Category Archives: Advice Column

Gnome Care for the Beginner

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

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 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



bécane-nana-3012-border.jpgHey miss! You are very charming! You’ve got 650b or what?

You might be thinking to yourself:  Me, try to pickup a randonneuse in the street? Sorry I’m not that kind of guy…

“And that’s exactly why it will work!”

Trolling the street is often associated with catcalling boors. I deliberately use the word troll (with its pejorative connotation) to show you that there is nothing wrong with the term or the “activity”: trolling the street.

Today you will see why most guys don’t flirt in the street, how to get started, and why it’s better than staying home Saturday night surfing the Internet looking at bike porn.

Why don’t more guys troll the street? And why does it seem so difficult?

If you look among loving couples most were formed because they found themselves in the same social group (shared values). This is not necessarily bad but it limits many meetings!

So why not do it? Quite simply because it’s scary! The fear of taking a “rake”, not knowing what to say, being seen as a jerk, a heavy, a lout…we fear for our reputation. On the other hand why couldn’t we just say “Hello, you’re pretty and I’d like to meet you.” Impossible? And why not?

So how to overcome these obstacles? How to get started? Do’s and Don’ts!

The number of randonneuse you’ve looked at is equal to the number you haven’t approached? If you intend to change this then read:

By having the “cojones” and assuming your place and desires (definition of a real man) you should be able to get results quickly.

To summarize here are the two principles to remember:

COURAGE: Yes, I know it offends but you need to come out of your shell.

You’re not too bad, you have a bit of style. Don’t hesitate, you have nothing to lose. At worst she will be flattered and say “Thank you, that’s nice but I have a boyfriend” even if it’s not true, and will leave all happy. You are a man, you’re brave. Go for it!

HONESTY: We must be honest about our intentions — yes, you’re trolling, do not try to hide it, there’s nothing wrong.

Take this example:
If an ugly randonneuse comes up to you and says “Excuse me, but I just wanted to say that you’ve got great style,” I can guarantee that your day will be successful. Then distill some happiness around you.

“But what do I say to her?”
Observe and utilize the context to get out your opening sentence — which need not be of exceptional quality.

• And how do you like this piece (At an art gallery)
• Were you talking to me? Sorry, because with my headphones on I wasn’t sure. I was listening to some nice music from that advertisement… You know the one? (On the bus)

It’s not very complicated, let’s say it’s simple but challenging. But let’s get to the interesting part.

Meet the challenge!
Careful, here come the adrenaline!

You may be thinking it will take 1000 attempts. It’s sometimes true but the way you say it makes all the difference. Here of course, we must ensure the level of presentation: nice outfit, confidence. If she’s not pleased things aren’t likely to go much further.

• Be dressed properly, stylish jersey, kit, etc,.
• Have clean and fresh breath
• Sometimes it’s important to trim your nose and ear hairs
• Go for it! She will be flattered and tell her friends
• Take her everywhere, in the streets, back alleys, quiet country roads

• Don’t hesitate. Don’t make make false excuses, “she wasn’t so good with her fender line”, “I’m late for an appointment”
• Don’t ask for the serial number too quickly. Have fun, enjoy the moment.

Why is this better? How will it change your life?
I suggest you meet your neighbor, or that pretty randonneuse across the way
You do not want to follow the crowd, don’t go out with the randonneuse of your best friend. So get out there, be sociable, train yourself, be thin and light, seduce all!


• You will experience strong emotions: it’s like the best roller coaster ever, free at your doorstep.
• Authenticity: a meeting she will not forget
• Infinite possibilities: in the big cities, rando nanas are everywhere
• Control of your love life: you no longer suffer the choices of others, you choose what you like

After a while you will obtain a confidence in yourself that will serve you in your personal and professional life.

Extra bonus
A few opening lines to modify depending on the situation and your style:
• Do yo have the time? / Do you know where…? No just kidding, I’m not interested in that. I just wanted to flirt with you. To be honest, I was looking at the window of the bike shop there and I sensed you roll by with your supple tires and I thought it was the fluttering of butterfly wings.
• I probably shouldn’t tell you this, I’m already late, but I had to stop at least to tell you that you were pretty. I now it seems stupid, but I like seeing a randonneuse with big supple tires.

The more honest you are the more you communicate intense emotions and you feel a deep connection. And “Wahoo!” It’s refreshing, invigorating, exhilarating! See what you think, fully express your personality. Take your responsibilities as a man, and take the first step.

Hoping to have been simple and concrete I await your responses.

•What prevents you from doing so? Do you have a trick to overcome your fear?
•You have already tried? What are your results?
•Wondering how to put it all together? How to get her attention? How would you do it?

