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Gravel Tires

Gravel grinding or whatever term you want to call it is the hot new thing in road cycling. But because the bike industry is rushing headlong trying to capture as much of this “new” market share and the dollars that go along with it, there are a ton of products being thrown out to you, the consumers with the “gravel grinding” moniker attached. Many of those items look wildly different from each other and you’d wonder how something designed for a specific use could vary in size, construction, appearance, and price so much. Tell someone they need a tire for their road bike and they pretty much have a good idea of generally what it is. Same with a mountain bike tire. But what do you think of when you want a tire for this hot new trend sweeping the nation? Best answer? That depends. But stick with me and I’ll try and see if I can shed a little light on the matter so you can walk in armed with the proper knowledge to be able to plunk down on a new set of treads.

First things first. There are all types of gravel and terrain that make up the genre “gravel grinding”. (Anyone else getting tired of that term yet? Sorry, it’s the best I have so far, so you’ll have to keep hearing it for a while until something better comes along. I’ll try to use it sparingly.) The types of gravel you’ll encounter will be dictated by the terrain you live in, the budget of your county, state, and federal road managers, what the roads are used for, and just what types of surfaces you personally are willing to travel down. For example, in the midwest, there are tons of rolling gravel roads that connect the small counties and farms of the area. Out here in the PNW, many of our roads are there because of the logging industry and they tend to go winding up into the mountains and back down. Sometimes the roads are irrigation canal accesses or abandoned sections of highway that nature has reclaimed when the straightened out and widened the roads. Also, a lot of the bikes and tires out there work pretty darn well on less severe trails and singletrack.  And in case you didn’t notice, but even the quality of the asphalt the highway crews are laying down has gone down in recent years. Hell, half the time it isn’t even asphalt, it’s chip seal and the size of the rocks they use keep getting bigger and bigger to save money. One last thing, even if you only ride on the road and never venture down the beaten path so to speak, if you ride anytime between November 1st and May 1st and live in N. America you may have picked up on that the shoulders you occupy are filled full of sand, cinders, glass, and de-icer essentially making every road ride a ghetto gravel grind by default.

So long story longer, when it comes to deciding what type of tire to choose it pretty much comes down to the types of gravel, dirt, trail, and pavement you’re going to be on and how much of your overall riding you’ll spend on each type. If you spend the vast majority of your rides on pavement, crappy chip seal roads that at worse look like this:

Super Smooth Gravel

then I would stick with a basic road style tire. But pick one that is bigger than a 23c and has some sort of puncture protection. 25′s are nice and 28′s are even better. You don’t really need much in the way of knobs or even tread, but having a higher volume tire to smooth out the small pebbles, rocks and occasional washboard is much nicer. You won’t feel like you’re getting bounced around and your comfort and control will go way up. Basically you’re putting on your own Paris Roubaix tire. Sure that race has sections of cobbles, but they only make up about 90k of the 260+k that is that race. Just don’t forget to air down. There’s no reason to be running 100+ psi in a 28c road tire. Think more along the lines of 70-80psi and you’ll really like the smoothness and control of the ride.

*Just a quick aside. Service Course Velo has been using and carrying Clement tires for the last two years and I can’t say enough good things about them. So throughout this article there are going to be times where it’s gonna to sound a bit like a sales pitch. That’s because it is. I’m just giving you fair warning.*

The Strada LLG is going to be your weapon of choice for these types of rides. It comes in three sizes (23, 25, and 28c), two sidewall color options (tan or black), two casing thread counts (60 or 120tpi) and tow rubber compounds (single or dual). The 60tpi tires have the single rubber compound and you have the option of black or tan sidewalls. The 120tpi tires are just like Henry Ford intended (black only). Both have a puncture protection strip running under the tread, but the 120tpi tires have puncture protection running from bead to bead.

Strada LGG 28 Skinwall

 

So lets say you have a bit more gravel in your regular ride diet, but there’s still a fair amount of pavement you do daily. You take the bike down the occasional trail, but nothing too crazy. You need a tire that does it all pretty well and transitions from one surface to another without making too many sacrifices along the way. When you do venture off the pavement, the rocks and gravel is starting to get a bit looser and rougher too. Check out the USH.
USH May 12 004

At a 35c, it’s going to be too big for your road bike, but that’s fine because you won’t be taking this tire places you’d really want to take your road bike anyway. See that center section? It’s raised, smooth and has an inverted tread design. That means it rolls smooth and fast  and offers more puncture protection.  The side knobs are designed to let you lean the bike over on pavement without a big side lug that will squirm and wiggle. It really initiates high speed road corners much like a road bike tire. As you go outward on the tread, the side knobs get larger and more open to help grab in the loose stuff. This is the tire that both the Cyclocross World and Raleigh teams put on their bikes for training, and commuting back and forth to the race venues. 7 out of the top 10 finishers in the Dirty Kanza gravel race were on this tire.

