Empowering women in cycling

Archives › Cycling Tips

How To: Properly Setup and Adjusting Avid BB5 Brakes

13 Adjust Avid BB5 Brakes

Tech TuesdayOne concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

As you know I have beenrocking the Airborne Delta CX bike for this summer going into cyclocross season. Originally I was struggling to adjust the Avid BB5 road calipers that come stock on the cyclocross bike. (Yes, it is a disc brake cyclocross bike.) After several tries at adjusting the brakes as Avid outlines on their website I finally started from scratch using good ole common sense! Once I sorted out my disc brake issues I was getting messaged and questioned about what I did to get them to stop well and not rub!

There are tons of great resources out there showing you the basic ways to adjust the brakes, but they left out key details. Let’s forget about those other instruction and start from the top.

Tools You’ll Need

Tools for Brake Adjustment

Torx wrench, 5mm allen, business card and a computer to read this how to on.

Setup and Adjusting Avid BB5 MTB Brakes

Avid BB5 Brake Diagram

Click to Enlarge

Check brake pads for wear. If your brakes are used at all there is a great chance the pads were worn incorrectly and will never align right. Remedy by sanding or replacing the pads, normally sanding with a fine grit will fix this problem.

Loosen the mounting bolts for the caliper, some bikes have the caliper mount directly to the fork, loosen those bolts. This will allow the caliper to move side to side. Check if your washers are worn or if you can see any grooves out of the normal. If you do, file/sand down or replace.

Adjust Avid BB5 Brakes

Loosen brake cable fixing bolt, this will allow the fixed pad to pull all the way out.

Turn the adjustable brake pad (red knob with Torx in middle) counter clockwise to turn out.

Business card in Disc brakes

Place a business card between a the fixed pad and rotor. Fixed pad is on the outside (look at diagram above)

Adjust BB5 Torx Brake

Turn the adjustable brade pad (red knob with Torx in middle) clockwise, use a Torx wrench if need be to tighten down as tight as you can with out breaking it!

Tighten the mounting bolts to the caliper.

Pull the brake cable tight to the fixing bolt, make sure the barrel adjuster on the caliper and the barrel on the brake lever both are turned in all the way, then backed out a full turn and a half. Tighten down the fixing bolt on the brake cable.

Back out the adjustable brake pad one or two turns, counter clockwise so  it isn’t touching the rotor. On the back of the Delta I had to back out an extra 1/4 of a turn for out of the saddle movement of the rear end.

Pull out the business card.

Use the adjustable brake pad to change the feel of the brake lever, use the barrel adjusters to adjust cable tension as well.

Check over all bolts and proceed to ride beautiful riding Avid brakes.

Follow Friday Links: Training for Cyclocross

0 North Carolina Cyclocross

North Carolina Cyclocross I’m officially getting pumped for the upcoming cyclocross season. Maybe it is delirium over the heat lately, or maybe the simple feeling of setting a goal for myself and really wanting to meet it?

Over the years I have compiled a great list of resources for inspiration, information, tips and basic outlines of creating a training plan for the season. By no means am I recommended that any of these are replacing a dedicated coach, but it will give you some structure and inspiration! Next week I’ll work on the ‘cross blogs worth your following!

Training Peaks – Tons of training plans, great coaches, and their personal workout/food/training online system is killer. With a free option, or for a small fee a year they will track all your workouts, weight, nutrition and goals with ease! (I personally use this system, and have used it for the past 4 years.)

Cycle Smart - You can’t be in the cyclocross industry without hearing Adam’s name, or see the Cycle Smart kits. Adam has been an online friend of mine for years and always an inspiration come June/July through the winter.

CX Magazine – Daily news, tips and resources for the cyclocross racer.

Bike Radar - How to fit cyclocross training into a full time job

NC Cyclocross – My local series, come play with me!

