We are continuing our popular series “How to not embarrass yourself when Randonneuring” with a short article on gnome care. This article discusses ways to look after your gnome and keep your bike planing like the dickens.
A healthy gnome is a joy to behold
Perhaps you have just bought a gnome on the spur of the moment or drunkenly bid on one at a charity auction (and won!) and you have no idea on how to care for it. Maybe you think you know the basics but would like to learn more; like what to do with gnome droppings when cleaning the frame, or what food and plants you can give to your gnome.
If you have just returned home with your new gnome you are going to need to know how to correctly introduce your newly purchased friend in to his or her new home in your randonneuse. Like most people around bikes, your gnome can easily get burned out and sometimes even get sick of cycling. To minimize the chance of this happening, read on and keep those gnomes happy and oscillating!
If you read over all the articles we have on this site, by the time you have finished you could have earned an online certificate in gnome care if you were to have enrolled in our online course in gnome care so give enrolling a chance and then you could earn extra money in your spare time as a certified professional gnome care giver.
Regardless of your enrollment status, if you study all of our articles you can be confident that you know what you are talking about when it comes to gnomes, and that you are an expert who can help friends, family and passersby learn more about how to care for them.
A gnome is an easy creature to keep and care for. They take up relatively little room in your home. They don’t bark loudly or leave hairs on your sofa, they don’t whine to be let out for a randonnee, they usually remember to put the toilet seat down, and also they don’t require expensive treats.
All they need is a low trail cycle with standard size thin wall tubing, a little tonic in the frame to make it less harmful to them, and regular feeding every day, and that’s it. Do that and you won’t hear a peep out of them.
Introducing your gnome to your frame
This can be the most important step in gnome care. First we’ll tell you what not to do.
Jamming them down the seat tube
Yeah, we know, that is the biggest hole in your frame, but put the gnomes in your seat tube and they will get caught in your bottom bracket and you’ll get all kinds of creaking noises. Cheap carbon bikes with gnomes stuffed down the seat tube by non-union labor always creak. To insert your gnome properly you need to get a gnome hypodermic available from our online store and inject them into the brazing vent holes of your frame. Once the gnomes are inside they will expand and and start oscillate and will not fall out.
A frame with properly inserted gnomes makes a ‘ping’ sound when flicked with a finger, not a ‘thunk’.
Adding Too Many Gnomes at Once
What low trail randonneuse owner isn’t eager to fill the frame with gnomes? Unfortunately adding too many gnomes all at once is another common new gnome installer mistake. Until the beneficial bacterial colonies have fully established within the frame, the randonneuse cannot safely support a full load of gnomes. Only add a couple of small hardy gnomes initially. Wait a week or so until both the ammonia and nitrite levels have risen to optimal levels before adding more gnomes. You can buy testing equipment at our online store.
Even after getting through the initial startup, it’s very common for new owners to overstock the randonneuse. Although an experienced person may successfully keep a troupe of twenty gnomes in randonneuse, it would be disastrous for a beginner to attempt it.
Debate exists over the inch per cm of inserted seat post rule, but it provides a good basic yardstick from which to start. I recommend taking eighty percent of the net seat tube length after seat post insertion as the maximum number of gnomes to keep in the frame. The net seat tube length is the amount of seat post visible after the powdercoating and polishing.
For example, let’s say a randonneuse holds 16 cm of seat post after the frame saver and internal wiring have been added. Multiplying 16 times 80% yields a result of 12.8 – or about 13 gnomes as a maximum number for this frame. It is always wise to go under the maximum to rather than all over. Remember, crowded gnomes do not oscillate freely.
Keeping Incompatible Gnomes
New randonneuse owners often choose gnomes that look appealing to them, without knowing the environmental needs of the gnome. Some gnomes may fight with one another, or require widely different internal frame conditions. Either way, they should not be kept together. Always research each variety of gnome before choosing frame mates. Select peaceful gnomes that thrive in similar air conditions. Older gnomes up for adoption are available at our online store.
The number one mistake made by gnome owners other than overstocking is overfeeding their gnomes. Gnomes are opportunistic and will seek food at all times. Just because they appear hungry, doesn’t mean they need to be fed all the time, so don’t fall for those big sad puppy eyes when they are getting unruly.
Feed them no more food than is completely consumed in five minutes or things will get messy fast in your randonneuse.
During startup, feed gnomes no more than once per day, and during critical times when there is an approaching grand randonnee, withhold feeding for a day or two to reduce the wastes being produced within the randonneuse. Gnomes can easily go several days without food, and not suffer ill effects. This is important to know when shipping your bike to PBP.
Not Testing the Air
New owners aren’t magically given full knowledge of the oscillation cycle, and the need to monitor the air chemistry in their randonneuse. As a result they often are unaware of the need to test their air, and fail to take steps to deal with harmful toxins.
When the frame is first set up, it should not be ridden for a day or two. Before adding the gnome to the randonneuse, the pH, ammonia, and nitrite levels within the frame should be tested for a baseline record. During the startup cycle it is important to test the ammonia and nitrites often (see Nitrogen Cycles website for details). Once the randonneuse’s internal environment is well established, test the air monthly to be aware of unseen problems that may be brewing. If gnomes suddenly die, test the air to see if anything has changed. Testing equipment is available in our online store.
