by Fred Matheny A rider once told me about the greatest display of speed she ever produced. No, it wasn’t in a race. She was riding along minding her business when a huge Doberman, jaws dripping saliva and teeth glinting in the sun, rocketed out of a suburban yard and took dead aim on her calf. Speed isn’t just for racers. Our heroine jumped out of the saddle, accelerated for … [Read more...] about Developing Speed for Cyclists, a Guide to Getting Faster
by Fred Matheny Get your body ready before you ask it to perform. Why have a consistent warm-up routine? Why isn’t it sufficient merely to spin easily for the first few minutes of a ride? A structured warm-up accomplishes several important things: … [Read more...] about How to Warm Up Correctly for Your Next Bike Race or Ride
by Fred Matheny If you read articles about training (or hear other cyclists talk about their training programs) you can’t avoid the term “lactate threshold” (LT). It’s so common it has become a buzzword, as in “What’s your LT?” or “I went over my LT on that hill and blew up.” Lactate Threshold (LT) Defined Lactate threshold is the exertion level beyond which your body can no … [Read more...] about How to Raise Your Lactate Threshold for Cyclists
by Fred Matheny Hard training doesn’t always lead to better performances. Combine it with inadequate recovery and you’ll almost certainly get worse instead of better. How can you avoid this depressing phenomenon, known as overtraining? How can you recover better? Stress is Cumulative Pro cyclists rarely overtrain. They ride enormous mileage (on the order of 400 to 600 miles a … [Read more...] about A Guide to Overtraining and Recovery for Cyclists
by Fred Matheny Every human activity has its own jargon, a unique set of words (or a unique way of using familiar words) that befuddles newcomers. Learning the lingo is the key to understanding the activity and getting accepted by its practitioners. Training on the bike may not be as jargon-ridden as medicine, yachting, pipefitting or musical counterpoint—but it comes … [Read more...] about Do You Know These Cycling Training Terms?
By Fred Matheny Cycling is traditionally a summer sport. Feeling the breeze on your bare legs and the sun’s warmth on your back is as much a part of riding a bike as lubing your chain. There’s something deeply wrong, many casual cyclists would argue, about riding in the cold with snowflakes sticking to your sunglasses. Traditionalists may contend that you need a break … [Read more...] about 10 Great Reasons Why You Should Continue Training on Your Bicycle Year Round
By Fred Matheny Stay upright when wheels touch! It's the most common cause of paceline crashes. You overlap your front wheel with the rear wheel of another rider. Then she swerves slightly to avoid a chink in the road, the wheels touch and -- boom! -- you're in a heap. Nothing causes panic faster than that nasty whirring sound of two tire sidewalls rubbing. But what Tour de … [Read more...] about Stay Upright on a Bicycle When Your Wheels Touch Another Rider’s
Question: I am interested in learning more about training for climbing as I am preparing for Haute Route Ventoux. Any information would be welcomed. Thank you. —Jared N. … [Read more...] about How Should I Train to Ride Haute Route Ventoux?
By Coach Fred Matheny Bikes must mix with motorized vehicles. And the reality is that traffic of all kinds is increasing. A few years back a Belgian cycling official expressed concern about whether road racing would survive the next 10 years in his country because of the increase in cars on what used to be lightly traveled farm roads. If this is a concern in cycling-mad … [Read more...] about How to Ride a Bicycle Safely in Traffic
By Coach Fred Matheny I’ve never ridden the fabled cobblestone roads of northern France or Belgium, the ones that shake riders into insensibility in Paris-Roubaix and some of the other Spring Classics. But on my local training roads we have the next best thing for masochistic riding – genuine western Colorado chip-and-seal. Recently, they’ve been using gravel so large … [Read more...] about How to Ride a Bicycle Over Rough Pavement or Cobbles
Question: I think I was recently reading that the best cyclists havea cadence of 110 rpm. This seems very fast (at least for me). I am probably in the 70-90 range. Do most riders do better at higher rpm? Is there benefit to sometimes powering up hills at lower rpm? I asked a question earlier in the year about maintaining cycling shape while doing bouts of backpacking. The … [Read more...] about High Cadences, Used Appropriately, Can Save Your Legs
By Coach Fred Matheny After 39 years of writing about bikes, I'm riding off into the sunset, retiring from RBR. I wrote my first cycling article for the now-defunct magazine Bike World in 1977. (I hope my article didn't hasten its demise.) That was followed by a stint writing for Velonews when it was located in Brattleboro, Vermont. Ed Pavelka was the … [Read more...] about Coach Fred Matheny: Riding Off Into the Sunset
Question: In three weeks I will ride my first 300K (186-mile) brevet. A friend told me that the rule for pacing long rides is: Never go anaerobic. Sounds like smart advice, but how can I tell when I'm in danger of doing it? – Bud S. Coach Fred Matheny Replies: You're talking about the "anaerobic threshold," a phrase used for many years. Nowadays, the more common term is … [Read more...] about What’s the Danger Pace on Long Rides?
Question: I'm 38 and in the best shape of my life. But I wonder if I'm about to start losing it as I near 40. How long can I maintain my present cycling fitness? – Barry N. Coach Fred Matheny Replies: I began riding seriously in my 20s and managed to keep improving into my 50s. In fact, I set personal records after passing the half-century mark, as did some friends. So you … [Read more...] about At What Age Will My Cycling Decline?
Question: In the last month I’ve set a record, being caught in the rain on seven bike rides. I don't want to ride my fender bike and wear a rain jacket if the weather looks okay, but storms have been blowing in without warning. What non-bulky clothing can I carry in my jersey pockets for protection against these spring rains? – Shandra P. Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Assuming … [Read more...] about Which Emergency Rain Gear Should I Carry Cycling?