Tech Tuesday: MTB Bike Component Levels Explained

4 Tech Tuesday

Problem Solvers

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

A common inquiry I receive is whether a certain component is worth the upgrade. To begin I’m going to simply touch on mountain bike parts, next week touching on road. I’m going to do my best to spell out the two main component brands, SRAM and Shimano, and their levels of parts. There are several other component manufactures out there and if you have specific questions please comment below.

SRAM

SRAM Logo

From Wikipedia:

SRAM Corporation is a privately held bicycle component manufacturer based in Chicago, Illinois, founded in 1987. SRAM is an acronym comprising the names of its founders, Scott, Ray, and Sam, (where Ray is the middle name of company head Stan Day).[2]

In 2008, the company received a strategic investment from Trilantic Capital Partners, formerly known as Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking, the buyout arm of Lehman Brothers. The firm invested $234.8 million in SRAM in a deal that closed Sept. 30, 2008.[3][4] On May 12, 2011, the company announced in a filing that it intended to raise up to $300 million in an IPO.

SRAM was first known for grip shifters, which are still used to date and are normally featured on internally geared hubs, children’s and hybrid bikes. Grip shifters can be found on the higher end bikes, but are not available in the new 10 speed components.

SRAM also owns RochShox, Zipp, Avid and Truvativ that make up a complete component line of shocks, wheels, brakes, handlebars, seatposts, pedals, cranks, etc.

SRAM Mountain Components

SRAM was the first to bring 10 speed drivetrains to the masses with XX, or 2×10. The 10 speeds in the rear is now available from both SRAM and Shimano. For me SRAM and Shimano don’t have even playing fields in mountain since the XX technology is far lighter than the XTR from Shimano.

Heirarchy of 2011 SRAM Mountain Components

XX - the best. If you have the money, or must have the lightest parts. This is the level
X0 – Traditional the best from SRAM, but was trumped by XX. 2×10 technology (Comparable to XTR)
X9 – Shifts amazing, a bit heavier and no carbon! Go with if you are worried about weight, but don’t want to break the bank. 2×10 technology (Comparable to XT)
X7 – The most affordable of the 2×10 technology, will last and give you the advantage. Not the lightest, but won’t break your wallet (Comparable to SLX)
X5 – Found on mid level, what I would consider the lowest end for off road worthy parts. 9 speed(Comparable to Deore)
X4An entry level, found normally on hybrids or mountain bikes not intended to be ridden off road. Perfectly fine if not abused or ridden off road.
X3 – Normally found on kids bikes or very entry level bikes. Will need more maintenance and parts will wear out more quickly.

Shimano

Shimano LogoFrom Wikipedia:

Shimano, Inc. (TYO: 7309) is a Japanese multinational manufacturer of cycling components, fishing tackle, and rowing equipment. Shimano product sales constitute 50% of the of the global bicycle component market. Its products include drivetrain, brake, wheel and pedal components for road, mountain, and hybrid bikes.

Shimano is the best known name within bicycle parts. The first to introduce mountain bike specific groups (Deore XT) and continue to push the envelope with electronic shifting to the masses, and innovation technology.

Shimano Mountain Components

XTR has been known over a decade as the bee’s knees of mountain bike parts. Still to this day, the clean and etched look of “XTR” on your rear derailleur or cranks will show folks you know your parts.

Shimano Mountain Heirarchy

(Much of this was borrowed from Wikipedia)

XTR [M980] – Top of the range for XC mountain bikes. 10 speed, comparable to SRAM X9
Deore XT [M770] – The longest running of a mtb component line. Amazing shifting, with a bit more weight than XTR. 9 and 10 speed, between SRAM X9 and X7
SLX [M660] – The best bang for the buck in the mtb line, still great shifting but more weight and won’t last as long as XT. 9 and 10 speed, comparable to SRAM X7
Deore [M590] -  Entry level, good place to start but will wear out after a couple years of hard use. 9 speed, comparable to SRAM X5

Trekking component

Deore XT
Deore LX
Deore

Downhill/Freeride component

Saint [M810] – Top of the range for downhill and freeride bikes, and many components are based on the XT groupset but more durable.

