About Tuned In To Cycling

                               Laura and I at Lough Swilley in Ireland.  The bike is one of our Bike Fridays

My wife Laura and I are avid road cyclists.  I typically put between 8K and 12K miles a year on my bike which is more than we put on the car.  Where we live people know us as “the bike people”.  We ride for health, we ride for performance, but mostly, we ride for fun  We love the bikes.

This is a blog about cycling.  The emphasis is on road cycling because that’s what we do and that’s what I know the most about.  Posts range from answering questions we are often asked by beginning cyclists to discussion of topics I hope are of interest to more advanced riders.  Most of the posts are written to provide useful information although sometimes I’ll just tell good cycling stories or comment on current goings on in the world of cycling.  I hope you find something of value.

May the wind be always at your back.

28 thoughts on “About Tuned In To Cycling

  1. I’m planning to do my first endurance mountain bike race and have scoured the internet for nutrition information. Your blog on nutrition cleared up a few things for me.

  2. I’m new to cycling and was up at 3:00a.m. this morning thinking about the horrible time I had climbing hills yesterday on a hilly ride here in Western Washington. I got up and found your blog with just the information I needed. Going up a hill I started in a high gear pedaling pretty slow and then to lower gear and finally came to almost a dead stop going up hill. I’ll give you ideas a try today. Thanks. I was able to get back to sleep and will keep riding. After yesterday, I was ready to quit.



  4. An incredible blog. Especially for a relatively new rider. I want to improve and am hungry for advice and hints that will make me a better, stronger and more confident rider. This blog contains so much useful information and anecdotes that I can relate to and take encouragement from. I know I will keep coming back to the articles to read again and again as they provide so much learning to put into practice. Thanks.

  5. Thanks so much. Your web site is great. I’m a new cyclist and the hill climbing articles helped me tremendously. Doing my first organized ride on Sunday May 15. The Santa Fe Century. : )

  6. I knew what my body needed, I just didn’t know why…thank you for clearing that up for me in the blog.

    I just finished an eight-day ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway, carried all my own food, camp gear, and really enjoyed the experience. I found the strenuous exercise and what I put into my body with what I did after the ride (stretching, lying down etc.) made all the difference in my condition mentally and physically for the next day.

    Thanks for confirming my experience with foods like gels, dried nuts & fruits, pasta, and drinks to restore my system. Plus the insight I gained will help in training…I think I want to do another long-distance ride next summer…lol

  7. Very nice blog. Enjoy the articles. Let me know if you would like to share some of these articles with our site (www.cccycling.net) and exchange links.

  8. Fantastic blog with valuable information.

    I’ve just also read how many miles you do each year, wow! I do a lot of road cycling, but not as many miles as that. There is a new activity based social network site called http://www.cyclingbuddy.com/ launching on 1st March 2012, a friend told me about it and I’m going to start logging the miles, just thought you might be interested also.


  9. Hi,

    As an experienced rider, I thought you may be able to help me out. I have just started riding road bike and I’m getting a painful, cramping feeling from my bars. I currently can’t do more than 10miles comfortably and it’s killing me! I think the extra pressure from the different riding position is causing it.

    I’ve tried:
    Dropping seat down to change position
    Tiliting bars slightly up and down to shift weight on my hands
    Gel gloves (these helped the most)
    Constant moving from hoods to tops to drops (this is inefficient for riding)

    Gel inserts are the only other thing I can think of that may help but I’m very doubtful that these will solve the problem entirely

    Any help (from anyone) is appreciated,

    • Can you give me some more info? Where are you experiencing the cramping? Hands? forearms? shoulders? neck? back? Is it muscle cramping or soreness?

      Without having more info a couple of things come to mind. First, you may be gripping the handlebars too tightly. You want to maintain a loose easy grip for several reasons. One, you have much better control of the bike when your grip is loose. You can experience this easily by standing next to your bike and leaning so that your weight is partially on the bars. Then have someone kick the front wheel from the side without warning. Do this with a loose and a tight grip. Be careful you don’t fall when you’re using the tight grip :-). Two, a tight grip can lead to soreness and cramping, will tire you out on a long ride and can restrict oxygen flow as the tightness spreads to your shoulders and chest.

      Second, if you haven’t done this already, get a professional bike fit from a reputable bike shop where they know what they are doing. A difference of just a few centimeters in seat and handlebar height, seat position etc can be the difference between a pain free ride and agony. This is especially important if you have been experimenting with seat height and bar tilt.

      Neither of these suggestions may be of any help but without more info about the nature of the problem nothing else comes immediately to mind.

