How To Improve Your Cycling Speed?
The best way to improve your cycling speed is to train hard. However, training will not increase your speed if you are not using proper technique. If you want to ride fast, then you need to use correct riding technique. Correct riding technique consists of three things: pedaling style, body position and strength.
PEDAL STYLE: The pedal style determines the type of power you generate when you pedal. There are two types of pedals; single-leg and dual-leg. Single leg pedals allow only one foot to move while the other remains stationary.
Dual leg pedals allow both feet to move simultaneously but with different legs moving at each step.
Bike pedals have two types of pedals: single and double. Single leg pedals are used mostly for racing bicycles, while dual leg pedals are most commonly found on road bikes. A common mistake made by beginners is to put their right foot forward on the pedal while putting their left foot back on the pedal.
This causes them to lose momentum and makes it difficult for them to maintain control over the bike.
Correct pedal style is determined by leg length which is usually genetic. Some people are built to pedal in a single style while others are better off using the other style. For example, if you have long legs, then single-leg pedals will work best for you because they allow your long legs to move freely.
On the other hand, if you have shorter legs, then you will be able to maintain better control over the bike if you use dual-leg pedals.
BODY POSITION: Correct biking techniques also involves proper body position. The correct body position will allow smooth movement of the pelvis which in turn causes the rest of the body to move smoothly as well. There are three types of body positions used by bikers:
a) The A- Stance: In this position, the rider sits on the bicycle in a way that one hip is higher than the other and both knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. The rider’s butt should touch the seat while the shoulders should be kept back. This position should be held at all times while riding the bike.
b) The T-Stance: In this position, both of the legs are in a T-shape position with the front leg bent at a 90 degree angle. The front leg should be pushing forward while the back leg remains straight with the foot placed on the pedal. The hips should be twisted.
c) The X-Stance: In this position, the rider sits on the seat while placing both of their legs in an X-shaped position with both legs bent at a 90 degree angle. This position should only be used by people who find it difficult to use the other two positions.
STRENGTH: One of the most common problems faced by bikers is low strength. Biking requires a lot of leg strength. To increase your strength, you can start doing squats with the added weight of a backpack filled with books.
In addition to increasing leg strength, you can also try interval training. Interval training involves periods of hard work followed by periods of rest. You should warm up first before starting interval training.
After the warm up, choose a hard-to-hardest gear and turn the resistance up to level 8. Pedal as fast as you can for 30 seconds followed by 1 minute of rest. After a total of 10 minutes, lower the resistance to level 4 and pedal at a moderate pace for a total of 2 minutes. Repeat this process 3 more times and after each set, increase the amount of time you pedal at a hard pace. This process will improve your leg strength while increasing your endurance.
Sources & references used in this article:
Serious cycling by ER Burke – 2002 – books.google.com
Just Ride: A radically practical guide to riding your bike by G Petersen – 2012 – books.google.com
Smart Cycling: Successful Training and Racing for Riders of All Levels by A Hutchinson – 2011 – McClelland & Stewart
Don’t Shoot the Dog: The Art of Teaching and Training by A Baker – 1997 – books.google.com
Getting Stronger: Weight Training for Sports by K Pryor – 2019 – books.google.com
Mastering mountain bike skills by L Parks – 2014 – Motorbooks