HOT CYCLING ARTICLES
BELL GHISALLO cycling helmet
By Matt Cliff
As the flagship of Bell's road-cycling helmet line, the Ghisallo is sported by pro peloton teams like Credit Agricole, CSC, HealthNet and others. I figured I was in pretty good company when I recently strapped on a Ghisallo.
In fact, when Tyler Hamilton hit the pavement in the pile-up in stage 1 of the 2003 Tour de France, he was wearing a Ghisallo. By his own account, the helmet saved his noggin (if not his collarbone).
Admittedly, that says more about the importance of wearing a helmet than about which helmet you should wear -- but as long as you have the choice, the Bell Ghisallo is a serious piece of race gear.
You may think, "What's to review? A helmet's a helmet's a helmet, right?" -- which is true to a certain extent with current cycling-helmet technology, but like other things that become familiar with experience, cyclists know a good helmet when they put one on.
The Ghisallo uses Bell's GPS ("Geared Positioning System") fit system to hug your head snugly and comfortably. The key to the GPS is a tightening dial, built into the helmet's interior webbing, that sits on your occipital lobe (the technical term for "the back of your head"). With the helmet on, simply push the dial upward and turn it either clockwise or counterclockwise, and the webbing snugs up or loosens around your head.
It's so simple, you can do this with one finger (probably your thumb) on the fly, almost without thinking. It was a revelation for me, coming from an older helmet with no such system. And during the winter, when you're more likely to wear skullcaps or other head covers under your helmet, the GPS is especially handy.
The chin strap adjusts via conventional sliding strap locks, and when you combine with the GPS, you're sure to be dialed in with a perfect fit every time. That's provided, of course, that you choose the correct helmet size.
The Ghisallo comes in Small/Medium (56 - 58cm) and Medium/Large (59 - 62cm). Like running and cycling shoes, the same size may vary among different brands. So if you can't try the helmet on before you buy it (i.e. online), it pays to whip out the measuring tape and double-check your size.
I suppose the sign of a good bike helmet is not noticing it's on. That's certainly true of the Ghisallo -- it's light (10.3 ounces, or 292 grams), and with the proper fit it's velvet-glove snug.
It boasts 17 large vents to channel air in and out around your head, to keep you cool during hot months. Speaking of which, I've found the pads lining the front-inside of the Ghisallo to be quite adept at sweat absorption -- something I've found lacking in other helmets where I've had to wear a headband to keep sweat out of my eyes.
With its aggressive flame-like modeled shape and eye-catching graphics (mine is the dark-silver-and-black "pewter"), the Ghisallo looks cool too. Other colors schemes include White, Titanium, Blue/White, and CSC and Credit Agricole "team" versions.
Bell's been in business for half a century, and the "50th Anniversary" version of the Ghisallo comes with an extremely spiffy heavy-duty (fur-lined!) carrying bag. While it's a great way to protect your helm from getting banged around the trunk of your car, an informal poll among my cycling cohorts was inconclusive as to whether many riders use such a case for everyday storage. But hey, if you want it, it's there.
The helmet by itself retails for $99 MSRP -- a good deal for a top-of-the-line helmet -- or $124.99 with the case.For more information, visit www.bellbikehelmets.com.
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Drills To Improve Pedaling Efficiency
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Water accounts for roughly 60% of the total body mass in most male cyclists and about 55% for the average woman. That’s close to 100 lbs of water for a 160 lb male or roughly 11.5 gallons of water. Water can be lost through several avenues. After combining the water losses through perspiration, urination and breathing you can loose close to 3 liters of water every day. If you’re exercising in hot and or humid environments you have the capability of loosing triple that value.
Without proper hydration you run the risk of dangerous heat illnesses as well as a noticeable decrease in physical and mental performance. Even a relatively small decrease of 2-3% in the body’s total fluid can decrease a cyclist’s performance by 3-7%. Think of the lengths people will go to in order to gain an advantage of 3-7% over their competition. So why give anybody that advantage by neglecting to rehydrate?
The key to maintaining hydration on the bike is to replace the fluids you loose. This sounds simple enough but it can get pretty tricky when you’re reaching for a bottle while negotiating singletrack or when you’re surrounded by a pack of riders. There are two methods used by cyclists to carry fluids on the bike. The traditional water bottle is a good choice but it definitely has its drawbacks. An alternative to the standard bottle and cage is the pack hydration system. The benefits to using such a system are numerous and the technical advancements in modern pack design make the hydration pack comfortable and far more useful than ever.
The pack hydration system becomes a great solution to the more cumbersome yet traditional bottle and cage. Most pack hydration systems connect the tube and bite valve within convenient reach on one of the shoulder straps making it safer and easier to reach for when compared to a water bottle. Since the rule of thumb with hydration is to drink early and often, with easy access you are more likely to drink often enough to maintain proper hydration levels.
In addition to simplicity and ease, the pack hydration system has many more benefits. When properly cared for, the pack hydration system can be cleaner than drinking from a bottle that’s covered in mud and creek water. For those pavement lovers, you won’t have to worry about dropping the bottle in a pack situation and causing a crash. Pack hydration systems also offer more insulation than a traditional water bottle, keeping your fluids cooler on hot days and warmer during the long cold base rides of the winter months. Many pack hydration systems have a larger capacity than two large water bottles. This is beneficial because it requires fewer stops for water and alleviates the worry associated running out at a key rehydration point. This makes pack hydration systems ideal for those fond of long epic rides.
There are many manufacturers of pack hydration systems on the market, Camelbak being one of the largest and most innovative in design and function. When looking into pack hydration systems you need to keep in mind your intended activity and duration. Camelbak products vary in size and function with packs designed for running, cycling, hiking and pretty much any other outside activity you could imagine. Camelbacks water capacity ranges from 28 to 100 oz depending on the size of pack you want to carry. The storage capacity also varies from pack to pack with cargo capacities small enough for the minimalist and vast enough for the person who never wants to be without. There is a pack geared towards any activity and every athlete. The sooner you find the right fit for you, the sooner you’ll be on the road to proper hydration.
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