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31
May
2016

Strategies to increase your cycling speed

Cycling at a fast speed is a great way to test your limits. The feeling, the rush, the adrenaline, all combines to make cycling at high speed an experience.

This blog will provide strategies that you can deploy in order to increase your speed. We’ll also emphasise the precautions you must take for cycling at a high speed as it may be dangerous for you and others.

Blog written by SportActive Cycling

 

 

Think about your bike

If you are serious about reaching your cycling potential but feel as though there are some barriers, certainly when it comes to your bike, you may need to think about a new one. If your bike is quite heavy by today’s standards, an investment now can see you riding faster and further sooner rather than later.

Ascertain your ideal riding weight

If you already have a more than suitable bike, assessing your ideal riding weight is next. Your best riding weight is the weight that gives you your best Power to Weight Ratio (PWR). PWR is a sacred aspect to professional cyclists and serious amateurs. These numbers are monitored closely by professional cycling teams in order to see improvements or losses.

Without becoming too technical, if you can increase your power and reduce your weight or maintain it, then you will ride faster. However, you may lose too much weight and lose power as well. Therefore, we recommend emulating professional cycling teams by monitoring PWR.  Through monitoring these numbers you can determine the perfect riding weight for you.

If you can lose weight but maintain the same fitness level, you should see an increase in your cycling speed. Less weight will assist uphill climbs as you have less mass to move against the force of gravity. Correspondingly, losing weight will help you punch a smaller hole in the air and reduce the drag you cause when riding on the flat.

Pondering the aerodynamics

If you feel you need some external help to increasing your speed, you can certainly buy it. This comes in the form of aerodynamic tubing on bikes; aero-profile spokes and deep-section rims which help reduce your drag, enabling you to go faster. However, the human body causes about 70% of the total drag, so changes to your riding position will be one of the most prominent factors. Think of the aerodynamic enhancements of your bike as mere facilitators to riding faster.

Certainly, aerodynamic products used for increasing speed appeared to be rather hushed tones by time triallists until Mark Cavendish swept to victory in the 2011 World Championship road race wearing a skinsuit and adapted specialised helmet. Manufacturers are trying to design bikes that offer less wind resistance and as such increase your speed.

Think about your cycling technique

Your equipment and weight both influence how you ride but the characteristic of the way you cycle has to be acknowledged. Cornering, braking, gear use and group riding can make a substantial difference to how fast you ride. For example, if you corner incorrectly – brake too soon or select the wrong gear, you will lose momentum which can add a few seconds on every bend. If one of your rides has twenty bends, you could easily add a few minutes to your overall time and spoil the enjoyment of your ride. This will occur certainly if you have set yourself a target completion time of a particular route.

Similarly, group riding is a great way to preserve energy and in turn, use the extra energy to ride faster. There are rules for group riding which should be followed and everyone should take their turn leading the pack. When leading the peloton it’s important to keep the pace high but not too high as you may separate from those behind or even your partner beside you.

 

Consider the cycling location

Wind is a noteworthy factor when riding. Although it is wholly suitable to cycle with some degree of wind, if you are serious about increasing your cycling speed we highly recommend cycling in sheltered roads if possible. One caution we would advise here is an unexpected gust of wind which can throw you off balance, so be vigilant when travelling at high speeds. The Mallorca weather is perfect for cycling, which is why Team Sky uses it in the off-season.

Word of caution

In this blog we have provided you with various tips which will advocate enhanced cycling skills. However, safety remains paramount. John Hannin, a rider who has made the ascent of Mont Ventoux many times recounted one of his experiences:

“My last trip back in Sept 2014 proved rather more memorable in so far as it all came to a rather sudden stop on the descent to Malaucène when the rear tyre malfunctioned on a sweeping bend. Thankfully, my helmet bore the brunt of things and after a few hours in hospital, I was eventually released, battered and badly bruised but still smiling”.

Whilst going fast does provide a spine-tingling experience, we urge every cyclist to concentrate as any lapse could prove harmful, not only to you, but to others. This cautionary tale is good to remember when cycling fast as things can change in an instant.

To read more of John Hannin’s story, click here.

Mallorca cycle training with SportActive

Our Cycling Training Camp in Mallorca will teach you the fundamentals of cycling and some extra techniques. These skills, taught by our cycling experts, will make you cycle further and faster and will help fulfil your potential. Whether you cycle daily in life to and from work or intend to conquer mountains, these techniques will significantly help. Alternatively, you can also download our Free Cycling Guide which will give you theoretical tips on how to enhance your cycling speed and so on.

 

Which Training Camp would like to thank SportActive Cycling for their contribution

 

Categories: All topics, Cycling

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