There’s no going back…

Posted in custom cranks, Ride Reports, Team Zinn with tags , , , , , , on June 18, 2013 by Adrian McKenzie

Have done a couple of long rides recently on my old BZ (Before Zinn) bike.   Was an interesting excercise.

In short – I hated it – and it re-affirmed my love affair with my Zinn Dolomite Ti with it’s 210mm proportional length cranks.  I used to absolutely love my old road bike – but my Zinn has spoiled me.

So – I’ve done a couple of 100km+ rides.   The old road bike has 175mm cranks – and I figured I’d be fine with that as I’ve been doing a bit of riding on my Hase Pino Tandem that also has 175mm cranks.  But I wasn’t fine.   On the road bike I was on a reasonably quick group ride with some fit riders, and on the tandem (which is a heavy big beast of a thing) I’m tootling around with my kids.  Nothing remotely like the same thing.

The thing I found was that I was back to struggling…

Both rides were reasonably flat – and I could hang with the group on the flat without much problem – but what hills there were – I was out the back immediately.  On the Zinn – I can keep up on with the weight weenies on rolling hills (longer hills is a different story).  But the rolling hills, and even small rises that the Zinn’s proportiional length cranks flattened for me – I could feel again.  And the surges and accellerations that you get in a group of road riders – I was struggling with again.    I remember when I first got my Zinn – that one of the biggest revelations was when I was racing – and how the accellerations that used to spit me out, became manageable.   And that was immediate.  The week after my first race on the Zinn – I jumped up a race group – and the following week – up another group.  So here I was back on shorter cranks and immediately stuggling again with accellerations.  And these things add up over a 100km ride.

So absolutely – without any doubt whatsoever – there is no going back for me!   I will be back on my Zinn with relief and reaffirmed respect for what it enables me to do.



Proportional Length Cranks illustrated (on one bike)

Posted in custom cranks, Ride Reports, road bikes, Team Zinn with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2013 by Adrian McKenzie

I’ve got a bike in my garage that illustrates the proportional length crank philosophy that is one of the cornerstones of the design philosophy of Zinn Cycles.  It’s not a Zinn bike – but even so – it’s still pretty cool…

It’s fairly new and very specialised in that it’s a tandem that my wife and I ride with our special needs son Ted…

The bike is a Hase Pino tandem where the pilot is at the rear and the stoker is on the front in a recumbent position.  And Ted isn’t tall enough yet to reach the pedals on the adjustable boom at the front – so he uses “Kiddie cranks” that are temporary.


As you can see from the photo the kiddie cranks interrupt the regular chain line and are clamped in place.  So there are 2 sets of cranks of the front – eventually he’ll use the longer cranks on the front (which are on a sliding boom) but for now he uses the much shorter kiddie cranks.  Proportional length cranks on display!  Short cranks while you’re short – and longer cranks when you are taller.  Makes perfect sense.  Only problem being – that for the vast majority of bikes – it’s only proportional up to adulthood – when the range of crank lengths becomes very small – yet the difference in size of adults is vast…

Here’s Ted and I and the whole bike (so you can make sense of the above photo)…


So what else have I been up to?

Well – Ted and I rode the tandem in a 6 hr relay – so I’ve been doing a bit of riding on the tandem – but still on my Zinn at every opportunity.  It’s interesting going between the tandem and the Zinn – going from 175mm cranks to 210mm cranks.  You immediately notice the difference when gettting on the Zinn – but within a few hundred meters it the noticeablity goes away and it you are back into the world of comfort and increased ability.  When riding the tandem – the noticeabilty doesn’t go away – and as it’s a big heavy bike (and because Ted isn’t able to contribute much) I’m constantly wishing it had longer cranks – especially when we get to a hill..

I did get a lesson in “being prepared” the other morning.  I set off on a ride to work – with 2 mates.  Early start – riding in the dark – and as it was so early – I decided to skip breakfast.  Mistake!  The guys I was with were faster than me – so that put me under a bit of pressure (which is normally fine – and benificial).  But when we got to a good sized hill about 10km into the ride – I started feeling dizzy and struggled big time.  Halfway up I decided that I’d had enough and said my farewells to my companions and rode home again.  Combination of late night and no food I think was the problem.    Completely underprepared!

