9 Practical Tips For Cycling In Rain…

Usually I don’t do this but today I went biking even when drizzling… and it wasn’t worse than a light rain during the whole ride (somehow I felt that it won’t start to rain too much and I was right…). However, there’s some magic in cycling in rain…

Even when I used to race I loved racing in rain… of course most of the time it was quite cold as wearing a jacket would slow me down… so the best feeling at all was to ride behind another rider and trying to catch water splashing from his back wheel… it was SOOO WARM! 🙂

 

So why you might change your mind and start biking in rain?

  • It’s a challenge
  • It’s so easy to follow your training plan if you don’t care about rain
  • No need to take a shower after a ride
  • You don’t feel too hot
  • A hot tea after ride tastes the best (and you are allowed to add a bit of rum too)
  • It’s so romantic!

 

Here Are Some Tips To Survive Rain

Watch out when it starts to rain. It doesn’t look so but the road is the most slippery – even more whet it’s full of water. It’s because of dust mixed with some water that creates a slippery layer on the road.

Turns: Watch out there! A good tip is not to use your front brake at all once you start sloping… I have learnt this by experience… you can imagine 🙂

Clothes: Use neoprene shoe covers, a rain jacket (or if you are commuting there is a special rain coat that you can also put over your handlebars to keep your legs relatively dry), glasses! or a cycling hat under your helmet to cover your eyes…

Waterproof pants are a great tip by “Team Estrogen” Have you tried it?

Fenders: Use a winter bike with fenders for riding in the rain. Fenders will save you from getting wet and you will save your racing bike too.

Light: Always use a front and a back light as the visibility is much much lover when raining.

Think of your phone – I bet you don’t want it to get too wet… use a special waterproof cover, put it into a waterproof bag below your seat or if not just put it to your pants… You can even take out the battery.

If you don’t want to get sick the most important are the first minutes after the ride… The procedure goes like this. Remember it 🙂 1. Get water ready for a tea 2. Prepare a bath 3. Put a tea bag into the water 4.Take a HOT SHOWER 5. Drink the tea… Follow these steps and nothing can happen to you… (PS: If you are really really wet you might be allowed to add a drop of rum into the tea…)

I don’t need to tell you to watch a weather forecast do I? So if it looks risky just don’t go too far.

 

So Are You #CyclingInTheRain or You Are a #RainWheenie?

13 Best Motivational Songs for Cycling

You are getting ready for your big race or you are going to train hard today? Hey… you cannot go just like that! The best performance needs the best motivation.

And this is why I put together the most energetic and epic motivational songs out there. I tried to include different genres but all of them will tune you up for winning…

I think all the riders are singing themself some song during riding and it really helps to build a tempo and even forget the pain… find your mantra that helps you in the hardest moments, remember why you are doing what you are doing and sing to yourself.

You are getting on your bike and you know that nobody can beat you because -you are the anti-crist-

 

The race has started and suddenly heavy rain starts but you don’t stop, you go even faster with every single drop because -now you know only you can stop the rain!-

 

First few riders got to escape but the race has only started for you –cause you are the champion and they gonna hear you ROAR-

 

Here comes the hardest climb. Everybody is exhausted but you know that -7 nation army couldn’t hold you back-

 

You are standing up from the saddle and you escaped from the bunch. You are -risin’ up, straight to the top … went the distance now you are not gonna stop, just a man and his will to survive…-

 

and you know you -can’t stop-

 

You pulled yourself to the leading group and you reached the top with them and now you need to downhill like this guy:

Sail – Awolnation

 

Your downhill was tremendous you are riding solo on the front but you need to keep going against the wind as the bunch is catching you up. There is still 20 kilometers to go. -what’s in your head? ZOMBIE, ZOMBIE, ZOMBIE-

 

Now you got angry -make it burn them!-

 

Last 10 kilometers you need to give the best of you! but you already know that -they won’t get you- (Dave Zabriskie claimed he was singing this song to himself when he won a solo breakaway during the Tour of Spain a couple of years back…)

Out ta’ get me – Guns N’ Roses

 

