The Spokesman Guide to The 2 Most Popular Cycling Disciplines
As you progress into the cycling world, it’ll become evident to you that there are many disciplines to this sport – and they’re all incredibly unique.
Yes, of course, every discipline involved you jumping in the saddle and pushing your pedals in a circular motion, we know that for a start. What we mean is that each discipline demands a lot of different things both physically and mentally. Progressing from one discipline to the next is always going to be challenging, however, it’ll most certainly make you a stronger competitor in the cycling world.
With that being said, there are two disciplines in particular that are incredibly popular, but which one is best for you?
If you are looking for an adventurous style of cycling, mountain biking is the way to go! Generally, the power output in mountain biking is lower, however, the effort you put into it will fluctuate throughout the whole route.
During the ride, you’ll have to conquer steep climbs and timed descents. It will demand a lot of physical effort. These efforts will consist of short bursts where zero power output is generated. These bursts can last from 5 to 25 seconds and can occur somewhere between 75 to 100 times in a 2-hour cross-country race.
You will need a massive anaerobic capacity in order to handle the changes in power and to go between 0 to 250 watts at a number of different times during the race.
An all-mountain bike is designed to conquer every type of off-road terrain, includes climbs, descents, technical riding and jumping. Most mountain bikes have a featherweight frame with either dual or front suspension. Unlike a road bike, the mountain bike has thicker, more rugged tyres in order to be able to effectively cover the jagged terrain and uneven surfaces.
As for mental demands, mountain biking can feel like a solo effort. This is because it’s incredibly easy for you to lose sight of other cyclists in the race. Mountain bikers have to have a lot of confidence, as it can be incredibly difficult to keep going when you cannot see the sight of anyone else. You must be able to remind yourself that you are doing well and are on the right track. You also have to be able to forgive yourself if you do take the wrong route. Realise that mistakes are made by everyone, don’t let them affect your race.
Most cyclists begin by riding on a road. From your first childhood bike to your first professional bike, you’ll definitely use the road more than anything. Road racing is typically comprised of about 200 other cyclists or competitors. Road racing is the most popular form of cycling, however, mountain biking is rapidly increasing in popularity!
Road racing bikes focus mostly on speed. Their frames are ultra lightweight and made of either steel, aluminium or carbon fibre. Generally, road bikes have drop handlebars and up to 22 different gear ratios to help the rider cope with the varying terrain.
When cycling on a road, you need to have a high and steady state. Road cycling also demands an average power output in order to succeed. Road cycling demands training for the highest of efforts to initiate or conquer a breakaway, or even sprint for the finish! The output needed when road cycling differs completely from mountain biking. It doesn’t fluctuate as often, this is because you have fewer obstacles and a generally flatter terrain to cover. Clothing is also incredibly important when it comes to road cycling.
Here at Spokesman, we know that comfort is key. When sitting in the saddle, you need to ensure that the padding in your shorts can provide superior protection during long-distance rides. The grip is also an important factor; you need to be able to sit comfortably on your bike without having to worry about slipping off. If you’re in need of a supportive and comfortable pair of cycling shorts, you should check out our range of shorts!
In a road cycling race, you’ll need to learn how to conserve your energy. Tactics and patience play an important part in racing. You’ll also need to mentally note that the fittest or fattest person doesn’t necessarily always win. If you’re stuck in a large group when coming to the finish line, it’s a chance of fate if you’re in a good position. This you can learn over time. A road cyclist must also learn from their mistakes and not to judge their performances on their finishing results.