While pedaling technique is the most common area to focus on when trying to improve your cycling efficiency, other aspects of your technique such as shifting at the right time and your position on the bike can make a big difference, too.
Whether you’re looking for free speed in your next cycling event or just want to stay with that slightly faster training partner, use these 10 technique tips to become a more efficient cyclist.
1 ADJUST YOUR SADDLE TO IMPROVE COMFORT
The correct saddle height is important for pedaling efficiency and comfort, but so is the angle of your saddle — which is often overlooked. The nose of your saddle should either be flat or pointed slightly upward to keep you from sliding too far forward.
This also supports your sit bones on the correct part of the saddle and takes the weight off your more sensitive areas. Having the majority of your body weight on your sit bones also takes some of the weight off your hands, alleviating stress on the shoulders and neck. These slight adjustments can make a big difference in comfort over long distances — and the more comfortable you are the more efficient you’ll be.
2 RELAX YOUR UPPER BODY
Tension in your muscles eventually leads to aches and pains, and when you don’t feel good on the bike you’ll eventually slow down. While some of this can be corrected with tweaks to your position, learning how to stay loose on the bike can be helpful, too. Relaxing your hands, elbows and shoulders by lightening your grip on the handlebars improves your bike-handling and make over-corrections less likely.
3 SHIFT TO AN EASIER GEAR BEFORE YOU NEED IT
Shifting at the right time is a cycling skill that can take time to master. One of the biggest mistakes new cyclists make is waiting too long to shift to an easier gear when approaching a climb. If you wait until you’re on the climb to shift, the chain comes under load. This causes unnecessary grinding and can lead to either your chain popping off or the inability to shift. To maintain more speed and forward momentum, shift early before the road starts heading up.