Heading off on an early morning commute

Heading off on an early morning commute

Other than that – I’m still riding – not as often as I’d like in the last couple of weeks – but still riding.



Full range of motion with long cranks.

Posted in custom cranks, Ride Reports, Team Zinn with tags , , , , , on May 2, 2013 by Adrian McKenzie

If you’ve ever done squats in the weights room – you’ll know that you can cheat by not squatting all the way.  You can seemingly lift more weight – but it’s a false economy as you don’t get the full strength gains that a deep squat can give.

So what’s this got to do with cycling?  Well for me it’s the difference between 175mm cranks and the 210mm cranks that are proportional to my size on my Zinn.  I’ve been adding a few interval sessions to my training lately – and one in particular is seated big gear climbs…  Where I find a gentle (ish) climb and put it in the big chain ring and climb with a low cadence.   It’s very much like doing weights on the bike.  Certainly makes you strong.  But also – it’s something where I feel I can make even better gains because of the long cranks on my bike.  Full range of motion can only help strength development.  The long levers of the Zinn custom cranks enable me to really develop the advantage I already have with the long levers of my body.  Means I can really get into the nooks and crannies of strength development – so to speak…

So what else have I been doing?

Well – we’ve had an awesome summer down here in New Zealand.  So, just as things are starting to cool down, I pick that as the time to ramp up my training.  Seems like I’m doing things backwards…

But – though it’s nice to go for a ride on a beautiful day – there is some perverse satisfaction to be had from gutsing it out into a stiff breeze in the dark on a long commute home.

I’m slowly but surely picking up my training volume.   I’m very mindful of the fact that when I last did a long lead in to an event I was training for – that I had a hiccup – in that I trained like a demon to start with and was making fantastic progress – only to be stopped in my tracks with a mystery illness that put a major dent in my training.  Whether or not that was caused by the training I was doing is hard to know – but I’m taking a bit more of a measured approach this time.

I’m adding volume by adding midweek rides.  I work 50km from home so I’m adding 1 or 2 one way trips (in the dark) to my schedule as work allows.  And I’m increasing the distance of my Sunday rides (that are normally done with a group) – pushing that out to 80 to 100km.    And I’ve started adding a few of those interval sessions.

Intervals are something I really enjoy – in a twisted sort of way.  Sure they hurt and you want to puke sometimes – but I love them.  I guess it’s some sort of learned hardship that I picked up from my rugby playing days – where we did a lot of interval training.  I know that my body seems to respond well to intervals –so they are something that will always be a part of my regime…

But they hurt bad when you haven’t done them for a while – and when your aerobic base isn’t what it was :)

So anyway – I’m increasing volume – and slowly introducing some interval work.  There is a Winter Series of races coming up in 6 weeks or so – so I’ll be targeting that as my first hit out with some intensity.  And will be racing as often as I can from then on in…

205 days till my first major goal which is the Taupo Cycle Challenge – so – steady as she goes….


Back into it with Pupose…

Posted in Ride Reports, road bikes with tags , , , , on March 31, 2013 by Adrian McKenzie

This year – as a Team Zinn member – I’m going to regularly post short blogs about me and my Dolomite Ti’s advances towards my goals for this year.

I’ve been in a bit of a holding pattern – still riding regurlarly – but only enough really to keep a level of fitness up.  Work and Family have been a priority for the last year – so as needs must – cycling has taken a back seat.

But with things settling down to manageble levels at work – I’ve decided to set some goals and really get into it again…  (Family is still the biggest priority – but they will benifit from a fit Husband and Dad – so all good there).

So – I’ve set a couple of goals this year…

  1. A 4 hours 30 something ride at the 160km Taupo Cycle Challenge – in November.
  2. A 40km TT in under an hour – before the year is out.


These are lofty goals.  Both of them will be new personal bests.

