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A Few Friendly Tips & Advice

Most of us, at one time or another in our lives, have benefitted from the tips, advice & suggestions that have been offered to us by more seasoned and experienced individuals. This is no less true when it comes to cycling and it is especially helpful for those who are new to the sport. The most useful information that a new cyclist can receive is how to get started &, equally important for the novice cyclist, is picking up any safety tips since your life, and that others, may be dependent upon what you know and what you do.

Know Yourself; Know Your Limitations

tipsadvice4a As with most things in life, knowing yourself & your limitations is extremely important when it comes to cycling.  Understanding this, &, learning as much as you can about cycling, will make your experience a lot more enjoyable and safer for you and for others around you. As you continue to cycle, you will eventually learn even more about yourself and you will gradually discover the many things that can influence how well you will ride. You can also better monitor your cycling by maintaining a detailed training log. Bikejournal also provides a way to track your rides & to meet other cyclists. You can also track your progress, & possibly even plan your route, with mapmyride, a gps, or a mobile phone device application like SportyPal.


tipsadvice7a As you begin, or are returning to cycling after a long absence away from it, it is always a good idea to start slowly and to build up from there. Just as nobody can just go out and run a marathon, triathlon, or other competitive event, without preparing themselves for it first, you too must also be patient and put the time and effort into riding before you will begin to see a slow, but gradual improvement.

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If you decide to do some long-distance rides, make sure that you bring enough to drink (preferably something that will help you to replenish your loss of electrolytes).  Hydration is extremely important when riding and can go a long way in alleviating leg cramps, nausea, and a more serious, life-threatening condition especially in hot weather conditions. Click here for information on proper hydration. Your diet also plays a very critical role in your performance, especially on long distance bike rides. Click here for a link for basic nutrition for cyclists


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Other than having plenty to drink, it is also a good idea to bring some energy snacks or gel packets for a quick energy boast when you are feeling tired or fatigued.  It is also important to dress appropriately and to bring a tire repair kit and a couple of tools with you on a ride because it could be a long, aggravating walk back to your car or house if you don't have it.
The best way to improve your speed and endurance on a bike is to actually get out there and ride.  Doing exercises and firming up the muscles in your legs and the mid-section (the torso & abdomen) will also enhance your cycling performance along with incorporating some cross-training workouts.  Working out on a stationary bike or attending spinning classes can also really help you, especially during long periods of cold or inclement weather. Finding ways to minimize wind resistance will also help cyclists with moving faster & doing it with less effort. Use of aerobars might be helpful in improving aerodynamics and reducing some wind drag, but you do lose a certain degree of maneuverability and you may not be able to react or stop quickly enough, if necessary, when using aerobars. Aside from that, while riding, it is a good idea to move around and occasionally stretch out your muscles to alleviate cramping and stiffness.  


Aside from your body, you can never underestimate the importance of maintaining your tipsadvice3abicycle.  Before you go out on a bike ride, you should always ensure that everything is working correctly and that the tires are inflated properly.  (Click here for a quick pre-ride checklist).

When you are not riding, you should store your bike in a place that is dry and not subject to the weather.  You should also periodically service your bike or take it to a bike shop to have a tune-up and check.  Regular and occasional preventive maintenance can help you to avoid more costly repairs later on, extend the life of your bike and even, perhaps, save your life.  There are plenty of websites and videos on YouTube for maintenance and this is one worth looking at if you get the chance:  http://www.jimlangley.net/crank/basicstuff.html.  Click here to find more information on bicycle parts & a bike diagram. Good luck & safe riding!