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Here I tell you some things I have learned from (painful) experience:

- Wear gloves. If you crash it is absolutely certain that you will fall on your hands so don’t even bother with a helmet if you don’t wear gloves. It hurts quite a lot to ride home with ripped-open palms I can tell you.

- Wear glasses and put them on over the straps of your helmet or bees and wasps will get caught there. It is quite distracting to get stung near the eye by a bee while you’re going downhill at 30 mph. It happens more often than you think. Even a fat fly that hits you in the eye can easily cause a crash.

- Take a tyre repair kit or even better a spare tube with you on all rides. I started doing this after I had to walk home 15 miles - and I was lucky there. If your tyre gets a snakebite 30 miles from home in the mountains you are up the creek without a paddle. If you have a Camelbak you can easily take some allen keys and duct tape (for tyre repair etc.) with you as well.

Read about the best pedals I know:

Spring rate calculator

Got a coil over rear shock and want to know what’s the right spring rate? Klick here to download a little prog. for that (spring rate calculator). It is in German but you don’t need to read much. Here’s an explanation:

Übersetzungsverhältnis” is the transmission ratio. A ratio of 2:1 means that a shock with 38mm of travel will give the bike 76mm of travel.

Hub” means travel.

Negativfederweg” is the sag (how much the bike goes down when sat upon.

You have to click obn that big [:] sign to calculate. The proper result shows up in the lowest field. You get lb/inch and N/mm values. Just ignore the text there.