Lets say the gravel you like to seek out is a bit looser, a bit bigger, a bit steeper, has more singletrack peppered throughout, and while there’s less overall pavement, you still need something that doesn’t buzz down the road like a tractor tire and lets you keep up with the roadies you encounter. Meet the MSO

Clement MSO

 

The biggest difference is that the casing size bumps up to a 40c. This is the tire you use when the gravel is going to be the predominant surface and is rougher and looser. It’s tread blocks more open to help the tire grab in loose and uneven terrain. The side lugs are now looking pretty beefy to help grab traction when leaned over on the trails and rough stuff. The center section is still very smooth rolling and fast, but it’s still more open to help it grab traction when climbing and descending steeper and looser grades. This tire is almost a mountain bike tire, just downsized and civilized a bit to be more versatile and longer wearing.

Not all bikes will fit a full 40c tire though. If that’s the case Clement makes the MSO in a 32c size as well. It’s not going to have the flotation in the really chunky stuff, but it rides very simirly to it’s big brother. If you are the whipper racer type looking for a lighter version of the 40c MSO, the 32c is your ticket.

Here’s a pic of all three tires side by side. 35c USH, 32c MSO, and 40c MSO. All three tires come in 60tpi with a single rubber compound or 120tpi with a dual compound.

Clement USH35 MSO32 MSO 40

 

Another side note. People often ask why buy a gravel specific tire like one of the X’Plor series form Clement when I could just use a cyclocross file tread? File treads work pretty well actually. They roll fast, have decent volume, and even side lugs to help up when the gravel get loose. They have a couple of downsides though. One is that because they are designed to roll fast on hard pack  and grass cross courses while still cornering decently, they often have a more square profile. That works great when leaned over in a grassy corner, but not so well when turning on pavement. Those chunky side lugs start buzzing a squirming pretty quick. The other issue they have and it’s actually the worse of the two is that they wear quickly. There isn’t much rubber on top of what is essentially a bald tire to begin with. Not only do you have to replace tires more frequently, but you risk of flatting and cutting the casing get pretty high pretty quick. Check out this picture of a Clement LAS semi-slick on Ben Berden’s bike after only 400 miles.

LAS Worn out

Feel free to swing by and pick my brain abut gravel tires. And while Service Course Velo stocks, sells , and rides Clement tires, there are other brands and models out there so please don’t hesitate to ask about them.

Cheers.

Classics Season

Coming up in April, there’s going to be a couple of Service Course Velo sponsored rides happening. Looming on the immediate horizon is the GP Rogue Flahute on April 5th. Timed to coincide with the Belgian classic, the Ronde Vlaanderen or Tour of Flanders, the Flahute will cover 112 miles of the Rogue Valley’s most Belgian terrain there is. Instead of the cobbled bergs and pave of Flanders, Flahute riders will deal with vicious chip seal, broken pavement, and as we like to call it, grah-vel. For those of you concerned with completing a 112 mile ride in early April, or any time for that matter, fear not. There are plenty of early out options and shortcuts to choose from. The dirty secret is that almost all the riders choose to do a shorter route and only the truly hard of head usually finish the whole shebang.  This year there is even an official shorter route called the Flahute Petit. There will be chili and treats back at Service Course Velo HQ for when you return and odds are good there might be an adult libation or two on hand to ease the telling of lies and war stories from the day’s ride. Ride leaves Service Course Velo at 9:00am sharp and riders should be able to deal with whatever mechanicals they might encounter. If you are thinking you are in it to win it, remember to pack enough food and water to haul your buns around for a full century. Otherwise, there are a few convenience stores that you can stock up on all the foods you’re not allowed to usually eat. I’m personally a big fan of the fruit pies and turkey jerky.  Here’s the links to the Rogue Flahute and Flahute Petit Route.  You can download this to your GPS if you have one. If you are electronically challenged via route finding and prefer a more analog method, a cue sheet  and map will be printed up that will give turn by turn instructions.

As always, if there are any questions please feel free to swing by the shop, call or send and email and I’ll do my best to get you sorted out. Also, you can check Facebook to see any updates there are about the ride.

