Editor’s Note: VeloNews tech editor Nick Legan is a former ProTour mechanic who most recently wrenched for Team RadioShack at the 2010 Tour de France and elsewhere. His column appears here every Thursday. You can submit questions to Nick at email@example.com, and be sure to check out Nick’s previous columns.
I’ve seen the climbs categorized in the grand tours and at times I pay attention to the percentage of grade. But the other day it occurred to me that there could be a difference between the slope of a 9-percent grade in meters/kilometers versus feet/mile. What is it?
No difference. Grade is grade. When expressed as a percentage the formula is 100 times the rise divided by the run. Grade can also be described in an angle (a 10-percent grade is approximately a 5.7-degree angle from horizontal) or a ratio (a road that climbs [rises] 10 meters for every 100 meters traveled [run] has a slope ratio of one in 10). Phil Liggett, the famous cycling commentator, will often speak in ratios as it’s common in the U.K. to use ratios instead of percentages, though that’s changing.
Being the month of July, I’m going to ask the most obvious question. Do you think you could ride the Tour De France?
Never been asked that one before. I’m certain that I could never race the Tour de France alongside the pros. But I’m sure that I could ride it. In fact, six amateur female cyclists are riding the entire route one day ahead of the men’s race right now. It’s called the Reve Tour and my girlfriend happens to be one of the team members. It hasn’t been easy, but it is very much possible. So, yeah! I could ride the Tour! You probably could too with enough training and preparation.
What are the small rectangular blue boxes mounted on the chainstay of each bike at the Tour?
To read the whole story, visit here: http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/07/tour-de-france/ask-nick-climbing-grades-transponders-and-tour-hotels_230580