29. okt. 2013

Hands Become Feelingless When Riding The Bike?

Everybody knows the feeling of their hands beginning to tickle and even get feelingless, when they are riding both small and longer distances. An annoying problem can make a great training end up being a dreadful training. The problem that makes it occur is that the Ulnar nerve is getting compressed when having your hands on the handlebars. No matter if you are in the drops, hoods, or tops of the handlebars, you will end up getting this very annoying feeling at some time, and 9 out of 10 reading this, have already experienced it before. There are a few ways to make this disappear though, and we have collected them below.

Wrong angle of your saddle is a pain in the.. hands
Try looking on your saddle angle. As we already stated in the article of how to prevent damage and pain, if the saddle is pointing too much down, you will make a greater part of your bodyweight rely on your hands and handlebars, instead of your saddle. Many who are experiencing this problem, can actually get it fixed by this simple adjustment.

Gloves is the answer
However, if your saddle will kill your groin by pointing more upwards, try getting a pair of cycling gloves with gel pads. If you take a look on the picture below (Borrowed from the University of Wisconsin-Madison), you can see the red and yellow areas. These areas are where the problem starts, and as you can see, by fitting a pair of cycling gloves, you can make this area more or less disappear.

The gel pads in the gloves simply makes the pressure even out on a larger area, making the Ulnar nerve less compressed. This is usually the best way to prevent the damage from happening, but if the saddle angle is pointing too much down, you will just face problems with your shoulders still. Therefore, I will recommend adjusting the angle of your saddle first.
We have already tested the Sportful Bodyfit Pro racing gloves, which we loved. You can read about them by clicking here.

Keep shifting
Usually, the two fixes above should be enough, but if that does not help with the problem, there is another reason why this problem occur is. A potential problem is that you are probably placing your hands in the same position for half an hour without actually noticing it. For example if you have 20 kilometers of headwind, you are having your hands in the drops, and this will give you quite some time without shifting the placement of your hands. That makes the Ulnar nerve getting pinched for a long time, and therefore this problem can occur. So to cure this, try shifting from the hoods to the drops and the tops and back again, every 5th minute or so. It will actually make quite some difference.

Do you have any other treatments for this problem? Please write about it in the comment section below.

Written by René

Read more: http://www.cyclingtipsonline.com/news/losing-the-feeling-in-the-hands-when-riding-the-bike-/

23. okt. 2013

Sportful Bodyfit Pro Gloves Test

Sportful is a worldwide known Italian producer of some of the world’s best cycling clothes. They even sponsor big World Tour teams like Team Saxo Bank with tour-star Alberto Contador on the team. One of the items Sportful makes is cycling gloves, which is what I have been testing. The specific name of the gloves reviewed in this article is Sportful Bodyfit Pro Gloves, also pictured below. They are the top racing gloves from Sportful, and is made to secure as small a wind resistance as possible by being a tight fit.

On the road
The gloves only make a tight fit if you, of course, pick the right size. They are still very comfortable though, because the fabrics used can be stretched quite a bit. Even after 200 kilometers my hands feel rather fresh, and the Ulnar nerve, which usually can make you hand be feeling-less for a small amount of time, does not get affected when you have the Sportful Bodyfit Pro gloves on. So no wonder why the professionals at Team Saxo Bank likes these gloves.

Since the gloves makes longer distances less hard for your hands, you will enjoy your workouts on your bike a bit more than before. There is just nothing better when man and machine is combined in the best way possible. I have personally tried several other gloves before these, but they did not feel as comfortable as the Sportful’s at all. These Sportful gloves are by far the best cycling gloves I have ever tried.

Are they are more aerodynamic than other gloves? I have no idea. The aerodynamic drag on gloves is in general very small, but of course, if you can save half a Watt of drag in a race, they are worth the money. I never felt any difference at all, but it is always nice to have the knowledge, that the gloves you are wearing are the best of the best.

The general quality of the gloves are top notch. Stitches and fabrics is not found any better than what’s being used, and even after taking a lot of beatings, like running them on the tires to get stones out of the tires while still riding in a high pace, hasn’t damaged them at all, even though those stones easily could cut them open. In addition to this, the areas that are getting worn the most, got a double layer to make sure the lifespan of the gloves is as long as possible.

For hot days, they do not feel that warm compared to similar gloves, due to a good ventilation through the thin upper part of the gloves. The bottom part that is made with a bit thicker fabric got ventilation holes, as seen in the picture below. The gloves is definitely better than most gloves when it comes to hot summer days, but Sportful also makes some other gloves with even more ventilation. They are not “as aerodynamic as the Sportful Bodyfit Pro racing gloves” though.

