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Bike, the 3 factors which can affect your speed!

Triathlon & Open Water
Written by: arena coaches at 1 December '15 0
You are reading: Bike, the 3 factors which can affect your speed!

Bike riding speed is influenced by three factors. Discover these factors and how they can affect your pedaling stroke.

1. Strength. Comparing your workout with that of a friend, you may be surprised to see that he or she is able to complete the same job with much less effort. This difference is due to the pedaling strength!

The strength is the factor influencing the speed that we can control easier. Every cyclist wants to learn how to improve their pedaling strength. It is obvious that increasing the force exerted will increase the speed.

  • To increase your strength, try repeated low cadence strokes on level ground. After about 20 km of fast cycling, shift it in the lowest gear and go 1 km, shift up one gear and go 2, shift up another gear and go 3, shift up another gear and go 4 without interruption. At this point go 10 km at lower-cadence and repeat the main workout.

You should use a heart rate monitor and a cadence meter in order to keep under control both the heart rate (bpm) and the power (watts) you generate as you push the pedals.

2. Weight. There are two weights you need to consider: yours and that of the bike. Let’s consider two cyclists. The first weighs 80 kg and generates a power of 225 watts. This power allows him or her to move fast. But if the second cyclist has 65 kg, and produces 225 watts, he or she will be faster than the first simply because while generating the same power, weighing less than the first he or she will use less energy to move forward.

Secondly, there’s the weight of the bike. Many cyclists are worried about the weight of the various components of their bikes; even one or two water bottles could make a difference on the wattage output and consequently the speed generated.  Therefore, be careful: consider carefully what you carry!

3. Resistance. The third factor that influences the speed is the resistance: the density of air, the speed of the wind and your weight. It is difficult to measure the resistance, but in order to overcome this “penalizing” factor you should start with a good attitude while on the bike.

Remember that the balance between aerodynamics and comfort is important. If you have a very aggressive attitude in trying to achieve maximum speed, you will be less effective and will not feel very comfortable.

In addition, there are several other elements that can affect the aerodynamics such as the shape of the helmet, the profile of the wheels, the size of the handlebar stem extensions and even the shape of the water bottle.

In conclusion, heavier cyclists are slightly disadvantaged, especially if they do not have a good posture. The less heavier cyclists with a good power-to-weight ratio will be more advantaged when riding over uneven terrain, while the cyclists who are neither heavy nor powerful but have a very good position in the saddle, will be able to maximize their performance on any type of terrain.

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