Cycling has become a very popular pastime in the last decade. Sportive events have acted as introductions to group cycling extremely well. For some, sportives are a challenge, others an opportunity to explore and then for an increasing number they have become a gateway into racing.
While racing isn’t for everyone the more cycling you do the more experienced you will become and the type of rides you do will begin to attract more experienced riders. The level of technical skill will improve, which often coincides with an increase in speed. Speed is nothing to fear. The more cycling you do, the more comfortable you will be with faster speeds. Take your time and let your comfort and enjoyment for speed come at your own pace.
On a long ride where you want to go fast, speed usually comes with the cost of fatigue. In come cases this is unavoidable and we have some articles which may help
There are however a few tips and tricks which you can adopt immediately which will help you go faster with ease.
- Don’t cross chain
For non-cycle experts this basically means your bike chain should be as straight as possible. You should never be in top gear and in the outer chain ring or in the lowest gear on your inner chain ring. This zig-zag in the chain line causes a large amount of friction which means effort is being lost between your feet on the pedals and the rear wheel driving you forward. Why waste any energy when you don’t need to. Use the mid gear of your cassette as a rough guide as to when to chain up or down gears at the front rings. A straight chain runs smooth and fast. It will actually feel like easier pedaling too.
- Clean your chain
A sticky, gummed up chain requires more effort to turn the links through the drivetrain. Dirt and oil builds up and produces a thick paste which acts like a glue in the chain line. A clean, lubricated chain will run smooth and easy. Apart from a little time and diligence cleaning your chain once in a while this will cost you very little effort for easier pedaling.
- Get low
Your head has a pretty big profile front on. The wind is one of the main resistive forces when you are cycling. Bending your elbows a bit and tucking your head down can instantly give you another 1 or 2 Km/hr. A bike fit can make this a comfortable change but practicing staying a bit lower on the bike can eventually help you develop a slippery position in the wind.
- Use the right clothing
A hood or a baggy jacket acts like a parachute at speed. If you enjoy cycling and going fast then fitted suitable cycling clothing will help make you slippier in the wind. The smallest ripple in clothing or anything that can flap in the breeze has a surprising airbrake effect. This completely undermines your hard effort.
- Get a bike fit
Getting a professional bikefit has two major benefits. For one, being comfortable allows you to work harder for longer. Being sore and achy quickly soaks up your attention and will undoubtedly slow you down. Secondly, a good fit will allow you to get lower as mentioned above. It will do so in a way that your ability to pedal efficiently is not compromised. Being lower, comfortable and able to pedal hard will have a massive impact on the speed you can maintain.
- Check your tires
Tires are where the rubber meets the road. Tires that are too soft will create too much rolling resistance and create a feeling of pedaling through mud. Tires too hard will cause you to bounce and rumble over rough surfaces. Not only is vibration quite uncomfortable on your body but contact with the road is poor and it will be hard to transmit your power into the road and propel you forward. Checking tire pressure can be an easy way to ensure your wheels roll easy.
Cycling fast is fun and can be facilitated by many small changes. If you are comfortable on your bike and your bike runs well, you will be faster. It is well worth taking a little bit of time to maintain your equipment, and your body, so you can enjoy your efforts. Unfortunately hard work and training will always be the biggest contribution to improving bike speed and performance. Cheap and easy controllables should be taken advantage of where possible in respect of the training you put yourself through.
If you need any help with your training or bike performance why not contact us and see if we can help.
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