Technology Simplified: The V-Meter.

The numbers game just changed

Training Properly clearly isn’t everyone’s bag, baby.  Heart rate, power, cadence; it’s all bollocks if you are being told to hold back, or are put into a place where you don’t want/aren’t supposed to be.  If it hurts, and you’re flying, it’s working.  If it hurts, and you’re crawling, it’s not working.  No amount of handlebar-mounted gadgetry can convince us of what we already know; no matter how hard we may think we are going, we are probably going nowhere near hard enough.  So, armed with years of field testing and a plethora of poor performance to draw upon, the team at V-Lab have developed the ultimate training tool for the discerning proponent of Rule #74.

Enter the V-Meter.

No confusing read-out.  No buttons to push.  No debate as to what you need to do.  Just look down, ruminate briefly on the message conveyed to your oxygen-starved brain and lactate-laden legs, and V the fuck outa there.  What’s the gradient of the climb?  V.  How fast are you going?  V.  What’s your heart rate doing?  Your V-max?  You will instantly and unequivocally know the answer.

Accordingly, the V-Meter is intended as a single-use device;  after your first ride using the V-Meter, all the important and relevant numbers will be ingrained on your psyche, and the V-Meter should be removed from your bike and placed in the nearest refuse receptacle. Not only will you be freed from the burden of irrelevant numerology, so too will your steed be clean, sleek and 74 compliant.

*V-Meter not an actual product.  Results may be fictional.  Rule 5 sold seperately.  If pain persists, good.  Send V dollars to V-Lab for full program.

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42 Replies to “Technology Simplified: The V-Meter.”

  1. @michael
    Correct! The V-Meter is not made by Cateye, but will retrofit to any major brand’s product (including Sigma, Polar, and an XL model for Garmin.) You know you want it.

  2. Loving this post with a capital ‘V’ … Just about to fire the link for this post to all the ‘Southampton Road Club’ members for reference and reverance to the ‘V’. When the going gets tough the powermeter aint gonna help ya one bit…… For your info a freind of mine once had a similar device to the ‘V’ Meter. It was a ‘Snot’ Meter; when the Snot hanging from his nose touched the handlebar and trailed behind in his 30mph wake he knew he was trying hard enough.

  3. My last (and only since I was a kid) had not cyclometer, no technology, nothing. I was actually in shape and happy. Hell, I did a 150 mile charity ride on a fixed just because I thought it would be fun. Now I’m fat, slow, and counting calories. Something just isn’t right here.

    Awesome post.

  4. Brilliant. I knew the V-Lab would be a good return on investment when we set it up over there amongst Kiwis. What started with nightly sessions of signing “Strangers in the Night” to flocks of sheep has resulted in development of this most magnificent piece of technology. Right on.

    And how awesome is that picture? The V-Cog perched there atop that 3T stem, the Bozzie’s green and blue headtube leading toward that steel fork crown. Perfection.

    @Gus, if you’re trying to understand the spirit of the Velominati, I suggest you review this article.

  5. Somehow I’ve ended up ahead of the pack here. My crap cateye demanded more batteries months ago and I threw the whole mess away. All it did was tell me I was not climbing well for my weight anyway so it had to go. I really don’t care about distance or average speed anymore(I’m an old fuck), I just like to ride and look decent doing it…and not get dropped by guys with white goatees, or dudes on mountain bikes, or 12 year olds.

    Excellent research Brett.

  6. @Gianni
    You and me both, my friend. My bike is now 28 grams lighter and I ride, like, V times harder.

    This is absolutely inspired. I might not have gotten rid of my cateye if I’d known it could be salvaged like this. I think you’ve got a real money-maker on your hands here. V and genius don’t often go hand in hand, but you’ve identified a critical exception.

  7. @Steampunk
    I might have found a use for the helmet mirror Brett sold me. If I put a V-decal (NOT “sticker”) over it, then whenever I looked “behind” I would see the V coming up hard on me and would be motivated to ride harder.

  8. A Merckx! Too much data drives me crazy. Just ride and ride hard.

    I’m actually considering giving up on a few of my local group rides because the dudes discuss data so fucking much both before & after the ride. It really steals the fun when someone tells you what their average HR was during the final five miles. I don’t care, pal.

    I use very simple, basic computers, but I think my resolution this year will be to only use the V-Meter.

  9. @Ron
    Yes! There is nothing like riding without anymore information than a watch. A nice watch. Like Leman’s watch in the previous article.

    And stick to those group rides with the guys who won’t shut up about their wattage and heart rates. After a while, they’ll pick up on the fact that you lay down the V without any more information than how you feel.

    The look of a clean bar and stem is magnificent.