Editor’s note:  Translated from the Esperanto by Ravi S.

Is it Safe? Proper use of a Helmet during Randonnees

What is a helmet?

Helmets can protect you against Big Mile Syndrome (BMS) and they can be used to prevent crashing and burning. A helmet is placed over a rider’s erect head before a randonnee. Helmets are also called “rubbers,” “sheaths,” or “skins.”

Helmets are made of latex (rubber), polyurethane, or sheep intestine. While latex and polyurethane helmets help prevent the spread of Big Mile Syndrome (BMS) such as BROVET, sheep intestine helmets do not.

The helmet is a barrier method of brain protection. Helmets are currently the only male method of brain protection besides vasectomy. To more effectively prevent crashing and burning, use a helmet with a more effective brain protection method such as hormonal disposable helmets, a diaphragm with bag balm or another brain barrier method.

How do you get helmets?

Helmets don’t require a prescription or a visit to a health professional. Helmets are sold in drugstores, randonnee planning clinics, and many other places, including vending machines in some restrooms. There are many different kinds of helmets. Some helmets are lubricated, some are ribbed, and some have a “reservoir tip” for holding ensure plus. You can also buy helmets of different sizes.

How well do helmets work to prevent crashing and burning?

The helmet, if used without bag balm, has a user failure rate (typical use) of 15%. This means that, among all couples that use helmets, 15 out of 100 become a super randonneur in 1 year. Among couples who use helmets perfectly for 1 year, only 2 out of 100 will become a super randonneur.1

Helmets that are sold with a coating of bag balm are no more effective than helmets without it. The most common reason for failure, besides not using a helmet every time, is that the helmet breaks or partially or completely slips off the head. Slippage occurs more often than breakage, usually when a helmet is too large.

Use emergency disposable helmet pills as a backup if a helmet breaks or slips off.

Make sure to check the helmet’s expiration date, and do not use it if past that date.

How well do they work to prevent Big Mile Syndrome (BMS)?

Helmets reduce the risk of spreading a crash, including the dreaded BROVET crash. Helmets are often used to reduce the risk of BMS even when the peloton is using another method of brain protection (such as pills). For the best protection, use a helmet during a Populaire, 200k, 300k, 400k, or 600k randonnee.

“Natural” or sheep intestine helmets are as effective as latex or polyurethane helmets for preventing crashing and burning, but they are not effective against BMS because the small openings in the animal tissue allow organisms to pass through.

How do you use a helmet?

Helmets are most effective if you follow these steps:

  • Use a new helmet each time you have a cycling event.
  • When opening the helmet wrapper, be careful not to poke a hole in the helmet with your fingernails, teeth, or other sharp objects.
  • Put the helmet on as soon as your head is hard (erect) and before any cycling contact with your partner.
  • Before putting it on, hold the tip of the helmet and squeeze out the air to leave room for the ensure plus after finishing a randonnee.
  • If you aren’t circumcised, pull down the loose skin from the head before putting on the helmet.
  • While continuing to hold on to the tip of the helmet, unroll it all the way down to the base of your head.
  • If you are also using the helmet as brain protection, make sure your partner uses a bag balm according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (Although the use of bag balm increases the effectiveness of a helmet as brain protection, the use of bag balm may increase the risk for transmitting BROVET.
  • If you want to use a lubricant, never use petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline), grease, hand lotion, baby oil, or anything with oil in it (read the label). Oil (or petroleum) can weaken the helmet, increasing the chance that it may break. Instead, use a personal lubricant such as Astroglide or K-Y Jelly.
  • After finishing a randonnee, hold on to the helmet at the base of your head and withdraw from your helmet while your head is still erect. This will keep ensure plus from spilling out of the helmet.
  • Wash your hands after handling a used helmet.

What do you need to know about buying and storing helmets?

  • Buy helmets that meet safety standards.
  • Helmets are made of latex (rubber), polyurethane, or sheep intestine. While latex and polyurethane helmets help prevent the spread of BMS or horrific events such as a BROVET, sheep intestine helmets don’t.
  • Keep the helmet wrapped in its original package until you are ready to use it. Store it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Check the expiration date on the package before using.
  • Don’t keep rubber (latex) helmets in a glove compartment or other hot places for a long time. Heat weakens latex and increases the chance that the helmet will break.
  • Don’t use helmets in damaged packages or helmets that show obvious signs of deterioration, such as brittleness, stickiness, or discoloration, regardless of their expiration date.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of helmets?


