Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
samsbike
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Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby samsbike » 15 Jun 2013, 10:41pm

I have been reading a couple of threads in the road forum, which suggest that to get over an average of 15mph, you need to get more aerodynamic.

Now I am already on a drop barred bike and my average varies between 14.5 and 15.5mph and I would dearly love to get this up to something around 17mph.

However, other than riding on the drops what else can I do to get more aerodynamic and get my average speed up?

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NUKe
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Location: Suffolk

Re: Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby NUKe » 15 Jun 2013, 11:05pm

without seeing your actual position Its difficult to comment, but firstly don't believe the average speeds that people quote for day to day riding its usually arbitrary and made up I work with a chap who always quoted his ride to work, It was only when we realised he was riding down hill, He never told us the average speed to get home.
However here you go a list of things which can help with aerodynamics:-
tuck elbows in
bend elbows to get lower
Light weight tyres and wheels
correct tyre pressure
wear lycra
Shave your legs
use aerobars
use an aerodynamic helmet
use deep section wheels
use disc wheels


Some of the above are more practical than others.
NUKe
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Brucey
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Re: Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby Brucey » 15 Jun 2013, 11:08pm

fitness, diet, technique and training are all important. There are lots of ways of improving any or all of these.

Assuming you are essentially healthy, you can concentrate your training on endurance or power. Long rides improve endurance, and interval training improves power. Using a pulse meter allows you to monitor and structure your training.

Learning to ride in an aerodynamic position whilst still breathing easily is useful. Learning to pedal in the nicest circles possible, even when you are at the limit, is another. Improving your pedalling style so that you can pedal smoothly and fluidly at a high cadence is usually beneficial. Riding with others who will challenge your fitness (without demotivating you) is useful too; they may be able to give you pointers, also.

Finally -and apologies if this is very obvious- be sure that your bike is absolutely spot on; no dragging brakes, everything adjusted correctly, and tyres inflated to the appropriate pressures. If you are riding on indestructible puncture-proof tyres at present, you might easily gain 2mph by using nicer ones that roll easier.

cheers
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CREPELLO
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Re: Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby CREPELLO » 16 Jun 2013, 12:03am

Have you got your 'bike fit' sorted yet? A good fit will allow you to get the power through the pedals more effectively. You want to feel stretched a bit, but not so much that you'll get wrist or back ache. You'll also find that you stretch your fit a bit more as you become fitter.
A cramped fit will kill efficiency.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 16 Jun 2013, 12:22am

Hi,
samsbike wrote:I have been reading a couple of threads in the road forum, which suggest that to get over an average of 15mph, you need to get more aerodynamic.
Now I am already on a drop barred bike and my average varies between 14.5 and 15.5mph and I would dearly love to get this up to something around 17mph.

Over what distance and what terrain :?:
Fitness will have a greater effect than all the others put together at a practical level, this is something you cannot buy aquire or short cut.
NA Thinks Just End 2 End Return + Bivvy
You'll Still Find Me At The Top Of A Hill
Please forgive the poor Grammar I blame it on my mobile and phat thinkers.

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Mick F
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Re: Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby Mick F » 16 Jun 2013, 7:25am

NATURAL ANKLING wrote:Over what distance and what terrain :?:
Fitness will have a greater effect than all the others put together at a practical level, this is something you cannot buy aquire or short cut.

My points entirely.

I'm as fit as I've ever been, and no doubt coz I'm 60 I'm not as fast as I would have been - if I'd been fit enough at 30 - but average speeds are arbitrary.

I rarely ever get - or got - above 14mph average round here, that's despite hurtling down some hills at over 40mph. It's the uphills at 5 or 6mph that destroy the average speed. You spend most of your time climbing hills and the least of your time going down them.

Main roads are faster than minor roads too, so if you want higher average speeds, get on a dual carriageway.
Mick F. Cornwall

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531colin
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THREE STEPS TO GOING FASTER

Postby 531colin » 16 Jun 2013, 7:44am

THREE STEPS TO GOING FASTER

1) Ride all year.....this helps with....

2) Keep yourself free from injury, fatigue, and pain while riding.....this helps with....

3) Ride further, more often, .....and finally, faster.

Your body has very good ways of telling you when to push it, and when not to.......just listen to your body.

Aero spokes won't help if your legs feel like lead.

samsbike
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Re: Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby samsbike » 16 Jun 2013, 8:56am

thanks all, its all very good advice.

I am doing a commute of around 18 miles and due to knee pain am taking it a lot easier. I need to try dropping my bars a bit as I get more bendy.

I know about the hills destroying the average. I don't have much in the way of hills, but its so disheartening to see the average drop by nearly 1mph on a couple of slow sections. It then takes an eternity for every 0.1mph increments up.

I just need to spin more and see how it goes.

