By Jim Langley Winter riding can wear and tear bicycles quickly because of the grit and crud that gets all over the frame and components. Also, excessive moisture can remove essential lube from the drivetrain, which accelerates chain, cassette, chainring, derailleur pulley and front derailleur cage wear, too. This is why it’s best to clean bikes immediately after inclement winter rides or at least before riding them again. Here’s a quick rundown of don’t and do’s for a good job (“don’ts” are first in the title because they’re the things that can cause bigger problems).
By Coach John Hughes What you think influences how you feel, and how you feel affects your performance. For example, on my trainer I can put out about 5% more power if I’m thinking, “I feel strong and I can nail these intervals” than if I think, “This is really going to hurt”! Further, I’ll put out more power if I get on the trainer and really focus on my intervals than if I’m thinking about something else, letting my mind wander. Psychologists call this the Arousal Curve. As a rider gets more focused and excited, his/her performance improves until the rider gets too nervous, and then performance declines.
By Coach Rick Schultz As a cyclist, it's not so much that we're really weak in some key muscle groups. But it's clear that doing some specific things to address our three weakest muscle groups can have a profound effect on our riding. So, if you're open to working on some weaknesses this winter, here are the three muscle groups you might target, each with one of our favorite exercises to specifically build strength in that area (illustrated with a photo and text showing and describing how to do the exercise).
In STRETCHING & CORE STRENGTH FOR THE CYCLIST, our new 57-page eBook, Coach Rick Schultz and Amy Schultz clear up the confusion and take the guesswork out of knowing what to do, and how to do it, to implement a stretching and core strengthening program: Just $14.95; $12.71 forPremium Members, who save 15%!
In the 3-article WINTER CYCLING BUNDLECoach John Hughes shows you how to train in the winter, including 12-week plans based on rider goals; how to extend your "riding season" outdoors; and how to use sports psychology to improve your cycling (even long after you've plateaued physically): Just $13.50; $11.48 forPremium Members!
By John Marsh Before riding in the Tour de Wyoming last summer, I thought I knew all I needed to know about cattle guards. I grew up in Missouri, and on hunting trips out in the country around my hometown of Independence, I had seen plenty of cattle guards at the end of long farmhouse driveways. Before that ride, I also thought I knew all I needed to know about tar snakes. I'd ridden on a few roads up in the mountains of north Georgia that feature the dreaded chip seal, which is bad enough, and asphalt roads that have some small cracks filled in with tar. I was wrong on both counts.
By John Marsh A couple of times over the past few years, I've mentioned an opportunity to donate your old and little-used cycling gear to a good cause. Every few weeks, it seems, I get an email from a reader asking me for that information. So I thought it was a good time, as most of us in the Northern Hemisphere are nearing "Spring Cleaning" time (I know it's high time to clean out my own closet). No matter where you live, it's never a bad time to weed out your unused gear.
By Gabe Mirkin, M.D. Muscles are made up of thousands of fibers just as a rope is made of threads. Each fiber is made up of blocks called sarcomeres joined end to end at the Z-lines like a line of bricks. Muscles contract only at each Z-line, not along the entire length of a fiber. Intense workouts cause muscle damage... . Significant increases in muscle strength and size come only with workouts intense enough to break down muscle Z-lines. When muscles heal they become stronger and larger.
Next time you come to a patch of cracked or bumpy road that promises to rattle you uncomfortably, there are a couple of different techniques you can employ to help lessen the effects of that bad pavement and "float" over the rough stuff: