Let's talk a little bit about resistance today. While I do not want to get into the "how much should I add" debate, there certainly is a minimum amount of resistance that every rider should
have on their bike. The true importance of resistance comes about due to the existance of a flywheel on an IC Bike.
Most indoor bikes have a weighted wheel (called a flywheel) to provide inertia and simulate the feel of riding a bicycle outdoors. It is important that riders remain in control of the flywheel at all times, particularly at higher RPMs, and not let the flywheel control them. Indoor bikes are designed with a knob, or lever, for controlling the amount of resistance placed on the flywheel which consequently affects how hard a rider will have to work in order to pedal the bike. This resistance can be either mechanical (the traditional friction pad) or it can be magnetic. The primary advantage of magnetic resistance is that it does not wear down over time, so it should provide a more consistent resistance over the life of the IC Bike. It should be noted that even with the last of friction and wear, magnetic resistance should be routinely calibrated due to operation cable stretching and general wear. This can be especially important on IC Bikes where the wattage is calculated (usually using the distance of the magnet from the wheel) rather than measured with a strain gauge.
Generally, I start my riders off at enough resistance to produce 25% to 50% of their bodyweight in pounds in watts (Watts/LB = 0.25) which generally is enough to keep them settle in the saddle and provides a good starting point. Riders should NOT pedal the bike without resistance at any time and should be encouraged to use the appropriate amount of resistance at all speeds and effort levels. Lack of appropriate resistance is the primary cause of “Hip Popping” in riders which is where the hips bounce quickly on the seat as the rpms are increased. There should be at least enough resistance on the bike to keep the hips settled and smooth in the saddle.
Please look for the next section of this series for the continued conversation and some safety specifics.
Originally posted 2019-01-28 07:40:59.