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5 Pro Mechanic Hacks - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

Not everything pro mechanics do can be considered best practice. They clean bikes with power washers, sometimes blowing the grease out of bottom brackets, wheel bearings and headsets in the process — but these bikes are continually stripped and re-built.

They also cut into expensive gear, file, tape, drill, bend and melt if necessary to make the riders happy.They are often coming up with solutions to problems, such as incompatible parts, to keep sponsors happy. 

Here are a few of the hacks on the pro circuit.

1. Power banks

Powerbank

There are few things worse than losing front shifting when you’re on a ride because you forgot to charge your Di2, EPS or eTap battery. Imagine the same thing happening at the end of a race  Imagine if you had to charge a whole team's worth of stuff.With portable power banks becoming more popular, the World Tour teams are taking advantage of these compact power sources to keep drivetrains fully charged.

2. Water bottles

repurposed bottle katusha

Mechanics use chopped-up bottles to hold things other than water.The classic is for mechanics to mix up their concoction of degreaser in an old bottle, which is then painted onto the drivetrain when the bikes are cleaned.Mechanics also use chopped bidons to hold tubular glue as they prep tyres and wheels. While most dip a paintbrush in the glue, the some mechanics use an intact bidon as a squeeze bottle to lay down a bead of glue on the rim before spreading it with a brush.The most creative use for a bottle is the Katusha-Alpecin wrench, who fashioned a race number holder from a bottle and a bolt.

3. Ultegra cassettes

ultegra cassette

Something many a bike shop has been preaching for years is the use of Ultegra/Force cassettes in lieu of Dura-Ace/Red. Last year Dimension Data, Quick-Step, Cannondale-Drapac, were all running Ultegra cassettes.They are considerably cheaper and shift just as well; the only downside is they are a touch heavier. But, with the UCI still enforcing the 6.8kg minimum weight limit, it serves as functional weight, rather than dropping chain links or fishing weights down the seat tube.

4. Tyre valve tape

electrical tape

A piece of electrical tape, around the valve stem is a tried-and-true solution for rattly valve stems.Wheel and tyre brands have purpose-made stickers  that do the same thing, and you could probably use a valve nut too, but a small piece of electrical tape is quicker, faster and looks cleaner than the alternatives ; it works, too.

5. Shrink-wrapped cables

shrinkwrap cable

To prevent the snake pit at the front of the bike, many bikes have cables and Di2/EPS wires can be shrink-wrapped or taped together.Not only does this make the bike look much neater, and prevent rattling, it also means there's one less thing to get snagged during a crash or quick bike change.

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Tyre pressure and rolling resistance - 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 votes

Tyre pressure and rolling resistance

silca pump

The higher the inflation pressure, the lower the rolling resistance.  A tyre’s susceptibility to punctures is lower with high pressures.  If the inflation pressure is continuously too low, premature tyre wear is the result.

 The ‘right’ inflation pressure depends on the load exerted on the tyre and the type of riding you are doing.  This is only a suggestion, though — riders should choose the pressure they put in their tyres to reflect the ride quality they want

If you reduce a tyre’s pressure, its tyre contact patch will increase. This increases the grip level and if you are riding in wet conditions, a lower pressure than usual — around 7psi — is recommended.  Lower pressures can also offer increased comfort.

Wider tyres are generally used at lower pressures, which, combined with their larger air volume, means they absorb road bumps and holes better and are therefore more comfortable to ride. Wider tyres don’t suffer from reduced puncture protection, or increased tyre wear and, perhaps surprisingly, don’t even have higher rolling resistances, because the length of contact patch of a 25c tyre is shorter than the contact patch of a 23c tyre at the same pressure, there is less tyre deflection and therefore less rolling resistance,”

If you’re searching for outright performance and high average speeds, though, higher tyre pressure is still where the answer lies.  If you have great road conditions and you would like to ride very fast, inflate to the maximum permitted pressure. Using the example of a 25c tyre, you can reduce rolling resistance by around 10 per cent simply by using 123psi instead of 94psi.”

