Frequently Asked Questions...

And some that have never been asked. If there's an asterisk (*) by the question then it's really been asked, otherwise I'm just putting it out there.

* "I'd like to ride with those guys but I heard they're snobs."

Nah, we really enjoy meeting new friends. Ride with us!

* Your Calendar doesn't have any upcoming ride dates and I'd like to ride with you folks.

Okay, here's the deal: Unless it's an upcoming "big event" type ride, we don't decide on the weekend rides until the Thursday or Friday before the weekend. Sorry. There are several reasons for this but mostly it's because of the ever changing weather, trail conditions, location of the ride and just plain old how we're feeling on any given weekend. And I have a problem with commitments. But we always do a weekend ride or two (unless it's raining) and always manage to post it to our Calendar before the ride.

So if you would like to join us on a ride (and get on our e-mail list where we yak about upcoming rides so that you don't have to look at our Calendar anymore) take a peek at our Calendar on any Friday afternoon and then just show up.

One last thing about our Calendar; we use the Google Calendar service, it's free and easy to use. However you do have to have a Google account (not a Google e-mail address, just an account with Google) to access Google Calendar.


* Why do I have to ride with the OC Riders first before you'll accept my online signup?

All of our members are added to our private and un-moderated e-mail list server. We like to know, personally, who is reading our group e-mails.


* Hey, why did you kick me of the e-mail list and Member's page?

The e-mail list and Member's Page are occasionally purged of those who haven't shown up for a ride in a long, long time or have stopped communicating with us... for a long, long time.


What's up with the Monks?

I don't know but they look kind of cool. I was inspired by a 1930s citrus box crate label used by a long ago defunct Fullerton fruit packing company. For me the art captures the flavor of Orange County California like no other.


* I'm new to biking. Is your group for me?

The short answer is, no. We ride all the time and if you're a new rider you won't have much fun with us. We're not snobs but we don't want to see you suffer unnecessarily. Peters Canyon and Aliso Woods Regional Parks are excellent mountain biking areas to ride when you're new. We also host family style rides on some Sundays which are perfect for new riders. We post these rides to our Calendar. Also the SoCalTrailRiders offers a wide range of activities for a very wide range of skill sets. Check them out.

The Orange County Register's David Whiting wrote an excelent piece titled "Guide to buying and riding bikes in O.C." It's a must read for new riders.

What should I know about my bike before I ride?

You should become familiar with the major components of your bicycle; front and rear derailleurs, brakes, seat stem and seat attachment points. These are all things that can become loose or out of adjustment at any time. At the very least you should know how to fix a flat tire. If you ride a bicycle you will get flats. You need to be prepared to remove the front / rear wheel and perform a tube replacement at any time. It's not difficult and can be learned quite easily. Anyone of us will be happy to give you a lesson on repairing a flat tire.


What should I bring along on a ride?

Another rider! Seriously...don't ride alone, specially if you're mountain biking. Stuff can happen at any moment and you could find yourself very quickly in a situation where you need immediate assistance. Besides it's fun to chat it up while pedaling. Mountain Biking and Road Riding require similar stuff to pack along while out riding. For Mountain Biking I highly recommend a good hydration backpack. It will hold all of your stuff and more. Roadie riders do not wear back packs (it's a cultural thing as near as I can tell but roadies will argue that it's about aerodynamics) but rather stuff everything into their jersey pockets, an under seat saddle bag and carry their water in bottles on frame mounted bottle cages (like that's really aerodynamic...)

I'll break the list down into essential and optional goodies. Note: Mountain Bikers carry more stuff due to the often remote riding areas and Darwinian requirement to be more self-sufficient.

Essential Items: Water, calories (e-Gels are good*), at least one new spare inner tube, two tire levers, CO2 inflation device (or a packable tire pump), a small tube patch kit in the event you puncture your freshly replaced last new tube, a combination tool kit, cell phone, personal identification and some cash and/or a credit card. Oh yeah, and a small zip-lock bag with some Advil or your personal favorite pain relief medicine.

Optional Items: Small first aid kit, a few packets of pre-moistened handy wipes, sunscreen, a few sheets of paper towel placed inside a zip-lock bag, several zip-ties, a chain link, a spare rear derailleur hanger bracket (highly recommended) if your bike is equipped with a removable derailleur hanger, small digital camera and a light weight jacket or shell in case the weather turns cold.

Note: You burn calories like crazy while you're riding and that's a good thing. However on any ride lasting more than, say, 30 minutes you need to start adding some calories back to the tank or you'll risk blowing up. We've all experienced a blow-up on a ride and I'm here to tell you there's nothing worse. It happens when you've depleted the ready to burn calories that your body stores. When that happens your ride is basically've got nothing left in the tank to give and it can take hours to recover. Avoid things you have to chew, like energy bars. Instead pack along "gels" which can be consumed on the fly and replace the sugars that your body has converted into calories. Not all gels are the same! Experiment with some of the gels that are available at your local bike stores. You'll find that your body likes to digest some better than others. e-Gels are my favorite and they taste great too.


What should I wear?

First and foremost, a helmet. We see you helmet-less guys on the trail every now and then, with your beauty salon hairdos, and I'm here to tell you that we're all laughing at you. No one ever plans on crashing but when you do, and you will, a helmet can save your life. I've replaced several crashed damaged helmets over the years and I'm always happy to shell out the cash for a new one. It's a no brainer. Regardless of whether you ride road or mountain do wear cloths designed specifically for bicycling. Even if you're new to bicycling, spend a few bucks on the proper riding gear and helmet. This gear is generally made of performance (synthetic) fabric and wicks moisture away from your body. It will make the difference between having an enjoyable ride and having a not-so-enjoyable ride. Do not wear cotton anything, including socks. Cotton is your enemy when you sweat and will chafe you in places where you don't want to be chafed. Layering is the best approach when you expect that the weather will be changing during your ride. You can always add or remove a jacket and arm and leg warmers as you go. Overheating while riding is ugly. Trey Hart wrote an in-depth piece on riding apparel and layering. Read it here.

Roadie: I recommend bibshorts (for the guys anyway) over plain shorts. Leave the butt-crack to the plumbers. A snug fitting jersey with backside pockets is a must also, you don't want a loose fitting jersey flapping in the wind. Open finger riding gloves that fit you not too loosely and definitely not too tight. And don't forget those cute riding socks.

Mountain: You will want a looser fitting jersey for comfort and ease of movement. Mountain biking shorts that have an integrated "diaper" are a decent setup but can get hung up on your bike seat when you're moving around. Also the padding tends to bunch up since it's not held snugly against your body. Lately there's been a trend towards wearing bibshorts under an outer pair of unlined shorts. From personal experience I have found this combination to work very well. Bibshorts, which are designed primarily for road riding, have excellent seat padding that tends not to chafe or bunch. Many hammerhead mountain bikers skip the outer shorts part and wear only bibshorts but I prefer having the added abrasion protection that the outer shorts afford. And they look cool. Gloves should be the full finger type for the added protection.

Oh, and by the way, do not wear underwear under your riding shorts. If your riding shorts have a "diaper" in them then you're good to go.


Who's got the right-of-way on the trail?

The rider going uphill always has the right-of-way. If you're blasting down a singletrack and come upon a rider pedaling up it's your job to slow and yield to the rider going up.