  10. here’s one of my favorite tactics: upon approaching a group riders whom are in blatant violation of the RULES (this happened recently, where i counted 5 violations, which were RuleS #21, #23, #29, #33, and 62), look down at the V-Meter 3 pedal strokes before getting out of the saddle to initiate attack, count 1-2 then on 3 GET OUT OF THE SADDLE, kick hard upon approach of the group, pass the group gracefully (this is key) easing back into the saddle, keep cadence high, check V-Meter for confirmation of RULE V. look back to asses damage, if necessary.

  11. @heath
    Spot on. Might I add that it’s desirable to be sitting up past this group, perhaps unwrapping some suitable snack? A malt loaf, steak sandwich, some form of cured meat – but definitely not an isotonic sports gel!
    Also …looking back?

    I was once overtaken by a guy who must have been about 55, riding like the wind one hand on the bars, smoking a cigarette. And I was less than 2 months from peaking – or so i thought.

  12. @George, @heath
    Yeah, spot fucking on. I do the same thing; although I just wind up the guns without getting out of the saddle. I just usually drop into the phantom aero bars and wind it up, then sit up and look very casually deliberate while either riding no-handed, adjusting my kit, or on the tops with my fingers extended soas to be in my most relaxed position possible, clipping along at something like 55kph like it’s my Sunday afternoon ride.

    I was once overtaken by a guy who must have been about 55, riding like the wind one hand on the bars, smoking a cigarette. And I was less than 2 months from peaking – or so i thought.

    It wasn’t this guy, was it?

  13. @frank
    Good fun, to be sure, but you gotta make sure who’s in the group ahead, at least around my neck of the woods, or you’re likely to find yourself being run down like a hapless bunny rabbit by a pack of hungry wolves…. and no amount of Rule V can save you.

    I find this tactic to be especially fun (and satisfying) around the YJA crowd.

    BTW, Merry Christmas ya mooks!

  14. My Rule #74 epiphany came last summer on a Tuesday evening.

    I arrived a few minutes late to a local meeting spot for a group ride at 6pm. They had already departed right on the hour.

    Fortunately, cycling groups in Seattle are like skateboard gangs for adults. If you hang out in the right parking lot at the right time, you’ll meet some of your friends or just find a new one with whom you can cruise the neighborhood.

    He was in his late 50’s and rode a carbon Bianchi. In full-on Casually Deliberate mode, he chatted about rides in France while I huffed and puffed up a slight grade. While I strained up the 10-12% grade Lighthouse hill, he held the bars with one hand and chatted on the mobile phone with another cyclist.

    We met up with the other friend and jetted down a 5-lane thoroughfare at light speed. All this time I was wearing dark sunglasses, unprepared for the gradually earlier sunset. Fortunately, we were soon blasting through the fully lit downtown streets, in the center lane on a one-way, cars screeching by on either side. I was sure I was going to blow a tire or snap a chain and go flying out into the street.

    After 50km we parted ways and I navigated back home alone in the dark. I suddenly noticed that my GPS battery had died sometime earlier in the evening. But instead of regret, I suddenly felt emancipated. This night couldn’t be summarized with one number or ten, with a string of waypoints or a set of altitudes.

    I still remember the thrill of being able to keep the pace and the fright of not knowing if I would make it out alive. I ride better equipment now and obey a few more of The Rules, but none of that mattered on that night.

    I haven’t fully broken the habit of riding with a meter. I like to know how far I’ve traveled after a ride. But I don’t need to know my speed or altitude along the way. I ripped the cadence sensor off my bike many months ago.

    While I’m on the bike, I see only one number: the temperature in degrees C.

  15. Geoff + others – a mechanic friend of mine has a thermometer that is set right into the top cap of his fork (above where the stem clamps). Pretty cool and I’ll ask him where he got it next time I see him. Not sure if anyone else has seen one.

    Yeah, clean bars and stem do look sweet as. I hate having even a tiny computer on my bars and I like to hold the stem when I’m moving the bike outside to clean it or wherever.

    So, for those of you going data free – do you keep track of your miles in any way? I don’t care about averages or cadence, but time in the saddle and miles might be nice.

    Then again, I ride a lot solo and do some group rides, so I really don’t need to monitor my form, minus applying The V often enough to be two months from peaking.

  16. I confess, I am a heretic. Or apostate. Or something. I like riding with my HRM. If I don’t, I have a terrible tendency to overcook myself on the first hill by staying too long too far in the red. I know I shouldn’t need an HRM to tell me when I’m doing that. But I find it helps. My bad.

  17. @ frank: that is a brilliant strategy! Nothing like pulling that off ‘tranquillo’ style.

