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Top tips for improving road riding

rock_busrock_bus Posts: 35
Really want to step up my road riding this year. Not really to anything special but just so I can concistently ride at 17mph+ and comfortably manage hill, based in Warwickshire so there’s nothing too massive here.

Other than the obvious, riding more, I’d be interested in people’s top tips for improving in The short term?
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  • big_harvbig_harv Posts: 512
    Rock bus, a few questions please:

    Your age
    Other sport experience
    Your "general" fitness and/ or other activities.
    Bad habits? ( Cakes, pizzas etc)

    As you can imagine there is no single answer, however 17mph is generally achievable without being a super athlete. Group riding is also great/indifferent depending on (1) the group or (2) your answers to the above.
  • Smash stuff, be the ball, be the best damned Rock Bus you can be >sniff<
  • magoo289magoo289 Posts: 219
    Use the big ring. I seen huge improvement when I stopped using the small ring.
  • Hey big har

    Your age -45
    Other sport experience -play football and run regularly (c10k comfortably)
    Your "general" fitness and/ or other activities. As above, desk based job which is a pain but aim will to be run or cycle 3times per week
    Bad habits? ( Cakes, pizzas etc) yep, all of those but mainly just at weekend (but with beer and wine!)
  • big_harvbig_harv Posts: 512
    Rock bus wrote:
    Hey big har

    Your age -45
    Other sport experience -play football and run regularly (c10k comfortably)
    Your "general" fitness and/ or other activities. As above, desk based job which is a pain but aim will to be run or cycle 3times per week
    Bad habits? ( Cakes, pizzas etc) yep, all of those but mainly just at weekend (but with beer and wine!)

    Good stuff, just checking you weren't a big lardy bloke with piles. :)

    I'd concrentrate on smooth pedalling & pacing yourself. Big ring? well,within reason. Maybe group riding if that's your thing. Decent bike set-up (which btw does not mean spending £££). Can't imagine you won't achieve 17mph fairly soon. Depends how long your average ride is of course. Just enjoy it!!
  • Short answer: Pedal harder.

    Slightly longer answer: Pedal harder, rest, recover, eat well, pedal even harder next time. Enjoy.

    :-)
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,258
    Rock bus wrote:
    Really want to step up my road riding this year. Not really to anything special but just so I can concistently ride at 17mph+ and comfortably manage hill, based in Warwickshire so there’s nothing too massive here.

    Other than the obvious, riding more, I’d be interested in people’s top tips for improving in The short term?

    What's so special about 17mph?
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    I think the OP sees the 17mphas an improvement to where they are at now.
    The answer all depends on how committed you and how much time you have. Lots of training tools out there, the use of an indoor turbo is a useful aid, combined with some structured training. I use a Wattbike and Sufferfest, when I get bored of this I’ll do a couple of spin sessions just as a change of scenery. I’m the same age as you, I aim for 2 training rides a week at a tough stress score, 1 easy wattbike ride, 1 easy outdoor 35 to 40 mile ride and one club ride of between 60 and 80 miles. I aim for approx 8 hours a week.
    I joined a club years ago when I first started that may also help you. Look for a club with multiple rides, so an A ride at 18.5, B ride at 17 etc. You may find that you can comfortably keep at 17 with the B group but aim to move to the A ride after a couple of months.
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    OP also needs to say what current riding or training pattern is.
  • N0bodyOfTheGoatN0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 4,502
    edited February 2018
    Whenever you face a headwind, change direction. :lol::wink:

    And something a little more constructive, hill reps, lots of. If you haven't got any decent length individual climbs, create Strava segments where you link some up. As an example, my commute home today on my fatbike with winter studded tyres still on despite the "mini-heatwave" of the last few days compared to the rest of 2018 so far...
    https://www.strava.com/activities/1415565112

    I was typically doing ~1200-2000 feet per commute home (and on days off) until Xmas, but a combination of buying a turbo; the chilly winter weather; feeling a bit run down I've cut back on the outdoor hill reps so far in 2018 and tried to make up for it tackling the cat2 climb to the radio tower in Zwift fairly regularly.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • Rock bus wrote:
    Really want to step up my road riding this year. Not really to anything special but just so I can concistently ride at 17mph+ and comfortably manage hill, based in Warwickshire so there’s nothing too massive here.

    Other than the obvious, riding more, I’d be interested in people’s top tips for improving in The short term?