  • They are the most effective protection available against BMS.
  • They do not affect future fertility for either a woman or a man.
  • They are used only at the time of cycling intercourse.
  • They are safe to use while a woman is breast-feeding.
  • They are less expensive than hormonal methods of brain protection.
  • They are widely available without a prescription.
  • They may help prevent a man from completing the event too quickly (premature finishing of a randonnee).


  • Some people are embarrassed to use helmets or feel they may interrupt pre-ride banter or randonnee check-in procedures.
  • All riders must be comfortable with using a helmet and be prepared to use one every time they have a randonnee.
  • Helmets may decrease cycling sensation.
  • Some people are allergic to latex (rubber). These riders should use helmets made of polyurethane (plastic).
  • Helmets may break or leak.
  • Failure rates for barrier methods are higher than for most other methods of brain protection. Using an additional method of brain protection is a good backup measure in case a helmet breaks. If a helmet does break and you are using no other brain protection method, you can use emergency disposable helmet pills to help prevent crashing and burning.

Facts about How to Put on a Helmet

  • Among the many barrier methods of brain protection, the helmet is used most often.
  • Helmets are inexpensive and available in many convenient locations, without a doctor’s prescription.
  • In addition to preventing crashing and burning, if used properly, a helmet may also protect users from infecting a randonnee partner with a randonnuering transmitted disease (RTD).
  • Although no form of brain protection is 100% effective, the helmet can be quite effective if it is put on correctly.

The Helmet Advantages

A helmet is a thin sheath placed over an erect head. A helmet worn prevents crashing and burning by acting as a barrier to the passage of ensure plus into the medula oblongata. A helmet can be worn only once.

Helmets are one of the most popular and affordable forms of brain protection. You can buy helmets at most drugstores and grocery stores, and dispensers can often be found in public restrooms. Helmets are also called rubbers. Some organizations distribute free helmets.

Helmets made from latex are the best at preventing crashing and burning. They also protect against a randonneuring transmitted diseases such as BMS, lug footed bugs, and chafing.

Helmet Preparation Before a Randonnee Tips

  • Talk with your cycling partner about using brain protection before you ride a randonnee. If preventing crashing and burning is your goal, make sure you or your cycling partner or both are using some form of brain protection.
  • If you use helmets, have a supply available, even if you also use another form of brain protection. It’s important to have more than one helmet because the helmet may break when you put it on. Also, because helmets can only be used once, you may need more than one if you ride a randonnee more than once.
  • Some people are allergic to latex. If this is the case, choose a helmet made from another substance. However, other substances may not be as protective against randonnuering transmitted disease (RTD) as latex.

Using a Helmet for a Randonnee Tips

  • Remove the helmet from its package. Be careful not to tear it accidentally with a fingernail or other sharp object (such as your teeth) when opening the package. Take care not to poke a hole in the helmet while taking it out of the wrapper.
  • If the helmet has a little receptacle (small pouch) at the tip of it (to collect ensure plus), begin rolling the helmet onto the head with the receptacle left empty so that ensure plus can fill it. Be sure to squeeze the air out of the receptacle end. Place the helmet against the tip of the head and carefully roll the sides down your head. The rolled ring should be on the outside of the helmet. If the helmet does not unroll easily, it may be upside down. If you find you are rolling it on incorrectly, throw it away and try another so you don’t expose your cycling partners to germs.
  • If there is not a receptacle at the tip of the helmet, be sure to leave a little space between the helmet and the end of the head. Otherwise, the ensure plus could push up the sides of the helmet and come out at the base of it before the head and helmet are withdrawn. Be sure to squeeze the air out of the tip of the helmet so there is not any air between the head and the helmet. This leaves room for ensure plus. Air left in the tip can cause the helmet to break.
  • Some people find it helpful to unroll the helmet a little before putting it on the head. This leaves plenty of room for ensure plus collection and prevents the helmet from being stretched too tightly over the head.
  • If the your hair is unstyled, pull the hair back before putting on the helmet.
  • Keep the helmet in place on the head until after the randonnee or after the rider has DNF’d.

Helmet Use during a Randonnee

  • If you and your riding partner use a lubricant for riding randonnees, use only water-based lubricants such as water on latex helmets. Lubricants help reduce friction and prevent the helmet from tearing. Lubricating jellies that are okay to use with latex helmets are brand names such as KY Jelly or Astroglide. Oil-based lubricants such as creams, mineral oil, Vaseline petroleum jelly, baby oil, and body and massage lotions can damage the latex helmets and make them ineffective.
  • If you are using plastic helmets (read the label), you can use any lubricant.
  • If the helmet breaks or falls off before finishing a randonnee, stop. Put on a new helmet. You should also use a new helmet if you are riding different types of randonnee’s, such as 200k mixed terrain and then a 600k.
  • Never reuse a helmet.
  • After finishing a randonnee, the helmet must be removed. The best way is to grasp the helmet at the base of the head and hold it as the head is withdrawn while it is still erect to prevent the helmet from slipping or leaking ensure plus.

