Whether you are a sportive cyclist, a time trial rider, or a triathlete, it's always worth being able to get faster on the bike. Even as a recreational rider, if you want to ride some of the more prestigious public sportives like the Ride London 100, you'll need to be able to maintain a decent speed. Follow our tips to increase your speed and become a better cyclist.
1. Improve your power output
Training with pro duathlete Claire Steels shows us that a typical training session consisting of short, sharp efforts on a turbo trainer or Wattbike can help you develop your explosive power and therefore improve your speed.
It's also important to make sure you are pedalling efficiently. Imagine you are trying to scrape the ground when you pedal downwards and really pull the pedals back up using your hamstrings. Push through your glutes and focus on every rep to achieve optimum power output.
2. Get a bike fit
If you are riding a bike that doesn't fit you properly, you will struggle to achieve your maximum potential speed. Getting a bike fit will allow you to find your optimum riding position in order to achieve maximum power output while still being comfortable and aerodynamic. It will also mean that all of the adjustments on the bike will be right for you so that you can focus on performance while riding. Most bike stores will offer a comprehensive bike fit, although you may have to pay.
3. Shed those extra pounds
It may sound harsh, but carrying extra weight can really affect your cycling capabilities and prevent you from increasing your speed. Serious cyclists and competitive athletes will spend thousands on lightweight bikes made from advanced technological materials so as to keep the bike as light as possible. But what's the point in that if the rider is holding extra weight?
The important thing to remember is that you need to find the balance between losing weight while still improving performance. It sounds tough but it's definitely achievable.
4. Perfect your position
Advanced cyclists and triathletes will cycle in the 'aero' position on tri bars, which is also known as 'TT' position. This is not allowed in some cycling races and tends to be more for multi-sport races. However, even if you're not going to adopt the full aero position, you can still use your position to your advantage. Full race position will have your hands on the lower part of the handlebars with a rounded back and tight core. This is something that will take time to perfect and will require excellent core strength.
5. Improve your overall fitness with cross-training
It's easy to neglect your cross-training when you are a keen cyclist. Cross-training refers to the training you do outside of your main sport, in this case the riding, and includes things like gym workouts. Hit the gym and improve your overall cardiovascaular fitness as well as strengthening your legs so that you can go the distance and get faster. Doing a good leg workout will help to improve the power output from your legs while things like running and circuit workouts will improve your lung capacity and VO2 max.