Tri Talk Tuesday – Buying Speed To Become a Better Cyclist

Hello Tuesday.

Hello Tri Talk Tuesday.

Phaedra, Cynthia, and I are working our way through swimming, cycling, and running in terms of talking about improvements one can make in each discipline. And today we’re all about the bike.


Improving your cycling can be done in lots of ways. The best thign you can really do is just spend as much time aas possible in the saddle and ride all sorts of terrain. Chew up some hills and learn what it feels like to ride flat for an hour plus (all that pedaling!)

But like with anything else, there are ways to increase your cycling speed and strength aside from being out riding. Yes, you may have guessed it, I’m talking about buying speed.

You can in fact buy some speed and strength, as long as you also put in the training along side it. So, what kinds of things can you get that will help you become a stronger, faster cyclist?

1. An indoor bike trainer. These turn your current bike into a stationary bike that you can ride in the comfort of your own home anytime you want. Of course there’s a gamut of options to choose from. They range from under $100 for a inexpensive magnet trainer to well over a grand for a computerized trainer like a Wahoo Kickr or Computrainer. Want something reliable that won’t break the bank? A fluid trainer is a great compromise and if you buy from CycleOps you get that lifetime warranty that I have recently put to the test with results that have more than made me a happy life time customer.


2. Speed and cadence sensors/bike computers. If you’ve got your bike on a trainer it’s great to start throwing in some cadence drills. Increased cadence and high cadence drills help with leg turn over and helps make that magically number of 90 rpm’s (the efficient rpm to ride at) easier to become comfortable with. Also, low cadence drills with the gear loaded on helps build that strength and prep you for hills. If you have a Garmin watch you can simply snatch up a Garmin Spd/Cd sensor. Looking to be more high tech? Grab a fancier bike computer such as the Garmin 800 to get all the data!

3. Power meter! These are the gold standard for cycling training. Unlike speed, cadence, pace, or effort, power cannot be phased by things like poor fueling, bad weather or temperature, or fatigue. Power is power and it will require the exact same amount of effort to produce the same amount of watts regardless of any and all other variables. I recently got a PowerTap and so far am really happy with it (full product review coming at some point) Other power meter options include options like Quarq or Garmin Vectors.


4. Aero accessories. This would be things that can make you more aerodynamic and therefor faster. The two big purchases in this category include areo helmets such as the Giro Advantage and the Rudy Wingspan. The other big ticket item here is going to be some race wheels. Zipp is the big name in race wheels, but there are other more affordable options too like Easton or Mavic.

5. A new bike. If all else fails, go big! Granted this will take the largest hit on your bank account, but sometimes an upgraded bike can make a big difference. I personally immediately gained 2-3mph on my riding speed average going from an aluminum road bike to a carbon TT. While this isn’t always the answer, because it’s really about the engine (YOU) not the machine, it can sometimes be a good investment.

Cycling is a great sport and obviously an intergral component to triathlon. You spend the majority of your tri time in the saddle, so if you’re looking to improve your race times, the bike is the way to go in terms of gains and improvements. And while buying speed can only get you so far, it sure doesn’t hinder you either!

Looking to purchase any cycling gear? Don’t forget to hit up and use code TRIGIRL15  to get 15% off your total order!

What is the one thing you’ve done that you think has made the biggest difference in your riding?

Must have piece of bike training gear or equipment? 

Tri Talk Tuesday will be back again on Tuesday May 5, 2015 to chat about running! So get ready to talk running, ways to improve your running, or how you’ve personally become a better runner. 

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28 Thoughts on “Tri Talk Tuesday – Buying Speed To Become a Better Cyclist

  1. Some good tips in here. I’m shocked at your experience going from aluminum to carbon…assuming a different (more aero) design and not just the material change. Weight shouldn’t matter that much unless you have a really hilly course.
    Kelli recently posted…Triathlon: Pacing on the BikeMy Profile

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on April 7, 2015 at 5:44 pm said:

      Totally a different design in bikes. I went from an entry level road bike to a pretty upgraded triathlon bike with lots of bells and whistles on it. So it was really a combination of things, not just the material.

  2. I love how my bike feels when she has her race wheels on…kind of like riding on air! Great list. Thanks for sharing.
    Kristin recently posted…Tri Talk Tuesday: The BikeMy Profile

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on April 7, 2015 at 5:44 pm said:

      I can’t wait to get some new race wheels! High on my list for next season.

  3. Thank you for these tips! I’m just training for my first tri now so this is all new and pretty intimidating to me.

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on April 7, 2015 at 5:45 pm said:

      If you’re training for your first you really don’t need much of this stuff. Just get out and ride. A Garmin or bike computer of some sort would be helpful, but isn’t necessary for your first. Enjoy the training and good luck on race day!

  4. Great list!! The power tap has definitely helped me become a stronger cyclist. I am also hopeful that all of the trainer miles this year will translate to improvement when riding outdoors this year.
    Kecia recently posted…17 Weeks ’til Ironman BoulderMy Profile

  5. A power meter is a must if you want to improve your bike training! But the cheapest fix is during hard short intervals on the bike (:
    Hayley@HealthyRegardsHayley recently posted…Training Summary 3.30 – 4.5My Profile

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on April 7, 2015 at 5:46 pm said:

      Yes to intervals! I love them and they do pay off =)

  6. Training with power has made all the difference for me. That and my computrainer. 🙂
    Phaedra @ Blisters and Black Toenails recently posted…Tri Talk Tuesday: Improving on the BikeMy Profile

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on April 7, 2015 at 5:46 pm said:

      I imagine a computrainer makes a lot of difference, haha.

  7. I suspect I’ll be training with power in my next season. This is my first season of anything more than sprints. But I have a wahoo kickr and I am excited to use it soon.
    Smitha @ FauxRunner recently posted…Bike 102: Bike Basics – Before, During and After a RideMy Profile

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on April 7, 2015 at 5:47 pm said:

      Ohh, enjoy your kickr! They’re such a great idea. I hate wearing down my good tire and this time of year I can’t justify switching back and forth between my trainer tire and race tire. I’d love to just ditch my wheel!

  8. I couldn’t agree more about training with power and aero accessories I trained with power last year and it made all the difference. I have a tendency to go out to hard and exert too much effort quickly, so it was nice to have a visual zone of where I “need” to be for best performance overall. Bike fit and comfort is also really important. If you are going to spend A LOT of time in that aero position, you might as well as be comfortable, especially when you have to run immediately after!
    Kristen @ Glitter and Dust recently posted…Week 16; An Avocado, A Donut, and Some Belly ButterMy Profile

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on April 7, 2015 at 5:48 pm said:

      Oh yes to bike fit! The right fit makes aero so comfortable.

  9. cherylann on April 7, 2015 at 2:38 pm said:

    Hills and training on my mountain bike. I have used none of the above-except for a “new” bike now and then. Nothing expensive however….WHO can afford a Power Meter? Not this teacher!

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on April 7, 2015 at 5:49 pm said:

      Well, like anything in life, if you want something you’ll work for it. I wanted a power meter so I worked for mine.

      You are right, none of this stuff is necessary, but some of it is nice to have.

      • cheryl on April 7, 2015 at 8:57 pm said:

        I covet a power meter…but I have to at least have a nice bike to put it on…! Waiting for daughter to finish up Master’s program and make sure she has a JOB before I go splurge on anything!

  10. Pingback: Banking Those Miles: How to improve your cycling - Eat 2 Save Your Life

  11. I 100% agree that an indoor trainer is a must. There is no excuse to miss a bike session if all you have to do is park it in front of your TV and move those legs 😉
    Amber@Eat2SaveYourLife recently posted…Banking Those Miles: How to improve your cyclingMy Profile

  12. I am THE WORST and keep forgetting to link up to this! Fantastic gear and training tips! <3
    Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete recently posted…Get Fast & My New Fave PastaMy Profile

  13. Ahhh I have so many things to learn about riding my new bike! It’s like the lowest of low end bikes and I don’t plan on spending a ton of time of it (or even racing on it!) but I want to learn how to get comfortable on it for sure. I love that you’re a pro at this and I can ask you for help!
    Kristen recently posted…What I Learned This Week: Pilates is Hard!My Profile

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on April 8, 2015 at 7:47 pm said:

      Some of the other posts in the linkup are great for you to check out. Quite a few are very beginner oriented. You’ll love riding that bike, no matter what kind it is. Enjoy it =)

  14. This post is sooo helpful since I am still a newbie. Have one OLY under my belt with my first half ironman and several OLY’s this summer. All of this bike gear stuff is so new to me. Now I have some awesome new things on my amazon wishlist! Thanks for all of the tips!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…It’s Tri Talk Tuesday! Talking about riding a bike trainer.My Profile

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on April 8, 2015 at 9:51 pm said:

      Glad you found it useful! The first purchase off this list would absolutely be a trainer so you can ride all winter and when the weather is bad. Good luck this season!

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