Tips for Getting Gnomes to Lay Eggs
Do your gnomes lay their eggs in the tool box, on the ground, in tall grass — everywhere but in the low trail randonneuse? Sometimes gnomes can be very stubborn about this habit. These tips will encourage your gnomes to lay in their low trail randonneuses, making sure you get the maximum number of fresh, clean eggs.
Make laying eggs in your bike appealing. Ensure that your randonneuse is kept in a dark, quiet corner of the house. Gnomes have the instinct to lay their eggs in a safe place.
Train them with a “nest egg.” You can purchase fake ceramic eggs from online, or use a golf ball. When your gnomes get ready to start laying, placing the fake egg in bottle cage will give them the idea that the bottle cages are “the place” to lay their eggs, too, if the egg will not fit inside the frame.
How to feed a gnome
You are probably very excited about your new gnomes and want to feed them as soon as you can, to watch them eat. It is better to wait and allow the gnomes some time to settle before you feed them, then when you do for the first time, be careful to not overfeed them.
There are many different gnome foods available in cycle stores and you should choose one that comes recommended or is from a well-known gnome food brand. TetraGnome® is the market leader. The food normally comes in the form of flakes and contains all the nutrients your gnome needs, be sure to get a food brand that is specifically for gnomes and not elves or your gnome may become depressed and negatively affect your randonnee elapsed time and/or stats. You can purchase TetraGnome® gnome flakes in our on line store.
A good gnome food in flake form is all you ever need to feed your gnome. Some gnomes owners do like to feed their gnomes fresh food from time to time, which although it sounds like a nice thing to do, it can easily bring disease or pollute the gnome’s environment that would not have happened otherwise.
It can be exciting to watch your gnomes eat live food so if you really want to do it, get some frame fleas (daphnia) from your pet shop rather than catching them from a constructeur’s workshop. Don’t put too many frame fleas in to the low trail cycle at a time as they can quickly start to decompose and cause odor problems.
Remember, only buy what you need and use it while it is fresh.
Did you know that over-feeding is the most common problem of gnomes dying? If you over-feed the gnomes, the leftover food will remain in the low trail cycle and pollute the frame, feeding your gnome’s developing diseases. Only feed the gnomes as much food as they can completely consume in five to ten minutes. However, feeding should be done twice a day or more during randonnees.
A great invention is the frame bag feeding rig, which will keep all the food in one place. This way the gnomes know exactly where to find the food. It is also especially important for you to not accidentally consume your gnome flakes while on a randonnee, even if you are bonking horribly, as most randonneurs never recover from gnome flake consumption.
Symptoms your gnome maybe ill
Gnome is gasping at the frame brazing vent holes to get oxygen
Gnome is oscillating abnormally
Gnome is obsessed with instagram/snapchat, etc.
Gnome is oscillating only in the top tube
Gnome is showing swelling or lumps on its skin
Gnome is not laughing at your jokes/refuses to listen during story time
Gnome is very thin or exhibits strange bloating
Clean the frame partially
The main reason gnomes get ill is because of a polluted frame. Make sure that there is no excess food in the randonneuse that is left to rot and always clean the frame at least partially on a regular basis.
If the randonneuse gets too hot the oxygen level in the frame will quickly drop and the gnomes will be distressed, showing signs such as crowding at the brazing vent holes to get air. Cleaning products are available in our online store.
Shade the low trail cycle
You should shade the low trail cycle from sunlight with a cloth or towel, or in a walk-in cooler at the quicky mart. In extreme situations, place a bag of ice cubes on the top of the frame to cool the frame down quickly and you may save your gnomes from a horrible death.
Gnome Fungus Disease
One of the most common diseases in gnomes is fungus disease. The fungus is usually in the frame but the gnome will only become affected if its immune system is low, this can normally happen following any randonnee of 400k or more. Obvious signs to look for are small fluffy spots or dots around the brazing vent holes of the randonneuse. If these are observed open up the frame and inspect your gnomes closely.
If you have many gnomes in a low trail cycle and you notice this condition on maybe only one or two gnomes, they should be removed as quickly as possible from the low trail cycle to stop other gnomes from also contracting the fungus disease. Place the affected gnomes in your waterbottle (don’t drink from it!) or inside the baggy they give you for your brevet card.
Gnome fungus treatment
You can place these gnomes in an isolation randonneuse and buy an anti-fungal treatment from our online store and treat them. Another method to help infected gnomes is to keep them in the same cycle, add 3% of salt to the frame and leave them in it for around 15 minutes. This translates to about 30g of salt to 1 liter of frame. Be warned, do not use table salt as it contains iodine, which can will harm the gnomes.
While you do not have much control over whether your gnomes will contract a fungus disease or not, you can do your part by keeping the randonneuse clean and ensuring there are no sharp objects in the randonneuse that could damage your gnome.
This brings us to the end of the guided tour
http://www.gnome care.org has many other pages that cover certain topics in a more in-depth TLDR sort of way and these topics includes whole sections on the different types and varieties of gnomes and common gnome diseases. However information on breeding gnomes is still in the “this section is still in its infancy” stage and is in the process of been developed. It does however contain information on the 10 most commonly found gnome breeding diseases, including Dropsy, Cloudy Eye, White Spot or Ick to mention just a couple.
Finally our store offers a selection of products with an ever growing selection of Gnome Supplies most of which are very competitively priced.
Thanks in advance for visiting our sister website, http://www.gnome care.org