On June 15th we had the opportunity to present a subject at the monthly meeting of the Gulf Winds Tri-Club. The topic was: “Going forward faster”
For most of us this would be a good thing! How do we do that and how do we choose what’s best for us? Can we buy speed? How much should we spend? All good questions and of course, leads to so many more.
The purpose of the presentation wasn’t to try and answer all of these for each cyclist, but to identify 5 key aspects of the art of going forward faster and thinking about these as you decide what you really need.
Going faster is a matter of creating forward momentum. On the bike, we have identified the 5 key factors that not only translate to momentum, but can be enhanced by the choices you make.
- Force – simply you are this factor. Can you come to the bike shop and buy momentum/speed that changes you the engine? No, but you can through training, nutrition, and coaching. We can help monitor this force (computers, HR monitors, power meters, etc…), but this is simply the force you deliver to the products. The next 4 factors are products, so how will these help…..?
- Drag – this is the amount physical resistance that is present when you are on your bike. This comes from external forces (wind, terrain, gravity) and the design and position of the bike and rider. You can’t eliminate the external forces, but you can purchase a bike, accessories, and position that will decrease that drag! Do you have the best set up for this? Good first question to ask as you make these choices.
- Resistance – yes this is similar to drag, but more specifically we are speaking about mechanical drag (wheels, hubs, bottom brackets-the things that go round and round!) This is a major factor in speed. (We did a demonstration of this at the meeting and we encourage you to stop by the store and see it for yourself). Is your mechanical set up serving you well? Second good question
- Weight – In most cases(but not all) lighter is better. So of course you can buy lighter bikes, parts and loose weight yourself. But where does lighter translate the best and how much lighter is feasible and beneficial for the riding you are doing? And of course how much is it going to cost?
- Balance – How comfortable and quiet am I on the bike? Is the position the most aero and can I control the bike? Am I supporting the bike or the bike supporting me? If you are having to work to be on your bike you are using energy that will be lost, increasing the drag and not using the resistance to your best advantage. In other words all the money you spent on the bikes, the parts and weight are wasted.
So as most good discussions, more questions are created then answered, but these are the main categories that will translate to the most efficient and comfortable ride. Use these to define if you are getting the most out of your equipment? What can I improve if not? Is it worth it to invest in? Who can help me answer these questions?
Thanks for listening,
Your friends at Higher Ground Bicycle Co.