Maintenance - Bike & Body
The following article was to be published in News from the Glen but deserves a permanent place on this site for reference.
Tips and Advice For Future Cycling Champions by Tony Woodcock
Whether you would like to be a future champion racing cyclist, club cyclist or cycle tourist, this information is designed to help you get the most enjoyment and success from your riding.
You are obviously keen to have fun on your bike and this is an excellent starting point for happy cycling experiences.
Focus on riding steadily and with consideration to other cyclists and road users at all times. Keep a sharp watch out and listen up for whatever might be around you. Always be prepared to stop or change direction to avoid hazards such as other vehicles, potholes in the road, pedestrians, even wild deer and other animals which do not have road sense. Give horses a wide berth when safe to do so and warn them of your approach if necessary. Wear a safety helmet at all times. When riding in a group, learn to keep a straight line and to maintain your position in the group. Avoid sudden changes of speed or direction which could cause other riders to have to react. Choose your routes to avoid heavily trafficked roads and peak traffic times. Use cycle lanes where adequate. Country roads are best but always allow for unseen vehicles on blind corners,
LOOKING AFTER THE BIKE
A cyclist's best friend is his/her bike. Muck equals wear, so keep you bike clean by frequent washes. A clean bike is one where not a speck of dirt is evident and only bright shiny metal can be seen. Much like Dad wants his car to look. I find the best cleaning agent is a bucket of soapy water plus three brushes; one brush to scrub the dirt off the "clean" bits like handlebars and frame; a paint brush to get all the muck out of the fiddly bits like the brake callipers and gears; and one to scrub the chain, cassette and chainset until all are gleaming like new. The best soap is laundry liquid detergent. A good one will encapsulate and throw off the nasty oily muck. Finally, give everything a good rinse in clean water, avoiding spraying water directly into the wheel bearings. Once your bike is pristine, it's an easy job to check it over and adjust where necessary. The wheel bearings must be free but not have play. The brakes must work easily and the blocks not be over worn. The handlebars must turn easily without play in the head. The cranks must turn easily without play. The gears must change easily against each click off the lever and not grate when the pedals are turned. Finally, give the chain a light oil; too much will attract dirt. If you don't know how to make the adjustments, there are books you can refer to, or ask someone who knows. Cycle shops will always do it for you.
GETTING FIT FOR RIDING
Ridda ze bicycle, ridda ze bicycle, ridda ze bicycle. That's the advice from Italian legend Fausto Coppi on how to win. Any cycling fitness programme has to be based on plenty of miles. Once your body is attuned to the task of moving a bike at a reasonable pace for a fair length of time you can get into honing your ability to win races. What's a fair length of time? Think of the ride you are training for. If it lasts 30 minutes, then that's the minimum time of your base training rides. For 2 hour events, base training rides should last at least 2 hours. Start with short rides that you can manage easily and build up slowly to your maximum length ride. There's no point in going too far too soon. All you get is over tired and fed up with it. Try and ride at least 3 times per week. You'll be amazed how quickly you improve. On the other hand don't over do it. Without proper recovery you will not improve but just get more and more tired. If you are tired and don't feel like riding; rest. To get yourself up to racing speed, do some short, fast rides, or better still, do some races. Remember that you will need longer time to recover from fast rides and races. Too many of them and you will be into the getting more and more tired spiral. Above all, enjoy your riding! That's what you are doing it for!
Whether riding in a race or with friends, it's important to be able to do this safely and considerately. On an off road circuit you can use the whole width of the track safely, but you still need to exercise great care to avoid bringing down other riders by dangerous switching or braking. The key points of group riding are that you follow the line of the rider in front of you and do not change speed or direction unless you have checked that by doing so you will not cause other riders to have to brake or swerve. In both club riding and racing, a group will move along faster, safer and with less effort if everyone observes the "rules". Learn to ride safely in close proximity to the riders in front and to the side. Maintain your position in the group and give warning if you intend to change speed or direction. On the open road, keep to the left and ride in single file if traffic conditions dictate. Warn others of approaching hazards. Especially for racing, be aware of the tremendous effect the wind can have on your speed. It is twice as easy to ride with a tail wind than with a head wind. You will save up to 30% of your effort by following some ones back wheel rather than being on the front. Road racers will always try to tuck themselves into the position least affected by the wind, whilst others are battling against it. If out for a ride with friends; share the lead and the effort. If you are the weakest in the group, try and hide from the wind and let the strongest do the hard work. If you are racing, avoid taking the wind at all cost. The winner is usually the one who arrives at the finish feeling the strongest. The most important things to learn about road racing are a) how to ride bit and bit, b) how to ride echelon and c) how to corner.
EATING AND DRINKING
Rubbish in, rubbish out. It's the same as with computers really. You all know about fresh fruit and veg. being good for you and sweets and doughnuts turning you into a tub of lard, so I won't say anymore, except; high performance requires high performance fuel.
When cycling, ensure you take in enough drinks and carbohydrates to meet your needs. The best drinks are isotonic - they replace lost salts as well as liquid. The best carbohydrate foods contain both simple and complex carbohydrates. You can buy specialist drinks and energy bars which are expensive. Orange squash and a jam sandwich are almost as good. Never ride on an empty stomach. Always eat and drink before you get hungry or thirsty. The best aid to recovery is to eat and drink immediately after your ride. Include some protein in this intake. The golden rule is, eat when necessary. If you can't get the "right" food; any old junk will do - but don't get into the junk food habit!
Getting dropped by the group is everybody's worst nightmare. Try hard to stay with the group. Often, you will get over the bad patch and feel better later on. If this doesn't work, have a rest and eat and drink something. You should always have a bottle on your bike and a snack in your pocket. This is the time when you can enjoy a Mars bar without guilt. If you're racing you can either carry on and do some training alone or, hopefully, with others or pack and save it for another day. If you're club riding, your club mates should make sure you are alright and help you, if necessary, to carry on. Don't worry; getting dropped is part of the learning process. The biggest champions get dropped at times.
I hope this helps. For more information, ask one of the Club's coaches.
Follow these links for useful Pages and articles.
In this section you will find some useful links to help you maintain one of your machines - the bike - and the other - your body.
Some of these articles are highly technical but should still be read. One thing is certain and that is that when it comes to getting fit there are no quick fixes. This list will be expanded so if if you find a website that you feel should be included please send its address to me, Bill Williams.
Read and apply!
Working on your bike:
Try this one too.
A technical exposition of base training.
Another good site.
Anyone for the RAAM?
Sports Massage Therapy
Six golden rules of nutrition.
A good all round site with a sales pitch!
Home | Contact | © Glendene CC