Cycling is one of those hobbies that can quickly take over your life, but for all the right reasons. A great way to get fit whilst exploring your local area, a weekend spent cycling is time well spent. To make sure you get the most out of your next cycle, take a look at our handy hints and tips below!
Look after you bike, and it will look after you!
Maintenance is one of those things that you will either love or hate. If you love it, jump ahead, if you loathe it then just mull over the following few sentences! Your bike will take you wherever your fitness allows, provided you look after it. You don’t need an army of tools and a dedicated workshop, but you do need to stay on point with the basics. Keeping your tires running at the correct pressure will reduce your rolling resistance, and make the dreaded puncture and pinch flat much less likely. Oil your chain and gears, particularly after a wet weather ride. Don’t wait till they squeak. Invest in a set of Allen keys so you can quickly and easily tighten any lose bolts. Simple right?
Book your bike in for a service!
There’s plenty of maintenance to be done, and if you love it then by all means give it a try yourself. If you want the peace of mind that everything has been fine-tuned to perfection, then drop your bike into your local shop every 6 months or so. Perfect for sorting out those skipping gears and spongey brakes.
Eat well, cycle well!
Eating a meal rich in slow release carbs is a great way to give your body the fuel it needs to take you to where you want to go. Try and avoid rich or heavy foods like dairy, and concentrate on those real energy boosters like porridge with coconut milk, or brown toast with a little jam for an extra little sugary boost.
Pack a lunch!
For those times when you want to ride all day, remember to pack some food to eat on your journey. You’re not in the Tour De France, so you won’t get penalized if you stop for 10 minutes and have a bite to eat. When your body is already exercising, you want foods that are easy to digest so your body can start processing them straight away. Don’t stop off for a full steak dinner, pack a small chicken wrap and salad, a banana, or perhaps an apple.
Keep an emergency store of energy!
Bonking or hitting the wall is the worst feeling for any cardio loving endurance enthusiast. When your body completely runs out of energy, your muscles will feel like they are being asked to cycle through 6 feet of water, it’s not a nice place to be. When you are miles from home, you need an instant energy boost to get you going. Pack a small bag of sweets or a couple of squares of chocolate so you can get your blood sugar back up to where it needs to be. Make sure to avoid pounding liters of sugary soft drinks though, that’ll cause your energy levels to crash even harder just a few miles down the road.
Stretch, rest, recover!
It’s as easy as 1-2-3, but you’d be amazed at the number of recreational riders who never give a thought to the impact their activities off the bike have on their performance in the saddle. When you finish your ride, stretch for 15 minutes so that you can keep the same fluid effortless pedal stroke going strong. Get a protein-rich meal inside you within 45 minutes of stopping, and most importantly put your feet up. Get enough sleep, don’t burn the midnight oil. When you are sleeping your body is getting stronger in response to the training earlier in the day, so try and avoid cutting corners when it comes to getting your 40 winks.