GETTING AERO ON THE CHEAP
It was quite some time ago that the term “aerodynamics” became the hottest word in cycling. And rightly so, because whenever we pedal our bikes, there is an invisible force that we are fighting in our bid for speed. To go faster requires that we reduce the effects of air resistance. At race pace, roughly 75 per cent of a rider’s power is used to overcome aerodynamic drag and, at even higher speeds, this air resistance consumes almost your entire power output.
If you believe that only serious bike racers can benefit from improving aerodynamic efficiency, think again. All cyclists and triathletes can benefit from a few tips and aero tweaks.
Adam Kourakis of Velofix, North America’s largest fleet of mobile bike shops, is in the business of helping athletes become comfortable, safe and efficient on their bike. As owner and operator of four Velofix franchises across Canada, he’s also a tri coach and a successful age-group triathlete.
According to Kourakis, “It’s true that having the right equipment is part of the aerodynamic equation. You have to know how to maximize the equipment you’re using, but it’s not all about equipment. An aerodynamic position on the bike is crucial to performance; it will minimize frontal surface, which is the amount of space the hits the air when riding forward. Less surface area creates less drag and allows an athlete to ride with less resistance, equating to higher speeds and a more efficient ride.”
Getting more aero can be an expensive business. Often athletes pay big bucks for state-of-the-art, tricked-out rigs that run well into the thousands of dollars. Then there’s the deep-dish carbon wheels that are sure to burn a hole in the bank account, wind tunnel testing … the list can go on. These measures are simply beyond the reach of many triathletes.
The good news is that there are cheap – and often free – ways to get more aero. Here are 10 tips, as discussed by Kourakis, that are well worth considering: