Thursday, February 16, 2012

WW- Carbon Fiber Bike Abuse

You ever have one of those weeks when you just miss a day? I'm pretty sure today is Wednesday. Granted, every bit of data says that I am completely wrong. The time stamp on my computer says it's Thursday. It is quite possible that one of us, me or the rest of the world, is stuck in some sort of time variance. After much pondering, I think I figured it out...

I did going for a bike ride yesterday, which was Tuesday. There is a very high chance that I was riding at or near the speed of light. I have not achieved these speeds in the past but training is going rather well this winter so I cannot count it out. Now, if Einstein is to be believed, that means time and space bent around me. Time ran normal from my perspective. But, from your relative place in the world, my time was slower from yours. As I neared the end of my ride, I rejoined your time-space continuum, only one day later from your perspective. I lost a day, all without leaving the confines of my basement. I love it when science provides the answers.

Since today is Wednesday, I owe you something fun. This post was inspired by the BIL. Recently, he had upgraded his ride from an old, steel monstrosity of a road bike to something sleek and sexy, made completely of carbon. Carbon is smooth, light and fast. However, it is not as strong as aluminum, iron, or titanium (the other main options for bike building materials). I have been riding a carbon bike for years. The BIL is a carbon rookie. Therefore, I'd like to pass on some words of wisdom on how to take care of your carbon masterpiece. The video will show you what will happen should you (or the BIL) decide not to heed the warnings.

Do's and Don'ts For Your Carbon
-Don't remove your aerobars from a tri-bike frame. The result will be an imbalance which makes bike handling hard to control.
-Do inflate your tires to their maximum amount. Failure to do so can result in tire malfunction with dire results.
-Do avoid obstacles. Holes in the road. Stairs. Dirt paths. Large rocks. All of these pose threats to the integrity of the frame.
-Don't mount aero wheels for training rides. (Aero wheels can easily be identified by larger than normal material on the rim. Normal material is about 1-1.5 inches past the tire or just enough to provide a braking surface for the calipers.) Aero wheels are lighter, more expensive and can warp under abnormal circumstances.
-Don't wear baggy pants/ shorts on your carbon. There are a lot of moving parts on the bike which can snag. The added drag will slow you down. Plus, it makes you look less cool.
-Do wear protective gear at all times. Helmet, gloves, and glasses are the bare minimum. Knee pads are probably overboard.

Following these simple tips will ensure a long life for your carbon frame and ensure you won't look like one of these guys.

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