Speed is good when it comes to cycling – but we must not push ourselves too hard. There is a method for getting steady speed and it is important that you work up to it. While some of us are naturally fast-paced, most are not, and you need to follow the below tips to get to your cycling speed to a higher rate.
Bend & Tuck Your Elbows
The biggest thing slowing you down when you cycle is wind resistance. Many of these tips concern ways to reduce your frontal area and your drag so you slice more easily through the wind. The simplest of all is to slightly lower your body position on the bike. Instead of sitting up straight in the saddle and catching a lot of wind, try lowering your body closer to the bars by bending and tucking in your elbows. You’ll immediately feel a difference.
Ride With Others
You might consider this cheating but riding with other people will increase your average speed in several ways. Firstly if you take it in turns to ride in front and share the work of cutting through the wind you will travel faster as a group than on your own. Riding with others will also encourage you to lift your effort level, trying to keep up with someone a bit faster than you will help increase your average not just on that ride but help build your fitness for future rides.
Pump Your Tires
Correctly inflated tires will roll faster. You should check your tire pressure before every ride as changes in temperature and slight seeping of air can mean that they go soft without necessarily being punctured. Check the side-wall of your tire for the recommended pressure. Invest in a track pump so that you can easily get the pressure you need, a mini-pump is best kept only for emergencies out on the road.
Braking to get your speed down to a level you feel comfortable with is fine but take a good look around first, if the road surface is good, clear of obstructions and relatively straight there is no reason to slow down so let the bike roll and enjoy some free speed. The next place to improve confidence is during cornering. Braking later will help you hold your speed for longer. Remember to always brake in a straight line so you are at a comfortable cornering speed before you start to turn.
Out to Headwind & Into Tailwind
Unless you are a sailor as well as a cyclist you might not give wind direction a thought on a daily basis but the wind can be both your friend and your enemy. A headwind can make riding feel like a struggle, making you feel slow regardless of the effort you put in. A tailwind makes you feel like a superhero as you can easily spin along at top speed. Make use of the wind by planning your route so the outward part when you are freshest is into the headwind and the homeward leg when you may be feeling tired has a tailwind.