Recreational mountain bikes component

Alivio [M410 and M430] 8 and 9 speed
Acera [M360] 8 speed
Altus [M310] 8 speed
Tourney 6, 7, 8 speed – Includes several different levels of quality, and can be found on department-store bicycles

Tech Tuesday: Trail and Roadside Repairs

0 Tech Tuesday

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

You’ve branched out on your own, you want to ride on your own or not be worried about basic repairs that happen on the road side.

Changing a Flat Tire

A while ago I did a basic video on how to change a flat, and boot your tire. This is probably the most crucial thing to know when you venture out on the road or trail as it is the most common issue. Someday in the future I need to update the video since I have a better camera and audio microphone.

Chain tool and quick links

It doesn’t happen too often, but you are able to break your chain. When this happens you can often trim your chain and use a SRAM quick link to put it back together. You’re gears will be limited but you’ll at least be able to ride the bike home.

If a Spoke Breaks

Another thing that doesn’t happen too often is breaking spokes on your wheel. Normally on an older wheel, or after a crash you’ll start breaking spokes. On the side of your ride you need to move the spoke out of the way. On some front wheels you can actually remove the spoke by pulling it out of the wheel. If you have disc brakes or if the spoke on the back wheel you’ll need to bend the spoke around another so that it doesn’t get in the way. Open up your brakes if you have v-brakes or u-brakes. This should make enough room for the wheel to spin freely, if not you’ll have to tighten spokes or in a last ditch effort remove the wheel and bang it against a tree. I try to avoid the last two since it is harder to repair once you get it to a shop.

Other Things to Know

Go confident on your bike ride. Things break and sometimes you can’t fix them. Bringing a multi-tool helps with many things, but if you are going to venture more than walking distance (6 or so miles) bring a friend or a cell phone until you learn more things.

Tech Tuesday: Bicycle Maintenance Check List

1 Problem Solvers

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

Proper basic maintenance on your bike can prevent major road or trail side catastrophe’s, keep your bike running smoother and save you money in the long run.

Before Every Ride

These are things I check over before every ride. The below takes less than 5 minutes once you get a hang of the routine.

  • Wipe off lube I applied after my last ride
  • Tires pumped up properly
  • A quick brake and gear check prior to starting down the road or trail
  • Make sure you put your front wheel’s quick release on tightly

After Every Ride

The below should take no more than 10 minutes.

  • Spin the tires to make sure there is no glass or cuts you didn’t notice before. While doing so quickly make sure the wheels are true (not wobbling side to side).
  • Wipe down frame, checking for anything odd especially if you crashed on your ride.
  • Wipe off chain and lube, if needed. Normally I leave the lube on until I ride again, wiping off before I leave. (Gives the lube time to soak in.)

Monthly

This list is more labor intensive but will keep your wheels and drivetrain last longer!

  • Clean your entire bike, including rims (use a degreaser on the wheels) and drivetrain
  • Make sure wheels are true
  • Check tires for wear and cuts
  • Check brake pads for wear
  • Put a tool on every bolt on your bike. This doesn’t take as long as it sounds.
  • Check drivetrain wear with a chain checker.
  • Lube SPD style pedals (mountain bike)

3 Months

  • Check over your bike for bent or worn break pads
  • Check for bent chainrings and rear cassette/freewheel teeth

6 Months or Annually

Take your bike to a bike shop or qualified mechanic to get an overhaul. This is when they take the entire bike apart, re-grease, re-cable and your bike as good as new without replacing all the parts.

Other Notes

The timing above is all based on how often you ride. If you ride daily, the scale may need to be sped up, if you ride once a month, the scale may need to move back. Some things such as pumping up tires, lubing your chain and a safety check are all important, being handled often.

Going forward I’ll work on some basic video’s on how to do the above!

Introductions and Questions: Tech Tuesday

5 Kids Fix Bikes

Kids Fix Bikes
With the wild success of Motivational Monday, and a ton of “tech” questions rolling in to our email what is a better way than to have a tech clinic day each week?!?!