I’m starting from a position of reasonable – but not spectacular – fitness.  And a bodywieght that’s about 10-15kg too much too much to achieve my goal at Taupo – which has a lot of hills in the first 80km and a biggish one at the 120km mark.  So I have a lot of work to do.  We are heading into Autumn down here in New Zealand – so I’ll be riding and training through our winter – so I can acheive these goals in our spring.

Along the way – I will race in road races and TT’s as much as I can fit in – and generally get involved as much as time allows in the local cycling scene here in Kapiti, New Zealand.

And it’ll all be on my beautiful custom Zinn Dolomite Ti bike – that I’m as excited about riding as the day I got it a few years back.


This is a photo of me racing a few weeks back (one of the only races I entered this summer) – I doctored the photo via snapseed as it helps to hide the weight :) I’d been dropped when this photo was taken and in a world of hurt.  Good reminder that I need to work harder.

I’ll try to post a blog a couple of times a month about how I’m doing – or just cycling in general on my Zinn…



NEW! Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance 4th edition

Posted in Cyclocross, road bikes with tags , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2013 by Nick Wigston

zinn and the art of road bike maintenance 4th edition

Boulder, CO, USA – February 21, 2013 – Lennard Zinn has updated his best-selling book Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, the world’s most helpful and comprehensive guide to bicycle repair and maintenance. From basic repairs like how to fix a flat tire to advanced overhauls of drivetrains and brakes, Zinn’s clearly illustrated guide makes every bicycle repair and maintenance job easy for everyone. Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, 4th Ed. is now available in bookstores, bike shops, and online. To preview the book and see what’s new, visit

* Basics: How to fix a flat tire, lube a bicycle chain, adjust the brakes
* Emergency repairs: How to fix a broken chain, tighten loose spokes, repair a bent derailleur
* Easy shifting: How to clean, lube, and adjust shifters and cables for smooth shifting
* Wheels: How to install a new tire, change a cassette, true a wheel, replace broken spokes, build your own wheels
* Overhaul: How to repair pedals, chains and chainrings, saddles, handlebars, stems, headsets, forks
* New tech: How to maintain 11-speed systems, electronic shifters, disc brakes, new bottom bracket formats
* Cyclocross: How to set up a ‘cross bike for racing, select the right components, and make quick repairs
* Troubleshooting: How to figure out what’s wrong with any bike and fix it

Click here to read the full description

Tech Tip: Maintain your Chain

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 20, 2013 by Nick Wigston

The simplest way to maintain a chain is to frequently wipe it down and then lubricate it. If you do this before or after every ride or two, your chain will stay clean, run smoothly, and last longer, without needing to use a solvent. To simplify this procedure, I recommend leaving a pair of rubber gloves, a rag, and some chain lube next to your bike. Whenever you return from a ride, put on the gloves, wipe and lube the chain, and put your bike away; the bike can be standing on the ground or in a bike stand. It takes maybe a minute, your hands stay clean, and your bike is ready for the next ride.
With a rag in your hand, grasp the lower length of the chain (between the bottom of the chainring and the lower jockey wheel of the rear derailleur). Turn the crank backward a number of revolutions, pulling the chain through the rag. Lubricate each chain roller by turning the crank and running the chain past the dripping tip of the chain-lube bottle. Wipe the chainrings, cogs, front derailleur, and jockey wheels while you’re at it, and the entire drivetrain will keep running smoothly.

I got my first win at Valmont Bike Park!

Posted in Cyclocross with tags , , , , , , on November 26, 2012 by Nick Wigston

I got my first win at Valmont Bike Park on Saturday Nov. 17 in the 55+ cyclocross race. Click here to see more.  It was very satisfying to finally win on that course, especially since the course was set way differently than it has been in the past, and it didn’t have much in the way of power sections where you could pass other riders, so it did not suit my strengths. I also don’t think I had ever beaten Gary Thacker before, the guy who has been dominating this category for the past few years in Colorado and is a former national cyclocross champion. All in all, a very good day in what has been a great season for me. I have four wins and four second places out of ten race starts this season. And in US Gran Prix of Cyclocross races I have two wins (in Ft. Collins, CO) and a 3rd and a 4th place (in Louisville, KY).



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,326 other followers

%d bloggers like this: