Mountain Bike Guide to Gearing

Every cyclist learns to brake and shift gears quickly and safely for enjoyable rides in the streets and hills. But there’s a difference between knowing how to shift and knowing how to do it well in the varied and challenging situations encountered in mountain biking.

If there’s one basic thing you need to master other than braking for responsive stops, it’s to anticipate which gears you need to employ on every upcoming segment of the road or trail. Learning when as well as how to shift will help you maintain your bike’s transmission in good working condition longer, as well as ease the strain on your body and lessen the total effort you will expend on pedaling in the long run. Recreation Space have a lot of great reviews about mountain bikes that you can read.

Study the drivetrain

First, give the critical parts of your transmission a good look-see, to get an idea of how the derailleur assemblies pull things together from the moving pedal onwards.

Start with the big single or pair of sprockets to which the pedals are directly attached, and rotate the pedals to see how the front sprockets correspondingly drive the smaller freewheeling cogs on the rear wheel’s derailleur, via the chain which connects the two assemblies.

Remove any cover housing, and clean off any grime or dust which blocks or dims your view of the interacting pieces. There are a number of moving parts down there which have to work precisely together. These must be adjusted and well-lubricated to operate effectively for you to ride your bike efficiently and safely.

There’s more to gearing than just getting those sprockets meshing right when it’s time, and the best thing you can do to improve your cycling skills is to learn how to change gears early and consistently.

Shifting, and when

The short answer to the question of when to shift gears is to shift well before the shift is really needed. But different riders with different skill and experience levels interpret this advice kind of differently. For some, that decision comes when it gets harder and harder to pedal, for when the current gearing is too low for you to readily power the bike up a grade. For others, it’s also when things are already idling way too much, for when the gearing is too high to gracefully manage a descent and your sprockets are already mostly spinning freely.

It’s best to figure in advance how high or low a gear you’ll need according to your on the fly judgement of upcoming terrain and surfaces. These are both big factors as hard ground on the uphill will much more readily ascended than gravelly or sandy surfaces on more level ground. Pushing your derailing cages to shift the chain when you’re really pumping the pedals is hard on both links and sprockets as well as your legs. Always anticipate the correct gearing for what’s coming next when you’re still ahead on an easy downhill segment or else rolling on level terrain.


Preparing for the arrival of the new baby

As a mother, you want to ensure that you are well prepared for the arrival of the baby. In addition to going for regular checkups, you need to ensure that you have bought everything that the baby will need when they come home.

What to do?

1. Buy the essential baby products

One of the most important items that you are supposed to buy is the baby stroller. There are many different types of strollers that you can buy. To end up with the perfect choice, you need to consider the functionality and the reliability of the stroller. It is recommended that you buy a stroller that you can move around with. The lightweight strollers are easy to fold and you can move around with them. You need to check the manufacture’s guidelines when choosing the best lightweight stroller.
Other items that you will have to buy are the baby clothes. You should buy the clothes according to the weather season. As much as you will be buying age appropriate clothing, you also need to buy clothes that are one size bigger. Remember that the baby grows rapidly for the first few months and they will outgrow some of the clothes before they even wear them. Some essential clothing that you should have include; baby socks, baby hats, gloves, baby blanket just to mention a few. You also need to consider buying a diaper bag. Bibs, wipes, diapers (both disposable and diaper clothe). Baby sling, front carrier, car seat are some of the other products that you need to buy.

2. Safe home

Even though the baby will not be old enough to crawl, you need to baby proof your baby. You need to ensure that all the items that may pose harm to the baby are well sorted. The house needs to be clean at all times, remember that newborns are prone to infections. It is recommended that you buy a warmer- to use in the room where the baby is sleeping or when you are washing them.

3. Prepare the baby’s room


  • There are quite a few items that you will need to buy for the nursery to be complete.
    You will need a baby cot
  • Mattress; comfortable and soft
  • Blanket
  • Cot sheet
  • Mattress protector
  • Chest drawers for keeping babies clothes and items
  • Nappies and nappy liners

4. Find a pediatrician

It is important to have a pediatrician you can trust. When you are going for your antenatal checkups, you need to scout out the best pediatrician. They will come in handy when you are faced with the challenges of handling the new born. It is also important to have one for growth and monitoring of the baby. There are few considerations that you will have to make when choosing the pediatrician.

  • Determine if you want to have a female or a male doctor.
  • Their availability; it is important to note at what time the doctor will be available. It is important to ask if they have the 24 hour service.
  • You need to find out if they accept insurance plan

It is important for you to have the pediatrician for the long term. This is because as the baby grows they will be used to being handled by the same doctor. They not appreciate any changes made.

As you prepare for the baby to arrive, you need to also look after yourself. Good nutrition and exercise will help you during this time. Remember to also go for regular check up as often as possible to ensure that the baby is developing as expected.

