Certain philosophies of mine guide this website. This is what all my articles, as well as product reviews, are based on.
You might not agree with me, but the point is, you should understand that everything on this website is going to follow these guidelines. If you don’t like them, you probably won’t like the rest of my website, either.
Bikes, Parts, and Spending Money
Buying a new bike? Here’s what I think.
It’s not about the bike.
(OK, I borrowed this saying from someone else.) An expensive bike may be fun to ride, but just upgrading your bike isn’t going to win races.
There are only two people who need the latest and greatest high-tech parts:
- Professional cyclists who are in spectacular physical condition already, competing against the best in the world who are also riding the best bikes in the world.
- 250 lb fat guys who think having a 13 lb bicycle is a great idea.
Otherwise, get whatever bike you can afford, get a copy of The Cyclist’s Training Bible, and go to town. (And nothing is as satisfying as racing an $800 bike and demolishing guys riding $6000 bikes.)
Look for the best value.
This is mainly about spending money, although it can also apply to spending time (i.e. should I spend my time watching TV or riding my bike?) as well.
Sometimes I write articles about saving money, and every time I review a product, I consider the price. Pretty much every racer is on a budget, so price/value is a big part of any buying decision.
But… I do not recommend buying the cheapest stuff all the time!
You have to look at the value. For example, if you are choosing between a $50 bicycle part that wears out in three months, or a $75 part that lasts for a full year, it’s obvious – get the $75 part. Otherwise you’ll go through four $50 parts, which means you spent $200 instead of $75.
You’ll also waste time replacing worn out parts!
Spend money where it counts.
This applies directly to my product reviews. There is A LOT of nice stuff out there. Some of it might be useful, like high-quality food, or a durable power meter. But you can also buy high-end shaving cream and other fancy stuff.
Why bother spending extra money on items like shaving cream when the money is much better spent for products that improve your training and nutrition, which directly affects your goal of winning races?
Only buy what you can afford to replace.
Lastly, remember this. Probably half of my stuff breaks before it ever gets worn out. That’s the nature of bike racing.
So when you’re budgeting for a new bike or upgrades, save money for the inevitable replacement parts. It’s good to have extra tires, tubes, cleats, brake pads, cables, and chains around, and it’s good to have some extra money in case you break your pedals, some spokes, rear derailleur, etc.
A $4000 bike doesn’t do you any good if you didn’t save $30 to replace your torn tire.
Riding and Training
Looking for the best training methods? Check this out.
Research studies are just above useless.
I’m not much of a fan of research studies. Let me rephrase that – I’m not a fan of poorly-conducted research studies and ridiculous news headlines that come from them.
A high volume of studies over a long time frame can prove useful, but those types of studies usually take place in the medical field and pharmaceutical industry. The studies we go by, typically ones centered around training and nutrition, are much smaller and more sporadic.
These studies usually consist of 10-20 participants, and while it can be interesting to hear the findings, studies with such a small sample size aren’t even statistically relevant.
Even worse, some studies provide results that are opposite real life. For example, in tests of Coca Cola vs Pepsi, Pepsi always wins. Yet Coca Cola has the bigger market share. Why? Because these “sip tests” do not replicate real life use of the product! (Read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell for more great info like this!)
Also, results can be presented in many ways. Typically they are presented in a way that makes the product in question look good. (This is usually because the product being tested is manufactured by a big corporation which funded for the study.)
So whenever you see statements like “research shows” and “studies have proven,” take those with a grain of salt!
Try it for yourself.
So the studies may prove or disprove something, but the findings only apply to this small group of people in their specific training conditions. The participants may be cyclists, but unless their genes, diet, age, gender, and previous training programs are exactly the same as yours, you didn’t learn anything about yourself.
What you should do is test things out for yourself. If it works for you, great. If not, give it to a friend and maybe it will work for them.
Everyone is different. What works for me might not work for you. And if it doesn’t work for me, that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t work for you.
Yes, what I’m recommending are the oft-debated “n=1” studies.
See what the pros are doing.
If studies show one thing, but the pros and elite riders (who are getting results in real life, not in a lab) are doing something else, who’s right?
Chances are, the pros.*
However, some pros are so talented that they succeed in spite of their habits, rather than because of them. So always keep that in mind and fall back on your own personal testing.
*Some pros, well, they’re getting a little pharmaceutical help. So focus on the pros who aren’t paid well enough to afford such help.
Cycling is a sport.
If you want to win races, you need to treat cycling like a serious sport. That means you need to train your body with calisthenics, weight lifting, plyometrics, and calculated interval workouts. Then you need to practice by getting out and spending lots of time on the bike.
Just going out to ride for fun every so often is not going to cut it. You know of any pros in the NBA that only train by shooting some hoops in their driveway?
Cycling is fun.
In direct opposition to “cycling is a sport,” cycling also makes a great hobby. That means if you want to go ride your bike for fun, or to relieve stress, do it! Forget the people that say “every ride has a purpose” and all that garbage about training.
At the end of the day, if cycling is your way to have fun and relieve stress, then don’t bring “training” and “rules” and “discipline” into it.
Health and Nutrition
You need to eat and be healthy in order to ride. Here’s how I do it.
You need to fuel your riding.
If you’re not fueled properly, you can’t train to your maximum potential. That means that you should eat to fuel your training, not eat to see six pack abs.
And for the most part, this means carbs. You don’t have to eat a ton of bagels, muffins, and other junk, but going on a low-carb diet is probably not the best idea!
When I’m in training, I eat a lot of oatmeal, sprouted grain bread, potatoes, lentils, and tons of fruits and vegetables. So that’s what I recommend for other cyclists, too.
Bike racing is not a health competition.
Let’s get this straight – I’m not here to help you live to be 120. I’m here to help you win bike races.
While I like to stay as healthy as possible, endurance sports are not the epitome of health. Long hours of training, very little variety, firm bike seats in our sensitive areas, sugar-laden sports drinks, etc. That all can take a toll on our health.
I’ll simplify it like this: If I’m racing, and the choice is between an energy gel or an apple, I’ll take the energy gel.
Now that you have a better idea of what I’m all about, check out all my cycling coaching services >>