You are 30 seconds ahead and it’s the last kilometer, you only need to -carry on-

 

And you know that -you will be victorious-

 

And you are…

For a next blog post I will list the best songs for your tempo training so subscribe not to miss it… If you are not satisfied with this choice of songs raise your voice below. (And I am definitely missing some good rock-n-roll so let me know what should I add)

Why Should I Use Clip Pedals? Explained for Beginners

If you are a beginning cyclist you’ve probably noticed clipless pedals being used by many other cyclists. Perhaps you are even thinking about purchasing them. In my opinion, you should definitely go for them right now. Clipless pedals in combination with cycling shoes are very important for a rider to be able to use the most of their energy of a pedal stroke. It will take your biking experience from recreational to sport biking immediately and you will be even be able to burn more calories.

The fact is that normal pedals allow you to apply energy only while pushing down. However, your pedals and cranks force your feet to move in a circular way. It meens that without clipless pedals you’re not applying energy to the drivetrain about 1/3 of time of every pedal stroke. If you multiply this by 60-100 revolutions per minute… it means that there are huge losses adding up.

Why is only pushing down bad for you?

  • You are not able to keep up your speed
  • Your tempo is not so stable
  • You are using less muscles
  • You burn less calories
  • Your legs get tired much faster

How to Ride With Clip Pedals?

Along with a proper breathing technique, a proper circular pedal stroke can help you get much more of your training. Once you bike with clipless pedals you are not only limited to pushing down but can apply power through 360 degrees of rotation.

Can and Do…aren’t all that easy.

The next thing you should focus on is to apply your force circularly, for longer and longer periods of time. When you apply powerto the pedals, try to find the blind spots in your stroke. You will see that you are going faster and much more fluidly.

And don’t be afraid, using clip pedals is not dangerous. Taking your leg from off the pedal is very intuitive. However, make sure to learn how to unclip the pedals while holding a wall before you go for your first ride. I am much more uncertain when not having them because I feel that my feet can slip away.

I hope that I helped some of you with this post. If you want to receive the next ones on your email simply subscribe.

Photo by jtcdesign

Eiffel Bike: The Only Piece in The World

The Eifel Bike or just C-Thru? The turn of the last 20thcentury gave birth to many innovations. In combination, mass produced steel, steam power, as well as Space frame and cantileverstructures, enabled engineering colossi likeBrunel and Eiffel to change forever, the scope of both the imagined and the lived world. Oceans were to be crossed at speed, canyons and rivers spanned, hills overshadowed and finally, entering the 20th century, the skies were set to be conquered. To achieve these firsts, required the strength of steel, but even more critical it required unlocking the power and strength of geometry, to design structures that distributed loads and forces across the same materials in multiple planes.

The cantilever beam, suspended structures, and space frame designs….

c-thru eiffel bike

c-thru eiffel carbo bike prototypc-thru eiffel carbo bike prototypc-thru eiffel carbo bike prototyp

 

“As a bicycle designer, I’d been thinking for a long time about using a space framed structure to build a bicycle.” The result of the idea is this carbon composite C-Thru road frame. The structure of the frame is completely made from solid carbon fiber rods, except for titanium rear dropouts and 7075 aluminum alloy inserts for the BB and the headset cups.

During construction, all the rods were bonded together in the frame jig, with systematic and precise control of the position and alignment in the structure and the overall geometry of the frame. Once all carbon rods were bonded together with special epoxy resin, each joint was lashed with carbon fibers to ensure their strength. “This was almost surgical work, requiring a lot of patience. Did I mention patience?”

The critical parts of this frame were the connections at the main “tubes”, mainly head tube and BB area, so I paid a lot of attention to these areas. Then, each joint was softly sanded to have a smooth shape. On the frame there are more than 300 joints, this painstaking process required about 300 hours of the builders life.
c-thru eiffel carbo bike prototypc-thru eiffel carbo bike prototypc-thru eiffel carbo bike prototypc-thru eiffel carbo bike prototyp

Internal cable routing was chosen to favor the clean lines of the frame. Additionally, the frame was designed to be equipped with the designers patented Saddle Assembly, this time bonded to a seat mast. Marrying the seat mast to my saddle assembly retained the ability to adjust the saddle height and position.
The weight of the frame is 1215 g (2.7 lbs).

