Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fred Answers Your Questions

Dear Fred--
How many gels do you carry when you go out for a ride?
-Sucrose Sam
Fred at Hains, Mid-July 2012
Sam, You've got to fuel your body! I've always got an emergency supply of Karo Syrup in my top tube saddle, as well as a Cosco specially "rhino pack" of Gu (eucalyptus flavor, with added pom/coconut/acai/jujobo berry extract) in my saddle pack. This of course leaves no room for a repair kit, but that's what other cyclists are for! 

 I have to be honest, though, because how much gel you should take in depends on the length of your ride. If you're only going out for twenty minutes, pop a gel or two beforehand, two gels at the rest point, then at least five at the finish. I carry a packet of baby wipes to wipe down the chum that inevitably gets on my face. 

 Also, the best time to take a gel is when you're screaming downhill, one handed, at top speed. You see the pros do it after a climb, and that's what all good bike racers do. A good rule of thumb is, for every 10 minutes you're on the bike, take in 1 kg per pound. 

 And never drink water. You'll get bloated. Fill your Camelpak with extremely expensive pre-made drinks. 

 Ride hard, ride strong, ride with no dignity, ride hard, ride a completely expensive machine you'll never truly appreciate, and ride like a baboon. 

Dear Fred--
What's a paceline? -Newby Newt

Newt-- A paceline is a line of cyclists that exists to hop into. If you hear them coming up on you, accelerate quickly to be ready, because you want to just barge your way right into the middle of it--especially if it's a team or some kind of organized group clearly trying to go fast. Just push right into the middle of it, pop a few gels (and make sure you toss the wrappers freely about, just like the pros).  

When safely ensconced in the middle, whatever you do, don't go on the front. Just hop in the rotation, then swerve dangerously and radically toward the rear if you need to stay out of the wind. 

Also, don't go to the back, because then you won't be futzing with the paceline, and that's no fun.

However, should you spot any landmarks or hills, you should careen dangerously out of the group in the full upright position and manically pedal with no regard for life or limb, sending your fanny packs flying and with your sugary drink shooting out your Camelpak straw. You have to prove your superiority to the pack fodder, organized cyclist types. 

Ride hard, ride strong, swerve around, ride hard, ride expensive, ride heartless. 

Dear Fred--
How should one dress on the bike?
Sartorial Steve

You want a good pair of shorts so you can show your midriff when you hunch over the bars awkwardly.  The shorts should also be baggy so they conceal your pitiful gams as well as disgust those behind you who have to look at your crack.

You want a shirt that pays as little homage to cycling's vaunted history as possible.  Get a shirt that billows out in the wind and is either sleeveless or is a disgusting shade; best, of course, is both billowy and disgusting--the better to alert cars to your status as an idiot.  

As far as helmet and shoes, insist on the finest technology from the past decade to protect your head, and make sure the chin strap is loosey goosey so you can yammer away at folks who are less well decked out than you.

You won't find style on the bike in any one thing, but in a perfectly calculated ensemble that simply makes clear to all that you have no sense of decorum, have way too much money, and that midlife crisis is something to embrace, not fight.

Ride hard, ride for no more than 30 minutes at a time, ride with underwear under your lycra, call it "lycra," never carry a repair kit, ride hard.