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Archives for : July2013

3 Ways to Increase your MPH

 Here are a 3 tips that will allow to you boost your abilities to maintain a faster speed for a greater amount of time:
1. ILTs (isolated leg training)
    Its sounds just like what it is. You can take one foot off the pedal and hold it 6 – 12 inches from the bike. This will then force one leg to do the work that both would normally. Doing this will eliminate dead spots. (points in your pedal stroke where there is no force being exerted) You will want to start with 30 second intervals and eventually move to 60 second intervals. Then you can take the drill to the hills when you are used to the flats. If this is that case for you make sure that you have your pedal technique down because you could ruin yourself doing inproper technique up hills.
*this is a norm for riders to do indoor during winter months
2. Eliminate Coasting
   There are more times then we recognize that we are coasting. As a test you can choose a route that is flat and has as few stop signs as possible. Try and do the ride with 30 minutes of non-stop peddling. If or when this becomes easy double the time and maintain the constant power to the peddle.
3. Love what you fear: hills
   For the cyclists that are not looking to improve, hills can become their worst enemy. For those, like yourself, that are looking to improve they are your greatest tool. Hill repeats are a great technique. Heart rate monitors are the way to measure this exercise. Check out this site if you done have one. Pick a hill that takes 3-5 minutes to climb. Do it the fastest you can while staying in Zone 2 and play with the gears to see what helps. If you dont have a heart rate monitor, focus on 80% effort. Spin for a cool down at the bottom of the hill and then repeat. 3-5 times should do it for you.
Here is a video that can give you some more ideas:

Here is the link at the Active article that inspired this post. Please let us know if there is anything that was left out or could answer the questions that you have.

Is buying second hand bikes actually cheaper?

usedmountainbike

Many people believe that buying used bikes is cheaper than buying brand new ones. Many times this is the case, but many times it is also not the case at all!

There are several things that you need to be careful of when buying used mountain bikes. You will need to be far more educated about mountain bikes to be able to ensure that you make a sound purchase. In addition to the information that I outline in the bike buying book (click here to check it out), you also need to consider the following factors.

Determining market value of Used Mountain Bikes.

It is a lot trickier to tell whether you are getting a good deal on used mountain bikes. There are two ways you can make an educated guess. The first way is to compare the used bikes, to new bikes.

Firstly you might want to compare the price of the used bikes to when they were new. So you might need to go and ask someone at your local bike shop to inform you on what the retail price of the used mountain bikes when they were being sold in the store. You should also look at the price of equivalent new bikes at the point in time.

You might want to look at what you get in a new bike for the same price as you are prepared to pay for the used bikes you are looking at.You then need to look at the used mountain bikes and take into account their age, condition and history to assess the depreciation of the bike.Then you need to compare it to other second hand bikes of similar quality to the one you are looking at. By doing this, you can see if the market value

Look at the wear and tear of used mountain bikes!

rusted-bike-gears

One important thing you need to look at when you are assessing a second hand mountain bike is to try and ascertain it’s wear and tear. Firstly, it is a good idea to ask the previous owner if possible a few questions. You should ask them questions like:

  • How often they rode it
  • Where they rode it
  • Whether they are the only owner
  • Whether it has had any frame repairs
  • Why they are selling it
  • How often they had it serviced and maintained.

You should also give all the bikes you are looking at a thorough check over! Look at all the key wear and tear areas to check how they look. Take it for a test ride. Some of the things you should look for are:

  • Are the chain rings and sprocket teeth sharp or still rounded? Sharp teeth on cassette and chainrings are a sign that they are worn out.
  • Are the wheels still straight?
  • Do the gears change quickly or are they sluggish?
  • Do the gears slip when you put a lot of pressure on the pedals? Test the most commonly used gears (usually the middle sprockets of the cassette) to assess this.
  • Look for cracks in the frame around the bottom bracket and head tube area. They are the parts of the bike with the highest stress levels. Cracks can be very small so check carefully. If the bike even has the smallest crack, steer well clear of it!

Used mountain bikes and their resale value!

Whether you are buying new mountain bikes or used mountain bikes, it is unlikely that you are going to keep it forever. More than likely you will be upgrading in the near future, and you will want to get the best price for your bike. There are a few keys to getting the best price for your second hand bike when it comes time for the upgrade. Here are a few key points:

  • Buy a bike with a well-known brand name. People are more sceptical when buying second hand bikes, so it helps to rely on the reputation of well known companies to do the selling for you.
  • Get it serviced regularly, and keep the service receipts.
  • Try not to ride in the rain. In terms of wear and tear, for every hour riding in the rain (or mud) is like riding 10 in the dry.

