We’d love everyone to enjoy cycling as much as impossible, so, if you want some top tips on how to improve your cycling experience.
Cycling should be something everyone enjoys and we want everyone to have fun whilst riding their Reid! Improving your cycling experience doesn’t need to be something you dread, by simply setting new, realistic goals and keeping yourself motivated, you’ll not only become a better cyclist but also enjoy cycling a whole lot more!
Cycling is a complex sport. I used to be a runner and that was simple. Shoes, clothes, watch, go. With cycling there are infinitely more variables.
As a beginner cyclist this can feel intimidating. Making the right decisions early on can save you time, money and embarrassment. There is no right or wrong answer to a lot of the questions you have, but taking in information quickly and forming your own opinions will put you ahead of the pack.
The best way to pick up knowledge quickly is to ride with others. Whilst some of what you hear is built on deeply rooted ‘traditions’ such as The Rules, these guys have earned their stripes out on the road, so by asking the right questions you will unearth those amazing tips that will help you through your first few years. My aim here is to save you some of that time.
How To Enhance Your Cycling Experience
Up Your Average Speed By 1mph
You can easily go a mile an hour faster on your next ride without even being any fitter, it is all down to technique. Being an efficient rider and knowing how to carry speed will make you faster and conserve your energy, so it is an important skill to practise on every ride.
Cornering is an obvious situation when you can lose a lot of speed. Remember it is not how fast you enter the corner that counts but how much speed you carry through it. If you go in too hot and have to slam the brakes on that will slow you down significantly.
Descending, and particularly descending before a hill is another area to look at. If there is an uphill after a descent and you can see it is safe, don’t brake or you will lose your momentum. Pedalling into a descent and holding your speed will allow you to roll up the other side with barely any effort at all.
Finally, think about your positioning. Wind drag is the thing that slows cyclists down the most, so to go a bit faster think about minimising your frontal area. Hold the drops instead of the tops of the bars and get low down.
Ride In Total Comfort
Cycling shouldn’t be uncomfortable although we know that bike riders often suffer aches and pains. However, there is a lot you can do to avoid it. Having a professional bike fit is a good starting point as mechanically your bike needs to fit you.
Conditioning your body to hold your cycling posture has to take place off the bike. Core exercises and techniques such as Pilates strengthen the muscles that support your body, allowing you to keep your upper body still and providing a stable platform to pedal against as well as stopping you from slumping in the saddle.
Having a good routine of stretching and strengthening exercises to do after and between your rides will help prevent many of the niggles and aches that come from bending over the bars for significant periods of time. You can even do them when you stop on your rides to help you feel fresh when you get back in the saddle.
Ask Yourself What You Set To Achieve And Create Goals
Whether you want to aim to ride a 50 mile bike ride next summer, or you want to simply stay active, or you even just want to switch up your daily commute to work, it is good to know what you want out of cycling and set goals to achieve this.
For example, if you want to aim to start cycling to work every week, you could start off by commuting two days a week to get familiar with the timings and the route. Every week you could increase the days cycling to work until it becomes completely part of your routine. Having a new progression every week is more motivating and you’ll soon complete your goal in no time!
Goals are also great to have especially if you’re working towards cycling a race. We have a blog on how to train for a long bike ride so if you’d like to check it out, click here! For example, you might start training with a lower distance to get yourself comfortable with cycling long distance and increase your fitness. Then, every week you can increase the distance slightly and start to time yourself so that you can try and better yourself every week. It’s not about how quickly you can achieve your goal, small progressions will help keep you motivated and you’ll soon see vast improvements in your cycling.
See Cycling As ‘Riding’ Instead Of ‘Training’
This may sound simple, but, some people dread exercising as they see it as a form of training. If you clear your mind and look at cycling as just a form of riding, you will start enjoying it more and stop pressuring yourself to train at a certain level.
As you ride more, you’ll become fitter and find more routes which will make you fall in love with cycling. You shouldn’t feel pressured, just jump on your bike, start pedalling at your own pace and see where your bike takes you.
Get More Cycling Into Your Week
Finding more time to ride your bike is a challenge for every bike rider, and two things help: being creative and being organised. These two qualities will allow you to seize every opportunity that comes your way.
The most obvious way of spending more time on your bike is to ride to work. Even if you can’t cycle the full distance, just riding to the station will give you more time on your bike.
Look at other tasks you do, too. Can you cycle to your friends’ house for dinner or ride to your next business meeting? With a backpack, change of clothes and a pack of wipes, you can easily be presentable for any occasion.
Never Get ‘The Bonk
Running out of energy on the bike is a decidedly unpleasant experience but one that can be very easily avoided if you think about your nutrition before and during your ride. Sports nutrition doesn’t have to mean eating expensive supplements; bananas, cereal bars and jam sandwiches all contain lots of easily absorbed carbohydrates, are convenient to carry and easy to eat.
However, the easiest way of ensuring you stay hydrated and have enough energy for rides over two hours long is to use a carbohydrate drink. Always carry a bit more food than you think you need and if you plan to be out for several hours start eating after the first 30 minutes. Taking on 60g of carbohydrate an hour is a good rule of thumb, so check the back of packets to make sure you have enough.
Ride With Your Friends
We often see a group of guys speeding along in single file, more content with utilising slipstream rather than socialising. Wouldn’t it be great to ride together and chat rather than fixating on the wheel in front of you? It’s not a crime to chat when cycling, and being of the same ability as your mates will enable you to do this.
Riding with others can help motivate you to enjoy cycling as there is someone doing it with you. Whether it’s someone to commute to work with or a cycling buddy to train with, getting a friend to cycle with you definitely helps!
If you need some motivation to help you get out and on your bike, this might be the time to get yourself a cycling buddy!
There are many more reasons to love hills than hate them, but even so, hills have a poor reputation with bike riders. Hills make you fit. They may make your legs hurt and your lungs burn, but riding hills regularly will build leg strength and, by forcing you to work a little bit harder than usual, they will boost your cardiovascular fitness too. Don’t avoid them if you want to get faster.
Hills give variety to your rides. You see more from the top of a hill and it breaks up the pace, allowing you to have fun on the descents and push yourself on the way up. The more hills you ride, the better you get, and you will start to learn the different types of hills that suit you best. Try timing yourself up a long hill and throughout the year repeat the test and see your time come down.
Read more Benefits Of Cycling: Health Benefits Of Riding A Bike