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Not so beginner's guide to cycling

R_T_AR_T_A Posts: 488
edited June 2009 in Commuting chat
OK, I'm now spending far too much time thinking about how to improve my efficiency/time. Sadly I do too much self-analysis whilst riding, but I'm too ignorant to know what to look for, so would appreciate your help!

A bit about me to set the scene:
- I've been cycling on and off road for years & commuting for nearly a year. So loads of bad habits.
- I'm 6' 1'', 85kg and relatively fit.
- I do a 20 mile round trip on country roads with a bit of hilliness (enough for a blast but that's it).
- I'm averaging about 17mph but want to get nearer 20mph
- Without opening any side debates, I use SPDs and have a 10kg-ish rucksack, and have a fast hybrid with bar ends (and that will remain for the time being :P )

Two areas I think I can improve of are:

Pedalling
So where on the foot should I be focussing my power? And where should it ache on the legs after prolonged effort?
Currently I'm trying to get the whole cyclical thing going instead of just up and down, and making sure it's the calves burning. Is that right?

cadence
What is a good one? And how can I measure it without a computer? I've currently got the Cateye strada wireless so have some stats on the move.

Anything else that I should be looking at?
Giant Escape R1
FCN 8
"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
- Terry Pratchett.

Posts

  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    R_T_A wrote:
    - I'm 6' 1'', 85kg and relatively fit.

    - I'm averaging about 17mph but want to get nearer 20mph

    Anything else that I should be looking at?

    Loose 5kg of weight
  • GussioGussio Posts: 2,452
    vorsprung wrote:
    Loose 5kg of weight

    You beat me to it :lol:
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    vorsprung wrote:
    R_T_A wrote:
    - I'm 6' 1'', 85kg and relatively fit.

    - I'm averaging about 17mph but want to get nearer 20mph

    Anything else that I should be looking at?

    Loose 5kg of weight

    Nah. I'm 13st 7 +/- and average 19ish most days.

    Lose the 10Kg rucksack is the obvious first step.

    Good cadence is 80+, better up in the 90s. I find above 105 there's not enough to push against so tend to find a higher gear.

    Your clips should place your feet where they need to be; pedalling should be a push round from the top as well as just down. The other leg pulling is a good idea in practice but it doesn't work for me except over short distances - try it and see how you get on.
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    vorsprung wrote:
    R_T_A wrote:
    Nah. I'm 13st 7 +/- and average 19ish most days.
    You must either generate a huge amount of power or have a short flat commute then
    The easy way to get faster on hills is too loose a bit of weight.
    The OP also said he wanted to keep the rucksack and the flat bar bike
  • RockbuddyRockbuddy Posts: 243
    Thing is are you looking for just speed or efficiency aswell??? You have a heavy ish hybrid with disc brakes and mtb gearing (much lower GI than some hybrids set up as flat bar roadies). Not braggin but my bike (without panniers) weighs as much as your rucksack (any reason you are carrying 22lbs on your back?). I think your weight is irrelevant when you have such a heavy weight on your back and a heavy bike. I would say 17mph is a good average with what you are carrying.

    As for cadence and pedalling this is quite a personal thing and most people have a natural style and cadence which is efficient for them. Obviously increasing cadence (if only for short bursts) will incarese speed, finteness and power over time. Although I think your main issue is weight :wink:
  • R_T_AR_T_A Posts: 488
    Gussio wrote:
    vorsprung wrote:
    Loose 5kg of weight

    You beat me to it :lol:

    Yeah, opened myself up to that really :lol:

    Most of my weight is not on the waist but on the shoulders (rugby background), and the wife is quite partial to that part of me :wink:.

    I think I'm relatively trim (34 waist), but will certainly look to lose some with diet. I'll also look at what I really need to take to work in the rucksack as well.
    Giant Escape R1
    FCN 8
    "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
    - Terry Pratchett.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    vorsprung wrote:
    vorsprung wrote:
    R_T_A wrote:
    Nah. I'm 13st 7 +/- and average 19ish most days.
    You must either generate a huge amount of power or have a short flat commute then
    The easy way to get faster on hills is too loose a bit of weight.
    The OP also said he wanted to keep the rucksack and the flat bar bike

    21 miles, a few hills but nothing too serious. Must be a huge amount of power then. :)

    21 miles is enough time to get into the rhythm of cycling. Anyone who's done any distance regularly knows that it doesn't start to happen properly for the first n miles,whether n be 3 or 12 or any number in between.

    What's going on in your head is as important.
  • R_T_AR_T_A Posts: 488
    Rockbuddy wrote:
    Thing is are you looking for just speed or efficiency aswell??? You have a heavy ish hybrid with disc brakes and mtb gearing (much lower GI than some hybrids set up as flat bar roadies). Not braggin but my bike (without panniers) weighs as much as your rucksack (any reason you are carrying 22lbs on your back?). I think your weight is irrelevant when you have such a heavy weight on your back and a heavy bike. I would say 17mph is a good average with what you are carrying.

    As for cadence and pedalling this is quite a personal thing and most people have a natural style and cadence which is efficient for them. Obviously increasing cadence (if only for short bursts) will incarese speed, finteness and power over time. Although I think your main issue is weight :wink:

    Fair enough - and maybe that's the bit I need to focus on. I thought it would be something more technique-based than simply that.

    * Throws out kitchen sink from rucksack*
    Giant Escape R1
    FCN 8
    "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
    - Terry Pratchett.
  • Eau RougeEau Rouge Posts: 1,118
    Attack short hills by sprinting up them in a biggish gear. Now, you definition of "short" is up to you :)

    When decending, really try and carry that momentum with you when you come off the hill, don't just coast back down to your normal flat cruising speed, push on for a while with the added momentum.

    Know the route, don't kill yourself before you get to the big hill and have to grind up it. Taking a little off on the way to the hill but being able to go up it hard will save you a good dolop of time.
  • R_T_AR_T_A Posts: 488
    Cheers - will make certain to give that a go on the way home.

    Time for a bit of the old MTFU....
    Giant Escape R1
    FCN 8
    "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
    - Terry Pratchett.
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