@jloparco Nothing will replace taking an in person class and gaining the first-hand experience as other have said, and a few resources given already for further reading. But I want to add my personal favorite, and a budget friendly option at the low price of free, is spend a lot of time watching the entire archive of Park Tool's YouTube. High quality visuals to go along with Calvin Jone's soothing voice. I took some classes as my kick in the pants to get started, but it's been Park Tool really accelerating my learning to the point where I've confidently stripped my bike to it's bare frame for total overhaul. If nothing else, the more options the better, as everyone learns differently, and maybe one tutorial will click better with your brain than another.
It's pretty obviously part of their marketing to get you to use their brand of tools, but for the wealth of knowledge I've gotten I'll happily oblige them. And many of the tools are sold at REI too so don't forget to get that dividend!
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@REI-JohnJ wrote: To begin, the best advice I ever received regarding my sleeping bag was a reminder that a sleeping bag doesn't produce warmth, it simply insulates whatever temperature is inside the bag. All the tips about warming up before getting in are great, I just want to add don't stop moving once you're in the bag! Wiggle around a bit, kick your feet, pretend you're a worm, whatever. Not only are you making the muscles do work, but the friction from rubbing against the bag is also additional heat you can capitalize on.
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You've got an answer that it's 31.8mm already, I just want to help demystify a little. The only size that matters here, and which is what you're seeing on listings, is the diameter of the bars where the stem clamps them. Easy enough to confirm the measure at home with calipers, or wrapping a string around the circumference and dividing that length by π to find diameter.
The size of the steerer tube doesn't really come into play because they are very standardized on newer bikes at 1-1/8 inch at the top where the stem goes on. Straight vs. tapered steerers differ on the bottom end, not the top. It might come into play on vintage bikes using threaded steerers and quill stems, but 2015 isn't even coming close to that.
You could also consider getting a new bar with greater rise instead, as adjustable stems rotate the angle of the stem, not only going higher but bringing the bars closer to you as well.
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Not an REI employee and not really direct evidence as I haven't done this with my own REI card, but I have done so with my Discover during a period where they offered 5% rewards. It just showed up on my statement as "PAYPAL *STORE NAME/INFO", so it's basically like any other transaction, and should earn the 1% dividend on all purchases. The one case I would be still unsure about is if you used PayPal to buy from REI itself, I don't know if that would still register the 5% dividend, it might only provide 1% because the vendor is now technically PayPal. Again, not an employee nor am I any kind of financial expert. But to summarize I'd use the card directly when buying at REI, while it should be ok to use PayPal everywhere else. But I'd also keep in mind that I don't think PayPal counts as a mobile wallet for the 2% dividend, that's things like Apple/Google/Samsung Pay, based on the footnotes at https://www.usbankgomobile.com/content/usbankgomobile/rei/#/. To be sure I think you'd have to contact Mastercard or US Bank, they're more responsible for the credit cards than REI itself.
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Some good tips from @REI-JohnJ but I'll add a couple. The Tips article he posted touches on these but I wanted to call attention to them: Regardless of what exact bike you end up on, try running it with less pressure in the tires than you would in summer. This lets the tire bend and squish more to conform to the surface and with greater contact for more traction. It does slightly increase the risk of flats from pinching the tube against the rim, so it's a balancing act of not letting out too much air. Even fat tire bikes can struggle in some conditions, especially ice. John already suggested studded tires which are great, but a lot can be done just by adapting your riding and being very slow and smooth with your inputs. Jerking the handlebars is often a good recipe for the bike to slip out from under you. This can take balance and practice to get good at. Even the nicest bike is ruthlessly attacked by the increased moisture of winter conditions, especially road salt. Chains and other parts like gear cogs are inevitably going to rust and need replacement, though it can be prolonged with frequent maintenance. Like cleaning and re-lubing the chain weekly at minimum level of maintenance, maybe even after every ride. It's not unheard of to just keep a secondhand "beater" bike to take the punishment. If you're hauling the bike by car anywhere, many opt to skip roof or hitch racks and make it fit inside so it's protected from the road spray.
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@sgona2008 Hard to say based on the information you've got, and it may depend exactly on where the sound is coming from. Here are some scenarios, but it could be multiple of them at the same time, or something else entirely.
