Over the last few years at Delucci Retreat, I’m seeing more couples riding together and sharing cycling adventures.
Alison and Lee from the UK recently came to visit us. Both in their early 50s, very accomplished mountain bike riders and just love the whole experience of exploring the great outdoors on two wheels. Both were striving to improve their physical fitness and bike skills, as they felt they weren’t improving. One particular area where they felt they wanted to improve was on road bikes, as the majority of their riding was off road.
Upon arriving at Delucci, their plan was to split their time between mountain bikes and road bikes. Their drive and enthusiasm was full-on and they were very keen to improve anywhere possible. They both love the adventure of cycling, the places it takes you, new people you meet and the fact that you can still learn and improve at any age, none of that rubbish “Ooh I’m too old for this!!”
A few tips for improving performance
With the first two days on road bikes I could see how they could improve, just by a few tweaks to get the ball rolling...
Body Position: Sitting up too high when descending and on the hoods, on top of the brake levers, not on the drops (bottom part of the handle bar).This slows you down and the bike and can feel a little twitchy and effects your cornering, as you have less grip on the front wheel, whereas on the drops there is more weight on the front wheel, which provides better grip and more efficient braking due to the hands being in a better position for the brake levers, not forgetting your body is more aerodynamic and stable in windy conditions.
Gears & Power: Even coming from mountain biking they were pushing a bigger gear so focusing on being in the correct gear, so a higher cadence, especially when climbing, will save energy and is more efficient, integrating a full pedal stroke and keeping the power on. This is physically seen, if using a watt bike at the gym, where there is a display showing a cigar shape. The idea being that as you start pedalling you try to make the shape into a circle by keeping the power on the whole pedal stoke
So, just by implementing these key points over the 4-day period I could see the changes in Alison and Lee, conscious of their riding on the road bikes and practicing through the days riding. I watched their confidence grow, so much so that they only used the mountain bikes once, as they were both enjoying the road bikes so much.
When Allison and Lee came they were saying that they didn’t seem to be progressing on their cycle fitness and general riding. After these last few days they have gone away feeling they have learnt something and they can improve on both road bike and mountain bike. They are both keen to learn more and now believe they can improve by working together and are ready to plan more cycle adventures. Knowing there is so much to learn about riding a bike, and especially that we can all improve in our more mature years, this in turn makes us feel younger.
And the adventure never stops and it is never too late to learn and improve.