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.