5 Ways to Increase Cycling Speed

When it comes to riding faster, there isn't just one way to go about it.

While some cyclists argue all day about whether more miles, a faster cadence, or more strength is the ticket to speed, the fact is, "there are so many elements to getting faster," says Selene Yeager, author of "Ride Your Way Lean and Every Woman's Guide to Cycling."

That means you need to cycle faster from more than one direction. Start with these speed strategies from Yeager.

More: Interval Training Will Boost Your Cycling Speed and Stamina

1. Go Faster, Not Longer

"People often do more miles to get faster instead of going faster to get faster," says Yeager, who's a USA cycling coach and also races semi-pro for team CF. The trouble with more miles is that further usually means slower.

The best thing you can do to get faster is to do intervals of any length, she says. Do some that are 30 seconds to two minutes in length and others that are 10- to 20 minutes long.

"Your body will fill in the blanks," Yeager says. "It will get accustomed to going that effort at that speed. So when you go out for a longer ride, you can sustain a faster speed more readily."

Of course, if you're training for a long race, you still need to get the miles in; but probably not as many miles as you think.

More: Learn to Ride Faster and Safer with Bike-Handiling Drills

2. Wear Your Shifters out

"You have a lot of gears; use them," Yeager says. "You can temper your effort and speed constantly, and you should. If you ride in a pack, you hear gear shifting constantly. To cycle faster, you need to anticipate that shift."

If there's a little rise in the road, people who aren't shifting regularly will end up either muscling up a hill—which wastes valuable energy—or they'll get on the hill and try to shift under pressure and lose momentum.

"If you get used to using your gears, it's seamless." Yeager says. "Anticipating every little shift, to keep a steady stream of speed and momentum, is so much faster than muscling your way through or overspinning your gear."

More: Bike Shifting 101

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About the Author

Marty Munson

Marty Munson is a USAT Level 1 triathlon coach. Her writing has appeared in Health, Prevention, Marie Claire, Shape.com and RealAge.com. Find more triathlon tips and strategies from her and other experts in the field at trieverything.wordpress.com.

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