I'm looking for a good book or video that can show me some road biking techniques. I have an old 1993 Specialized Allez, and I've put some miles on her. But really all I'm doing is peddling. There has to be some technique. Care to share? Kevin
I'm a fairly serious road biker, so maybe I can help. The two things I see people doing poorly most often are:
1. Pedaling. You should be using all of the muscles in your legs, not just your quads. To see how this works, find a flat, quiet section of road and clip out one of your feet, then pedal with just one leg. You will quickly see how your foot circle is not a circle, but a push up and down. Keep working on this a few minutes each day until you really can feel the pressure all the way around the circle.
2. Downhill. Your weight should be on the pedal on the outside of the bike, and on the handlebar on the inside of the turn. This gives you a great deal more stability and control .
I do as many hill climbs as I can to train for backpacking over passes. Works very well. I tend to stay in the saddle to work my quads more, stand up and push smaller gears at a high cadence to build wind. My knees after a lifetime of construction work, especially lots of tile and wood floors, can't take running. Biking is the best thing I've found for getting in shape for the mountains. Higher cadences- at least 70 rpm, are less strain on your joints than pushing 100" gears. Don't be afraid to change your position on the seat, and alter the attack of your legs. A few degrees will change the muscles worked and prevent fatigue.
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
It's been a long while since I've been on my road bike, but I agree - 70 is slow; 90 is more like it. Ride in the smallest gear you can for the terrain and speed you want or you will tear up your knees.
Too many people don't have the bike set up right - do it at a shop if you cant figure it out. I see casual riders with the seat way too high and not set right - again, something that will chew up your knees and your wrists if you have too much weight on them.
Get clipless pedals if you don't have them yet. I use Shimanos but there are others. I got a cheap pair of pedals from Bike Nashbar years ago and a pair of Shimano shoes at an LBS on sale.
The Allez is a nice bike -old school. I've got an old aluminum Univega with Shimano 600 running gear, similar vintage, I bet. I see the Allezes for sale on eBay and Craigslist fairly often.
Needless to say, wear a helmet. I've had a few crashes and been hit by a car, so I know it won't solve everything, but at least it's something.
Don't get me started, you know how I get.