After we’ve recovered from the Flahute, there’s another ride coming up in case you didn’t get enough grah-vel in your cycling adventures. On May 4th, there will be a continuation of a Service Course Velo tradition called a Honey Badger ride. Why is it called a Honey Badger ride? It’s because the routes are usually of mixed terrain that doesn’t favor one type of bike over another. Trying to make the choice between a mountain bike and a cross bike? Or a cross bike and road bike? Either option usually will leave you happy you chose one over the other at some point and then wishing you had went with the other later in the ride. Most importantly, whatever bike you decide, Honey Badger doesn’t care! In case there are three to four of you left that haven’t been beat to death with the Honey Badger meme and it’s origins and are a bit confused, watch this and you’ll get the silly little joke.

This Honey Badger ride will be taking place in the warm and sunny confines of the Yreka, California area. The route is 58 miles long and is about a 50/50 mix of gravel and what could be charitably defined as “paved roads”.  If you are feeling your inner Fabian Cancellara, then a road bike will probably get you around the route, but most will probably choose the cross bike option. Either way, once again, Honey Badger doesn’t care! I would even imagine there will be a few folks who will attempt the route on a mountain bike or even worse, a single speed of some type. Just remember, it’s always your choice to bring a knife to a gunfight and if your’e gonna be dumb, ya gotta be tough.

The ride leaves Upper Greenhorn Park in Yreka, California at 9:00am sharp and will make a big loop out into the Jefferson State hinterlands towards Ft. Jones before returning back to the park. As always, there is no sag wagon, so bring what you need to fix your bikes, feed your face, bivy out of doors, or kill and eat your ride companions. There is the option for a short 2-3 mile detour mid-ride to roll into Ft. Jones to obtain provisions if you need to. This year we’ll be doing the route in reverse to spice things up a bit. Check back for links to the route, map, and more descriptions.

New Shop Hours

Almost like a real business, Service Course Velo will be again open on Saturdays. From now on the shop will be open Tuesday through Friday from 11am to 6pm and on Saturdays from noon until 5pm. Closed on Sundays and open by special appointment on Mondays. Please feel free to call or email if there are any questions. Cheers.

Step Off Sucka!!

Cross season is just starting to heat up, which means there are clinics, workshops, camps, and training races happening all over the US right now. People are posting on Facebook about it, the race schedule for August and September is filled with them, and Twitter is popping off with what is always the most hotly contested question every year when people are learning how to get off a cyclocross bike. “Should I be doing a step through dismount or should I do a step behind dismount?”

Quick visual reminder for those that want a little heads up. Here’s a few pictures and a quick video of each to refresh the memory banks.

Video

Here’s a step through dismount

 

 

Step Through Dismount

 

He’s executing perfect form. Body close to the bike, weight driving through his hand on the top tube, and he’s facing the barriers, ready to take a full stride at speed over them as soon as hit right foot hits the ground. Perfect high speed barrier dismount.

It used to be the step through was the preferred method of dismount. It keeps you facing forward towards the barriers as you dismount and allows a full stride as soon as your right foot hits the ground, meaning you could carry a bit more speed (in theory). This dismount was developed way back when people used to race cross in toe clips and straps. To do a dismount in clips and straps, before you ever swung your right leg over the rear wheel, you first unclipped your left foot, flipped the pedal over, and stood on the other side. Then and only then you continued on with the rest of the process of the step through dismount. Also, because you were wearing something closer to a soccer cleat, it was easier to step forward with your left foot than it was to slide off the outside of the pedal. That extra step of unclipping and flipping a pedal took more time to do, so cross courses reflected that in their design and execution, meaning there were going to be more high speed barriers that allowed you a longer amount of time to set up properly and safely. 

And then, clipless pedals were invented. Of course, people kept on dismounting and stepping through the same way they always had. They also kept on unclipping with the left foot first before they swung their right leg over. Instead of flipping their pedal over though, they just rested on the instep of their foot. Someone realized though, that since you don’t have to flip a pedal over, you might not even to unclip with your left foot at all until the end of the dismount and that would save even more time. The problem is that clipless pedals don’t always release like you’d want them to and when you’re body weight is driving forward, in front of your bike, and your left foot is still clipped in, it’s exactly like getting tripped while sprinting.  Bad things can happen. Don’t believe me? Ask Joey, he’s probably the most famous and most recent example.

