Secretly we all want it: Riding our bikes faster. As we all know, good legs don’t come from nothing and the fastest cyclists are often the ones who have been cycling for years. But how can you increase your average speed on the bike? We have listed no fewer than 10 tips so you can ride faster from A to B!
1. What is fast? And how important is speed?
Data from Strava shows that the average speed in the Netherlands is the highest in the world. On average, Dutch men cycle 26.92 kilometers per hour and women 21.36 kilometers per hour. For comparison; The second fastest country in the world is England where men cycle an average of 25.61 kilometers per hour and women cycle an average of 20.74 kilometers per hour. The average speed in the Netherlands is therefore quite high. That of course has to do with our flat country, I mention these numbers to indicate that average speed does not always say everything about how strong you are as a cyclist. External factors such as wind, rain, hills and the like have a lot of influence on the average speed. The first tip is therefore not to focus too much on the average speed.
2. Get aero
The thing that slows you down most while cycling is air resistance. The simplest tip is to reduce the area that catches wind as much as possible. Instead of sitting upright and catching a lot of wind, try lowering your body by bending your elbows and tilting your pelvis. You immediately feel a difference!
3. Listen to music
This is a tricky one, because we think it is very important at Cyclingreview.nl that you cycle safely. Yet there are several studies that show that music can make your perceived effort level to decrease.
Dr. Costas Karageorghis, a sports psychology researcher, says this is because “music blocks the fatigue-related symptoms such as the burning lungs, the beating heart and the lactic acid in the muscles.” It can reduce the perception of effort by as much as 10 percent.
You will pedal harder without noticing. Maybe you want to adjust your cadence to the rhythm. If, for safety reasons, you do not want to cycle outside with music on your ears, you can use this advantage when sitting on the indoor trainer
4. Ride with others
You can call this one cheating, but cycling in a group increases your average speed in different ways. If you take turns and share the work, you will go faster as a group than alone. And if you also ride with a group of riders who are stronger than you, you build up fitness for the following rides. In addition, it is of course also fun to ride in a group. So ther’s a lot of benefits!
5. Tire pressure
With the right tire pressure you cycle faster. Check the number of bars for each ride, as your tires will run a bit empty naturally without being punctured. The recommended pressure is on the side of your tire, make sure you always stay within that range. Think carefully about your tire pressure, a harder inflated tire does not necessarily have to be faster. A rule of thumb that we use for men between 65 and 85 kilos is the number of kilos divided by ten is the number of bars in the tires. Extra tip: Make sure you have a good standing pump, so you can easily find the perfect tire pressure. A mini pump is best kept only for emergencies on the road.
6. Brake less
This sounds like the most logical tip from the list, but it is more difficult for many than you think. Not only does braking cause you to slow down, but it also means that you have to pedal harder after every turn to accelerate. Unnecessary braking is a waste of energy and momentum.
How do you become better at breaking? First try to reduce the ‘comfort’ braking. By this we mean that you try to hit the breaks at a later moment, so you will stretch your comfort zone. For example in a descent that goes a little faster than you are used to, break a little bit later every time. That way you get a better feeling with how hard you can go with a bike.
In addition, a lot of speed can be gained in corners. However, this requires some practice. It’s a fact that mountain bikers and cyclocrossers often have more control over their racing bike. Simply because they have pushed the limits more often and therefore have excellent cornering technnique. Important tip: Always brake before the turn, not at the turn
7. Make sure you have the wind in you back on the way back
As a cyclist you do not look at the wind direction and wind speed on a daily basis, but to increase your average speed it is a smart tip to do so. Before determining your route, see where the wind comes from. That way you can ensure that you start with the toughest part: headwind. In this way you cycle against the wind with fresh legs and when you are tired you turn around and fly back home. Your average speed will be higher than the other way around.
8. Interval training
Trade your relaxed bike ride for a short session with high-intensity intervals (HIIT). A series of studies show that a few short, full-out sessions improve your endurance just as much as cycling longer journeys. Your metabolic system is stimulated on two fronts. One: Longer rides tend to only touch your slow-twitch muscle fibers, while HIIT workouts also work on your high-speed fibers, so you develop a larger motor. Two: your body gets deeper in the fat reserves, this way you become more efficient at burning fat.
9. Sports drink
If you drink a sports drink with carbohydrates instead of regular water at the start of a long ride, you can save your precious glycogen reserves by about 50% in the first hour, according to a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. This means that you will have more energy for the long term.
10. Vitamin B
Recent research shows that active people with little B vitamins such as B6, B12, folate and riboflavin have difficulty building muscle mass and producing oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Therefore make sure that you well fed with Vitamins D, which are essential for converting proteins and carbohydrates into energy and for repairing cells. Vitamin B is found in whole grains, dark green vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Take multivitamin daily or start the day with extra breakfast cereals for extra power.