If you are bored with your fitness routine, or if you just want to rev it up, you should look into cycling as a new venture. Whether you are cycling around the neighborhood or trekking in a local state park, the options are almost endless for your new method of fitness. But while cycling is great, there are things that you need to consider before diving head first into it. Below are the tips and tricks that you need to know upfront before your have a bad first outing on the trail.
- First, make sure you have the right bike. Yes, they can be pricey, so check into renting one at first for your treks. Also, the right clothing (Lycra, sweat-absorbent clothing) and shoes are also key to having a good ride.
- Whatever the weather conditions, your fluid requirements will increase significantly when cycling. Losses from exhaled breath and from sweating will serve to reduce your blood volume, resulting in your heart having to work much harder. By the time you feel thirsty you will already be dehydrated, so try to drink small, frequent quantities of water or a sports energy drink throughout the ride. You can check the color of your urine in order to monitor your hydration in between stages of your training: a pale straw color indicates that you are well hydrated, whereas anything darker means that you need to drink more.
- Running low on energy, or ‘bonking’ as cyclists call it, will prevent your cycling enjoyment. Cycling will increase your energy requirements, so aim to eat small, frequent meals and snacks on the go in order to maintain energy levels. On the bike, carbohydrate drinks will keep you well fueled — or you could try taking a couple of energy bars which are easy to eat in the saddle.
- SPDs, or ‘spuds’, as they are affectionately known — is the brand name for cycling shoes which ‘lock in’ to your pedal. They make a big difference to your pedaling efficiency because they enable you to pull up as well as push down. If you’ve not tried them before, start with toe-clips, which are easier to get used to. After a while you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them!
- Not for posing! Sunglasses are actually very useful for cyclists; they will keep dirt, dust and flies out of your eyes, and if you choose a pair with interchangeable lenses then they can sharpen your vision in low light conditions, as well as cutting out glare and reflections.
- A set of Allen keys, a puncture repair kit, tire levers, a spare inner tube and a pump or inflator will keep you on the road. All you need to know is how to change a tire and mend a puncture and you’re set up.