As we’ve seen in previous articles, there are several factors that determine a cyclist’s speed: from power (the force exerted on the pedals), to gravity, to rolling resistance, and even air resistance.
While the last three are forces that decrease your speed, the first one works against all of them to make you a faster cyclist. In simple terms, the more power you produce, the faster you’ll go.
That’s why becoming a faster cyclist depends primarily on two factors: reducing the forces that work against speed and increasing your power output. With this in mind, let’s look at three different tactics for gaining speed on the bike.
Investing in equipment
This is the preferred strategy of many cyclists, but its high potential cost means it’s not always possible.
High-end materials are generally lighter, more efficient and more aerodynamic. But they’re also more expensive. As cyclists, we invest in clothing, helmets, wheels, tires or even a whole new bike to make ourselves faster. But the upper limit here depends more on your wallet than your desire.
Among potential upgrades, your clothing and helmet are the most economical options. Hi-tech wheels are the next step, but at a significant cost. Then there’s your bike’s frame…
Sometimes it’s maintenance and gear setup that play a more important role in performance and speed – money has less to do with that than care and attention to bike care. The right combination of tires and pressure or a well-lubed and adjusted drivetrain can easily take a few seconds off the clock.
Try structured workouts
A few weeks ago, we talked about the need for structured training to optimize your time on the bike. This is essential if your goal is to be faster.
It’s not just about having the best equipment, the best bike, or the most expensive wheels. All that investment is useless if you can’t exert enough force on the pedals to generate more power.
That’s why improving your fitness is one of the best investments you can make as a cyclist. You’ll see returns very quickly if you do it right.
It’s not enough to just spend more time on the bike. It may seem so at first, but the day will come when your performance reaches a plateau. If you want to produce physiological adaptations that will make you fitter and faster, you need a structured training schedule.
You need to follow an individualized routine tailored to your current circumstances, your abilities and your goals. The BKOOL Workout Creator plays a key role here, allowing you to design custom sessions to improve specific performance metrics such as VO2Max, endurance, or anaerobic capacity.
Improving your technique
Improving your technique is another effective way to get faster. And unlike equipment, it’s not expensive (in fact, it’s free) and requires less effort than structured VO2Max training. It does, however, require time.
Improved riding technique will help you transmit more force and do it more efficiently, resulting in higher speeds for the same effort. It will also help you avoid injuries, essential to maintaining the consistent fitness needed to improve as an athlete.
BKOOL is the most complete cycling simulator on the market – try it FREE for 30 days!