It can be very frustrating finishing last in your bike race or always being behind when cycling with your group.
Even though you are trying your best you just can’t get on their level.
Why is that the case?
How you can take your cycling game to the next level?
In this article, I am going to explain what are the most common mistakes beginner cyclists are making and how to fix them immediately.
Table of Contents
7 Common Reasons Why You Are Cycling Slow?
Here are the main reasons why your cycling speed is not improving and why all your cycling friends are probably faster than you.
- You have the wrong tire pressure
- Wrong pedaling technique
- Not enough training
- Bad aerodynamic
- Not enough carbohydrates
- Not enough water and electrolytes
If you fix all the things on this list, you will dramatically improve your cycling game to the point where your friends won’t even recognize you.
Now, I will go through each one and cover every mistake you need to avoid ASAP.
1. Wrong tire pressure
The first thing that many cyclists are doing wrong without even realizing it is their tire pressure.
Bike tire pressure is very important, not only does it make you faster but also lowers the chance of you getting a flat tire.
With wrong tire pressure, you will just waste a ton of energy.
Studies have shown that with the right tire pressure you can increase your average speed by a 3% which is insane.
When it comes to measuring the tire pressure I personally use a tire pump with a built-in pressure gauge.
They are not that expensive you can find one for less than $20 on Amazon.
Then you need to know what is the ideal tire pressure for your type of bike and your weight.
If you have a road bike pressure should be between 80 and 120 psi.
If you have a mountain bike pressure should be between 20 and 35 psi.
If you have a hybrid bike pressure should be between 50 and 70 psi.
Also, you need to take your body weight into the equation because the heavier you are, the higher the pressure needs to be.
2. Wrong pedaling technique
The easiest way to differentiate a professional cyclist and an amateur one is by their pedaling technique.
A bad pedaling technique is only going to cause you harm, you will waste a bunch of energy and you might end up injuring yourself.
But how you can pedal like a pro?
First, your bike needs to fit you well. Might sound obvious but many people are making a huge mistake there.
I will give you a quick exercise to find the best fit for you.
When the pedal is at the bottom of the stroke, just straighten your leg and your heel should just touch the pedal.
If you can’t touch the pedal you should lower your saddle height, whereas if your knee is bent you should raise your saddle. It’s that simple.
Also, if your hips are moving left and right during your ride it means that your saddle is too high.
When it comes to your foot’s position try to position the ball of your foot directly above the pedal spindle.
Bonus tip: Make sure you do not pull up on your pedal stroke; allow your legs to naturally return to the downward position.
This is a mistake I was personally making a lot. I used to cycle 100km rides just because I wanted to impress my friends which is a huge mistake.
But how can you determine when you are overtrained.
Isn’t training supposed to be exhausting?
I have one rule that I follow when it comes to determining overtraining.
When you get off your bike if you can’t stand still, you feel dizzy and like you are gonna throw up, that means you over-forced yourself.
But if you get exhausted just after one hill you need to do something.
Here are a few tips to prevent overtraining.
First, you need to make sure you are training regularly. At least 3 to 4 times a week.
The second piece of advice which is the most important one is to gradually increase your riding goals.
For example, don’t jump straight away from riding 50miles to riding 200miles.
Make a realistic plan and gradually increase your day-to-day goals.
4. Not enough training
This one is too obvious I don’t even need to explain it much.
Without cycling regularly, you can’t make big progress.
It’s that simple.
Make a training plan!
If you want to grow you must have a plan.
There are two ways you can make it. Ether with a pen and paper or with some sort of smart technology.
5. Bad Aerodynamic
In cycling every second matters.
There is a reason why cyclists are heaving those $10,000 bikes and are wearing $300 cycling jerseys, sunglasses, gloves, shorts, etc.
When all those things add up you might get an extra 0.0001 second extra.
I am just joking.
But seriously if you go out with your baggy shirt and baggy trousers you will just make an extra resistance and therefore go much slower.
If you want to get as aero as possible think about investing in some cycling gear.
You don’t need to go crazy with a $300 jersey but you can invest in some decent clothes that will make you more aerodynamic than your baggie shirt.
6. Not Enough Carbohydrates
Your diet as a cyclist is very important.
Carbohydrates are like your fuel. You need to consume them before and during your ride for more energy.
Most people are making a mistake and eating protein instead of carbs. That’s why don’t have the energy to withstand one uphill climb.
You want to have your cycling diet set up.
Pre-ride meal: carbohydrates (e.g. oats and fruit juice)
During the ride meal: carbohydrates (e.g. banana and energy snacks) (link to the energy gel that literally makes me fly on the road)
Post-ride meal: proteins (e.g. fruit, meat, salmon, eggs)
Feel free to experiment with your diet. Measure everything and see what’s giving you the best performance.
7. Not Enough Water & Electrolytes
Consuming water and electrolytes is a huge factor in your cycling performance.
Every professional cyclist is drinking at least 10 ounces of water before a ride.
You want to avoid running out of water at all costs.
If that happened you are done.
Don’t make the same mistake as I did.
I used to drink lots of water every hour which is a huge mistake.
You should drink a small amount of water every 10 to 20 minutes to ensure that your body has water at all times.
A bonus thing you can add to your water is electrolytes (link to the exact one I use).
When you swear you lose tons of minerals.
That’s why cyclists use electrolytes to replace that.
I hope this article was helpful!