“Battle Mountain: Graeme Obree’s Storyfollows Scottish cycling legend, double world hour record holder and world 4k pursuit champion Graeme Obree on his quest to challenge for the world land speed record at Battle Mountain in Nevada in 2013, cycling the bike that he built in his kitchen, his tools of choice being his mind, hands and eyes in preparation for his race against teams employing the latest computer simulation technology and world leading aerodynamics experts.
Whether you want to learn more about your bike, feel confident on the road, save money, or you're considering becoming a pro bike mechanic, this bicycle repair course has got you covered.
Taught by pro bike mechanics and packed with insider shortcuts and tips, it covers everything from minor repairs to the heavy stuff... and makes it easy to follow along, step-by-step, so you're never confused or wondering what to do next.
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Designed by architectural firm Perkins + Will, the new SRAM office space is open, flooded with light and bike-friendly. There’s a 1/8 mile “test track” connecting all the office space, so bikes can be tested in the office.
Nacer Bouhanni and Michael Matthews collide in Paris-Nice and somehow manage to keep it upright.
After officials reviewed the footage, Nacer Bouhanni was relegated to third position.
Snow Day for the Peloton
Stage 3 of Paris-Nice was cancelled due to heavy snow. VeloNews reports:
Snow and cold forced organizers to cancel Wednesday’s third stage at Paris-Nice. Conditions worsened midway through the seven-climb stage, prompting officials to neutralize, and then cancel the stage.
“The road was very slippery and safe conditions could not be assured,” the ASO’s Christian Prudhomme said, explaining the decision to first neutralize and then cancel the stage. Road conditions worsened as the course climbed the Cote des Écharmeaux at 714m (2,343 feet), a little more than halfway through the lumpy, 168km third stage from Cusset to Mont Brouilly.
Don’t you hate it when your shifts start stuttering? You shift but the chain just won’t comply. It’s annoying! It sure doesn’t enhance the ride, and it doesn’t do your cassette or chain rings any good either!
As frustrating as they are, those little things are easy to fix when you know how.
If you want step-by-step guidance on setting up your shifting perfectly, and other jobs, from big to small… and want to know how to keep your bike running silky smooth… there’s no better resource than pro bike mechanic Dave Delgado’s Easy Bike Repair Course.
Use it to save money… or to learn the trade
Whether you want to dip in now and then and fix annoying issues, perform major upgrades, or go through it systematically and learn the insider secrets and in-depth know-how to become a pro bike mechanic yourself, this thorough and in depth bike repair course has you covered.
Possibly the fastest way for anyone to learn bike repair. And you can do it all from the privacy of your home.”
– Bicycling Magazine
Stuck? Get free one-on-one support. For a limited time, Dave is offering one-on-one support with the course. He will answer your questions if you get stuck or need help in any way. It’s like being on a pro team with your own mechanic on call.
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Save money while you learn the insiders tricks to keeping your bike singing like a pro’s bike… what’s not to like?
P.S. I don’t know about you, but I have tried repair books, and videos blow them away for this kind of instruction. Even Googling videos is hit and miss, you get the mumblers, the guy who rambles and takes 20 min to do a 2 min job… and then I wonder if he really knows what he’s doing. Maybe there’s a better way. With Dave’s professionally filmed course you get to fix, maintain and upgrade your bikes fast and save… and there’s no doubt that you’re doing it right.
Cycling in Tokyo is a bit of a paradox. There’s only about 6 miles of cycling lanes in Tokyo, a tiny amount for a huge international city, yet many people ride their bikes in this densely populated city without a second thought. Why?
I remember the moment a few years ago while watching TV when I realized that if I were riding in the Tour de France, at age 42 I’d be the oldest person in the race. It hit me that my dream of racing in cycling’s biggest event was over…it was not going to happen.
Not that I’d been competing, let alone training seriously, on the bike for a number of years.
Or that not even in my “prime” years for competitive cycling would I have been good enough. It’s just that now I had an excuse…. I was too old, too far past my prime years.
So what happened? Is there a physiological reason people in their mid-40’s are no longer able to compete at the professional level in most sports, or is it a constellation of challenges, such as the time devoted to training, motivation, managing kids’ schedules or busy work demands?
“I’m old” is the common refrain for why we get worse at athletics as we age. But here’s what’s really happening in the body through the years to make world-class performance less possible. And, interestingly, there are a few physiological elements that contribute to athleticism that don’t seem as affected by aging.
The ‘sweet-spot’ age
In most sports, there is an age “sweet spot,“ at which the combination of physical, technical and strategic abilities comes together.
