Cycling: bigger gears means finishing faster.

This was a new, obvious one: by keeping myself in a bigger gear for my log ride yesterday I wound up going faster and covering more ground in less time. I know. Not rocket science. I didn’t have time to do a full half century ride, but I knew I had three solid hours of ride time. Take off about an hour of resetting my bike computer (from its freak out last week, more on that in a moment), cleaning the chain and rings (like flossing your teeth), and inflating tires and I made it out of the garage with The Butcher around 11:30ish.

I was able to maintain above 18 mph for most of the ride. I kind of made up the route as I went along, keeping an eye on the speedometer and average speed more than anything else. This was more about being my first long ride in the big gears rather than setting a land speed record or trying to keep up with someone better than myself. Even still, I wound up doing about 35 miles in just over two hours, way faster than usual. It was a pretty flat course, only small hills, so I’ll need to hit the full PCH ride soon to test this out. But I’m out of town this weekend, so it’ll be two weeks of HIIT in the big ring which should get me ready to put in a solid time for the PCH ride with that monster hill up towards Pepperdine. I’ll definitely need to downshift for that one, but with luck I’ll be stronger by then.

Regarding the bike computer – if you reset your bike computer in the middle of a ride like I did, it’s good to know your wheel dimension so you can re-enter the data quickly. In my case, the wheel data is printed on the sidewall of the tire, so if I had unclipped from the bike, looked at the sidewall, I could have reset the computer out on the ride. Now I know. But if you want to be specific get a measuring tape and a piece of chalk. Load up your bike with the regular ride gear and mark the position of the wheel on the ground. One full revolution of the tire (measuring with the valve stem on the ground is a good marker) will tell you the wheel size in millimeters, and if your computer uses centimeters you can easily do the conversion.

It turned out I had switched the thing over to kilometers/hr, too, so be careful of the small print when resetting the computer.


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