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The Wagon: Bikewagon Community College & Blog

  • Training With Power, Step 1: Obtain your FTP

    Road Cyclist Training

    As I mentioned in my first post about power meters, training with power in cycling can be fairly complex, and the very first step is the easiest of all: collect data. Begin your first few weeks of training by simply riding with your power meter and collecting data.

    Some cycling power meters come with their own software suite for collecting and analyzing data, such as PowerTap's PowerAgent, and there are some freeware programs out there you can use, as well (e.g. Golden Cheetah). Training Peaks is an online software suite that offers free and premium accounts, and they even have an offline version called WKO+. Regardless which product you use, it’s important you collect data from every ride. More on that later.

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  • A Woman's Tips for a Successful Mountain Biking Date

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    As a female road cyclist who rarely ventures onto the trails but seems to constantly be dating guys who love throwing themselves down rocky trails on their bikes, I've had my fair share of successful and unsuccessful couple mountain bike rides.

    If you're thinking of taking your relationship to the next level and becoming an "adventure buddy" couple, here are a few tips for before you start in. (These tips apply mostly to those couples where one person is already involved in biking or any other outdoor activity but the other is not. If you both already love biking and are quite competitive, that's a whole different can of worms.)

    Couple mountain biking

    1. Make sure you both know what you're getting into.

    It's no fun to show up to the trail unaware and unprepared for the rocky 3,000-feet elevation gain in the first three miles, only to drop back down that in the last three. It's also no fun to have seriously underestimated your significant other's athletic ability and propensity to whining. Be clear about the trail, judge your significant other's capabilities beforehand, and figure out a trail you can both feel comfortable on.

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  • Rico's Rants: Don't get too upset over a little mud.

    Rico's Rants

    It's that time of year again. Everyone is pumped to get out on the bike without four layers and a full beard to keep the frost bite away. With more people on the trail come more problems, however.

    One problem here in our neck of the woods is spring rain and muddy trails. Nothing sparks more of a debate on the socials like a picture of a good, old rutted-out mud hole on your favorite trail. Mud is murder, right?

    Muddy MTB trail

    No, mud is not murder.

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  • 16 Reasons You Should Bike to Work

    Our favorite part of National Bike Month is Bike to Work Week. This year it's May 11 - 15, with the 15th being National Bike to Work Day. To help you prepare and get motivated to join in, we've thrown together a list of the benefits of biking to work.

     
     

    1. Everyone looks at you walking into the office with your bike and wishes they were as good as you.
    Entering office with bike
    It's a great way to make your co-workers feel like they could be a little bit better. A little bit like you.
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  • A Cyclist's Guide to Falling

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    At some point in your cycling life, you'll take a spill. It's the hard truth that falls happen, and they are never pleasant. You should be able to avoid the vast majority of falls by riding smart, being aware of your surroundings, and reacting to changing road conditions, but it is important to simply know how to fall.

    Know how to fall?

    It might sound like nonsense, but anyone who has studied martial arts knows that one of the first things that is taught in many of these disciplines is the basic skill of falling. All bicyclists should think about this as well; it's a good skill to develop.

    bike crash

    Be prepared to fall and fall well.

    By definition, a fall is at least partially uncontrolled. If you had full control of the situation, you wouldn't be falling, right? Falling correctly is about regaining what control you can, reacting to the circumstances of the fall, and acting in a manner to reduce the injuries you will sustain.

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  • Bike Frame Geometry: The Basics

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    Bicycle frames are built with specific uses in mind. This becomes most obvious when you compare different styles of bikes. A cruiser frame looks substantially different than a mountain bike frame, and a road bike frame looks different still.

    The geometry of a bike frame is defined by the angles and distances between the basic parts of frame, such as the top tube, down tube, the seat and chain stays, the seat tube, the head tube, and the fork. The precise angles in which these parts are arranged determines much for a bicycle: how it handles, how it rides, how it feels, and what type of terrain it can deal with.

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  • What to do When a Car Hits You on Your Bike

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    If you do much cycling on the road, you understand the rational fear of getting hit by a car. It seems like everyone has either been hit or knows someone who has. These incidents can range anywhere from a simple side-swipe that causes little to no damage to much worse. While we all hope to never experience colliding with a car, it’s important to know what to do in the event that you do get hit.

    A few years ago, I had the misfortune of getting in a minor accident with a car while I was on my bike. Not having prepared for such an event, I did everything all wrong, causing me more stress and grief than it would have otherwise.

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  • Rico's Rants: Am I too old for Lycra cycling clothing?

    Rico's Rants

    Lycra shorts have a definite advantage for bike riding and racing. Their aerodynamics, hot-weather comfort and resistance to snags on a tight trail have keep them at the top of my cycling clothing list for almost two decades now.

    I really hated them at first; a high school kid doesn't look forward to sliding on a pair of tight shorts, especially if not one of his buddies understands what they are for (fashion is at the bottom of the list of Lycra shorts advantages, for sure). But eventually the benefits outweighed the snickers and laughs from the cycling uneducated.

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  • Why I Train and Coach Cyclists with Power Meters

    CompuTrainer Lab

    I bought my first power meter a few years ago because, honestly, I'm a gadget junkie, and power meters were the latest and coolest gadget to have. I'm also a data-holic, so the power meter was a perfect fix for me -- a gadget that gave me tons of data. For the first year or two it was fascinating to ride with my meter then go home and watch my computer re-create my ride in the form of graphs and charts -- all sorts of them. Piece by piece, I slowly began to learn what the data in all those graphs and charts were trying to tell me.

    They could tell me with precision when I was gaining fitness, and exactly how much. They'd also tell me exactly how much fitness I was losing when I got lazy. As I collected more and more data I also began to see how I could compare my current fitness with, say, this time last year. I began to correlate the numbers produced by my meter with how I felt and how I performed on the bike.

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  • 8 Things I Learned with a Bike as My Sole Method of Transportation

    Urban bicycle commuter

    After graduating high school and moving out of my parents' house, I found myself without a car, a job, or any money. Finally securing a part-time job, I saved up and bought a bike for $300. This old Giant road bike became my primary form of transportation for the next five years, carrying me from home to school to work and back home every day. Recently, I purchased my first car, causing me to think back on all the things I learned from biking nearly every day for those five years.

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