In most sports, this age sweet spot falls in the mid-20’s to early 30’s. Although there have been numerous examples of Olympians competing, and sometimes winning medals, over the age of 50, the vast majority of these come from sports requiring exceptional skill and less aerobic or anaerobic power, such as the shooting events, sailing, equestrian and fencing.
For endurance events, the upper cap for competing at the sport’s highest levels appears to be around the age of 40.
Chris Horner won the 2013 edition of the Vuelta a Espana, Spain’s version of the Tour de France, just shy of his 42nd birthday, making him the oldest winner of a Grand Tour in cycling.
The oldest Olympic marathon winner was the 38-year-old Romanian athlete Constantina Dita Tomescu, competing at the Beijing Olympic Games.
Dara Torres, at the age of 41 in 2008, is the oldest swimmer to compete in the history of the Olympics, missing the gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle by hundredths of a second. But these examples are the exceptions, not the rule.
Dara Torres during US Olympic swimming trials in 2012. Jeff Haynes/Reuters
Age changes how our bodies use oxygen
One big reason we see declines in aerobic (or endurance) athletic performance with age is that our bodies can’t use oxygen as effectively.
The maximal ability to utilize oxygen (VO2max) is a predictor of endurance performance across ages. VO2max is a numerical value that describes how much oxygen your body can use per kilogram of body weight.
VO2max is affected by how well your body can bring oxygen into the lungs, how well this is carried in our blood to the working muscles, and how much oxygen the muscles can use to fuel contraction.
Exercise can improve all of these, and the higher the VO2max, the more “aerobically fit” a person is. That is, they can do more endurance work for their body weight.
In the general population, VO2max tends to decline by about 10% per decade after the age of 30. Athletes who continue to compete and train hard can reduce the drop by about half, to 5% per decade after the age of 30.
The reason VO2max declines with age is that our maximal heart rates go down as well.
Maximal heart rate is the highest heart rate in beats per minute one can achieve during increasing intensity of endurance exercise. It is often roughly predicted as “220 – age = maximal heart rate.” Although the actual maximal heart rate for a given person is highly variable, as you age, your maximal heart rate decreases, whether you are a highly fit athlete or a couch potato.
And this decrease reduces both cardiac output and oxygen delivery to the muscles, which translates to a lower VO2max and thus to lower performance in endurance events as we age.
Even if oxygen delivery to muscles goes down, the ability of your muscles to efficiently utilize the oxygen they do get relative to a given workload (this is called exercise economy) is well maintained into our 60’s and 70’s, though total muscle mass tends to decline as we age, and can contribute to declines in performance as well.
In terms of competitive endurance exercise, rowers have shown the least decline in VO2max with age, but the difference to other sports isn’t huge. And it might be because rowing is a lower-impact sport than cycling (with crashes) and running (constant pounding).
Some evidence suggest that for sports that require high levels of strength or power, like weightlifting, age-related limitations may reside in our skeletal muscles, those muscles that move our bones and joints.
For competitive weightlifters over the age of 40 (masters level), performance drops more precipitously than it does for endurance athletes such as runners, swimmers and cyclists. That’s likely because weightlifting draws on type II muscle fibers (called “fast-twitch” muscles) to produce strength and power. Research indicates that these cells decline in number and function with age.
These age-related declines are not as obvious in type I muscles, those muscle fibers most associated with endurance-type exercise.
Recovery can take longer
As they age, many athletes complain that the ability to recover from hard bouts of exercise diminishes.
This can affect the intensity and volume of training of all athletes. But in many contact sports, such as professional American football or rugby, recovering from injuries and the cumulative effects of hard hits becomes the limiting factor in continuing to play at the highest level.
For instance, last season there were only two people in the NFL, Sav Rocca of the Washington Redskins and Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts, playing in their 40’s.
Injuries take their toll on people playing non-contact sports as well. For masters athletes, experiencing more training-associated injuries leads to reduced training intensity and volume, and thus poorer performance come race day.
Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri. Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters
Better training can help you stay at your peak longer
Although all athletes will eventually lose the age versus performance race, with better training and recovery practices, in the coming years we likely will begin to see more athletes in their 40’s remaining competitive at the highest levels of sport. By “training smarter, not harder,” athletes can reduce the chances of injuries, maximize gains from training and minimize the effects of aging.
Older athletes need longer to recover and adapt to a training stimulus, so workout planning needs to change with age.
