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How To Cycle Faster On The Flat

How To Cycle Faster On The Flat


– Looking for tips on how
to squeeze out more speed while riding on flat roads? Well, look no further. We’re going to break down every aspect of fast, flat rides, give
you all the tools you need to turn all that good old fashioned effort into speed. (upbeat music) Right, first things first, we cyclists need to understand
what we’re working against and what we’re working with
when it comes to fast riding on flat roads. Because, there’s loads of external forces that come into play. Like, wind resistance,
rolling resistance, friction and inertia. But, it is worth mentioning,
we can’t totally eliminate all these aspects. But, what we can do is minimize
the negative consequences. So, what’s the biggest thing we can do to get some free speed? Whoa! (upbeat music) Aerodynamic drag is by
far the biggest barrier when it comes to finding speed. It makes up around 90% of the resistance that we feel. So how can we minimize that? First off, look at our position. We can bend our arms, make
us that little bit longer, lower our heads, even move
our hands down to the drops. These subtle changes can
make up to 33 watts saving, going 30 kilometers per hour. But, you have to be able
to put the power out through the pedals. There’s no point being super aerodynamic, but not being comfortable
or not being able to put the power out. So, there’s that balance. But, definitely aerodynamics
is absolutely key. (triumphant music) You can also make some
changes to your bike, stripping off any unwanted accessories like big bags or lights
or panniers or bottles, that kind of thing. You want to keep your
bike nice and streamlined. You can also buy some speed. By far the best place to
start is your handle bars. You can get some nice aerodynamic ones, which sit you in a lower
and aerodynamic position. Another upgrade you can make and have a much cooler looking bike, is swapping out your wheels. You can go for some deeper rims, which will be more aerodynamic, but remember not all
wheels are created equal. Now, don’t neglect your
clothing and helmet. You can get a more aerodynamic lid, but you could also go for
some fitting cycling clothing that’ll cut through the
air that bit faster, and to be honest, it’ll be a lot cheaper than going for some deep
section carbon fiber wheels. (upbeat music) So, we’re more aerodynamic
and we’re going faster for the same effort, but how can we make that effort more effective? With some pacing. Now, we can only put a
certain amount of power out at any given times, so we
need to make the most of it. So, what we want to do is to
not go too hard, too soon. For example, we have a 20
kilometer flat road ride, we want to try and keep the same speed for the first couple of
kilometers as the last, create a nice even effort. Now, do remember, the
first couple of kilometers will feel a lot easier than the last. Now, it’s inevitable that you might have some roll hurdles, maybe some climbs unless you live in Holland. And to pace that, you
have to go a little harder up the climb and over the top and that is because our old
nemesis wind resistance. (upbeat music) Another force we as
cyclists need to overcome is rolling resistance. Rolling resistance being the friction between your tires and the road surface. The smoother road surface,
well, the faster you will go. If you’re riding on smooth
surfaces like the ones we’re riding on today, then a harder tire pressure is optimal. But, in the real world,
well roads aren’t as smooth as this one. So you might want to
adapt your tire pressure, go for a bit softer. Harder tire pressure on rough surfaces will send vibrations through your bike and through your body and
it means you’ve got to put more power out to overcome it and it actually, you need more power to overcome than if
your tire was deforming. So, basically in simple
terms, it all depends on what surface you’re riding on, depends on what tire pressure you need. So, if you’re a 75
kilogram rider for example, and you’re riding 25 millimeter tires, then we would suggest you go for around 70 to 100 PSI. You could also buy some
things to reduce the friction, for example, you can get some new tires. I’ve got the GB 5000’s
that are among the fastest out there, but you could also
go for some latex inter tubes and that will also minimize your friction. (upbeat music) So, we’re more aero and
we’re more efficient, but now we need to focus on our engine. After all, if we can’t put out the power, then we’re not going to go very fast. Now, there’s loads of
different ways to train, but we suggest you look at two areas. One, short, sharp, hard effort. And the other, building
the size of your engine for those sustained efforts
for around 15 minutes. Start off with some turbo-tastic training. One to four minutes, full gas, but make sure you’re fully recovered before you do it again. And then, building the sustained power. So that’s 20 minute efforts of around 80% of your perceived effort. Now, riding fast on the
flat can be really good fun, because you can keep it more casual. You can do it in the middle of a ride. Find a nice piece of flat
road, wind up the power and put in the good effort. It’s actually something that I actually have grinded as a pro. It was all about numbers, intervals, but now I can go hard
and fast whenever I want. (upbeat music) Next up, specialization. By far the best thing to do, if you want to be good at that one thing, is to train doing that exact thing. For example, if you want
to be good on the climbs, then train on the climbs. And the same works for
if you want to go fast on the flat. Climbing will make you good and strong, but you’re pedaling in
an aerodynamic position, so that’s the first difference. The second is how you put the power out through the pedals when you’re climbing is different to when the
bike is going at speed. And now that’s all to do with inertia. I hope you enjoyed this
video, but after all practice makes perfect, so go
out and spend some more time on it, because then you’ll be able to squeeze more speed out of yourself. If there’s anything that we have missed, then do let us know in
the comment section below. If you enjoyed this video, then give it a big thumbs up. For more how to’s, click on the bike.

