'Think like a time triallist': How to increase your average speed on a road bike

Inspired by recent developments in road bike time trialling, we go in search of free speed for everyday riding

George Fox riding in an aero position on a road bike
(Image credit: Future)

Earlier this year, British time triallist George Fox set a new TT record, beating an unofficial mark that had gone unchallenged for three-and-a-half decades. Fox, a coach and bike fitter (gfoxcycling.co.uk) based in Northamptonshire, claimed the fastest ever 10-mile time trial on a road bike, 18:41 – that’s 51kph or nearly 32mph – seven seconds faster than British icon Colin Sturgess’s time from back in 1988. While the achievements of these two time trialling heroes may seem beyond the dreams of us mere mortals, there is in fact a lot to be learned from these remarkable rides, most notably in the potential for aero gains we can all exploit in our own riding – not just in races but every day. 

The road bike aero optimisation of Fox and other time trial specialists can be applied to our own riding, to go faster whether in a sportive, weekly club run or even just cycling to work. While at the highest level of cycling, getting maximally aero involves sports science, expensive trips to the wind tunnel and even more expensive kit, for us amateurs there is plenty we can do at home to reduce drag on our road bikes – without spending a penny. In search of these free gains, I spoke to aero experts Xavier Disley and George Fox, as well as former world champion Colin Sturgess, to discover the best ways for the average cyclist to optimize their ride. 

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.