Two Ways to Accelerate

March 1, 2017

Let me give you two examples of different techniques for accelerating on your bicycle. These techniques aren't just for racing or group rides; you can also use these methods of getting up to speed when fighting a headwind or when rolling away from a red light or stop sign. While these are only two examples and many more exist, these two are a good starting point experimenting with what you prefer and what you are weakest at and need to practice more.


1. Long, big, and steady; downshift at the end

  • Start in a bigger gear than you settle on at the end of the acceleration
  • Begin slowly out of the saddle and use more pedal strokes to accelerate steadily
  • Find a place to "hold" your speed, sit down and downshift if more cadence would help you sustain your speed

2. Quick, short, spike; upshift at the end

  • Begin in a smaller gear and either hold cadence or shift up at the end
  • Start with a quick hard acceleration, sitting or standing
  • Max out the gear by spinning out your legs. The acceleration is over when you reach max cadence. Shift up until you find a cadence you can sustain.

  • You can pile several of these quick accelerations on top of one another to get to a higher max speed.

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