So you can see what bad things can happen if the step through dismount done at speed goes pear shaped. The risk versus reward isn’t a very good ratio. Also, there just aren’t that many truly high speed barriers anymore. Most of your dismounting, especially at the beginner and intermediate levels is really all that fast, even on what would be considered a high speed barrier.  Factor in the changes in most course design to have more slow speed type barriers and you’re going to want to learn the step behind.

Here’s a step behind dismount.

Step Behind Dismount

 

Sorry for the small picture, but you get the idea. Notice how his right foot is going to drop off and touch the ground behind his left foot. And this is a picture of Jeremy Powers, former national champion, so of course his form is excellent. It’s very similar to the step through body position. Close to the bike and weight going down through his right arm onto the top tube.

Here’s another picture

Step Behind Dismount Back View

The step behind is safer and is actually quicker, because the amount of time you need to set up for it is much less than the step through. This is especially good if you are coming into a barrier at a very slow speed, like in the middle of a hill or right after a tight corner. Here J-Pow tells his students on why the step though is bad.

Notice he mentioned Joey. That guy got all sorts of famous for all the wrong reasons. You don’t want to be the next Joey. Just to be sure of how it’s no longer used, here’s a video of last year’s cyclocross world championships and I’d bet you don’t find one step through in the whole shebang. It’s kinda long, so if you don’t want to watch it, you can take my word for it.

In conclusion, I’m not going to tell you outright that you shouldn’t do the step through, but realize that 1. It’s an advanced technique and you should have a very good handle on how to do the step behind dismount first and 2. It’s has a very specific time and place where it’s useful and faster, but the risk of buggering it up and becoming a YouTube sensation for all the wrong reasons is very high.

 

Kit Order

It’s kit re-order time. In two weeks time from this upcoming Friday (That’s right! Friday the 13th!) I’ll be sending in the order to Pactimo to get another round of jerseys, bis shorts, and whatnots made. I’m sticking with the same classic Service Course Velo design, so don’t worry if you are just adding a jersey or a pair of shorts to your existing wardrobe. It’s still gonna match. The way this works is all orders are done by pre-payment in full and then on the Monday after the order window closes, I send Pactimo a wad of cash to get the ball rolling. Usually about four weeks after that, everything shows up and you roll on by to pick up your new, swanky gear and look like the most stylish cyclist in the Rogue Valley.

The pre-pay works a little different this year. I’ve set up an online store where you can go an build your own shopping cart of the things you want, pay with whatever type of plastic you prefer, and you’re done. A receipt will be emailed or texted to you immediately. Check it out here:

https://squareup.com/market/service-course-velo

After the 13th of September, I’ll close up the online shop and you’ll have to wait until the next go round. If you want to pay in cash or in person, no worries, just swing on by and I can assist you in your sartorial quest personally.

The clothes are very high quality. Not Rapha/Assos priced, but not bargain rack at Performance either. I’m selling these for my cost plus a minor amount to slightly offset the loss of blood from the credit card fees and shipping. They fit true to size, but they are a race cut. I wear an XL t-shirt, so I use an XL jersey, but it’s not a baggy club cut. It fits like a race jersey should.

 

Please feel to call, email, text, stop by and chat, telegram me, or send a message in a bottle if you have any questions along the way. Once again, here’s the link to the online store to order your kit.

https://squareup.com/market/service-course-velo

Cheers.

Big Intercourse

Got your attention? How’s that for a title? Funny story about that. A long time ago when I dabbled in poorly promoting mountain bike races, I was discussing the Beginner’s Course with some volunteers. Between my mumbling style of speech and their relative newness to the sport, they kept giggling every time I mentioned what they heard as the “big intercourse”. Long story short, we all come into a sport not always knowing the vocabulary and shorthand, and the inside baseball talk and shorthand used by the old timers can make it worse to get a handle on what a person needs.

What I’m driving at is cyclocross season is fast approaching and for those of us in the industry, we are well aware it’s the fastest growing segment of the sport and for damn good reason. We are in on the lingo and all the tech and everything that goes along with that. However, right now for a beginner, it’s a very confusing time. Disc or no disc, 9,10, or 11 speed, tubulars, tubeless, or (gasp!) tubes. Never mind the myriad of frame material options that ALL are valid if done well and dastardly if not. Lots of questions for lots of newbies coming into the sport. It might be kinda nice to not clog their info intakes and run them off our great little niche before they get a toe hold.

