Getting Faster on the Bike (For Triathlon) Part 1…

26 Apr

Been meaning to to write this for a while but have been busy riding my bike (and sleeping). I often get asked how can I get faster on the bike so thought I would pop down my 10 top tips. In no particular order the first 5…

1. Get a bike Fit. 

The riders Drag (the resistance to the air) makes up 80% of the total drag of the rider and the bike. Therefore it makes complete sense to start here. I often see people throwing a set of tribars onto their road bike and expecting to go faster. They sometimes end up higher in the air and presenting more frontal area then they would have done riding on the drops of their road bike. Go and see a good fitter! A good fitter will assess your flexibility and your goals and set you up correctly. In addition if you are thinking of buying a new bike you can go and see a fitter before hand and avoid making a very expensive mistake. Not all bikes are created equal and I have seen many people on bikes that are too long or too short for them. I have used and I recommend:

2. Get a pointy hat.

Remember that 80% we just talked about? Quite a bit of that comes from your head hitting the air. A typical road helmet has lots of vents and creates lot of drag. A teardrop shaped Aero helmet can help you punch a smoother hole in the wind. Choose one that blends in with the shape of your back when you are riding in your race position. Aero helmets have been shown to have a bigger time saving then buying a really expensive frame or set of wheels. One caveat with pointy hats is that you should really be able to keep you head relatively still and the tail of the helmet down against your back to create the best airflow. The other advantage is that you look silly which means you have to ride faster!

3. Tight Fitting Clothing

Things that flap around cause drag and slow you down. Wear tight fitting clothing and if you are time trialling then get a one piece skinsuit. The most critical area for this is where the air both hits you and leaves you. I.e. chest and shoulders and your lower back/glutes. Normal cycling jerseys are especially bad here, pockets in just the wrong places. Keep it tight and smooth…

4. Good tyres

Tyres can have an enormous contribution to your bike speed. Going from training tyres to race tyres can get you 90 seconds over the course of a 40km triathlon bike leg or 25mile TT. I recommend either Vittoria Corsa CX II or Continental GP4000s. If you have really narrow wheel such as a HED3 you may be better off with something like a 20mm Continental Supersonic.

5. Latex Inner tubes

Most inner tubes are made from butyl rubber. Latex inner tubes are more supple and allow the tyre to conform to the surface of the road better. This reduces the energy needed to push the tyre along. Plus they make a lovely humming noise as they go along.

Next 5 coming soon…


One Response to “Getting Faster on the Bike (For Triathlon) Part 1…”

  1. sarahfaithhansen April 29, 2013 at 12:33 am #

    Great tips! Thanks!

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