There’s nothing quite like the feeling of completing a ride, jumping off the saddle and knowing you’ve really put in the pace.
We know there are only so many hours in the day, so we understand rushing into the next item on your to-do list. But when you have got the time to indulge in a slow wind down, our top ten post ride rituals are great to consider.
You’ve put in all that hard work, you might have even smashed some personal targets, so remember to log those post-ride numbers. Whichever your app of choice, counting your progress on the bike has never been easier. Seeing how you improve ride-by-ride gives you that added motivation for when you next get behind the handlebars.
2. Squeaky Clean
Starting a ride on a glistening set of wheels feels great, especially when you know you’re about to go and take it through the mud! The lifetime of a bike can depend largely on how well you look after it, so keep it in good nick and it will stick around for many a ride to remember!
3. Drink Up
Chances are you’ll have kept well hydrated during your ride, but whilst you might not fancy a drink, it’s good to refuel with a recovery drink. We’re not talking fizzy pop or sugary juices, rather a carb/protein packed powder which you can add all sorts of delicious milks to to make it to your liking.
4. Hydrate Mate!
You might be thinking, hang on, it says to refuel up there! Whilst recovery drinks are essential to the wind down process, you lose a lot of sweat during an intense ride, so it’s important to get a good amount of water down you too. Even better, an electrolyte drink will nourish your body and be retained better than H20 alone.
If there weren’t already enough excuses to have a massage, did you know a post-exercise massage helps improve blood flow and flush out any toxins? It might not make you a better rider, but those post ride days might seem much more relaxing as your muscles recover.
6. Food Glorious Food!
Not only are you most likely to feel the hunger after a big ride, your body really needs some replenishment from all the calories it’s burnt. The first two hours post ride is a crucial time to get those well earned carbs back into your system. Jacket spuds, rice and pasta are all great choices when paired with some lean meat. Or a hearty bowl of cereal is a cheaper, quicker alternative if you’re short on time!
7. Stretch It Out
Flex it out! It might seem like a chore doing some more exercise after you’ve worked so hard to complete your ride. But the benefits of stretching post ride are only going to aid the recovery process. A little light stretching will help to cool down your muscles slowly, rather than shocking them into rest. The idea behind it of course, is to improve flexibility, which will only serve to help getting into those optimum riding positions whilst out and about!
8. Get Your Z’s
Ahhh perhaps our favourite of the wind down rituals; taking a good old nap! We know that our bodies need sleep to recover from the general day to day stresses of life, so it goes without saying that any additional strain on our bodies is an extra excuse for some well earned rest. Experts recommend between a 10-30 minute nap, two hours post exercise. Well if that’s what the experts say…
9. Ice Ice Baby
Whilst plunging into a freezing cold bath after braving the elements on your bike might not seem like the most appealing thing to do, this is another great way of flushing out those waste products! 10 minutes of bathing in a cold bath (10-15 degrees) is advised as a great (albeit chilly) way of winding down.
10. Feet Up!
Last but not least, and probably the tip most pros would recommend more than any other; staying off your feet! Basically, unless you’re using your legs to push the pedals, lean, rest, recline, take a load off, whatever you want to call it! That way when it comes to using them for cycling, they won’t be overexercised or overused. Now, where’s the chair?