The Complete Book of Road Cycling and Road Racing

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Overview

Ride faster, fitter, smarter, & farther

Every road rider has goals. Yours may be to begin racing, to become more competitive, or to win a specific tour. Not interested in racing? Perhaps you want to complete your first century ride, improve your overall fitness, or ride father and faster just for the sheer joy of flying on two wheels.

No matter what your goals, The Complete Book of Road Cycling and Racing gives you all the information you ...

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Overview

Ride faster, fitter, smarter, & farther

Every road rider has goals. Yours may be to begin racing, to become more competitive, or to win a specific tour. Not interested in racing? Perhaps you want to complete your first century ride, improve your overall fitness, or ride father and faster just for the sheer joy of flying on two wheels.

No matter what your goals, The Complete Book of Road Cycling and Racing gives you all the information you need to become a better, more performance-focused cyclist. Written by an accomplished racing coach, cyclist, and exercise physiologist, this book shows you how to:

  • Fit the bike to your body for maximum efficiency and comfort
  • Ride safely in a group
  • Cope with any weather or altitude
  • Maintain your bike
  • Prepare for races of all types
  • Master racing strategies and tactics
  • Train efficiently and stay in peak condition year-round
  • And much more
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071489379
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/8/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 393,128
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Will Peveler, Ph.D., is a noted exercise physiologist who has coached at the university level and ridden competitively since 1994. In addition to his work as a bicycle-fitting specialist, Will also writes on performance cycling and biomechanics. Will is Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Northern Kentucky University.

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Read an Excerpt

the complete book of road cycling & racing


By WILL PEVELER

McGraw-Hill

Copyright © 2009 McGraw-Hill
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-07-164341-2


Chapter One

choosing a bike

Copyright © 2009 by McGraw-Hill. Click here for terms of use.

Locating a good bike shop with a helpful, knowledgeable staff is the first step in selecting your bike and equipment. The staff should encourage you to explain your cycling experience and goals in detail, and should ask many questions. They should have the capabilities to fit you properly on your new bike. If a shop can't or won't provide this level of service, find another shop within driving distance.

Your relationship with the bike shop should be a two-way street. The shop provides valuable services at a fair rate, including objective purchasing advice, mechanical repairs, assistance with warranty issues, advice on riding and racing, and information about local clubs and events. Shops also provide a social atmosphere where cyclists meet and talk about riding. In return, you owe them your loyal business. Give it to them and they'll bend over backward to meet your needs, such as when you need a repair done ASAP.

You may be able to save a few dollars purchasing equipment through online retailers, but they cannot maintain your bike. Of course, you must be guided by your personal economics, and if you have excellent mechanical skills, you may be able to get by largely on your own.

HOW TO BUY

Choosing a bike can be daunting. There are different frame types, materials, and geometries, and different component groups. Your choice will depend on your riding needs, the fit and feel of the bike, and how much you are willing to spend.

Cost and Warranty

A new bike that is appropriate for serious riding with an eye toward performance can cost anywhere from $600 to more than $6,000. You could purchase a $90 bike from a discount store, but I advise against it. Such mass-produced bikes are fine for riding short distances around the neighborhood but will not hold up on long rides. They have a heavy frame and low-end components and do not have sealed bearings. They do not perform well straight off the shelf or over the long haul and are subject to continuous mechanicals (mechanical breakdowns) that will quickly add up to more money than the bike is worth. Keep in mind that you will also need accessories, and they can add up. Go in with a set spending limit and stick to it.

Price and weight are inversely related in bicycles. Making frames and other components light as well as strong involves more precise work and higher-quality materials. The old saying "you get what you pay for" applies, but you do not need to spend a fortune. It is cheaper to lose weight off your body than off the bike, and some bikes in the $600 to $1,400 range offer excellent quality.

Many companies provide a lifetime frame warranty; others offer five- to twenty-five-year warranties. (Parts usually have a one-year warranty.) Warranties typically cover manufacturer defects but not damage due to crashes, although some companies offer a "crash replacement" warranty under which they will replace a crashed frame for much less than its retail cost. In my experience as a bike shop manager, all of the manufacturers were really good about honoring their warranties.

New Versus Used

As with cars, there are pros and cons to buying a used bike. The potential upside, of course, is that you can get more bike for your money. On the downside, you may be buying someone else's problems. Before buying a used bike, have it inspected to ensure that the components are in working order and the frame is not corroded, cracked, or otherwise damaged.

