|A word of advice.
When you go
cycling, (or any exercise for that matter) it is important to warm up
and just as importantly cool down. Spend the first 10 minutes of your
riding, cycling at an easy pace in a reasonably easy gear. This will get
your body warm ready for the rest of your ride.
Just as importantly spend the
last 10 minutes of your ride "warming down." That is use a low gear and
just ride home in a relaxed state. This will help to spin out some of
the lactic acid that your body has accumulated during the ride.
Stretching should also form an
important part of your cycling ritual. Even if you only spend 5 minutes
after every time you ride your bike the benefits will be enormous. Many
people advocate stretching before exercise, and I am sure there is
nothing wrong with this, but I believe that stretching after exercise is
much more beneficial. By gently stretching the muscles after exercise
whilst they are still warm will help aid in your bodies recovery and
help get your body ready for your next bike ride.
This five minutes that you spend
stretching after a ride is far more important than spending an extra
five minutes on the bike.
Times of Inflation
pressure for road and mountain bike cycling is essential. If you have
the incorrect tyre pressure in your bike you honestly have to expect
For a road bike with 700c
high-pressure wheels, the correct pressure will be around 100 to 120
psi. For a mountain bike being ridden in the bush the tyre pressure will
be anywhere from 35 to 60 psi.
On a road bike, read the
sidewall of your tyre. There you will find the manufacturer's tyre
pressure recommendation. It will say something like "max pressure
110psi." My recommendation is to run your bike at this max pressure.
If everything is in good
condition, that is tyres, tubes and rim tapes, then running the maximum
pressure will not cause blowouts but it will improve your rolling
resistance and greatly decrease your chance of getting a pinch flat.
On your mountain bike
things are not so clear cut. The ideal pressure will depend on a lot of
variables, for example, tyre brand, type of tube used, terrain that you
will be riding over and your weight. So as you can see, it is hard to
make hard and fast rules.
The most important point
here is to experiment a bit to find out what tyre pressure works best
for you and stick to that. If you run too low a pressure you will be
forever getting pinch flats and if they are too high your tyres will
slide around too much. You will be very surprised at the difference 2 or
3 pounds will make.
All this information is
irrelevant if you don’t own an accurate tyre pressure gauge. There is no
other way you will know whether you have 95 psi in your road bike tyres
or 110, or if 40 or 45 works best in your Mtb. And remember, check your
tyre pressures at least every second day, as you will find that over 24
to 48 hours your tyres will deflate 5 to 20 psi.
This might be the
Are you forever
getting punctures on your road bike? If this is you then read on.
You see, very often road
bike punctures are caused by the rim tape inside the rim not protecting
the tube properly. If you use module type rims (they’re the rims with
the two layers of alloy with space between the two walls), then never
ever use rubber rim tapes on these rims. What you will find is that with
the high pressures you use on the road bike the tube will sink into the
cavity of the module rim through the rubber rim tape.
Even on a new road bike,
don’t presume the manufacture has fitted the correct rim tapes, because
very often they haven’t.
Rubber rim tapes are
definitely out, plastic rim tapes are better but can often split after a
while and very fine cloth rim tapes often are not strong enough either.
For me, the only brand to use is Velox. It is a thick woven cloth rim
tape that eliminates the tube puncturing inside the rim. Problem solved.
A word on Cadence.
Ever watched the Olympics
or the Tour De France on TV and wondered just how it was possible for
these guys and gals to go so fast for so long. Well.... apart from the
countless hours of training and their incredible natural talent,
technique takes a major role in their unbelievable performances.
Cycling technique is the
one thing that you can work on that will make the biggest difference to
probably the most important technique that will give you this
performance boost is the art of spinning on the bike. That is, how fast
your legs go round. This is called cadence.
Should you have a slow
cadence or should your legs spin around quickly with a high cadence, and
just how fast is a high cadence?
A lot of people think that
the best way to get fit, or to beat your mate, or to go the quickest, is
to put it in the biggest gear that you can and grind away on the
pedals….using brute force. WRONG!!
All this will do is make
you go slower, for a shorter distance with more pain and probably wreck
your knees in the process.
The answer is in spinning.
The cadence or leg speed which is considered the ultimate for road
cycling (on any style of bike) is 90rpm. That is, your legs are rotating
90 times every minute. If this sounds quick to you then this information
is for you.
You see, a cadence of 90
is deemed to be the most efficient way to ride a bicycle. You will be
able to cycle longer distances with greater ease, go a lot quicker over
a long distance, keep your heart rate up higher and lose a lot more fat
in the process. Surely all of these benefits are better than grinding
away in a massive gear and just plain old getting sore knees!
If you don’t have a cycle
computer that tells you cadence then don’t despair; all you need is a
watch. It’s easy to work it out. Simply ride along, count your leg
revolutions for 10 seconds and multiply by 6. If it is around 15, then
perfect…. You have the ideal cadence for efficient cycling. If it is
around 10, 11 or 12, then you have something to work on. Practice
dropping it down a gear and pedaling more quickly until 90rpm feels
natural. It is as simple as that. After a while, you will know what
90rpm feels like and you will no longer need to count. This does take a
little bit of time, but probably after your 4th ride or so,
you will have mastered the technique of spinning.
The only exceptions to
this rule are a) riding a mountain bike in the bush where it is
virtually impossible to ride at this high a cadence, and b) riding up a
hill on the road. In this case it is more efficient to just grunt over
the hill and to sacrifice your leg revs a bit. Notice that I said hill,
not mountain. Riding over mountains becomes much more effective using a
high cadence technique of maybe 80 rpm and occasionally getting out of
the seat to rest your back as well as getting you over the steeper parts
of the climb.
Keep it warm.