The gloves also got some furry fabric on the backside of the thumb, helpful to get rain or sweatdrops of the glasses without damaging the lenses. It also helps with keeping your thumb warm, but isn’t much use if it becomes wet. I have seen it on some other non-Sportful gloves too, so it is not very rare or special, but it is still a nice feature to have, if you hit rain on your route.
Along with that, they also have a bit of fabric between the middle and the ring finger, making it easier to take the gloves off.

The verdict
I have several experiences with all kind of different cycling gloves, because I always had problems finding gloves I actually felt was great to wear. However, that was until I tried the Sportful Bodyfit Pro gloves. They are simply by far the best gloves I have ever tried, and at less than 35 Euro’s they are far from the most expensive gear you are going to spend money on for your bike anyway. I can only recommend these, as they made my hands less sore after a workout and therefore improved my motivation for the next workout.

Written by René

Read more: http://www.cyclingtipsonline.com/news/sportful-bodyfit-pro-gloves-review/

20. okt. 2013

The Best Way To Recover Between Training Sessions

Only the professional riders got masseurs to take care of their sore body after a hard race, so how do a normal rider get the maximum out of the rest between training sessions? A good recovery also means a more efficient training, and some of the best sporting athletes around the world sleeps up to 12 hours a day in order to recover the best way.

Of course normal people with a normal job and life can’t even get close to that amount of sleeping, so we have gathered a few nice tips below here to get fresh legs as fast as possible:

Eat after training
The first 20 minutes after training is especially important, because there is a window where the nutrients have an easier path to get out to the muscles and make them recover easier. Especially food with proteins and carbohydrates are very important to get immediately after a long and hard training session. For example drink some hot chocolate, since it contains high numbers of both proteins and carbohydrates.

Lift your legs
If you can, place yourself in the couch for about an hour, with the legs lifted higher than your heart (same procedure to minimize swollen feet). It will help with oxygen to get to your muscles.

Ride on your bike to the job
The day after a long and/or hard training session a small and easy ride to and from work will actually help your legs become fresher. If you ride in low gears without pushing yourself, you will increase the blood circulation in the sore muscles, without making it worse. Actually, the increased blood circulation will make your muscles recover faster.

Keep a log of your training and recovering
If you really want to analyze everything, you can keep a log of how much you have trained, along with how much and how well you have been sleeping at the night. In addition, what your resting pulse is at the morning together with your morning weight. If you are tired, losing weight or have a higher pulse, it can be a sign of overtraining which will mean you should lower your amount of training sessions.

If you have more tips, please share them in the commentsection below!

Written by René

Read more: http://www.cyclingtipsonline.com/news/the-best-way-to-recover-between-the-training-sessions/

15. okt. 2013

10 Ways To Stay Fit For Bikeriders

Winter is coming closer and closer, and therefore it can be hard to get the training done if the weather isn’t as nice as it was back in the summertime. However, it is actually rather easy to stay somewhat fit with just 10 different and easy exercises listed below. But they can also be done during the season, because they will make your body more prepared for longer and faster rides.

Cyclists’ squats
Most bikeriders have pretty tight calves due to a lack of fitting exercises, which does make squats a bit tricky to do squats the right way. But there is a way to make this easier, and squats is a really great tool to get bigger legmuscles.
But try to elevate the heels about 5 cm above ground. It can be done by placing some plates from the gym (if you are doing it at a gym) at your feet. Books and magazines can also be used if it is done at home. It will allow you to go deeper on the squats with an upright torso (very important to prevent backinjuries with weights on your shoulders). The deeper you can go, the better, but never go so deep that you will get problem to get yourself up again.
Try to keep the feet parallel, and do three sets of 12 repetitions. The weight that should be used, would need to be no bigger or smaller than making the 12th repetition a very hard experience, but still not impossible. If you only can do 11, then there is too much weight being used.

Core training
Cycling is not always just legs. A strong core helps with a good posture, and will especially make you stronger when you are out of your saddle, putting some power in the pedals.
Here a simple exercise called “plank” would be enough to do. All you have to do is to lie chest-down on the floor, pushing yourself up to your elbows (kept beneath your shoulders), and tuck your toes under. Try to hold this position for as long as possible, demanding your coremuscles to be activated for a longer period of time. It is actually a harder exercise than it sounds. The best thing about this, is that it can be done everywhere; outdoors, at home, and even under your working desk.