    Sometimes the obvious answer is the right one.
  • dabberdabber Posts: 1,673
    Apart from working on the various aspects of improving your fitness, power etc which you have various suggestions above ^^^
    how about looking at your position on the bike from an aerodynamic perspective... perhaps more time on the drops, elbows in (and bent)... etc.
    “You may think that; I couldn’t possibly comment!”

    Wilier Cento Uno SR/Wilier Mortirolo/Specialized Roubaix Comp/Calibre Bossnut
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    I do alot of miles and I dont ride at over 17 mph consistantly. If you think that being fit and capable of riding fast means that you can ride fast every ride then think again. I meanderd at 13mph this morning for 20 miles. the ride home will be at 15mph tomorrow ride to ice bike and back will be around 15mph. Sundays very hilly kentish ride was around 14mph. Then I ride at 20mph some days for a few hours.

    just ride more some days slow some day slow with efforts, some days faster, some days as fast as you can till you blow.
    others do regimented intervals. the above though does the same thing and does other useful stuff as well.
    your position is important too as is the clothes you wear. the answer is obvious really.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • theboshthebosh Posts: 8
    Lol according to Bradley wiggins asthma medication... only joking. I find squatting helps me.
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    Improving in the short term:
    Try pedalling at a higher cadence.
    Pace yourself, watch your average speed.
    Make sure you're properly hydrated before a ride.
    Carb load.
    Drink a strong coffee just before you hit the road.
    Ride into the wind on the way out so you get a tailwind home when you're tired.
    Buy faster equipment, start with tyres, eg 25mm GP4000S
    Get your tyre pressure right:
    http://road.cc/content/feature/180830-how-choose-your-tyre-pressure-%E2%80%94-balancing-speed-comfort-and-grip
    Ignore pain.
    Keep pedalling, even going downhill.
    Learn to carry your speed through bends. Accelerate out of bends quickly to keep your average speed up.

    Longer term if you're time limited then plan a goal for each ride. Make each one count - pootling around is a waste of time if you're only riding a handful of hours a week. Eg, each week I try to fit in at least one big ride (3+ hours), one shorter, faster ride (1 hour as fast as I can manage), and a couple of hard 1 hour interval sessions on the rollers. If I need to I will do 45 mins low intensity recovery on the rollers too.
  • cgfw201cgfw201 Posts: 669
    Tip 1. Don't use average speed as a training metric.
    Tip 2. Ride faster.

    Training is fairly basic at it's core, you need to either increase the Duration, Frequency or Intensity of your current riding to improve. You can do all 3. You then need to balance that with how knackered you are.
  • cgfw201 wrote:
    Tip 1. Don't use average speed as a training metric.
    Tip 2. Ride faster.

    Training is fairly basic at it's core, you need to either increase the Duration, Frequency or Intensity of your current riding to improve. You can do all 3. You then need to balance that with how knackered you are.

    Hmmm dunno, if all other variables remain the same if you increase your average speed then you have undoubtedly got fitter/faster/better.
  • cgfw201cgfw201 Posts: 669
    cgfw201 wrote:
    Tip 1. Don't use average speed as a training metric.
    Tip 2. Ride faster.

    Training is fairly basic at it's core, you need to either increase the Duration, Frequency or Intensity of your current riding to improve. You can do all 3. You then need to balance that with how knackered you are.

    Hmmm dunno, if all other variables remain the same if you increase your average speed then you have undoubtedly got fitter/faster/better.

    Possibly, just so many other factors at play. I used to look at average speed, or more likely performance on a segment like a lap of Richmond Park to measure progress, which kind of worked at the time.

    But it's a result of training, rather than a cause of getting faster. You shouldn't worry about speed when trying to get faster, you should worry about the things which drive fitness adaptations. You can do a brutal hour long ride with something like 4*5m intervals at 110% FTP and your average speed might be 11mph or 20mph after it, it doesn't matter, it's about the training benefit.
  • cld531ccld531c Posts: 517
    Or if you are just interested in average speed do as someone I know does....
    1. No ride over 30 miles
    2. Always ride in a group
    3. Try to only turn left
    4. Avoid bad weather
    5. Brag how fast you are
    :-)
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 15,921
    cgfw201 wrote:
    Tip 1. Don't use average speed as a training metric.
    Tip 2. Ride faster.

    Training is fairly basic at it's core, you need to either increase the Duration, Frequency or Intensity of your current riding to improve. You can do all 3. You then need to balance that with how knackered you are.

    Hmmm dunno, if all other variables remain the same if you increase your average speed then you have undoubtedly got fitter/faster/better.

