The ecological validity of laboratory cycling

Does body size explain the difference between laboratory- and field-based cycling performance?

S. A. Jobson, A. M. Nevill, G. S. Palmer, A. E. Jeukendrup, M. Doherty, G. Atkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous researchers have identified significant differences between laboratory and road cycling performances. To establish the ecological validity of laboratory time-trial cycling performances, the causes of such differences should be understood. Hence, the purpose of the present study was to quantify differences between laboratory- and road-based time-trial cycling and to establish to what extent body size [mass (m) and height (h)] may help to explain such differences. Twenty-three male competitive, but non-elite, cyclists completed two 25 mile time-trials, one in the laboratory using an air-braked ergometer (Kingcycle) and the other outdoors on a local road course over relatively flat terrain. Although laboratory speed was a reasonably strong predictor of road speed (R2 = 69.3%), a significant 4% difference (P < 0.001) in cycling speed was identified (laboratory vs. road speed: 40.4 ± 3.02 vs. 38.7 ± 3.55 km · h-1; mean ± s). When linear regression was used to predict these differences (Diff) in cycling speeds, the following equation was obtained: Diff (km · h-1) = 24.9 - 0.0969 · m - 10.7 · h, R2 = 52.1% and the standard deviation of residuals about the fitted regression line = 1.428 (km · h-1). The difference between road and laboratory cycling speeds (km · h-1) was found to be minimal for small individuals (mass=65 kg and height = 1.738 m) but larger riders would appear to benefit from the fixed resistance in the laboratory compared with the progressively increasing drag due to increased body size that would be experienced in the field. This difference was found to be proportional to the cyclists' body surface area that we speculate might be associated with the cyclists' frontal surface area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Allometric and linear regression models
  • Body mass
  • Body surface area
  • Height

Cite this

Jobson, S. A. ; Nevill, A. M. ; Palmer, G. S. ; Jeukendrup, A. E. ; Doherty, M. ; Atkinson, G. / The ecological validity of laboratory cycling : Does body size explain the difference between laboratory- and field-based cycling performance?. In: Journal of Sports Sciences. 2007 ; Vol. 25, No. 1. pp. 3-9.
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abstract = "Previous researchers have identified significant differences between laboratory and road cycling performances. To establish the ecological validity of laboratory time-trial cycling performances, the causes of such differences should be understood. Hence, the purpose of the present study was to quantify differences between laboratory- and road-based time-trial cycling and to establish to what extent body size [mass (m) and height (h)] may help to explain such differences. Twenty-three male competitive, but non-elite, cyclists completed two 25 mile time-trials, one in the laboratory using an air-braked ergometer (Kingcycle) and the other outdoors on a local road course over relatively flat terrain. Although laboratory speed was a reasonably strong predictor of road speed (R2 = 69.3{\%}), a significant 4{\%} difference (P < 0.001) in cycling speed was identified (laboratory vs. road speed: 40.4 ± 3.02 vs. 38.7 ± 3.55 km · h-1; mean ± s). When linear regression was used to predict these differences (Diff) in cycling speeds, the following equation was obtained: Diff (km · h-1) = 24.9 - 0.0969 · m - 10.7 · h, R2 = 52.1{\%} and the standard deviation of residuals about the fitted regression line = 1.428 (km · h-1). The difference between road and laboratory cycling speeds (km · h-1) was found to be minimal for small individuals (mass=65 kg and height = 1.738 m) but larger riders would appear to benefit from the fixed resistance in the laboratory compared with the progressively increasing drag due to increased body size that would be experienced in the field. This difference was found to be proportional to the cyclists' body surface area that we speculate might be associated with the cyclists' frontal surface area.",
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Jobson, SA, Nevill, AM, Palmer, GS, Jeukendrup, AE, Doherty, M & Atkinson, G 2007, 'The ecological validity of laboratory cycling: Does body size explain the difference between laboratory- and field-based cycling performance?', Journal of Sports Sciences, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 3-9. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410500520526

The ecological validity of laboratory cycling : Does body size explain the difference between laboratory- and field-based cycling performance? / Jobson, S. A.; Nevill, A. M.; Palmer, G. S.; Jeukendrup, A. E.; Doherty, M.; Atkinson, G.

In: Journal of Sports Sciences, Vol. 25, No. 1, 01.01.2007, p. 3-9.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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