Pneumant
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Re: Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby Pneumant » 16 Jun 2013, 9:08am

I keep my computer set on 'max speed' when riding for pleasure and on 'clock' when commuting. I only look at the average speed at the ride end. It is what it is! High average speeds are attainable if you are riding in a strong forcing group or with a strong tailwind. Apart from that be happy with the 14-16 av as this is still good :D

Ant
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Re: Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby Ant » 16 Jun 2013, 9:38am

Is your commute 18 miles each way or round trip? Is the reason you want to up your average speed simply to get to work more quickly?

I ask because obviously that has relevance to some of the advice. For example, supple, lightweight tyres may up your speed somewhat, but then slow you down considerably when they puncture! Pushing for e extra few mph may also put you at an increased level of risk during commuting time.

FWIW my commute is 20 mile round trip and quite hilly. My average is consistently 15mph (measured over months to rule out blips where all the traffic lights are green or whatever). This breaks down to roughly 17.5mph in and 12.5mph home due to the relative height gains. Increasing this average is tough. On the way in I can really go for it and save a small amount of time, but this becomes stressful due to the risk issues. The biggest gain to be had is to push on the way home and attack the hills.

It should be clear form this description that being aero doesn't necessarily help due to the nature of my commute. Although that changes dramatically when the wind is up. Other routes I have taken also benefit more from aero aids, generally longer routes that follow valley bottoms.

Either way, the commuting work means that on a longer ride my average is much higher than it otherwise would be, although in my leisure time, I'm not counting!

Oh, and I agree with the earlier comment. 14-16mph on a commute is a good average! My car has a trip computer and it has only done 19 mph over the past few years!

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531colin
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Re: Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby 531colin » 16 Jun 2013, 12:03pm

samsbike wrote:............... I am doing a commute of around 18 miles and due to knee pain am taking it a lot easier..........


Sam, this knee pain has been going on far, far too long.

I think you are overdue to get it sorted out. Apart from the self-help stuff we have talked about in the past, there are loads of threads on here (like this one..http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=76671&hilit=pronator ) about bike fitters who can video you set up on your bike on their rig, to check if your knees track straight and all that stuff. I don't want to alarm you, but the longer you leave it, the more difficult it is to get yourself out of the habit of pedalling in a certain (wrong) way, and there is an outside chance that you just might do yourself some damage. A decent sports physio. can tell you whats happening to your knees, and show you exercises to build your knees strength and resilience.

Brucey
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Re: Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby Brucey » 16 Jun 2013, 12:25pm

+1 on that. I was scrutinising a freshly worn chainring yesterday, and it tells me very clearly that my legs don't work in the same way or equally hard. I put this down to an injury, years ago...probably I've ever been the same since, so yes, get it sorted.

cheers
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samsbike
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Re: Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby samsbike » 16 Jun 2013, 12:48pm

531colin wrote:
samsbike wrote:............... I am doing a commute of around 18 miles and due to knee pain am taking it a lot easier..........


Sam, this knee pain has been going on far, far too long.

I think you are overdue to get it sorted out. Apart from the self-help stuff we have talked about in the past, there are loads of threads on here (like this one..http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=76671&hilit=pronator ) about bike fitters who can video you set up on your bike on their rig, to check if your knees track straight and all that stuff. I don't want to alarm you, but the longer you leave it, the more difficult it is to get yourself out of the habit of pedalling in a certain (wrong) way, and there is an outside chance that you just might do yourself some damage. A decent sports physio. can tell you whats happening to your knees, and show you exercises to build your knees strength and resilience.


Colin, thanks for your concern, I am genuinely touched and will look into it. I was thinking of going to Cadence in Crystal Palace for my birthday in September.

Ant - I want to improve my average for 2 reasons - one to get to work quicker and secondly I like going fast.

My commute is about 18 miles each way and I don't go mad or agressive. I stop all the lights in C London, and unless don't go fast enough to scare myself. I am using M+ tires as having a puncture would just ruin my day. I have started taking the Euston road into London as its quicker, going through the back streets is OK, but drops the speed by nearly 1mph.

Also, on some stretches I just cannot believe how fast some people are.

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easyroller
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Re: Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby easyroller » 16 Jun 2013, 2:16pm

1) Pedal harder. Fitness is usually the biggest limiting factor.
2) Get lower. Lower the bars, get on the drops or use aero bars (probably not on a London commute).
3) Buy an aero bike. May only net you a tiny increase, but any excuse...

Ant
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Re: Getting more aerodynamic and increasing av speed

Postby Ant » 16 Jun 2013, 2:30pm

Hi again

Didn't know you had knee issues. Based on the route you are doing (and the little I know about that area!) then I would say unless your current bike is brick shaped then aero isn't going to speed you up dramatically. I would second any advice to consider your bike fit and knee problems as this is most likely where any improvement will be found...

One thing that does make a difference is luggage. Do you have panniers because I find that when the wind blows (so everyday basically) a wide pannier really catches it where a rack top bag or box doesn't seem to...