Everyone who is into cycling has started somewhere. Most of us learned how to ride a bike when we were young, and probably found an interest to ride later on in life, which is when we got more interested in hard-core cycling, doing longer distances and riding faster. These are a few pointers for riders with big ambitions just (re)starting to ride.
Your first-century ride will be hard anyway, don’t make it harder by over-exerting yourself in the beginning. Learn to pace yourself, i.e go at a sped that you can sustain for a large period of time.
Nutrition is important
One banana and a glass of milk just won’t cut it! Eat something sizeable like oatmeal before you get on the saddle to keep you going for the long miles. While out riding it is equally important to eat and drink to avoid the dreaded bonk! An electrolyte or a sports drink will help replenish the salts being lost while sweating. Eating a good chunk of carbohydrates will also ensure that you don’t come to a standstill.
Stretch after rides
No one wants an injury, ever. An injury is worse than anything that could possibly go wrong with your bike. You don’t want to be sleeping in on a weekend that you wanted to ride, all the while watching your mates notch up big miles on Strava. Some simple stretching will alleviate pain, in the short and long term. Find a stretching routine that works for you, stick to it, and your body will thank you for it.
Learn how to use your gears
Your bicycle has a whole range of gears, 2X8 or 3X7, whatever they may be, use them! Don’t be afraid to shift into your smallest gear to ride more comfortably up hills. Keep your cadence or the RPM of your pedals between 70-100. This will help avoid cramping while also putting a lesser strain on your knees.
Get the right saddle
Many of us stick to the saddle that originally came with our bike, even though they may not be comfortable for us. This saddle may not even fit our behinds as they may be too small, or may lack the right amount of cushion to keep us comfortable. Try out some new saddles and pick out the one that fits you the best.
Get cycling shorts(good ones)
Good cycling shorts will largely increase your comfort on the bike, prevent chafing and keep the blood flowing through your sensitives. Consider investing in a good pair (Not the cheapest ones on the market), as they’ll be sticking with you for a while(Literally!).
Clean the chain!
Cycling is a pretty expensive sport. All prices seem bloated when you first look at them. But, the one thing you can control is keeping your existing stuff well-maintained. Regularly clean and re-lube your chain and you will be slowing down the wear of your components.
Riding bike is great fun. Acknowledge other riders, enjoy yourself, then eat Kesari-bath, and don’t fret over not having the ‘right’ gear or the ‘best’ bike. The best bike out there is the one that you enjoy riding.