The Art Of Cycling: The Importance Of Training

By May 11, 2015The Art Of Cycling

If you are relatively new to cycling and preparing for a tour, go gently, change and improve your riding style gradually. This isn’t bicycle boot camp! Drop your shoulders and try to keep your back flat. Start with a 5-10km ride. Relax later; see how you feel then try cycling every second or third day. Add 10km per week or second week until you can cycle your expected daily touring distance (80km) with reasonable comfort. Add some gear if you are careening for more, though avoid making your tour into an endurance test and gradually build yourself up to cycle beyond your daily distance. A well conditioned cyclist has 70% more capacity to cycle farther with more comfort.

Adjust your training as you wish, as long as you feel confident you are progressing and can ride the average tour distance 60-100km per day. Train for endurance and long periods of time in the saddle. Though it is important to stop and enjoy the sights and have snacks, recovery or rest breaks are part of the training. If you get some aches or pains you may have tried to increase your distance too quickly. Take a few days off to recover, and then gradually build your endurance.

Build up comfortably: Do [three] 45 minute workouts per week. Warm-up and cool-down all parts of the body. Perform at least 20 minutes of aerobics during a session. Aerobics develop heart and lung efficiency and cardiovascular endurance.

Look for opportunities to train. Ride to work, ride in the morning, evening, carry some weight, climb some hills. Riding against the wind can be the equivalent to hill training. Once your body becomes conditioned from some training, it will start to look forward to the challenge. Cycling an extended distance on a flat open road improves lower body muscles, hill climbing improves upper body muscles, as you stand and pump from side to side. So get out there and pump some muscle.

Practice using both brakes with more pressure on the front than the rear, to maintain control. Try braking at slow speeds, then higher speeds to gain experience. Ride with your fingers on the brake levers if you expect to stop suddenly.

Emergency Stops
Practice braking on different terrain and conditions such as gravel and wet corners, to better understand how your bike behaves. Lower your center of gravity during heavy braking by sliding back in the saddle for more control. Pump the brakes on steep descents to reduce excessive heat on the rims.

Learn smooth-shifting patterns, after some practice you should be able to navigate the gears as if it were a weekend. Your trail or touring bike can have as many as 21 speeds or more. The number of speeds refers to the total gearing combinations possible between the chain ring and the freewheel. A 21-speed has three gears on the chain ring and 7 gears on the free wheel. Small gears in the front make pedaling easier. Large gears in the rear make pedaling easier.

Begin training by selecting gears that maximizes cadence (pedal rpm) and maintains your capacity to do effective work. Your muscles and gear shifting will evolve to increase your cadence and speed. Count your pedal revolution and strive for an efficient cadence of 80rpm, adjust your gearing to maintain cadence. Soon you will learn to judge gears in advance.

cycling3 Gear-up to your best speed by mixing gears opportune for your skill and the terrain. Calculate your distance and speed.
– Gear Inches (GI) is forward distance per pedal revolution.
– GI = wheel diameter inches x (chain ring teeth / freewheel teeth)
– Gear Ratio. A 1:1 ratio is “first gear”, one wheel revolution per pedal turn.
– 21st gear is 3.7:1 ratio or 3.7 wheel revolutions per pedal revolution.
– GR = chain ring teeth / freewheel teeth.

View the chart to determine shifting pattern for touring.
Conditions Gear number Translation Level, no wind 45-95 * coming soon.
– Gentle hills or wind 40-100
– Increased hills 35-105
– Steep hills 30-105
– Mountainous 27-100
– Off-road 25-90

Next Week, In Part 2 We’ll Start Off By Discussing Heart Rate

For More On Cycling In The Fraser Valley And Beyond Check Out

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