Thanks to the space framed design, the frame is very stiff. At some point this blog will return to Brano Meres and get his impressions and experiences from riding this experimental prototype. This frame is not for sale.

c-thru eiffel carbo bike prototyp

c-thru eiffel carbo bike prototyp

10 Best & Most Beautiful Road Climbs in Europe

The excitement of climbing is incomparable with any other cycling experience for me. The connection to miraculous nature, brain unbound from anything connected with daily life, and the pure pain is, well liberating… I love European climbs.

Steady tempo, deep breathing (I will explain in future blog post if you wish), circular pedal stroke and relaxed upper body will help you survive these beautiful yet crazy climbs:

1. Stelvio

The Stelvio Pass on the boarder of Italy and Switzerland was picked by the British automotive show Top Gear as the greatest driving road in the world and is the highest finish in any Grand Tour. With so many bends of the road and nearly no trees, Stelvio is great if you want to see the Giro with your own eyes (of course if you’re lucky enough to catch a good place). If you are considering biking there (and you should be) try late August when the roads are closed to motor vehicles one day in the month. On that day around 8000 cyclists ride the pass.

Average grade: 7.4 %, Length: 24.3 km, Height start: 950 m, Height top: 2758 m, Elevation: 1808 mPhoto by Patrick Connolly

 

2. Alpe d’Huez

The Alpe d’Huez has been a regular stage finish since 1976 (first time in 1952). Its famous ’21 steps to heaven’ or ’21 levels to hell’ are where each bend honors a cyclist who won the stage in the past. Climbing the Alpe d’Huez is moving into the history of the Tour the France, from the latest winners at the bottom to the first one, Fausto Coppi at the last – the 21st bend. At the top, you will enjoy the beautiful ski village of Alpe d’Huez. When you’re up there drinking your coffee, don’t forget to mention Francois Riblon’s win in 2013 to the natives who had long awaited a French win. All the more spectacular since the pass was ridden 2 times during this stage at the 100th Tour de France.

From Bourg d’Oisans: Average grade: 8.1 %, Length: 13.2 km, Height start: 744 m, Height top: 1815 m, Elevation: 1071 m, Photo by Bernardo Möller

 

3. Passo Gavia

The highest mountain pass in the Italian Alps is often the highest peak of Giro d’Italia too. On 5 June 1988, the race passed over the Gavia in a snowstorm, making for an epic stage won by Erik Breukink. (Take a look on the 40th second of this video and notice the snowdrift.) I read about this incredible story in the book by Bob Roll, where he was describing it as he had stopped during the descent, and was running up the hill to warm up a bit. The second Andrew Hampsten (who won overally) succeeded thanks to the great preparation of the team (which obviously wasn’t so usual at this time) when he’d had winter glows, jacket and a cap. Let this story be a warning for you when you’re getting ready for the climb.

From Ponte di Legno, Average grade: 7.9 %, Length: 17.3 km, Height start: 1258 m, Height top: 2621 m, Elevation: 1363 m, Photo source

 

4. Grossglockner

This famous alpine road leads you into the heart of the Hohe Tauern National Park, and to the highest mountain in Austria, the Grossglockner (3798m). Glossglockner was even featured in Giro d’Italia twice (last time in 2011). Prepare for an incredible 36 switchbacks, and an altitude ascending to 2504 meters.

From Fusch – Salzburg, Average grade: 8.3 %, Length: 21.4 km, Height start: 805 m, Height top: 2504 m, Elevation: 1766 m, Photo by Marbes

 

5. Monte Zoncolan

Monte Zoncolan

This climb is crazy! Don’t go there if you love your legs. But seriously, Monte Zoncolan is the hardest climb on Giro and one of the hardest climbs in Europe. Take a look at the profile, is this normal? The organizers of Giro were even thinking of including this climb twice in 2014, luckily for the riders (and unluckily for us) they haven’t… The panels with all the Giro d’Italia heroes each 500 m will make you keep going and on the top you will really feel the spirit of Marco Pantani…

