Cycling today is more popular than ever before, and it’s easy to see why. It offers a convenient way to get around, whilst also providing a really easy way to stay fit and enjoy yourself. But if you go about it the wrong way, you could easily end up wasting a large amount of energy needlessly. We’re going to take a look at some of the very best tips to get the most out of your cycling experience. We’re going to look at, among other things,
- How to lighten the load
- How to switch things up
- The best kit for the job
- Ditch Any Unnecessary Weight You May Be Carrying
For short trips, it’s generally tempting to make use of a rucksack or backpack. If you’re only carrying a small weight, this may well be the most sensible way of doing things. However, if you’re looking at a longer distance or heavier load, you’re probably better off investing in something you can attach to the bike. By attaching your luggage directly to the frame with panniers or a rack, you can significantly lighten the load on your back to make travelling much easier.
- Invest in Some Suitable Kit
It’s worthwhile putting a bit of extra cash into your bike kit. While there’s no need to break the bank for unnecessary items, a few bits and pieces can make all the difference. A decent helmet is obviously a must. And even if you invested in a good helmet a long time ago, there’s always a chance that minor defects may have rendered it less effective. On top of this, a good pair of shorts can reduce chafing and make pedalling much easier. And the right bike tools will make all the difference if you find yourself with a puncture or damaged bike.
- Variety Is the Spice of Life
While you may find that the same commute, day in and day out, is comfortable, you really need to switch things up occasionally to get the most out of your bike fitness. Consider day trips that may take you over different terrain, with a wider variety of gradients. Cycling on a wide variety of routes lets you get used to different fitness requirements for an all-round improved level.
- Ensure That Everything Is Properly Set Up
We can’t overemphasise this enough. So much energy can be lost to inefficient setups, that can be easily avoided by just spending a few minutes ensuring that everything is as it should be. Most importantly, your legs should be able to extend fully when you pedal. Otherwise, you’ll find aches quickly start to build up in your legs. A correct saddle height is a key to correcting this. Beyond that, making sure that your handlebars are at the right height can make a huge difference.
- Proper Hydration Will Keep You Going Longer
Dehydration can be a spanner in the works of any fitness workout. What’s more, it can easily creep up on you without you realising it. Before you know it, you’re short of energy and have to call it a day. There are tons of easy ways to remedy this. Everything from the clip on water bottles that can be fixed to bikes, to platypus packs that store water on your back. Whatever your choice, make sure you and your bottle stay topped up at all times.
- Longer Rides Can Help Build Stamina
Standard commutes or quick trips from place to place are the general modus operandi of most cyclists. However, it’s worthwhile occasionally investing time in a long day trip. Cycling for extended periods of time can help you build up stamina, and improve your overall fitness. Plus, it’s a great way to see places that you wouldn’t normally see, and it won’t cost you a penny.
- Consider a Warm Up for Flexibility
Low chest flexibility can become a problem for many professional Tour de France or Vuelta cyclists. The key to overcoming this is to invest a little time before a long trip with some suitable exercises. It only takes a few minutes, and you’ll soon start to notice the difference.
- Keep Your Energy Levels Up
It’s easy to forget about your energy levels. Low blood sugar can creep up on you, but when it strikes, it’s hard to undo the effects. The solution is regular meals and snacks throughout your cycling. It doesn’t have to be much, just enough to stop you crashing. But it’s more than worth your while ensuring you keep some snacks on you, as you never know when you might need them.
- Try and Find Suitable Bike Paths
Traffic can be more than menacing for cyclists. Plus, with endless lights and crossing to deal with, you may find yourself standing still more than you want to. Good bike paths can do more than simply put you into a separate lane from motor traffic. The best ones will take you through areas you never knew existed. Check maps and your local council website to get some idea of the paths on offer. Even if it’s just a lane adjacent to regular traffic, the peace of mind is definitely worthwhile.
And that’s our complete guide of how to get the most out of your cycling experience. A lot of it may seem like common sense, but it can be easy to forget some of these things. Plan ahead and you’ll be able to enjoy cycling more than ever before.