So how much should you inflate your tyres? That’s up to you to decide…….

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How to clean your bike chain and drivetrain, in just five minutes - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

How to clean your bike chain and drivetrain, in just five minutes

muc off chain cleaner

Fill the chain cleaning device with the indicated amount of degreaser and attach it to the lower part of the chain.

FIll the chain cleaning device with the indicated amount of degreaser and attach it to the lower part of the chain.Once attached hold it in place and rotate the cranks backwards to start the chain running through the device. Count around 30-40 pedal revolutions. Check the chain to see how it is looking.  Continue with further pedal rotations if the chain is really grimey and needs more cleaning. 

Use degreaser and a stiff brush to scrub and agitate the grime throughout the drivetrain, paying particular attention to all the cassette sprockets, rear mech, jockey wheels and chain ring teeth..
Once everything is scrubbed thoroughly, it will look a complete mess.

Flush it all away using hot soapy water and the sponge, to help disperse the grime, thoroughly wipe and flush the chain and all other components. One final rinse with clean water is the best way to end, again to make certain all the degreaser is flushed away – bear in mind if there is degreaser still left behind, it will start to act upon any new chain lube you apply and immediately turn it to a black mess.

Dry the chain thoroughly – a good starting point is to spin the cranks fast to effectively ‘fling’ water out of the links. A good microfiber cloth is the most effective or an old t-shirt will do the job.

Only once you’re happy everything is sparkling clean and dry should you apply new chain lube. Don’t over apply.

Cleaning your chain frequently and keeping it topped up with fresh lube will ensure a long life.

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No. 22 Bikes - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

 

Words by: 7mesh

Photos by: No. 22 Bicycle Company  

22 Bikes Drifter

Ian is temporarily mystified. “It’s just so complex,” he explains, shrugging with resignation at the layers of paper patterns sat crumpled and drawn on the work table in front of him. “It’s amazing that anything gets made. It honestly amazes me that anything gets made in the apparel business.” If you’re tasked daily with doing a million necessary things to put out exceptional bike gear, it’s perhaps understandable that at times, like 7mesh’s VP of R&D, you feel momentarily struck by the sheer impossibility of it all.

It turns out, making other things in the two-wheeled world is equally challenging - like building a company to make titanium bikes, for example. “We launched the brand in late 2011 or early 2012,” says Mike, one half of Canadian bike brand 22 Bicycle Company, calling in with his business partner Bryce over Skype one sunny morning in early June. “A lot of titanium bikes, especially back then, drew heavily on the old cliches of a skinny-tubed, comfort-oriented feel. So we thought about making a performance oriented bike that had modern levels of stiffness and a ride quality that carbon has a harder time delivering.”

Having started off getting their designs built by others, Mike and Bryce began looking to hone and customise the bikes themselves as their ideas for the brand started to solidify. “The contract frame builders that we were working with pushed back on that, so we started looking around for someone else to build for us,” explains Bryce. “I'm an architect by trade, so the process was very familiar to me in that you do the drawings - blueprints so to speak - and somebody else executes it. You make sure everything is in line with the tolerances it's supposed to be. In hindsight, my training and experience in architecture helped with that side of things.”
Deciding to switch from their existing manufacturer to Saratoga Frameworks, a new, private equity-backed company formed out of the Serotta Company that had recently opened its doors to do contract frame building, Mike and Bryce had them produce two new prototypes of their flagship Great Divide model. “They were phenomenal,” enthuses Bryce, “exactly the level of quality we were looking for.”

Then things went south.

“We put down the deposit on the production run, and the next week, Saratoga Frameworks was no more.”

Why Saragota shut down so soon after launch is unclear, but however it played out, Mike and Bryce had a big decision to make. “We needed bikes, and these guys, who had this incredible legacy of frame building, needed jobs. We didn't want them to fall into the ether, so we took the step open our own factory. We had to go to where the talent was, and within a few weeks, we were setting up our facility in Johnstown, New York, close to Saratoga Springs where all those guys were based.”

