Back Pocket


I was busy travelling intrastate up on the West Coast of SA with work last week and didn’t get around to posting last week. It’s difficult to build up the inspiration after a long day in the field and a few Coopers Pale Ales.



Tuesday (this week) had me up around Murray Bridge, and I had a chance to chat to a couple of cyclists on the Ferry at Jervois. I’m awfully sorry but I’ve forgotten your names, but it was good chatting with you.


Riding Position

Changing your posture on the road bike can instantly boost your efficiency more than 13 percent, according to a recent study from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.  If a bunch of Mechanical Engineers say it, it must be true.


Bend your elbows.

The study by Barry et al, published in the Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, looked at five different road cycling postures to see which best overcomes drag.

The outcome showed that gripping the brake hoods with horizontal forearms produced the smallest frontal area and equated to a power saving of 13.4 percent at 45km/h compared with sitting up with hands on the hoods. This equates to around 35 seconds over a 40km time trial at 300 watts. This horizontal-forearms position also offered a 10.3 percent saving compared with gripping the drops.


The Institution of Mechanical Engineers tests were conducted at a yaw angle of zero degrees – i.e. head on – and with one elite participant weighing 70kg, meaning not all body types may react exactly the same. However, given that 80 to 90 percent of a rider’s power goes towards overcoming wind resistance, adopting this more aero position should certainly help when riding, especially when riding into a headwind or downhill.

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The findings also showed that nodding the head forwards resulted in lower drag, regardless of the position selected.




The study concluded: “As a recommendation for cyclist positioning, lowering the head and torso will generally translate to a reduction in aerodynamic drag by reducing the velocity defect and turbulence levels in the wake. However, to fully optimise aerodynamic performance, it is necessary to also bring the arms inside the silhouette of the torso and hips.”



Strava Heat Map

I like this strava heat map

The beach ride, Norton Summit and the climb to the Bollards are the obvious favourite rides around Adelaide for Strava users.



You can spot the influence of the Tour down Under public rides, particularly last summers down to Victor







What do you ride with in your back pocket?

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A recent Wednesday Legs poll indicated that people carry all sorts of shit in their back pockets, including:

  • Clif Bar/Banana
  • Phone
  • Wallet
  • Keys in a zip lock
  • Tubes
  • Tyre levers
  • Multi-tool with chain splitter
  • CO2 pump
  • Bacon
  • Mini pump
  • $20 note
  • Food
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Phone case (holds phone and cards and cash)
  • Cleat covers
  • Cocaine
  • Snack bar
  • Extra pair of inner gloves,
  • Small pouch with driving licence and cash card, a small amount of money for emergencies
  • Mini-lock
  • House keys
  • Puncture repair kits,
  • Zip ties
  • Camera
  • Arm warmers
  • Gels
  • Banana
  • Small cookies
  • Gilet
  • Small soft ‘camera’ style zip neoprene bag (to keep it all together, and slip into and out of the pocket easier)
  • Small plastic change purse
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Salt pills
  • Nurofen
  • Electrolytes
  • Dates

Of course, the saddle bag is used to carry some of these items as well, unless you ride euro that is.



The following is an extract from Loving The Bite

Dried Mango Strips.  


They’re portable, they’re not sticky, not too sweet and incredibly refreshing.

But, how do they stack up to other fueling options?  Are they a good choice in terms of nutrients that your body can use while pedaling?

First, mango strips just taste good.  And, if you find the ones that do not have sugar added, they are not overly sweet.   They usually remain moist and have a good texture, so they are easy to get down.

You’ll get about 30 grams of carbs in just 3 mango strips – that’s a lot of bang for the volume.  Since I can eat these rather quickly, it’s an easy 30 grams of carbs for me.



