Most cyclists are self-taught. We learn on the job – when the bike stops working, we either read a manual and try and fix or we give up and take to a bike shop. Some people are quick learners, and are adept at learning all the necessary requirements to look after a bike. Others, like me, are a little embarrassed that after 20 years of cycling we’re still not 100% sure where the seat tube is.
How to train – is a whole different learning curve. In the beginning, you can get faster by riding a bike, but then you become aware of a whole world of heart rates, training zones and recovery. So you try and read a few books and absorb the information which you like the sound of.
But, just as you think you’re getting to know all about cycling, there is a scientific revolution, leaving a battery of new training terms related to power and critical threshold power. Just to increase the complexity, usually, these training terminology are abbreviated to three letters like FTP, CTL, and TSS.
If you can wade through that, you are now ready to worry about your CdA (aerodynamics) and Watt / CdA. Which requires several hours of testing, plus the required computer skills to punch in the numbers and get something meaningful out of the other side.
How to learn about cycling
I remember reading Ned Boulting’s ‘How I won the Yellow Jumper‘ – an entertaining look at someone thrown in at the deep end of professional cycling. Boulting was asked to cover the Tour de France with pretty much zero knowledge of cycling, Ned endured a crash course in how to talk about a sport you don’t really know anything about. (Ned was doing pretty well, until he got the Yellow Jersey and the Yellow jumper mixed up)
Cycling is one of those subjects where you have to learn everything by the process of osmosis – slowly picking up on the jargon and knowledge as you go along – without ever really admitting you didn’t know about it in the first place. It’s very rare someone will sit and down and explain the mechanics of adjusting your gear cable or even worse – Never try asking what a peleton is, 1 km from the finish of a Tour de France stage (note to family members! see also: Explaining the Tour de France) The only way to learn about the jargon of the Tour de France is to many hours ever day for three weeks over several summers, like I did. I don’t see why anyone should get any shortcuts.
From: Aaron’s site
It is only fairly recently that I’ve worked out the different parts of a bicycle – and that was thanks to a pretty handily marked diagram. Continue Reading →