Anatomy of a Bicycle

Its always interesting to know how things work. With bicycles, knowing how they work can help you when it comes time to fix yours. The workings of all bicycles are basically the same. What differ are the materials used to build the parts.

1. Frame. This is the main component of a bicycle. It is the frame that all of the other parts join to in order to complete the bike. The frame is one piece construction and is tubular not solid. As you learn about other parts you’ll see why this is so.

2. Handlebars. It used to be that all handlebars looked like ram horns. You placed your hands on the top to rest your back and the bottom of the curl to go faster because you were more aerodynamic in that position. The handlebars fit into the front part of the frame called the head tube.

3. Bicycle seat. Seats come in all shapes and sizes for a bicycle. The most common shape looks like a banana with hips. The bicycle seat is mounted on a tubular stem that fits inside the bike frame through the seat tube. Bicycles may or may not have a top tube connecting the seat tube to the head tube. It used to be that girls bikes didn’t have this bar to prevent injuries.

4. Wheels. A bicycle has two wheels of varying diameter depending on the type of bike it is. The rear wheel is attached to the bike frame by the chain stay. The front wheel is attached to the frame with a fork attachment that slips into the bottom of the head tube. Some bikes have the fork welded to the frame as a single piece. The wheel itself is a circular metal frame that maintains its shape with spokes that attach to a central hub. The wheel is covered with a rubber tire and an inner tube inside it.

5. Pedals. How else are you going to make your bike move? The pedals attach at the bottom bracket. The pedals and wheels are connected to each other through gears and a series of chains. Pedals are wide enough for a foot and usually contain grooves to grip the shoe of the wearer. Some bicycles have pedal clips to keep feet from slipping as you ride.

6. Cables. The cables run along the bike frame from the handlebars to the brakes and the gears. The cables are usually attached to the frame to avoid accidents. With the handlebars, you can stop your bike and change gears because of this network of cables.

That’s your bike in a nutshell. It is a simple piece of machinery that provides an efficient form of transportation.

Weights Cycling

Weights and Cycling: Increased Performance

How do you get better at an exercise? For one, you consistently perform it. On the other hand, you can increase your performance with weight training. This is important for competitive cyclists and also for fitness buffs who want to use cycling for getting into shape.

Fitness experts and doctors recommend weight training for all adults regardless of age. Weight training builds muscle which increases your body’s fat burning potential. Weight trainers experience the benefits even while they sleep. Your bones are also strengthened by weight bearing exercises which is good news for older adults especially women who suffer from osteoporosis.

Weight training exercises for cyclists

When you do any form of exercise whether weight training or cycling, a warm up and a cool down along with a stretch is really important. The warm up gets the muscles in the mood for exercise and makes the muscles more susceptible to stretching. The cool down lowers your heart rate to normal and allows you to get a good stretch out of your muscles to avoid major soreness later.

If you have recently taking up bicycling you’ll notice that your legs do the majority of the work. You feel the burn in your calves, quadriceps and hamstrings. As you build muscle endurance, the burning goes away because the muscle works more efficiently and doesn’t build up lactic acid as quickly. Training those muscles through work with weight machines and free weights will help you out.

1. Squats this is the quintessential exercise for the lower body. Squats work the abdominal area, the butt, the quadriceps, hamstrings and the gastroc (calf muscle). Use free weights on your shoulders or a barbell. Focus on your lower body as you lower slowly and push back up to starting position through your heels.

2. Calf raises you can stand on an aerobic step with or without weights in your hand. With your heels off the step, rise up as high as you can onto your toes. Hold and return to start position. Positioning the heels off of the step keeps the tension in the muscle throughout the movement.

3. Leg lifts this exercise works the quadriceps muscle. Your quads do a lot of work when pushing up a hill on your bicycle. Use a leg extension machine to perform this exercise properly. A lower weight with higher repetitions increases endurance.

4. Hanging leg lifts the target here is your upper and lower abs. they work to raise your legs as you pedal. Without being on the floor, the focus is on your midsection to do the work of lifting your legs to perform the exercise. Use a hanging frame at the gym or even the monkey bars at the neighborhood park. If it is too hard to lift your legs straight out, start with lifting your knees into your chest while squeezing your abdominal muscles.

Want a smoother ride on your bike? Take up weight training to prepare your legs for a vigorous bike ride.