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    Default Cycling advice

    A few months ago I purchased my first road bike and am really started to get into it. In order to reduce the gradient of my learning curve, I am hoping some of the more experienced cyclists on here could help me with a few things.

    - Should I pedaling constantly or pedaling and then coating? What sort of cadence is ideal?
    - What sort of speed should i aim for to enter some amateur races? (I am a long way off at the moment (averaging 15mph))
    - Now the nights are drawing in, what is the consensus on night riding? Is it better off leaving it to the weekends for the winter or risk fixing a puncture in the dark from not seeing a crack in the road.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedSauce View Post
    A few months ago I purchased my first road bike and am really started to get into it. In order to reduce the gradient of my learning curve, I am hoping some of the more experienced cyclists on here could help me with a few things.

    - Should I pedaling constantly or pedaling and then coating? What sort of cadence is ideal?
    - What sort of speed should i aim for to enter some amateur races? (I am a long way off at the moment (averaging 15mph))
    - Now the nights are drawing in, what is the consensus on night riding? Is it better off leaving it to the weekends for the winter or risk fixing a puncture in the dark from not seeing a crack in the road.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    - Pedal
    - Text book say 90 rpm - some people are spinners (100rpm +) some people are grinders (60rpm +) - neither are wrong figure out which one you are
    - Depends on your AG (Edit: and what is the legal limit) - My mum can do 15mph she is 60
    - Ride anytime, regarding lighting, one static and one flasher front and back minimum, tilt bright lights down to avoid blinding folk, reflective scotch tape and high viz are your friend, you are a vehicle, follow the code
    - htfu - punctures can happen anytime



    Edit: join a club
    Edit: desired speed also depends on race distance - what are you aiming for?
    Last edited by Dallas; 3rd October 2013 at 12:35.

  3. #3

    Obstinate Git

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    Sorry if I use metric numbers here; that's what I'm used to now.

    - Pedalling; about 85rpm works for me (it's personal, but generally 'if you're spinning you're winning'), try to keep your cadence constant going into wind, just use a lower gear. Uphill, about 65 to 70 might be better, but don't, whatever you do, let your legs start burning before you've got to the last 50 or so metres before the top, so if you need to pedal faster in a lower gear to get up the hill, do it.

    - racing; I race in the 'sportklasse' in Holland, which is the lowest level; one hour + 2 or 3 laps of circuits ranging from 2.5 to 3 kms, so it's about an hour and a quarter in total; higher level races and criteriums are longer and/or have more hills. I started riding at 39, 16 stone and just stopped rugby, am now just under 14 stone and still the biggest bastard in the group; it took me about 18 months of training to get good enough to finish a race in the group. I'm not going to win races, I'm happy to just finish and enjoy the race, and occasionally grab some points in the sprints. If you can ride a constant 32 to 34 km/h for an hour on your own, then you should be able to keep up with a group going about 40kmh for just as long; the races often start at a silly speed up to 45kmh, but then fall back to about 38 or so after 5 to 10 minutes, then in the last 5 minutes it gets phrenetic again. Don't worry about those numbers; sticking in a group is about 20 to 30% easier than riding on your own (75% of the effort in cycling is pushing air out of the way), because you'll have a lot less wind resistance, and if you train through the winter (bike where possible and spinning indoors) you'll manage to ride a constant 30+ kmh. The really hard work isn't the speed, but accelerating out of bends, so the better your turning technique the less effort you'll have to expend. Also, don't worry if you fail to finish the first couple of races; it happens to everyone and you'll only get quicker for the experience. Join a racing club and train with them when you have the time; if it's a friendly club they'll be happy to coach a beginner.

    - Night riding; depends on the roads around you and whether you feel safe; if not, then spinning classes can be good, or take a look at these; tacx.com - Products
    Last edited by Mich the Tester; 3rd October 2013 at 12:59.
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    Try installing Gator Hardshells if you're cycling longer distances to reduce the chance of a puncture. Not infallible by any means but helped me on the daily 30 mile commute. Not sure if they're suitable for racing though.
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    Definitely pedal all the time. Get your friendly bike shop or a serious rider to check out saddle height and rake, most people starting off have their saddle too low so they can put their foot down easily.

    Modern cycle lights are easily bright enough to change to a spare inner tube, fix your punctures at home, not in the rain at the roadside.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyperD View Post
    Try installing Gator Hardshells if you're cycling longer distances to reduce the chance of a puncture. Not infallible by any means but helped me on the daily 30 mile commute. Not sure if they're suitable for racing though.
    I have Conti's 4 season racing tyres and have found them good on puncture resistance; about 2500 kms since the last puncture (what's the betting I'll get a bloody puncture tomorrow, having said that).
    Wiggle | Continental Grand Prix 4 Season Fold. Road Tyre (2) and Tubes | Road Race Tyres
    Last edited by Mich the Tester; 3rd October 2013 at 13:05.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRed View Post
    Definitely pedal all the time. Get your friendly bike shop or a serious rider to check out saddle height and rake, most people starting off have their saddle too low so they can put their foot down easily.

    Modern cycle lights are easily bright enough to change to a spare inner tube, fix your punctures at home, not in the rain at the roadside.
    WHS, and take a CO2 cannister thingummy with you in a saddle bag with an inner tube and tyre levers, instead of a pump and a repair kit; lighter and easier. Take your mobile phone in case you get two punctures. Good idea to get the cheapest Nokia you can find so your fancy i-phone/smartthingy doesn't get ruined if you crash.
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    What everyone else said about pace and cadence.

    Riding at night is not fun, especially in rural areas. It's actually easier in built up areas where the street lights are a big help. Good lights and high vis are a must.

    If you want to ride through the winter then personally I'd stick to weekends and invest in a turbo trainer for weekday evenings. You can ride whatever the weather and they are great for structured sessions where you need to be able to ride a specific pace for a specific time without having to worry about the road conditions. They do get boring after more than an hour though. I tend to use the MTB to get out at weekends over the winter and use the road bike on the turbo, then hit the roads again when the weather starts to improve.
    Last edited by DaveB; 3rd October 2013 at 13:16.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveB View Post
    What everyone else said about pace and cadence.

    Riding at night is not fun, especially in rural areas. It's actually easier in built up areas where the street lights are a big help. Good lights and high vis are a must.

    If you want to ride through the winter then personally I'd stick to weekends and invest in a turbo trainer for weekday evenings. You can ride whatever the weather and they are great for structured sessions where you need to be able to ride a specific pace for a specific time without having to worry about the road conditions. They do get boring after more than an hour though. I tend to use the MTB to get out at weekends over the winter and use the road bike on the turbo, then hit the roads again when the weather starts to improve.
    The tacx trainers have Virtual Reality training including steering, or you can buy tacx videos; I bought the Milan-San Remo video and did some 2 hour rides on that without the boredom setting in; might even do it all in one day sometime if I can persuade Lady Tester to spend a day handing me towels, bottles and energy bars.
    And what exactly is wrong with an "ad hominem" argument? Dodgy Agent, 16-5-2014

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mich the Tester View Post
    The tacx trainers have Virtual Reality training including steering, or you can buy tacx videos; I bought the Milan-San Remo video and did some 2 hour rides on that without the boredom setting in; might even do it all in one day sometime if I can persuade Lady Tester to spend a day handing me towels, bottles and energy bars.
    I just stick the radio on
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