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Indoor Alternatives To Keep You In Shape

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When you are cooped up inside during the winter, it is easy to lose muscle mass. You don’t have to, though. You a do a weight-lifting regimen at the gym that focuses on aerobic strength instead of bulk so that you stay bicycle ready for when the warm days show themselves again.

If you can put your ego aside while other guys lift bigger, and do more reps, you will thank yourself in a couple of months when you don’t have the extra bulk that you have to try and pedal up that big hill. You aren’t looking to add weight, and muscle mass. You just don’t want to lose it.

You can tweak it as needed for your personal abilities, but here is a basic routine to keep you in the game.

1. Get warmed up:
Pedal an exercise bike, or walk on a treadmill for 10 minutes to warm up.

2. Start With The Leg Press:
You are going to do leg presses in a pyramid routine. Start with low reps and high weight. You want a high enough weight that you can’t do more than 7-8 reps the first set.
Rest 45 seconds and get ready for your next set.
You need to gradually decrease your weight so that on the second set you can do no more than 10-12 reps, 15 reps on the third set, and 20 on the last.

3. Follow With Squats:
You will need a couple of 45-pound plates and an Olympic barbell. You can use less weight, and work up to 135 pounds, but don’t exceed a total of 135 pounds on any given set. Your goal is 70 to 100 reps, in several sets.

4. Up Next Is The Stiff-Legged Deadlift:
You will again use the Olympic barbell, but this time we will use 25-pound plates for a total of roughly 95lbs. Your legs should be relatively straight throughout the exercise, with only a slight bend in the knee. You should stand with feet shoulder-width apart, and bend at the waist to grab the barbell palm down, lifting to a standing position.
Your goal is four sets of 10 reps.

5. Time For The Regular Deadlift:
This is very similar to the stiff-legged deadlift; only you will bend your knees. Your stance is the same, and your grip is the same, but at the bottom of the lift, your back should be parallel to the ground and knees bent. Lift with your legs as you straighten the back and legs into a standing position. Your goal is four sets of 10 reps.

6. Finish Up With A Cool down:
Pedal an exercise bike, or walk on a treadmill for 10 minutes, then stretch for 5 minutes to cool down.

Cross Training

Just like the other aspects of life, you need some change and variety in your exercise. If it is boring and old, you will not work out as efficiently.

Rather than being rigid with your weight routine or indoor trainer, you can find ways to give your body a full workout, while keeping your mind entertained thgrough other activities.

Try swimming laps one day, throw in a jog another, or try something new, like cross-country skiing or rock wall climbing.

Don’t Lose Your Cycling Legs Because It’s Winter

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No matter where you love, there are days that the weather does not permit your normal ride. If you live somewhere with cold winters, you may have been confined indoors for an extended period. That doesn’t mean you have to lose all the progress you have made. There are times when a forced rest is needed, but if you are physically capable, than why not stay ahead of the game this year? Just a little effort, and you could be leading the pack next season.

Training Indoors

Cycling on pavement, in the great outdoors is the best you can get, not only for staying in tip-top physical condition but also for making it as enjoyable as possible. Not much compares to the wind in your face, and the sun on your back. That isn’t always the case, though, and for those time when winter roads are slick or slushy, and the air hurts your lungs, you can do the next best thing.

There are many indoor cycling machines to help you keep your edge over the cold, forbidding days of winter. They come in many shapes and sizes, so you are sure to find on that fits your need. If you need one that fits in a small space, you can get a small one. If space is not an issue, you can find one with a ton of options and gadgets.

Once you have a machine, all you need is your favorite action flick or some great tunes, and you are set to pass an hour or two getting stronger without even realizing it. Do this 2-3 times a week to keep up your strength building. As the intensity of the music or movie ebbs and flows, use that to simulate the changes that would be happening on your typical road ride. Most trainers will automatically adjust resistance as you increase speed, so you won’t need to worry about that. Just keep pedaling.

With this hard-core 30-minute workout, you can increase your physical power and speed, even during the harshest winter.