Reactor Right Profile Final Blue

No-one could accuse No22 of going the easy route, off-shoring their production, slapping stickers to stock frames and calling it good. But business decisions aside, titanium remains famously hard to work. “It’s especially difficult to build at the high level we're aiming at,” says Mike. “You can't just find someone to come in off the street or from another position to do that. Thankfully, the talent pool of the ex-Saragota people allowed us to build our business. They are 100% why we are still here today.”

Mike first found bikes through friends, building dirt jumps and cruising downtown Toronto to ride its deserted stairs and sparsely peopled streets after the work crowd had run for home. Parts were expensive, so he started working in bike shops, falling in love with racing and the industry at the same time. Then in 2008, Mike met Bryce, a recent arrival from Calgary. "I got my Masters degree in Architecture, and took the last bit of scholarship money I had to build up a bike,” says Bryce. “I had it ready to go as soon as I finished defending my thesis project, and jumped right back into it after that.” A couple of years later, Mike had trained as a lawyer, and Bryce had bounced back to Toronto after the post-Lehman financial slump curtailed a new career in London. Back in the same place and now fuelled with thoughts of starting No22, it wasn't long before the duo rolled back sleeves to bring their ideas to life.

Everybody in the industry goes, but showing a bike at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show is pretty much a huge hassle. And in 2017, with the Toronto International and the North American shows separated by just four days and nearly 2,000 miles, it would take an extraordinary effort to make both events. But, nerve-wracking customs clearances and logistics issues aside, Mike and Bryce knew that with their race-orientated Reactor model, they had something special. Their faith was rewarded when Bryce’s Velocolour-painted No22 Reactor won 1st place in the Campagnolo Best In Show category at NAHBS. “I’m the ultimate Campy fanboy!” exclaims Bryce, laughing at the memory. “The guy that got me into it cycling made it clear that Super Record is the groupset. I stand alone on that with my team here, but given that the bike we entered was also my bike, it meant a lot personally. I'm staring at the placard in my living room right now as a matter of fact.” Which must be a nice pick-me-up on days when you have doubts about yourself? “Sure, or if you're having a really down day, you might wonder about its market value,” he quips.


Campagnolo Best in SHow Award 1


And why buy a No22? It’s a reasonable question in a market where the customer does not lack for options. Bryce takes up the call: “We're trying to lay down the best product with the best value proposition around. A lot of the things that we include as standard features, like a fully butted tube set and the T47 bottom bracket, we put on our bikes because we want to offer value, irrespective of the price point, which frankly, is what it is with titanium milled, worked and welded up right here in the US. Our approach contrasts with the base level model that a lot of bike brands employ: here's what it could be if you spent this much more money on it, here’s all the extras you need, and here’s the bill - you’ll need a chair for this one, which incidentally, is also on the bill. That's not us; we don't want to complicate things."

For all that, Mike and Bryce feel that like-minded brands working the same vein are only a good thing for bike sales. “It's super inspiring how many great people are building in this space right now,” says Mike. “And while technically we’re competing with other brands, when one of us does well, all of us do well. Our best advertising is someone riding a modern, well-built titanium bike. So when Moots sells a lot of bikes, we like to see that. Yesterday I was at one of our dealers, and they had an Eriksen there, and I'd been remarking to Bryce that it was phenomenally built, really well done. I think it's awesome to see so much innovation and creativity in this tiny little sliver of the market that we have and there's a real deep well of inspiration from other builders that are doing stuff, too. It's fun, it kind of forces us all to raise our game.”

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chapeau chamois cream

As you cycle more and more, you may find the need to use some Chamois cream. 

Do you apply it to the pad in your shorts? Your under-carriage? Both?  Do you actually need it?

Padded inserts in cycling shorts didn’t come about until the early 1940s when they were made from sheep’s leather. It was lovely and soft at first, but when washed and dried, became hard and abrasive.  Hence the need for something to soften dried leather. 

