TUBIES
13
Emotions
and behind the
scenes of
the Tour de France
↥ DEBATE

The “Tubulars vs. Clinchers” debate is still a hot topic. If you are unfamiliar with the term “tubular”, it’s the tire that you glue on the rim itself and which doesn’t need any tube inside.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ TUBIES

Tubulars are also known as “tubies” or “glue-gutted rim adders”- added to a tubular rim, they incredibly reduce the global weight of a rider’s wheelset which in theory makes him faster. Ah, so that is the reason!

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ 

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ OLD SECRET

Mechanics have their own secrets to correctly set up a tire on an adequate rim. From stretching the tubular to gluing it on the rim, it is an old secret recipe.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ 

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ ENJOY

But once the tire is correctly mounted, you just have to enjoy its unbelievable speed, sound and efficiency.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

↥ 
↥ THE CLEANSE

A couple of days ago, we had a quick look inside pro tour mechanics‘ daily tasks. We learned that their days are quite long, starting with an early morning running session before having some breakfast, then on to cleaning the team cars and organizing the inside of the truck late into the evening.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

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Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ HOURS

For those lucky enough to meet the team at their hotels, one ritual always catches their eyes. The amount of time that mechanics spend, hours upon hours, maintaining, washing and polishing bikes is mind boggling. Their attention to specific details showcases absolute dedication.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

↥ LATHER, RINSE, REPEAT

Photo: Kristof Ramon

↥ BLISS

Being a pro cyclist is not always a question of pain, endurance, or management of leg cramps. Happiness, or rather the sound of it comes when jumping on a well-tuned racing machine at the start of every day. The rig is completely cleaned, there is just the right about on oil, nothing more, and not a single cracking noise. This, is bliss.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

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Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ ALONE TIME

Each bike gets a few hours attention from its respective mechanic. Even if the process isn’t necessarily environmentally friendly, mechanics do pay attention and try to use the most “green” products and try to use water in a non-wasteful manner.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

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Photo: Kristof Ramon

↥ PROCESS

To start the cleaning session, the bike is sprayed down using a high pressure pray. From there, it is to the classic sponge and soap, and then to a second degreasing of the gears. Once the bike looks clean, they will rinse it, and redo the process one more time before drying it.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

↥ GREASE

Once this process is over, the next step is to start greasing. First, they grease the rear gears, check to make sure that all of the different screws on the rear mech are perfectly tightened, and adjust the gears to ensure perfect and smooth chain transmission.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

↥ RECOGNIZE

Each rider has his name stickered onto the frame to help mechanics make exactly the needed adjustments and to help them recognize a bike on the team car roof rack.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

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