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Old 02-25-2008, 03:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Introduction to Cycling.

Part 1

Questions tend to show up every now and then about cycling training. So I figured I would start and post giving people an introduction to cycling and how to do cycling training correctly. Just to let you know, this is going to be geared a bit more twoards cycling training instead of cycling training for MMA. Reason: Cycling training for cycling is harder then cycling training for (Enter sport.) But I will explain the methods used so you have an idea on how to fit it in better with your workout goals.

I am going to break this down into multiple posts so people can ask questions about each individual topics covered. Hope you guys find this useful.

I would also hope you guys would consider cycling as part of a life style change not just training. *Cough* Alternative means of transportation *Cough* Environmental friendly. *cough*

Yes I am a bit of a hippy.
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Old 02-25-2008, 04:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The Bike.

I am going to recommend getting a road style bike. Youíve all seen people riding them, low riding profile, and the large diameter wheels. With this style bike you will get the most speed out of it and the most distance of comfortable riding. With a road bike you can get the best aerodynamic position for the windy days. Once you get the hang of the bike you can push your bike to a good speed without having to expend much effort. No bike is better going up a hill then a road bike.

The disadvantage of a road is that is not very forgiving. You have to learn how to ride it correctly, unless you rode a road bike as a kid you are have an entirely different feel riding this bike. You can easily slipping out on a road bike taking a hard fast turn if you are riding with slick tires. Hitting pot holes, divots, train tracks, and all other road imperfections can send your bike out of control if it catches you off guard.

The second bike I recommend is a mountain bike. You probably already own one, and the riding style of a mountain bike is similar to most bikes. You can pull good speeds with a mountain bike, and ride of a good distance comfortable. You can increase your speed by putting road tires on the bike as well. Riding a mountain bike you arenít concerned with pot holes, wet patches, and gravel the way you are with a road bike. Lets face it, you arenít restricted you just paved roads with a mountain bike. There is no more versatile vehicle in existence then a mountain bike. The only limitation for a mountain bike is deep pools of water; otherwise you can pretty much take a mountain bike anywhere any land vehicle can travel on.

The major limitation of the mountain bike is its weight. Since itís the most durable and versatile, it is the heaviest. Mountain bikes are built like tanks. Going up a hill on a mountain bike is pretty much impossible for anyone who isnít a regular cyclist. I remember my 110lbs sister telling me she always had to walk her bike over the over pass when she was in college. That should give you an idea of how climbing is extremely different on a mountain bike.

Once you have chosen a bicycling style you now need to take into consideration the fit. Having a bike the fits properly is imperative. It will maximize your training and riding abilities.

This is how you will determine your bicycle size.

1. Measure your inseam in centimeters. (Do this barefooted.)
2. Multiple you inseam by .65. This will give you your road bike frame size.
3. If you are looking to ride a mountain bike. Take your road bike frame size, subtract 10 centimeters, and convert to inches.

This is the most important step when buying a bike. The next you will have to consider you stem length. The stem length will determine how far you will reach for your handle bars. This is really done by feel. I like having mines close, while my friend who is shorter then me and has a shorter reach likes his out farther.

At this point you have picked out the type of bike you want and got the size you need. Start by buying used, and expect to pay around 100 to 160 for a used bike, donít forget to test ride the bike. If you are riding a road bike, you are likely going to find a bike that is older with down tube shifters. These are gear shifters that are on the bike frame instead of on the handle bars. This will take some getting used to.

When looking at a bike. Check the frame for cracks. Thatís the most important part. The mechanics of the gears can always be fixed. If the guy you are buying for is cool, you could even get him to take you to the bike shop with the bike to get it inspected.

Once you buy a bike, you are probably going to have to get it tuned up. The bike mechanics will help smooth out the shifts, true up your rims, calibrate your breaks and everything. This could run up to 100 dollars and more depending if you need replacement parts. If you have to get replacement parts, make sure you discuss what your riding goals are since there are different options for your riding goals.

