November 22, 2013
Most of the group tours I've participated in over the years have had at least one rider suffering from either knee, shoulder, or achilles-tendon pain. Having been that rider on a couple of occasions, I can understand how that can ruin an experience. Aside from ice and handfuls of "vitamin I," there really wasn't much for me to do until the trip wrapped up. Afterwards it would be rest and a trip to the cycling-specific physical therapist, where my riding position would be looked at, and I would be given kinesiotape in the meantime.
The idea behind kinesiotape it is that it holds your joints in a way that encourages a more proper movement when engaging in physical activity. When applied correctly, it can also lift the skin slightly around sensative areas to relieve pressure and encourage blood flow that can aid in the recovery process. Kinesiotape is something I thought was only readily available to physical therapists, but this past spring Rocktape came out with a consumer-ready version of kinesiotape.
Unlike the tape you would get from a physical therapist, Rocktape is not cut to ready made shapes and lengths. This means you'll have to have some scissors at the ready, and application time might take a little longer, but when you get the system dialed the process goes pretty smoothly. To ensure that you tape yourself properly, Rocktape has an impressive library of instructional videos, in addition to some great print material to help you out. I would still recommend visiting a physical therapist at some point, but if you're on the road in Dubois, Wyoming, this is a pretty good option. I was able to get a couple of days out of each tape job before I had to apply it again.
Rocktape is made with a latex free, hypoallergenic adhesive, so those of you with sensative skin should be in good shape. It is available in widths ranging from 1-inch up to 4-inches and in a wide variety of design patterns. Depending on the width you purchase, price can range from $20 to $40 per roll, so you might want to stick to duct tape for your everyday tape uses. That being said, as we move into the holiday season, I'm looking forward to testing this out as a madeshift girdle.
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh's "Fine Tuned" column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.