Cross-training, such as weightlifting and yoga, can help to maintain muscle mass and flexibility, and reduce overuse injuries in endurance athletes.
An emphasis on “active recovery” strategies (an easy run or swim on your rest days) and improved sleeping habits are important for athletes of all ages, but become essential for older athletes.
Performance decline isn’t just about physical changes, however. As we age, our intrinsic motivation to train diminishes. Even in athletes, the motivation to train may shift somewhat from setting personal records to remaining active and healthy. And that’s a great motivation for any athlete at any age.
You do not have to suffer a decline in performance as you age, not if you training right. Fast After 50 is a complete training program to keep you racing competitively no matter how old you are. Clear and authoritative, Friel gives you clear guidance and a plan to keep you performing at your best. Stay Fast and Feared After 50!
However, the stability – that is, the ability to remain balanced – of a bicycle with a rider is more difficult to quantify and describe mathematically, especially since rider ability can vary widely. My colleagues and I brought expert and novice riders into the lab to investigate whether they use different balancing techniques.
The physics of staying upright on a bicycle
A big part of balancing a bicycle has to do with controlling the center of mass of the rider-bicycle system. The center of mass is the point at which all the mass (person plus bicycle) can be considered to be concentrated. During straight riding, the rider must always keep that center of mass over the wheels, or what’s called the base of support – an imaginary polygon that connects the two tire contacts with the ground.
Bicycle riders can use two main balancing strategies: steering and body movement relative to the bike. Steering is critical for maintaining balance and allows the bicycle to move to bring the base of support back under the center of mass. Imagine balancing a broomstick on one hand – steering a bicycle is equivalent to the hand motions required to keep the broomstick balanced. Steering input can be provided by the rider directly via handlebars (steering torque) or through the self-stability of the bicycle, which arises because the steer and roll of a bicycle are coupled; a bicycle leaned to its side (roll) will cause a change in its steer angle.
Body movements relative to the bicycle – like leaning left and right – have a smaller effect than steering, but allow a rider to make balance corrections by shifting the center of mass side to side relative to the bicycle and base of support.
Steering is absolutely necessary to balance a bicycle, whereas body movements are not; there is no specific combination of the two to ensure balance. The basic strategy to balance a bicycle, as noted by Karl von Drais (inventor of the Draisine), is to steer into the undesired fall.
Newbies versus pros
While riders have been described using mathematical equations, the equations are not yet useful for understanding the differences between riders of different ability levels or for predicting the stability of a given rider on a given bicycle.
Therefore, the goal of my colleagues’ and my recent work was to explore the types of control used by both novice and expert riders and to identify the differences between the two groups. In our study, expert riders identified themselves as skilled cyclists, went on regular training rides, belonged to a cycling club or team, competed several times per year, and had used rollers for training indoors. Novice riders knew how to ride a bicycle but did so only occasionally for recreation or transportation and did not identify themselves as experts.
We conducted our experiments in a motion capture laboratory, where the riders rode a typical mountain bike on rollers. Rollers constrain the bicycle in the fore-aft direction but allow free lateral (left-right) movement. They require a bicycle rider to maintain balance by pedaling, steering and leaning, as one would outdoors.
We mounted sensors and used a motion capture system to measure the motion of the bicycle (speed, steering angle and rate, roll angle and rate) and the steering torque used by the rider. A force platform underneath the rollers allowed us to calculate the lateral position of the center of mass relative to the base of support; that let us determine how a rider was leaning.
We found that both novice and expert riders exhibit similar balance performance at slow speeds. But at higher speeds, expert riders achieve superior balance performance by employing smaller but more effective body movements and less steering. Regardless of speed, expert riders use smaller and less varying steering inputs and less body movement variation.
We conclude that expert riders are able to use body movements more effectively than novice riders, which results in reducing the demand for both large corrective steering and body movements.
Despite our work and that of others in the field, there is still much to be learned about how humans ride and balance bicycles. Most research, including ours, has been limited to straight line riding, which only makes up a fraction of a typical bicycle ride.
Our work reveals measurable differences between riders of different skill levels. But their meaning is unclear. Are the differences linked to a higher risk of crashing for the novice riders? Or do the differences simply reflect a different style of control that gets fine-tuned through hours and hours of training rides?
Ideally, we would like to identify the measurements that quantify the balance performance, control strategy and fall risk of a rider in the real world.
With such measurements, we could identify riders at high risk of falling, explore the extent to which bicycle design can reduce fall risk and increase balance performance, and develop the mathematical equations that describe riders of different skill levels.
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