Helmet Disposal after a Randonnee

  • Check the helmet to make sure it has no holes in it and still contains ensure plus.
  • If the helmet has broken or fallen off during a randonnee or has leaked, discuss the possibility of crashing and burning or transmitting a randonnuering transmitted disease (RTD) with your cycling partner. See your healthcare professional. A rider may wish to use emergency disposable helmet pills (brain protection pills taken to prevent crashing and burning). Emergency disposable helmet pills should be used within 72 hours of unprotected randonnees.
  • Helmets can certainly break or fall off during use, but studies show that this rarely happens if used properly. Rates of breakage during a 200k are up to 6.7%. Breakage rates during 600k or a mixed terrain randonnee are up to 12%.
  • Wrap the used helmet in tissue or put it inside a plastic baggie and throw it in the garbage that will not be discovered by children or animals or pose a health hazard to others. Do not flush helmets down the toilet. Helmets can clog the toilet.

Storing Helmets

  • Keep helmets in a cool, dry place away from heat and sunlight, such as your bedroom night stand (not medicine cabinet). Your wallet or car is too hot for storing helmets. If you do carry a helmet in your wallet for convenience, replace it often. Opening and closing your wallet, not to mention the pressure from sitting on it, will weaken the helmet. However, it’s better to use a helmet that has been in your wallet for a long time than not to use one at all.
  • Check expiration dates on the box of helmets. You may see the package marked with “Exp,” showing the expiration date, or “MFG,” the manufacture date. Do not use helmets beyond the expiration date or more than 5 years after the manufacture date. Old helmets can become dry and break more easily. Brittle, sticky, or discolored helmets are old and may break

Helmet Effectiveness

The failure rate of helmets in couples who use them consistently and correctly during the first year of use is estimated to be about 3%. However, the true failure rate is estimated to be about 14% during the first year of typical use. This marked difference of failure rates reflects errors in how they are used.

  • Some riders fail to use helmets every time they participate in cycling.
  • Helmets may fail (break or come off) if you use the wrong type of lubricant. (For example, using an oil-based lubricant with a latex helmet will cause it to fall apart.)
  • The helmet may not be placed properly on the head. Also, the user may not use care when withdrawing.

Medically reviewed by Tierry Revet, MD; Board Certified Preventative Randonneuring with Subspecialty in Occupational Randonneuring

Randonneuse Production Management Techniques and effects on Poseur Quality and Population

Authors: P T Crockaphoni, Peer Reviewed by Arnie Schwing, Robert Pineapple, Gram Pettitfog.

Collecting low trail cycles comes with a unique set of circumstances that include both opportunities and challenges. Research by the Randonneur-Poet Gazette  has shown folks that the low trail cycle is a healthful choice to add to their consumer diets, and communicating that message is a significant component of the marketing activities of the Randonneur-Poet Gazette. Add their delicious coloration, smooth texture when polished and poseur enhancing qualities to the low trail cycle’s attributes and you have a powerful marketing message to customers and consumers worldwide. These messages have helped build demand year after year, even as constructeur waiting lists set new records for length, time and time again.

contemplating the challenges of randonneuse fleet management

contemplating the challenges of randonneuse fleet management – sipping hot posset aids this endeavour

Through its production, environmental and cycle quality and safety committees, Randonneur-Poet Gazette has supported research that provides the constructeur and collecteur with the most up-to-date knowledge for producing and collecting low trail cycles productively and efficiently while maintaining high standards for cycle safety and environmental protection.  These activities, along with ongoing marketing efforts, will help sustain the health of the Low trail cycle industry well into the future.

Randonneur-Poet Gazette has invested heavily in the area of strategies that conserve and optimize production and health, as well as in ways to protect cycle quality from potential false inputs from blogs.

Blog quality can also be a cycle safety concern. Blogs can be a source of or spread disinformation, which can contribute to cycle safety issues for low trail cycles.

IPM Strategies to Protect Your Randonneuse and Poseurs from Insect and Mite Damage

Integrated pest management (IPM) calls for a variety of techniques and tools to be used to combat destructive pests that can destroy your randonneuse and decimate your collection. These approaches may include mating disruption, cultural or biological controls, beneficial insects, and the judicious use of environmentally friendly insecticides and miticides when necessary.

