Optimizing Cycling

Now that we have youtube, I watched some videos on “Fitting” a cycle.  Armed with that info – maybe my bicycle is not the best fit for me, but I could change some things.

imageI rode the same route three times .. ignore the dark part, that’s me putting the app on “pause”, but apparently it continues to record while doing so, which is actually great.  Its about 1.1 miles mostly up-hill.  I did it three times ..

Look at the pink.  That’s my speed going up the hill.  Note how second and third ones were definitely better.

Look at orange.  That’s my heart rate.  Look at how second and third ones were higher.

Here’s what it was: 

  • My seat was not high enough.  As a result, on the downstroke, at the 3pm point, my knee was actually out beyond where the pedal was – which brings some strain into the system. As a result, my legs hurt  .. kneecaps back to hamstrings .. so my heart couldn’t drive my legs as hard as my heart actually could.
  • 2nd trial – I brought my seat up about 2 inches ** , so that my leg was almost fully straight but my foot still parallel to the ground when the pedal was at its lowest.    I also inflated my tires up to 70 (they were at 40 before), which maybe helped some as well – although you’d think you’d see that on the downhill.  I guess air resistance trumps rolling resistance there.  ** because the seat rises up and to the back, raising the seat also moved me back a little bit. 
  • 3rd trial – I brought my seat up another inch or so, so that my foot points a bit down at the lowest spot.  It also for sure got my knee behind the line of the pedal when the pedal is at 3 o’clock.  It was a bit uncomfortable, but … seemed smoother, and .. the heart rate vs speed graph seems to agree.   I also reinstalled the bar-ends so that my hand position was further out, and I think that shows up in the downhill speed (the part not marked with pink) is higher for this trial. 

This could also all be B.S.   It could also be that:

  • The evening progressed and it got cooler
  • I drank more water so the weight of the bike went down
  • I got more properly warmed up.

Things I did not do that would probably make things even better:

  • Put my seat further back.  Its as far back as it can go.
  • Use a lighter bicycle.  Mine is a hybrid with shocks and stuff .. quite heavy.
  • Take off my very heavy bicycle pack (leftover from RAGBRAI.  I needed somewhere to stick my towel and other stuff for my commute to work.  Don’t leave home without your towel!  (Don’t panic!)

Things that I am doing already:

  • I’m using .. clips?  and cleats?  I don’t know the names of them.  Basically, i have power on the upstroke as well, I just have to remember to try to bring my knees up to touch my arms.

The real test will be riding to work .. I hope on Monday .. and compare that against last Monday, see how I do.

I am excited.

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Posted in Health

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