Articles by Oli Beckingsale...

Winter training in cycling

Winter training in cycling

by Oli Beckingsale

Whether you are a dedicated racer or a weekend warrior the winter months can lead to a lack of enthusiasm to ride your bike and stay fit. However by using your time wisely, using specialist equipment and varying your training you can stay motivated and use the season productively towards your goals.

Improve your endurance

Improve your endurance

by Oli Beckingsale

To improve your endurance and ride comfortably for longer periods, you need to spend longer periods on your bike than you are currently comfortable with. Here's how to achieve it.

Improve your climbing

Improve your climbing

by Oli Beckingsale

For training to be effective, it must be progressive and cover all aspects of your chosen cycling discipline eg. mountain bikers and cyclo-cross riders need sprinting ability to get a good start in their races whereas time triallists are more concerned about maintaining a high, constant speed. Road racers need a bit of everything!

Improve your sprinting

Improve your sprinting

by Oli Beckingsale

In cycle sport your fitness is the most important aspect, but the specific ability to sprint can decide whether you win a race, get in the winning break or beat your mates for the last town sign.

Downhill mountain bike racing

Downhill mountain bike racing

by Oli Beckingsale

Downhill mountain biking, where gravity is your friend. In competition, it's not all freewheeling, as mere milliseconds can separate events riders on the podium. There's some very sophisticated, specialist equipment being used too. If you have the need for speed, nerves of steel and reactions quicker than a rattlesnake, this is for you!

Cross country mountain bike racing

Cross country mountain bike racing

by Oli Beckingsale

Cross country (XC) involves racing your mountain bike over a set course against other riders. Depending on your ability, and the category you ride in you will race over a set number of laps for perhaps anything from 20 minutes for a fun race to over two hours for elite events.

Training for mountain bike racing

Training for mountain bike racing

by Oli Beckingsale

For mountain biking, the rider needs to have a wide range of fitness attributes, from endurance to strength, and be proficient in a number of techniques, such as descending and coping with different surfaces. A training programme for mountain bike racing must involve concentrating on a number of different aspects.

Mountain biking techniques - using the brakes

Mountain biking techniques - using the brakes

by Oli Beckingsale

Your brakes are a vital component both for controlling your speed and for stopping, so they need to be well-maintained at all times. But even the best brakes need to be used correctly for safe and efficient speed control.

Mountain biking techniques - using the gears

Mountain biking techniques - using the gears

by Oli Beckingsale

Although single gear bikes and three-speed hubs have their place, most bikes sold today have multiple gears. Here's how and when to use them.

Mountain biking techniques - body position

Mountain biking techniques - body position

by Oli Beckingsale

The heaviest component of any bike is actually the rider. How you distribute your weight as you ride greatly affects the handling of the bike.

Mountain biking techniques - mounting & dismounting

Mountain biking techniques - mounting & dismounting

by Oli Beckingsale

It sounds simple, but developing good technique for mounting and dismounting your bike will make you a safer and more efficient bike rider - and faster for those occasions when time is of the essence, like racing.

Clothing and kit for cyclo-cross

Clothing and kit for cyclo-cross

by Oli Beckingsale

In all but a very few races, cyclo-cross is a very individual discipline. It demands specific equipment - both bikes and clothing - if you are to compete on a regular basis or at a high level. However, you can compete at a beginner level or as occasional rider using standard mountain bike or road kit.

Getting started in cyclo-cross

Getting started in cyclo-cross

by Oli Beckingsale

This article covers: Where and when cyclo-cross races occur Categories and duration of events Equipment required How to get started in 'cross How to progress Racing abroad

Mountain bike components- wheels

Mountain bike components- wheels

by Oli Beckingsale

Upgrading your wheels can dramatically improve the performance of your bike. If you want to buy yourself some speed or performance, look for lighter wheels - as rotating weight is effectively double that of static weight on the bike - but do make sure that your wheels will be up to the job.

Mountain bike components- tyres

Mountain bike components- tyres

by Oli Beckingsale

The tyre market is massive with new designs constantly arriving in the shops, but there are basically five types of tyre for different purposes. Here's what you need to know.

Mountain bike components- suspension

Mountain bike components- suspension

by Oli Beckingsale

Over the last decade the main focus of development on mountain bikes has been suspension. Here's what you need to know.

Mountain bike components- steering

Mountain bike components- steering

by Oli Beckingsale

The bars and stem can be adjusted or changed to make the bike fit you better. By adjusting the position of the controls you can alter the 'feel' of your bike and how it handles. You can also ruin the feel of your bike, so it's best to discuss this with an expert.

Mountain bike components- saddles and seatposts

Mountain bike components- saddles and seatposts

by Oli Beckingsale

If you are new to cycling you'll probably want a well-padded, fairly wide saddle. More experienced riders may well be looking for a saddle more specific to their chosen discipline. For example, a cross-country racer may be looking for a slim, lightweight model.

Mountain bike components- pedals

Mountain bike components- pedals

by Oli Beckingsale

Flat pedals, cleats, SPDs, toe-clips and straps - where do you start? Oli has the answers.

Mountain bike components- gears

Mountain bike components- gears

by Oli Beckingsale

A key feature of mountain bikes is their multiple gears. Here's how they work.

Mountain bike components- chain sets and bottom brackets

Mountain bike components- chain sets and bottom brackets

by Oli Beckingsale

'Chainset' is the collective term for the cranks and chainrings. These are bolted onto the bottom bracket axle, which is secured inside the fame. The pedals are then screwed into the cranks.

Mountain bike components- brakes

Mountain bike components- brakes

by Oli Beckingsale

With efficient brakes you can ride faster, with more confidence, and with shorter braking times or distances. If your riding chums keep outdistancing you on the corners and descents, you can easily upgrade to a more powerful type.

Starting out in cycling

Starting out in cycling

by Oli Beckingsale

Oli Beckingsale welcomes you to the sport and pastime of cycling. But whether you want to ride on the road or off road, for leisure or competition, Oli provides a little advice before you jump on your bike and pedal over the horizon.

Staying motivated in cycling

Staying motivated in cycling

by Oli Beckingsale

No matter how much you enjoy cycling, sometimes it can get too much and you'll not have the same eager enthusiasm you one had. This is a particular problem if you are training for fitness or for a competition. There are a number of techniques that you can use to maintain, or rekindle, your motivation.

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