Starting next week we will be starting to have a tech article every Tuesday. This could be steps to changing a flat, how to tighten a stem, what tubeless means, etc etc. For this to work, I need to hear from you. What tech questions do you want answered?

Thanks to Livestrong.com for the use of their photo

The First 24 Hours of a Bike Tour

3 Bike Law Clothing Kit

Let’s turn back time by a month or so, do you remember that I won a wonderful scholarship from BikeLaw.com to join their Blue Ridge Bike Tour?   That’s where I am now, on that 4.5 day tour from bed & breakfast to bed & breakfast down the Blue Ridge Parkway with Black Bear Adventures.

Day 1 of my Blue Ridge Parkway Bike Tour

Thankfully co-rider (and scholarship winner) Weldon Weaver nicely picked me up to carpool the two hours from Charlotte to Blowing Rock, NC.  A ton of great conversation and scenery we arrived at 1pm to our hotel.   Our fellow touring friends didn’t roll in until 3pm so Weldon and I were biting at the bit (dressed and ready at 3pm Peter!) Finally everyone was ready, and I think we rolled out around 4pm.  Most of us rocking our new Bike Law kits, wool socks and awesomeness.

Bike Law Clothing Kit

30 miles, a lightening storm, Blue Ridge Parkway and a killer descent.   A great way to start a 4.5 day bike tour!

Day 2 of my Blue Ridge Parkway Bike Tour

Blue Ridge Bike Tour

Wake up sore, feeling hung over (didn’t take enough electrolytes the day before) and not sure I was really prepared for the days climbing!   At breakfast we happen to see the days weather, and it didn’t look pretty.  Cycling cap on, Gore water proof jacket, and a baggy full of treats in my bag.

I suffered, and suffered some more.  Wet socks, wet cap, wet gloves, we ass.  You get the point.  We went up a whole lot, and down for what seemed like seconds (some of the best seconds I’ve had in a road bike in awhile.)

I learned a lot about myself.  I thought I sucked at climbing before, I am even worse than I thought.  But, damn I love going down hill fast!  I learned to keep pedaling, to find a rhythm in your body and keep trudging.

Tomorrow is a new day, I hear we are riding up Mount Mitchell.   For now I leave you with photos from Peter @ Bikelaw.com

The Bike Industry Needs More Women Like Liz Hatch

55 Liz Hatch Photo

The name Liz Hatch is a sensitive subject in the women’s cycling peloton .  The sexy blonde has made many pro women cringe.  Last year I mentioned her name during an interview with Team Vera Bradley and they weren’t happy.  Why?  Some call her a wanna be. Not fast enough to compete with the great girls.  Some call her a sand bagger.

Continue reading →

Questioning a 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike Race

2 Burn 24 Hour

Burn 24 HourLately when I race and people ask how it was I simply can’t answer as I don’t feel like I am really racing.  I feel like I’m riding around in circles, trying to find the next gear within my own.   I’ve finished mostly last for the past year of my cycling life.   I argue with myself that this place is better than not starting which I had been doing for the year prior.   I struggle with the mental piece, knowing I am better than this, knowing that I am the puppet master and only allowing myself to fall.

Racing for the past year has been motivation.  At the finish line when I knew I could have done better, that is motivation.  I pay the race entry fee so that the other girl doesn’t come in last, and that I get a small kick in the ego…large enough to want more, but small enough not to do anything about it.

Doing Burn 24 Hour was this.  There were moments on the trail I was questioning my sanity. Especially at 11:30pm when the roots were wet, my chamois was sweaty and my glasses were so fogged up from the humidity I was simply praying the whole 7 mile lap not to bust my face open.

I question why I slept for 5 hours.  I question why I didn’t bring my full suspension bike with more “wet root friendly tires.”  I question if I could have done 12 laps instead of 8.  I question if my pit crew thought I was a pain in the ass and realize how much I appreciate them.

Looking back at this event I question myself, my strength and my will to do better in life.

Maybe that is the point of racing?  To question yourself and everything that leads up to the moment.   How else can you become better if you don’t question and change yourself?