Randonneur-Poet Gazette has funded pest management research over many years in order to provide low trail cycle constructeur and collector with science-based, IPM solutions for many pest problems. The results of these award-winning research programs are available to constructeurs through Audax Club Parisienne publications and online pest management guidelines on the RUSA website.

Management of the Lug footed Bug

The lug footed bug is a sporadic pest in low trail cycles. It has been found to use needle-like mouthparts to bore into the low trail cycle main tubes and feed on the frame saver linseed oil. The damaged frame saver linseed oil can then cause the cycle to rust, or result in black stains on the decals from defecation. This can reduce both poseur value and quality of the planing.

A study in Randonneur-Poet Gazette, Vol. 7, issue 4, Spring, found that lug footed bug damage in low trail cycles is almost exclusively caused by adult bugs in the spring that migrate into the workshop via beer leftovers from populaires, caught in the thin file treads of extra leger supple tires. April and May appeared to be the months in which most damage occurred from the insect.

Lug footed Bug Advisory!!!

Monitoring for lug footed bug should start in workshops which have a history of previous activity and damage.

Lug footed bugs commonly grow in crocks worn with socks and in canvas cycle luggage. Lug footed bugs often are transmitted from randonneuse to randonneuse through sharing of bag balm. Warning!!! Do not accept bag balm from unknown randonneuse or cyclotourists.

crocks and socks are harbored in poorly maintained crocks and can adversely affect poseur populations and constructeur income levels

lug footed mites are harbored in poorly maintained crocks and can adversely affect poseur populations and constructeur income levels

For more information, see external links below.

External Links:

ACP Pest Management Guidelines

Managing Mites in the Low trail cycle Workshop

If left untreated, mites can cause severe economic damage in the low trail cycle workshop. Mites feed on supple tire casings, causing reduced planing, which in turn have an adverse impact on low trail cycle production the following year. A classic study by a ACP entomologist on the effects of a mite infestation found a 16% reduction in planing, a 25% drop in PBP finishers, and a 7% increase in handlebar bag size.

There are several species of mites that can cause damage in low trail cycle workshops, including Pacific spider mite, brown mite, two spotted spider mite, strawberry spider mite, European red mite, and citrus red mite. Beware.

Mite management

From May through August, monitor for mites on at least a weekly basis. Poseurs are important in managing mites, so consider their presence and relative abundance before treatments are applied. Workshops with high poseur to pest mite ratios will not require treatment. Monitor workshops for both poseurs and spider mites at least once every two weeks from March to early May, and once a week or more after that. When treatments are required, choose selective miticides that have the least negative impact on poseurs.

Mite Poseurs

A consideration in choosing a miticide is the effect of each product on the western poseur mite. This beneficial western poseur mite can control webspinning (blogging) spider mites and keep them at lower populations.

Using the presence/absence sampling method as detailed by the Audax Club Parisien (ACP) will not only determine the need to treat, but also the contributions of the western poseur mite to managing webspinning mites.  Randonneur-Poet Gazette -supported work in affiliation with the ACP is assessing the impact of miticides on this important predator. Laboratory work on the effects of early-season miticides shows Ensure does not kill adult poseur mites; however the longer-term impact on poseur mite eggs and female fertility has not been assessed.  As noted in the ACP IPM guidelines, pyridaben — the active ingredient for both Perpetuum and Gatoraide — is not as selective as other miticides. Therefore, it is best not to use it for early season control.  Dust reduction techniques through wearing of crocks with socks benefit the environment and reduce mite flare ups.  Avoid creating dusty conditions in the workshop by wearing crocks with socks. Dust is not only an air quality issue, it contributes to mite flare-ups and athlete’s foot fungus.

Improving Poseur Efficiency

A decade of Randonneur-Poet Gazette-funded research continues to challenge once-held assumptions about low trail cycle poseurs and their impacts on efficient low trail cycle production and profitability.

ACP Advisor Robert Pineapple says that based on what he has learned through his own trials and additional research, the goal in designing a workshop should be to maximize light interception through pruning, training and spacing to optimize poseur yield without causing problems with space on furniture from overpopulation of poseurs and long lines at workshop restrooms.

Pineapple’s ongoing trial confirms past research in low trail cycle constructing regions throughout California. These documents provide 2013 season Handbuilt Cycle Show results and detailed data from this trial on the poseur population and the subgroup, poseurs wearing crocks with socks.

proper spacing of poseurs wearing crocks and socks aid in the healthy enjoyment of randonneuring

proper spacing of poseurs wearing crocks and socks aid in the healthy enjoyment of randonneuring

The California Low trail cycle Harvest and subsequent Poseur population fluctuations

Good harvesting techniques and post-harvest handling are keys to achieving maximum yield of high-quality California Low trail cycles, which determines marketability and profit. Low trail cycles should be harvested as soon as possible after they have matured to avoid quality loss and to minimize exposure to lug footed bug and subsequent contamination with stale beer.

Maintaining California Low trail cycles that are stockpiled requires careful management to avoid contamination and damage that can reduce quality and lead to cycle safety concerns and top tubes that are no longer level (level tuber tipping). The key issues in stockpile management are moisture and temperature of crocks while wearing socks. Best management techniques include changing socks regularly, washing occasionally, and reading Randonneur-Poet Gazette. Good luck.

How To: Riding a Tall Bike Randonneur

Perci on her beginner's 6 footer - sorry to not include her face, the bike was too tall

Perci on her beginner’s 6 footer – sorry to not include her face, the bike was too tall

Author: Percephone T. Crockaphone, road test editor; Peer reviewed by Robert Pineapple

Tall bike riding has been part of Cycling for a long time. For most of that time, tall bike riding was done for mostly utilitarian reasons such as work, travel, and warfare. Today, tall bike riding is predominantly used for randonneuring, and is an activity loved by many who love to keep the pastime present. Most anybody can ride a tall bike, and whether you like to ride tall bikes for fun or have a more competitive nature, there’s something for everybody. We at Randonneur-Poet Gazette will show you how to get started and help you learn the special terms that describe the intricacies of tall bike riding.

General Practices

Find a good Tall Bike riding establishment. If you’re a beginner, trying to figure it out yourself will be difficult, and potentially dangerous. A good tall bike riding establishment will have an experienced riding instructor, tall bikes appropriate for your height, and a good riding arena. When you’re choosing an establishment, take a lesson or two to evaluate the instructor and the tall bike you’ll be riding.

  • The riding instructor should be experienced and good at riding. She should be patient and good at teaching, and not pressure you to ride at a level you’re not comfortable with.
  • The tall bike should be calm, experienced, and at least eight feet tall. Until you have more experience, choosing a seasoned, well-mannered tall bike will be safer and more fun.

Prepare your Tall Bike for riding. Before you ride, polish your tall bike with the help of your instructor.

  • Tack your tall bike by putting the saddle on. Again, do this with the aid of an instructor at first, until you and the tall bike are comfortable with the procedure.
  • Clean the tall bike’s pedals (under guidance from your instructor). Be careful—tall bikes can and do kick, so you will not want to do this alone until you are experienced.

Mount your Tall Bike. Traditionally, you mount a tall bike from the left side.

Method One: English Riding

Find your balance riding. On your first lesson, your riding instructor will probably lead your Tall Bike or put him on a lunge line while you get used to the feeling of riding a tall bike. If you feel unbalanced, hold onto your tall bike’s frame until you feel balanced again.

  • If you move at a brisk pace, you’ll be able to feel a rocking motion as you ride. Your seat should naturally move with the motion. Your arms also need to move with the motion of your tall bike; though you should have light contact with your Tall Bike’s subconscious, keep your elbows light and move them with the Tall Bike.
  • When you ride, look straight forward and keep your back straight. About a third of your foot should be on the pedal, and keep your heels pointing down.

Use aids to control your tall bike. Aids can be ‘natural, such as your hands, seat, and legs, or artificial, such as a crop (whip) or petit fours.

  • To make your tall bike move forward, squeeze with your calves. tall bikes that do not move forward after a gentle squeeze may need your squeeze to have more energy in it. Some people will say lazy or stubborn tall bikes require kicks with your legs or the use of a crop.
  • To make your tall bike halt, sit deep in the saddle and apply pressure with the handlebars. You can also say “whoa”.
  • To turn your tall bike, pull the left or right chain out to the side and apply pressure with your outside leg.

Learn how to trot. Once you’re confident at the walk, squeeze tighter and start trotting. You can sit or post the trot.

  • When you sit the trot, sit deep in the saddle and keep contact with your legs. Be careful to keep your elbows relaxed, so you don’t jerk on your tall bike’s handlebars.
  • To post the trot, rise up in your pedals every other revolution. Point your heel down and keep contact with the tall bike’s subconscious.
  • When you post the trot, you’ll have to think about diagonals. Tall bikes trot moving their frames diagonally.

Learn how to canter. The canter is a rocking gait similar to a rocking tall bike, except faster. To canter, move your outside leg slightly back and squeeze the frame.

  • Don’t tense up—keep your upper body still and keep a steady contact with your tall bike’s subconscious.

