CYCLING PERFORMANCE TIPS
Last updated: 12/4/2019
Clothing, Helmets, and Protective Gear
Early Spring and Fall Rides
Riding in the "bench" seasons (to steal a term from the cruise lines) and dealing with
the temperatures and precipitation issues provides it's own set of demands in the clothing
arena. Many times having the correct clothing will save the day by keeping you comfortable,
safe (by avoiding hypothermia) and allow you to finish your planned route. Ideally these will
be items that you can stuff in a jersey pocket when not needed.
The theory is that if you keep your core (head/chest) warm, your extremities (toes/fingers)
will stay warm as well. So if you have to choose, take that fleece vest and skull cap before
you pack the leg warmers.
Be ready for unexpected downpours. It may be sunny when you leave the house, but
storms brew quickly. When you get doused while wearing shorts and a short-sleeve jersey on
a cool day, it can get mighty cold. But who wants to lug full rain gear when it
might not rain at all? Here's a minimal, easy-to-carry kit for days when the weather
can't make up its mind.
Tuck the skull cap, gloves and toe covers in your seat bag. Roll the jacket tightly and
stuff it in your jersey's middle rear pocket. Then bring on the weather!
- Lightweight rain shell It won't have all the bells and whistles of a serious
rain jacket, but it will roll up compactly. It'll block rain and hold in body heat,
which is the key to preventing not just the chills but dangerous hypothermia. These jackets
are affordable at about $20-$30. It's smart to choose a bright color for better visibility.
Reflective material makes you even safer.
- Helmet liner If you can keep your head warm, the rest of your body will
follow. A light, synthetic skull cap covers your ears and holds precious heat next to your
noggin. For those of us a little thin on hair, this is an especially big help.
- Arm and knee warmers Easy to carry and stuff into that jersey pocket are arm warmers
which can convert a short-sleeve jersey to long sleeves (and they can be worn under a
rain shell to act as a jacket liner). If a bit too warm (or you just don't want to
stop at the moment, they can be slipped down around the wrists to reduce overheating and then
pulled back up on wind chilled descents. Knee warmers or full-length leg warmers prevent even more
heat loss. and can be added for those early morning rides late/early in the season.
Here are some "warmer" tips.
- Wear leg warmers or knee warmers under your cycling short's legs. Either put on the
warmers first, and then the spandex, OR roll back the shorts and pull the warmers to
mid-thigh. Then roll the shorts back down. The overlap will help hold the warmers in place.
- Arm warmers the same. Jersey sleeves overlap.
- If you are wearing tights, wear regular cycling shorts underneath. Although tights may have a
a liner, this will eliminate the need to wash the tights after every ride.
- Vest A lightweight poly vest with windstop fleece technology, or with a nylon
front adds warmth to your core and can protect during a light drizzle. Add a rain shell and arm
warmers and you have a lined jacket.
- Over-gloves You're already wearing short-finger cycling gloves so you don't
need more padding, just help to hold in hand heat. Simple, inexpensive polypro gloves will
work in dry conditions, or a nylon/GoreTex pair for that rain emergency. Just pull them
on over your cycling gloves so hands stay warm enough to brake, shift, and
- Toe covers Full-on shoe covers would be warmer, but they're bulky to carry.
If the conditions are not extreme, consider toe covers that pack small.
For more information you can go to The Ice Bike website
You read a lot about the latest gadget, or upgrade, for the bike, but little about
how to save a few dollars on gear to afford them. Shoes are an easy way to drop a few hundred dollars,
and fit (comfort) is really the only performance characteristic that counts.
Here is a link to
a number of less expensive options that should perform just as well as that expensive Italian brand -
and give you enough choices to get close to your deal fit.
Skiing or biking, it is not unusual to see a GoPro camera mounted on another rider
or skier's helmet.
Here is a great example of blending the advances in video technology right into the
helmet itself. So rather than sitting on top, exposed to damage or snagging on a limb
(in mountain biking), we have an integrated design - with a 360 degree view as well. And we are
being tantalized with additional possibilities including a Collision Avoidance Alert
that can sense and alert riders to dangers outside of their peripheral vision,
AutoPilot action tracking, and live streaming.
Anji Crash Sensor - to
cover an aspect of riding (our worry about those at home worrying about us)
that many of us share.
"The Angi is a sensor that is available aftermarket or built into Specialized’s helmets. It tracks your
ride in conjunction with your phone, and in the event of an accident, it will send a text message with
your GPS coordinates to the designated contacts of your choice. It’s light, too, at only 10 grams,
so it’s not going to be noticed when stuck to your helmet."
- Knit Shoes - We've all have seen bikers in sandals - "SPD capable" sandals - usually because
of foot pain from traditional cycling shoes. Plus many of the rest of us sympathize as we curse
the break in period for a new pair of shoes.
The move to a knit upper will soon provide the solution. They should be stiff enough - "Designers can
... engineer specific areas of stiffness and flexibility into knit uppers by selectively altering
the knit pattern and yarns as desired; areas that need to be more structured can be made with
a denser weave, for example, while other areas can be left more open for added comfort and flexibility...and
the completed hybrid knit upper ..is bonded to same vented carbon fiber plate."
And as a bonus they will allow some outstanding fashion statements. Add CAD (computer aided design) and you
should be able to design your own pattern and colors one day.
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Cycling Performance Tips
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