What to do if you have a bicycle accident

Pas nécessairement agréable mais à relire avec attention…

What to do if you have a bicycle accident

With unprecedented numbers of cyclists taking to UK roads, knowing what to do if you’re involved in a collision or accident on your bike is a key consideration.

BikeRadar spoke to two cycle insurance specialists, Total Cycle Assist and Cycleguard, about their top tips for riders unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident that leaves them with minor cuts, bruises and a bashed up bike. For more serious incidents, attending to injuries is the overriding priority.

1. Get clear and safe

The first thing to do is get clear of the road, said Richard Williams, MD at Total Cycle Assist: “It sounds easy enough, but often people panic and don’t realise that getting clear of other traffic is a prime move.”

2. Ask for details

Williams said it was important to follow the same drill car drivers would in a collision – that means collecting information: “Exchange details with driver and witnesses, including the registration number of the vehicle – this is essential for managing claims efficiently.

“If you’re claiming for damage to you or your bike, then you need the details of who ran into you,” he added. “Even if you don’t think there is damage, take details anyway in case you spot something later on.”

3. Gather supporting evidence

Insurers like as much detail as possible about the nature of the incident. Using a smartphone, capture some shots or footage of the scene and damage, said Adrian Scott, head of Cycleguard.

“If you need to make a claim on your cycle insurance policy, submit a claim form with accurate details of the incident – together with any supporting information, such as photographs of the surrounding area or footage from your helmet camera – as soon as possible,” he said.

4. Go for a check-up

Sometimes, injuries take time to reveal themselves, said Williams. It’s worth booking a medical appointment to get checked over. “It always pays to get checked out at your doctors or at hospital, even if you feel okay – injuries can materialise after hours or days,” he said.

5. Speak to insurers first

After the dust has settled on the incident – hopefully with no lasting physical effects – Scott advises not entering into correspondence with the third party, as it might affect the claim. The first call should be to the insurers, not the bike shop.

“Don’t attempt to repair or replace a damaged bike without speaking to your insurers first, as this might impact upon your claim,” Scott said.

For more information on what to do after a cycling accident see our forum thread.

Urge All M helmet review

Il est trop beau!

Urge All M helmet review

Urge’s take on helmet design is a little different from much of the competition, and their All M lid is no different.

The in-mould construction is only available in two sizes and because there’s no adjustable cradle, the All M won’t suit everybody’s head shape.

Saying that though, the generous padding in our small/medium sample provided a snug enough fit to keep the helmet in place on rough, rocky trails. The fit is helped by the ‘X Straps’ that cross over the back of your head and cradle your cranium, but still not as tightly as an adjustable cradle.

The generous padding can get a little warm but it does wick well, and the massive vents and internal channelling keep you cool enough. The overall coverage is good and we like the unusual styling.

Fiat lux

Il m’arrive parfois de velotaffer un peu, du moins d’attraper le RER en vélo. J’ai découvert récemment une housse pour mon sac à dos, bien pratique.
Non seulement elle est petite une fois dans sa housse, mais en plus, elle est bien visible (le jaune ne rend pas bien en photo), le tout en me mettant en conformité avec la loi.
Enfin, elle s’adapte a beaucoup de modèles de sac à dos. Pour ne rien gâcher, elle n’est pas trop chère et dispo dans tous les Décathlon.

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How to align your disc brake calipers

Voilà un point de vue bien pratique.

How to align your disc brake calipers

Rubbing disc brakes can make irritating noises, slow you down and cause premature wear. The most common reason for disc rub is bad caliper alignment, something that’s both quick and easy to sort out. Technical expert Justin Loretz takes you through the process in the video below.

Over the past few weeks we’ve also featured other workshop tips, including how to set up suspension sag, how to set up front and rear derailleurs and how to clean your bike.

How to manual

L’une des figures les plus belles du VTT.

How to manual

BikeRadar have already showed you how to wheelie, and a natural progression from that skill is to learn how to manual. A manual, like a wheelie, is a trick that involves keeping the front wheel elevated while your rear wheel tracks the ground.

