Archive for the ‘Cycling’ Category

Bulletproof Your Knee

Posted: September 20, 2010 in Cycling, Duathlon, Ironman, Running, Triathlon
Bulletproof your knee

Bulletproof Knee

This program is worth looking into if you’ve had trouble with your knees while running ( lots of us do ).

Ben Greenfield is a pretty well known Triathlete in the United States and has a great program to sort out this sort of problem. It’s easiest to send you straight to his website than copy what he says in this post -> Bulletproof Knee


I am constantly asked what the big differences are between road bikes and triathlon bikes. The obvious difference is the fact that one races a triathlon in an aero position, but sometimes we see aerobars on road bikes so what is the real difference? There is a smaller difference between uci legal time trial bikes and triathlon bikes, though they look very similar. The short answer is, road bikes are designed to have three hand positions, triathlon bikes are designed to have one. Just because a road bike has clip on aerobars, it does not imply that it is a purpose built triathlon bike.

Draft legal triathlons are the one area where a road bike is used with little stub aerobars, but positionally speaking, I call them road bikes. They are designed to be able to do all that a road racing bike does and in fact, bicycle racers use the aero position of a draft legal triathletes all the time.

Time trial bikes that are uci legal have saddles that are set back further than triathlon bikes. The bike is setup so the rider has to actually ride on the nose of the saddle (on the rivet, as they say) to get the proper balance point for the effort being produced. The harder one pedals, the farther forward their balance point moves.  Since a time trialist is racing at max effort, the most efficient position is in front of the comfortable point on the saddle, so riders just tough it out. They don’t have to be comfortable and their events are rarely longer than about an hour so who cares?

Triathlon bikes are designed to be ridden for longer distances and at a submaximal pace. This means that the rider will be putting more weight on the saddle and aerobars because they are not pounding the pedals hard enough to support themselves. As such, the saddle and aerobars are located in the place the rider is the most efficient or most aerodynamic. The reason I distinguish between the two is traditional triathlon positions are very far forward to accommodate a triathlete’s greater hip angle needs and to allow a super aero position.

My problem with this position is twofold. First, the position is not powerful and many triathletes give up more power than is gained by pure aerodynamics. Second, the further forward one is positioned relative to their balance point, the more front loading occurs on the knees and overcompensation by quadriceps occurs. This muscle imbalance is paid for in the transition and the start of the run.

The perfect triathlon position is the one where the rider is as strong and aero as possible, with enough comfort to be able to stay in the aerobars the entire event. This is a biggie. If you have to sit up during a race to rest because the aero position is not sustainable, you have a problem. You will be going slower and you will be more fatigued in the run. Remember, though, power trumps aerodynamics to a point, so your best position may not be where you think it is!

Since the position on the bike and the setup of the bike to support that position are the two defining differences between a road bike and a triathlon bike, what about all the aero tubing on some frames and the round tubes on others? Some frame manufacturers advertise how fast their frames are based on wind tunnel testing, but I think that is a lot of marketing hype for the most part. Here is a critical fact: The part of the time trial or triathlon bike that creates the most drag is the rider! The frame is inside the boundary layer and as such doesn’t make as big a contribution to aerodynamics as one might think.

The concept of a boundary layer is a tough one so imagine the air right next to you going the speed you are, and at a certain point away from your body (and the bike) the air is undisturbed. There is a “layer” of air that transitions from no disturbance to actually going your speed, as the layer of air molecules that touch your skin are doing. The stuff in between is the “boundary layer.”  In my industrial design career, I remember designing a part that went on a boeing 777, and I remember learning the boundary layer was 13″ thick at the point in question. This means that the 2″ part that was sticking out of the fuselage had virtually no real aerodynamic detriment!

What all this means is, a road bike with aero tubing still won’t be as fast as a triathlon bike with round tubing, assuming the rider has a good position! What this also means is, the aerobars, fork and front wheel have a huge impact on aerodynamics as they are outside the boundary layer. Some very fast ironman finishes occur with people riding round tube triathlon bikes, but you can bet they are positioned correctly and have good wheels, aerobars and front fork.

At the end of the day, there is a lot to a good triathlon bike. The first thing, positioning, is the most critical. Second, great wheels are important. Third, having a good set of integrated aerobars that have the shifters at the ends of the aerobars is important. Next, hydration. Frame bottles or aerobar bottles / hydration systems are much better than those behind the saddle. You have to move around to reach back and get those saddle mounted bottles, so that is an area that could yield good results.

Triathletes are in charge of all of the aspects for all three disciplines in the sport. The bike is so critical and yet so overlooked it is not surprising that much bad information travels around the transition area. When you are sitting around the cooler after a race, and someone says that “Brand X” bike won 10 ironman’s, remember, the bike frame didn’t win the race. The athlete did, who had the best time in all three legs!

I hope this is good food for thought and I am happy to answer any follow on questions that result from this reading.

