive cycling shoe market, Bont claims to rise above the rest for both attributes.

After a solid year of testing the Bont Vaypor road shoes, I’ll take a closer look at how these Bonts hold up to the (stiff) competition, what makes each product in Bont’s cycling line unique, and how to tell if it’s worth trading in your current kicks for a pair of Bonts.

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