Option 1: Cross-chaining
Does this happen when you're in the smaller/easier front chainring but not when in the bigger ring? If so, it could be cross-chaining, where the chain makes an extreme angle from being all the way inboard up front to being outboard in back. Generally not a recommended gear combination. In this case, the sound is probably from the chain rubbing on the outside edge of the front derailleur cage. You may be able to reduce the sound if your front gears have a "trim" feature, but that's mostly seen on road bikes not hybrids, otherwise there's not a lot to be done mechanically, just move up to the bigger ring on front when you're in the harder gears in back. Yes, this makes it a harder gear, but there is some overlap: Instead of a 1/7 combination, a 2/6 combination should have a similar gear ratio. The middle gears like 3-6 should have enough lee-way to use either front ring.
Option 2: Limit screw
Are you able to shift into the very smallest rear cog, 8th? Not just is it hard to pedal, because it is the hardest gear, but literally can it even make it onto that cog? If it can't then maybe the rear derailleur's high limit screw is set too tight. If this is the case, the sound might be from the limit resting between gears, and so the chain could be rubbing against the next inboard (easier) cog, or riding up over the cog as it tries to shift but can't, which can also give a clunky/skipping sensation in your pedaling.
Option 3: Cable Tension/Indexing
The symptoms here can be very similar to Option 2. If there's too much cable tension, it may be preventing it from dropping down to smaller cogs (harder gears). Generally though, poor tension will cause poor shifting performance throughout the cassette, so I'm not sure this would be top of my list, but it could still be a contributor.
There's a few other things that could come into play, like alignment of the derailleur hanger, but I wouldn't expect anything wrong there after a month of cycling unless you've had a bad crash or routinely set the bike down on it's drivetrain side. But the common thread and takeaway here is that there's probably nothing broken about the chain or the bike, it may just need a tune-up as these are relatively simple and quick adjustments.
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Same as others, layers and keep away from cotton. Something even I'm only really starting to properly outfit my wardrobe with, because sadly, building up a good selection of quality pieces does add up in cash. But perhaps more importantly, you're just going to have to experiment with what works for you and your husband, and the activities you do outside. My body creates so much of its own heat I run extremely warm and think that if I wore as many layers as a lot of people do I'd just be burning up and sweating. Even at night I have only one summer duvet for a blanket while my wife piles up 3 thick layers on herself, we have such wildly different warmth needs. It's probably why I've been able to get away without having proper layers myself for so long...
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Any suggestions for water/wind resistant ski/board pants for a dude with a short inseam?
My current ones are super torn up at the cuff from constantly dragging on the ground, and I have to make sure they don't get caught in the bindings when I clip in.
I measure my waist at 38" but usually buy size 33/34 pants (vanity sizing alive and well for men too!), and the tricky part is that my inseam is only 28". Usually have to buy regular pants in 30" length because they don't seem to come any shorter most the time.
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I'm more familiar with them for MTB, but the basics still apply to road/gravel. You can still get flats: the slime will only fix holes up to a certain size, so if you're unlucky enough to run over just the wrong thing you'll still be on the side of the road with your tire levers. But it will seal up the smaller punctures that are more likely to occur regularly. There are products affectionately known as "bacon strips" that help plug up bigger holes to get you home, but that tire would still probably need replacing after getting back. And you can always throw a spare tube in if you need to. Disadvantages of tubeless: Can be finicky to set up with the rim taping to make sure it's air tight If you ever have to replace a spoke nipple, you're probably going to have to retape and slime that wheel Sealant does evaporate/dry up over time, so there is some ongoing maintenance cost that doesn't necessarily make it any cheaper than buying tubes Slime inside a tube is a good compromise I think, doesn't have the same annoyances as tubeless while still offering protection from smaller punctures. Biggest con is just a slight weight penalty and that's not even that bad. One of the biggest reasons tubeless is so popular in MTB is it lets you run lower pressures to let the tire conform to uneven terrain better and get increased traction, without worrying about pinching the tube against the rim (or, from the tire compressing landing jumps): it's not really about regular punctures from external objects, though it does help there. I don't see this as being a big factor in road/gravel riding. While I wholeheartedly would go tubeless for MTB (I just did my fat bike wheels), I think for road I'd go for slime in the tubes.
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