1. Pedal at a moderate pace for 10 minutes to warm up.
2. For 10 seconds pedal at high intensity, getting as close to your max ability as possible.
3. Spend one minute resting.
4. For 20 seconds pedal at medium intensity, going at about 60 percent of your max ability.
5. Spend one minute resting.
6. For 30 seconds pedal at low intensity, going at about 30 percent of your max ability.
7. Spend one minute resting.
8. Repeat this five times.

Follow this regime with a 10 minute yoga workout that focuses on stretching your quads, hamstrings, and calves. This will get you the best results.

Jimmy Johns Bike Delivery

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I always thought it would be fun to be a bike messenger until I found out how much they make.

Turns out, they don’t make much money, but they do have to risk live and limb and live in a big (and probably expensive) city like New York.

Otherwise, car courier delivery is much faster.

When we move the Cyclist View’s office downtown, we had access to a host of restaurant options, one of those being Jimmy John’s.

Granted, we are close enough that the delivery folks could just walk over. But it is more likely that they will skateboard or bike. (I’m still not sure how they get my drinks here without spilling them.)

Some of Jimmy John’s delivery folks take the job because it is one of the few out there where you can combine your love of cycling with your need to pay rent. While everyone else is flipping burgers in college, you are sprinting from delivery to delivery.

For the extrovert, it is a great way to see new people and make their day by bringing them food.

While a lot of people like to idolize fixie bikes for this job, you are probably better off getting a bike with speeds. Granted, then you have greater concerns of theft.

I’ve seen a lot of our local guys riding vintage bikes. This makes it easier for them to leave the bike outside without worry about thieving hands (or scratches. You don’t want to scratch your expensive bike!!)

The other thing to keep in mind is that you will want an easy to use bike lock. Both keys and combination locks work, but keep in mind that you will be fiddling with this lock in the cold. So locks with big keys or big numbers seem to work best.t

I like to stay away from the locks that use a regular padlock as those padlocks tend to be more easily picked. I do like cable or chain locks since it gives you the ability to easily secure your bike to any available stationary object

And while cable locks may not be the most secure, you will never be away from your bike for long.

As a bicycle delivery dude, you are going to be often able to outpace cars. And you have the advantage of not having to find parking which is key for downtown deliveries or when delivering inside a college campus.

There are the downsides of surviving traffic. Most cars around here seem to hate cyclists, and with the current scourge of texting and driving, it is a risky job.

I like to wear a blinking light when riding, and hope our delivery guys do the same. No reason to get hit while trying to make someone’s day.

The pay isn’t great, but there are only a couple of jobs where you can get your workout and a paycheck. If nothing else, it is a job worth doing for the cool stories you will get out of it!

Plus, it’ll be an exclusive item on your resume when you go to apply for law school. Just how many Harvard applicants are going to have “bicycle delivery driver” on their resume?

In this competitive work environment, you’ve got to do anything you can to stand apart.

A Ride With The Raleigh Technium

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I love riding old frames.

For one, you are riding a bike that was, at some point, some athlete’s dream bike. There was an era when someone was saving up every penny — or pulling out their credit card — to buy that same bike that you just purchased for $20 at a garage sale.

You also have a lot of cool elements of style that simply aren’t used anymore. Sometimes these are frame lugs that are more ornate. Or you get a hand-welded frame that you know some employee labored over with great care.

It’s a level of care and design that you simply don’t see today.

Finally, you have the benefit of driving a high-dollar frame that you know the value of, but that looks like junk to the general populace. Thieves are more likely to skip over your bike when they have bolt cutters in hand. So I can drive my prized jewel around with fewer concerns about bike theft.

The Raleigh Technium

This was a pretty decent frame. The 6013 t6 aluminum main frame was designed to cut weight, making this one of the lighter weight bikes for its day.

However, you still have to contend with the harsh ride quality of aluminum. So they tacked on rear steel stays and a front fork to help cut down on the road vibration.

This made it a tad heavier than a pure aluminum bike but helped create a better ride.

There are a couple of fun design elements. The lugs aren’t extremely ornate, but add a certain pizzazz that modern bikes don’t have. The cable routing inside the frame gives you nice, clean lines (although you might curse a little when it’s your turn to rerun cables.)

Drawback

My big concern with this bike is the seat tube bolt. This appears to be a very unique-sized bolt, and I’m not sure you would be able to find a replacement if this one is rusted or seized.

