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Rotifer 05-23-02 02:48 PM

What is most important for continued riding improvement?
What I would like to do is have people rank them in order of importance. I was thinking about this on my training ride yesterday. Oh, i was wondering if this is the way most everybody trains ... I commute, trying ot keep it relaxed (though, as someone mentioned in another thread, this can be tough to do) then do a hard, fast training ride after I get home and change.

cycletourist 05-23-02 03:02 PM

Actually, none of those things are important. Just keep riding and you will improve.

bikeman 05-23-02 03:12 PM

A journalist once asked Eddy Merckx how it was that he was such a winning cyclist and his response was...

"Ride Lots"

Words to live by I think.

Kind of says it all. Although a good club with riders better than you, a spouse who understands your crazy fascination with bikes and the other factors you mentioned all contribute to your personal well-bing as an improving cyclist.

Although no matter how hard you try you will never be Eddy or Lance;)

Rotifer 05-23-02 03:14 PM

After riding and racing for 10 years, I can say that all of the above have been an issue at some point. Haven't you trained hard all spring only to get to the point that you have to force yourself to get on your bike and ride? It sucks. Or, had a girlfriend (or boyfriend) that *****ed and moaned everytime you walked in the door eager to hop on (the bike) and jet? How 'bout when you move to a new town, leaving your team behind and the mechanics who supported you? Ah well ... just fun to see how other people stack these things up. I am addicted to riding and , as with any addiction, it can be hard to find a balance.

cheers :beer:

ljbike 05-23-02 03:15 PM

#5 Riding companions. I allways ride alone.
#4 Mechanical Knowledge. This is only important if you break down.
#3 A Fast Bike. Without proper BODY mechanics any gains will be illusory.
#2 Marraige partner tolerates it. If your partner doesn't object to being neglected while you ride, then you can concentrate on improving body mechanics. If your partner objcts and you feel guilty about riding, there won't be as much concentration on riding properly.
#1 Nutrition. If you don't feed the horse with proper foods, it will break down by losing energy, resulting in muscle and mental deterioration.

But the real #1 is a selfish desire to ride no matter what, and to seek help from coaches, other riders, books, magazines, videos... and the forums here.

Rotifer 05-23-02 04:57 PM

I train by myself as well and can definately relate to that innate, selfish desire to ride. In fact, I have received some criticism for it from family. When someone is having a difficult time or a deadline is pressing, it is difficult for people to understand the meditative state one reaches while riding. Body mechanics, that is a very good one... didn't think of that, extremely important.

LittleBigMan 05-23-02 05:32 PM

Whatever keeps you riding is what will be most important for continued riding improvement, I think. That may vary case-by-case.

In my case, I've never had a riding partner, my wife always criticized (or at best, had no interest) in my cycling, I have very little mechanical knowledge and my bike is not particularly fast (unless I'm peppy that day and don't have a headwind.)

I guess I'm the "weed growing in the sidewalk."

ljbike 05-23-02 05:42 PM

LittleBigMan, I think you are far too hard on yourself. I also think you are one of the most respected members here.

LittleBigMan 05-23-02 07:04 PM

I was going to PM you, but let me say that I respect you, too.

roadbuzz 05-23-02 07:27 PM

#0! Persistance/commitment
#1 M/R tolerates it
#2 Nutrition
#3 Mechanical knowledge
#4 I hesitate to put fast bike on the list. Any decent roadbike that you like to ride is adequate.
#5 Likewise w/ride companions. They might help from the motivation standpoint, but impede improvement. Coaches often recommend against training with companions.

orguasch 05-23-02 07:41 PM

I have to spend quality time with my family then I spend some more quality time with my bike, if my wife is not supportive of my riding my bike,we would have not lasted for 25 years, and my riding is going strong as well as our marriages is also going strong you have to give some for you to get something in return:beer: :beer: :beer:

Dirtgrinder 05-23-02 08:21 PM

Well put Orguasch. I try to do the same thing. Or combine it when I can.;) Like two days ago my oldest daughter had a soccer game. Didn't have time to ride that day, so my wife drove the kids and I rode my bike. Worked out just fine. :)