The difference between the two comes in the way you pop and maintain the height of your front wheel. A wheelie involves pedalling to keep the front wheel up, whereas a manual is both initiated and maintained by shifting your bodyweight – no pedalling involved.

Manuals can be used in a variety of riding scenarios, whether to keep the pace up at a pump track or to prevent the front wheel from tracking deep ruts on the trails.

So sit back and let downhill racing legend Steve Peat and dirt jumper Blake Samson show you it’s done.

How to get your seat height right

Toujours utile à vérifier…

How to get your seat height right

Setting the correct seat height would seem to be such a fundamental part of cycling that you would have thought the boffins had agreed long ago on the best method. But you’d be wrong.

One thing all the experts agree on however is that if you get the height wrong, the effects can be catastrophic. A study suggests that setting the height too low can decrease time to exhaustion by as much as 12 per cent.

Consequently cyclists with limited time on their hands might actually get more out of a shorter session by lowering their seats to a sub-optimal level so as to make it harder.

It’s an interesting theory, but even knowing how to get it wrong presupposes that you know how to get it right, and many don’t. Read on to find out exactly how to do it.

1 The Heel method

The heel method: the heel method

This is the one every bike shop owner or gym assistant will tell you whenever you clamber onto the saddle. You place the heel of your shoe on the pedal and set the saddle height so your leg is straight at the bottom of the pedal cycle with the pelvis remaining in a horizontal position.

Despite this commonly heard method, there is virtually no scientific evidence to support it and it often leads to the saddle height being adjusted too low.

Professor Will Pelever of Mississippi University for Women has written several papers comparing methods for finding the best seat height and says, “The main problem is that this method does not take into account individual variations in femur, tibia and foot length.”

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2 The 109% method

A more robust method was developed by Hamley & Thomas in a 1967 paper. They experimented with different saddle heights and found that the ideal was achieved when the saddle was positioned at 109% of your inseam length when measuring from the pedal axle to the top of the seat height.

Your inseam measurement is basically the length from your crotch to the floor. To calculate this, face a wall and put a thick-ish book between your legs as if it were a saddle. Ensuring that you are standing straight with your heels on the floor, mark a line along the top of the book edge touching the wall.

The distance from the floor to the height of the mark is your inseam measurement. It’s best to measure it several times and take an average.

This has proved an extremely popular method and is recommended by many top-level coaches. Yet a recent study by Professor Pelever found that it was inferior to the Holmes method (see below) both in terms of power output and economy.

3 The LeMond method

This is a popular variation on the 109% method and pioneered by the three time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond.

Also using inseam length as a guide, this formula calculates 88.3% of your inseam length and uses it to measure the distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat height.

Interestingly, Pelever has shown that this often produces a different seat height from the 109% method and although it seems to work for many people, it may not be ideal for someone with particularly long femur bones.

4 The Holmes method

This was originally developed to reduce over-use injuries in cycling and takes a different approach entirely from the other three.

It uses a device called a goniometer for measuring the angle of the knee joint at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Holmes recommends an angle of between 25 and 35 degrees and closer to 25 for those with a history of patella tendonitis.

This may all sound a bit technical and if so it’s probably best to go with one of the two inseam methods, but you can pick up a goniometer for around £20 from medical suppliers.

Pelever’s research has shown that setting your seat height based on a knee angle of 25 degrees outperforms all other methods (including an angle of 35 degrees). “Using a goniometer and a 25 degree angle is definitely the method I’d recommend,” he says.

Don’t rely on simply feeling comfortable either. “If you’ve been pedalling at a much lower saddle height than is optimal, it may feel awkward in the beginning,” says Pelever.

“However, as your body adapts (usually in two to three weeks) the new position will not only feel comfortable, but will improve performance in the long run.”

Of course, if you still feel uncomfortable after a few weeks then you will need to make changes. It’s best to use the 25 degree knee angle as a starting place. Have someone watch from behind to ensure that your hips do not rock back and forth across the saddle due to over extension at the bottom of the stroke. If that is the case then the angle may need to be adjusted upwards slightly for comfort.

“When I finish fitting someone on their bike, their knee angle is usually somewhere between 25 and 30 degrees, but much closer to 25 on most all occasions,” says Pelever.

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Workshop: How to clean and lube your bike

Utile vu les conditions, et on peut se dire que les anglais en connaisse un rayon sur ce type de problèmes…

Workshop: How to clean and lube your bike

If you’ve let the muck build up on your bike, here’s a step-by-step guide that will get it looking like new – and running much better – in less than an hour.

We think this is best avoided: a five-minute hosedown and application of lube straight after your ride will help keep your bike running smoothly, if not showroom shiny. But nobody’s perfect – least of all us – so here’s how to shift serious grime.

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Skill rating: Easy
  • Cost: Degreaser, grease, chainlube (approx. £15)

Tools you’ll need

Tools: tools

  1. Bucket
  2. Very hot water
  3. Washing-up liquid
  4. Brushes and sponges
  5. Old toothbrush
  6. Narrow flat-blade screwdriver
  7. Old spoke
  8. Degreaser
  9. Polish/detailer
  10. Grease
  11. Chain lube
  12. Rags

1] Scrub the chain

Scrub chain: scrub chain

The chain is the most important part of the transmission. The first step to cleaning it is to use hot water — wearing rubber gloves will help you use hotter, more effective, water. Add regular washing-up liquid to your bucket of water and allow it to foam up.

With the chain in the biggest gear, apply the mixture vigorously using a stiff bristle scrubbing brush. You’ll see a bright, shining chain emerge.

2] Degrease the chain

Degrease chain: degrease chain

With the chain free from dirt, apply a biodegradable degreaser to the chain and allow it to soak into all the links. This will remove any debris and sticky residues you can’t see, and make for a free-running chain.

Rotate the cranks backwards a few times to get the degreaser right into the links. Allow to drip-dry, or wash off with clean water.

3 Wipe the chain

Wipe chain: wipe chain

Use a soft rag to wipe the chain completely clean — you’ll be surprised what still comes off a clean-looking chain. You’re trying to massage the links, moving them through as wide a range of movement as possible — this helps expose the sections of link normally hidden from view.

4] Lube the chain

Lubrication: lubrication

Apply lube only when the chain is clean. We prefer to lube a chain as little as possible, with as light a lube as we can get away with. Use a dripper bottle, because it’s easier to apply accurately and with minimum wastage.

Coat the whole chain, spinning the cranks to force the lube into the links. That’s where lube is most useful — not coating the outside plates, as many believe. Wipe excess lube away with a rag.

5] Wipe cables

Wipe cables: wipe cables

Slide the outers to expose previously covered sections of inner cable. Give the entire inner cable a wipe-over with a section of rag soaked in degreaser. If you come across any sections that are rusty, replace with a new inner cable. Most dry cables can be reinvigorated with a little light grease.

6] Lube cables

Lube cables: lube cables

The best way to apply grease evenly to a cable is to first apply the grease to a clean (lint-free) rag. Holding the rag in one hand with the greased section between thumb and forefinger, gently pinch the section of inner cable in the rag and draw it through.

The idea is to allow the grease to get into the fine strands of the cable without creating any blobs of grease.

7] Scrub front mech

Scrub front mech: scrub front mech

Front mechs always suffers from neglect. They’re hard to access and are often jammed full of dry mud, and have pivots drier than a Jacob’s Cracker. The first thing you can do to get your front mech swinging happily again is to apply steaming soapy water. Use a small toothbrush to get right into the parallelogram and underneath the band.

8] Wipe front mech

Wipe front mech: wipe front mech

Give the mech a good going over with the rag. Use a thin strip of rag to thread though the body of the front mech — this allows you to floss the body. Don’t overlook the inside of the front mech cage, as these get pretty grubby from rubbing the chain all day. A couple of minutes and you should have a gleaming front mech.

9] Scrape out rear mech

Scrape out rear mech: scrape out rear mech

There’s no point having a free-running chain if the jockey wheels of your rear mech are bunged up. Use an old spoke or the blade of a thin, flat-bladed screwdriver to carefully hook out any old grass and oily gunge that’s trapped between the jockey wheels and the mech arm side plates.

10] Scrub Jockey Wheels

Scrub jockey wheels: scrub jockey wheels

With the serious grime gone, use a little degreaser and an old toothbrush to scrub the jockey wheels (not forgetting the insides of the mech arm). It’s possible to unscrew the jockey wheels from the mech arm, but we don’t recommend you do so unless you’ve got a thread lock to use when reinstalling the pivot bolts. Sadly, we’ve seen too many rides ended by bottom jockey wheels falling out.

11] Lube Jockey Wheels

Lube jockey wheels: lube jockey wheels

Re-lube the jockey wheels. They really only need the very lightest touch of lube, as they’ll pick up enough from the chain through use. Remember these little wheels attract a lot of dirt, and with lube being sticky, it doesn’t pay to make matters worse by overdoing it. Wipe the excess away with a rag. They should look dry.

12] Unclip cables

Unclip cables: unclip cables

Set the rear gears into the largest rear sprocket and then, without letting the rear wheel spin, shift into the smallest rear sprocket. This will free up a bunch of inner cable and allow you to pop the outers from the slotted cable stops on the frame. With the cables now fully unclipped from the frame you can inspect, clean, re-lube and reinstall everything.

13] Lube Front Mech

Lube front mech: lube front mech

Use the lube dropper bottle to apply drops of lube to all the pivots on the front mech. These take a lot of load, and can use all the help you can give them to remain mobile. Shift the mech into the smallest chainring and then work the parallelogram with your fingers to get the lube worked in.

14] De-Gunk Rear Sprockets

De-gunk rear sprockets: de-gunk rear sprockets

The rear sprockets are the final port of call on this bicycle maintenance mystery tour. They’re full of technology to help faster shifts, but also full of grease, mud and grass. Pick the worst lumps out with an old spoke or the blade of a thin, flat screwdriver. You’ll be surprised what hides in those tight spaces, even on expensive, open alloy carrier versions.

15] Scrub Rear Sprockets

Scrub rear sprockets: scrub rear sprockets

Get the hot soapy water on them and get scrubbing with a brush. Really stubborn grot can be shifted with a dose of degreaser and another hit with the scrubbing brush. Getting to the backs of the sprockets can be tricky, but it’s really worth persevering, as the cleaner you make it, the less easy it is for new mud to stick.

16] Wipe Rear Sprockets

Wipe sprockets: wipe sprockets

Give the sprockets some flossing with your strip of rag. This helps dry the sprockets, and also buffs away any outstanding marks. The cleaner you can keep your sprockets, the faster they’ll shift and the longer they’ll last. Dirt acts like a grinding paste when in contact with any part of your transmission, so get rid of it.

Tip: don’t forget the general clean-up

If you feel like treating your bike, then give it a good polish : if you feel like treating your bike, then give it a good polish

You can get away with just cleaning the important parts, but a full wash-down should be part of your regular post-ride plans. Take the wheels off the bike and wash everything, beginning with the underside of the saddle and working downwards.

Tip: lube the pivots

Tip - lube lever pivots: tip - lube lever pivots

Add a drop of lube to your brake lever pivots — they dry out too and work better with some liquid love. Ditto the shifters. For SRAM X.9/X.0 gears, simply unscrew the top caps and drop a few drops on the spring and cable nipple. With Shimano, undo the plastic grub screw and put a few drops inside before replacing the grub screw.

Tip: polish it off

If you love your bike, show it offby taking a soft duster and some nice polish and giving the paintwork a buffing it’ll never forget. Apart from making the bike look shiny, it also helps make it harder for dirt to stick to the frame the next time you’re out.

Tip: hot water and detergent FTW

The marketplace is rammed with bike cleaning fluids, and they’re mostly pretty good. Most are applied using a trigger bottle spray, requiring you to leave it on for 30 seconds and then wash off with a brush.

That’s all well and good, but we have just as much success with car shampoo and hot water. You can even use washing up liquid, but remember it contains salt so you want to be sure you get it all off. For all the marketing hype, the detergent and the grime-busting strength of steaming hot water are hard to beat. Have a good selection of sponges and brushes available to get into all the nooks and crannies.

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