81 comments on “How To Cycle Faster On The Flat

  1. I appreciate you bringing your riding set-up one step closer to reality – too many of the GCN presenters do videos without a saddle-bag, and without their jersey pockets bulging with the gear that isn't in their missing saddle bags. We ride flats, here, and the reality is that – because we're moving so fast – we NEED the front lights on, despite their aero inefficiency, because so many vehicles pull out in front of us. They either are mis-judging our approach speed (30 to 40 KPH) or aren't seeing us, but one thing is certain – having a bright white flashing LED during the day time reduces the instances of motorists pulling out in front of us. The extra speed on flat sections requires the front light unless one is somewhere with no driveways or side-access roads.

  2. How go faster on the flats in November?
    Leave the UK and head to Spain so your kit can be as light, minimal and aero as possible….

  3. i find that there is way too much attention to tire pressure.On road,off road,gravel and everything in between..Just put air in the tires and ride.lol.

  4. 3:36 There are quite a few climbs in Holland too if you live near the triangle of Belgium, NL and Germany. This is where Amstel Gold Race takes place.

  5. You're trying to show someone who lives in Norfolk about going fast on the flat!! 😂🤣 
    A Canyon Aeroad, sit on the aero hoods are you best bet. I'm 2 meters tall and 100kgs and 95psi rear, 85 front, also sit at low end threshold (my threshold is 145-157 bpm and I sit at 148-153) and I can avg 21-22mph all day (well a 4 hour ride anyway) on a good day I can do 23mph avg over about 40 miles.

  6. If you aren't a pro, save your money and mentally add a few KPH to your ride. Would you then be pro? No. Ok, money saved

  7. I would love love love a video on proper pedaling mechanics. I see so many cyclists out there who simply don’t know how to pedal for maximum efficiency.

  8. Lmao they're making the same videos again
    they made 3 videos called "how to cycle faster" and now this is the second viceo called " how to cycle faster on the flat"

  9. Towards the end of the video, Hank began to expound on the difference between pedalling uphill and going fast on the flat and I thought finally we are getting somewhere! And then the video ended. Could you pick up on the ending and do a sequel, please?

  10. I would start with wheels and your own nutrition / training, these two things should make the biggest differences to riding in general.

  11. Btw. – nothing can be "more aerodynamic". Or less aerodynamic. Aerodynamics describe the behaviour of moving objects in air. (Or moving air aroung objects. Or both) An elephant is not "less aerodynamic" than a hawk. He got a shape that isn't suited to fly through the air quickly, it is aerodynamically less optimal. But not "less aerodynamic". Maybe the next time I'll lose a pound of bodyweight I should say I've become more gravitational?

  12. Nice video, James. Good tips with real-world application. Sadly, where I live the roads are either up or down. I have to drive at least 25 miles to get to a place with more than 1 or 2 km of flat roads. 🤷‍♂️

  13. 70 psi? Seems like a formula for a dinged rim . I understand 100 psi instead of 120 . Doesn’t the tire squirm on fast corners?

  14. I hear this all the time about air pressure. Even flat roads have turns . Won’t the tire squirm in a fast corner? It also seems like very little protection for a rim . And wouldn’t you be more prone to snakebite flats ? That’s a sweet bike James!💀

  15. 1. Need some metal jams
    2. Scream
    3. Be subtle
    4. Strip some stuff off
    5. Spend some money more or less
    6. More cool guitar riff
    7. Flat roads with tail wind
    8. Don't resist
    9. Train or something
    10. Be special

  16. Most people really neglect the effects of clothing. The aerodynamic difference between a so-so fitting shirt (when you feel material under your arms on your sides, or on your neck flapping at speed) and a really snug fitting one can easily neglect the advantages of your new aero wheelset.

  17. I think cycling is a mind game just as much as a good cycling technique because if you don’t have your mind focused on your cycle, no amount of talent and technique will get anywhere if your mind is screaming stop or this is not worth it.

  18. How do you guys capture high quality audio while on the bike? Are you just recording to a Zoom ZH1 or something, in your jersey pocket?

  19. What's the measurable impact of using semi slick and knobbly tires on gravel bike for road versus a road bike of similar geometry? Since you mentioned 90% of resistance is from wind. Very curious. Let us know.

  20. What has the lowest rolling resistance between tubulars, clinchers with latex tubes, and tubeless? And how much power do you lose between each?

  21. When i have a really good run and I'm thinking – yeah finally I feel what I have trained so hard for THEN I get smashed from strong head winds on the way home 😛

  22. Never mind an aero bike, YOU are the biggest point of drag on a bike, if you can get low then do it, lengthen stem and drop the saddle so you can tilt the hips..

  23. new pavement (smooth as glass), fully pumped tires, no bottles, aero crouch are the main ingredients for a Strava KOM attempt and most importantly….

    30+ kmh tailwind 🙂

  24. For me, the greatest increase in speed, came from getting low and flat, and trying to sustain that position for the longest time. So besides cycling, it was stretching, and nutrition.

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