You bought a bike, tuned it up, nowÖÖ

RIDE! Donít forget a helmet. Seriously. The most epic crashes I've been in, are from riding. Also, helmets are one time use. If you crash once, and take impact to the head, you need a new helmet.




About stationary bikes:

If you want to go stationary, I would recommend buying a real bike and putting it on a bike trainer. This way you will have both a stationary and a riding bike in one. The other option is the Indoor cycling, spinning style bikes you see in spin classes. Fitness bikes, that kind you see in the cardio section of the gym arenít that great.
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Old 02-27-2008, 01:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Riding

Part 3

Riding

Cadence, Pedal Technique and Gears

Itís just like riding a bike? Guess what, a lot of people donít know how to ride a bike correctly.

Cadence

So you got your bike, AND YOUR HELMET, now you are just itching to ride. You hop on your bike start riding and you start shift your gears up and your highest gear setting just isnít enough. Now itís time to understand your cadence..

The cadence is basically your RPM at the pedals. Itís basically like driving a manual transmission. You have a pretty big spinning range.

60 to 70 is the most economical of the cadences, but you wont push out any power, get nothing for a workout and probably only use two gears on your bike. This is the RPM you would normally find people using when they are just riding around. Itís not very demanding, if it is, you need to learn how to use the gear shifters.

A cadence of 80 to 100 is the ideal RPMS for your cruise. Keep in mind you are cruising at a moderate to high speed. You want to get used to the feel at spinning this range, know what it feels like so when you jump on a bike you go to this speed instantly. This range is the idea for you workout. You will put out a decent amount of power and you will make good use of your energy to sustain a good workout on your bike. This cadence should feel just right. It shouldnít be difficult to pedal this, but you shouldnít be spinning out.

Pushing it over 100 and beyond is your sprint. You will get the most power out of it, but you will burn up your energy quick. This is your cardio zone in cycling. Iíve hear the complaint on this forum from people saying, ďCycling doesnít give me a good enough cardio workout.Ē This is because they arenít sprinting at all, frankly, I think they arenít even getting past 65 RPMs. When you push it this high you are going to have to learn how to shift your gears. You will spin out at some point.

Pedal Technique

Most people donít know how to pedal their bike correctly. Push down with one leg, then push down with another leg, right, not really.

Hopefully, when you bought a bike that came with clip pedals. You donít need the expensive ones where you need clip shoes, just the kind where you put your foot into the pedal. Why are these pedals important? It allows you to take your weight off the pedal without having your foot come off the pedal. So if you donít have these, I suggest you get them. These pedals are cheap, and make sure you get metal pedals you will ruin plastic ones fast, and end up having to walk your bike back in the middle of a ride.

So how do you pedal?

Well you push down with one leg as your push down with one leg; you let the weight off pedal that is coming back up on the cycle. You donít want to just push down, and leg the pedal push your leg back up. You bring you leg up to let off the pressure so you can push down easier. You legs will push and pull through the whole cycle. You will generate more power this way as well, and you legs will pump up and down almost like pistons on a car.

If you donít understand what I am talking about, think of pedaling a bike with one leg. You have to bring your leg up to get the pedal into position to push it back down. So you are you going to have to do that with both legs as your ride.

Gears

This is where it gets tricky, because you have two gears to shift. If you are trying to shift up and you want a small change in gears you shift the back gears. If you want a larger jump, you want you shift the front gears. Its not that simple though, since you are going to want keep your bike chain straight. You donít want to ride with your chain moving on and off the chain at and angle. So after shift up or down a few gears on the rear cassette, you might want to readjust for the front cassette.

Thatís kinda putting it simply.

I hope this clears up a few things of the basic riding techniques.

The next post Iíll talk about how to put together a routine that will get your heart pounding. (Routines vary depend on the riding terrain.) Also I will go over sprinting, climbing, and exploding off the line.
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Excellent!


Im the guy about a year ago asking about the cycling questions.This guide is excellent and perfect timing because i got a job and am going to buy a new road bike to replace my old mountain bike for the upcoming biking seasons (spring,summer,fall).


Atleast one person gets good use of your thread..right? ;P


Until next time...
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