Spring is here and it’s time to get back on the horse, your two wheeled, pedal powered horse. Now, your trusty steed has likely gathered a little dust over the cooler months, and with that your riding prowess has probably taken a hit too. So before you get back in the saddle and go at it hammer and tongs, read through these 7 tips for better Spring Cycling. They'll help you you ease back into bike life!
1) TAKE IT EASY
Once you’ve blown out the cobwebs, it’s easy to get carried away and try to go too hard too soon. It’s important that you allow your body to catch up physically, by slowly ramping up your intensity. This process is likely to take 6 – 8 weeks, particularly if you’re the type who likes to get out of the saddle.
2) SET YOURSELF A GOAL
To ensure a successful return to the bike both physically and mentally, it’s important to set yourself a few goals. These may include commuting to work every day, riding a certain number of kilometres each week or working towards a big event. Use your goal as an end point, and work backwards from there in order to achieve that result. Our guide to cycling 100km will be really useful if that’s a goal on your list.
3) ENSURE YOU'VE GOT THE RIGHT SET-UP
While your body is likely to be in catch-up mode, your bike could be in pretty average shape too. As always, it’s really important that your bike is well maintained and that it’s the right fit for you. We recommend taking your bike in to your closest Reid Cycles store for a service, or if you’re confident in your ability give it a 15 minute service yourself. To ensure you avoid back, hip, neck, wrist and/or hand pain, we also recommend getting a professional bike fit.
4) MAINTAIN THE MOTIVATION
Motivation is key to enjoying life, and it’s no different with cycling. Here are a few ways you can help maintain a high level of motivation; get 8 hours sleep every night, visualise achieving your cycling goals, mix up your training to keep things interesting/challenging and make time for yourself... and not time on the couch, real 'me time' where you’re free from TV, work, study, family etc. Think meditation, reading, walking or a casual Sunday morning coffee browsing your favourite magazines.
5) DON’T GO TOO HARD
If you overdo riding/training you’re going to end up on Struggle Street. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs such as mood swings, lack of proper sleep and sore joints/muscles. Your rides may also start to feel like chores rather than the fun, free, challenge you're looking for!
6) STAY HYDRATED
If you haven’t been riding much your fitness is going to be down. As such, you’re going to need to work harder on the bike which can lead you to sweat more. The more you sweat, the more fluid needs replacing. Tip: Make sure your drink bottle is always full before you set off for a ride and keep it with you all day. You’ll find that by just having it with you, you’ll drink significantly more (assuming you fill it up every time you empty it!).
7) EATING ON THE GO
A lot of people tend to forget that our bodies need fuel to burn and don’t take enough food on lengthy rides, if any at all. This can lead to bonking… and not the good kind, more the opposite (more on that here). To avoid running out of puff on longer rides, try and calculate the snacks you’ll need to replace the calories you'll burn and stock up accordingly. These snacks could include bananas, squeeze gels, dried fruit, muesli bars and sweets – all easy to consume on the go.
So there you have it, 7 tips to help you get back to your best this Spring. And remember, if you need a new set of wheels or if you’re looking to get into cycling, Reid Cycles is home to Australia’s best value bikes!
This article was published in collaboration with Ride On Magazine.