Newest tester report

REI Trail 40

For her 16-day journey to Everest Base Camp, our gear editor wanted killer comfort and convenience. The Trail 40 delivers. It has the structure and padding to support loads up to 25 pounds. “I barely noticed it on my back,” she says, “even on epic days postholing over 17,500-foot passes.” But it’s the made-for-trail-living packbag that really shines. It opens via a U-shaped zipper with four sliders: Use it as a top-loader, peel back the entire front panel, or zip from the corners to access the bottom without exposing the rest. The stretchy side pockets keep 1-liter bottles secure and huge hipbelt pockets swallow iPhone, snacks, sunscreen, knife, lip balm, and mini-wallet. Bonus: sweet price. $109; 3 lbs.;

L.L.Bean Pathfinder LED Cap

At first, we thought this lighted ball cap was, well, dorky. So we gave it to our kids for a long weekend of camping. By the second night, we stole it back. After all, you need a light and you need a hat; it’s cleverly efficient. The Pathfinder is a simple cotton cap (we wish it were nylon) with three LEDs and a clickable button built discretely into the brim. Three settings offer different brightness levels (the highest is bright enough for trail hiking). It won’t always take the place of a full-powered headlamp, but for warm weather camping, it perfectly fits the, ahem, bill. $20; 4.2 oz.;

What You’ll Need When Backpacking with Your Baby

* Child carrier: Until your child is four or five years old, you can carry him or her in a child carrier if you purchase the heftiest, best-made one you can find. Madden makes the heaviest duty child carriers with the greatest storage capacity; Tough Traveler and Kelty also create models suitable for the trail. These are indispensable when your child is small and very convenient when your older hiker gets fatigued or the light is fading and you need to move faster.

Child Carrier

* Rain gear: Choose rain gear for your children that is designed with the same high-quality standards as adult rain gear, like suits made by Columbia Sportswear, with all the “adult” features like underarm vents, taped seams, and snaps on the elasticized wrists and ankles.



* Family camping tent: Next to your rain gear, the most important piece of rain equipment is your tent. “Family camping”- is the one of the best camping tents often incorporate fewer poles and tie-downs in their construction and can be quite high. These features can be dangerous in mountainous, above-treeline camping, where severe storms can collapse a less sturdy tent. The more ragged or remote the outing, the further away from family-camping tents you should move, and the closer to an expedition-type tent like Sierra Design’s Stretch Prelude. Never only look at cheap tents or tents on sale but spend more time to find a best family tent for you.


* Sleeping bags: Kelty has great sleeping bags for kids, and Tough Traveler makes the Growing Bear, a unique modular bag that adjusts for children 3 feet to 4 feet 10 inches tall.

Pee Wee Harris looks at camping

Last year, I and my little boy (nick name Pee Wee) were going to camp at Salt Lake. We’ve never met any rain heavy like that but I have my very best family tent and it protected us well. Next morning, he woke up early, sat beside our Coleman Red Canyon tent and sang happily (absolutely like this below picture). This is the poem I made at that time:














Beats, beatniks, and beat movies (3)

Salles and Rivera deserve applause for simply getting the picture finished, and their adaptation is moderately true to the novel’s basic structure, following Sal (Sam Riley) and Dean (Garrett Hedlund) on a series of journeys, stopovers, and visits that take them to such far-flung locations as Denver, San Francisco, North Carolina, a California cotton field, a Mexican brothel, a modest Queens apartment, and an upscale Manhattan neighborhood, picking up and dropping off a variety of friends, acquaintances, and relatives along the way. Riley and Hedlund are less than dynamic as the leads, but they’re both appealing, and the supporting cast is consistently persuasive, from Tom Sturridge and Viggo Mortensen as the Ginsberg and Burroughs characters to Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, and the marvelous Elisabeth Moss as wives and girlfriends who cope the best they can with the shamelessly male-chauvinist Beat crew.

These things said, what’s missing from On the Road is the novel’s deep investment not just in movement and travel but also in the incessant, compulsive curiosity about people, places, and things that propels Sal on his voyages and energizes every page of Kerouac’s hyperactive first-person prose. The novel’s psychological perceptions are also diminished, most notably at the end of the movie, when Sal–dressed to kill, going with friends to a fancy Manhattan jazz concert–abruptly dismisses Dean, who has just endured a miserable cross-country trip to visit him. In the novel, this moment marks the culmination of Sal’s gradually growing realization that Dean is irresponsible and unstable in ways that Sal himself is finally outgrowing. The film depicts this in a shallower, sketchier manner that reduces Sal’s bittersweet epiphany to a moment of everyday rudeness–plausible enough in narrative terms, but lacking the emotional resonance that makes the novel’s conclusion so memorable.