Service Course Velo is going to offer up for a limited time (pretty much until after the cross season of 2014) a super secret, special handshake, guy who knows a guy who knows a guy deal for the cross neophyte. If this is your first time racing cyclocross, swing by and sit down with me for a spell and we’ll talk cross and cross bike and I promise to spill as much unvarnished, unbiased truth as possible. I’ll even tell you to go buy a bike from a competing bike shop if that’s the best option for you. If you want to talk online retailers, that’s fine too, but you’ll have to tolerate a brief spiel about buying local. Of course, you’ll have to pay for the standard assembly and tune rate for a mail order bike, but I promise little to no snark.

Here’s the breakdown on the deal.

if you wind up buying a bike somewhere else, whether it was online or local, you’ll get free bike counseling leading up the purchase, a free bike fit after the fact (usually costs $50), a sweet YO! SCV Cross! sticker and if you want to, a matching t-shirt at my cost.

Buy a bike through Service Course Velo under $2000 and you’ll get the free bike counseling, free bike fit (again 50 bones usually), I’ll pay your entry to the excellent intro to cyclocross clinic at Cycle Analysis, one entry fee to the Southern Oregon Outlaw Cyclocross race of your choice, the free sticker and this time, I’ll throw in the t-shirt no charge.

Buy a bike over $2000 through Service Course Velo and the bike consult is pro bono, the fit is thrown in (again a $50 charge usually) , free entry to the cross clinic at Cycle Analysis, free sticker, and free t-shirt, but this time I’ll pay for your entry fees for the whole Southern Oregon Outlaw Cyclocross Series.

Remember, this offer is for cross newbies. If you have a few seasons under your belt, swing by and I’m certain we can talk and establish a proper sliding scale to still get you a great deal on a new rig and some schwag thrown your way.

Here’s the sweet sticker and design for the t-shirt. If you have no collection of the t.v. show “Yo!MTV Raps!” then I don’t know what to tell you. This is what you get.

Yo SCV cross

Cheap Trick(s)

Continuing in classic Service Course Velo fashion, here’s another article on basically how not to spend money. Brilliant plan for a bike shop, right? I figure if I can save you a few duckets here and there when it comes to general maintenance and upkeep, then maybe you’ll take my word for it when it’s time to get some real service work done or do a major equipment upgrade. Anywhay, here’s a few tricks and tips I’ve compiled that I’ve found to make life with bikes a little easier and maybe even less expensive.

1. El Cheapo iPhone case. If you are the type that has an Otter Box style case for your smart phone, then pass this one up, but if you are like me and can’t stand how big and bulky those cases make your phone and yet don’t want it dying from sweat and rain, read on. Most of us know that in a pinch a standard ziplock bag works pretty well. They are kinda big and since they are designed to keep your pb&j’s from leaking, they are kinda wimpy. Go to your local bike shop and buddy up with the head wrench. Odds are good they’ve been stockpiling these little babies.

IMG_2439

These ziplocks are made of tougher stuff than the standard sandwich ones. Plus, 95% of all smart phones fit down inside with just enough room for an I.D., credit card, and a $20. The best is that the touch screen function on your phone still works while snuggled up in the bag, so you don’t’ need to dig it out to answer calls, take pictures, sext, or update that ever so important Strava segment (heavy sarcasm on the last bit there). So why go to the bike shop for these? Because all sorts of small parts come in them and any shop would be smart enough to hang on to at least a few. You might have to bribe your mechanic to deplete their secret stash, but it’s well worth it. I keep one in my gear bag and one in my glovebox so I always have one handy.

2. Here’s a freebie that can save your bacon in a jam. (Great, now I’m hungry. mmmmm, bacon. mmmmm, jam.) Anyway, if you ever find yourself with a spare tube but no presta equipped means with which to inflate it, don’t worry. You are all set to McGuyver yourself back on the road as long as you can locate a gas station or anyone with a standard schraeder pump or compressor. Take the plastic valve cap you usually toss into the recesses of your seat pack .

IMG_2431

Now grind the pointed end on the rough pavement or if you have a pocket knife, nip the tip off so it looks like this.

IMG_2434

Now turn it upside down from the way you usually put it on a presta valve stem and thread it onto the little threads at the top of the valve. Voila, schreader adapter. It’s not perfect, but it will allow you to use that nice old lady’s ancient foot pump or the gas station’s compressor.

IMG_2436

3. Speaking of presta and schraeder valves, there’s a few of you racier types that fancy the deep section rims. Have you ever flatted and the only spare tube you or your riding buddies had barely poked out above the top of the valve hole? Not much chance of getting a pump or CO2 on there, huh? Seeing this really sucks.

