Tips on “Traveling The Off-Road Less Traveled”

Road Less TraveledIn an earlier post, Tony wrote at length about the motivational benefits of cycling “cross” training as a way to open up new horizons that may exist just a few feet from your regular cycling routes.  I can personally vouch for this as a way to expand your road bike adventures without the need to have a full zoot cross or mountain bike in your fleet.

In this post I am going to touch on a couple of simple things that you can do to your bike that will enable you to, with peace of mind, enjoy those choice little pieces of the world that lie just off the pavement.

First, be assured, a well maintained bike is an incredibly tough and durable machine. With the exception of certain very specialized bikes such as Triathlon/Time Trial machines etc., most road bikes are fully capable of and comfortable with occasional forays off the pavement. Modern frames, wheels and components are fully up to the challenge. The proliferation of “off paved road” events such as L’Eroica and various trans-state gravel rides stand as testament to this.

ARB at L'Eroica
ARB at L’Eroica

What can you do to prep your road bike for these adventure rides?  It’s really pretty simple.  As Tony mentioned in his prior post, many times it’s as simple as retro-fitting slightly larger tires.  Most bikes can easily accommodate changing from original equipment 23 mm tires to a slightly larger 25 mm tires.  (28’s, if they’ll fit, are even better!)  Large tires and the lower pressures they permit, will allow your bike to “float” over what otherwise would be obstacles.  You can easily run 10 psi under your usual pressure.  Lower pressure in a bigger tire will give your bike a cushy, rough road compliant ride, while still being fast and responsive.  We are having great success with Vittoria Pave’s in a 25 mm size.  Be sure to check your bike for tire clearance, especially under the brakes as well as around the forks and chainstays.  We will be happy to look over your bike and make appropriate tire recommendations.

To further support your on and off road cycling, we are offering a new chain maintenance service utilizing Squirtchain lube. Squirt is wax based, long lasting dry lube that gives great results in dusty conditions without attracting dirt and grit that turns into chain destroying grinding paste.

Testing done by the Friction Facts Co. and published by Velo News have shown Squirt to be the number two rated lube for 2013 and 2014 and have indicated as much as 4 watts savings over the least efficient lubes looked measured.  The number one lube, Molten Speed Wax, requires specialized equipment and techniques for application.  We have been extensively field testing Squirt on shop bikes and have found it to be ideal for dry, dusty SoCal off road conditions.  We find it works best when it is applied to a clean dry chain and therefore, we are offering a chain service including chain removal, Ultra-Sonic cleaning and Squirt lube application for $20.00.  This will give you a clean, well-lubed chain that will minimize dirt attraction and build-up and will prep your bike perfectly for any of your off-paved-road fun.

A couple of simple changes in your bike can open up a panorama of new cycling adventures.

See you on AND off the road…………..

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