At the high end of the price range, I recommend buying new so you're covered by warranty. Recently, a fatigue crack opened up in one of my high-end frames after four years of riding. The manufacturer replaced the frame with a new model that was better than the original.

If you are in the market for a used bike, here are three good places to look:

* Many bike shops sell used bikes they have acquired through trade or on consignment. They will ensure that the bike is in working order and may back it with a limited warranty.

* Many clubs post classified ads on their websites or pass information by word of mouth.

* Of all the places to buy used bikes on the Internet, eBay seems to have the widest selection and the safest means of purchasing. You will probably not be able to examine the bike before buying it, and you will need to know your frame size in the specific brand you are considering.

Buying a Stock Bike Versus Building Your Own

Most bikes are bought off the showroom floor, but some cyclists dream of buying a bare frame, choosing each component individually, and assembling the bike themselves or having a local shop do it for them. This occasionally makes sense for advanced riders who are familiar with various components and have particular preferences.

For most riders, however, building your own bike is impractical. Bike manufacturers usually do an excellent job of specifying appropriate components for different types of bikes in different price ranges. Because they buy components in large quantities, they receive deep discounts. You would probably add $200 to $800 to the cost of a bike by purchasing the frame and identical components individually. My advice is to buy the stock bike, and have the shop swap out any individual components you want to change.

THE BIKE FRAME

The frame is the heart of the bike and the greatest single determinant of its quality and performance. Although every component can be replaced, if you replace the frame you've got a new bike. No amount of component replacement will make a good bike from a lousy frame (although it's possible to turn a good frame into a lousy bike with poor components).

Frame Geometries

Frame geometry deals with the length and angle of the tubes. It affects the bike's ride quality, steering quickness, and handling.

Road Racing

Racing bikes have a steep head-tube angle, usually between 73 and 74 degrees from the horizontal. This makes the steering responsive and maneuverable. To beginners, this feels "twitchy," but given time, most riders become accustomed to the feel. The seat-tube angle is also usually 73 to 74 degrees, placing the rider over the pedals, allowing for efficient transfer of energy, and promoting an aerodynamic position on the bike. These frames are also designed to be stable at high speeds and stiff in a sprint. A short wheelbase also lends itself to increased maneuverability.

Touring

Touring bikes are designed to be stable at slower speeds, to carry gear, and to provide greater comfort than race bikes. With a shallower head tube angle of 71 to 72 degrees, touring frames have slower, more stable steering than race bikes, which makes it possible to attach panniers and carry cargo. The seat tube angle is also 71 to 72 degrees, allowing for a more comfortable upright position. Touring bikes usually have a longer wheelbase than race bikes, which makes for slower steering but increased stability.

Sport

Sport bikes fall between racing and touring bikes. These frames are a little more comfortable than racing frames, have slightly relaxed handling, and promote a more upright position for riders for whom speed is not the sole criterion. The head tube and seat tube angles are 72 to 73 degrees. These bikes are a good choice for beginning riders and riders who are more concerned with comfort than speed but won't be doing extensive touring with heavy gear. Sport bikes usually have a longer wheelbase for stability.

A friend bought a serious race bike with a head-tube angle of 73 degrees, a rake of 45 mm, and a short chain stay. It was a good bike, but he could not get comfortable on it. As a cyclist, his goal is participating in century rides, and he has no interest in racing.

He soon sold the racer and bought a sport bike with a head-tube angle of 72 degrees, a rake of 49 mm, and a longer chain stay. The bike positions him in a more comfortable, upright posture that he can maintain for hours. It's not a better bike, but it's better suited to his needs.

Time Trial

Time-trial frames are designed to give an aerodynamic advantage to riders in races where they cannot draft. The seat-tube angle ranges from 73 to 78 degrees, with the steeper angles promoting the most aerodynamic posture.

Steeper, however, isn't always better. Research has shown that cyclists adapt to and perform optimally in one particular position. So if you want to do time trials in addition to other events, choose a time-trial frame with a seat-tube angle similar to the one on the bike you normally ride.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body of international bicycle racing, and the United States Cycling Federation (USCF) have strict guidelines for bike geometry. According to UCI rules, the nose of the saddle must be at least five centimeters behind the bottom-bracket spindle, effectively limiting the seat-tube angle to a maximum of about 76 degrees. The UCI also requires that frames be of the conventional double-diamond style, with a seat tube that connects to the bottom bracket.

USA Triathlon (USAT), the governing body of triathlon and duathlon in the United States, has no such specifications. Many triathlon bikes have a seat-tube angle as steep as 78 degrees, and some companies have developed aerodynamic frames that do not have a seat tube that connects to the bottom bracket. Although these bikes are illegal in time trials, they are well accepted in triathlons. If you plan to compete in time trials and triathlons, make sure the bike is time-trial legal.