Too short PV

 

That little nub sticking out is going to make keeping a pump head on the valve a real chore. This is where those brass or alloy presta to schraeder adapters come in handy. In a pinch, you can use the plastic valve cap trick, but everyone should carry these nifty little fellers in their repair kit.

PV Adapter

 

Now just switch your pump to schraeder and you’re set to go. The larger size also works to keep the valve from sinking into the rim when pumping up the tire, too.

 

4. Fenders are great on the mountain bike, but as the weather turns a bit nicer, all most of us ask is that we don’t come home with dirt on our face and in our eyes. Most of that stuff that winds up on your glasses actually comes off the tire before the tire clears your fork arch. That’s why all those little honeycomb crevices they like to put on the back sides of forks are loaded up with a seasons worth of grit. There’s a few over the counter options out there that cost a bit and work well and there’s some free ones that do okay but look crappy, but here’s a tip that looks pretty decent and doesn’t cost hardly anything. Go to your kitchen or to the market and buy one of those thin, flexible, plastic cutting boards.

cutting board

Trim it to fit the space behind the arch of the fork and between the upper legs and then cinch it up to the arch with a couple of zipties and you’re good to go. It’s free if you can avoid getting caught raiding your kitchen, but it’s easier to color coordinate if you pony up the $5 at the store. Plus, you’ll have plenty of material make some for all your riding buddies. Just make them pay you a sixer or so for it and don’t tell them how easy and cheap it is. Also is it’s an excellent place for stickers and stickers will make you at least 13% faster.

IMG_2437

 

Keep that bad boy on all year round. It weighs nothing, never gets in the way, keeps your grill podium fresh, and also keeps the fork from loading up with a year’s worth of trail gunk and deer poop.

IMG_2438

 

5. Nitrile gloves are awesome, cheap, and come in quantities large enough that you can stash some darn near everywhere. They’re great for keeping in the back of the car for changing tires and in the tool boox for keeping clean during emergency repairs, but they also work well for some other things you might not think of.  I use them under my regular riding gloves when I’m racing in the rain and it’s cold out. Regular insulated gloves always wind up soaking up a ton of water and weighing about four pounds each by the end of the race and your hands still freeze. Neoprene gloves are great, but they cost a bit for the good ones and don’t do you any good if you didn’t pack them. In a pinch I can always bum some off the 1st aid tent staff or neutral mechanical support, never mind the fact that any auto parts store has  them by the caseload.

black-nitrile-glove

 

They also make cleanup worlds easier after the race. It’s really quite nice not to have a bunch of grit and grime all over your hand after you change out of your muddy kit. Just save the nitrile gloves for the last thing to be removed and it’s a much nicer experience.

This next tip about the gloves is for roadies, cross dorks, and serious euro snobs only. Pull on a glove to put your embrocation on and you won’t have to worry about accidentally getting some on your junk or absentmindedly wiping your nose with your hand afterwards. It lets you keep the hot stuff where you want it and not where you don’t. Just apply the embro and then peel off the glove. Bob’s your uncle.

 

6. Speaking of embrocation, did you ever notice how well it kicks in on the way home from the ride and once again the shower? The pros use special stuff their soigneurs put on a towel and have their legs wiped down for them, but I’m guessing most of us aren’t in the same boat. You need to use something with alcohol in it and you don’t want to waste whats chilling in the cooler on external applications. Go to the market and get yourself one of these.

clorox-disinfecting-wipes-lemon-fresh-75ct-1_1

 

Don’t worry. You aren’t going to bleach anything. It’s made by Clorox, but there isn’t any bleach in it. It’s mostly alcohol and it comes in handy dandy wipe form. If you’re a germ-a-phobe, then rest easy knowing it kills all sorts of germs and other bugs. Plus it comes in a bunch of scents including unscented.

If you don’t embro up, and you are a knobby tire type, you still should have some of these in the gear bag. Aside from the obvious ability to remove grime, the other thing they do very well is cut through and remove the oil in poison oak. Regular baby-wipes won’t cut it (pun intended). These are the bees knees for an after oak ride. They also make it easy to swipe your bike bits and shoes down so if there’s any of the poison oak on them (and there is) then you won’t get any later on down the road from touching your gear.

Now that you’ve saved all that money and made your life easier, you can feel free to come buy and spend all that extra loot at the shop. Just kidding. No I’m not.

Cheers!

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