Pain: cycling’s silent partner

10 February, 2011
MTB riders sitting on the ground at the end of a race

Pain management: learning to recognise the cause of pain is an important part in getting it fixed. Photo: AKUNA PHOTOGRAPHY & DIGITAL IMAGING BENDIGO

Is there anything on earth this side of heaven  where we won’t experience pain? Lance Armstrong summed up his view of pain in cycling with the following words; “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever”.

I don’t think I can remember a ride where pain was not present in some shape or form. A little niggle, a twinge, a twitch that could come from lack of stretching, warming up enough or just old age creeping in combined with the body’s wear and tear. Good nutrition and hydration before during and after a ride must not be underestimated in assisting in the reduction of some pains. Coming to recognise the difference of what the pain is related, to or associated with, can be trial and error and perseverance in finding the right answer. Read the rest of this entry »


Framing the bike

28 January, 2010
Old green steel bike in a row of more modern bikes

Diamonds are forever: the basic shape of the modern bicycle has been around a long time.

As far back as 1490, Leonardo da Vinci had envisioned a machine remarkably similar to the modern bicycle. Unfortunately, da Vinci did not attempt to build the vehicle, nor were his sketches discovered until the 1960s.

In the late 1700s a Frenchman named Comte de Sivrac invented the Celerifere, a crude wooden hobby horse made of two wheels and joined by a beam. The rider would sit atop the beam and propel the contraption by pushing his or her feet against the ground.

In 1816 the German Baron Karl von Drais devised a steerable hobby horse, and within a few years, hobby-horse riding was a fashionable pastime in Europe. Riders also discovered that they could ride the device with their feet off the ground without losing their balance. This style of bikes are still available and are recognised as a method of introducing young children into balance and co-ordination to progress to riding a bike without training wheels. Read the rest of this entry »

The subtle differences of choosing an ensemble

18 November, 2008

Chosing what suits your personality

Awareness of product choice in today’s market place for manufacturers is very much being able to match the expectations of the end user. The motor vehicle market is a great example of this by making car’s appeal to the age, life style and perception of the status that the choice of make and model does in setting the individual apart from others. Cycling components or as to referred in the world of cycling the “ensemble” which is normally the cranks set, chain rings, rear cluster, chain, the gear changers/brake handles and hoods, and front and rear derailer, front and rear brake assemblies along with hubs are a point of passion for the more discerning cyclist selection of brand name. Selection of rims can be another individual choice of likes and dislikes or purely based on budget. There are three main players in road cycling for making a selection of choice of ensemble and there is as much debate at the coffee stop over what is best as to who may have ridden the best on the day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comfort first with handlebar fitting

20 June, 2008

Part of achieving the perfect fit for the individual’s comfort and best performance is the selection of the handle bars that suit your shoulder size.

The rule is to measure your width from the knobby points on the front of the shoulder and add 2cm if centre to centre and 4 cm if measuring to the external width of the bars.

A lot of bikes come in small, medium and large frame sizes and handlebar selection would be a rough rule of thumb in fitting the potential size of the intended rider.

Additional measurements of height or rise and depth or drop can all be taken into account as an adjustment to make it more comfortable. Read the rest of this entry »

The right seat height makes for powerful pedalling

20 April, 2008
Plumb bob shows knee and ball of foot are in linePower to the pedals: you’ll be most efficient if your seat is the right height and your knees and balls of your feet are in line. Photo: Allison Hanger.

Cycling is all about bio-mechanics. The “bio” part is you. The “mechanical” is how efficiently your muscle power is transferred to your bike.

Efficiency depends on where your legs are in relation to the pedals. And the nicest part about bio-mechanics is that the most efficient set-up is generally the most comfortable.

The most critical part is your saddle because that determines your relationship to the pedals. So you need to check the height, fore and aft position and make sure it’s level.

One of the most common problems you see among recreational cyclists is saddles set too low. It’s possibly because they fear not being able to reach the ground quickly. Trouble is it doesn’t allow the powerful muscles in your thighs to extend far enough so they can’t work efficiently. Read the rest of this entry »

Taking in the sights by bike

1 October, 2007

Bike with panniers overlooking a beachNothing beats the satisfaction of looking at your map at the end of the day and knowing you got from there to here under your own steam.

Cycle touring is a very special way to get around. You see more of the landscape, you’re on intimate terms with the geography, and you get to know the locals better. Pull up outside any general store or bakery and someone will stop and ask where you’ve come from and check out your gear. Read the rest of this entry »

Stiff soles make for happy feet

19 August, 2007

Cycling shoesFeet are marvellous pieces of bio-engineering when you’re walking. They don’t work so well when they’re operating on a small surface like a bicycle pedal. Since your feet are the power connection between you and the bike, you need to treat them well.

On a bike there’s no heel-toe action as there is when you walk. All your pedalling power is displaced into the pedal through the ball of your foot, which is not natural. Read the rest of this entry »