RiPHRaPH 05-24-02 06:41 AM

if you didn't 'ride lots' then you wouldn't/shouldn't expect to care if you improved or not, right?
i've thought about this, and every year i improve in smallish increments. one can argue that since i seem to use one new training method or gadget a year.... (one year clipless pedals, one year power bars, one year new bike, one year new trainer for the winter, one year new rims, etc)

so i am going to vote for #1 -breaking down the mental barriers (being able to slice through wind, push through pain) and #2 i feel as if i am still held back by my nutritional deficits (both on and off the bike)

orguasch 05-24-02 06:48 AM

Thanks it alway work better, if the better half is involved in you everyday life,

Rich Clark 05-24-02 07:59 AM

"None of the above."

Everything is ancillary to the one critical ingredient: will. The determination to "make it so" overcomes any obstacle; the lack of it means certain defeat.


WoodyUpstate 05-24-02 08:43 AM

I'm 40 years old, married for 18 years. We have kids (14 and 11). I'm self-employed. My wife works full-time and is finishing her 4-year degree. Like you all, we're very busy. Many times she bites her lip as I head out the door to ride while the grass needs cutting, rooms need painting or one of the kids needs a ride to the orthodontist. Without her support there would be no cycling for me. She's wonderfully tolerant of my obsessions, and I, in return, try to find a balance among home, work, family, church, and the bike (there may be more).

However, one day last year she gave me some grief about my riding and I told her that most guys my age had a girlfriend and a Corvette and that cycling, maybe, wasn't so bad.

Rotifer 05-24-02 09:29 AM

My wife and I divorced a couple years ago. When she drops off my son for a visit I am frequently just returning from a ride (last chance before a weekend with a 4 year old), to this day she gives me grief about spending money on bicycles and time on rides. Irritates the hell out of me. To quote Black Flag ... ".. at least I'm not a 30 year old twice divorced alchoholic..". Yeah!

roadie gal 05-24-02 01:38 PM

#1- self motivation. All of the other stuff is secondary to wanting to haul your butt out the door and onto the bike.

That said:
#2 - A supportive SO is major. Some days mine wants to ride, some days no, but there's never any negative feedback if I want to go it alone.
#3 - nutrition
#4 - a fast bike. My new bike (Sampson Silverton) has made those long rides a joy.
#5 - companions. I work a nontraditional schedule and usually work the weekends. I almost always ride alone if not with the SO, so this isn't important to me.

roadie gal 05-24-02 01:40 PM

Oops, forgot mechanical knowledge... Yeah, you should know how to change a flat and fix the chain, beyond that I'm not sure how important it is.

AndrewP 05-24-02 02:19 PM

The easiest way to improve your riding is to ride with someone who is slightly better than you.

The most improvement can come from a better training regime. I always go as fast as I can. The result is that I am unable to pace myself to suit the conditions, and cant attain a high burst of energy to get up a steep bit of hill. I am sure I would ride a lot better if I did some serious interval training.

Rotifer 05-24-02 02:24 PM

Intervals are a great way to improve. I have an Australian Cattledog ... she is amazingly fast. I do a training ride, go home and pick her up then race across a large field near my house. We do this 'til one or the other gives up. She always wins, little *****.

RiPHRaPH 05-25-02 06:31 AM

riding with better riders
thinking/knowing that it is a way of life.

my wife knows that if i didn't ride then i couldn't be positive in the rest of life's activities. i never assume that i am not effecting the family. i only hope to minimize the interruption.

meradi 05-25-02 06:56 AM


Do you have a picture of your dog? Some people say ours looks at least in part like an Australian cattle dog, but we don't know. My wife adopted her after a university was finished experimenting on her. She's the best dog I've ever encountered!
Here's a picture of our dog.

DnvrFox 05-25-02 07:14 AM


Originally posted by cycletourist
Actually, none of those things are important. Just keep riding and you will improve.
Right on, Bicycle Bob!!

If you don't enjoy it, why do it?

Some of you sound as if it is a great big chore to bike. You must have "will," mechanical knowledge, nutrition, etc., etc.

No, you must enjoy it. And have or be able to find the time to do it.

cycletourist 05-26-02 10:34 PM


You must enjoy it!
Amen !!

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