In the cooler
months it is imperative that you keep your body warm when cycling. If it
is cold make sure you use leg and arm warmers, as well as full finger
winter training gloves and a jacket to keep the wind off your chest.
Also shoe covers are a good idea to keep your feet warm as well as ear
warmers to keep your ears and the back of your neck warm. How many of
these items of clothing you will need will depend on the temperature.
The best way to keep your
feet warm is not to put an extra pair of socks on (because the wind will
still go straight through your shoes) but to wear a pair of shoe covers
over the top of your shoes. If you don’t have any shoe covers then an
old pair of socks with a hole cut out for the shoe cleat does just as
good a job.
Keeping your chest warm is
obviously very important and a winter training jacket is the ticket.
Don’t despair if you don’t have one of these, as a sheet of newspaper
between your cycling jersey and your singlet will do the same job.
cycling requires a bit of what I term "Fuzzy Logic." That is, to a
degree let the bike go where it wants to go. Don’t always fight the
bike, let the front wheel float to where it wants to go. This sounds
easy and it is.
this, always ride in the bush relaxed. That is keep the arms and upper
body loose and relaxed. Don’t ride stiff armed and tense. This is energy
arms relaxed and slightly limp at the elbows. This is your suspension to
your body and allows the front wheel to float over the loose stuff and
find its own way. This is generally safer, easier, faster and less
fatiguing than keeping your arms rigid and trying to make the front
wheel go exactly where you want it to go.
especially advantageous in loose, rocky ground. So next time you are out
in the bush remember the term "Fuzzy Logic"
Efficient road cycling requires you to feel and be relaxed on the bike.
To do this, keep your arms and torso loose and relaxed. Being tense robs
you of energy and tires your body more quickly.
way to remain relaxed is to hold onto the bars in a relaxed manner. Hold
onto the bars as if you were playing a piano. This is a great thing to
remember. That is, don’t grip the bars as if you were trying to strangle
them but lightly rest your hands on the bars, keeping your fingers, arms
and torso loose and relaxed.
that extra energy for when you really need it, maybe to beat your mate
in the next sprint.
Keep your sights
riding in a group on the road it is important to be able to see what is
coming up. As you already know, riding in a closely-knit pack with other
cyclists on the road is by far and away much easier than riding alone.
But it does present its own hazards.
to be able to see if there are any potholes, parked cars, etc., that
could jeopardise your safety. That is you need to be able to see what
lies ahead on the road. Often this is not easy if you are following 30
or 40 centimeters behind the rider in front.
natural thing to do when riding in a group or pack of cyclists is to
watch the back wheel of the cyclist in front of you. But this is not the
best thing. How do you know that he/she is not just about to dodge a
pothole and land you straight into it?
is to look past the rear wheel of the rider in front and look through
their legs to the road ahead. In that way, you can see what is coming up
and you have less chance of having a nasty surprise.
tell you, there is nothing worse that being confronted by a huge pothole
just about to take your front wheel out.
Off the Back
in the bush requires a bit of body language. Apart from the fact that
you need to stay relaxed on the bike, you also need to be able to move
around on the bike.
are travelling down a very steep descent, you need to get your weight
back over the back of the bike. This is to avoid a very undesirable
"over the bars" situation.
approach a very steep descent, make a deliberate effort to push your
bottom off the back of the bike saddle. This moves your center of
gravity further back and allows you to descend the hill without going
over the bars. The steeper the descent the further you need to move your
extremely steep descents you can even lay your stomach on the seat with
your bottom almost touching the rear wheel. This allows you to negotiate
descents that you previously thought impossible.
mind that you often need to shift your weight back further than you
first thought because once you are on the descent, there is more weight
on your arms and front wheel, and this in turn is trying to throw your
body over the bars. This is something that I suggest you avoid at all
Getting it right
you are climbing a steep ascent in the bush on your mountain bike you
need to move your weight forward on the bike. This is to avoid the front
wheel from lifting off the ground.
here is that if you move too far forward on the bike, your rear wheel
can then slip and you can lose traction for a second, then you will be
walking up the climb.
So it is
all a matter of compromise and weight distribution. When you are
ascending a steep climb, you need to make a few judgments: how steep is
the climb, how loose is the climb, and how technically demanding is the
climb? Then it is a matter of getting the right combination of weight
distribution, speed and balance to conquer the hill.
your bottom forward on the seat to get more weight on the front wheel.
In really steep situations you can even sit on the very tip of the seat.
This will help keep your front wheel on the ground to avoid losing
looks like you may lose rear wheel traction, then be slightly further
back on the seat and bend your elbows to bring your head and body closer
to the front of the bike. This in turn applies more weight to the front
wheel. If the hill is not only steep but also long, then you need to be
able to control your speed so you will not run out off fitness before
you reach the top of the climb.
yourself. Just give yourself enough speed to be able to climb the hill
and keep your correct course, and then when there is a steeper, looser,
more technical section, you will have the power to increase your speed
to traverse this as well. Happy climbing!
Have you ever been sitting at the traffic lights on
your bike, trying in vain to get them to change to green? Try
as you might, nothing seems to work. You jump up and down on those pads
under the bitumen that set the lights off, but still they stay RED.
Well here is the
answer....You see, those pads that you can see under the bitumen that
trigger the lights off are not pressure sensitive at all. They do not
rely on the weight of the car to set them off, but rather they work by
magnetic field. That is, they sense the metal car body to trigger them
The way to get a
bike to trigger them off is to ride on the very edge of the pad. You
see, at the very edge of the pad where you see that black line in the
bitumen is where they are most sensitive. At this point they will pick
up the metal of the bike frame and trigger the lights.
Back To Top
Hot Links |
Contact Us | Home
Produced by DOG MTB © 2003
Thursday May 09, 2013