There are a couple of important things that you should know, and also practice if you want to have the best cycling experience. One of these important things involves knowing how to improve pedaling efficiency.
The purpose of improving your pedaling frequency is to ensure that energy isn’t wasted while cycling. Instead, you’ll be able to cut down on the expended energy while maintaining optimal momentum.
How to Improve Your Cycling Efficiency
You should know that improving your pedaling frequency isn’t something that you can achieve within one day.
But with constant practice and focus, you should make significant progress within a short time frame.
1. Try Slow and Steady
When you’re trying to improve on your cycling skills, you should adapt the long and slow riding routine.
Instead of pedaling really fast every time – which will only make you run out of breath after short laps – you should pay more attention to riding slow and covering longer distances. Although intense cycling sessions are allowed, these should only be for short moments between rides.
Slower and longer rides engage your muscles less, and also give your body some time to relax. Cycling at a slower pace will eventually boost your overall pedaling efficiency.
2. Hydrate Yourself
Nutrition and hydration are definitely keys to your success as a cyclist. The more time you spend on a cycling exercise, especially exercises that can span up to 120 minutes, the more energy you’ll require.
To ensure that you have enough of this energy, you have to hydrate and eat healthy foods consistently.
Next time you’re at the provisions store, check for some electrolyte drinks; as these can help to boost your energy in hotter outdoor temperatures.
It’s better to take energy gels when the cycling drills get more serious, and the solid food should be consumed at the start of the exercise.
3. Adjust the Saddle
The next thing you need to do is to adjust your saddle in such a way that it perfectly fits your physical profile.
A poorly positioned saddle will only cause discomfort while cycling. When adjusting your bike’s saddle, you must pay attention to its angular inclination.
If your bike seat’s nose is tilted downwards, you would find yourself constantly struggling to remain seated on the bike. The correct angle would be perfectly horizontal or a little upward tilt. The correct saddle position will ensure that your bum doesn’t suffer too much pressure.
Also, the sit bones are actually meant to relieve other areas like the back and arms of excess weight. But the sit bones can only do this when your bike’s saddle is rightly positioned.
4. Change Gears
If you want to improve your pedaling efficiency, you have to pay more attention to your gear and inspect the bike crankset carefully. This means that you must know precisely when you have to switch between gears.
The gears on a bike are usually engaged in different terrains. Take, for example, if you’re biking along a hilly trail (with several ups and downs). You should be able to switch between gears as you approach an upward slope.
Engaging the right gear at that point would bake the upward climb a lot easier, and will boost your pedaling efficiency.
5. Calm the Upper Body
Relaxing your upper body is another key tip. Your body naturally feels good whenever it’s relaxed, compared to when it isn’t.
This is why you should learn how to relax your body whenever you’re cycling; making your body rigid would only constitute pain and discomfort.
6. Experiment with Biking Cadence
Your cycling cadence greatly affects your overall efficiency as a biker.
Different cyclists have different cadence based on their individual abilities. If you haven’t been paying attention to your cycling cadence, you have to change.
Try out different speeds and distances so that you can know what your abilities are, and which cadence best suits you. Cadence, which is measured in revs per minute, is usually determined by generated power.
Find a rate that matches your power generation ability. This will make your cycling experience a whole lot easier, and it will also boost your efficiency.
7. Practice Pedaling Drills
It makes sense that you should also pay attention to your pedaling drills when you’re trying to improve your pedaling efficiency.
You might already have a particular style or technique that you adopt whenever you’re pedaling, however, this shouldn’t stop you from trying other drills to boost your efficiency.
You can amplify your cadence, while also doing one-leg drills, to improve your efficiency which you can check with a Garmin or Wahoo device.
8. Boost Aerodynamics
One natural factor that can tell on your efficiency as a cyclist is the wind. As you ride your bike against the wind, it tends to slow you down to a certain extent.
For this reason, you have to work on boosting your aerodynamics. There are certain equipment and biking gear that can increase streamlining and help you ride better against the wind.
9. Change the Position of Hands
Have you tried switching between different hand positions while biking? If you haven’t, you should.
The trick here is that changing from one hand position to another during the ride will remove tension in your muscles. When you maintain the exact same hand position all through the ride, especially long rides, you could start experiencing pain in your shoulders, neck, and general back region.
There are different hand positions that you can switch to, based on the intensity and current terrain.
10. Don’t Ride Alone
There are times when you would prefer to just ride your bike by yourself however; you should also make out some time to ride with a pack of other cyclists – especially a group that has experienced cyclists. You won’t expend as much energy riding with a pack as you would on a lone ride.
The trick is to ride behind the group, while the others take the lead. However, there would come a time when you’ll also be required to switch positions. This technique isn’t only useful for regular exercising sessions but can also be applied when in a race.
The idea is to remain close behind the other cyclists in the race while conserving energy in the process. Then with that saved energy, you can pace past the competing bikers when you’re nearing the end of the race.
Knowing how to improve pedaling efficiency will do a lot for you. It’s not enough to just ride your bike without trying to make improvements in certain areas.
When you’ve mastered how to efficiently pedal, you’ll be able to cycle without spending so much energy. Remember to keep experimenting with different cycling cadence and distances until you’ve found a cadence that matches your physical ability.
Also, adjust your saddle and relax your body to avoid pains in your neck, back and shoulders. The more relaxed you are during a ride, the better.