Traditional Versus Compact Frames

Compact frames are also known as sloping-tube geometries because the top tube slopes down to the rear. (On a traditional frame, it is horizontal.) The head-tube and seat-tube angles are similar in traditional and compact geometries, although compact frames have a slightly smaller rear triangle (formed by the chain stay, seat stay, and seat tube).

Nearly half of professional cycling teams now ride compact geometry. The other half doesn't. So what's the story? Is one better than the other?

In practice, the two geometries produce equivalent results. On both types of frame, you contact the bike at three points—the saddle, handlebars, and pedals—and you set up the bike the same way. With compact geometry you get a larger range of adjustment with the seat post. Some manufacturers have responded by producing only three or four frame sizes, which may leave a few riders to fall through the cracks, but most companies produce compact frames in the same range of eight or so sizes comparable to traditional-geometry bikes. (The effective top-tube length of a compact-geometry bike is measured horizontally, not along the tube, and is the same as on a traditional frame.)

Some cyclists claim that the smaller rear triangle of a compact frame makes the bike stiffer, but manufacturers that carefully select good materials can engineer the desired degree of stiffness in either type of frame. It is also claimed that compact frames are lighter, but if you add in the extra weight of the longer seat post, there is no noticeable difference.

Women-Specific Geometries

Recently, companies such as Cannondale, Trek, and Specialized have introduced lines of road bikes designed specifically for women. Recognizing that men and women have different proportions, the companies changed frame geometry and components accordingly. A woman's torso tends to be shorter, so the top-tube length is shorter to make it easier to reach the handlebars. Whereas most road bikes have 700C wheels (see page 15), some of the smaller women's frames come with 650C wheels, for a shorter stand-over height. Handlebars have been narrowed for narrow shoulders and the diameter of the tube is thinner, and the shift levers are shorter for smaller hands.

Not all women need women-specific geometry. Many taller women fit better on bikes with standard geometry, and some men and children fit better on "women's" bikes. The choice of geometry should be determined by your body, not your gender.

Frame Materials

Frames are usually made of steel, aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber. A few companies build frames using combinations of materials. Each material has advantages and disadvantages, but there can be big differences in quality among frames built from the same material. A $150 steel frame, for example, is much heavier, has a poorer ride quality, and will not last as long as a $1,500 steel frame.

Steel

Modern steel frames are lighter and stronger than their predecessors. The steel lugs that used to hold the tubes together have been replaced with TIG-welded joints, and the walls of the tubes are of varying thickness to eliminate excess weight. Even the metallurgy of the steel itself has improved.

Steel frames have a comfortable ride quality, but they flex during sprints and climbing. Thin-walled tubes have a tendency to dent easily, and steel is subject to rust. To help increase the life of your steel frame, coat the inside with a rust inhibitor on a regular basis. Finally, there is something to be said about the classic feel and look of a steel frame.

Titanium

The most expensive frame material, titanium provides a comfortable ride similar to that of steel, but it's much lighter. It has a longer fatigue life than steel and aluminum, but it tends to flex more than aluminum or carbon fiber during sprints. Titanium does not rust and does not need to be painted; nor does the inside need to be coated against rust.

Aluminum

Aluminum is stiffer and lighter than steel and is the least expensive choice for a lightweight bike of good quality. It's possible to buy a new aluminum-frame bike that weighs 22 to 23 pounds for $600 to $800. Steel-frame bikes in that weight range typically cost 30 to 50 percent more. Although most aluminum bikes cost less than those made of titanium, aluminum is lighter at the same price level. The downside of its stiffness is a rough ride, although this can be partially compensated for by a high-quality carbon fiber fork, seat post, and handlebars. Aluminum frames do not rust and have the shortest fatigue life of any frame material, with a life expectancy of five to ten years.

Carbon Fiber

Early versions of carbon fiber frames used carbon fiber tubing joined by aluminum lugs. Although these were not successful, recent advances have resulted in the lightest, strongest, and most comfortable frames available. Most frames built now use a nearly undetectable carbon fiber lug; others are made in a single piece in molds.

Carbon fiber is the choice of many pro riders; it produces a comfortable ride that is stiff in a sprint. When you apply pressure to the pedals, the bike responds immediately; you can feel it accelerate smoothly and quickly.

Carbon fiber has the longest fatigue life of any frame material. The downside is that carbon fiber frames are expensive.