Cycling short technology has come a long way since then and  could eliminate the need for any cream. Near-on perfect fabrics and fit limit friction, materials disperse moisture and chamois are washable without any stiffening. So why do we still buy chamois cream?

What is chamois cream?

Chamois cream is an anti-bacterial, viscous substance that helps eliminate friction between skin and clothing, and therefore the chafing that can occur during a ride. It comes in a number of forms including balms, creams and even powder.

Why use chamois cream?

Cyclists use chamois cream for prevention of saddle sores or, even worse, something that can leave you off the bike for several days and require medical attention: an abscess.The idea is to minimise friction and keep bacterial build-up at bay, therefore prevent any nasties. If you get sore after your ride, some saddle sore creams act as a cure to help alleviate the pain and put a stop to any further problems and help prevent infection.

Is chamois cream for you?

Riding every now and then shouldn’t cause too much discomfort, but once you start riding everyday and taking on longer rides, you’ll need to consider applying some cream.Cycling consistently over a week, especially in hot weather, is a big step up from what most riders are used to.  So if you're going on a cycling holiday - make sure you pack some

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Measuring Cadence, power and VO2 Max - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

Measuring Cadence, power and VO2 Max

Pedalling fast in a low gear wastes your energy.  When you cycle at the wrong cadence most of your effort will go into moving your legs up and down, not moving the bike forward.

Regular cyclists tend to save their energy instinctively by choosing the most comfortable gears but some clever experiments have revealed why.

Volunteers were recruited and their oxygen consumption measured while pedalling on an exercise bike to reveal the power they put into the stationary bike.  At the same time a 3D infrared video was taken of the riders, to calculate how much power they were using to move their legs.

At a low exercise intensity of 50W, it was found that pedalling in a small gear at 110 rpm more than 60 per cent of their power was used to move parts of their own body, including thighs, knees and feet while only 40 per cent of actually went into spinning the cranks. It was a massively inefficient way to ride.

These tests have to rely on a limited set of measurements from a rider, they’re put into an equation to estimate their oxygen uptake (VO2) as this is an indication of how well the body is performing.The conventional equation  includes body mass and external work rate, the equation ignores pedalling rate.  The experiments showed that, by adding pedalling rate, the accuracy of the equation at predicting how well a rider performs when they are working just a little below their VO2 Max, is improved

It is another case of science explaining what cyclists have learned from experience.“Cyclists and coaches are well aware of the importance of pedalling rate in cycling.....both riders and coaches spend some time manipulating their cadence in order to maximise their training effects....A significant mystery still remains to be solved by science. Cyclists do not, in practice, choose to pedal at the cadences that scientists find to be the most economical in terms of oxygen cost. Instead they choose to pedal notably faster than this,” says Professor Passfield.

So more studies are needed, as one thing is for sure,  no pro is going to waste any energy by pedalling quickly in a low gear.

If this is of interest and importance read more here

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Cadence - 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 votes

Should you 'Spin' or should you 'Grind'?

JanUllrichLanceArmstrong2005TourdeFrancezhI7QlSpWFzl

There is no such thing as a perfect cadence, but cadence is an important piece of the overall cycling puzzle. This is a common question from cyclists who only use speed and cadence to measure their performance. Here are a number of factors to consider in cadence selection.

Spinning faster won’t get you very far.

Many beginners believe that a faster cadence is always better. While it is true that if you keep a constant force on the pedals and pedal more revolutions per minute (RPMs) you will technically go faster. If it were that simple, getting fast on the bike would be a lot easier. If you’ve been to a spin class lately, you’ve seen what focusing on only cadence looks like—people bouncing all over the saddle at extremely high RPMs with little to no resistance. They may be burning calories, but they’re not improving their ride performance.

Is higher always better?

