Tag Archives: athlete

Top 10 Cycling Trends for 2018

10 Top Cycling Trends for 2018

We all remember our very first bikes, and think about how much has changed in the cycling world since!

Remember downtube shifters of the 70s? Those things are now in the past. The advancements in cycling over the years have made our rides smoother, faster and more comfortable, and bikes more durable and light.

Think back to last year, since then road bikes have become faster, shifting is going digital, and mountain bikes are changing their frame geometry. It’s exciting to see what changes and trends will continue into 2018 and beyond.

So whether you’re a newbie to cycling (maybe considering your first tour), or a committed cyclist take a peek at a few of our predicted top cycling trends in 2018 before you hit the road or the trail.


1. Manufacturers Are Going Aero

Time trial/triathlon bikes are no longer the only bikes being built for speed and aerodynamics. Ever since the UCI has declared a 6.8 kg minimum race bike weight limit, many top-of-the-line road bikes can’t get much lighter, but they can continue to get faster through better aerodynamic design.

For example, Giant’s new Propel Disc aero road bikes are first of its kind for the popular bike manufacturer. First seen last year in the Tour de France, the Propel Disc is now available on the public market. Giant claims it has the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio of any bike in its class, and has lower drag coefficients due to the addition of disc brakes.

The Specialized Tarmac has a new D-shaped frame and new seat tube and seatpost design that makes it more aerodynamic. The new Orca Aero from Orbea is a beautiful aerodynamic design that pushes the boundaries of speed. You’ll start seeing many of these new bikes at all the big cycling tours in the coming racing season.


2. Disc Brakes Are Becoming Mainstream in Road Cycling

Once the brake system just for mountain bikes, disc brakes are continuing to become more mainstream in road cycling. The pro cyclists are still trialing the disc brakes in the peloton, but they are likely to become standard in road bikes in the coming years.

German pro cyclist, Marcel Kittel, road last year on a Specialized Venge ViAS Disc on the Quick-Step Floors team. He became the first rider to win a stage of the Tour de France on a bike with disc brakes. Many of the high-end 2018 bikes come standard with disc brakes, like the Trek Emonda, Giant Propel, Scott Foil, and more.


3. Gravel Bikes Continue to Gain Popularity

We said it last year—gravel bikes are becoming more popular worldwide in 2018. Gravel bikes are a versatile bike on and off the road making it attractive to a variety of riders. Last year gravel bikes exploded in popularity across the United States and they are growing rapidly into the international market.

Gravel events are also popping up everywhere—there might just be one on a forest road near you!


4. Wheels and Tires Are Still Getting Wider for Road Bikes

10 Top Cycling Trends for 2018

Once again, we predicted this last year. The trend is still continuing into 2018. While 25mm wide tires are still the standard for road bikes, 28mm isn’t uncommon.

Unlike like traditional rim brakes, disc brakes allow manufacturers to offer more clearance for wider tires and wheels. We predict that the 27.5 x 2.6 width will become the momentary “standard” this year.


5. Power Meters For All Budgets

Power meters are no longer for just the pro cyclists and the wealthy. With new technology and new manufacturers jumping into the market, power meters are becoming more affordable. Shimano, one of cyclist’s largest component manufacturers, has finally decided to dip their toes into the game this year.

While the jury is still out on the new Shimano Dura-Ace R9100-P power meter, Garmin has released the new Garmin Vector 3, which measures leg power independently. The budget-friendly Vector 3S, which measures one leg and doubles it for total power, will gain more attraction this year due to its price tag under $600 USD.


6. Indoor Training is Getting Smart

Smart trainers are becoming more popular, like Zwift, TrainerRoad, and other apps. The new Wahoo Kickr Climb is the first of its kind by simulating climbing. The indoor trainer adjusts the front end of your bike to simulate real-time grade changes. You can ascend hills up to a 20% grade and descend down to a -10% to mimic real road conditions.


