Posted by: fizzhogg | May 29, 2010

Keys to Eating While Riding (and LBS’s that suck)

In my vast experience as a cyclist, I have some advice to pass down to those of you who have not been in the saddle for nearly six months like myself.

Eating while riding is an important part of cycling. Done properly it can aid, not only your speed, but endurance. Done wrong it can cause everything from bonking to crashing.

Thus, here are the keys to eating while riding I have learned while on the Unfat Machine…

There are several theories as to the best (most efficient) way to eat while in the saddle. Some folks do the no-hands chomp – where they let go of the bars, remove their food of choice from a rear pocket and use both hands to open the package and consume the product. This allows full use of both hands, but does cause you to slow down, and can be dangerous if you need to reach the brakes quickly.

Another way a lot of riders eat is the one hand grab – where they take one hand off the bars, dig in the pocket for the food of choice, then pull it back to the bars and struggle to open and eat while maintaining a quality pace. This allows you to stay close to the brake levers, but it can be a tough task to master without significantly slowing down.

But of all the different ways to eat while riding, the one I have found to be the single most efficient – the one that allows you to maintain a strong, steady pace, that allows to keep your hands near the brakes, that allows you to basically eat without interrupting your ride in any way – is to simply open your mouth and consume as many flying insects as you can.

I’ve found this to be a great way to fortify oneself on a ride, even when you’re not hungry. Even when the last thing you’re thinking about is eating.

But like eating any food, be aware of what’s best for your ride. Flies and ladybugs offer the best carbs and fats – no trans fat. Gnats and mosquitoes are almost pure protein, and thus, are best suited for the end of your ride.

I rode 19 miles today. And guess what? The bike shop did NOT fix my clicking sound. After all that, the problem is still there. So I am calling them out in this public forum. This weblog, read by at least three people, is about to expose an LBS that all cyclists should avoid.

Sunset Cyclery in St. Louis – a Specialized dealer I’m sad to say – is the LBS that a couple of months ago diagnosed a rear caliper problem I was having as a “broken caliper,” telling me since I didn’t purchased the UM there, the part would be warrantied, but I’d have to pay approximately $100 in labor.

I happened to be heading to AZ the following week (where the UM was purchased), and decided to have the thing done under warranty by the LBS it came from. When I got to the fabulous ORO VALLEY BIKE SHOP near Tucson, AZ, they took one look at the UM, and said, “Your caliper isn’t broken, it just came loose.” They proceeded to fix it right there in about, oh, 120 seconds.

My next experience with Sunset was after my 41 Minutes of Hell, when I took the UM in because of the clicking sound. As you read in my previous post, they diagnosed it, kept the UM for an entire business week, charged me money, assured me the problem was fixed, even going so far as to blame the problem on the Specialized factory… whom I will be calling on Tuesday to chat about Sunset.

For newbie riders like myself, finding an LBS you can trust is critical to maintaining the passion. There is another Specialized dealer in St. Louis (Mesa Cycles), though they are about 40 minutes from my house. But rest assured, they will be getting my business from now on.

Oh, and I am an addict and have been clean for one day.

Eat better.

Keep riding.

Lose the gut.

Don’t shop at Sunset Cyclery.

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