Long-time advocates of high-cadence cycling will point to the classic example of Lance Armstrong vs. Jan Ulrich. Lance rode away from Jan with his higher cadence compared to Jan’s preferred lower RPM style. The truth is, Lance was just a better cyclist overall, one who happened to prefer a higher cadence riding style. The same is true with you—your best cycling performance may be achieved on a range of “normal” (commonly cited as 80–100 RPM) as opposed to always pushing for higher cadences.

Put cadence in context.

If you’ve trained with power, you know that the same watts can be achieved with 60 RPM, 80 RPM or 100 RPM. Which way of getting to X feels the easiest to you is what varies. As triathletes we have the additional factor to consider of how our cadence selection and overall force application impacts the run.Low vs. high.Power (watts) is torque (force put on the pedal) times rotational speed (cadence). A low cadence equals high force, which requires more fast-twitch muscle recruitment, while a higher cadence means lower force and more slow-twitch fiber recruitment. To explain further, a higher cadence “burns fewer matches” and tends to stress your cardiovascular system more, while cycling at a lower cadence stresses your muscular system more.Cycling at a lower cadence also recruits more muscle fibers overall as well as more fast-twitch fibers. As far as your cardiovascular system goes, lower-cadence cycling costs less in terms of oxygen consumption but is more taxing on the muscles from a strength perspective.


Cadence selection overall is not an either/or proposition.

Your personal strengths, weaknesses, physiological makeup and comfort preference determine your optimal cadence. The terrain often dictates a necessary change in your RPMs. A rider who is training regularly at a variety of cadences will eventually find his or her optimal cadence for training and racing.You should train at various cadences to increase your comfort level and to improve your fitness. Over-gearing, or big gear work, can help you develop strength, and practicing pedaling with a higher cadence at a range of intensities can help improve pedaling efficiency. Form work such as one-legged pedaling drills and spin-ups can also help improve your pedal stroke.Don’t let a preoccupation with cadence cloud what’s really important: making sure you develop the ability to maintain your goal power through your most efficient application of cadence during your goal event.

External Reasons For Low Cadence

 Is your cadence below the “normal” range (80–100 RPM) and you just can’t seem to change it?

There could be other external factors at play.

Proper gearing:  Your strength as a rider plus the terrain you’ll be facing dictates proper gearing. If you’re not sure of your chainring size or find yourself looking for another gear on hills, you might visit your us to see if a cassette swap is in order.

Appropriate crank length: Do you know your crank length? If you have the wrong size and are thus “reaching” each pedal stroke, a crank change could increase your cadence and efficiency by opening your hip to relax and therefore engaging more of your glute muscle.

Proper fit: If you have an improper fit, your body angles could be forcing you into a certain RPM range.

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Selecting the right bicycle and wheels - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

Selecting the right bike can be a daunting task and many newer riders get directed to focus on items in the wrong priority. In order of importance, focusing on the following offers a foolproof way to get a really good bike for your needs the first time.

Bike Fitting

bicycle fit studio 

Many riders make the mistake of choosing a bike first and then having it 'fitted' later. Completing a proper bike fit first allows you to find the frame geometry and component options that match your needs. Regardless of the price of the bike, your experience level, or any other variable, you should not have to adapt your body to the needs of your bike; your bike should be selected because of its ability to fit the needs of your body. Proper fit and bike selection affects everything from handling and stability to comfort and efficiency and it is the most crucial step of proper bike selection. read more

Frame

wooden frame

When it comes to how your bike fits, rides, handles and reacts, the frame is the most important physical part of the bike. The frame is also usually the most expensive part of the bike and the most involved to replace. Buying a bike with the right frame the first time can not only help you enjoy the benefits of a better riding and performing bike now, but can also save significant money down the road as you will only need to buy some new parts, instead of buying a whole new bike, to upgrade.

When selecting a frame, make sure the geometry allows for plenty of adjustability in your riding position so that it can adapt to suit your needs in the future as well as now. You do not want to end up on a bike that compromises stability and handling in order to achieve your riding position or one that cannot be adjusted to accommodate for positioning changes as you grow as a cyclist. Do not worry about what brand or model your friends or professional athletes ride when choosing your bike – their use, size and positioning needs may bear little resemblance to you. You need a bike that has stiffness, comfort and handling traits that suit you well as an individual athlete.

