Saturday, November 28, 2009

Electrolyte Drink Mix

Since I'm in the habit of making my own tire sealant and chain lube, I thought I'd share my recipe for an electrolyte energy drink that I have been using for a couple years. After years of spending $15-$25 for 30-40 serving cans of electrolyte mix that promises to do this or that, I came up with a very simple, effective, and cheap recipe. One thing I personally wanted was a lower sodium, higher potassium recipe...but if you like more sodium there is a provision for that as well.

Kool Aid Electrolyte Mix (makes 32 servings)
-4 packets of unsweetened Lemonade (which is natural flavored) Kool Aid
-32oz (4 cups) of Organic Evaporated Cane Juice
-1 tsp of Baking Soda
-1 tsp of Nu Salt

Content per serving (2 tbsp of mix)
-90 calories
-37.5 mg Sodium
-100 mg Potassium
-22.5 grams Carbs
-10% vitamin C

The Baking Soda both adds Sodium and also acts as a stomach buffer. This is real nice if you suffer from upset stomach while riding (as I occasionally do). If you desire more sodium in the mix, add 1/2 tsp salt to the mix which will increase the sodium to 73.5 mg per serving.

I usually don't mix full strength, more like 4 tbsp per 24 oz water bottle. This seems to work really nice. Also, you might be tempted to try other flavors of Kool Aid, but be cautious...I tried this and found most had a terrible after-taste from the artificial flavorings. The Lemonade flavor is actually natural flavored and doesn't have that bitter after-taste. The total cost was $4 per 32 serving mix...less if you choose to use regular sugar (though the evaporated cane juice seems to have a more mellow taste).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Proper way to lube chain with wet lube

1) If you can remove your chain, clean and dry then lay it flat with the rollers up (on something you don't mind getting oily). Put one drop over each roller making sure it saturates the entire roller and side plate overlap.
- If you must do it on the bike, clean and dry the chain. Set the chain in the big ring/small cog. Then put one drop on each roller on the inside (cog side) of the chain.

2) Let soak into chain at least 10-15 minutes, longer is better

3) Wipe chain with dry lint free rag and install (if removed) into big ring/small cog combo. Rotate crankset while wiping chain with rag. Wipe until you cannot see any oil spinning off the derailleur pulleys.

4) Wipe derailleur pulleys and shift chain off of the big ring and wipe down chainring.

5) After rides, simply wipe off any crud. Do not re-lube until your chain needs it (ie Poor shifting, chain suck, screaming in pain sound).

Becoming Obsesed With Chain Lube

There seems to be a lot of discussions about what is the best chain lube out there. Honestly, if you ask 50 bicycle mechanics what the best chain lube is, you'll get at least 10-15 different answers. It simply isn't cut and dry. There are many factors involved including riding style, riding conditions, multispeed vs singlespeed, price, and willingness to take the time to apply properly. I've probably used at least a dozen personally myself over the years and having lived in the Desert SW, the High Sierras, and the Pacific NW...I've used lubes that work in different conditions and some that don't work well for any conditions. For dry and dusty conditions, I've found that Dumonde Tech works best when the application procedures are followed. Pour it on like many other dry lubes and you'll make a mess, but put it on correctly and it will be clean and last a long time in dry conditions. However in wet conditions, you need something that is really going to lubricate your chain without getting washed off. Over the years, I've found that Phil's Tenacious Oil works best when the weather hits the fan. Again, you need to apply it correctly or you'll end up with a big mess. However, there is one thing that bothers me with Phil''s mineral oil based. So while all the water is splashing up and washing away small amounts, I'm polluting our fresh water. Yes, I know its a small amount but still, it all ads up. Now, there are some biodegradable chain lubes hitting the market these days...but of course I like to come up with my own DIY solution. So after some research, I have come in possession of a product that might just do the trick. I'm going to refrain from giving up the product name but its 100% biodegradable, 100% mineral or synthetic oil free, and a product of the USA (and NO, you can't find it in the cooking isle at Safeway). I'm going to give it a try and if I find it works well then I'm going to bottle it and let some riding buddies try it. I'm not planning to sell it but I might have fun with it a little.



