Often when cyclists come to see me for a bike fit they look at me with disbelief when I raise their handle bars. Too often my clients are set up in a very aggressive position with the bars slammed low. This position looks fast but often leads to discomfort. Their justification for the bars low is for aerodynamic benefits. So they think:)
How does raising your handle bars make you ride faster? Well it enables the rider to get even lower in a very stable position by resting their wrists and fore arms on the handle bars while holding onto the hoods. By using skeletal support, the rider can relax the torso even with bent elbows (this is another benefit, ease of breathing under athletic duress). This position offers a lower profile than having their hands on the drops. Sure this position sounds faster, but where is the proof you ask?
A study by Professor Nathan Barry, et al (2015), provides a detailed analysis of how much drag you can reduce if you bend your arms and torso in addition to where you put your hands.
Barry began his study by reviewing previous studies that report “the drops posture reduces drag by up to 12% compared with the hoods posture.”
Then Dr. Barry conducted wind tunnel tests of common road cycling postures with the cyclist's hands on the hoods and drops position. He reports significant power and drag data to sustain an established speed in these varied positions. Reference the photos and table shown from his study.
By placing hands from the hoods to the drops (Posture 1 to Posture 2) without changing or bending the arms or torso has little benefit with only a 3% reduction in drag and power required or 13 watts at 45kph/28mph. This position gives the rider a 10 second benefit on a 40K/25m course.
HOWEVER, if the cyclist remains on the hoods but bends their forearms in a horizontal manner (Posture 5), a reduction in drag and power requirements is significant to 14% less drag or 58 watts savings than not bending the fore arms.
Additional "Need For Speed" Tid Bits coming soon:)
Yours in Cycling and Fitness,
President of Fun
May Street Bicycles is not your typical bike shop. Sure we sell awesome bicycles, provide bicycle repairs, and rental bikes all at great prices. But we do a great deal more such as dynamic bike fitting, metabolic testing, altitude training, and personal training.
So what is a MAMIL? They are ‘Middle Aged Men in Lycra'. If you ride a bike you will see them most often riding in packs. Is it all the rage? Some say yes. I must confess I am seeing a growing interest by the 40 sometime fella coming into May Street Bicycles looking for a bike as an option for improved fitness.
The term MAMIL is now in the Oxford English Dictionary (so I guess it is becoming a rage). Jennie Price from Surrey, England is a proclaimed cycling widow as see shares her story in the Daily Mail. "MAMIL is defined as “a middle-aged man who is a very keen road cyclist, typically one who rides an expensive bike and wears the type of clothing associated with professional cyclists.”
Bonnie Friend writes in Road Cycling Magazine, "It probably goes without saying that most people, professional or otherwise, look faintly ridiculous in head-to-toe cycling kit, but when it comes to performance it serves its purpose. Tight Lycra and accompanying sports materials allow for better performance, keeping the body streamlined. It doesn’t get damaged by sweat or sunlight in the same way other materials do, and it absorbs little water so you don’t get as cold if it rains. Some materials are also made for temperature control, so there’s a reason for looking ever so silly. As for the colors, reflectors can be explained by safety reasons, but when it comes to lurid pink… well, that’s for fun.
The thing is, MAMILism is not just about the outfit, it’s about the mentality, conversation and lifestyle that comes with it. We’re not really talking about people who have been into cycling all their lives. We’re talking about the people who have discovered the joy of two wheels later in their amateur careers, and revel in their increased fitness and the technicalities of their newfound love."
Along with the outfit and the general interest comes the dinner table conversation about quicker helmets and padded shorts, the pros and cons of cycling shoes, and the need for a personal trainer to improve their ‘power to weight ratio’.
Wonderful and enthusiastic as it all sounds to fellow cycling enthusiasts, writer Jennie Price, understandably, feels that this takes her ‘cycling widow’ status to a whole new level. There’s a twinge of embarrassment and a touch of boredom thrown in for good measure when conversation is dominated by performance enhancing, neon clothing, gadgets, and a hint of obsessive behavior leading to a rather high level of spending on the MAMIL’s new mistress.
Could the MAMIL be falling into the other health and fitness dilemma du jour – the wellness debt cycle where a commitment to wellbeing leads to bank breaking spending on protein powders, health food products and yoga classes? Time will tell."
So in closing we at May Street Bicycles is embracing this phenomenon. Expect to see weekly posts and even a survey to gain more knowledge about the MAMIL.
Yours in Cycling and Fitness,
President of Fun
May Street Bicycles is not your typical bike shop. Sure we sell awesome bicycles, provide bicycle repairs, and rental bikes all at great prices. But we do a great deal more such as dynamic bike fitting, metabolic testing, altitude training, and personal training. MAMILS are welcome:)