Contact Points

Fizik saddle

During riding, hands, butt and feet all interface with the bike constantly; making sure that you have a saddle, handlebars and pedal/shoe combination that you are happy with can go a long way towards making riding more comfortable and more fun. These are personalized parts and your dealer should work with you to exchange parts on the bike towards others as needed.

Wheels

zipp404firestrikepair.jpg

Good wheels can make a basic bike ride a lot better while sub-par wheels can make an otherwise exceptional bike feel mediocre – wheels matter. After the frame, the wheels are the next most expensive part on the bike, yet most bike companies spec wheels that are below the level of the rest of the bike in order to hit a certain price point. From a performance perspective, wheels are often an important place to consider upgrading at the time of purchase or soon after.

Components

campagnolo super record eps 172 5 50 34 92818

With the drivetrain and braking systems, focus on getting parts of a level that are designed for people that ride their bikes regularly. In the case of Shimano equipped bikes, 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace level components are designed for committed enthusiasts and all of SRAM’s current offerings are designed for people who ride their bike regularly.

In the big scheme of things, individual components are relatively easy to upgrade at the time of purchase or down the road. If higher average riding speed is the determining factor, a better frame or wheels will always trump the difference between component levels.

One big intangible in the whole bike buying equation is your bike dealer. A good dealer’s fit, mechanical set-up and support can make a big difference; a rider on a less well known bike brand that is fit and assembled well will always be faster than they would be on a big brand bike that was not. Buying from a dealer who understands bike fit and set-up for the type of riding you do, has strong product offerings and knowledge, and is willing to work with you to get your bike set-up for you as an individual will not only help you enjoy your new bike as much as possible now, but also saves you time and money down the road.

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Vuelta Cycle Tours - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

Vuelta flyer min

Vuelta Cycle Tours

We’re really pleased to announce Bicycle’s association with fellow Richmond-based business Vuelta Cycling. We’ll be working together to offer our customers the chance to ride their own ‘mini Vuelta’, which we’re sure will be a truly unforgettable cycling experience. So we thought we’d let one of Vuelta Cycling’s founders, Andrew Mitchell, tell you all about it…We’re really pleased to announce Bicycle’s association with fellow Richmond-based business Vuelta Cycling. We’ll be working together to offer our customers the chance to ride their own ‘mini Vuelta’, which we’re sure will be a truly unforgettable cycling experience. So we thought we’d let one of Vuelta Cycling’s founders, Andrew Mitchell, tell you all about it…

I came up with the idea for Vuelta when riding from Richmond to Valencia on a charity ride that I organised last year; having lived in Spain and cycled in various parts of the country, I’m a massive fan of cycling in Spain; the beautiful roads, the stunning scenery, the lack of cars (and pot-holes!), the climate, the culture, the food, the friendly people and their passion for cycling (and life for that matter) combine to make Spain a really special place to ride.

One of the guys on the ride to Valencia was Mike Ashbery (Ash), who already part-owns a cycle tours business. Sharing an appreciation of Spanish cycling and hospitality, we decided to launch a business specialising in luxury Spanish cycling breaks. We knew we’d have to offer something special; there are lots of companies offering cycle tours and there are lots of people prepared to organise their own. So we set about making our Vueltas really special.

Our start-point was that we wouldn’t be doing hard-core training camps. While we love a challenge (and all Vueltas include classic climbs from La Vuelta itself), our sort of cycling is the kind where a hard but rewarding day in the saddle gives you the right to enjoy a lovely lunch, a nice big dinner and a few drinks.

