Cycling Experience vs. Physical Insight

Which is better, experience or insight?

If I could have found a picture of the thinker on a bicycle, I would have used it. Which is more valuable to a cyclist,  experience or insight? It definitely takes longer to learn how cycling works than it does to learn how to ride. So, how likely is I will experience dividends in the near future?

Elite Cyclists place priority on complementing their training with physical insights.

We have made the point Elite cyclists have been doing so for decades and realizing what they consider to be real benefits. Even in the Eighties, Tour de France racers were taping over their laces  to reduce aerodynamic drag. It may not seem like much, but over a hundred miles they were convinced it would.

But it seems like they have already answered the question. Both experience and insight have critical roles in making them more competitive cyclists. Each informs the other, either confirming or challenging the other.

Science has enabled many other disciplines

Science has often moved disciplines to things not thought possible. Structural engineering is a good example. For centuries, structures were built on experience and knowledge passed down through generations without any understanding of the underlying scientific principles. Many magnificent structures were built this way.

Classical Physics marked a demarcation in how structures were built, separating the structures built before and after into Classical and Scientific. Scientific analysis resulted in new structures based on stronger materials with lighter feels and different designs. Even with over a millennial of architecture experience, the introduction of science was able to advance the art of architectural design, enabling new designs not thought possible.

Nothing guarantees scientific insight will have such a dramatic effect on your riding, but it does suggest physical insights are important. Maybe that is why this picture  appeals to me as it relates relates both of these disciplines. We have a cyclist on a modern roadbike, in front of one of the great modern architectural structures of our times, the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain.

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