What You Need to Know About Cycling

I recently discovered a blog called “The Cycling Blog”, which I have to admit I love; I’m a long-time cycler, and this site shares plenty of great tips for cyclists both experienced and novice. I’ll be discussing them in the future, but there’s one post I read that I really liked, sharing 10 things that every cyclist should know. You’d be surprised how many of these plenty of cyclists don’t know, so I thought I’d share a few:

Sitting: Cycling shorts (at least the good ones) are designed with a padded chamois meant to be worn next to the skin. So that means no underwear! To cut down on natural friction, try chamois cream. In regards to bike seat, the general rule of thumb is narrow for road bike use, and it should be placed level as opposed to up or down.

Getting a puncture: Whenever you’re on a training spin, bring a pump, tire levers and 2 spare tubes. If you get a puncture, take off the wheel, use your levers to remove one side of the tire, then pull out the tube. Then slightly inflate the new tube and fit it onto the tire. Re-seat the outer bead, use your hand pump to fill the tire up with air, and finally refit the wheel.

Riding in the wind: If you’re riding in a group and it gets windy, stay close to the front rider. If the wind is coming from the left, then place your front wheel slightly to their right and vice versa. Use your gears to try and keep a good pace; it’s very similar to climbing.

Eating: If you’re out for less than two hours, then you won’t need to eat anything. If you’re going for longer, then think of bringing a gel, an energy, ride shots, fruit or whatever else. In regards to water, it’s a good idea to start sipping within the first five minutes of your ride.

Gears: Bikes these days can have over 30 gears. Regardless of how many gears you have, you should use them for a nice steady economical cadence.

Cleaning your bike: Taking 20 minutes once every week to clean your bike will make sure it runs much smoother. Chains and cassettes won’t wear out as quickly, and you’ll be able to spot any potential problems before they become bigger.

Time: Cycling takes time to master. And when everyday commitments get in the way, then finding that time can be tough. Think of the various distractions you have during the day, and each of these represents time that you can spend practicing.

Bend your elbows: If your arms are locked while riding your bike, then all the vibration from the bars travels up to your neck and shoulders, causing neck and shoulder pain. You’ll also be a lot less flexible. While bending elbows requires a bit of practice, you’ll be glad you did.

Climbing: Climbing is going to involve a certain amount of pain, no matter how many gears your bike has, so it’s something that all cyclists dread. Cyclist Robert Millar once said that the best climbers are those who can “suffer the most”. On short, sharp climbs, try powering over them. For longer climbs, however, you need to pace yourself.

Look up: When descending, you’re much more stable when you look on up ahead than 5 feet in front of you. Look where you want to go. It’s similar to the idea that when you’re sea sick or car sick, look up at the horizon.

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