 

Looking Back at my First Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race

0 2011 Burn 24 Hour Challenge

2011 Burn 24 Hour Challenge

Several months ago I had a plan going into the 2011 season. It included a duo race at the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek, a solo at the 6 Hour Grind on the Greenway, a ton of riding and then my first solo at Burn 24 Hour.    As any good plan there was a few snags within this.  My geared race bike, the Airborne Goblin, showed up a few weeks late which kept me on my fully rigid single speed for the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek, and kept me from racing the 6 Hour Grind.    I quickly started commuting on the Goblin and riding it everywhere possible to get used to the fit and gearing.

I’ve never done a 24 hour mountain bike ride on my own, I’ve never come close to that.  Even with tons of great inspiration and information from sources like Rebecca Rusch and Team Ergon I still didn’t know exactly what my body would think or my mind would do.   Doing my best to prepare myself I lined myself up with some of the best support and gear a person could ask for.   Amazing lights from Light & Motion (Seca 700 and Stella 300.) A great pit setup and location, and a great prepared pit crew.

Preparing for a 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race

Friday I pulled a half day of work, finished packing up the little Jetta and headed up to Wilkesboro from Mooresville NC.   Quickly setting up my tent in fear of the rain storms headed towards the race course, I can say the purchase of the REI tent and garage was one of my smartest moves this year so far.

REI Hobitat Tent Review

REI Hobitat 6 Tent

Somehow I set up the tent all by myself, losing about 2 lbs of water weight in the process.  Looking over my shoulder the whole time at the large RV that was simply sitting there with generator and air conditioning running.  Jealousy ran through my head for a moment.

After helping Jason B. with race sign up for 30 or so minutes, I ran out of things to do.  I finally sat there in my chair, sucking down water and contemplating my next move.  Would it be to nap, eat more beef jerky or go find friends.   I sat, and thought about my life until friend, em:pwr teammate and pit neighbor, Stephanie Cole, showed up.   We quickly pitched her ez-up, sleeping tent and staked them all to the ground so we could head off to dinner.

What did I eat for dinner the night before my solo race?  Really good ribs of course.

Morning of my Race

Sleeping in the tent the night before my race was fine.  The weather was perfect and I was sprawled out across two sleeping bags and my Thermarest! The week leading into my race I did my best to be over hydrated.  Counting bottles of water as I drank them at work, and having a water bottle near by at all times.   I think this was a smart choice but at 11pm, 2am and 4am my bladder thought other wise.  The idea of walking around in the dark to the line of port-a-jons, through a large mud puddle and having to wake up enough to do all these things…well it didn’t fly for me.   Fortunately for me, I have been taught by my better half to pee in bottles.  If you look at the tent photo above we had added a “garage” to the tent.  Both sides zip down to provide shelter for the bikes, dogs or whatnot and additional room at night.   It also provided a perfect place to “pee in my bottles” in the middle of the night.   Between all my wake up calls, I think I filled two bottles and was thankful when 7am came to use a real toilet.

Burn 24 Hour Pit

I did my best to setup all my gear, label my batteries, swap my tires from Small Block Eight to the most “mud tire” I owned which is the Bontrager XDX.  Checked over my bike and laid out all my gear for the first couple laps.  At around 10:30 my pit crew showed up, set up more stuff and prepared themselves for the next 28 hours of their lives.

Introducing my Pit Crew

Somehow I had recruited a few friends to come take care of me, entertain each other and really “hang out” for over 24 hours of their Memorial Day weekend.

Kimberlee Welsand

Kimberlee - Chef, nutritionist, first aid and medical provider (all of these things came in handy.)

George Berger
George - Engineer, official time keeper, and master scientist.

Ben Wilson
Benjamin
– Comedian and pit jester.

The Race

The race, broken down into bite size pieces will be up for tomorrow.   I’m still trying to process everything that happened in that short time span of 24 hours. What I did wrong, right and what I need to do better in life to get me further in racing.