Riding efficiently can have a dramatic impact on how well you finish your event and how well your recovery after it.
We know that riding in a bunch can be up to 30% more efficient than riding on your own. But more importantly, for the same amount of energy as you would be using riding solo you could be sitting in a bunch and travelling much faster. So, here are a few tips to help you be more efficient.
- The first one is to get up close to the wheel in front of you. The closer you get, the less energy you’ll need to use. When you are out riding in bunches, practice sitting close on the wheel by finding an experienced rider that’s smooth. Make sure that you are always riding safely so don’t take any risks or get exceptionally close. This will build up your skill for riding your next event. Remember to not sit directly behind the wheel, but, just to the side of it. That way, if the rider slows down in front of you, you’ll have a little more time to react and move to the left or right of them rather than crashing directly into their wheel.
- In crosswinds make sure that you are closer to the front of the bunch. By sitting close to the front, you’ll be using a lot less energy because you won’t have to deal with the surges from sitting further back. It’s also safer up the front, and there is less chance of you getting dropped. Also, try to ride on the leeward side of the bunch to keep sheltered as much from the wind.
- When the bunch surges try to go with them as much as you can. Sometimes a little bit of extra energy exerted; like when going over a short climb, means that you’ll not get dropped and reap the benefits of staying with them for longer.
- When the bunch is travelling at high speeds, get lower on the bike or get in the drops to reduce your frontal area so that you use up less energy.
- It’s also faster to descend with a bunch than on your own so get aero there too and stick with them when going downhill. If you are on your own going downhill, get aero too as you’ll improve your overall average speed by doing so.
- Finally, if you get dropped by your bunch then take it easy and wait till the next bunch comes along so that you can work with them. I’ve seen plenty of times when a solo rider is battling it out just thirty seconds ahead of a bunch that’s behind them when they could have joined the bunch and use that same energy to help the bunch ride faster and as a consequence, finish the event faster.
David Heatley is the founder of Cycling-Inform and an international cycling coach that helps the busy cyclist quickly get awesome results with their cycling through a unique time saving cycle training system with coaching support. For more information please visit his website.