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Are Wider Tyres Worth It? | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

– On this week’s ask GCN anything, we shall be discussing
leg length discrepancy, ceramic bearings, riding over cattle grids, and a whole lot more. First up though, a question
in on Twitter from Tom Mason, I currently ride 23 millimetre Conti tyres but I’m heading over to
Belgium for a few days. Should I put 25s on for the cobblestones? Yes, most definitely. And in fact if your frame
set will accommodate them, I would suggest going even larger than that to 28 millimetre tyres. Your tyres are, of course,
the first point of contact with the ground, or the only
point of contact in fact, and they do the best job
of anything on your bike at absorbing the shock and
vibration from the road surface. And of course there is a lot of that when you’re riding over cobblestones. The benefit of riding larger volume tyres is that you can run
them at a lower pressure without an increased
risk of pinch punctures. And I can tell you firsthand
that the difference in comfort over the cobblestones
is absolutely massive. In fact, earlier on in 2017
Matt and Si did some tests, three different types of bikes over the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix. Admittedly, it’s slightly
over the border in France rather than Belgium, but
the same things do apply. And the results are quite
interesting, take a look at this. – We’re going to put three types of bike through their paces. Here, on arguably one of the
most infamous sectors of pave in the world, the Carrefour
de l’Arbre in France, made famous, of course, in Paris-Roubaix. – Yeah, we are each
gonna ride a road bike, a cyclocross bike, and a
cross-country mountain bike through this tough sector
as fast as we possibly can, to see which one is the quickest. – Don’t forget, if you’d
like to ask us a question you can leave it in the comment
section below this video or indeed on Twitter, using
the hashtag #torqueback, and that is where this
next question came in, again from Michael Samuel, as
an 18 year-old aiming to race, what sort of training should I be doing, and is there any other
advice that you can offer? Well this is a question that
we get asked quite a lot in comments and on Facebook, et cetera. Now, since you haven’t raced before, it can be quite a daunting
prospect, but it needn’t be, because the only person that’s going to have any expectations
on you, is you yourself. So you should go to your first race with the aim of getting some experience, and most of all, having some fun. And in terms of training,
though, you should be specific to the event that you want to enter, to try to analyse the demands
of that particular race. Firstly, how long it’s going to take you, i.e. the duration of the race, secondly, the type of terrain,
is it hilly, is it flat? And thirdly, how many corners are there? Is it on a short circuit,
almost like a criterium, with loads of corners where
you’re going to be doing lots of short, sharp sprints,
or is it a longer road race, maybe from A to B, or a long circuit, where you’re going to be
required to put the power down through the pedals for longer spells. Once you’ve decided what
the specific demands of that race are, you
will have a better idea of what you need to work on. And we’ve got loads of videos here at GCN which should help you to prepare and train for those specific demands. In the meantime, though,
this one is definitely going to be of benefit to you, it is GCN’s How To Prepare
For Your First Race, which was shot in California
a couple of years ago now. – So, how do you go about
training for your very first race? Well, here’s a few tips. The first thing that you
should do in your planning is to break down the demands of the race, if there’ve been previous editions, take a look at how long it’s
roughly going to take you, and also take a look at the
type of course that it is. Is it hilly, is it mountains,
or is it completely flat. – Rapid fire round now,
although knowing me, it will probably just be the fire round. It will be hot, but I won’t be very quick. First up, Peter Cody.
#torqueback #askmattstephens, sorry if you’re disappointed that it’s me, can I use 18 to 23 millimetre tubes with 25 millimetre tyres? Yes, yes you can, you only
need to inflate the tube outside the tyre to realise
that it will go quite big, much bigger than a 25
millimetre tyre so it will fill that volume absolutely fine,
don’t need to worry about that. There might be a very,
very small discrepancy in terms of the thickness
of the inner tube when it’s pumped up inside
a 25 millimetre tyre, and therefore a minute increase
in the risk of puncturing, but it’s so small in this case as to not really be worth worrying about. Kevin Miguel, also on Twitter, asks are ceramic bearings and pulley
wheels worth the upgrade? Do they really make you go faster? Well there’s a whole lot of other things that you need to be concerned with first. First and foremost, the
power that you’re putting through the pedals and your aerodynamics and the weight of you and your bike. If you’ve got all of
these things sorted though and you feel like you
can’t get any further, then things like rolling
resistance and the friction of your bike will make small differences. So the friction in the hub bearings and in the drive train et cetera as well. So if you’ve got everything else done, and you’ve got some
spare cash let’s face it, then they will make a
small difference, yes. Jake asks, this reminds me
of a question I had recently. Why don’t pros ride with 56 by 39? It would make attacking
on downhills a lot easier. Well the pros do like to
tend to stay in the big ring as much as they possibly can. On a rolling terrain with a 56 on, that would be quite difficult. Some pros, especially sprinters,
are known to go with a 54 when the finish is particularly quick, and we did also hear a rumour
that Chris Froome used a 54 at last year’s Tour de France en route to attacking on that descent
and taking a stage victory, although we have no confirmation of that. And of course in time
trials we regularly see 56 or even 58 teeth chain rings. Next up, from Tobias Karow,
what is the best way to account for length difference in legs
regarding shoes and saddle? Not my area of expertise but I’ve been trying to do some research online, it seems that you could
try a thicker inner sole, that’s not ideal though,
’cause it will affect the fit of your shoe, or even
different length cranks on either side, again,
not an ideal solution. I think the best solution to
your problem is probably to try a cleat riser, so a small block
that goes between the cleat and the shoe on your shorter leg. Not that easy to find
online, I have to say, but they are out there somewhere,
so if you do some research you should be able to buy some. It might even be something
that you can make yourself if you are far more clever than I. Next up, Iconic Xtreme,
I have recently got back into cycling after a long break from it, one thing I’ve always had an
issue with is cattle grids. After a few scary moments I
now get off and walk over them, but wondered if there’s a technique to ride over them safely. Well this is my area of expertise, because I come from the New Forest, and there are cattle
grids all over the place. And I have to say, I think
I find it more dangerous walking over them than riding over them. So your technique is to
approach them head on, with a decent amount of speed, enough that you don’t
have to pedal over them, and make sure that you’re
not doing any turning or any leaning whilst you’re
going over the cattle grid, particularly when it’s wet
because they can be slippery. And also pay attention to
gaps that you sometimes get down the middle of cattle grids as well, they can be particularly dangerous. But approach it like
that and you should have no problems at all in getting over them. The other thing you can
do is just raise yourself out of the saddle ever so
slightly and absorb those bumps using your arms and your legs. Next up, Lucy Hammonds
writes in, and says, I’m 14, I’ve been cycling
for over a year now, I love it and I’ve just
somehow convinced my parents to get me a Liv Envie Advanced 1. Nice one. I live in a quiet town in
North Wales with lovely roads around but my parents
hate me going riding alone. I’m only allowed on certain roads. Well I think that’s all the question that we need to hear, really. I understand your parents’ concerns. I’ve got a 14 year old lad myself, and it can be particularly
nerve-racking letting him go out on the roads on his own,
despite the fact that he is very responsible, as I’m sure you are. I would suggest firstly
trying to find a nice quiet local circuit, which your parents know, which you can do in either
direction with local terrain, just riding that multiple times. The second thing that you can do is use some kind of app
which shares your location. You can do this now on Google Maps or indeed you can do it
on a Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT, or other head units as well, that way your parents will
be able to see exactly where you are at all
times, and that should also alleviate some of their concerns. Or, you can find a slightly
older and more experienced riding partner that you both
trust to go out riding with, then you won’t be on your own. Next up, and finally actually
on the rapid-fire round, which has been particularly
slow this week, from James Lewis, I’ve
mixed up my jockey wheels, I wonder if you guys
could help out and confirm which is the new one,
and which is the old one. Tough one there, I think
it’s the one on the, no, not sure, not sure. If you can help James,
please leave your answers in the comment section down below. Our penultimate question
came in from Arne Seys, I’m gonna paraphrase
slightly, but he has gone in the last four months
from being a weekend warrior to also adding in three
commutes each week, 10 kilometres each way to work and back, and he’s starting to feel
that his legs are empty no matter what he has tried
so he’s asking for tips. Or does he keep training and
hope it gets better soon? Well to me, Arne, it sounds
like you need to rest. You have ramped things up
pretty quickly over the last four months and it might just
be that your body hasn’t been able to absorb all that workload,
hence why you’re feeling tired and your legs are feeling empty. You are going to lose
little to no fitness at all over the course of seven easy days, so that would be my first suggestion. It will likely allow your
body to absorb all that work, repair itself, and that is after all something that we all
neglect from time to time. This next video might help
you have that easy week, some research that Si and I did into the best way to do a recovery ride, essentially how to take things easy, which really is my area of expertise. Check it out. – Now before we start to
explain exactly how to do a recovery ride, what actually
is one supposed to do then? Well, it is a way of gently
boosting blood flow around the body through gentle exercise, and then the theory is that it will help deliver nutrients to your damaged muscles, and also start to flush out
some of the waste products from them that will have
accumulated through hard training. – How, then, do you do a recovery ride? Well, they really are quite simple. All you need to do is ride
at a very low intensity for quite a short period of time. So, 60 minutes at a maximum,
at an effort level of between one and two if you’re going on feel. You should basically be able to breathe through your nose throughout. Final question now, I’m afraid,
don’t forget to keep them coming in the comment section down below, comes in from Swanny, again on Twitter, hi GCN, I’m moving to a much
flatter area for university, will I lose hill climbing ability and what should I do to combat that? Well, if you do only flat riding and make no effort to
simulate the types of efforts that you would do on climbs, then yes, there is the chance that your climbing ability will wane ever so slightly. But the good news is
there are loads of things that you can do to simulate the efforts that you would do on longer climbs. The first of those is to
find a nice quiet road with as few junctions as
possible and do some longer, 20 to 30, maybe even 45
minute intervals on those. You can also do some longer
intervals on an indoor trainer, they’re very effective, or,
you can do what we’ve seen a lot of pros doing recently,
which is use an air hub which artificially increases
the resistance of your wheels. The opposite, in fact,
to ceramic bearings, but it gives you almost an extra 200 watts of resistance so it is
hard to push against. The handy thing is, we’ve got
all of our tips for training for climbs when you live in a
flat area in this next video. So make sure you watch this. – One thing I wish I’d done,
though, is better utilise some of the terrain next to my house. Because local to me, there
is an abundance of fire roads and gravel roads like this
one, which all link up. And that’s perfect, because
there’s no junctions, and of course there’s no traffic as well. Plus, you’ve got the
extra resistance off road, which perfectly mimics the kind
of resistance and power that you’re gonna have to put out
when you’re on a longer climb. – Well I’m afraid that’s it for this week’s ask GCN anything. Keep your questions
coming, we’ll do our best to answer them on next week’s show. If you’ve liked this video give
it the thumbs up down below, you can subscribe to the channel now by clicking on the globe, and then we have got
two more videos for you. Up there is my look at the
latest lightweight in aero tech from the recent Eurobike
Show, and down here, we’ve got someone much better
answering your questions. It’s a recent ask GCN
anything with Adam Hansen.

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