There is so much free online information for cyclists that you might wonder why you would ever want to pay for a personal coach, especially if you’re just cycling for fun.
My view is that if you’re serious about enjoying your cycling then the personal attention of an expert is invaluable and even more so if you want to win races.
As well as providing essential feedback, a good coach is also a great source of invaluable hints and tips that you won’t find online.
All the Gear, no Idea!
It’s very tempting to spend your money on the latest go faster bits for your bike, we’ve all done it and it often makes no difference to our performance.
Here’s something you might be able to try before spending any money on new kit. Try and get the fastest rider you know (or even better, a Pro cyclist) to take your bike full gas round your favourite loop.
Their time will show you how fast your bike will go as it stands today. If they beat your best time I would get some coaching. If they don’t, then feel free to buy those new wheels and tyres.
Here’s what I would want to get from a cycling coach
Help in choosing the right bike
Getting this right is really important, and because your coach has no skin in the game you can be pretty sure that he is totally unbiased and only has your interest at heart.
You might look at the Pros and see that they love an undersized frame and a stretched front stem. But is this just the latest fashion or are there real advantages for you?
Your coach can advise you on the best clipless pedals, the best groupset, gear ratios, brake type, wheels and tyres. Should you buy new or second hand. What should the frame be made of, what’s a realistic budget and much more.
Make sure your Bike is set up to fit you
Once you have your bike then you need to make sure it’s set up perfectly for you. You’ll be spending a lot of time riding it so it’s critical to get this right or you could easily cause long term damage.
There are many standard guides online to get you started but we’re all different and just as a tailor fine tunes a suit, your coach will fine tune your riding position.
Perfect your riding technique
Having the right technique makes cycling more enjoyable and prevents long term damage. It will also maximise the speed the get from your bike for a given amount of effort.
You need someone who can watch you riding and tell you what you are doing right and what needs more work.
Stay Motivated even when you aren’t
Having someone looking over your shoulder is invaluable. It’s so easy to skip a day’s riding because the weathers not perfect, or to dab the brakes on a scary downhill stretch, or not to go full gas when you need to. Knowing that someone else will see the data keeps you honest.
Eat right and on time
You are what you eat and the right nutrition at the right time can make the difference between a great ride and a miserable experience. Your coach will have personal knowledge of what works and more importantly what doesn’t work.
Cycling Goals and Training Plans
This is where a coach can make a HUGE difference, especially now that there is so much data available. Your coach will probably know how you are feeling better than you do and before you do.
Collecting and interpreting data isn’t for everyone and a good coach can visualize the data for you and use it to optimise your training program. Changes to your performance are reflected in the data and are used to fine tune your programme going forward.
Cycling Tactics for all occasions
Tactics are the tips and tricks that give you an advantage over your competitors or maximise the enjoyment of your social rides.
This is where an experienced coach really earns their money; they have seen and done it all before so you can learn from their experience without having to make the same mistakes and without having to reinvent the wheel
Meet the right people in the cycling business
Your coach is your friend in the cycling business; an experienced coach will have a black book full of trusted contacts that can help you get the most from your sport whatever you level and ambition
I can’t stress how great it is to have an expert cycling coach on hand to give you the guidance and feedback you can’t get from an online video.
A good coach is the fastest way to improve your cycling ability and enjoyment and you’ll learn things that will stay with you for the rest of your life.