1) Look after your bike and your bike will look after you.
A well maintained and clean bike will very rarely let you down. Take time after your ride to wipe your bike down, lube the chain and check your tyres for any signs of degregation. Always pump your tyres up before your ride, pressure may vary depending on the weather, as a rule 110-115psi in the dry and 100-105psi in the wet.
2) You only get better by practising! Fact!
If you want to get better at climbing, go climb! Don’t avoid the hills because you don’t like them or your ‘not very good’ at climbing. Practise makes perfect! The same applies to descending!
3) Be comfortable on your bike, you’ll ride it more!
Bikes are not supposed to be uncomfortable! First of all get some decent cycling shorts and a comfortable saddle. We are not all standard sizes so you shouldn’t accept a standard saddle. Comfort does not mean having a ‘fat boy’ armchair style saddle sat on top of the seat post. Your saddle should be the same width as your ‘sitting bones’ (you can get measured for this). Once you find a comfortable saddle….keep it! Ladies there are also womens specific saddles for extra comfort. It’s not just about the saddle, you can also adjust the ‘reach’ to the handle bars by changing the ‘stem’. if you suffer with lower back pain this can be due to over stretching to the handle bars. Also change your gear ratios to help you get up those steeper hills, this can be done by changing the rear cassette and/or te chainrings.
4) Core Stability/Strength is important.
Working on your core stability will not only make you a stronger and faster rider but it also adds to your comfort whilst riding. Good core strength will hold your body in the correct riding position for longer and stop you slouching over on longer rides.
5) Set achieveable goals.
Not all of us will win the Tour de France, not all of us want to win the Tour de France. Whatever you overall objective is set some achieveable goals to help you along the way. If you want to ride your first 100 miler then your probably not going to do this on day 1. Build up your distances over time.
Accept there will be set backs along the way but always keep one eye on the bigger picture.
Accept that not every day on the bike is a good day some days it feels harder, some days it is harder.
Accept the things we can not change, like the weather, get out there and get on with it!
Finally, PB’s hurt! Of course they do, they hurt for me and you, they also hurt for Chris Froome, that is why it is a Personal Best! Know when to try for a PB not every day is a PB day!
6) Hydration & Fueling on the bike is very important
I learnt this lesson the hard way, I used to ride without eating anything on the bike and only drinking water and wondered why my body/performance always crashed around 90 kilometres. To begin with have a hearty breakfast and get hydrated before you go riding, whilst out you should drink at least 800ml per hour and be eating an energy bar (or equivilent) every hour too. Now we don’t all like the same things so find what works for you. Most of our clients swear by porridge for breakfast, personally I can’t stand the stuff so I have eggs/bacon/toast. Not all of us like or want to use energy drinks and bars. Dried fruit and nuts are good. Zero tabs are good to use too.
7) Listen to your body
When riding/training listen to your body I’ve seen loads of riders transfixed with heart rate monitors, power taps and being to ridged with their training plans. These are all great tools if used in the right way but you can also do alot of damage if you don’t read the signs of overtraining. If you are tired don’t ride but be true to yourself don’t use this as an excuse not to ride/train. if you are out riding and your can’t get your heart rate up this is a sign of over training or that you are going to be ill with a cold/flu very soon. If you are feeling strong ride hard. Some riders get to fixated with their heart rate monitors and back off but if you feel strong take advantage of it and push on.
Here’s an idea for you. Once a month leave your heart rate monitor, Garmin, odometer, power tap at home take all the technology off the bike and just go out and ride for the sake of riding. Free yourselves from the thousands of stats that we have at our figure tips on the bike. Ride by feel and not because the computer says NO! It’s old school, it’s also very liberating! You’ll be a better rider for it!
8) Recovery is very important.
Recovery comes in two forms for me. Instant recovery after a ride, when I get home I’m straight in the fridge quaffing down a bowl of pasta with chicken, eggs, tuna and peppers in it and drinking a big glass of milk. My body is craving protein and this will help my muscles recover quicker too. if possible grab a siesta too the body recovers quicker whjen you are sleeping, unfortunately, my kids don’t allow daddy to do this!!
Recovery also comes in the form of days off the bike. Rest days are important this is when we get fitter. Allow your body some down time, rest, recouperate and come back stronger!
9) Don’t litter!
If there is space in your pocket for a gel, energy bar, spare inner tube then there is space in your pocket for an empty gel/bar wrapper and a punctured inner tube. Bring it home or put it in the bin at your next coffee/cake stop
10) Last but no means least……Enjoy the ride!
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