Tricep dips
When riding on rough surfaces like cobbles or in the forrest on your mountainbike, the back of your arm does take quite some hits. So keeping your triceps strong is a great way to prevent soreness and fatigue from happening and making your ride a better experience.
To do this, try the tricep dips. Place your hands behind you, and make the fingers pointing forwards on a bench, step, or block. Keep the knees along with the tighs parallel to the ground meanwhile doing this. Then bend the elbows until your bottom almost touches the ground. Then extend the elbows and lift yourself back up again. Do the 12 times, rest for 60 seconds, and do it again.

Lower back
Lower backache is something several bikeriders experience, due to the position you are more or less stuck in, when riding a bike. Combine that with a trip for 2 hours+ and your back is not having the time of its life. But don’t worry, there is help!
This is due to the back becoming tired. The muscles on your back cannot keep up with the watts your legs throw at them (Remember that the Watts you put in your pedals also goes into your back because of Newton’s 3rd law, Action = Reaction).
To prevent this from happening, I will recommend you to perform so called weighting row movements with kettlebells or dumbbells. Try to stand with your feet a hip-distance between each other. Then bend down until your torso is close to be parallel with the floor. It can be difficult for not-so-bendy people to do this, so just try to get as close as possible if you cant. Just make sure that your back is straight, and the shoulder are pulled back into their sockets. From here, tilt the pelvis slightly forward so that the hips point upwards a little bit. Then hold the weights in either hand and bend the elbows, while the arm is being pulled up until the weights touches your chest. Then extend the arms and repeat this with three sets of 12 repetitions, with 60 seconds of rest in between. The weights should be heavy enough so the last repetition will be pretty hard to perform.

Do intervals
Intervals is everything when it comes to training. You can increase your cardiovascular fitness extremely fast by adding intervals to the training. Just start with basic repetitions of 60 seconds where you are going about 80% of your maximum effort. Then do 60 seconds with around 40% of your maximum effort. This should then be repeated.
It is very efficiently done during spinning on a stationary bike or a hometrainer, at home or the gym. Spinning classes usually have intervals in their training sessions. It can also be added to your normal training, by making hill-sprints, or pushing/sprinting from a certain distance before a citysign.

Add power
Professional ironman coach Pat Leahy is stating that at least one trainingsession every week should be a very hard power session. This is preferably done on a stationary bike or on the hometrainer, where you know you can push as hard as possible, without the thought of being 10 km from home when you have pushed yourself to the max.
It can be done in many ways, but try to do 4 to 6 minutes on high resistance. Then take one to two minutes of recovery. Try to repeat this about 4 times, and build it up each week, in order to get stronger.
For riders whom does races, this will help a lot to keep up in the parts where the race is being hectic and everyone seems to go at max. If you can withstand this part of a race, you will be more likely to win a sprint or go into a successful break away.

This was already mentioned at the intervals, but it is a pretty neat and incredibly effective way of training. Find a hill in your area that is both long and hard enough to keep you challenged when sprinting from the bottom to the top. Set yourself a goal to do this a number of times (for example 5), and then do it. When you have done it, just roll down the hill until you hit the bottom and repeat it. This way your pulse should be lowered enough to do it a few more times without maxing the pulse out for 5 minutes in a row. It will make you a much better sprinter on the long run, and it can be added to your everyday training easily.

Become flexible
Just like your calves probably are a bit tight due to the cycling, your hamstrings also get tight if this is the only type of exercise you do, unless you stretch out for 5 minutes after every training, which 99,99% of people reading this article, aren’t doing. A great and easy way to stay flexible is to do a few yoga sessions every week. In warm temperatures it will be better, so your muscles aren’t cold when performing it. Warm muscles prevents injuries and makes the stretching a lot safer.

Resting is just as important as training(!)
Just face it, resting is very important in order to get anything out of your training. Take at least one to two days off every week. When you train, you break down the mitochondria-fibers (aka microfibers) in your muscles. When you body rebuilds them, they become stronger, and you will experience it as increased strength (Isn’t evolution just great?). But the mitochondria’s demand rest in order to be rebuild efficiently and quickly. So if you train too hard, too long, and too much every week, you will not experience any improvements, compared to taking a few days a week off from training. This also helps you to stay positive on the training, instead of going dead due to a trainingsession every single day.

You are what you eat
As well as resting, eating is very important. The mitochondria-fibers will also rebuild a lot faster, if you eat the right stuff. Eat regular meals and healthy snacks, consuming something every 3 to 4 hours, in order to keep an intake of energy flowing all the time. Vegetables, fruit, and meals consisting of proteins, along with slow-release carbohydrates is the ultimate things you can eat.

