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March 4, 2009
Motorpacing is a fantastic way to increase your leg speed and simulate race intensity. Motorpacing for cyclists is one of those things that I shouldn’t be recommending to anyone as it can be dangerous and someone may sue me for this. There have been many incidences where people have died or just escaped death when motorpacing and things went wrong. Many of you reading may not want to consider doing it. Both the riders and the driver need to know exactly what they are doing. That said, you’re gonna do whatever you wanna do and I’m not going to stop you. Hell, I love motorpacing! So, if you want to get the most out of it, follow these TIPS.
look at the size of that chainring!
Driver and Scooter/Motorbike:
1. The scooter/motorcycle should be able to go up to 70km/hr
2. Anything much more than an 80-100cc scooter may be too powerful and accelerate too quickly at the higher speeds for the riders behind to keep up with. The small increases in speed may not seem like much to the driver, but 2 or 3 km/hr is a big deal to the cyclists on the back who are on hanging on for dear life.
3. Ideally you want a roller on back of the scooter. Keep an eye out for any protrusions that could catch a wheel at the ends of roller.
4. The driver needs to accelerate slowly on climbs and hills. The cyclists behind will increase speeds much more slowly than the motorcycle.
5. The driver can accelerate more quickly on descents. The bike coasts more quickly than motorcycle.
6. The driver needs to think like a cyclist with regards to the bumps, cracks and ridges in the road. Even pointing them out like a cyclist is preferable.
7. The motorcycle should have an extended mirror so that the driver can see predetermined hand signals.
8. Give the hand signals between the driver and riders some serious thought and spend time understading them. The driver will NOT be able to hear the riders and will be looking for visual cues in his mirror. This is #1 for safety. Establish signals for slow down, speed up, sprint time/hill jam, etc. as well as safety signals.
9. The motorcycles should have a lowered exhaust so the riders behind aren’t breathing in fumes for hours on end.
10. It’s great if the motorcycle has a basket on the back to carry waterbottles, extra clothing, food, etc.
11. Consider practicing your first few motorpacing sessions on an outdoor velodrome until everyone gets the hang of it.
1. More than 4 or 5 riders on a motorpacing session gets to be too many. The further back the rider is from the motorbike, the harder it gets because there is less of a draft. Right behind the motorbike is the area where you get the most rest (relatively speaking). The riders behind are doing the most work.
2. Don’t just go out and motorpace without some proper strength and power blocks of training. If you do this you’ll gain some form for a while, but you won’t have the underlying fitness to keep it going and build upon it. Make sure that you motorpace after you have a good base of strength and you’ll be able to push the bigger gears faster. Use motorpacing as “top up” training about a month out from when you want to reach your peak.
3. The training effect that motorpacing has on the riders is SPEED. The neuromuscular training effect associated with being in the draft and using higher leg speed (less torque) will help you increase the SPEED component of your training. It also improves the psychological element of not being completely in control of pace (similar to a race – this is where a good motorpace driver who knows you makes a big difference)
4. If the cyclist behind the bike separates as little as 1 ft off of the rear of the motorbike, the workload will spike incredibly high to regain the “sweet spot” of the draft that is best only inches away from the bumper. Once or twice and this isn’t an issue, but after an hour of motorpacing which is usually done in zone 4/5, that wattage spike REALLY hurts.
Workout Drill Examples
– Pace line behind bike of 4 to 5, back rider runs up in front of the bike, then drops into 1st position behind.
– Have the driver blow the horn to signal for someone to attack the motorbike then hold it out there in front as long as possible. Make sure you leave enough to get back in the draft. This is done at about 48km/hr
– go till you blow. Start out at about 30km/hr and have the driver slowly ramp it up until you get dropped.
Have fun and play safe kids!