7. Mountain Bike Frames Are Changing

10 Top Cycling Trends for 2018

Not only are road bikes getting more aerodynamic, but mountain bike frames are changing. The top tubes are getting longer and the head angles are getting slacker. With the changes in the top of the frame, offset forks are becoming shorter to adapt to the wheelbase. The Transition Sentinel is pushing the design of mountain bikes with its new steeper seat tubes.

Longer travel 29ers are becoming popular. The Orbea Rallon is an innovative design that is leading the trend of slacked out 29ers enduro race bikes. The new geometry turns these popular cross-country and enduro racing bikes into a fun all-mountain trail bike, too.


8. Shifting to Digital Shifters

Both mountain and road shifter are continuing to go digital. While we predict that digital shifting is not going to stick for mountain bikes in 2018, it will continue to grow in the road cycling industry.

FSA just released their new K-Force WE groupset and Shimano has updated its Ultegra Di2 set this year. While we’d like to see digital electronic shifting on the lower end models of bikes, that is probably not going to happen this year.


9. Integrated Cockpits Are Coming

Once mainly reserved for TT/triathlon bikes, integrated cockpits are becoming more popular in road bikes as road bikes continue to become more aerodynamic. Integrated cockpits have their pros and cons. They can help tidy up cable routing and save weight. But, if you ever want to change the length of your stem or make any changes to your bar angle, you can’t do that without swapping out the whole assembly.


10. eBikes Will Continue to Become Popular

It doesn’t matter if you think riding an ebike is cheating or not. They are continuing to become popular for both mountain and road bikes. The Market Urbanism Report predicts that 2018 will be the year of the ebike.

Many bike manufacturers are making them now, like Giant, Bianchi, and Focus. Cities like San Francisco and New York City have electric bike share programs that are a huge hit with commuters and tourists.

eBikes are not just commuter bikes either. The Focus Project Y looks just like your fancy road bike, but with a hidden motor inside. It just might be the perfect commuting or touring bicycle. Our bike partner, Orbea has a collection of road, mountain, leisure, and urban ebikes to meet all your riding needs.

Give an eBike a try—we think everyone should love them.


Are You Ready to Ride?

With over 30 years of cycling tour experience, we’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry. If all these 2018 bike trends are making you excited to ride, why don’t you get in touch today and start planning your ultimate bicycle adventure? We’d be happy to talk shop and share a few more of our favorite new trends this year. We offer awesome bike trips around the world, and you can even try some of the latest technology with our top-of-the-line Orbea bikes.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can go about planning your ultimate cycling adventure, sign up for our free email course.


Series Finale: Aging Athlete Mistake Number 3 (…and How to Fix It)

This is the final installment of my three-part series on the aging athlete. In the first post, I talked about how the aging athlete should adjust the training week from 7 to 10 days.  This change is necessary to accommodate our aging body’s need for more time to adapt to a given training stress before increasing or significantly modifying our training regimen.

The aging athlete can show similar improvement as that of our younger counterparts. It simply takes a bit more time to get there! As we age, we should not use the same 7-day training plan we used in our teens, 20s and 30s and expect our bodies to respond the same way.  Not only will the 10 day training week be more effective for improving performance, you will also significantly reduce the likelihood of illness or injury.

The second article was about the importance of strength training – more specifically, the importance of heavy lifting to improve performance.  That blog post was slightly more complicated because it was a huge departure from what runners or cyclists typically think about when it comes to training, especially strength training.  That said, one of the best things about heavy lifting is how quickly your performance improves as your absolute strength increases. It really works!

In this series finale, I’m going to take on a topic that pulls a little from both of the last two articles.  It is the idea or belief that “intensity causes injury.” The truth: intensity is rarely the cause of injury. It is the volume or quantity of training that is the real cause of most injuries.

“Every time I do speed work I get injured.” This is a common complaint. I spent years coaching athletes to ‘build a base,’ adding speed work only after the base was built.  But almost inevitably, shortly after the speed work began the athlete would get injured.  Conventional wisdom would say that either the intensity caused the injury, or that the athlete did not spend enough time building the base. Either way, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. We thought the base needed to be even larger before interval training began. But surprisingly, the larger the base, the more likely it was that injury occurred when speed training began. It becomes the perfect excuse not to do speed work.

