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Showing posts from September, 2020

5 Best Strength and Conditioning Exercises for Cyclists

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Riding a bike is not just about turning the pedals. Your body and cycling will benefit from integrating strength and conditioning exercises that build your core strength, leg power, and help reduce the risk of injury. These five exercises are simple strength-building drills taken from yoga and 'functional trunk strength' (a.k.a. core stability) workouts; they will help increase your comfort on long endurance rides, and also aid cycling performance improvements. 1. Squats If you do one thing, SQUAT. Squatting is the most natural but most powerful weight training exercise that we can use for building cycling strength. The motion uses our powerful quadriceps, glutes, and lower back muscles in one fluid motion. The key thing with squatting is to display good form. You do not want to be bent over like a hunchback. A simple set of instructions for good squatting technique: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, splayed at 30 degrees With your arm

Review – SOLESTAR Supportive Cycling Insoles

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Supporting the arch and heel of your foot when cycling is crucial to both performance and injury prevention. Supportive insoles such as those from SOLESTAR help to hold your foot in a safe and secure position—allowing for maximum power transfer and maximum support throughout your pedal stroke. When you push down on the pedals, it places great force through the arch and ball of your foot. You transmit power through a relatively small surface area underneath your shoe's foot bed, so cycling shoes are made to be stiff, so power transfer is not lost by flex in the shoe. However, few riders consider the lost power from the foot itself flexing during the pedal stroke; equally they do not consider the potential for injury when your foot abnormally contorts. During work I did with Phil Burt, the lead physiotherapist at British Cycling, he highlighted how important the structure of a cycling shoe is to power transfer. For the Beijing and London Olympic Games they designed custom carbo

Inspiration – The Life In The Saddle Logo and Merchandise

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I have long had an ambition to design a logo for Life In The Saddle—an emblem that stands for adventure, travel, freedom, and life on two wheels. During the 2020 lockdown, I found the time to work with a good friend of mine to bring this insignia to life... The classic roundel design of the logo takes inspiration from brevet badges found on historic audax rides and endurance challenges—it alludes to my passion for long distance riding and the heritage of cycling. It is a nod to inspiring events such as Paris-Brest-Paris and The Trafalgar Way . The central image on the logo is a silhouette of a photo taken of me, on a bikepacking ride on the Isle of Wight. I was riding my Kona Private Jake with lightweight bikepacking luggage and 40c off-road tyres; a set-up that is typical for many of my cycling adventures ridden to date. The out-of-the-saddle stance and gradient of the terrain seen in the silhouette typifies my favourite kind of riding—in search of mountains and summit viewpoints

Kit Tips – Cycle Clothing to Climb Mountains

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Riding a bike in the mountains is a bit like playing roulette with the weather gods. Sometimes you get lucky: you ride light and fast, in blue skies and sunshine. The inevitable will come though... at some point you will be struck a blow: rain, sleet, wind, and snow. The answer is protection. More specifically, layers of protection. To stay comfortable and safe cycling in the mountains you need to build a layering system of adaptable insulation and waterproofing. This is your shield against the power of the weather. Windproof Cycling Base Layers It begins with a base... The foundation of any cycle clothing layering system starts with a base layer.  This basic garment plays a vital role. A base layer wicks sweat away from your body—transporting moisture to the outside air and away from your skin. It helps to cool you in the heat, and to keep you warmer in the cold. The GripGrab Windbreaking Base Layer  takes things one step further though—shielding your front-facing torso fro

Endurance Nutrition – Eating for Recovery

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Recovery is fundamental to progress. You can put in as much riding time as you like, but unless you recover well too, you will not see the sought-after improvements. A substantial part of effective recovery is the food that you consume—both in the hours and days after a hard training session. This blog post considers nutritional intake immediately after exercise—in a bid to kick-start your body's recovery. For further recipe and meal ideas, and nutrition recommendations, take a look on the Advice page .  Fast Protein and Glycogen On finishing a hard ride, your muscles are fatigued, and your energy stores depleted. In order to start the recovery process as quickly as possible you want to get protein and carbohydrate to them while the blood is still pumping, and your metabolism is raised. This means taking on between 15-25 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrate within 25 mins of stopping. This can be a tough ask though, as all you may want to do is have a hot bath, wa

Maintenance – Home Workshop Advanced Wheel-Building Tools

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In my Workshop Focus series, I have so far considered Essential Workbench Tools  and Intermediate Workshop Tools ; in this post things get advanced—with wheel truing and building. It took me quite a while to pluck up the courage to give wheel truing/balancing and then wheel building a go; they are certainly two tasks that take quite a bit of time and skill. As with most workshop jobs though, wheel tuning is something that is far easier with quality tools. With this in mind, I opted for the Feedback Sports Pro Truing Stand and the Master Wheel Building Kit from Unior Tools .  The Feedback Sports Pro Truing Stand Wheel building is an art, yet the Feedback Sports Pro Truing Stand is almost a work of art in itself.  I developed a bit of a lust for this anodised red stand the moment I set eyes on it. The quality, durability and performance of the products from the American brand Feedback Sports are second to none. The Pro Truing Stand has a unique single leg design that I have