Warranties on second hand bikes?

warranty

Bikes these days unfortunately are not made to last forever, unlike in past times. You must remember, unless you are buying a used mountain bike from a bike shop (which offers their own warranties) you generally will have no warranty cover on a second hand bike. This means you are running a bit of a risk when buying used bikes. Buyer beware!

Many bike companies will only give their warranties for the owner with the original receipt. So try and obtain the original receipt from the person you are purchasing the second hand bike from to help your case if a warranty claim arises.

Why use energy gel?

Why in the world would you want to gulp down a liquid the consistency of snot when you are in the middle of a workout or race? With the exhaustion that you muscles feel and the burning of your lungs it would seem like the best thing to do would be to hydrate. We all know that at this point energy bars are like unto small stones that you have to swallow and then you have to bid your time while your body breaks them down.

Lets delve into a little painless biology to understand what we are talking about in the energy supplement realm:

Carbohydrates: These are one of three main sources of energy that the body consumes. (Protein and fat are the others) Carbs should be anywhere from 45 to 65% of our diet. Within the carbohydrates there are simple carbs and complex carbs. The complex are thought to be the best because they take time to break down or burn and release more nutrients. The carbs are absorbed into the blood stream and become glucose. The glucose that is not used when it enters the blood stream is stored in the form of glycogen.

carbs

Ever heard of carb loads before a race or workout? So what is happening is we consume foods with complex carbs like pasta and potatoes (starches) Then our body breaks them down into glucose and then stores them in the form of glycogen. During the race the next day our body begins to draw from the reservoir of glycogen to fuel our strenuous activity. (As a nerd point, how fast a food transforms form glycogen to energy is called the glycemic index) This is when carb depletion takes place. When the stored glycogen has been used and we begin to slow down, this is sometimes called “bonking” or “hitting the wall”.In order for our body to have a continuous reserve is when it is necessary to replete ourselves with carbs. If this is done well we can recover much more quickly.

Bonk

 

The original questions is “why use gels?”

Dr. Edmund Burke from Active.com explains that “neither a liquid nor a bar, carbohydrate gels combine the benefits of both liquid sports drinks and solid energy bars to take sports nutrition a step further. Carbohydrate gels are more concentrated than a liquid and digest more easily than a bar, translating into more efficient energy and better performance. Carbohydrate gels are great for training, competition or any time an individual needs a quick energy boost. ” This form of carbs has the highest glycemic index or is absorbed most quickly.

In addition without the protein and fats that bars have, gels have complex carbs and simple sugars that are able to be broken down very quickly. The gels are also able to be added to water as to make them less viscous. Gels are also the only supplement to contain Amino Acids which are protein in their simplest form and help to construct muscles.

At Noble Sports we have a number of gels including the popular Hammer Gels. Come down to the shop and grab a couple for the next workout or race that you have.

hammer

GPS bike computers

The GPS bike computers could definitely be considered extravagant when they first came out. Most people didn’t even have them for their cars and GPS on smart phones were booming. With time the features on the GPS bike computers have evolved and simultaneously the ways to share those features also evolved. In the past 5 years a now popular platform was created that essential is a Facebook for bikers/runners. Strava has tens of thousands of users now that allow a competitive experience without have to be physically at the same place.

Garmin has dominated the GPS bike computer market and has made it very easy to upload your ride. The information that you can retrieve with the use of a GPS bike computer include heart rate, distance, WATTs(the power that is being expended while peddling), elevation changes, weather. Each one of these categories can be extremely helpful in how one can improve their performance.

The Garmin products allow you to upload this information to Strava giving you the ability to compare rides and measure progress. Your rides can be shared and invitations can be made for people to join your ride. Groups can train regardless of the location for an event. You can follow the profile of pros and even ride the same courses and see how you match up.

If a GPS bike computer doesn’t  sound helpful to you then you can try using your smartphone with a Strava app for android or apple. The accuracy of a smartphone will suffer but it will allow you to start your Strava account and see how helpful it is to you and your training efforts.

At Noble Sports we have various Garmin GPS bike computers including the 500. During the month of July Garmin is offering a 50 dollar rebate on the 500 as well. That will put the 500 under $300. Please come into the shop and check one out.

Garmin 500