Beats, beatniks, and beat movies (2)

 The films also add up to a fragmented docudrama about the edgy period after World War II, when life was changing fast in what was now the strongest, most prosperous power in the world. Americans surged into an economic boom fueled by everything from the Marshall Plan overseas to television advertising at home, where consumers were moving from cities to suburbs and purchasing big-ticket conveniences galore. Yet feelings of psychological and spiritual well-being did not keep pace with the material comfort enjoyed by the middle and upper classes. Loaded terms such as “rat race” and “lonely crowd” cropped up frequently in journalism and entertainment, and cautionary books like Sloan Wilson’s The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit (1955) and William H. Whyte’s The Organization Man (1956) became bestsellers. Republican war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower won the presidential elections of 1952 and 1956, comforting conservatives even as the Cold War produced commie-baiting McCarthyism and brooding fears that the Soviet Union would infiltrate, overthrow, or nuke the United States to oblivion. The nation’s problems intensified as gaps widened between rich and poor, suburbs became all but indistinguishable from one another, African-Americans suffered oppression in the South and bigotry in the North, and “planned obsolescence” caused consumer goods to break down just when you were starting to rely on them. The word “homophobia” didn’t exist but the sentiment was everywhere, and the message for young straights was “look but don’t touch” until the “right person” comes along and marries you.

This was the cultural situation that Kerouac confronted in The Town and the City (1950), his first novel and the first real Beat publication. Often dismissed as an uninspired Thomas Wolfe knockoff, it’s actually a well-realized, pugnacious book that anticipates the more adventurous writings to come, as when a small-town New Englander silently warns his neighbors, “Look out for that budget … Love your wife and kiddies … Learn to accept the whip of your next in rank. Don’t revolt, whatever you do!” Revolt was exactly what Kerouac had in mind, not by changing the system via politics but by opting out of it via creativity, spirituality, and an inward-looking quest for what he called “the unspeakable visions of the individual.” What this meant in practical terms was summed up by that small-town character: “As for me, ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to desert the sinking ship.”

Beats, beatniks, and beat movies (1)

After decades of neglect, the Beat Generation is suddenly a hot topic for filmmakers. The recent wave of Beat movies started in 2010 with Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Howl, about the obscenity trial inflicted on Allen Ginsberg’s great poem a year after it was published in 1956. The long-awaited screen version of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, the 1957 novel that gave the Beats their first national fame, arrived in 2012. And two more pictures debuted back to back this fall. Kill Your Darlings, the first feature directed by John Krokidas, is a fact-based story of mayhem and madness centering on two friends of the nascent Beat group in 1944. The best of all these pictures, an adaptation of Kerouac’s 1962 novel Big Sur by writer-director Michael Polish, digs into the psychology of the most famous and troubled Beat writer with aesthetically striking results.

It’s hard to say exactly why interest in the Beats is on the rise just now. No crucial anniversary or literary find has happened lately, and the last major survivors of the original group, Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, died in 1997. The simplest explanation may be the best–that the long absence of Beat writers, subjects, and stories from the screen has made them ripe for rediscovery by new generations, and ready for revisiting by baby boomers who recall the days when they and the Beats were young. Nostalgia for the Fifties surely plays a role as well, notwithstanding the vast existential gap between the eccentric Beats and the money-minded Mad Men crew.

What remains to be seen is whether attitudes beyond simple curiosity and nostalgia are at work. The only one of these films with explicit political views is Howl, and while it’s intelligent and smartly made, its stand against censorship, prudery, and hypocrisy is hardly controversial in this day and age. It augurs well for the American future if renewed interest in Beat ideas is a sign that the group’s disgust with conformity, conventionality, and consumerism is once more on the rise. It’s less encouraging if people are tapping into Beat lore because they share the deep, even paranoid misgivings about collective action and political militancy that gave the Beat worldview its shadow side. When celebrating the group’s healthy disdain for lockstep cultural consensus, it’s worth remembering that the Beats had failings of their own. Kerouac turned into a reactionary crank, Burroughs was a chronically obstreperous loner, all of them were heedless sexists, and the whole Beat phenomenon quickly faded when the nervous, conflicted Fifties gave way to the swinging, politically charged Sixties.

Mars & Venus go shopping

You want a chenille sweater, and he gets you toaster. Why men are so bad at buying us presents (or are we just too hard to please?). Plus: shopping mistakes wives make.

back when you wore kneesocks and believed in princes, you probably read The Gift of the Magi, O. Henry’s classic story about Christmas shopping. Pre-mall, pre-Lands’ End.

The plot, in a roasted chestnut shell: This couple is madly in love, but short on cash.

She has lovely long hair; he has a nice watch. She cuts off her hair and sells it to buy him a beautiful watch chain; he sells his watch to buy her a beautiful pair of combs.

Touching. And totally fictional-at least from many a husband’s point of view.

This is not because men are unwilling to make sacrifices or because they don’t care deeply about buying their beloveds’ nice presents. They do. But to generalize brazenly, husbands usually don’t have a clue about what that treasured something should be. And most hate to shop–especially around the holidays.