Posted: Thu Jul. 19, 2007 11:12 am
Use stop signs to get fitter.
Don't you hate traffic signals? Just when you're in the groove, there's the dreaded word: STOP.
Worst case: A stop sign in the middle of a great descent.
It's important to obey traffic signals, of course. You could get badly hurt if you don't. Also, running stop signs and red lights sends the wrong message to motorists even if they don't hit you.
Some drivers get peeved and aggressive when they see cyclists ignoring traffic signals. "If you guys break the law," goes their thinking, "you don't deserve respect from me." Be aware of your responsibilities as a road user, as well as your rights.
But we digress. The idea here is not to regard stop signs as a fun-stopping nuisance but to use them for your benefit.
Stopping means starting again -- accelerating up to speed. This is a good thing.
---It encourages you to stand, getting weight off the saddle to relieve pressure on nerves and blood vessels.
---Sprinting works the muscles of your torso, arms and shoulders, which don't get used much in steady riding.
---Accelerating hard fires your fast-twitch muscle fibers, contributing to well-rounded fitness. And with practice you're bound to become a faster sprinter.
---If you're a time trialist, think of stop signs as opportunities to work on your out-of-saddle technique for motoring up to speed at starts and turnarounds.
"If you brake, you don't win." Racer Mario Cipollini