Every rider has tips and tricks they use to improve their riding experience. Here are five quick ideas I have had or that I have adopted from friends in order to make my ride days easier and less stressful.
Five in 5 is a segment I am experimenting with that explores tips, equipment reviews, and other miscellaneous items that are too short for an episode of their own. I will try to keep the videos to around 5 minutes, spending one minute on each of five topics.
Before rides, turn off Bluetooth and WiFi on your phone. It’s better to have battery life than it is to have reminders pop up in your Garmin, and your phone doesn’t need either of them to record a GPS ride. Also, you’ll have more battery left if you want to take pictures or in case of an emergency.
Letting your phone look for WiFi hot spots can drain your phone’s battery a LOT faster than just turning it off. Bluetooth, while it is an “always on” feature, uses very little power (about 2.5 milliwatts). That means your phone could literally run for months if Bluetooth was the only thing it had to power (hint: it’s not). While that is a tiny amount of power usage, I find it more helpful in terms of distraction – my phone LOVES sending me notifications on my devices. Although I could turn those notifications off in my device settings, this is the best way to easily turn them on and off easily and quickly.
Remember: on newer iPhone models, simply using the Control Center (the swipe-down control screen in the iOS) to deactivate these technologies isn’t the best solution. It merely deactivates them for a short while and they may reactivate when the phone “decides” you need them again. To turn them off for real, go into the Settings app and disable them using those controls.
Losing your Head
I have forgotten my helmet on occasion. It’s a horrible feeling to think that I could miss out in a ride because of my own absent-mindedness.
If you are near a local bike shop or know you will pass one on the way to your ride, they may have a collection of demo helmets they use for test rides. They usually don’t have a problem with loaning them out for a while, as it builds reputation with the community. If they refuse, well, it’s a decent barometer to find those “not so great” local bike shops that we all don’t want to admit exist.
If I can, I always pay the shop back for the favor after my ride by giving them a bit of business like buying an energy bar, a spare tube, or a spare derailleur cable.
Down the Hatch
Most cars have a storage hatch or tool area where one might find a lug wrench or jack. Add basic necessities to this handy storage spot like toilet paper, a flashlight, some tape, zip ties, a few rolled up trash bags, and a first aid kit. You never know when you’ll need them in a pinch.
I try to keep these items bundled together so that they don’t get in the way of other things I might need to do with my tools. A large zip-lock bag works well and keeps moisture out.
Build a Bike Bin
Put together a bike bin. It’s a plastic tub that contains ride-day items and is easy to toss in your vehicle when you leave the house. It’s a solid way to have stuff in-hand in case you need it and you’ll forget fewer things when you leave the house.
My bike bin contains my platforms, seat covers, elbow and knee pads, a small box of tools, spare tubes, spare tires, a lock and cables, and a couple of bottles of water.
Be sure you only put DRY items in the bin. Wet stuff can get stinky and nasty pretty fast.I usually store my pads, helmet, and hydration pack on top of the bin between rides.
Simple Sanitary Seats
I use neoprene seat covers to protect my seats after an especially muddy or wet ride. They work great and eliminate a LOT of clean up. Using regular towels tend to slip down in the seats and can end up making a mess.
Old beach towels work best as seat covers if you are willing to fold the tops over to make a pocket and stitch/tape them together. They slide onto the head rest and keep themselves in place. In a pinch, a rubber band can hold the top tight for a while.
It helps to have a spare change of clothes to jump into after a ride. If that’s impractical, and if you don’t want to spend the money on neoprene covers, just build your own.
I hope these tips help out with your rides and fun! If you have any contributions or comments of your own, I’d love to hear from you.
See you on the trails!