Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Top 10 Riding Tips

As a new rider you may not know how to prevent common mistakes that can lead to physical discomfort during a ride. Even if you have been riding for a long time you can slip into the bad habits of riding discomfort. Here is advice about making every ride a comfortable ride.

1) Muscle Soreness

If you pedal your bike an extra few minutes, say 10 or 15 minutes, after ride or at the end of your ride, you can decrease the soreness of your muscles. It's also best to avoid hills during these last few minutes of riding. Cooling down is always important!

2) Eye Wear

When you squint due to the sun or wind (sometimes even bugs), you use a lot of energy and the facial muscles can become fatigued. This can lead to headaches and strain. To reduce the risks of this occurring try wearing your sunglasses.

3) Knock Knees

If your knees sound like they are knocking, check your cleats and your saddle. If these pieces of equipment aren't properly set up you can easily cause pain and damage to your knees. If you have noisy knees but no pain, and properly aligned equipment - you should be fine, even with the noise.

4) Pain in the Neck

Try not to ride with your neck in the same position for long periods of time. Try tilting your neck from side to side, or stretching it. Always remember safety first when taking your eyes off the road.

5) Saddle Sores

Bike shorts that are clean and made of natural materials go a long way to avoiding saddle sores. Also try allowing your shorts to dry in the ultraviolet rays of the sun to kill any bacteria. And just like my grandma always said - sleep naked to air that place out! (Gotta love grandmas...)

6) Stem Length

Your equipment has a lot to do with your physical comfort. Contrary to popular belief bikes aren't one size fits all. If your stem is too short you will find that you have pain in your shoulders. If your stem is too long your triceps ache.

7) Wash out your mouth!

You've got to get the filth out! While I don't recommend soap, you will feel more fresh and your food a bit more tasty when not enjoying the reliving of the grime from your ride. A travel sized brush in your seat pack is a great thing to help remove road grit from your teeth after a ride.

8) Numb Hands

To keep your hands from going numb always wear gloves during a ride and try a handlebar cushion or thick tape. You can also try changing your grip on the handle bars frequently. This can be with or without the use of aero bars or elbow rests.

9) Back Aches

This could be caused by weakened abdominal muscles, which make your back work extra hard. Or your back aches could be caused by the all important stem - check the length. So check the stem and try some sit ups.

10) Foot Relief

To increase the circulation to your feet you should alternate from pushing down on the pedals to pulling up for a few strokes. This change can make a world of difference. You should also check to ensure your shoes or pedal straps aren't too tight. Cutting off the circulation in your feet is not a good thing!

Source : About: Bicycling- Beginners Bicycling website/ photo courtesy of bed-breakfast-italy.com

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