Many athletes love an excuse for avoiding their potential.  And the excuse above has got to be high on the list.  But data shows it is the quantity of training, not the change in quality, that leads to injury.  If we graph the training volume and time and point of injury with athletes, the intersection is always quantity – not quality.  It’s that cumulative fatigue that builds over time and miles.  We just think it is the intensity. Why? Because we often add the intense training when our volume of training is the highest.

Here is how I train my athletes: rather than building a base and then adding intensity, I mix in intensity from the very beginning of the training plan and adjust the volume and type of intensity in concert with the overall volume of training and the season or proximity to race day. But I never altogether abandon some form of intensity.  By training this way, the athlete will maximize performance while minimizing the amount of training.

I am very careful to balance speed, endurance and power so that whenever I have a change in one I reduce the training in the others to ensure the cumulative volume of training in all three areas progresses at a rate the athlete is able to adapt to.  Not only does the athlete avoid injury – they also gain fitness much faster and show a far larger improvement in performance in a shorter period of time.  As a result, volume of training over time is the most important data point to track in order to prevent injury, not the intensity of training.  This ensures proper adaptation to the training stress, while emphasizing the one training component that has the most potential to improve performance – which is intensity, not volume.

Remember… “You have to run fast or ride fast if you want to be fast!”

3 mistakes of the Aging Athlete and How to Fix them

This is a topic that touches close to home. Maybe a little too close as I feel my fitness slip over the winter.  It also seems to be one of those training topics that is rarely covered thoroughly or accurately.

We are all getting older and we all know that our bodies change with age, but it is more than just our bodies that are changing – our entire lives are changing.   So when we consider how to train, especially when training the aging athlete, it is important to address the entire aging athlete: the bio-psycho-socio-physio and spiritual changes and the corresponding changes that should be made to our training plan.  In this 3 part series, I am going to address the three most common mistakes aging athletes make and how to fix them.

Mistake #1:  The 7 day work week.

I often hear aging athletes say “I don’t recover as fast.” The question is: Why don’t you recover as fast? Aging may be just a correlation rather than a cause of slower recovery. The reason we don’t recover as fast as we age is because we use the same basic training pattern we did when we were younger.  Then we blame our performance on our age rather than our training.  The good news is that if you modify your training for your age, you will both feel better and perform better.

Improving performance is a result of our bodies adapting to stress.  Once we adapt to a given stress, we need to add more healthy stress to see more improvement.  That additional stress comes in the form of longer training, more intense training or more training sessions. (Duration. Intensity. Repetition.)  Too many times we put the emphasis of adapting to stress on rest – when what we really need is more time training at a given level of stress before we increase the stress.

It takes a young athlete approximately 40 days (6 weeks) to fully adapt to a given stress.  It takes the aging athlete approximately 10 more days for every decade over the age of 35.  So a 55 year old may take 60 days to fully adapt to the same stress it took the young athlete only 40 days to adapt.

Yet we still try and force our training regimen into a 7-day work week.  Despite how easy it is to package our training into 1-week training cycles, the aging athlete needs to be more creative and develop a training plan based on a 10-day work week. This allows for more training overall, more training at a given stress, more rest between challenging training sessions and in the end more time for your body to fully adapt to a given stress before moving on to the next training load.  This simply means the aging athlete needs to increase the total volume of stress (repetition, duration and intensity) at a much slower rate than the younger counterpart.

As you can imagine, if we don’t adjust our stress according to our age this issue compounds itself leaving the aging athlete tired, frustrated and eventually sick or injured.  The 7-day work week has us increasing the stress before we are ready.

For example if you are training for a marathon, instead of running the long run every 7 days, run your long run every 10 days.  Or instead of increasing your total mileage 2 miles per week, only increase your miles 2 miles every 10 days.  Granted, it may take some creativity and a trainer willing to try something new. But I guarantee you will like the results.

You’ll feel better & perform better.

Next week – Mistake #2 Light Weight High Reps