In some parts of Canada, the signs of spring are finally arriving and daylight saving time is about to begin. The sun doesn’t set quite as early adding valuable hours of daylight for riding, the temperature is slowly creeping up and half your riding friends are headed to training camps in warmer climates making you very envious. Here at home, there are probably a couple more snow falls to deal with and months before you’ll be working on your tan lines but that doesn’t mean you can’t start getting prepared for riding season. The time change on March 11 will usher in even more outdoor riding opportunities. Here is how you can get yourself and your bike prepared:
Wash your bike and replace old components
Even if you thought you left your bike in good shape when you stored it over the winter, don’t take it out before giving it some tender love and care or having it tuned-up. Double check components replacing ones that have been worn down like brake pads or your chain, clean any dirt or grime left from your riding last season and lube your chain.
Incorperate some stretching or yoga into your routine
You may not have been out on your bike all winter so there will inevitably be aches and pains that come with time back in the saddle. By frequently stretching, doing a bit of yoga and even a bit of core work you can strengthen your body to better support your body on the bike. Doing this will prepare you for nicer days down the road when you’ll be looking at riding 100 km or more for the first time this season.
Ride after work
With more evening daylight hours it’s time to start riding in the evenings again. While you’ll still want to have your lights on you and you’ll need to be well bundled up, getting out for an hour after work is a great way to boost your riding time and take advantage of the time change. Get some friends together a couple of evenings a week but don’t smash each other every opportunity you get, it’s too early for that!
Lighten up your diet
If you haven’t leaned down over the cold months, once you are riding a tad more is as good time as any to revamp your diet to incorporate more nutritionally dense and healthy foods. It doesn’t need to be drastic but to reach your goals it’s good to start building the habits that will last throughout the riding season now.
Ramp up slowly
Getting your engine back up to speed will be much easier if you’ve been cranking out hard intervals all winter on the trainer. You’ll want to get your body accustomed to being outside again so ramp up your volume slowly. The recommendation is to not increase your mileage more than 20 to 30 per cent week over week.
Sign up for your first event of the year
Whether you decide to sign up for an early season mixed surface event like Paris to Ancaster in Ontario or Jeremy’s Roubaix in B.C., a Gran Fondo like Mont-Tremblant, an early summer charity event like the Ride to Conquer Cancer or an early race on the provincial calendar, why not commit now to set yourself a goal.
Make that bike upgrade you’ve been eyeing
Towards the end of the riding season it’s easy to put off that bike upgrade you’ve been dreaming about but with the entire riding season ahead of you now is a great time to jump on that purchase. If a bike isn’t in the cards treat yourself to a fast set of wheels or that piece of gear you really need to make spring riding enjoyable.