Flexibility On and Off the Bike

In my opinion, there are two kinds of flexibility important to us cyclists…physical flexibility, and being flexible to change things when necessary.  I’ve posted about physical flexibility in the past, and still do four simple stretches to maintain my flexibility.  You can check out my four cycling stretches right here. But if you have the time (and are possibly up for some punishment), additional stretching as well as yoga are definitely a great thing to add into your routine.

But being flexible can also apply to our riding as well.  I’m not sure about you, but pretty much every time I head out for a ride I have a specific plan and route set in my mind before I take that first pedal stroke.  I know how much time I have available for the ride and what level of intensity I am shooting for, so I pre-select a route to fit with those coordinates.  But just the other day, I was out riding and after hitting three consecutive red lights along the Capital of Texas highway I had enough and took a right hand turn at that third red.  That third red just happened to be Lost Creek Boulevard.

The Capital of Texas highway (also known as 360) is fairly flat and the route I had originally set for myself was a nice mid intensity ride…..Lost Creek just happens to be one of our more hillier (but fairly short) sections of road here in Austin and if you hang a right at the end of the road, you’re faced with “Heart Attack Hill”.  So in the blink of a right hand turn, my fairly easy ride turned into a day of climbing, but I was much better off because of being flexible in my route.  The way things were going on 360 were shaping things up for a ride that wasn’t offering me what I was looking for.  Red lights drive me nuts because when I’m out on the bike, I don’t like to stop.  Being flexible and choosing to switch up my original plan provided me with a much different ride than I was shooting for, but one that was very satisfying.

This is just one example of being flexible on the bike, and there are countless more that I could share with you….but I’d rather have you share your stories with me.  What do you do for your own physical flexibility?  When you’re out on the bike, are you strict in your plans or do you remain flexible and go with the flow?

Photo c/o pvbike.com

  • Malachi

    Some my favorite local routes have break off points through them. I can shorten or flatten or otherwise modify it en route that way. They say surveyors know all the angles…well we do spend a lot of time around maps at the very least….as for the body I’m looking at the dreaded roller as a next step. Knee pain from rubbing cap is getting old and I’m pretty sure it’s just tracking badly due to lack of stretching!

  • Carl

    Great stretches, thanks for suggesting them.  this was an interesting article on the importance of being flexible while out riding and I agree 100%.  I always make changes to my route if it is necessary.  I’d like to see what other people think about this.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Glad you liked the stretches, Carl.

  • Franklin

    I would say that I’m pretty flexible in both my riding and physical flexibility.  I tend to include the stretches you mentioned and have had similar experiences in having to chane routes once I am out on the street.  I think it’s important and it can help make a ride better in many instances.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Hey Franklin, I agree that it can improve your ride and riding if you’re flexible out there.

  • Robert L

    I agree with both sides of this.  It’s important to work on stretching and flexibility and it is also important to make changes to cycling plans as well.  I’ve often come across road construction or other things that make me have to change course and you just have to go with it and make the adjustments as necessary.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks Robert….I appreciate you leaving your comments.

  • http://twitter.com/roger_S_ roger sittnikow

    My friend and I used to go on ”trail hunts”, we just rode along until we saw a new trail we hadn’t ridden before, then turn on that trail to find out where it lead us. Eventually riding on this new trail, we saw yet another trail or come to a fork… this way we discovered some great trails, that later turned out to become part of our regular rides, oh and a heap of dead ends in bogs and stuff.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Awesome….sounds like fun, Roger.  Getting out of the box (and getting lost) can help shake things up and keep things fresh for sure.