It’s always a great boost for the ego to see your speed increase month after month. Take a read of our top tips below to get you stronger and faster out on the saddle.
1. Bend and Tuck Elbows
The biggest thing slowing you down when you cycle is wind resistance. The simplest way to reduce this is to slightly lower your body position on the bike. Instead of sitting up straight in the saddle and catching a lot of wind, try lowering your body closer to the bars by bending and tucking in your elbows. You’ll immediately feel a difference.
2. Get the Tunes On
There is lots of research that shows listening to fast-paced, uplifting music reduces your perceived effort levels. Dr Costas Karageorghis, a researcher in sports psychology, says this is because “music blocks out fatigue-related symptoms such as the burning lungs, the beating heart and the lactic acid in the muscles. It can reduce our perception of effort by as much as 10 per cent.” You’ll be pedalling harder without even noticing.
If you’re more of a podcast fan then you’re in luck, check out our blogpost on our favourite cycling podcasts.
3. Buddy Up
Riding with other people will increase your average speed in several ways. If you take it in turns to ride in front and share the work of cutting through the wind you will travel faster as a group than on your own. Riding with others will also encourage you to lift your effort level, trying to keep up with someone a bit faster than you will help increase your average not just on that ride but help build your fitness for future rides.
4. Pump Up Your Tyres
Correctly inflated tyres will roll faster. You should check your tyre pressure before every ride as changes in temperature and slight seeping of air can mean that they go soft without necessarily being punctured. Invest in a track pump so that you can easily get the pressure you need, a mini-pump is best kept only for emergencies out on the road.
5. Interval Training
The fastest way to increase your average speed is to train at speeds above it. Obviously you can’t just go out and ride your normal route faster than usual, you’d rapidly start to hurt or run out of energy. Instead coaches recommend interval training. This allows you to cycle for short bursts at speeds above your usual average pace and then slow down and recover before going fast again. Fartlek training was designed by a Swedish coach and basically means playing with speed. You might choose to ride as fast as you can to the end of the road and then recover until you pass five lampposts before going fast again. Use any markers you like from your environment; parked cars, road signs, gateways. Pick your target and pedal hard till you reach it, then ease off. Make sure the road is safe and that no matter how hard you are trying keep your head up to spot any hazards.
Now you’re armed with some great tips to get your speed up, it’s time to secure your spot at Etape Caledonia.