Category Archives: Cycling Tips

Cycling’s Secret Weapon

A friend and former Euro pro once called it “the most underrated cycling gear ever.”

It’s the humble bicycle trainer, used for cycling indoors.

But the secret is, don’t just ride it in winter, use it year-round for structured, no-nonsense workouts. It’s quick and efficient. I did two good workouts this week, each in less than 45 min.

The secret is to ride your trainer year-round for structured, no-nonsense workouts. Click To Tweet

Indoor Cycling for Comprehensive and Year-Round Training

The thing I love about indoor cycling is I can do leg strength easily. I use Bill Edwards’ progressive power training method for developing cycling-specific strength. (Save your gym membership fees and invest in a trainer, much more effective.)

The other big plus for is the ability to climb for as long as you want to, and not be limited by the topography in your area. (When I was racing I used to get on the trainer at lunch and grind away up Alpe d’Huez at least twice a week during my lunch hour. I’d have to fly to France to replicate that.)

Add to that you can do that day or night, wet or dry… and you can do it safely.

And… I’ve got a huge fan next to my bike that I’d say with iced bottles, air conditioning and the blast from my huge fan, keeps me cooler indoors than I’d be on the road. That means I can increase the work load and get in a better workout (similar to using supplemental oxygen).

BTW, I think a lot of people go wrong here. If you don’t keep cool, your power will lower, and you’re not going to get a quality workout. Invest in a good fan, and put your trainer below (or near) an air conditioning vent if possible, and hydrate!

Enjoy the outdoors, but think that’s the only way to get in a killer workout… all the good guys I raced with used trainers year round.

Which is the Best Bicycle Trainer?

There are a number of good trainers, from mag, fluid to electronic or “smart” trainers. (You can explore some the options available in the Cycling Store.)

I have a CompuTrainer, and it’s rock solid. The only thing I don’t like about it is the software and the controller, the trainer itself is bulletproof and will give you decades of hard use. But CompuTrainers are the original smart trainers, now decades old, and it shows.

Wahoo’s Kickr is one of the best, and maybe the best of all. I haven’t ridden every trainer out there, so I can’t say definitively, but it’s as solid as the CompuTrainer in construction, but with state of the art technology and software. It lets you do normal trainer workouts, Erg style workouts based on power, and ride courses and online with Zwift.

It’s compatible with Windows, iOS, Android and more. It connects to just about every app you could wish, WahooFitness, Strava, Zwift, TrainerRoad, Kinomap and ones I’ve never heard of.

Forget the trick wheels, it’s a trainer that will really lift your game.

Check out the stats on Wahoo’s Kickr.

How to Safely Pass a Cyclist

Chris Boardman and friends explain how to overtake a group of cyclists safely. While intended for a U.K. audience, it is just as applicable here in the U.S.

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Benefits of Beetroot

Beetroot has been gaining popularity as a super food and with good reason. Recent studies suggest it improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure, leading to improved athletic performance.

I happen to love beetroot, in all its forms. I regularly eat it on salad and have beetroot soup. Now I have another… make that about half a dozen reasons to eat and drink more beetroot.

MedicalNewsToday.com reports:

“Beetroot juice supplementation has been shown to improve muscle oxygenation during exercise, suggesting that increased dietary nitrate intake has the potential to enhance exercise tolerance during long-term endurance exercise.”

Source: Beetroot: Health Benefits and Nutritional Information

Cycling Performance and Beetroot

What does this mean for us cyclists?

In scientific tests carried out by Cermak, Gibala and van Loon, and reported in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition Exercise Metab., cyclists were able to improve their time trial performance significantly.

2012 Feb reports:

The authors tested the hypothesis that 6 d of nitrate ingestion would improve time-trial performance in trained cyclists. Using a double-blind, repeated-measures crossover design, 12 male cyclists (31±3 yr, VO2peak=58±2 ml·kg⁻¹·min⁻¹, maximal power [Wmax]=342±10 W) ingested 140 ml/d of concentrated beetroot (~8 mmol/d nitrate) juice (BEET) or a placebo (nitrate-depleted beetroot juice; PLAC) for 6 d, separated by a 14-d washout. After supplementation on Day 6, subjects performed 60 min of submaximal cycling (2×30 min at 45% and 65% Wmax, respectively), followed by a 10-km time trial.

Time-trial performance (953±18 vs. 965±18 s, p<.005) and power output (294±12 vs. 288±12 W, p<.05) improved after BEET compared with PLAC supplementation. Submaximal VO₂ was lower after BEET (45% Wmax=1.92±0.06 vs. 2.02±0.09 L/min, 65% Wmax 2.94±0.12 vs. 3.11±0.12 L/min) than with PLAC (main effect, p<.05).

Six days of nitrate supplementation reduced VO₂ during submaximal exercise and improved time-trial performance in trained cyclists.

Another study involving beetroot juice showed similar results, finding:

  • Beetroot juice increased plasma nitrate concentration from 293 ± 133 nM to 575 ± 199 nM (p < 0.05).  The placebo did not show an effect.
  • Beetroot juice significantly lowered systolic blood pressure (placebo = 131 ± 8 mmHg, beetroot juice = 125 ± 5 mmHg, p < 0.05).
  • Beetroot juice reduced the time it took for all subjects to complete the 4 km trial.  Average times were 6.43 ± 0.42 min at the familiarization trials and 6.27 ± 0.35 min with supplementation (p < 0.05).  The placebo did not have an effect (6.45 ± 0.42 min, p > 0.05).
  • Times were reduced for all subjects in the 16.1 km time trial with beetroot juice supplementation from 28.6 ± 2.4 min in the familiarization trial to 26.9 ± 1.8 min (p < 0.01).  The placebo had no effect (27.7 ± 2.1 min, p > 0.05).  This effect (mean time decrease of 2.8% in the 4-km trial and 2.7% in the 16-km trial) is much greater that the “smallest worthwhile change” (0.6%) proposed by another group of exercise scientists.
  • Beetroot juice increased power output 5% in the 4 km time trial and 6% in the 16.1 km time trial.
  • The power output: VO2 ratio was significantly elevated at the 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, and 4 km distances for the beetroot juice vs. placebo in the 4-km time trial. This ratio was also elevated above placebo (albeit not significantly) at distance measurement (taken every 2 km) during the 16-km time trial.

Roughly a 5-6% improvement in power just from drinking a juice, with no expensive aero helmets, skinsuits or trick wheels.

The good news doesn’t stop there.

MedicalNewsToday.com also reports other health benefits, beetroot counteracts inflammation, lowers glucose levels and oxygenates the brain helping fight dementia.

The Velo Logic store now stocks Beet IT Organic Shots . This bottled form provides a convenient way to get a performance and health boost anytime and anywhere.

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Superfood Shakes for Optimal Health and Performance

Nutrient-rich superfoods help support optimal training, performance and recovery…

It’s no secret that your body needs the right fuel to perform at its best. Fill the tank of a Lamborghini with paraffin and it’s not going anywhere. The athlete’s body is no different, in fact it has higher technical requirements that are hard to fulfill in today’s fast moving world, where time is a premium and we are surrounded by fast food choices that do anything but provide the fuel our bodies need and support hard workouts.

It can be costly and inconvenient to fuel your body with the full range of nutrients that it needs. Even the most diligent athletes and eaters can end up missing critical nutrients in their diet, leading to poor sleep, low energy and sub-optimal training and performance.

All-In-One Superfood Nutrition ShakeEnter Skoop. Skoop has developed a range of powered super nutrition shakes that are whole-food and plant-based. They are designed to be convenient and provide the diverse range of nutrients your body needs to function at its full capacity, and to recover quickly and stay strong and healthy.

Now available in the Velo Logic Store under Nutrition:

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Cool Gifts for Cyclists
"The Amazing Machine" tee shirt highlights what a simple but fascinating machine the bicycle really is with the quote: "an ever-saddled horse that never eats."
Unique and Cool Gifts for Cyclists A collection of unique gift ideas for the cyclist in your life, sure to amuse, entertain and thrill. These are gifts that will remind them of their passion and of you for years to come. Read: Gift Ideas for Cyclists  

Great Gifts for Cyclists

Unique gifts ideas for the cyclist and health and fitness enthusiast in your life

Here’s a few gift ideas for the favorite cyclist in your life…

Cycling Christmas Cards

Cycling Christmas Card
Stand out from the crowd with a unique and fun Christmas card that pays homage to the widespread popularity of cycling. Save when you buy 10 or more.

“The Amazing Bicycle” Wood Wall Art

Cycling Wood Wall Art - Unique gifts for cyclists
Your guests will  gravitate towards it, cyclists and non-cyclists alike. Striking and thought provoking, it rekindles the wonder in the simple but efficient bicycle.

“The Amazing Bicycle” Stone Coasters

Cycling Coaster - bicycle coasters make your drinks taste better.
The bicycle is a truly an amazing machine, and these stylish stone coasters capture it perfectly and add a touch of class and fun to any room. Choose from a range of stones so you can get the look you want, rugged or refined. Available in marble, limestone, travertine, and sandstone.

“The Amazing Bicycle” Tshirts

Cycling Tshirt with Striking Vintage Illustration
Rekindle the fascination of the humble bicycle with this striking and thought-provoking design. Available in light and dark designs.

The Perfect Watch for Cyclists

Custom cycling watch, stainless steel
Keep your priorities straight with this watch reminding you it’s “always time to ride”.

iPhone 6 Tough Case

Tough Xtreme iPhone 6 Case for Cyclists
Our most popular item, so popular you’ll wish you’d bought two, one to gift and one for yourself.


Long Sleeve Tee Shirt

Great Gifts for Cyclists - cycling christmas cards, tshirts, watches and more....
This lightweight but warm tee is perfect for lounging around or a casual night out.

Complete Bike Repair and Maintenance Video Course

Ultimate Bicycle Repair and Maintenance Video Course
Get quick access to an video encyclopedia of bicycle repairs that covers you in every situation, and teaches you insider’s tips and short cuts used by the pros. And if you’ve ever considered becoming a pro bike mechanic, then this comprehensive library of videos from pro bike mechanics covers everything you need to know, from road bikes to mountain bikes and more.

Visit the Velo Logic store for more cycling gift ideas…

Tweak This To Gain 30 Watts… maybe more

Think much about your tires? You really should, because your choice of tire can make a huge difference in the amount of power you have available for speed. After overcoming air resistance, your biggest foe is rolling resistance, and depending on the tire you ride, that can vary by as much as 59 watts!

Yep, nearly 60 watts more can be squandered through a poor tire choice.

Velo News went to the top lab in the world for testing rolling resistance, the labs of Wheel Energy Oy, and tested 34 popular tires to see how they perform at 25 mph under load.

The results are interesting. The difference between the best performing tire (Specialized S-Works Turbo Road Tubeless) and the worst (Schwalbe Durano) is 28 watts. But wait, there’s more! Since you have two tires, that’s only half the story, so double that… you have nearly 60 watts more power required to maintain 25 mph.

Before I switched to tubulars, I used to love Vittoria’s Corsa EVO CX open tubular, they felt fast and handled well, but they were expensive and I had bad luck with them and split a tire too often so went back to Michelin Pros. Big mistake, they’re way down the list at #27. Over the course of an hour long race where speeds are around 30 mph, that must have cost me quite a bit in watts. Compared to the top tire it’s a 30 watts penalty. At race speeds a lot more.

Of course it’s not all about rolling resistance. On my TT bike I did make an effort to choose low rolling resistance tires. On my road bike I would look for handling and durability, and switch to my Easton Carbon wheels sporting tubulars for racing. But rolling resistance is still a huge factor in racing or riding at your limits. If you’re in a break and rotating how’s an extra boost of 20, 30, maybe 40 watts going to feel? Pretty damn good. And could well mean the difference between staying in or dropping out.

BTW, I learned the hard way, Rule #1 of Racing: Never, ever, EVER… get dropped from the f&%#ing break!

The article is fairly technical, but worth a read if you want to appreciate the what goes into a good tire. the bottom line?

“If you want reliability and good rolling resistance, wide tubeless tires with sealant are the way to go. If punctures are not an issue, and you want pure speed and grip without having to worry too much about tire pressure, go with an open tubular with a great tread compound.”

What Makes Tires Fast?

Get Even Faster….

And if you want to save not just 30 watts, but get faster and save $83 dollars, then check this out. I have a CompuTrainer and I love it, but if I was starting over, I’d save a bundle and get this, and then join Zwift which provides a much better ride experience than CompuTrainer, and at a 1/3 of the price.

Revealed: Team Wiggins Nutrition Secrets for Cyclists

If you want to perform at your best, and get the most from your training, then listen up….

Team Wiggins nutritionist David Dunne, spills the beans on how to fuel your body for max recovery and performance, and suggests some great meals and recipes.

The message is that the type of training determines the fuel. Rule #1 for instance, recommends not loading up on carbs for a long, steady ride where you are targeting physical adaption not performance; instead go with a high protein meal that supports muscle regrowth.

Worth a read… and may stop you chugging down sugar-loaded energy bars in favor of some real food.

Revealed: Team Wiggins Nutrition Secrets

How to Winter Proof Your Bike

Spending a little time and money on keep your bike well maintained can save a ton of time and money down the road. Here’s some simple things you can do to minimize wear and keep your bike in tip top shape. Global Cycling Network has the scoop…

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Bicycle Maintenance Repair Videos

From Novice to Pro, Bicycle Upgrade, Maintenance and Repair Instruction You Can Trust

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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.

If you want to have an entire video encyclopedia of bicycle repairs at your fingertips, that covers you in every situation, then this package is worth a close look.

"Much easier to follow than a book, comprehensive, and loaded with insider tips and shortcuts... these DVDs belong on every cyclist's bookshelf." -Velo Logic

Learn more about the DIY Bike Repair Course

SRAM’s eTap Simplifies the Shift

Mastering Your Mindset for Improved Cycling Performance

A quick follow up to yesterday’s post on mindset…. Out soon, a promising new book on maximizing performance with your mind. It’s available for pre-order now, check it out:

How Bad Do You Want It? Mastering the psychology of mind over muscle by Matt Fitzgerald

SRAM Simplifies the Shift

SRAM Red eTAp

When you think about it, shifting gears on a bike is confusing as heck, levers work differently depending on whether you shifting front chain rings or rear sprockets. That made sense given the mechanical and human constraints. Electronic shifting has removed those limitations yet shift logic remained the same. Until now.

VeloNews reports on the simple intuitiveness of SRAM’s new eTap shift logic versus traditional shifting:

Shimano: On the right side, press the bottom paddle for a harder gear and the upper button for an easier gear. On the left side, push the upper button for a harder gear, and the lower paddle for an easier gear.

SRAM eTap: Press the right button for a harder gear, the left button for an easier gear, and both for a front shift.

Source: SRAM’s  eTap: Shifting Finally Makes Sense

Read SRAM’s announcement on the new technology:

Introducing SRAM’s Red eTap