From Ovaro: Average grade: 11.5 %, Length: 10.5 km, Height start: 525 m, Height top: 1735 m, Elevation: 1210 m, Photo by Renzo Agostinis

 

6. Tourmalet

The Col du Tourmalet is the highest road in the central Pyrenees and the most utilized of any of the peaks in the Tour de France with 74 appearances so far (2013). This mythical climb was included for the first timein 1910, and was referred to as the “Circle of Death”. Imagine that at the time the riders had only two gears and they had to reverse the wheel with a wrench to change it. Come on, you have to climb this one easily…right?

From Luz Saint Sauveur: Average grade: 7.4 %, Length: 19 km, Height start: 711 m, Height top: 2115 m, Elevation: 1404 m, Photo by Imanol

 

7. Col du Galibier

Col du Galibier

When I was riding this climb, I didn’t prepare too much as my friends were about to pick me up with a car. The climb wasn’t so hard but I was slow and exhausted anyway, so I was relieved when I saw the board with the name Col du Lautared (2058 m) and this is exactly the place where the Col du Galibier begins still with 8.5 km of a moon land to do to the top…so I guess I have to ride it again.

From Valloire: Average grade: 6.9 %, Length: 18.1 km, Height start: 1401 m, Height top: 2646 m, Elevation: 1245 m, Maximum: %, Photo by yoyo du 33

 

8. Pico de Veleta

Pico de Veleta

Pico de Veleta in the Sierra Nevada mountains is the highest paved road in the Europe. As the well maintained road ends at 2530 m, this climb is too high even for professionals. Not so steep from the beginning, but the 40 km long climb with the high point at 3357 m, bad quality of road in the final 10 kilometers, no oxygen, wind, and plenty of cold… makes this an incredibly hard climb. The Vuelta has ventured part of the way up but never higher than 2550 metres.

From Cenes de la Vega: Average grade: 6.6 %, Length: 39.44 km, Height start: 740 m, Height top: 3357 m, Elevation: 2497 m, Photo by Bordeleau France

 

9. Mont Ventoux

Mont Ventoux

The ‘Beast of Provence’ is a legendary climb of Tour de France. Eddy Merckx rode himself to the brink of collapse while winning the stage. He received oxygen, recovered, and won the Tour. The fastest ascent belongs to Iban Mayo with 23.10 kmh. I think you’re good if you get at leasthalfway to this speed.

From Bedoin: Average grade: 7.6 %, Length: 21.4 km, Height start: 283 m, Height top: 1912 m, Elevation: 1639 m, Photo by Diether

 

10. Trollstigen

Trollstigen
The Trollstigen pass is located in Norway. It has an elevation of “only” 850 meters but it’s simply beautiful and I definitely had to include a pass from this splendid nordic country.
Average grade: 4.4 %, Length: 18 km, Height start: 50 m, Height top: 850 m, Elevation: 800 m,Photo source

I am sure, all the experienced climbers will agree to disagree with my choice. So I am looking forward to read about your be(a)st climbs…

If you like this article… please share and like it. So that I write more like this.

Winter is Coming!

As the calendar prepares its next turn, I am preparing to switch bikes and gear. “Winter is coming”, that’s my mantra for all the work this entails. What does it entail? Well, a lot more than it used to. Fall in Bratislava Slovakia is well, short, and winter comes quickly thereafter. So I’m hanging up my cyclocross/randonneur bike -which in my opinion makes the best commuter type- and am tuning up an old Mtb for the rest of the commuting season. Season, you may ask?

The cyclocross/randonneur made the commute + after work training ride very easy. However as rideable daylight hours plummet here, I’ll save the wear and tear that a daily commute & training dole out on my principle steed and in exchange, have an urban assault vehicle, less prone to be stolen, and which suits racks and fenders. While I will miss the acceleration and speed of the road bike, I certainly won’t miss the paranoia of wondering if it’s still where I locked it.

The plan is to commute 4 days a week through Mid-December, then as the temps and wind -ooohhh the wind- allows. I’ll taper down and take the bus )-: