Scott cycles…

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  • Cycling 101 – Shifting Basics

    Posted on January 7th, 2017 Scott No comments

    As a life long cyclist, I have learned that most cyclists take a lot of things for granted.  If I had to explain how to balance on a bicycle, I would be completely lost.  That being said – there are many smaller components of riding a bicycle that scare and even intimidate novice cyclists.  As a YSC Tour de Pink cyclist, I’ve seen everything from very experienced cyclists to people who have ridden less than 40 miles before they start the 220 mile journey.  Sometimes, a little knowledge goes a LONG way.  In this article, I hope I can share some basics of shifting your average bicycle.  As *MOST* people ride road bikes on a TdP, and *MOST* have Shimano components – I am going to speak to that.  If you have SRAM or Campy, or ride a mountain bike – and have questions – feel free to ask questions!

    Important note: There is a TON of info here, but realistically it all comes together with a little experience – read it slow, try it out, read it again, try it again!  You do _NOT_ have to memorize ANY of this!  Everything here could be taught in a 10 minute – in person – talk – it’s just challenging to convey in words!  

    The Basics:

    If you have a modern multi-geared bicycle you have 1, 2 or 3 chainrings in the front.  These are the large toothy things attached to your crankset.  The photo I included has 2 chainrings.  Some bicycle will have a smaller one.  We will call that the “granny ring”.

    Which chainring you are in will dramatically affect how hard it is to pedal your bicycle.  If you are in the large or big ring (the one with the most teeth), it will be MUCH harder than in the small ring.  If you have three – the granny will be significantly easier.

    All of the shifting in the FRONT of your bicycle is controlled by your LEFT shifter.  (We will discuss this more in a minute).  Your left shifter will move the chain from one ring to another – allowing you to go faster or be able to pedal up that big hill (or make it home when you are really tired.  There is no shame in riding in the small ring, the big ring or any other gear on your bicycle.  It’s all about riding the bike!

    All things being the same (you didn’t change gears in the back) – shifting from your big chainring to your small chainring (shifting “down”) will make your bike much easier to pedal.  Shifting “up” or to the big chainring will make your bicycle much harder to pedal.

    The next part of the bike we are going to talk about is the cassette.  This is the rest of the gears of a bicycle.  The cassette is mounted to the rear hub of the bicycle and much like different size chainring – will affect how easy or hard it is to pedal your bicycle.  Which gear you are in – on your cassette – is controlled by your RIGHT shifter.  Here is the “catch”.  While a bigger chainring makes it harder to pedal, a SMALLER cog on your cassette makes it hard to pedal.  This is VERY important to understanding how to shift a bicycle.

    The cassette will have 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or 11 cogs.  The smallest cog is the hardest gear on the cassette.  The largest is the easiest.  If you ignore (for a moment) which chainring you are in, shifting to a bigger cog will make it easier to pedal.  Shifting to a smaller cog will make it harder to pedal.

    Note:  Some bikes have what is called “Optical Gear Display” or “OGD” which will give you and indication of what gear you are in.  This can be helpful, but I find that a quick glance down or through your legs to see what gear is just as effective.  

    If you understand the basics I have set up here – you are ready to get shifting!

     

    In most modern road bikes, the shifting is integrated into your brake levers.  As you can see in the photo here, there three basic parts of the lever.  The “hoods” are the large black area at the top of the photo.  This is a GREAT place to hold onto your bike.  It offers you access to your brakes, your shifters and is just plain comfortable!

    The next part is the large silver part.  This is primarily your BRAKE lever, but it is also your shifter.  On both the right and the left, pushing the large lever will shift you to something bigger (remember, bigger in the front and bigger in the back do the OPPOSITE things).

     

    Finally, on the “back” of the brake/shift lever, there is a smaller lever.  This is the “other shifter”.  Pressing this small lever will move the chain to something smaller.  It should be noted that the big lever can move 1 or more clicks allowing you to change MULTIPLE gears at once.  The small lever must be pushed multiple times to shift multiple gears!

    We’ve covered a LOT of material – so let’s summarize with a few rock solid basics before we go into “How do I shift my bike?”