The carbohydrate make up of mango is approximately 38% glucose (a combination of natural-occuring glucose and sucrose) and 58% fructose (a combination of natural-occuring fructose and sucrose).  With our sports gels you get the trademark 2:1 ratio of glucose to fructose.  This ratio has been supported in some research as the ideal ratio for the uptake and usage of carbs during activity.  So, in terms of the ratio, the sports gels would win (mangos provide approximately 1:1.5 glucose:fructose).

However, I don’t know of a study that compares the uptake and usage of mango strips vs. sports bars/gels directly.  And, if you follow some of the studies that show natural foods, like honey, to be as effective as maltodextrin for carbohydrates during exercise, you may not put all your stock in “engineered” fuels with this ratio.  What’s more, there are definitely many athletes who experience stomach distress with the isolated fructose that’s added into the engineered fuels, but don’t with natural fructoses in fruits, honey, and sugar (sucrose).

My conclusion, by the numbers, the engineered sports gels may have an edge. But, I’ve been riding, and providing sports nutrition coaching long enough to know that sometimes real food carbohydrates simple “settle” better.  For this category, it may simply depend on your individual digestion tolerances.  And, of course, if you choose a drink that’s mostly glucose or maltodextrin, you can improve this ratio in your hourly intake.

You generally won’t find significant amounts of protein in either mango strips or sports gels.  This is fine with me as whole protein are not necessarily for most exercise, and do predispose many athletes to stomach issues.

There’s not really any sodium in the mango strips.  Bummer, as far as sodium replacement goes. There is however, 50-100 mg sodium in most sports gels.  If you can’t get in enough sodium through your drink and/or other fuels, and you decide to use mango strips, I would recommend chopping them and shaking them with 1 1/2 tsp salt.  This will provide about 200 mg sodium, an advantageous amount compared to most chews and chomps.  So, as is, the engineered chews have the sodium advantage UNLESS you add salt to you mangos.

Except for a few select brands, such as Organic Honey Stinger Chews, mangos have the obvious advantage when it comes to whole, real foods.  And, when you take a closer look, they have the advantage over these brands as well (Organic Honey Stinger Chews contain more evaporated tapioca syrup and evaporated cane juice than honey).  And, while I still think these brands are good options, they are set up to fuel at specific ratios rather than simply be a food.  Really, this category largely depends on individual preference and any value placed on real, whole foods.  I do place value on it personally.  I generally feel better and have less digestion issues when I at least use a combo of real foods and engineered ones rather than only gels, chews, chomps, etc.  


After seeing this article a few weeks back, I popped into Goodies and Grains at the Adelaide Central Markets and bought a handful of dried mango strips and dried figs.


They both cost around $15/kg, which provided me a good supply for 2 decent bike rides. I had a look at the supermarkets and found they also sell dried mango strips, but were twice the price on a per unit basis, and didn’t look as appealing as the Goodies and Grains strips.


I didn’t go on any long bike rides where I would normally have considered the use of gels, but on my casual cruises around Adelaide, I found the mix of dried Mangoes and dried Figs to be a refreshing change from the power bars and gels. I have also found in the past dried dates to be quite palatable on the roads as well.


Pop into G&G and give them a go.


Belair National Park

I had a ride up Belair National Park on Saturday morning. I would have to say this would be one of the most under utilised climbs in the Adelaide Hills. I hardly ever see anyone on these climbs, and whilst not difficult, they provide some stunning scenery.

Here are some shots from my ride.

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Tool of the Week – The Nutter Cycle Multi Tool


Featuring all the essentials for fixing your most common bike headaches. The Nutter combines all the tools you need when out riding into one simple unit.






Its unique design and distinctive form turns the tool into a handle, giving you more leverage than other multi tools on the market. The tool weighs just 110g.



  • Nylon tyre lever
  • 15mm box head spanner
  • Spoke key
  • 3,4,5,6,8mm hex tool bits
  • Philips head screw driver
  • Flat head screw driver
  • T25 torx bit
  • Magnetic tool bit extender
  • Bottle opener


Housed beautifully in your choice of a burnt brown or jet black leather and recycled inner tube pouch.


till next time

tight spokes


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