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Your questions answered: Climbing secrets, 'aero' lights and shedding fat

shropshire cycling
16 Dec 2016

Cyclist's resident problem solver Pav Bryan answers some of the questions that have been asked this month

Pav Bryan is a professional British Cycling level 3 road and time-trial coach with over a decade’s experience in mentoring everyone from beginners to pros. Discover more about his services at, and follow him on Twitter @pavbryan for more cycling-related wisdom.

I can cycle for quite some time on a straight road, but as soon as it starts to incline, I drop behind the others, get very breathless and have trouble pedalling. What I can do, to make my cycling experience better?

Colleen Russell, via Email.

Train more. You obviously have a good aerobic engine but as soon as the effort starts to creep above your threshold you feel like you have nothing. I’d recommend doing shorter, sharper interval based workouts. A great way of doing this is to go and ride hills. However, be sure to train your brain, too. What screams out to me is that as soon as the effort starts to feel harder or you notice you’re on a hill, you’re probably tensing up a lot. This nervous energy will feed your breathlessness, hampering pedalling efficiency. So as well doing hill training, focus on breaking up the climbs by targeting one section of it. Aim for a road sign or a certain point to ride to. This will break it into more manageable chunks for you.

Can you recommend any lights that work well with Aero bikes? 

Ben Bingham, President of the York St John Cycling Club, via Email

I bought Lezyne’s Strip Drive Lightset (£55 They’re built for aero-road frames or TT bikes and, compared to others I’ve had don’t move around or poke out the side because of the sharp angles of the seat posts. Otherwise, your best bet is to go to your local bike shop (LBS) and try some different ones out. If you buy online there’s no way of knowing if the gripper on the back will suit your frame, plus you’ll be supporting your LBS. I’m always a massive fan of going to them if I’m having a problem because they always do their best to help you out. 

Scarily, I’ve put on nearly a stone and its not even Christmas yet. What do you recommend I do about losing it fast? 

Rob, via email

The problem is that ‘losing weight’ and ‘fast’ are words that don’t go well together – you’ll either eat into muscle mass or just starve yourself and end up putting it back on. The emphasis needs to be on reducing body fat over a sustained period. Eat high-quality protein, fats and fruits. With carbohydrates, you need to adjust them according to your activities. Try to train six times a week for one hour, which works well for cycling commuters. You can mix up the intensity but don’t feel the need to do six-hour-long, fasted rides of low intensity to get the results. If you do, you may find that after the longer efforts you’ll be so hungry you’ll eat a huge cake or something and undo all your hard work!


To pick Pav’s brain about how to be a better cyclist, drop him a line at or message us at Cyclist’s Facebook page or on twitter @cyclist

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