A ride on the flats …


After all of the climbing yesterday, I wanted a flatter, easier ride today. After stopping at the club to fill my bottles, I headed south to the river delta, and west along the north arm of the Fraser River. It is a 20 km ride out, and 20 km back hugging the scenic shoreline. Flat, yes. Easy, no. Why is it when I have a headwind going out, I also have one coming back? Aren’t there tailwinds any more? The ride was a grind like a 40 km climb. But this post is not about the flat terrain. It is about the flat sections on the top of my carbon handlebars.


This style of bar has 3 purposes:

  1. They are designed to be more aerodynamic. If this is the case, it is minimal because the rider’s body is immediately behind the bars.
  2. The oval like cross section strengthens the carbon composite. This makes sense. You may gain a little weight with the larger cross section but the bar can withstand more force, particularly when sprinting.
  3. The flat sections are more comfortable when holding onto the tops of the bars. This is particularly helpful during long climbs as it opens the chest making it easier to breath rhythmically and deeply.

I had forgotten how much I like riding with my hands on the tops of these bars. They fit into my palms like a glove, and are the perfect width for me. I rode on the tops most of yesterday, and today. Even when I am not climbing, it is more comfortable than being on the hoods, or on the drops. When I’m battling a wind, or want speed, I’ll get on the drops trying to become more aerodynamic. When I’m negotiating tight, fast turns, I prefer to be on the hoods so that I can quickly brake if necessary. In fact, I like the variety these three positions provide, but I prefer the tops and had forgotten how comfortable it was.

You can tell I ride on the tops a lot. You can see the bar tape is dirtier there than on the drops. Some would say I need to replace the bar tape, or at least clean it. I keep this bike pristine. I clean the chain before most every ride, and wash the bike weekly. More frequently when necessary. But I never touch the tape.  It’s like a right of passage. It’s confirmation that I work hard on the bike, and I’m proud of that.

Call me daft 🙂

7 thoughts on “A ride on the flats …

  1. Definitely not daft. I like the drops for cornering… I feel more “in control” when I’m lowest – center of gravity. Also, and sadly, my S-Works air foil bar is just a bit too wide for maximum grippage. I miss torquing on the tops during tough climbs. Still, the style watts are off the charts. 😎

    • You are right 🙂 I feel more in control on the drops as well. On one long descent I ride frequently there is car traffic travelling slowly to look out at the ocean. We often speed by weaving in and out of the cars at times, and it is in those situations I get on the hoods just in case. I can sit up and slow down quickly if necessary. When there are no cars, I’m on the drops, and on the biggest ring, hammering all the way down. 😀

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