Whether you’re cycling for fun or fitness, there are no definite rules as to how you apply yourself physically. But if you’re trying to increase resistance or training for a big ride, it’s worth considering our few top tips before getting on the saddle.
There’s nothing worse than setting off sprinting and noticing you’re not quite comfortable, so make sure your saddle is positioned at a height that’s aligned to your body. If you can keep your hips stable instead of rocking them back and forth to reach the bottom of the pedal stroke, you’re set to the right height. When your foot is at the lowest point while pedalling, you want your knee to be slightly bent, not locked out completely straight or curved. It’s always a good idea to try a short, slow, test ride to make sure you’re happy with your measurements.
Finding the right clothes for your cycle is just as important as finding the right bike; it can mean the difference between an enjoyable ride vs. one you can’t wait to finish. It all starts with the base layers; you can spend a lot, but most base layers are made with clima-cool cotton to keep you cool and dry. A good pair of cycling shorts is also essential for a smooth ride; made from stretchy fabric to stop them from riding up and high-tech fibres to wick away moisture.
Go For A Spin
As with any sport, you will up your cycling discipline as your stamina increases, so it’s a good idea to put in some hours training off the bike. This can be whatever takes your fancy, and all your hard work will contribute to the main event when you hop on the saddle. Spin class is a great way to get in shape before you get outdoors, and will hold you in good stead for those tougher rides.
Bonking, in the cycling sense is when you emotionally and physically ‘hit a wall’, making it near enough impossible to go on. Whilst it might sound funny, bonking is well known to the cycling and sporting world as hypoglycemia, where your body has essentially ‘burnt out’ from lack of sustenance. It’s so important to make sure you’re well fueled for a ride, especially if you’re planning to head out for more than 90 minutes, so eat plenty of carbohydrates ahead of time and stay hydrated. Alternatively, you can head out with a few gels in your saddle bag for on-the-go nutrition.
Steep It Up
Are you pushing past the beginner’s stage and seeking more of a challenge? Then head for the hills! We don’t necessarily mean the middle of the mountains, but if you’re looking to step up your ride then adding a steeper climb along your route will not only add variety but also help increase fitness. Try a gentle incline as part of your routine, or if you’re cycling for fun and less frequently then why not go for something a little tougher to keep you fulfilled.
Put Your Feet Up
It’s just as important to cool-down after a cycle as it is to put in the stretches and warm ups beforehand. A steady cool-down will help return your body to its pre-exercise state, whilst removing metabolic waste products from your muscles. Stretching it out will also reduce the risk of post-exercise dizziness or nausea, so wind down slowly and take a well-earned rest (you don’t need to tell us twice!).
All that’s left to do now is pursue the perfect ride, whether that be road or mountain, countryside or coastal path, make it fun and keep fit!