    • You have two shifters.  Right controls the REAR derailleur (notice Right and Rear both start with R!).   LEFT controls the FRONT derailleur.
    • Pushing the BIG lever on either side will shift to something BIGGER.
    • Pushing the LITTLE lever on either side will shift to something SMALLER.
    • BIGGER on the FRONT makes it harder to pedal (but may be faster!)
    • SMALLER on the REAR makes it easier to pedal (better for hills!)

    With those 5 bullets, you know EVERYTHING you need to shift your bike!

    Getting Started

    If you have not ridden a multi-geared bike, I suggest you shift a few times, standing next to your bike.  Push each lever.  Get a feel for how they move.  (Please – only 1-2 clicks on each, if you are not pedaling when shifting, you do stress your bike a bit.) We just want you to get a brief feel.  The large shift lever moves a LOT more than the small – just see how it works.

    The best way to get started is on a trainer, where you do not have to worry about traffic, curbs, kids and dogs!  If you have a trainer, put your bike on there and start pedaling.  If you don’t have one, that’s okay!  You will want your bicycle in a “medium” gear.  That is the small (or middle) chainring in the front and a “middle” gear in the rear.  If you don’t have a trainer, ask a friend to hold your bike off the ground, pedal the bike with your hand and shift away!

    Time to pedal and shift!  Ride around a flat area (or spin on your trainer) and shift!  I would suggest a “drill” where you try a few things, after each, pedal for 10-30 seconds to feel the difference.  Here is a good starter drill:

    • Using your right shifter – go “up” one (push large lever 1 click) (pedaling just got easier)
    • Using your right shifter – go “down” one (push small lever 1 click)
    • Using the right shifter – go “up” a few gears (push the large lever 2-3 clicks)
    • Using the right shifter – go “down” a few gears (push the small lever multiple times)
    • Using the right shifter – go “all the way up” (push the large lever multiple times until it wont move any more) – This is your easiest gear – in this chainring.
    • Using the left shifter – go “all the way down” (push the small lever multiple times until it wont click any more) – This is your hardest gear – in this chainring.

    Unless you live in a very hilly area – you probably have enough to ride for a long time, right now!  Many people rarely shift in the front.  I’ll talk about the front, now!  You will want to be in a “middle” gear in the back to start this drill.  Use what you learned above to sort that out!

    • Using you left shifter – go to the big chainring (push the large lever).  The bike should get a lot harder to pedal.
    • Do some of the drill from above – note, everything is exactly the same – just harder to pedal!
    • Using your left shifter – go to the small/middle chainring (push the small lever).  The bike should get a lot easier to pedal.
    • Do some of the drill from above – note, everything is exactly the same – just easier to pedal!
    • If you have 3 chainrings …. continue on!
    • Using your left shifter – go to the small chainring (push the small lever).  The bike should get a lot easier to pedal.
    • Do some of the drill from above – note, everything is exactly the same – just easier to pedal!

    Things to Remember

    • Big lever always goes BIGGER
    • Small lever always goes SMALLER
    • Right lever is REAR
    • Bigger in the rear = EASIER
    • Left lever is FRONT
    • Bigger in the front = HARDER
    • ABSOLUTELY nobody is PERFECT at shifting.  I have seen a Tour de France stage lost by a missed shift!
    • Practice helps!  The more you ride, the better you get!

     

  • Is it the end of an era?

    Posted on October 7th, 2016 Scott 4 comments

    Maybe. After being treated like a second or third class citizen because I have a google apps account, I've FINALLY decided to just deal with the crap I lose – and move back to a Gmail account. +Zeke Cao explained some of it to me – and I appreciate that, but gmail is just easier.

    Not that G+ is relevant or nearly as used – but I still like it – so you can find me over here (where I was originally) +Scott Patton for easy reference …

    Hit me over there, or @ScottPatton on twitter – or text me – or hell, I'm even on FB now.

    Peace out!

    +Scott Patton

    #blogit
    

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  • Tales of the Tailpipe

    Posted on August 3rd, 2016 Scott 1 comment

    So I got my motorcycle with an aftermarket exhaust, put on my some sort of odd-engineering specialist. This photo shows much of the reason I wanted to replace it. Little did I know that it was basically not connected to my motorcycle.