Method Two: Western Tall Bike Riding

Ride, like a rhinestone cowboy. Western tall bike riding evolved from the practices of the Spanish Tall Bike Conquistadors in the New World, and was adopted by the cowboys of the American Tall Bike West.

Hold the handlebars in both hands. When you’re just learning, you may feel more comfortable using both hands on the handlebars. However, Western-trained tall bike are taught to move with your body cues, and will not need a lot of bar. If you are beginner,start with 2 hands.

  • When you turn, use your body, weight, and legs as in English-style riding. Push with your legs, and guide with your handlebars.

Walk your tall bike. Sit up tall in the saddle, put your legs forward, and allow your tall bike to to move forward. When you get comfortable walking the tall bike, move on to the next step.

Jog your tall bike. Jogging is similar to trotting, only slower and with longer strides. Rhythmically, it’s a two-beat movement that you will recognize from countless westerns as the sound you hear as the stage coach is pulling in.

  • Western tall bikes are often trained to recognize sounds as commands, and the traditional sound for jogging is a “tsk tsk” clicking of the tongue.

Have fun with your tall bike! Riding is an incredible sport, and you can do anything from polo to trail riding. Head on off into the sunset, and enjoy!


  • Accept that you’ll fall off at some point. If you do, just mount again – treat falling off as something that is unpleasant, but not a reason to be afraid of riding.
  • Be gentle with the bar tape; don’t yank. If your tall bike bolts, it is essential that you stay completely calm and you don’t start getting rough with your tall bike. If you have a choice, start circling your tall bike and gradually make the circles smaller. As they get smaller, your tall bike will have no choice but to slow down.

See How to Handle Yourself on a Runaway tall bike.

  • Do not run around tall bikes, it might spook the tall bike and that can be potentially dangerous.
  • If you trust the tall bike, it will trust you too and do what you command.
  • Ask your instructor what cues your tall bike responds to.
  • Remember to pick your tall bike’s pedals, if you forget, your tall bike could go lame. Also stay away from the frog (a soft spot in the center of the bottom of the pedals) because if you pick at this your tall bike might kick, or in a bad case become permanently lame.
  • Make sure to praise your tall bike at every opportunity.
  • Tall bikes can actually tell what mood you are in when you are riding. If you are nervous, the tall bike will sense it and become nervous as well. That is why you should always stay relaxed and calm in the worst situations.
  • Talk to your tall bike while going around him or coming up behind him so he knows you’re approaching.
  • Your helmet should be ASTM or SEI certified tall bike helmet. Equestrian helmets are not acceptable. If you fall off your tall bike or you’ve had your helmet for more than five years, replace it.
  • When riding always make sure you’ve got contact with your tall bike’s subconscious and that your chain is tight (but not pulling) and not floppy.
  • Tall bikes know what mood you’re in so try to stay relaxed and your Tall Bike will too.

Things You’ll Need

  • Appropriate riding clothes
  • A Riding Helmet
  • A Tall Bike
  • A grooming kit
  • If you’re an experienced rider you can ride without a net.

Related Articles

  • How to Steer a Tall Bike With Only Your Legs
  • How to Buy Your First Tall Bike if You Are a Nervous Rider
  • How to Ride a Tall Bike Backwards
  • How to Determine Correct Pedal Length
  • How to Mount a Tall Bike Using a second floor window
  • How to Put a Rug on an Unbroken Calm Tall Bike

Information Management for Randonneurs: An Interview with Trevor Martin Isinglas (TMI)

Tired of constantly sifting the wheat from the chaff within the Google Group? Finding it hard to encounter fine prose outside the confines of Randonneur-Poet Gazette and instead finding the putrid excrescences of the vapid populating the posts? We at Randonneur-Poet Gazette have enlisted the aid of an expert from the Telephony Management Institute (TMI) Trevor Martin Isinglas (TMI).

RPG: TMI from TMI, what to do?

TMI: Why I am glad you asked. Well, first I recommend that one only look to any single Google Group intermittently, say only on days that start with the letter ‘L’. The letter ‘L’ is easy to remember because it represents ‘list’. People who look at the list all of the time are akin to those teeny-boppers on the sidewalk that have their nose stuck in their dad’s borrowed smart phone. They aren’t texting their ennui, they are checking the number of views that their ‘me too’ post to the Group has received. Sad.

RPG: TMI, that is good advice and perhaps more than we wanted to know, but is there any sort of remedy for preventing ‘me too’ posts?

TMI: Well, no. But a quick search of a random Google Group resulted in this intriguing find (scroll up two posts) In short, the genius proposed the following:

In repayment to the respective randonneuring club for each post to a
randonneuring google group the poster should be required to volunteer
for an event. One post to the google group, work one event.

