If you’re a beginner and you’ve decided now is the time to get back in shape, then these cycling performance tips can help you to make the most out of any ride. When you’re first starting out, cycling itself can be a total challenge, but there are many tips and tricks you can use that can help you to avoid plenty of the common mistakes newbie cyclists tend to make.
Improving Your Cycling Experience
In order to improve your performance, there are key areas you need to focus on including your fitness level, basic bike maintenance, cycling technique, must-have equipment, and of course, safety.
Maintaining your ride is important. And depending on where you live in the country, certain environmental factors can really affect your bike’s performance. Always make sure the wheels, gears, and drive chain are kept clean.
Before and after you ride, check your tires. Tires that are low will be more prone to punctures. Try using a standard track pump with a pressure gauge instead of a hand pump to air up your tires.
Keep a close eye on your brake pads and regularly check them for wear and tear. You should never ride if the pads are worn down to the metal. This can end up quickly destroying the brake rotors.
Having your bike serviced regularly is also important. But the frequency in which It’s serviced will ultimately depend on how often you ride. If you normally ride only on the weekends, have it checked out every four or five months. Daily riders should have their bikes checked out every two or three months.
Are you certain your bike’s wheels spin true? If you’re not sure then it’s time to check it out. Start by turning the bike over, pedaling the wheels. If the wheels spin true they spin straight and smooth. If they’re not true it can have a major impact on your performance and it can affect the bike’s braking ability.[box]
Upgrading that Saddle
Comfort will be a big deal if you spend a lot of time on your bike. But don’t get stuck riding around on the stock saddle. It’s very important that you invest in a saddle that’s comfortable to use. Purchase a new seat that provides the right amount of comfort to certain pressure sore prone areas. If cost is an issue, you can purchase a padded saddle cover that will fit over the stock saddle.[/box]
In terms of fitness, there are a few ways to go about kicking up your cycling routine. Obviously, riding more will help in terms of weight loss and an increase in endurance. Just keep in mind that overdoing it can really set you back, especially in the beginning. If you’re totally new to cycling, try to avoid riding for more than an hour a day, at least for the first month. Slowly increase your cycling time in order to avoid strains and other injuries that are linked to overuse.
If you’re riding more as a way to lose weight but you haven’t had much success, try increasing the intensity of your cycling. In terms of endurance, shoot for maintaining your heart rate at eighty percent.
Interval training can help you drop weight pretty quickly and should be performed at ninety percent of your max heart rate. This can be accomplished by uphill interval riding.
In order to see results, your body also needs time to recover. If you don’t have the luxury of taking a day off from cycling, then try a low-intensity ride, which means a lower max heart rate and mainly flat terrain.
Improving Your Cycling Technique
By working on your technique and ways to improve it, you’ll be able to ride more efficiently. These technical areas can include breaking, gear changes, and pedaling.
Braking efficiently is an essential skill that’s important for every type of cyclist. The rider must learn how to pay attention to their brakes and tires and learn how long it takes for their bikes to come to a complete stop.
The front brake is the most efficient brake to use and it provides the bike with about seventy percent of its stopping power. The rear brake works to reduce the bike’s speed. Beginners often worry that if they stop their bike using the front brake only that they’ll end up flying off the bike. But this won’t happen if you use the correct technique. The rear brake should be mainly used to regulate speed.
For many newbies, changing up gears can be a nightmare. But if you don’t take the time to learn your bike’s gear system, you can end up riding in gears that are too difficult for your fitness level, which can be very discouraging.
When you begin to climb a hill, throw the bike into a low gear. As you ride closer to the incline, switch the gears so you can ride up the hill using minimal effort.
Middle gears are designed for flat terrain.
Throw your bike into high gear for descents. A higher gear allows the cyclist to travel a longer way with each pedal, which is why it’s perfect for riding at a steady pace on a decline or for accelerating.
Want to add a new dimension to your cycling? Learn how to master cornering. Often, newbies tend to lose a lot of momentum when riding around corners. But you can avoid this issue by placing your body in the right position. The body should be lowered over the front of the bike in order to lower the center of gravity. This stance provides the cyclist with more control over their bike when they’re navigating a tight corner.
Ankling is the term used to describe efficient pedaling and it’s a technique that will allow the cyclist to ride with less difficulty and more power. By channeling the force downward, the rider will be able to create more power efficiently.
Whether you ride for commuting purposes or recreation, it’s important to protect yourself against common hazards on the road. Make sure your bike is equipped with a bright front headlight, so you can remain highly visible at night or in foggy weather. Always wear a bike helmet and make sure it’s adjusted properly. Other gear such as elbow pads and knee pads may be overkill for some cyclists, but if you’re new to cycling they can work to protect you against serious injury in the event of a crash.