All frame materials have advantages and disadvantages. I ride a carbon frame, which I think is the most comfortable and responsive material. Other riders prefer steel, saying it allows them to feel the road better. You will need to ride bikes with each material to determine which you like best. Many bike shops have demo bikes that you can use to determine your preference.

Butted Tubes

Conventional metal tubing has a constant wall thickness and is known as plain- or straight-gauge tubing. In steel, aluminum, and titanium frames of higher quality, the inside diameter of the tubing wall varies along its length; the tubing walls are thicker at the ends, where additional strength is needed, and thinner in the middle to save weight. These are known as butted tubes. (As a composite material, carbon fiber lends itself to continuous variation in thickness and reinforcement.)

Tube butting appears in three basic formats:

* Single butted. The tube wall is thicker at one end and uniformly thinner throughout the rest of its length.

* Double butted. The tube is the same thickness at both ends and uniformly thinner between them.

* Triple butted. Both ends are thicker than the middle, but one end is thinner than the other. The middle is of uniform thickness.

Butted tubing is mainly used in the seat tube, down tube, and top tube. The downside to butted tubing is that the middle of the tubes is more susceptible to denting and fatigue. It is also more expensive than plain-gauge tubing.

Frame Aerodynamics

Traditional frames have round tubing and are ideal for climbing or flat stages. Although they lack any aerodynamic advantage, they are much lighter than aero frames and generally more comfortable. When riding in a peloton (a tightly bunched group of cyclists), there is little need for an aerodynamic frame; weight when climbing is a greater concern.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from the complete book of road cycling & racing by WILL PEVELER Copyright © 2009 by McGraw-Hill. Excerpted by permission of McGraw-Hill. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Preface     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction
Why Ride?     xiii
Bike and Gear     xiv
Races and Rides     xiv
Noncompetitive Riding     xv
Training and Nutrition     xv
How to Get Involved     xv
The bike
Choosing a bike
How to Buy     2
The Bike Frame     3
Components and Groups     9
Other Gear     18
Cycle Computers     23
Fitting the bike to your body
Performance Versus Comfort     25
Frame Size     25
Crank-Arm Length     26
Cleat Position     27
Saddle Adjustments     27
Handlebar Adjustments     30
Time-Trial Setup     31
Recording Your Setup     33
Bike maintenance
Basic Maintenance Principles     34
Cleaning     36
After Rain     37
Maintenance Procedures     37
Repairs on the Road     63
Riding and racing
Riding skills
Posture/Position     66
Pedaling     68
Braking     72
Steering     73
Cornering     74
Climbing Hills     75
Road Conditions     75
Riding in Traffic     76
Riding in a Group     77
Weather and altitude
Riding in the Heat     80
Riding in the Cold     83
Riding at High Altitudes     86
Safety
Preventing Accidents     89
Health and Injury     91
Races and rides
Racing     96
Noncompetitive Riding     99
Finding Events     100
Registration     100
Money     100
Logistics     101
Equipment Check     102
Race Day     103
Racing skills, strategy, and tactics
Making Contact     105
Pace Line     106
Strategy     110
Tactics     111
Training and fitness
Training programs
Developing Your Own Training Program     120
Monitoring Training     125
Coaching     126
Cycling physiology
The Cardiorespiratory System     128
Energy Systems     131
Muscle Fibers     133
VO[subscript 2] Max     134
Anaerobic and Lactate Thresholds     136
Training Adaptations      137
Essential principles of training
Overload     140
Recovery     141
Overtraining     141
Specificity of Training     142
Detraining     142
Consistency     143
Frequency     143
Duration     143
Flexibility     149
Off-season training
Indoor Training     154
Cross Training     156
Resistance Training     156
Designing a Strength-Training Program     158
Weight-Training Techniques     161
Nutrition
Nutrients     174
Nutrition and Exercise     178
Ergogenic aids
Ethics and Legality     182
Supplements     183
Illegal Aids     187
Your unique physique
Body Composition Goals     190
Weight Management     195
Women     199
Aging     202
Youth     203
Overweight and Obesity     204
Diabetes     205
Asthma     206
Training log     207
Resources     209
Index     211
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 6, 2010

    Great all around Information

    The book was informative. Gives you a chance to learn a lot about road cycling.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Great Book - Lots of great information

    I loved this book. They gave you all kinds of information. Very helpful to the new rider that is looking at getting into road racing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 23, 2012

    Reallly good book. riding techniques, nutrition, etc

    Reallly good book. riding techniques, nutrition, etc

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