By Nigel Wynn published
When it comes to the improvement of aerodynamics in cycling, the sky is the limit. For most riders, however, spending £10,000 on a slippery bike, full skinsuit, aero helmet and booking a spot in a wind tunnel just isn't feasible.
So we asked Cycling Weekly readers for their absolute best tips for improving cycling aerodynamics. We fully expect to see many of these strategies employed by a raft of WorldTour teams in the coming months.
Have we missed out on a blindingly obviously wind-cheating tip? Let us know in the comments section below.
As a well-known pro cycling team mechanic recently said, why make all the marginal gains on the bike and techie kit when the riders ride with their jerseys open and flapping in the wind!
Narrower 40-42 cm road bars; a cut-out saddle to rotate your pelvis to make it easier to get low; road train regularly in the drops and make sure you're not carrying extra mass contributing to a greater CDA. Only after addressing these would I consider buying equipment in order of clothing, helmet, wheels, then frame, shoes, etc.
As a cyclist do you really need two arms? Cut one off to reduce aerodynamic drag in this area, saving watts and weight!
Fabian Gomperts Willis
Get fairings implanted all up and down your backside, full body wax, and ride naked.
Learn to drop your forearms flat when you're on the hoods, and keep your elbows tucked in. Tighten up that core, as it helps keep the power on and your form solid when your knees are pumping into your chest.
Borrow Graeme Obree's Beastie.
Cover yourself with Vaseline and fill in your wheels, disc-style, with tin foil. Then ride along with your chin on the stem. It doesn’t matter that you will be uncomfortable and be the laughing stock of your neighbourhood, you’ll be smoother than a shaved eel, as the widely-respected aerodynamicist Edmund Blackadder once said.
Be lean and low. You create the most drag while riding, so a lean body coupled with a low, narrow frontal area and tight-fitting kit will result in more aerodynamic gains.
Ride backwards, it’s way more streamlined.
Pick your place in the line carefully. If you find yourself on the wheel of a pencil.... find the powerhouse with the aerodynamics of bungalow instead and jump on that wheel.
Don't wear clothes that flap around in the wind. Simple and obvious, but I'm always amazed how many people don't bother.
Condoms on all extremities.
Aerodynamics are over-rated, they didn’t exist in my day. What you need to do is eat more and pedal faster.
Making aerodynamic changes to your kit and position is all well and good, but how on earth do you know whether it’s made the blind bit of difference? What someone needs to come up with is a mobile wind tunnel that can be transported around the country – eg to cycling clubs, Box Hill car park, etc – so that riders can get an expert opinion.
Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, n exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.
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