This winter is your opportunity to get stronger on the bike without having to spend a lot of money. You can easily go out and purchase a more expensive bike, a power meter, or some race wheels. In today's economy you can save by working on your skills instead.

During base training there are three things you can do to improve your cycling skills that will not require you to spend a lot of money. First of all, like in the pool, you need to work on technique. The following drills can be more effective on an indoor trainer but can be modified to do outdoors as well. 

  1. One of the most valuable drills to do in your training is single legged-drills. This drill is a lot more difficult than you think. To be efficient in your pedal stroke you should be able to generate the same amount of power on the upstroke and the downstroke. If doing this outdoors, you don't have to unclip. You can do this by making the opposite leg loose and relaxed. 
  2. Second, keeping a high cadence during your base training is ideal. A great drill to work on increasing your spinning on the bike for up to 30 seconds as fast as you can go without starting to bounce up and down. Do this between 6-8 times in an hour during an easy ride. You can increase from 30 seconds up to a minute once you are in better condition. 
  3. The third thing you can do to improve your efficiency on the bike is to spend one minute in each gear on a slight incline and work your way up to two minutes. If doing this on the trainer, you can spend one minute in each gear and then recover for one minute until you have gone through all the gears. During this drill try and maintain a cadence of 90-100 on the easier ones and around 60-70 in the harder ones. 

You can spend a lot of money on getting a more expensive bike or other gear, but the most cost-effective way to improve your cycling is by doing drills that will improve your efficiency.