I love riding a¬†bike. Bicycles are great¬†‚Äď they are fast, faster than public transport. It is 20 minutes by¬†bike to¬†my University, rather than 40 minutes by¬†bus and¬†underground. Moreover, it is healthy to¬†ride a¬†bike, and¬†I can keep fit and¬†get to¬†my destination. I can even take a¬†bicycle to¬†train or¬†travel on¬†a¬†plane with the¬†bike. Even though the¬†bicycle emits carbon when being produced, it is still nature-friendly transport.
I make hundred-kilometer rides. I love traveling by¬†bike. There are four variants of¬†traveling¬†‚Äď short trips, full-day trips, weekend trips, and¬†long journeys. Long journeys last one, two weeks, or¬†even a¬†month¬†‚Äď friends from Moscow state university bicyclist club have done it. They traveled by¬†train to¬†Karelia¬†‚Äď a¬†northern Russian region with picturesque forests, sixty thousand lakes, and¬†beautiful Finnish architecture. They have been riding in¬†Karelia for¬†two weeks. Later, some participants of¬†the¬†journey went to¬†St. Petersburg. They spend some days there, and¬†then they have ridden to¬†Moscow. The¬†way from Moscow to¬†St. Petersburg is at¬†least 700km. In¬†total, they made nearly 2000km.
I prefer rides from 80 to¬†150 km per¬†day and¬†2-day rides. It is an¬†excellent way to¬†explore new places and¬†not¬†be exhausted. For¬†example, we can go to¬†Bratislava from Vienna or¬†ride through Donau and¬†observe hundreds of¬†vineyards and¬†apricot gardens, symbols of¬†lower Austria. It is also great to¬†go to¬†Hallstatt, the¬†most beautiful lake and¬†an¬†old town surrounded by¬†old mountains. You may spend one day in¬†the¬†city, swimming on¬†a¬†lake with a¬†SUP board and¬†riding in¬†the¬†mountains the¬†next day.
I invite you to¬†my bicycle group in¬†What‚Äôs App in¬†case you live in¬†Austria. You may also join if you live in¬†Europe, because, maybe, we will make a¬†trip to¬†your country or¬†you to¬†ours.
The¬†requirements are: you can make at¬†least 80 km per¬†day, and¬†you need to¬†be able to¬†get a¬†good bike. Also, it is important, that you are a¬†responsible, friendly, helpful, and¬†interesting person. And¬†now, some information about cycling, routes and¬†how the¬†bikes work
There are two distinct routes: paved routes and¬†trail routes. These routes require different bikes and¬†ranges. For¬†example, on¬†paved asphalt roads, you may ride 25 kilometers per¬†hour on¬†average with a¬†road bike and¬†make 200km or¬†even 250km in¬†a¬†one-day trip. But¬†If you use a¬†mountain bike, even 150km will be tough. This is due to¬†the¬†weight of¬†mountain bikes, wide rough wheels, and¬†less-powerful cranks.
Mountain bikes are universal, but¬†road bikes are faster. Road bikes are fast. My highest speed on¬†a¬†road bike was 64 km per¬†hour, and¬†I scored it in¬†Mallorca when I was going on¬†a¬†highway with a¬†small slope. Usually, I gain 50 km per¬†hour. Professionals have a¬†maximum speed of¬†112 km per¬†hour. Interestingly, most riders named this number as¬†the¬†maximum they did. Such high speeds are gained due to¬†the¬†lightness of¬†the¬†bike and¬†rider. Expensive carbon road bikes weigh nearly 7.5 kilograms.
The¬†tires are important. There are tires for¬†roads, trails, downhill, cross country, winter variations, etc. All of¬†them have different forms and¬†widths and, therefore, frictions. That is why downhill tires will stop faster and¬†will be easier to¬†control, but¬†you will not¬†score even 40 km per¬†hour on¬†the¬†road.
Cranks help you to¬†use the¬†optimal force. Cranks make your rear wheel move. The¬†bigger the¬†front crank and¬†the¬†lower the¬†rear is, the¬†more force you will apply to¬†a¬†wheel. Why is that? To¬†move the¬†wheel, you need to¬†trigger the¬†rear crank. All the¬†cranks are attached¬†‚Äď therefore, all the¬†cranks are constantly spinning together. We need to¬†spin one of¬†these cranks, but¬†which one will be easier to¬†spin?
Let‚Äôs experiment: put your phone or¬†notebook on¬†a¬†table and¬†spin it around the¬†center of¬†a¬†device. Try first to¬†do it on¬†a¬†point further from a¬†center and¬†closer to¬†a¬†center which is easier¬†‚Äď further from the¬†center. But¬†check the¬†distance your finger made to¬†make one 360 degrees spin. The¬†closer to¬†a¬†center made a¬†much smaller distance. What does it mean? The¬†shorter length, the¬†harder it is to¬†spin, to¬†apply a¬†force. That Is why the¬†smaller rear crank gives more force. We have an¬†opposite situation on¬†the¬†front wheel¬†‚Äď try to¬†explain it yourself.
The¬†bigger front crank or¬†lower real crank does not¬†mean, that you will be faster¬†‚Äď you need to¬†apply much more force (or¬†Power, in¬†Watts), and¬†you can be fastly exhausted, and¬†you may damage your cranks. Friction of¬†tires and¬†a¬†road and¬†the¬†friction of¬†chain and¬†the¬†cranks are also reasons for¬†lower speed and¬†damaging a¬†bike. You have to¬†control the¬†forces to¬†get a¬†higher speed.
But¬†there are limits. Road bikes give you the¬†possibility to¬†apply a¬†lot of¬†force, or¬†power, Watts. That helps gain huge speed on¬†a¬†road. But, when you want to¬†ascend a¬†mountain, you need much smaller power, otherwise, you will be tired in¬†seconds. Road bike does not¬†have such a¬†small front or¬†such big rear cranks. That is why it is too hard to¬†ascend with a¬†road bike, even with lower weight, and¬†thinner tires.