    The point being that all the other variables do not remain the same.
  • cgfw201 wrote:
    Tip 1. Don't use average speed as a training metric.
    Tip 2. Ride faster.

    Training is fairly basic at it's core, you need to either increase the Duration, Frequency or Intensity of your current riding to improve. You can do all 3. You then need to balance that with how knackered you are.

    Hmmm dunno, if all other variables remain the same if you increase your average speed then you have undoubtedly got fitter/faster/better.

    The point being that all the other variables do not remain the same.

    They can do, like ride the same route/elevation/wind/clothing etc. So, if ALL OTHER VARIABLES REMAIN THE SAME(see, in capitols so I get point across) then incresing av speed over time is a useful measure of progress.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 15,921
    cgfw201 wrote:
    Tip 1. Don't use average speed as a training metric.
    Tip 2. Ride faster.

    Training is fairly basic at it's core, you need to either increase the Duration, Frequency or Intensity of your current riding to improve. You can do all 3. You then need to balance that with how knackered you are.

    Hmmm dunno, if all other variables remain the same if you increase your average speed then you have undoubtedly got fitter/faster/better.

    The point being that all the other variables do not remain the same.

    They can do, like ride the same route/elevation/wind/clothing etc. So, if ALL OTHER VARIABLES REMAIN THE SAME(see, in capitols so I get point across) then incresing av speed over time is a useful measure of progress.

    Let me know how you control the wind - I could do with that some mornings.
  • Duh, obviously you cannot unless you ride indoors however it is possible to gauge wind then go when the same. Bit obvious I know but apparently some people need it pointing out.

    However if it's bottom wind then there's no hope...
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,912
    As a slight aside, don't underestimate the effort required to improve from an average speed of, say, 15 mph, to 17mph.

    Power required to overcome wind resistance varies as the cube of the speed, so if your average speed goes up by 13% (17/15 = 1.13), then you'll need a power increase of 1.13^3, or a whopping 46%.

    2mph may not sound much, but it's a lot.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • As a slight aside, don't underestimate the effort required to improve from an average speed of, say, 15 mph, to 17mph.

    Power required to overcome wind resistance varies as the cube of the speed, so if your average speed goes up by 13% (17/15 = 1.13), then you'll need a power increase of 1.13^3, or a whopping 46%.

    2mph may not sound much, but it's a lot.

    Yep, exactly what I've said. If all other variables the same then increasing average speed is a measurable gain/improvement.
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,912
    As a slight aside, don't underestimate the effort required to improve from an average speed of, say, 15 mph, to 17mph.

    Power required to overcome wind resistance varies as the cube of the speed, so if your average speed goes up by 13% (17/15 = 1.13), then you'll need a power increase of 1.13^3, or a whopping 46%.

    2mph may not sound much, but it's a lot.

    Yep, exactly what I've said. If all other variables the same then increasing average speed is a measurable gain/improvement.
    Well. Theoretically of course, you're right. But as others have said, all other variables are rarely the same.

    Suppose your average power output increased by 10%. All other things being equal, your average speed would have increased by about 3%.

    So from 15 mph, to 15.45 mph.

    How many rides do you think you'd have to ride, before such an increase could be properly attributed to an actual power increase?

    Average speed, especially if calculated over periods less than a year (where seasonal variations can completely dwarf fitness changes), is a really terrible way of measuring an increase in fitness.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • No-one is saying it is the best way of measuring gains (it's not), however what I am saying along with others is it IS a way.
  • cgfw201cgfw201 Posts: 669
    I also found that focusing on ave speed used to put a bit of a glass ceiling on my cycling.

    I read somewhere when I started that a 15mph average was 'good'. I then spent about a year aiming for that. Turned out if I aimed for 17mph I could do that just as easily. Then 18mph.

    Then I stopped worrying about it because it's a pointless metric in the grand scheme of things.
  • All metrics are pointless in the grand scheme of things. Just ride ya bike....
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    cgfw201 wrote:
    I also found that focusing on ave speed used to put a bit of a glass ceiling on my cycling.

    I read somewhere when I started that a 15mph average was 'good'. I then spent about a year aiming for that. Turned out if I aimed for 17mph I could do that just as easily. Then 18mph.

    Then I stopped worrying about it because it's a pointless metric in the grand scheme of things.

    when I started I could ride avg 15mph for about 100metres, then it became over 5miles, then 10, 20, 40, 50, 60 and now Im up to 75miles...avg speed isnt everything, I dont go faster I just go further.
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