Saturday, November 21, 2009

Trail Work and Wet Rides

Saturday I spent a few hours doing trail work with the Growler's Gulch crew today. We were working on several new trails to add to the ever growing network of trails. I would like to get a bit more trail work in as I feel its important to contribute to the trails we ride.

Sunday we hit the trails with a good sized group of the Growlers Gulch crew and three dogs. I'm getting to know the group better and I am really enjoying my time riding, even in the really wet weather conditions!

On another note, I've been playing with chain lubricants a little more. My Mobil 1 50/50 mix is good for dry (but not dusty) weather, but is not thick enough to resist washing off in wet conditions. I'm also finding it turns black on anything short of a freshly cleaned chain. I have been using Synthetic ATF strait up and it has been working pretty well in most conditions without turning black. However for the really nasty conditions like its starting to get around the PNW, you need something thicker. I happen to have a bottle of Phil's Tenacious Oil sitting around and for the really nasty conditions, this stuff is the way to go. I wouldn't use it in drier or dusty conditions but for keeping your chain lubed in the wet and mud, its the way to go. Now if you want to go a little ghetto, Phil's Tenacious Oil is simply a Chain & Bar oil. So you can run down to your local hardware store and pick up some and it will work just the same.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Handbuilt vs Prefabricated Wheelsets

I worked 8 years in the bicycle industry and watched the Prefabricated Wheelset trend start and become a huge sector of the industry. As someone who worked as a warranty manager, I hated them and continue to hate them. Most Prefabricated Wheelsets use proprietary (not standardized) hubs, rims, spokes, and nipples. Repair service beyond the bearings in the hubs often required that the entire wheel be sent to the company (at the owners expense, even for warranty). Some were turned around quickly, some took as much as 6-8 weeks to get returned. Imagine being without your bike for that long! Handbuilt wheels using standard J-bend spokes (DT or Wheelsmith are my recommendations), 28, 32,or 36 hole rims and hubs can be built just as light, strong, and at the same or less price. Bending or breaking a spoke simply results in a quick trip to an LBS to get fixed. Rims are standard and so a damaged rim can be replaced fairly easy. You get your choice of hubs and rims for a truly custom setup.

Riding with the GGG's at the Gulch

Great fall ride with Mel and Dara (and significant others) of the Growlers Gulch Girls today. Growlers Gulch is more technical than my normal Stella trails. This is not a bad thing, while my fitness is lacking right now I still have my technical skills. I enjoy the challenge of slippery roots and slick trails and Growlers has an abundance of roots and log crossings.

Happy Trails, Aaron

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I think I need to live somewhere drier. I tried to beat the rain this morning but to no avail. And when it started to come down, it came down in buckets. I don't mind riding in the typical NW drizzle as once I'm in the trees I don't really even notice it. But today it was raining so hard that the canopy was of no protection. On top of that, it was a COLD rain...chilling to the bone. I ran the gateway trail at Stella which when dry is a super fun run down a root infested trail. When wet it is a skill challenge to how well you can keep your bike upright. All was good, and I enjoyed it but the 2 mile logging road ride back to the car was miserable.

I did get a set of used Salsa 17 degree bars and installed them for this ride. I put a 10mm longer stem to compensate for the extra sweep. The first couple miles they felt weird, then after that I barely noticed them. I'll be giving them a few more rides before I give them a full review.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tubeless Explosion!!!!

My Gorilla Tape tubeless with a non-TLR Bontrager ACX 29" x 2.2". It was a total PITA to get seated, but I only had 30 psi in it and had it laying on its side to seal the bead. I picked it up to wipe the soap off the sidewall and was chatting with Jen and Scout when KABOOOM!!!!!!!!

We got a latex mist on us but nobody hurt. It actually didn't even scare Scout much. I examined the tire and the kevlar bead actually failed. The casing was intact, but there was a gap in the bead where the kevlar ruptured. I purchased them used, so I don't know if they might have already been damaged or not but there were no sign that they had ever been run tubeless.

So, back to wire bead IRC Mythos II for now. I did get a set of Continental Valve Stems (cut out of a couple 650C tubes I got on clearance). So now I got removable valve core presta valves. I modified a spoke wrench for a core remover.