That bit was easy. Deciding on locations and the format was a bit harder – there’s great cycling all over Spain and what we really love is the off-the-beaten track stuff. We settled on a combination of the better-known places (Mallorca, Girona), slightly more off-the-beaten track places (Basque Country, La Rioja, Valencia) and the iconic challenge (Sierra Nevada). Format-wise, we decided that long weekends based in beautiful Spanish towns would be more accessible, make it easier to deliver on our ‘best of Spanish cycling and hospitality’ promise and allow non-cycling partners to come along too (and sit by the pool rather than in the van!). San Sebastián, Logroño, Granada, Pollensa and Girona are all great places to spend a weekend in their own right, and there’s nowhere more fun and exhilarating to be than Valencia during Fallas.

So far so good, but we still had to sprinkle some magic dust on the concept. Which is where my knowledge of Spanish and Spain came in. We’ve formed partnerships with the local cycling community in each location, to make sure we choose the very best routes ridden by the locals, eat in the best restaurants and give our guests a truly authentic Spanish cycling experience. Each Vuelta has been planned in collaboration with local cyclists, there will be a local rider with us each day and you’ll have the opportunity to ride (and brunch) with a local club on their Sunday morning ride. Not only that, but on each Vuelta a professional Spanish cyclist will ride with us for a day, sharing their passion, technical tips, insights and stories. Most are Vuelta winners, e.g. Abraham Olano won in ’95 and will ride with us in the Basque Country and La Rioja, Melchior Mauri won in ’90 and will join us in Girona.

There’s lots more I could enthuse about, but that’s more than my 500 words! If you’d like to find out more, visit www.vueltacycling.com, email me at or call me on 07768 808552.

We’re offering Bicycle customers a £100 discount on any Vuelta and will be announcing further details on our collaboration in due course. We hope to hear from you soon!

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Primary Muscles Used for Cycling - 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 votes

Power Pedal Muscles BlogReadywidth500height1020

The Power of the Pedal Stroke

For a road cyclist pedaling while in the saddle, most of the power happens between the 12 o’clock and 5 o’clock position of the pedal stroke. This is when a majority of the primary muscles are activated. Hip flexion, along with hip and knee extension are the primary movements of a pedal stroke.


The power phase happens while the hip and knee extends, pressing downward on the pedal. This action starts with a combination of the gluteus and quadriceps muscles, but then is joined by the hamstrings and calf muscles a quarter of the way through the revolution. This shows the need for equally strong hamstrings, hips, and quadriceps. These groups of muscle make up the largest volume of muscles used in a pedal revolution. 

Build Strength

When it comes to strength training for the bike, there is not one group of muscle that is more important to focus on than the other.  One area of strength that  is crucial to strength on the bike is core strength. The most productive strength training off the bike will incorporate the muscles of the legs and the core at the same time as often as possible. 

On the bike strength training also plays a key role. Seated and standing muscle force efforts done on hill climbs will target all of the muscles listed . Seated force efforts will place a large amount of stress on the quadriceps while standing force efforts will target more of the hamstrings. Both seated and standing efforts are important and are usually done with a slower cadence and harder gearing, requiring the need for greater force to be placed on the pedal. Force efforts will build greater strength and endurance in the legs. It is important to make sure you space out your force effort days far enough apart to recover from them, as too many too often can lead to tight muscles and injury.


Speed

Leg speed and efficiency are also important. Fast cadence, seated efforts will target hip flexion and the rectus femoris, the quadriceps muscle that engages to lift the knee and foot up to and over the 12 o’clock position of the pedal stroke. This muscle action also helps the opposite leg finish off the downward power phase. Increasing your cadence will also increase activation of the calf muscles. These efforts help build greater aerobic strength in both the non-power and power phase of the pedal stroke, which will lead to greater pedaling efficiency during a race. Fast cadence efforts can be used throughout the year but are especially important as you get closer to your peak event.


Some further considerations:

1. The lungs and the ability to transfer oxygen to the muscles, 

2. the mental strength it takes to train continuously

All the secondary, assistance muscles play a crucial role in overall strength. Your primary muscles for a given sport will always take on most of the work, but they will only be as strong as the entire system as a whole.

If you are truly serious about your cycling efficiency please take the time to talk to Scott in our fitting and PT studio  

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