Things I've learnt about cycling in my first year…

2011 was the year that cycling replaced the “search for the right media centre” as the main blog topic at The Hickensian. I’ve been pretty much starting from scratch in terms of knowledge, and gleaning information from all sorts of sources.

Here are just some of things I’ve learnt this year:

  • There are Rules. 87 of them in fact.
  • When mucking about with the stem height on the headset (for the purposes of slamming) you need to tighten the top cap before the stem bolts. If you do the stem first, you can’t tighten the top bolt properly and everything rattles. As I find out once, going downhill.
  • The quick release on brakes is great for whipping the wheel off that bit quicker, just remember to put it down again afterwards. As I find out once, going downhill.
  • Cream tyres look great on a retro build, but after a few short rides they look like you’ve wiped your bottom on them.
  • Mudguards and chainguards protect you from muck, but metal ones are a constant source of annoying rattles.
  • When changing tyres or inner tubes, you need just enough puff in the inner tube to give it some shape. Otherwise it gets pinched by the tyre and you get through quite a few inner tubes. I learnt eventuallly
  • You need a good hard tyre to resist punctures, at least 90-100 psi.
  • Just because a saddle is expensive, it doesn’t mean its right for you. Of everything I’ve tried sitting on this year, from Brooks to Fizik, the ones that suit my bottom best are by Charge: the Spoon and Knife saddles. They can be picked up for less than £20, look good and feel great.
  • The day I made my saddle properly level (with a spirit level) was the day I stopped suffering from numb hands on a ride.
  • The most important accessory/thing to take with you is water.
  • Steel may be heavier, but it gives you a nicer, smoothed out ride compared to Aluminium.
  • There are 2 types of SPD cleats/pedals – SPD‘s are small, metal and are intended for Mountain Bike use, whereas SPD-SL‘s are larger, plastic and intended for road bike use.
  • I just love farting around with bikes. Which is why my Peugeot Project from earlier this year is now becoming a Charge Plug inspired single speed project. When thats finished there’ll be another bike project…

I still can’t wrap Bar Tape properly though…

The Hickensian is the journal of Jon Hicks, one half of the creative partnership Hicksdesign. Take a look at the work we do.

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