    I found a full exhaust system for $130 .. used, but in perfect condition. I wont go into the 4 hour saga of installing it, but – lets just say it was a BITCH!

    Everything worked GREAT… or so I thought. Turns out, my aftermarket center stand has a gizmo (shown below) that blocks the center stand from going up to far. The new one doesn't. I went for a short lunch ride today, to run an errand and I heard a really weird noise. Now… motorcycles make a lot of noise, but this one was funky. Turns out the center stand was going up high enough to hit the chain (just a little) and the chain was slowly cutting off the foot of the center stand. (well, at least part of it).

    Glad I found it … after a little thought and analysis I managed to come up with a work around that will hold me over until at least the weekend.

    Overall review on my Leo Vince pipe – AWESOME! Quieter than the old one, looks really nice, all the parts match and since its all bolted together – it doesn't backfire!

    #winning
    #blogit
    

    Tales of the Tailpipe

    So I got my motorcycle with an aftermarket exhaust, put on my some sort of odd-engineering specialist. This photo shows much of the reason I wanted to replace it. Little did I know that it was basically not connected to my motorcycle.

    I found a full exhaust system for $130 .. used, but in perfect condition. I wont go into the 4 hour saga of installing it, but – lets just say it was a BITCH!

    Everything worked GREAT… or

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  • Is Change Bad?

    Posted on June 18th, 2016 Scott 2 comments

    In 2000, I got off a bicycle going about 30 mph. It wasn't fun. I broke my collarbone, scapula and had a major concussion. I was also scared shitless to race a bicycle. It was a bad period in my life. I countered it with 2 things…. buying a motorcycle and announcing at bicycle races.

    When I moved to Georgia, I picked up where I left off in Colorado with my announcing. Since 2007 – I've announced every major event at the Dick Lane Velodrome. It looks like my streak will end on 7/9/2016.

    With my knowledge of track racing and my officials license, I'm actually qualified to officiate. The velodrome has asked me to hand over the mic and put on the blue shirt. I've asked to officiate from my motorcycle – as that is my preference – but that really makes no sense (I'm just kidding, I didn't ask … it was a lame attempt at humor).

    I'm not gonna lie. When I walk up to the #DLV that weekend, it will be weird. Now, my wacko commentary and silly comments will probably only be heard by 1-2 people. Rather than being the guy that can kid with the riders and goof off – I have to make the calls. I'm honestly not sure I like this, but I love track racing (I love bike racing) and at this point in my life – this is my "job".

    I'm sorry #FreightTrain #BingBong #SkinnyChad #DoubleBarrell – you're going to have to find somebody else to prolong your legacy.

    Thanks for the opportunity! Both to announce and now to do something new!

    #blogit
    

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    Pro Race Series | The Dick Lane Velodrome
    Back for 2016 is Dick Lane Velodrome’s Pro Race Series(PRS). These events will continue the PRS tradition, bringing to the fore-front the best of the best riders that the US has to offer. They’ll be pushing the envelope of speed and danger in both hard charging sprint events and grueling …

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  • Things I learned officiating this weekend:

    Posted on May 15th, 2016 Scott 10 comments

    + Electric jackets take up the same amount of space as fleece jackets – and are warmer.
    + It's cold in Tennessee in May.
    + Scoring a time trial and having accurate, on-time results is tedious, but with a good system – its efficient.
    + The average bike racer has NO idea what goes into scoring any event.
    + Masters 35+ criteriums can be officiated on cruise control … speed – FAST
    + Junior parents don't know the rules
    + Garmin bicycle computers apparently make you faster than stop watches (multiple stop watches)
    + Tennessee bike racers are generally very well behaved

    Great weekend, great mentoring – I actually learned a ton about officiating!

    #blogit

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  • All good things must come to an end

    Posted on May 3rd, 2016 Scott No comments

    When I bought my first motorcycle – my dad was pretty excited, I think. He sent me a bunch of random stuff a new motorcyclist should probably have. One of the things he sent me…. a pair of gloves. Olympia perforated leather gloves. (Keep in mind, this was in 2001).

