7 Essential Ways to Become a Better Cyclist
If you’re committed to becoming the best cyclist you can be, you’re in this for the long haul—literally and figuratively. Cycling requires a tremendous amount of physical fitness, but it also requires dedication, focus, and perseverance. Improving your cycling is a process; you build up to it, setting realistic goals along the way and pushing yourself just a little harder and a little faster each time.
To become a better cyclist you need to train—whether you’re actually training for a marathon, or if you’re cycling for yourself. Are you willing to go the extra mile to elevate your cycling game? Here are seven effective ways you might consider.
Set Realistic Goals and Log Your Progress.
- Are you training for speed, or distance? Know what you ultimately want to get out of cycling, and set attainable goals that will help you get there. Keep a log of everything. Tracking your progress after each ride will motivate you and help you visualize your goals.
- Nobody knows your body like you. You know your limits. You know what you can do—and you also know what you need to do to get there. Set goals for yourself that are aligned with your levels. Push yourself within reason, and remember that the more you cycle, the more you’ll be able to achieve.
Gear Up. Consider Compression Clothing like Enerskin.
- Enerskin is unlike any other gear on the market. Using an innovative, patented method, Enerskin fuses the muscular support and flexibility of compression clothing with the protection offered by silicone taping. With Enerskin, medical-grade muscular tape is printed directly onto the compression fabric, reinforcing the fabric to enhance performance, protect from injury, and speed up recovery time. In fact, many medical professionals agree Enerskin is particularly beneficial for cyclists.
- The right gear is important for every workout. For cycling, you need something that’s light and aerodynamic, yet provides protection—something that’s comfortable, yet offers stability. Compression shorts are popular with cyclists for these reasons. They’re comfortable—oftentimes stylish—but they provide real benefit to your muscles. Because they’re form fitting, they don’t get in the way of your movements, and good compression shorts are also breathable.
Never Neglect Bicycle Maintenance.
- It goes without saying that for safety and performance, your bike needs to be in good condition. Bicycle maintenance is essential, and it’s generally a good idea to check twice—before a ride, and after a ride—to make sure that everything is working properly. Is there enough air in your tires? Are your brakes working? Are your pedals too loose? Take care of your bike between rides, keeping it clean and storing it safely, for a better and safer ride.
Remember: Strength Training Increases Endurance.
- Depending on the terrain, you will be climbing hills or biking up steep inclines. But you can also train for this between rides—at the gym on your own or in a class. Weight training that targets your leg muscles is a great way to build strength, as is using a cycling machine to prepare for your ride.
- Cycling is all about endurance. It’s an exercise that targets several critical muscle groups, especially your legs and core. You will, of course, increase your endurance by cycling—every ride builds tolerance and strengthens your muscles.
- Stay hydrated during your ride. Dehydration not only reduces your performance, but it can also be dangerous. Keep a bottle of water on hand, and don’t be afraid to slow down just a little bit so you can take a drink when you need it.
- You won’t get very far without the proper nourishment. Snacking healthily before a ride is an excellent way to ensure you have the energy you need. If you’re biking late morning, try having a decent breakfast – consider oatmeal, some eggs, yogurt, or fruit. Nuts and eggs are an effective source of protein, which will keep you full and give you energy.
Push Yourself Harder, and For Longer.
- While it’s important to know your limits, it’s also important to push yourself. The more you do this, the stronger and faster you’ll become, and your goal setting should advance with that. You’ll know when you can ride that extra two kilometers, or when you can climb that steeper hill. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself—it’s the only way you’ll achieve your fullest potential.
Allow Yourself Time to Recover.
- Recovery is as essential as the workout itself. Cycling is intense, and you need time to recoup. The strain your muscles endure during a ride, while exhilarating, can also be damaging if you don’t give yourself enough time to rest. After a long ride, take a day off. Don’t train. Stay off your feet if possible. Most importantly, don’t start training again until you feel rejuvenated.