KGS Bikes is known as the world’s premiere bicycle fitting studio and boutique. Kevin Saunders, President, has over 25 years experience in high-end bicycles and bicycle fitting. KGS Bikes sells bicycles from Co-Motion Parlee, Serotta, Zinn, and Guru, in addition to fitting services. Visit the KGS Bikes website, and our blog, for more information.

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High in the Bolivian Alps and built in the 1930’s, lies the world’s most dangerous road, called the Road of Death (El Camino de la Muerta). The local people say, the condition of your vehicle isn’t so important. “Prayer is the only way to come out live at the other end”.

Plunging around 3.600 metres, the narrow 64 kilometre trail, has no protection, no guard rails and steep walls that drop away hundreds of metres to the Coroico River far below. Fatal accidents every two weeks is common, with around 200 – 300 deaths every year. You see find both drivers and passengers feeding the dogs that live at the base of the mountain, so as to satisfy the earth deity Pachama. Drivers are frequently heard praying as they negotiate the deadly bends and narrow pathway, that is given the doubtful title of a roadway.

At a chilly 4,700 metres, lies the barren and windswept La Paz, one of the world’s highest cities on Earth, encircled by glaciated peaks, is the beginning of the world’s most treacherous gravity-fed bike ride.

As the group of bikers prepare to push off on the most perilous road in the world, after having raced down the prelude at tear streaming speeds of 80 km per hour, the guide warns them, “Make sure you give way to everything bigger than yourself.”

Not all who dare to attempt to travel the road,make it successfully. Signs of former accidents are easily visible. There are no emergency services on this deadliest of all roads.

At the completion of the ride, the cyclists, having dropped 3,600 death defying metres, relax in a bar with some margaritas. It is not the legs or arms that are pained from the day’s effort, but the hands, from applying so much pressure to the breaks, during the white-knuckle gravity-fed race down the mountainside.

A much safer road will eventually replace this death trap, but it has been twenty years in the making and nowhere near completion yet.

Dr Wendy and her husband are CEO’s of YouMe Support Foundation, ( providing high school education grants. They are offering a world first Blue Moon Opportunity to win your own private holiday home, plus 6 luxury holiday units. Check it out at Win a Resort.

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Equipment for Cycling

Posted: July 8, 2010 in Cycling

Cycling is a sport which offers great fitness, competition, enjoyment and stress relief. However, in order to gain the most out of your cycling it is important to invest in the proper equipment and cycling clothing. It is also very important that your bicycle is set up correctly for you.

Lets run through a list of cycling apparel as a sort of checklist by which you can ensure that you get the most from your cycling. Of course you need a bicycle, and then a helmet, glasses, cycling jersey, padded cycling shorts, gloves, cycling shoes and socks.

When purchasing a bicycle, the first thing you should look at is whether the frame is the right size for you. The size depends upon your height, but also on the length of your upper body. These two factors will determine the height of the frame’s seat tube as well as the length of the top tube. Different frame builders often use different angles, resulting in variations in frame proportions. It is best for an expert to assist you personally in ascertaining the correct frame size.

Next you need to make sure that the saddle height is correct, usually allowing for 25 – 30 degrees of bend in the leg when the foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Here again it is advisable that an expert assist you. Other adjustable settings include the length of the stem, the angle of the saddle (which is usually set parallel to the ground) and the fore-aft position of the saddle as it slides on its rails. Once you are fitted properly to your bicycle you can concentrate on kitting yourself out in cycling clothing.

Cycling jerseys (shirts) are made of breathable material and fit snugly so as not to flap around in the wind. On the front the jersey has a zip and at the back it has three pockets in which you can put your spare tube, pump, keys or other items. Cycling shorts made of Lycra and are padded to give more comfort on the saddle. There are cycling shorts with drawstrings around the waist, but many prefer “bib-shorts”, which come with straps which run over your shoulders to hold up the shorts. Cycling shorts fit tightly to reduce wind drag.

There are many cycling helmets on the market these days, many of which are highly adjustable. Look for an indication of whether the helmet of your choice meets the standard of the testing authority. A bicycle shop will be able to guide you in your choice, and will probably not sell a helmet which does not comply with safety standards. Make sure that the helmet is adjusted in such a way that it fits comfortably, yet firmly on your head.

A good pair of sports, or cycling glasses, will protect your eyes from both the sun and any insects or other objects which may fly into your eyes while you are cycling. Look for a pair that fit comfortably, provide adequate protection from the wind and give the required UV protection.

For added comfort on the handle bars, try a pair of cycling gloves, these fingerless leather palm padded gloves will also protect your hands should you come a cropper. Then all you need is a pair of ankle high cycling socks and a decent pair of stiff soled cycling shoes. The shoes should have a firm sole in order to reduce the amount of energy lost in the pedal stroke. If your sole is too soft, and your foot bends around the pedal, you are effectively wasting much of the energy your legs are working so hard to transmit into forward motion.

Cycling becomes much more enjoyable when you are able to ride comfortably and safely with the correct cycling gear. As a better prepared cyclist you will be more efficient in your cycling and get much more out of it.

What Cycling Clothing is needed on a cycling holiday?

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