    I rode those gloves (unless it was very cold) for the duration of my ownership of that motorcycle. I LOVE those gloves. When I got my new bike last year, I dug out the gloves and wore them most of the summer. (I got some other gloves that are better when its not quite as hot).

    Imagine my sadness when I looked down and saw this…

    Now – the quest for new gloves (I like) begins. Something with a little more protection might be good.

    #blogit

    All good things must come to an end

    When I bought my first motorcycle – my dad was pretty excited, I think. He sent me a bunch of random stuff a new motorcyclist should probably have. One of the things he sent me…. a pair of gloves. Olympia perforated leather gloves. (Keep in mind, this was in 2001).

    I rode those gloves (unless it was very cold) for the duration of my ownership of that motorcycle. I LOVE those gloves. When I got my new bike

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  • Where did 200 miles take me?

    Posted on April 30th, 2016 Scott 1 comment

    When you do a YSC Tour de Pink – one of the many slogans you hear/see is "Where will 200 miles take you?"  The list of places is long … internal and external… it will most DEFINITELY touch your heart.  Having said that – it took me to a bizarre (but friendly) place!

    During my fund raising – I decided to go door to door to solicit contributions.  On my way to earning over $3000 I met many of my neighbors that I had never even spoken to.  That was nice.  I gave them a flyer with my name, email and phone number.  The neighborhood contributed over $500!  Very cool.

    Yesterday, I was driving to the track when my phone rang.  I answered it and t was one of my neighbors.  She remembered that I could fix bicycles and stuff – so she was wondering if I could help her…. fix her oven.  (Of course….)   

    As it turns out, she just needed to have the heating element changed – which is truly and easy job.  

    So yes… 200 miles took me to having my head in the oven… but where exactly was that – it was me, a technically and physically able human helping somebody who needed just a little help.  While the effort (about 5 minutes) was TRULY trivial to me – it meant a TON to my neighbor.  

    That is what the Tour de Pink is to me.  Helping people – people I don't know.  Your donations to my fund raising help me help others.  Each and every dollar I raised for the YSC was important to me, but far more important to an organization helping people!  

    What can you (or we) do today to help somebody?  Remember – what may be small to you may be HUGE to somebody else!

    #blogit

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  • When Websites Lie – they lose my business

    Posted on April 12th, 2016 Scott No comments

    So – I needed a bag for my motorcycle – one that could keep my crap good and dry in a rainstorm – on a trip.  Dad recommended one – I found it for $105 on amazon – but I also found bike bag shop that sold it for $104.99.  Not much of a savings – but they offer an $11 coupon if I simply post their product on my Facebook and/or twitter.  Sure… sounds great.  

    Here is the horse-pucky …. If I buy that bag for $104.99 – I get free shipping.  

    If I use the secret code – I get the bag for $93.99 + $10 shipping. 

    Now … the complete tomfoolery – if I just want the FedEx folks to drop it on my very safe porch I have to pay $3 to get them to check waive signature?   #bullshit  – yeah, I said it.

    Amazon – $105 – free
    Them: $104.99 + $3 
    Them: $93.99 + $10 + 3

    You insult my by offering a great deal that isn't…. Amazon may be the online Walmart, but I used smile.amazon.com and sent some money to charity, not asshattery. 

    BTW… creative folks can find the business by "reading between the lines" and/or eliminating spaces + .com…

    #peaceout  
    #blogit

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  • Sometimes I am SO smart

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 Scott No comments

    About a week or so ago, I wanted a new way to integrate my G+, FB, Twitter and Blog. I researched it an the guy who wrote the Google+ sharing software I use wrote a new version. Wow, great… let me install. Okay, it works ALMOST as good as the old one – and for just $19.95 I can make it work the way I want it to… but I dont want to spend $20 on my blog, I mean only like 2 people look at it and one of them is ME! It would be so nice….

    Well, after a week or dorking and TRYING to make it work I got annoyed and was on the CUSP of paying $20 and then I said … dude…. the old one works exactly like you want it to, why not go back?

    Yeah, it took my brain a week to figure out NOT to fix something that WASN'T broken.

    #sosmart
    #firstworldproblems
    #blogit
    

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  • My Broken Bike – 3 days of de pain

    Posted on March 17th, 2016 Scott No comments

    So – last week was a great week of training, up until the point where I got to Stone Mountain and shifted into the big ring and my shifter crapped the bed. WTF? This is not good. I guess you cannot expect delicate internals, sweat upon my be a sweating freak to last forever? Anyway – I disconnected the cable and rode home (after actually finishing my ride).

    I made plans on sunday to fix my bike. It’s going to rain, right? Nope – no rain, beautiful day to have a broken bike… Le Sigh. After a trip to the shop, I started by pulling off the cables and such, and changing to some NOS 105 levers meant changing to NOS derailleurs. It also uncovered a thing I forgot I “had” … a broken rear derailleur hanger. It was cracked – I broke it all the way off. Another trip to the shop.

    Great – all that is going well… I decide it is a good time to pull the cranks and get everything all super clean. Oh, this is gonna be nice.

    After getting all the cables on, including the internal ones, I go to put ferrules on my cables. Since I worked on bikes a lot and now – they changed things and Shitmano has gone ferrule-less. The cables I had came with them, but they didn’t fit. To the shop I go to complain – but came home understanding. Joy.

    Get the bike ALL put together and realize SRAM and Shimano need different length chains. I completely mis-judged this, need chain pins because that’s how things go now days. Back to the shop …. great, 4 trips in one day?

    I finalize everything and ride it and feel a clunk. UGH… I re-seat the bottom bracket again – and again. I bug Barman – he says do it again. I do and it gets worse. I suck.

    I decide my problem is ALL my seating tools or lack there of. I fashion a bearing press out of parts from Home Depot and it works very well.

    Clunk… Clunk… WTF?

    I decide Ghetto-Press v 1.0 isn’t good enough, so I head back to Home Depot and get stuff to make v 2. MUCH improved, but you guessed it…

    Clunk… Clunk…

    I dork with it a lot longer and break a bearing – don’t ask – I’m not ready to discuss that yet. Finally I say “this is driving me crazy” and Barman says “Let somebody else fix it.” I take it to Snyder Cycles – which if you are near Tucker is about the only shop you need to deal with – period. David works on it for a while and installs a new bottom bracket and it clunks.

    We try about a dozen things and it gets better, but I can still feel it, but I need to ride. I go home and try to ride and within a mile its making enough noise to make me want to beat oncoming traffic. I go home and think what else changed – maybe the cassette and chain are mad at each other…. try another wheel

    clunk…clunk…

    The bike shop hinted it was my frame – the aluminum shell falling out or some such shit I just didn’t want to hear. I stared at my bike, about to go bike shopping and said “The only thing I havent changed is the frame and the crankset – I don’t have a frame… I have a crankset.”

    Let me cut this short …. HOLY CRAP – it fixed it!

    So … lets recap …

    5 trips to the bike shop, 2 trips to Home Depot

    + 105 Shifters
    + 105 Front Brake
    + 105 Derailleurs
    + New (old) Zipp carpet fiber bars
    + New tape
    + New Chain
    + New derailleur hanger
    + All new cables
    + Two new bottom brackets
    + Temporarily new crankset
    + White seat because I am vane and got it for $20 (Fizik Alliante)

    All that and my bike still isn’t happy – because I’m anal and my legs cant stand 175 circles, they can only stand 170 mm circles. Not 167.5… not 172.5… 170. That is all they like. Well, I do have hopes of warrantying my crankset – it should NOT bend like that, probably something way wrong with it – so I don’t want to spend $200+ on a crankset. I need something that isn’t ghetto…. cuz I aint ghetto (unless you are talking about my bottom bracket bearing press). I search and search – and my main man Stratton from Starlite Bikes comes through with a take-off for $50 delivered. By Saturday – my bicycle should be at one with the universe.

    I did take it out for a 36 mile ride last night, and outside of the cranks feeling funky from being long, she’s working better than ever. I routed my cables very meticulously this time and I am much happier with her. I’m glad…. I don’t have another bike search in me!

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