If you”™ve read the prior blogs (my hats off to you — I couldn”™t get through them without nodding off), you know that the first place to start is with a review of the existing literature.  Whatever you can find on the internet and/or conversations with other experienced cycling instructors and coaches should be thoroughly reviewed before beginning your first project.

Solve a Problem, Meet an Objective, But Be Specific

However, even the literature review is jumping the gun a bit.  First and foremost you need to state the problem or objective you are trying to solve or achieve.  For example, some of your students want to overcome a specific problem or limitation, or achieve a specific objective.   You”™ll have to dig deep to define exactly what to target in your Evidence Based Cycling (EBC) research.

For example, they might be complaining that the hills are always their “nemesis”, and that they must find a way to get better at handling the hills.

As stated, this problem is still so broad, it would not lend itself to any scientific process of investigation or discovery, so this is where you can begin using one of several types of research methodology — that of simple Exploration.  Those students who are interested in taking the EBC journey with you will need to make their own observations and report them back to you.  This process of reporting will do two things, it will help them begin to articulate more clearly what their perception of the problem is, and as these self reports are compared from one rider to another, patterns or common elements will begin to emerge.

The long and short of this step is to arrive at a statement of that is clear and specific enough that it can be applied to the basic steps of the scientific method of research.  Here are those basic steps compliments of The Science Buddies:

Source: The Science Buddies - http://www.sciencebuddies.org




Rather than continue with a hypothetical example, let”™s turn this blog into a collaborative EBC project.  For those of you reading along, you are obviously already interested and are thus the most likely to be willing to participate and provide useful information.  So this is what we are going to do:

  1. Select/recruit 2 to 4 Complete Riders (those who ride inside and out and value the benefits of both environments) who wish to improve their outdoor climbing
  2. Ask them to select one of their most variable climbing routes (the route with the most variety of climbs) and to collect both objective and subjective data for each significant climb on that route.  A significant climb is any that is at least 4% grade or more, and lasts 1 minute or more)
    1. Ask them to ride the route making sure to lap their heart monitor at the beginning and end of each hill.
    2. In addition, they should make subjective observations or notes at the end of each route — yes that means stopping after completing each ascent and writing or if they have a smartphone they can simply voice record their thoughts and transcribe them later.
    3. Once collected, send the objective data to me, and we will look for the most common themes, and create our initial first step for an EBC project — an articulation of our question, or a definition of our problem that we can get started with.  Email your questions as well to gene at cyclingfusion dot com.



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