cyclistsThe best way to improve in any field is to look to those that have succeeded and emulate some of their techniques that have work for them. Let’s take a look at some advice given by some of the best cyclists in the world about motivation, riding or training, and hot weather.


Tim Johnson – National Cyclocross Champion: “I was told by a very close friend much older than I, to listen to everybody and believe no one… Which basically means that you have to figure things out for yourself.”

Bjarne Riis– 1996 Tour de France Stage Winner: “Suffer. Sacrifice.”

Jens Voigt-3 Time Tour de France Stage Winner: “Eddy Merckx told me, ‘Attack when it hurts because you know you are going to get away.’ I just try to keep doing that.”

Christian Vande Velde– 2008 and 2009 Tour de France top 10 finisher: “Remember that all the other riders are human. They train, suffer, bleed, and cry. I got that advice from my dad, [He was a] former professional cyclist, when I was a scared and intimidated junior racing against people from California, Florida, New York, and seeing license plates from people 2,000 miles away.”

Training and Riding

Freddie Rodriguez– 3 Time U.S. National Champion: “Believe. My dad raced in the 50’s and grew up in Columbia, where they used this stuff for energy called panela. It’s like brown sugar that’s been heated up. He told me I had to use the stuff. It’s just brown sugar, but I believed, so it worked. Believe in something and stick with it.”

Christine Thorburn– 2004 National Women’s Time-Trial Champion: “Plan ahead for shifting on climbs. If you put tons of pressure on the pedals when you shift, you can get stuck in a gear or drop your chain.”

Ivan Basso– 2006 and 2009 Giro d’Italia Winner: “Eat early, go to sleep early. Don’t eat bad food.”

Frankie Andreu– 9-time Tour de France finisher: “Take a nap everyday. It’s the most important part of training. I napped every day. It made the difference on every training ride.”

Mari Holden– 2000 Time-Trial Champion and 2000 Olympic Time Trial Silver Medalist: “I think that the most important advice I got was more like a directive from my parents, and that was to wear my helmet. I was a rebel back then and would hide it in the bushes outside my house, but as the years went on I started to wear my helmet all the time, and now I feel naked without it. I have had some pretty bad crashes over the years and have always been thankful that I had my helmet on.”

Extreme Weather

Paul Bailey– Fitness coach of Fit4Training: “In hot weather you should aim to consume an 800ml bottle at least every hour and a quarter, if not sooner.
“Ideally carry two bottles on your bike. Make one an isotonic drink that helps to replace minerals lost through sweating. The other could be either water or energy drink, depending upon the duration and intensity of your event. But avoid sugary drinks. They may offer energy, but they could exacerbate dehydration.”

Simon Baynes– Craft Bike Clothing: “A summer base layer should have mesh panels in the ‘hot’ spots to give ventilation and cooling. The structure of the fabrics and the stitching techniques work together to ‘pull’ the sweat off the skin and distribute it to the outside of the garment. It then evaporates or is passed onto the next layer for optimal performance and comfort.”

Photo courtesy of Timothy J Carroll.