Category: Cycling Tips

Cycling Tips for the Beginner

CYCLING TIPS

THE ALL-IMPORTANT MAINTENANCE

As boring as it may seem, the first thing to do before embarking on the wonderful world of cycling, is to service your bike. So, get out the lubricant and start with the chain.  Here is a video showing you how to do that.

If you hear a chirp while cycling you can bet your boots that it is from the chain, so ensure it is always lubricated. Or, if you hear a clicking sound from the chain it could indicate a tight link. Using your hand, simply turn the crank backwards slowly, keeping an eye on the derailleur pulleys until the link jumps. With both hands take hold of the chain on both sides of the stiff link and bend it laterally so that it loosens, and add some lubricant. Works like a charm.

Grease and tighten the pedal threads to eliminate clicks while cycling. Pedals will warn you by squeaking, which is a tad irritating. A quick spray with lubricating oil at the point where the bike’s body meets the cage usually does the trick. If you have clipless pedals, check the cleats are tight, then thoroughly wipe the cleat contact points and spray on some silicone, removing the excess.

Listen out for any further squeaks, clicks or thumps and fix them. Don’t give them a chance to annoy you so much that you stop cycling.

COMFORT

Cycling is not particularly comfortable, but you will get used to the strange position, along with all its aches and pains. There is no such thing as a comfortable bicycle seat, but you will build up resistance to it. A good start for beginners would be to invest in professional help when purchasing or setting up the bike for long-distance cycling. Make sure you have well-padded cycle shorts – for obvious reasons – and gloves.

CYCLING POSITION

Get into a comfortable position on your bike and relax your shoulders. Every so often move your head around to avoid cramping muscles.

Keep your upper body as still as possible. Your back should be the swivel point, letting the bike move beneath it. Also, try not to hunch your back and move forward in the saddle when you tire. Try instead to stand and pedal every so often, alleviating back and hip pain.

On the dreaded long uphill climb, it often helps to use different muscle groups. Try moving backwards in the saddle to use your glutes, or forwards for quadriceps.

Your hands and arms absorb a lot of the bumps, so moving your hands from the handlebars to the frame will help alleviate tension and road vibration. Relax your grip.

The width of your handlebars should be the same as the width of your shoulders. Make sure you are comfortable, and it suits your riding style. Don’t let your elbows become wings, try and keep your arms straight, thus giving you the aerodynamics to speed up without using more energy.

Finally, enjoy this glorious sport. Get out into the open and improve your well-being. You’re worth it.

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How to Reduce Lower Back Pain From Cycling

The body is a very complex machine made up of minute cells that come together to form its various spectacular parts. All parts are equally crucial for its proper functioning. Others have a more vital role, such as the back, that houses the spinal cord and can stir up quite a fuss when mishandled or mistreated in various ways, poor posture and bending for long hours being just to mention but a few.

It is sensitive, and most body complications emanate from lower back pain and discomfort. Although cycling is good exercise, when overdone or done in the wrong way it can have a negative impact on the lower back. There are a number of ways to reduce lower back pain from cycling that one should bear in mind and practice to safeguard this valuable body part:

1. Try out new positions during cycling
Never sit fixed in one particular position when cycling for a long time since lower back pain comes about when it is put under pressure. This pressure results in damage of tissues.

2. Do not over-speed during cycling
Cycling at super speed while seated causes the lower back to be under pressure, and wears down the glutes and hamstrings, leading to the pelvis tilting backwards that will lead to application of strain on the muscles of the lumbar region. If you really have to speed, use the gears on the bicycle to regulate it.

3. Learn to be more mobile
Do not ride a bicycle if you do not regularly move around since a body like that is not easily flexible. It is tight and stiff. Subjecting the lower back to such will be a recipe for disaster. Despite the lifestyle or occupation, see to it that you are regularly stretching on your feet to promote flexibility of the body.

4. Regulate your cycling sessions
If you are a beginner at cycling, it is good to have confidence in yourself, but it is even better to be aware that the body is not used to cycling. As such, do not cycle for long hours on the first day. Regulate the time, adding more as the days go by and as you perfect the art.

5. Ride a bicycle that is just the right size
Many cyclists suffer from pain of the lower back simply due to ignorance. They ride a bike that is either too high or too low for them. Such bikes should either be adjusted to match the user or be done away with. You should easily access the handlebars from an upright position and elbows bend slightly during riding.

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