Looking for ways to increase your speed and target those personal records? Here are four areas of your cycling that can be improved to increase speed gains.
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1. Your body
Becoming more aero will help you slice through the air, with reduced resistance giving you extra speed.
One way to do this is to decrease the surface area and mass of your body by losing weight. If you are carrying a few extra kilos, getting rid of it will improve your cycling and shave minutes off your fastest time.
Some cyclists also claim that shaving their legs and facial hair helps them to glide more freely with as little friction as possible.
2. Your bike
Riding a super-light bike will help you save time. But it won’t help you to save money, because trimming a pound from your bike means spending hundreds of pounds.
Focus on saving weight on rotating components, such as the wheels and the cranks, which take more effort to move. Also make sure your tyres are at the right pressure — a soft tyre will have a larger contact area with the ground, slowing it down.
3. Your kit
Air catching you and your clothing creates an extra barrier to your path through it. If your jacket is loose or flapping, air can get stuck in pockets around it, slowing you down.
Tight fitting clothing creates the least amount of friction. If you want to take the smoothness even further, you can go for a one-piece speed suit that is almost like a second skin, as favoured by speed hungry time-triallists.
4. Your technique
When riding in a group you can save up to 40 percent of your energy expenditure by tucking in behind the rider in front. Stay within a foot of the wheel in front for maximum drafting benefits.
But don’t get too close and end up touching wheels — a crash won’t help you go faster — and do take your turn at the front as stealing speed without returning the favour won’t do much for your popularity.