Now that the worst of the weather is out of the way, it’s time to make sure your two-wheeled buddy is ready for the road and everything you throw at it. Whilst we’re sure you’re anxious to get out there and feel the grip of the granite and the touch of the tarmac, we recommend following our tips for fun, safe and effective cycling.
Tune up your bike
We reckon you’re a whiz at bike maintenance, but if not, pop to a local bike shop that can do it for you. Getting your bike fit for the road is essential and could mean the difference between liberating exercise and an otherwise avoidable accident.
- Clean the frame from top to bottom with soapy water, rinse off and dry.
- Grease the bottom bracket, wheels and headset.
- Lubricate and adjust the derailleurs, brake shoes, chain and cassette, and replace if required.
- Inspect all cables and replace annually.
- Are the tyres in good condition? Thoroughly check for wear and tear, and replace if required.
- How about the handlebars, do they need new tape?
- Ensure that your equipment is in working order, including bottle cage, seat pack, spare tubes and repair kit.
Tune up your body
How active have you been lately? If you’ve had a relatively relaxed couple of months, you need to be careful not to overexert yourself. Even if you’ve been keeping fit another way, your body may have grown accustomed to not being in a riding position. Take it slowly at first and ease yourself back into the routine over the coming weeks. You can also help to prevent injuries by correctly combining dynamic stretching and static stretching.
Dynamic stretching increases your core body and muscle temperature, elasticises your muscles and aids your nervous system. In turn, move different parts of your body (e.g. arms and shoulders, legs and knees) in smooth, rhythmic motions for a perfect warm-up exercise.
After your ride, static stretching helps to relax muscles, cool your body temperature and increase flexibility. Reach parts of your body as far as you can in one direction (start with one area, such as legs, then move to other areas) and hold the position for up to a minute. This is highly beneficial after a workout and will help your body to relax.
Join a ride
You’re probably similar to us, in that you love a good ride with likeminded people. Thankfully there are tons to choose from, so here are some suggestions:
Cambridge 100 (3 May, UK) – Starting and finishing on the outskirts of Cambridge, the ride takes you north through Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and towards the Norfolk coast.
Subaru NRS (28 May, Australia) – Based on the edge of the Australian iconic Gold Coast beach and accessing one of the oldest dormant volcanic calderas known as the Tweed Valley.
Vermont Gran Fondo (13 June, USA) – Traversing four gaps with 10,700’ of climbing back and forth across the spine of the Green Mountains.
Connect your Ridersmate
These tips should help you to get back into road cycling smoothly and effectively, allowing you to enjoy the ride and keep fit whilst catching up with old friends or getting some positive alone time.
Everything should be fine providing that your bike is in good condition, you remain aware of your surroundings, keep drinking water and don’t push yourself too hard. However, accidents can happen to even the most cautious, which is precisely why Ridersmate was invented. Check that your electronic guardian angel is installed with emergency contacts and attached to your kit, and you’ll be in safe hands even if you get separated from your wheels.
Share your ride with us
Seriously, you have no idea how much we love seeing what fellow riders get up to. Whether you’re into your road cycling, mountain biking, motorcycling or horse riding, tag your pics with #ridersmate and share them with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Image credit: Musume Miyuki