  10. Hello,
    I am a big fan of your cycling blog. Important information in a very nice and friendly style.
    Your nutrition tips helped me to complete 8-days MTB race in South Africa (ABSA Cape Epic 2012). I was 46 and it became my first sport competition since the school days. I was a slow rider but I made it within the cut-off time and I had a ton of fun. I thank you for that!
    I translated your articles into Russian with all embedded original links and I would like to share it with friends on the biggest cycling forum of Russia http://www.velomania.ru
    If you don’t mind the idea, shell I put the author as K. Murnane?
    Thanks again,

    • Dmitry, thank you for the kind words. Glad to hear that you completed the MTB race in S. Africa and had such a good time. I’d be delighted to have the blog posts translated into Russian and posted on the forum and am honored that you have taken the time to do so. Please indicate the author as Kevin Murnane. Thanks.

      Also, I’m sorry it has taken this long to respond, I’ve been very ill with a serious set of infections.

      • Thank you very much for posting the essays in Russian on Velomania. As far as I can tell from the data WordPress gives me, your posts to Velomania are being read and are bringing people to Tuned In To Cycling. The hits on Tuned In To Cycling from the Russian Federation over the last 7 days are higher than expected based on the number of hits from the past 30 days.

  11. I happened across your blog when researching how to better deal with my commute as a type 2 diabetic and very glad that I did. The three articles on eating before, during and after were of great help. When I began browsing your other posts, I felt like I hit the lotto with the beginner information you provided. Something I have been looking for and as a solo cyclist (not by choice) I was not finding easily and certainly not in one location. Thank you!

    • Thanks for the kind words. One of the main reasons I started this blog was that I found myself in the same position as you when I first got into the bike – lots of books and info for the advanced cyclist and virtually nothing for the beginning cyclist. Glad to see that you haven’t allowed type 2 diabetes to defeat you. One time Laura and I did an organized, multi-day ride from Albuquerque to Denver and along the way we hit a 40 to 50 mile stretch of dead straight, almost dead flat road. Boring and tedious. To get it over with as quickly as possible I got on the front, set a high tempo, and ground it out. When we finally got to the end I sat up and turned to see who had been able to hang onto my wheel besides Laura. There was only one guy, the guy with diabetes. He also had early stage MS. He was awesome.

      • When I took to the bike, due to my car biting the dust, I hadn’t put much concern into my condition or the exact ramifications of my one and only route to work. My main concern was an affordable bike that could handle my 260 lbs build. Being in a bind and not thinking of going to the LBS, I jumped on what I thought was best, something I know now was not the best decision. Live and learn, and try to upgrade is my motto.

        I did good for the first two months, not sure why other than maybe burning off stores left behind from my former static lifestyle. After two recent bonks in as many days and a noticible decrease in performance I got the tester back out and have been monitoring my gl levels at least twice a ride (about an hour commute at this point.) But I am not letting it side line me. I am hoping to find fellow D2 cyclists to talk with and learn from as well.

      • Here’s a link to a PDF provided by USA Cycling to help cyclists with diabetes that might be useful. It’s oriented toward coaches who have diabetic athletes but it contains a lot of useful info (most important of which is work with your doctor always) as well as some potentially useful references at the end.

        Click to access diabetes_cycling_article.pdf

  12. Love your blog. Have had lots of bikes, but just went back to my original 10speedNusiki and am happier on this bike than any other.

      • Found a 1978 Nishiki with wheels, fenders, that was operational. Put new wheels on it, refurbished the fenders and put on thumb shifters. It is sooooooo much fun. No computer, toes clips rather than clip pedals, but the comfort of a modern seat. I’ve riden twice as much in two months than I did all last year.

  13. Hello and greetings from the UK. I found your blog whilst looking for information about cycling in the summer weather. It was warm today and I found myself struggling with the heat. I am pre-diabetic and found the info that you to be very useful. Lately I have changed to riding with clipless pedals – I have fallen off the bike so many times that I am thinking maybe I should just go back to flat pedals. I am 51 years old and worried about what these falls are going to do to me in the long run? I have heard about menopause woman suffering from bone loss and I am worried. Any ideas?


    • Greetings. Great time to be cycling in the UK. Since Sir Wiggins’ grand 2012 interest and participation has skyrocketed.

      Sorry to hear you’ve been falling since you changed to clipless pedals. First thing, almost everyone falls when they first make the switch. It just takes a bit of time to get used to swinging your ankles out to unclip. It usually becomes automatic after a fairly short time so that you unclip when necessary without thinking about it.

      It sounds like you may be having more trouble than usual, however. If you are falling because your shoe is not coming unclipped easily when you swing your ankle out, you can take the problem to your local bike shop. The pedals or the clips probably need adjustment and they can fix that easily.

      If you are falling when getting going because you aren’t getting clipped in before losing momentum and tipping over, give it a good downstroke with your shoe unclipped to build up some speed and then click in while you’re rolling. If you miss the connection, just give it another unclipped downstroke to build up some more speed.

      If you’re falling when you come to a stop, you can work on unclipping sooner and then bringing the bike to a stop with one or both feet unclipped and resting on the pedals. This can get you through the period when unclipping hasn’t yet become automatic but it can also lead to unclipping early becoming a habit. If you let that go too long, it can become a bad habit that has to be broken. Better than falling down, though, especially if you are concerned about fragility from post menopausal bone loss.

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