Updated: Nov 3
It doesn’t matter if you’re cycling for yourself or planning to compete with others, you are likely always striving to do better. Most cyclists are in a constant state of improvement, but that only helps if you know what to do. Let’s look at some tried and tested methods of improving your cycling!
Keep Your Elbows Loose
A common mistake among amateur cyclists is locking the elbows, which means you end up with more weight on the arms. It also affects your posture and can cause all sorts of aches and pains, plus it slows you down. If you keep your elbows loosened up and unlocked, you’ll find it easier to react to obstacles, absorb bumps easily, and improve your riding posture. You’ll also be more aerodynamic.
Try Soft Pedalling
Soft pedalling is when you pedal at a higher gear as you go down an incline. While it may seem like a good time to rest your legs, continuing to pedal, albeit with little reason, will keep your legs limbered up. It has the added benefit of ridding your leg muscles of lactic acid and also allows you to add speed if necessary, without having to get back into the rhythm.
Shift Gears Frequently
Professional cyclists know that it’s best to shift your gears as often as necessary to reach a cadence of 80-90 rpm. Instead of allowing the terrain to slow or speed up their pedalling, they focus on keeping it steady through the use of gears. Pedalling at this cadence helps to reduce the risk of knee strain and is easier on your muscles. It also helps prevent other injuries.
Prevent Dehydration Before and During Your Ride
You know to make sure you hydrate during your ride, but did you know you should do it before you even get on the bike? Take the time to drink a couple of glasses of water half an hour before you head out to ride. It’s also a good idea to have an energy bar at this point to fuel your muscles beforehand. Once you’re cycling, continue to drink and use hydration gels to prevent dehydration from slowing you down.
Incorporating these simple changes into your cycling routine can drastically improve how you ride. With a better posture and a more hydrated body, you’ll cycle faster and better. Plus, if you follow these ideas, you should experience less pain after a long ride!
To learn more about cycling, contact VeloRunner today. We’re one of Staffordshire’s favourite cycling and running shops!