You will have to loosen this bolt to adjust the seat, so it’s one of those things to double check, especially if you are spending more than $30 on the bike.

Economy Model?

There isn’t a lot of information on this model, but best I could gather, it is a more entry-level model. Possibly from the late 1980’s and produced as a licensing deal between Raleigh and Huffy.

However, if your bike is in good condition, it could have a lot of value on the resale market. The frame has long rear dropouts which is essential for a college kid who wants to convert it into a fixie.

Which means that in addition to the vintage resale market, the frame has additional value to fixie fanatics.

Overall, this could be a great bike for commuting around town. Who knows? You could probably pay for it with a paper route.

(With any luck, your bike will still remember the route from when it used to run it 30 years ago. )

The Best Recovery Foods After A Hard Ride

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When our body is physically exhausted, it an be hard to make our brain make good decisions. After a long ride, all you want to do is sit and eat. With being so tired, making a good nutritional decision can seem as complicated as making a souffle. It doesn’t have to be that hard. I will give you some easy-to-do tips so that after you make a good exercise decision, you can make a good nutritional decision.

You Don’t Need The Same Recovery Food After Every Ride

If you just finished an hour-long recovery spin, you really don’t need an entire meal. If it is meal time, then yeah, eat a meal, or if you are starving, have a snack, but you don’t need a mid-afternoon post-ride meal. We need to be realistic about the amount of food we need. If you have a power meter, you can calculate how many calories you should consume for recovery purposes.

You Shouldn’t Get Home With an Empty Stomach

Make sure that you are getting food and water while you ride.You should not get home feeling starving if you are eating enough during your ride. You shouldn’t expect to be able to consume as much as you burn, but you should eat enough to avoid a bonk after your ride.

The same thing can be said for staying hydrated. It is not an easy, or quick thing to recover from dehydration, and we often mistake thirst for hunger, and chugging water after your ride is not the same as drinking it throughout.

It is very important to regularly eat and drink throughout your ride so that you don’t do damage to your muscles.

Protein Should Be First

Unless you have another workout later in the day, your recovery window may be bigger than you would expect. If you have another workout planned, you should start your recovery process as soon as you can so that you are prepared for your next ride.

You should be shooting for about 20 grams of protein for your post-workout recovery. Whi;e protein powder is an option, it would be much better if you thought along the lines of whole foods. Meats, lentils, and eggs are all good options if you have time for a meal.

Carbs Are Up Next

A hard ride depletes your carbohydrate store, so you will need to restock your depleted glycogen counts. By eating foods like rice, fruit, veggies, and whole grains, you are adding healthy carbs to your diet, and speeding up your recovery process. Don’t use the word “carbs” and an excuse to eat cake or pie, though! You can sure treat yourself to a sweet pastry later, but don’t let it sneak into your recovery meal!

Drink, Drink, Drink!

You should be sure to get plenty of water during your ride. Dehydration is not something to be taken lightly! Even if you have had lots of water, you should spend a couple of post-ride hours sipping water to make sure your body is hydrated.

Don’t Drink Beer!

It can be super tempting to pull a cold beer out of the fridge right after a long, hot ride. Don’t do it, though! It would not ruin your hydration, but it is better to give your body time to recover before consuming alcohol. If you decide to have a can of booze, it would not be damaging, but be sure to chase it with some water to keep your hydration up.

Post-Ride Recovery Tips To Help You Get Back In The Saddle

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These tips will help you bounce back from a hard ride as a stronger and faster cyclist

Cool Down

When you’ve worked your legs with a hard ride, you should take a few minutes to spin easy. Monitor your breathing, enjoy the scenery, and try to relax a bit. This will slow your heart rate, help you catch your breath, and give you a chance to drink some water and eat a high-protein snack.

The blood vessels in your legs expand while you’re hammering away. If you were to stop abruptly, the blood would just pool up in your legs. Not only does this make you lightheaded but it also squelches your ability to get fresh nutrients through your blood flow by moving oxygen-rich blood in and metabolic waste out—two key elements to muscle repair and recovery.

Message Your Muscles

Massaging your shins and thighs helps to push the blood carrying the waste products of muscle breakdown out, and encourages fresh blood to flow in which helps rebuild your muscle tissue. Research shows that a massage right after an exercise can improve your circulation up to 3 days later. It also helps to break up muscle adhesion’s (knots) that can form from overuse.

Unless you are married to one, you probably don’t travel with a massage therapist. They are helpful, but not required for working the knots out. You can use a massage stick or mini foam roller—or even a couple of tennis balls and socks to get your muscles feeling relaxed. Whatever works best for you, bring it and use it.

Put Compression Socks On

Even thought the research is still fairly new, studies show that wearing compression gear after an extensive workout can help reduce fatigue, muscle soreness, and swelling. So when you crawl off the bike, slip on some compression socks. It can’t hurt, right?

Your calf muscle (soleus) is often referred to as your second heart because it sends blood back to your chest. Compression socks improve circulation, which speeds up that process, meaning your blood oxygen levels improve and your recovery is sped up.

Drink Lots Of Water

Water is very important for your blood quality, therefore dehydration can slow the recovery process because your blood essentially turns to unhealthy sludge. Therefore, drink tons of water during hard rides and follow your workout with a bottle of your favorite recovery drink (not beer… you can have some later), be it a smoothly or something fancier. Your body will thank you.

No Antioxidants

We were always told that taking tons of antioxidants like Vitamins E and C could help with a speedy recovery, and warding off damage that occurred during hard exercise. We now know the opposite is true.

During the acute recovery period that immediately follows a hard ride, research shows that antioxidant supplements can counteract the beneficial effects of exercise.

By squelching free radicals before your body can react and adapt to them, you keep your muscles from recovering appropriately. When comparing supplement users to non-users, it appears that supplement users experience more muscle damage than those who went without the supplements.

It has also been found in some studies that taking vitamin supplements right after a hard ride can counteract the insulin-sensitizing effects of exercise. In normal speak, that means that your muscles won’t be able to get the nutrients and glycogen that they need to repair themselves.

Eat More Protein

While skipping the antioxidants, you should be doping up on branched-chain amino acids found in protein. Studies show that these help with muscle building and repair, as well as decreasing muscle damage that occurred through hard exercise.

Getting supplements is good, but nothing compares to eating high-protein foods to get what your body needs. Foods like nuts, beef, eggs, chicken, fish, and legumes will all suffice. Get a high-protein snack, shake, or meal into your system after you crush a ride to jump-start your muscle repair. A nut butter sandwich or some scrambled eggs and cheese are a couple of ideal post-ride recovery foods.

Eat A Ton Of Carbs

Your body is most ready to replenish the depleted nutrients within a 30-minute time span of your workout. You should be sure to get a carb-rich snack consumed within that time-frame because a hard ride uses up your bodies carbohydrate store.

Get A Full Nights Sleep

Sleep speeds up healing because muscle-building hormones surge during slumber, while those hormones that break down muscle subside. If you can’t get as much sleep as you need, you should try and sneak 7-8 hours a night is ideal for your body to recover. Not only does sleep help your muscles repair, but studies show that sleep reduces stress hormone levels! We could all use less stress in our lives, right?

Beat The Bonk! The Good And Bad Of Bonking.

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Active woman tired from riding a bicycle in city park. Active lifestyle concept

I may be cycling’s worst “bonker.”

There are a few reasons for this. For one, I like to think that I can just get on the bike and ride.

And then, I love that I can choose my own route. It’s not uncommon for me to get downright lost on some of these rides. These new smartphones are making it less likely that I get seriously lost, but it is still not uncommon for me to end up on a much hillier or longer route than I had originally intended.

What Is Bonk?

It’s when you run out of glycogen and begin to question your purpose in life.

Since I frequent this stage, I’ve become quite accustomed to the symptoms.

It starts off with this feeling that you are slowing down. You start feeling worn out. This is an excellent moment to eat a power bar and try to stave off the bonk.

The next phase is when my form starts failing. I’ll slump over the handlebars, and every push of the pedal is a serious effort. Hills are terrifying as I’m not sure I can get up the next one.

The third phase gets me because it affects my emotions. I start hating cycling, my life, and the entire world. It is a very sad state.

I’m also pedaling at the snails pace.

From there we head into the chills. The chills scare me. I haven’t figured out how to overcome the chills and keep pedaling. At this phase, I might take a break and stand next to the bike for a few minutes. I’m also going to be heading directly to the nearest source of food.

How Risky (or Beneficial) Is Bonk Training?

Several years ago, fasted workouts became the rage.

The idea was you’d workout the first thing on an empty stomach to boost your metabolism.

Now, you don’t want to go into full-on bonk mode since that causes the body to eat your muscle’s protein once you run out of glycogen.

The last thing you need is to lose muscles.

While the military still uses fasted workouts, there is quite the argument about the efficiency of this methodology on fat loss efforts.

There are two keys; The first one is that you need to protect your muscles. A Lot of folks takes BCAA’s to protect their muscles from catabolism.

The other aspect is that extreme hunger following a workout can encourage you to eat more than necessary. If you are using this methodology, you absolutely must count your calories to avoid overeating.

I can tell you from experience that reducing calories during cardio is mentally challenging.

However, it does make sense that if your body has low glycogen levels, your body will be more inclined to convert fat for energy.

If you are going to use bonk training, you absolutely must go slow and be careful to not actually reach a “bonked” state since that is severely counter-productive. Thirty to forty minutes is about the limit I’d push it.

Finally, be sure to balance this out with muscle-building exercises. I’m not big on using a “bulk” phase, but instead, I use Intermittent Fasting where my body goes 16 hours a day without eating.

This lets me use both a “trimming” and a “bulking” phase throughout my day and gain muscle as leanly as possible (not that we cyclists will ever be extremely “bulky”).

The bottom line is: bonking is bad.

If you are serious about training, keep your nutrition on point to avoid muscle-destroying setbacks.

Glowing Bike Paint Lights Up Night Time Cyclists

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Mashable had an intriguing article on Volvo’s glowing bike spray called “Lifepaint”.

Invisible to the naked eye, thousands of small, light-reflective particles that responds to any light sources, making any surface brilliantly reflective.

Cyclists and runners have been using a reflective material for a long time. But, manufacturing costs tend to reduce how much reflective material used

Athletes have long been the force to settle for tiny reflectors or rejoice when a clothing company adds some reflective piping to their sportswear (and charges extra for it)

Volvo has a long-standing reputation built around driver safety. They consistently claim 5-star safety ratings on their vehicles https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/volvo/s60/safety

Recently, they brought that focus on safety to cyclists. By teaming up with Grey London, the advertising company and Albedoo100, Lifepaint was born.

The winning idea behind Lifepaint is that it is invisible during the day.

You can spray it on your bike, — or on your favorite riding gear — and it will look normal in daylight.

But, at night, it comes to life with the slightest light source.

Combined with blinking LEDs, it turns any rider into a tour de force of “What the heck is THAT!?”

The spray is temporary and can be washed off, so people worried about their clothing or bike can easily remove the effects.

A More Permanent Solution

For the American Commuter, you might want a more long-term solution. Thankfully an array of reflective paints is available online.

The downside to these paints is that they leave a sheen on top of whatever you spray them on. This dulls the color and makes it obvious that something has been painted on the surfaces.

For the commuter who is serious about their safety, that is an acceptable trade-off.

But it it’s not something you’d likely want to do on your expensive road bike.

Insane Lighting

I’ve become very aggressive with my lighting. Even during the day, I like to have three lights mounted on my bike.

First is the one screwed to my seat post. This guarantees that I always have at least one light with my bike.. even if I forget the other two.

Then, I attach one to my jersey collar and one to the pocket of my jersey (or the back of my backpack, if I’m commuting)

This arrangement gives me a “low, medium, high” variety of coverage and helps increase my chances of being noticed.

Thanks to the wattage-sipping capacity of these lights, the batteries seem to last forever.

The entire setup costs me about $60, with the middle light (the one that goes into my jersey pocket or backpack) costing me the most at $32).

Cameras For Accountability.

You’ve probably seen all of those motorcyclists with helmet mounted cameras.

While this is a pricier option, it is certainly worth considering.

Not only does it let you capture beautiful shots from your ride, but a clearly displayed camera can help increase driver’s awareness and caution around you.

The bottom line is that cycling in America has become much less safe through the years. And it is the cyclist’s responsibility to do everything in their power to get home safely every night.

10 Training Tips For New Cyclists

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Cycle training requires plenty of dedication, but there are other factors which can impact on your performance. Here are ten tips on how to make the most out of your cycle training on your road bike.

If you’re thinking of either dusting your bike off and starting to cycle or perhaps progressing
your cycling fitness, then look no further. We will help you get started and progress safely so that you can get the most out of your cycling training.

Set up your bike correctly

Trying to ride a bicycle that is not set up correctly is like walking two steps forward and one step back. Everyone is different concerning leg, arm and torso length, so visiting a specialist bike shop — where you can have your saddle, stem and handlebar positions adjusted so that the bike is effectively tailored to your body — is an extremely worthwhile exercise.

Lighten the load on your cycle

For a commute, shopping trip or any form of cycle tour, you will need the capability to carry ample loads. The easy way to carry any load on a bike is … on the bike, rather than on you!

A small rucksack is fine if you’re carrying something extremely light, but otherwise, it would be wise to invest in some panniers, a handlebar bag or seat-pack.

There are some excellent bike-specific carrying systems on the market which will make your journey much easier. A bag of potatoes carried on the bike is much easier than on your back!

Correct cycling kit makes a difference

A small investment in a few items of specialist bike kit will be extremely useful for you to get the most out of your training. The minimum items are:

Wear A Bike helmet

An absolute must. Modern cycling helmets are lightweight and well ventilated and can save your life in an accident. The likelihood is that a cyclist will sustain an injury in any spill — so protecting your head should be your top priority.

Get Good Cycling shorts

Seamless and chafe-free, proper cycling shorts won’t necessarily add to the enjoyment of your ride but will prevent soreness from repeated rubbing and should be a priority item in your cycling wardrobe.

Have Basic Bike Tools On Hand

A set of Allen keys, a puncture repair kit, tire levers, a spare inner tube and a pump or inflator will keep you on the road. All you need to know is how to change a tire and mend a puncture, and you’re set up.

Wear Cycling sunglasses

Sunglasses are very useful for cyclists; they will keep dirt, dust and flies out of your eyes, and if you choose a pair with interchangeable lenses then they can sharpen your vision in low light conditions, as well as cutting out glare and reflections.

Get Bike toe-clips or spuds

SPDs — or ‘spuds,’ as they are affectionately known — is the brand name for cycling shoes
which ‘lock in’ to your pedal. They make a big difference to your pedaling efficiency because they enable you to pull up as well as push down.

If you’ve not tried spuds before, toe-clips are easier to get used to. After a while, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them!

Avoid the ‘bonk’!

Running low on energy, or ‘bonking’ as cyclists call it, will ruin your ride. Cycling will increase your energy requirements, so aim to eat small, frequent meals and snacks on the go to maintain energy levels. On the bike, carbohydrate drinks will keep you well fueled — or you should consider taking a couple of energy bars which are easy to eat in the saddle.

Hydrate Properly When Cycling

Whatever the weather conditions, your fluid requirements will increase significantly when cycling. Losses from exhaled breath and sweating will serve to reduce your blood volume, resulting in your heart having to work much harder. By the time you feel thirsty you will already be dehydrated, so try to drink small, frequent quantities of water or a sports energy drink throughout the ride. You can check the color of your urine to monitor your monitor your hydration in between stages of your training: a pale straw color indicates that you are well hydrated, whereas anything darker means that you need to drink more.

Go for long rides

The foundation of all your cycling training should be your long ride. Ideally, do a long ride weekly or fortnightly. The long ride will build your endurance and also make you more efficient at utilizing fuel. ‘Long’ means anything longer than your typical daily ride — so anything from one hour upwards is recommended, depending on your fitness and goals. A long ride is also a great opportunity to explore new areas and visit new destinations.

Try Biking Intervals

To balance out your long ride, try experimenting with some faster-paced riding. Sessions can be infinitely varied, but basically, you are looking to ride faster for a short period, for example, 10 minutes, followed by a recovery period and then a couple of repeats of the faster effort. Always include a good warm-up and cool-down before and after your session.