If you’re anything like me you’re guilty of having spent time at work researching ways you can ride faster by buying the latest cycling equipment or gadget.

From the first time I raced, in 1990, to today I’ve narrowed it down to a few key areas.

Essentially the best place to spend money is on the areas that make you faster, not your bike. That’s where you’ll get the most value for your money and your time.

BIKE FIT

According to Andrew Gerrans, Osteopath Orica-Scott, “regardless of your level of cycling, the importance of a correct bike-fit cannot be overstated”.

A $1,500 bike that fits correctly will be more effective than a $15,000 bike that doesn’t quite fit.

The right bike fit will maximise your efficiency, significantly reduce the risk of (non-crash related) injuries and make for a more comfortable ride.

Many bike shops offer a bike fitting service or they can steer you in the right direction.

Stewart Morton, from RiderFit, is my benchmark for bike fitting. He’s fitted Simon Gerrans, Mark Cavendish, Paralympian Hannah MacDougall and plenty of club cyclists.

COACH

Plenty of people use personal trainers, a coach in a gym for sports like tennis and golf. But not many people have a cycling coach.

A good coach can ensure you’re making the most of your time on the bike, keep you on track through the various training phases and, importantly, measure your progress which makes cycling even more enjoyable.

Having a coach, or a training plan from one of the many online providers, is a great investment in improving your cycling.

Today’s Plan and Training Peaks are the two of the most popular online options, with off the shelf plans and tailored coaching to choose from.

I’ve used Today’s Plan and really enjoyed the ability to look at all my data and see the improvements I was making.

POWER AND HEART RATE MONITOR

Having a power meter and heart rate monitor helps significantly with doing specific training sessions.

The most obvious being when doing intervals these help keep you in your target zone, whether that be for a 20min strength endurance effort, 4min threshold efforts or 1min on 1min off VO2Max intervals.

But it’s also an important tool on low-intensity rides to ensure you don’t go too hard.

A common mistake made by many cyclists is that they don’t go hard enough on the hard days and they go too hard on the easy days.

A power meter and heart rate monitor will keep you on track with you daily training goals.

Get comfortable, get a plan and stay on target.

Being one of the most recognisable voices of cycling, Matthew Keenan regularly forms part of the international commentary team at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, broadcast around the world from Europe, USA, Africa, New Zealand and on SBS in Australia.

Matt is one of the two official voices of L’Etape Australia by le Tour de France.