Roll up, roll up – free kph?

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My bike, complete with tri bars, looking out at the garden

I bought a set of tri bars a few months ago but didn’t fit them at the time as I was mainly cycling up hills in preparation for my trip to the alps and the ‘everesting’. With the prospect of a long ride out to the alps next summer it seemed sensible to dust them off so this week I fitted them and decided to take them for a test ride today.

I wasn’t expecting great things as I’ve not done too much cycling since July. This week I’ve been out running a couple of times with Mrs Omil and had spent a hard day of manual labour in the garden yesterday – so pretty well everything ached this morning. I wasn’t sure it was going to be a good day to test the tri bars as it seemed entirely possible that I wouldn’t even be able to bend low enough to get down to them.

I opted to do my usual test route (45.1km with around 300m or so of climbing) – to my surprise I felt better on the bike than I had walking round the house so I decided to push on reasonably hard.

To be honest, I was a bit of a wimp coming back up to the hoods whenever the road surface got bad (which was frequent) or when there was a bit of traffic.

I felt a bit of pressure in the forearm and my neck took a bit more strain than normal (Shermer’s neck, here I come?) so the bars certainly aren’t set up right yet. I think they need to be set longer, tilted down a bit and the saddle might need to be moved forward and tilted down a little.

Despite all that, I matched my pb for the circuit at an average of 30.9kph. The previous pb ride was in back in early July when I certainly felt fitter.

So, not exactly proof that the tri bars made me quicker – but on the basis that I was expecting to be slower, there’s is certainly some cause for optimism. From what I read they could add up to 2mph to my top speed because of the improvement in aerodynamics and cycling position, but they don’t help much at lower speeds or going up hill.

As I build up a bit more fitness, it will be interesting to see if I can improve on that pb.

2 thoughts on “Roll up, roll up – free kph?

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