Wednesday, January 27, 2010

spinning is real for cycling?

It is an interesting question, because of the popularity of spinning and the fact that many major driver of the spinning type classes frequently in the winter.

I think most people can benefit from spinning classes. Spinning bikes are to ride two different bikes racing bike, but the physiological adaptations are necessary adjustments to road cycling close. Thus, it is almost certain to improve the performance of his bike when he in a spinning class.

Although I must say that it is impossible to compare 1 hour to 1 hour spinning road cycling. There are many external factors that affect your perceived exertion (temperature, humidity, music teachers, etc.) Therefore, it is very likely a subjective feeling that he has worked more than they are objective (a power meter might tell a different story .. .)

Also, remember that the teachings are fitness-round with the people in the eye. You want to talk to and people who enter the fitness room, once or twice a week, not the cyclists, 8, educate train 12 or more hours per week. I do not think it a bad decision, but it is borne in mind when you are cycling on the road with a much larger amount of training and other purposes, with their training.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Use the right gears and shift early to balance the work of your muscles and aerobic system. New riders often make the mistake of pushing their muscles until they can not push any more. When they decide to shift to an easier gear - if they have one - it is often too late. The muscles are exhausted and unable to continue.


If you start to breathe irregularly, take a deep breath and hold it for a few pedal strokes. Try synchronizing your breathing with your pedal stroke - start by taking a breath every time one foot (your right one for example) reaches the bottom of a stroke. Then try 1 1/2, and finally every two strokes. You will actually deliver more oxygen to your system with a controlled rate.


After you've developed a good strength base in the weight room, the absolutely best way to

If you are going to be riding hills as part of an event or a tour, you might consider building up weekly climbing volume to around 125% of event climbing volume. If it is a one day event, aim to climb at least 60% of event elevation change volume on several rides. For example, if the event has 10,000 feet of climbing, you must climb 6,000 feet in training in one day, several times.

And don't foget to train for technique as well.

  • Find a hill that's 1/4 to 1/2 mile long - not too steep.
  • Find the gear that lets you spin at 100 rpm all the way to the top.
  • Keep your breathing steady. If you start panting, the gear is too high.
  • Then find a higher gear that reduces your cadence to around 50 rpm, but again without causing you to have labored breathing.
  • Now the exercise:
  1. Climb the hill in the low gear with a fast cadence. Work on spinning smoothly.
  2. Coast back down and then climb the hill in the higher gear (slow cadence) concentrating on applying an equal force all the way around the pedal stroke.
  3. Repeat the cycle (4 total climbs)


For beginning cyclists, hills can be a big challenge. Experienced cyclists actually have no problems with hills - they know how to shift, to brake, to pace themselves, and they have gotten stronger on hills with practice. There are two areas with hills to be concerned with:

  • Uphill. Cycling uphill is not that hard if you shift to the right gears. It took me a little while to learn this. What I like to do is build up some speed going into a hill, shifting to a bigger front gear and getting some momentum. This will carry me a little ways up the hill. As the pedaling becomes more difficult, I gradually shift to easier gears until I'm on the smallest front gear and largest back gear. If I'm lucky, I do not get to that point. It's also good to learn to pace yourself - do not pump the pedals too hard early on in a long hill, or you'll tire out.
  • Downhills. Steep downhills can be scary for us beginners because of the speed. I recommend slowing yourself down with intermittent braking. If the downhill is not too steep, I recommend shifting to your big front gear and smallest back gear - you can really build up some speed that will carry you when you hit the flat or the next hill.


Obviously this is a pretty important area. It's a major safety skill that takes a little practice to learn. A few tips:

  • Down hills. The temptation going down hills, to limit your speed and make sure you do not get out of control, is to brake the whole way down. It's recommended that you do not do this, though - the brake pad could burn out. You want to do it in spurts.
  • Front brake. Many beginners use both brakes simultaneously to brake. But more experienced cyclists (and I'm not one yet) use the front brake most of the time. If you practice using the front brake, you will lose the fear of flipping over the front wheel.
  • Rear brake. This is good For certain situations, especially if it's slippery or your front tire blows out.

Shifting Gears

This is a topic that might seem simple, but true for many beginners, it can be confusing and a little scary. But with a little practice, it's actually pretty easy. Here's what you need to know:

  • Three front gears. There are usually three gears in the front - the large, medium and small. There is one shifting mechanism at the handlebars for switching between these gears (marked 1, 2 and 3). The large one is for when the pedaling is the easiest, and can go the fastest. Good for downhills and flats. The small one is for hills, and takes a lot of pedaling to go the same distance as the other two, but is much easier to turn. The middle is between them, and is probably going to be used most often (at least by us beginners).
  • Seven back gears. These also go from small to largest, and have a shifting mechanism for switching between them (1-7). I usually pair the small front gear with the largest three back gears (1-3), the medium front gear with the middle back gears (3-5), and the large front gear with the smallest back gears (5-7).
  • Basic premise. Basically, you want to pedal using the largest front gear with the smallest back gear that you can handle while still pedaling at a high cadence (pedaling fast). That means that if you can shift to a larger front gear while still pedaling at a high cadence, you should. But if it begins to get too tough for you to pedal at a high cadence, shift down to a smaller front gear (or larger back gear or both). This will take a little practice, but it's not hard. And as you get better at cycling, you will be able to pedal faster with the harder gears, over time.