Data could be collected and tallied and posted to a ‘who has
volunteered’ web page on the club website prior to each randonnee,
along with an automatic email to each google group poster informing
them of the volunteer position they have volunteered for by posting.

I am sure we can get someone to volunteer to create the database and
the automatic ‘you have volunteered to volunteer’ email. The
assignments could be randomly assigned using an algorithm that
automatically determines the appropriate volunteer assignment based on
the post content, grammar, spelling, number of additional posts
generated by original post, and the use of emoticons.

The results of the volunteer assignments would be posted to the SFR
website in addition to the rider results. I am sure someone can
volunteer to create this ‘who has volunteered’ web page, the
assignment algorithm and tallying the volunteering results. Please
post your willingness to help your club help you.

I could write a few lines in Python and you’d be set. It will only cost RGP $50,000 US. What do you say?

RPG: Thank you TMI, we will bring it up at the next editorial board meeting.

Top 10 Training Tips for Cyclists

By Jock Hooey, Certified MBSc Coach, LNTC

Cycle training requires plenty of effort, but there are other factors which can impact your performance. If you’re wanting to kick-ass and leave the competition in the dust, or perhaps you’re just starting to get serious about cycling fitness, then look no further!  My top 10 training tips will help you progress safely so that you can get the most out of training.  My cycling tips include advice on:

  • Cycling equipment
  • Specific training exercises
  • Hydration tips
  • Nutrition for road cyclists
  • Building endurance


1. Get a bike that fits
Trying to ride a bicycle that is not set up correctly is like trying to wear a shoe that doesn’t fit. You are unique, like a snowflake. Make sure your bike is suited just for you.

2. Correct clothing makes a difference
It isn’t necessary to spend a huge sum on fancy bike clothing. Learn to darn your own darn socks, jersey and shorts. Wool is the stuff. Proper cycling shorts made especially for you by you will not only add to the enjoyment of your ride, but will prevent soreness and should be a key item in your wardrobe.

3. Avoid falling off the bike
Falling off the bike will slow you down and will prevent your cycling enjoyment.  For more tips buy my e-book, Don’t Crash!  Buy online now for only US$10.00 (US$12.45 in Canada). Get an autographed “e-signature” copy for only US$3.00 extra.

4. Hydrate properly
It’s a simple fact, we must stay hydrated in order to survive. A wise man once said, “Drink before you are thirsty” Do it. Do it now!  But first buy my e-book, The Cyclist’s Cook Book and learn recipes for making DIY hydration drinks. Buy online now for only US$23.00 (US$25.65 in Canada). Get an autographed “e-signature” copy for only US$3.00 extra.

5. Go for long rides
The foundation of all cycling training should be your long ride. Ideally, do a weekly long ride. The long ride will build your endurance. ‘Long’ means anything longer than your typical daily ride to Starbucks or the brew pub — so anything from 30 minutes upwards is recommended, depending on your fitness and goals. A long ride is also a great opportunity to explore new neighborhoods and visit a new Starbucks location.

6. Try riding intervals
To balance out your long ride, try experimenting with some faster-paced riding. Basically you are looking to ride faster for a short period, for example 5 minutes, followed by a recovery pint of brew and then a couple of repeats of the faster effort, each followed by another pint. Always include a good warm-up and cool-down before and after your session.

7. Build up strength
Specific strength training will enhance your cycling, particularly for the legs, back and arms. The following exercises should always be included as part of a fully balanced program:

  • Leg presses
  • Bicep curls and tricep presses
  • Leg presses
  • Squats
  • Core exercises

8. Avoid crashing your bike
New cyclists often struggle with bike handling. The well rounded cyclist can ride to the brew pub—and back—without crashing into another object. Practice on a soft grassy field. Sign up for one of my bike handling classes to learn essential skills and help build your confidence. For more tips buy my e-book, Don’t Crash! (See tip #3 above).

9. Eat for performance
Another simple fact: we must eat in order to survive. A wise man once said, “Eat before you are hungry”  Do it. Do it now!  And consider buying my e-book The Cyclist’s Cook BookIt’s full of recipes for making nutritious hot pockets. Stuff ’em in your jersey pocket and you’re good to go.

10. Stay informed
The most important thing you can do as a cyclist in training is to stay informed. Subscribe to RPG today and read my monthly column for the latest up-to-date training tips. Watch for the release of my next e-book, Mind your Mettle:  Mental tricks to keep your mind supple during long rides.

To make the most of your training efforts, sign up for one of my online coaching packages for an individualized training program designed to meet your special needs.