    @ ron: I am a ‘no numbers’ guy. I do take into account my ‘kilometers’, not milage, weekly. I reset the odo weekly, even during race season and that is it. Bumped up this year and will do the same again. I have no idea what my lactate threshold is and it doesn’t matter an ounce, because if it was 190, Rule V requires me rouling out at 195 during efforts. If my LT was 200, Rule V calls for a little more.

    So far this works for me, some 20 years later now.

  18. @Ron

    I believe that bikes should be held only by the saddle when they are being “walked”. There should probably be a rule on this.

  19. @Ron
    I keep track of nothing but time. For me, it’s just a joy to be out.

    I was in a great 4-man paceline on the local park crit course on Sunday evening. The guy at the front was doing some specific kind of training, so he didn’t ask for anyone to pull through–just happy to pull everyone else. The rest of us sat on, going at a really nice clip. #2 guy pulled off about three laps around. Then #3 guy on a really cool Colnago fixie with brake levers gapped a bit and flicked an elbow for me to pull through. So I sat on the wheel of #1. He was still happy to pull. I was happy to cruise at a pace I couldn’t keep if I were pulling. We did a couple more laps, then #1 was done.

    I have no idea how far I rode. I rode from my driveway at 4pm, and I pulled in about 5:45pm, just about dark. And I had a blast. Not a care.

    I love riding with a watch and nothing else.

  20. Hi folks,

    This seems as appropriate a post as any to both introduce myself and bring to your attention a wonderful story that clearly demonstrates that Pro cyclists are hardmen. It’s about the V and how Robbie McEwen has it, and his compatriot footballers (well, rugby league) don’t.

    On a recent fishing trip, McEwen joined a bunch of footballers on a fishing trip. On the way back the boat filled with carbon monoxide fumes and all but Robbie and one footballer (Mat Rogers) passed out. McEwen and Rogers ended up diving into the water to save one of their party from drowning. They’re being hailed as heroes.

    That enough V for ya?

    As for myself, I’m a simple Velominovice starting out on my climb of the sacred Mount Velomis. I break rules, willingly and unwillingly, don’t appreciate half of the conversation surrounding favoured frames, parts, etc, that is held here and certainly don’t possess enough of the V to feel like I can speak with any authority about pain and sacrifice.

    On the flipside, I’ve only been riding a road bike (a 2010 Giant TCR Advanced 1) for seven months, during which time I’ve ridden close to 4,000km, cracked my first century and climbed Mont Ventoux. I figure it’s a good start but, as the story above clearly demonstrates, there is much further to go.

  21. @mrlavalava
    Mat Rogers (speaking about Robbie): ” … he does high-altitude training, so his blood is rich in red blood cells and he wasn’t affected by the carbon monoxide.” Has any medical expert opined on whether high haematocrit makes one less susceptible to carbon-monoxide? In any event, bloody shame he’s considering retirement given Pegasus’ travails. When he’s in form he’s one of those bright rays of sunshine that so often finds a way to bollocks up the well-honed leadout trains of the robot teams but without sending everyone to the deck in the process.

  22. @mrlavalava
    Hail to thee and welcome.

    Saw that story about Robbie today. Good on him. I hope he finds a team for this season.

    That whole Pegasus collapse was awful. I read where the Fly V guys will probably return to Fly V and race here in the States. As for the rest, Merckx have mercy.

  23. Seriously though, the only meter I need is a small calendar on my handlebar stem, showing which month I will reach my peak in, and the cheek-meters, which start to ache when its time to turn around and go home.

    I thought stickers werent allowed on the ‘V’ Steeds ?

  24. While I don’t like too much data and you can let your legs tell you, I rode with four guys I’d never met/ridden with before today. Only a cuntador would up the pace on such a ride.

    Watching the speed as you sit second in line, waiting to ride on the front, and then keeping that pace is one thing a computer is good for. I know, I know…I could figure this out with my legs, but it is helpful for this. Just sayin’.

  25. @Ron
    Of course, you only need onboard stats in that situation when (i) the others have onboard stats and (ii) you’re worried about their reaction should your pace slacken or quicken. And at least one of these is within your control…

  26. A watch for the time (gotta get to work and all, sadly) and a check on the distance is pretty nice. But then I’m new so maybe I just to to V-up a little more.

  27. An odd thing just occurred to me, but when I’m on the rivet there’s no fucking way I’m looking at a computer. I’m looking at the other riders, the road, the lung I’m nearly coughing up. Not a computer.

  28. @Gareth
    In a race, at least in the States where we only seem to put on crits, you won’t even know you have a computer on your bike until after the race is over. Then you can write your computer numbers in your journal afterwards. I mean download them. I mean store them in the cloud. I mean… fuck, I don’t know what I mean. I don’t have a computer anymore. Just a V-meter. Free your mind and your legs will follow. Or something like that.

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