You may have tried cycling out for fun but are now interested in upgrading to a road bike and using it as a form of keeping fit and accomplishing a few long-distance challenges or sportives. Here a few tips on how to take your cycling to the next level.
1. Get some practice on hills
Hills are either a cyclist’s nemisis or a quick way to improve strength and power on the bike. As hard as they may seem at the beginning, keep tackling the climbs and you will start to reap the rewards as you turn the pain into leg strength.
2. Do additional training off the bike
Whilst getting in the miles in the saddle are hugely beneficial to your cycling improvement – make sure you do things off the bike the will compliment your on-road performance. Pilates uses a range of movements and exercises that are ideal for cyclists – especially the glute, hip and core strengthing exercises. Make sure you are doing adequate stretching after each ride to ensure your muscles recover quicker from the session and continue to build in strength.
3. Ensure you stay fuelled and hydrated
If you are intending on increasing the hours and distance on the bike – ensure you give your body enough fuel for the challenge. The rule of thumb is to have about 30g of carbohydrate every hour – although this will vary from person to person. Your bike shop will have plenty of cycling snacks that are easy to pop in your back pocket and are designed to include all the relevant things your body will need. It’s worth also adding an additional water bottle cage to your bike and filling one with water and one with a hydration drink powder – again all things your bike shop can advise on.
4. Upgrade your pedals
If you are riding a road bike and are still wearing trainers on your rides, it might be time to upgrade and invest in a pair of cycling shoes and cleats. The cleat is attached to the shoe and clips into the pedal so that your foot has more contact and connection with the bike meaning that every pedal becomes more powerful and you are getting dual momentum on both the up and down motion of the spin. You may feel a bit nervous to begin with but wearing cleated shoes eventually start to feel natural. More information on cleated shoes can be found here.
5. Enter a sportive
A good way to put all your hard work into practice is to join a sportive or a group cycle. You will learn so much about group cycling and also will be able to watch more experienced cyclists and get tips on how you can improve. Having a sportive to work towards will also give you the incentive to get out on the bike, even in the more grissly weather and will give you bragging rights when it’s done! There are some great events listed here.
6. Wear the best kit