Always be safe on the road. Do not be daring, do not insist on the right of way, do not break traffic laws (yes, you have to follow them too), and always be as visible as possible. If you know the common causes of accidents, you can look out for them:

  • Opening car doors. This is a common one — someone opens their car door, right into your path, and you don’t have time to swerve. Slam! The only thing to say is to be on the lookout for any doors that are about to open, and don’t ride too close to parked cars.

  • Sideswiped. If you right on the outermost edge of the road, as many cyclists do, cars will be tempted to try to pass you in the same lane. As this is a tight fit, this could result in you being hit. It’s safest to take the center of the lane, even if that doesn’t seem as safe, until you can safely move to the shoulder to let cars pass if necessary. You have just as much a right to that lane as the cars do.

  • Intersections. If you are making a left turn across an intersection, be very careful. You might think that the oncoming traffic, or the cross traffic from either side, will see you, but you could be wrong. Be very sure you are seen by all drivers. Right turns can also be dangerous if the traffic going into that lane doesn’t see you — or if the driver behind you also making a right turn doesn’t see you, as he is busy looking to his left.

The Clothing

We've all seen the tight and bright clothing that the pros wear. I'm sorry to report that I've gone minimalist here as well - I just wear my running shorts and shirts and shoes. That's really all you need to start off.

However, if you begin to get serious about cycling, you should consider some good clothing. Good cycling clothing is thin, so you do not get too hot, flexible for comfort, with special material that "Wicks away" sweat (basically, it does not Soak it up and chafe your skin like cotton does). It's also tight, so the wind does not flap your clothing all around and irritate the hell out of you. And the bright colors serve a purpose as well: they make you visible to those crazy drivers!

Cold weather: I do not live in cold weather, but many of you do - in that case, cycling wear thin is good, but layer it on. If you get hot, you can always take off a layer.


Cycling, more than many other sports, is equipment-centric. I am of the minimalist school - you do not need a host of fancy gear to get started. Add those later.

What's the minimum gear needed? Here's my list:

  • Helmet. Do not ever ride without one. It can mean the difference between a bad headache and being a vegetable. Make sure it fits well (see this guide for tips on that, along with other equipment needed to get started).

  • Water bottle. Get one with a cage that attaches to your bike. Regular bottles do not fit in this cage, btw. An alternative is a hydration backpack. You really only need hydration tools once you start cycling beyond an hour, but it's good to have just in case.
  • Pump. A portable pump that you attach to the bike is necessary, in case you get a flat or a slow leak. You do not want to be walking your bike back home. A floor pump is good to have at home, too, for easier pumping, but is not absolutely necessary.
  • Repair kit. A simple repair kit would include a patch kit, a spare inner tube, 2 tire levers, a multi-tool for bikes, all in a small bag that attaches to the bike.

Other stuff you could get later:

  • Gloves. I actually have a pair of these, and you could consider them essential. They absorb shock from the handles (cycling gloves are padded), but more importantly, if you crash, your palms are protected.
  • Bike computer. This attaches to the bike (no, they do not have it in Linux or Mac flavors) and tells you how far you've gone, how fast you're going, your RPMs, and all other kinds of good info. Very useful, but not absolutely necessary. I do not have one at this point, but it's on my to-buy list.
  • Gel-padded seat. For beginners, riding on a hard seat cycling can be very uncomfortable. This gel padding has saved me a bit of pain. Experienced riders tell me that you get used to it after awhile, and I have, to some degree.
  • Glasses. To some, these are a must. I have not gotten them yet, but they block bugs and other debris from hitting you in the eyes. Has not been a problem for me yet, but then I do not go that fast!
  • Shoes / pedals. The most efficient way of peddling is if you are using your up-stroke as well, not just your down-stroke (pulling the pedals up and pushing them down). To do this, of course, you need either cage pedals to put your shoes in, or the kind of pedals that lock into your cycling shoes. So You'd need special shoes for that, of course. I plan to get these some time, but have not gotten to it yet.
  • Lights. These are a must if you ride when it begins to get dark. I do not do that out of safety concerns.
  • Racks. Important if you want to transport anything. There are all kinds of racks and panniers (cycling bags). Awesome for touring or commuting.

:: the bike ::

What's the best bike to get for cycling? Heck if I know. I'm just a beginner. I suggest that you start with any old bike you can get your hands on. Really. If you've got one in your garage, or you know someone who has one that's not being used, just spray some WD-40 on the rusty parts, inflate the tire and make sure there are no leaks, and give it a go. You do not need anything fancy to start with.

The really nice bikes are optimal, of course, but they are also well over $ 1,000 (some are well over twice that), and they are not necessary to get into the sport and enjoy it. Once you get into it, and are sure you'll be doing it for the long term, look into a better bike.

The nice road bikes are lighter, with strong frames, thin tires (for less friction), with a whole host of other nice features to make riding fast and easy. However, I use an old mountain bike, and I still love riding.

What's most important is that the bike fits you. The bike should fit your height (from ground to crotch), as well as the distance from the seat to the handle. I'm not an expert at this - it's best to go to a good bike shop to get fitted.