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Cycle Faster In Ten Minutes, With No Extra Effort – BUT…


August 2013

I’m playing the odds here…

Cycle faster in ten minutes, with no extra effort… BUT this is going to hurt. Well, it’d take me ten minutes, it may take you a few more…

Now, anyone who rides fast already will tell you flat-out that this is impossible! But it’s not, technically. So, are you ready to go from 16-1/2 mph to 18, maybe even 19 on your road bike? Almost immediately?

Okay, let’s get to it.

First, call your local bike shop and tell them you want a 10 degree stem (or less) to replace that 45 degree mountain bike monstrosity you have on there now. Then pick it up and come back to me (and for the love of God, please get the right one for your bike – they’re are dozens of shapes and sizes)…

… Got it? Okay, now take your old stem off and while you’re at it, three of the spacers too. Drop that shiny new stem on there upside down. Then put the spacers on top of the stem. Then rotate your bars so the top tube of the drops follows the line of the stem… Then, and be careful here, this is tough: Peel back the rubber part of your hood along the outside (up where your hands go). See that 5 mm Allen bolt head? Yeah, loosen that up and gently slide your hood down so the hood runs on the same line as the top drop tube and stem. Be careful because this could mess with the bar tape.

Now go back to the bike shop and buy some new bar tape ’cause you messed it up and while we’re at it, we may as well re-wrap them. When you redo your bar tape, take your time and do so preferably without the need for electrical tape. If you get it right, that’s instant cred points at the local club ride, for what that’s worth. 😉

You’re now about 25-35% more aerodynamic. Pedal for a minute to get used to the hoods, then get down in the drops and pedal your ass off. You’re now a bunch more aerodynamic. It will hurt because you’re not used to it. Now rinse and repeat – an hour or two every week in the drops should do. Now, I’ve always cycled in the traditional aerodynamic fashion but I have had to lower the stem a time or two. I had to get used to the lower drop too, so it is possible, without injury – I’ve done it.

Disclaimer: This post is meant to illicit a laugh, I’m joking, but only kind of. If your saddle is the same height as the bar top, or (God forbid) lower, this just might work! The only question is are you flexible enough?.. Your shop set your bike up the way it did because the consensus is that upright is more comfortable. Depending on girth and flexibility, this may be so, but I’m not very flexible and I have the traditional saddle to bar drop and it’s not uncomfortable at all – of course, I’m also hard headed and I’ll be damned if I’m going to ride a road bike that doesn’t offer at least a little aerodynamic advantage to a hybrid.

Now, if there is a girth issue, referring to your gut, you’ll have to lose that before slamming the stem – so this may take more than ten minutes. Get on with it, and know I have more faith in you than you do. While you’re at it maybe we should try to fix that too, eh?


  1. IowaTriBob says:

    LOL, I can picture dozens of people in the ditch, road rash and all, cursing bgddyjim for making their once comfy ride one unstable beast!

    • bgddyjim says:

      LOL! No magic pills brother! Fast is right on the edge of control, and rubbin’ is racin’ (Days of Thunder).

      As for stability, the lower you are, the more stable you are – lower center of gravity. In fact, whenever I’m over 40 mph, I ride in the drops to smooth the ride out.

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