Written by René

Read more: http://www.cyclingtipsonline.com/news/a10-ways-to-stay-fit-for-bikeriders/

11. okt. 2013

26 VS 29 Inch Mountainbikes

26 versus 29 inch wheels is a common discussion amongst mountainbikeriders. For many years, the pros and amateurs have preferred the 26 inch wheels, however, in the past few years, the 29 inch wheels have won more and more ground. But why is the 3 inches bigger wheels getting a bigger and bigger audience compared the standard 26 inch wheels?

Well, the 29 inch wheels may be bigger and heavier (due to both a bigger wheel but also a bigger fork), which means a harder acceleration, but they do have some pretty significant advantages. They roll a lot better on rough surfaces than the smaller 26 inch tires. That is due to the attacking angles becomes lower and lower the bigger the wheels are. Below here, we have an illustration with oversized obstacles and wheels to make the understanding easier:

On the picture it’s easy to see that the 26 inches wheels will bump into the rough surface all the time, slowing down the bike. Imagine every time the bike hits one of these bumps it’s like a little parachute activates and slows you down, forcing you to accelerate a bit to get the speed up again.
Meanwhile the 29 inch wheel will roll over these bumps a lot easier, making the ride a lot more stable. That means the rider will gain a greater speed over this section, along with saving energy compared to the 26 inch wheels. Even though the difference is a lot smaller in the real world, this is really what makes the 29 inches wheels great. It will simply make you faster on rough surfaces, along with making the ride more comfortable and less bumpy.
But as mentioned before, the wheel inertia will get bigger with the bigger diameter of the wheel, so the accelerations and weight on the bike will become harder and worse. Combine that with the 26 inch wheels having a better maneuverability it will make the choice harder than it seems.

Or does it?
We have to remember, that the bigger wheel inertia also means that it keeps the speed better, so once up in speed, a heavier wheel is preferable. In addition, the bigger the wheel the better the grip it also gets, due to the bigger 29 inch wheel spinning slower at the same speeds as the 26 inch wheel. That result in the tires gets more time to “dig” into the ground, and get better traction, because they have a fraction of a second more connection to the ground at every rotation. A heavier bike also helps this.

29 inch is the winner in test
Aalborg University from Denmark has been testing a 26 inch mountainbike against a 29 inch mountainbike. Scott gave the university two identical mountainbikes, apart from one being a 29 inch MTB and the other being a 26 inch MTB. An article about can be found here and is readable in Danish, but to summarize it in English: They tried racing the mountainbikes on the same course, and all participants came to the same conclusion; the 29-inch bikes was simply better on almost all parts of the track. They all got a faster time on the same course on the 29 inch mountainbike. The advantages (and disadvantages) already mentioned above, was concluded too in the test. Along with it, they all said it was giving them a much greater downhill speed, because they were able to get more grip with the wheels, along with it not taking a big beating on bumpy surfaces as the 26 inch wheels. The 29 inch wheeled mountainbike was slightly harder to climb with due to the heavier weight, though.

Advantages of the 29 inch wheels
Therefore, as a conclusion we can say, that the 29 inch wheels have the following advantages:
- The 29 inch wheels rolls better over bumps and rough surfaces due to a lower attacking angle the wheels hits the obstacles in. That makes them lose less speed, and therefore makes you faster on such surfaces. This also helps increasing the speeds downhilling.

- The 29 inch wheels demands less work from the rider, compared to the 26 inch wheels, once they have gotten up in speed due to a bigger wheel inertia.

- 29 inch wheels is more stable due to the bigger diameter of the wheel combined with the weight, so corners can be taken with a bigger confidence, and therefore also with greater speeds. The bigger wheels also helps with more stability during downhill riding.

Disadvantages of the 29 inch wheels
There are a few occasions where the 26 inch wheels are better. These are:

- When the wheels diameter grows, the bikes weight also does. The fork has to be bigger, so does the frame, and of course also the wheels. It all adds up in weight.

- It is harder to accelerate the 29 inch wheels due to the increased wheel inertia that has to be accelerated up. Combined with the weight, the accelerations can be up to 40% harder compared to 26 inch wheels.

- The 29 inch wheels are poorer in breaking and maneuverability compared to the 26-inch wheels, due to the greater weight, making them a bit harder to change direction, and therefore entering corners, with.

So if you are riding in places that constantly demands accelerations and a has a lot of technical corners and parts, the 26-inch wheels will be preferable. On the other hand, on longer straights and tracks with many bumps and downhilling, it will be done faster on 29-inch wheels.

But what is your experience with the 26 vs 29 inch wheels discussion? You can write it below here, in the comment section.

Written by René

Read more: http://www.cyclingtipsonline.com/news/26-vs-29-inch-mountainbikes/