Just started cycling more often? Here’s what you need to know
Make the right decisions as you ramp up the frequency of your rides
It’s a great time of year to spend more time on your bike—heading out for a ride almost always seems appealing when the sun is shining. Without even realizing it, you might find yourself riding more than you ever have before.
Although more time on the bike is almost always good, there are a few things you need to know as you increase the frequency of your cycling activities.
As you begin to ride with consistency you’ll find your appetite gradually increasing. Feeling hungry more often is standard, and a sign that you’re working harder than before. It’s important to replenish the calories that you’re burning when you cycle so that you have the energy to go on your next ride (or even just function normally at work.) Protein-rich foods are a great way to calm a growling stomach while helping your muscles recover and rebuild.
Cycling isn’t a carte blanche to eat whatever you want whenever you want, but, if you’re feeling hungrier than normal, listen to your body and give it the nutrients it requires.
When you first start to see yourself getting stronger on the bike the gains can be addictive. It might feel as though doing hard rides all the time will result in constant improvements but that’s not exactly the case. Proper recovery is vital for your body to make gains after it takes on the stress of a hard ride.
Make sure that you’re working easier rides into your schedule here and there. If, for multiple rides in a row, your legs are feeling the results of a previous ride, you should decrease the volume or intensity and enjoy a more relaxed ride as you spin out the tension.
Along with proper recovery, stretching will help you avoid injuring yourself from pushing your body too hard. A foam roller is a great tool for rolling out the tension in your legs and back.
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When riding more often one, or even two, pairs of bibs might not be enough (unless you’re doing laundry multiple times a week). Re-wearing dirty bibs can lead to saddle sores and bacterial infections, so reward yourself for your hard work and pick up at least another pair.
More time cycling ultimately means more wear on the bike. You should be lubricating your chain more frequently, checking your tire pressure and paying attention to the state of your brakes and gears.
A frequently cleaned and well-maintained bike will last you much longer and will take you on even more cycling adventures.