While you can certainly hop on your bike, head to the nearest park, and plop down on the grass for a picnic, you might want to liven up the proceedings a bit by turning your standard Saturday afternoon with the family into something of an adventure. You may not even realize that there are prime biking areas in and around your locale, but once you start scouting biking trails in your area you’re bound to find a veritable bounty of adventurous options. For the sake of safety, however, there are a few steps you should take to plan out your trip before you hit the road.
- Service bikes. The first thing to do after your bikes have been in the garage all winter is make sure they’re in ship shape and ready to take you out on the trails. You can either do this on your own with a few clean rags, a bucket of soapy water, and some WD-40. But you might also haul them in to your local bike shop for a once-over that includes a good cleaning, air in the tires, and any repairs that might be in order.
- Consider age and ability. When planning a family biking trip the ages and ability levels of kids must be a consideration. If you’ve got tiny tots, you don’t necessarily want them bumping along uneven trails in their bike seats. And you clearly can’t go too far with kids that are just learning to ride a bike. In these instances you’re probably better off sticking to city streets and hitting your local park or a nearby waterfront for your picnic. However, teens that are familiar with taking their mountain bikes on local trails may be up for more of an off-road type adventure.
- Print a map. Depending on where you decide to take your local adventure you might end up with little or no cell service. If you’re relying on your GPS to lead you back to civilization this can definitely be a problem. So make sure that you mark your route on a paper map. It may sound old-school, but you’ll be glad you have it when your battery dies or you’re out of range of a cell tower.
- Bring an emergency kit. With all the stories in the news lately about lost hikers (they probably forgot their paper map) you should take the hint and prepare for the possibility that a backwoods biking expedition could leave you stranded overnight or even for a couple of days. While most families probably won’t take their adventure too far off the beaten path, you never know what might happen, and having an emergency kit on hand could significantly increase your chances of survival. Your kit should include basic medical supplies (bandages, antiseptic, aspirin, etc.) as well as matches, water purification tablets, Mylar foil blankets (they fold up to about the size of a slim wallet), and a couple of flares (to signal Search and Rescue). You might even include a couple of MREs or a guide to edible plant species for your region.
- Pack a portable lunch. You don’t necessarily have to bring a ton of gear when you head out on your bikes for the day, but you might want to pack a couple of picnic blankets and some foods that will keep until you decide to stop for lunch. Non-perishable items like trail mix, granola bars, and jerky work great as snacks, but when it comes to your picnic, consider making some sandwiches and packing self-contained items like fruits and veggies rather than messy concoctions like pasta or potato salad. You should opt for items that are less likely to spoil and that require you to haul only minimal trash out the way you came in. And don’t forget to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated during your trip. You might even throw in a few sports drinks; the sugar and electrolytes will keep your energy high and help you to make it back home.
After first week on the bike you’ll know you need it. But when Googling simple question you most probably can only find complicated answer and lots of misguiding information which won’t make your problem solved. Would a wet lube be better suited to my biking routine? Is it best to have an aerosol? Is a drip bottle more controlled? How often should I be applying my lubricant? …?
There are few methods of exercise as enjoyable and rewarding as cycling. It’s something you can do at basically any fitness level and any age, meaning it can help you keep in great shape no matter your experience level. Of course it’s all about endurance, and as you get better you’re going to want to go out on longer and longer cycling trips. One frustrating side effect of all that time on your bike might be lower back pain. It’s something you’ll feel while riding, but will really hit you after you’re done. And if you allow these issues to build, you could end up facing major problems due to osteoporosis or a spine misalignment. The trick is finding a way to alleviate this pain and avoid recurrences. Here are five tips to help you avoid lower back pain while cycling.
First of all, you can prevent many of your lower back issues by maintaining proper posture. There’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to go about things. When riding make sure your back is arched, and avoid any sort of sagging in the area from your hips to your shoulders. If you don’t keep your back arched, any bumps you hit will bow you back and jar your spine. And that’s a surefire way to cause lower back pain.
You can also help insure that these problems don’t occur in the first place by taking the time to properly strengthen your core. This is the area from your lower back down through your hips. It’s actually the most important set of muscles to focus on, and a solid core will improve your balance, posture and stability on your bike. Consider adding a pilates class to your weekly exercise regimen, or just work in some crunches and abdominal presses when you workout.
Another great preventative measure is to stretch before and after you ride. This will also keep your posture in order, while improving your flexibility as well. Start off by placing your hands against your rear while standing, and then press your hips forward. Then arch your back and let your hands slip down to your thighs. Do this several times a day, and you should avoid any serious lower back pain. You can intensify this stretch by laying on the floor and pressing your shoulders up off the floor with your arms. Add in some hamstring stretches as well.
Sometimes you’ll feel some lower back pain regardless of what you do to prevent it. But you can minimize the issue by using a muscle relaxation technique. Once you feel that first twinge, lie down and tense up all of your muscles. Then relax each muscle group one after the other, starting with your feet. Do it again as necessary, and see if your lower back has relaxed. You can also target just that area if it needs a little bit of extra attention.
When feeling the pain after a cycling trip you should also feel free to use ice or heat to relax things. This isn’t exactly advanced pain management, as people have been using these methods basically since the beginning of time. Wrap an icepack in a towel and rub it over your lower back. Stop after five minutes or when your skin gets numb, whichever happens first. You can do this three times each day as a regular maintenance routine as well. A heat pack or a towel dipped in hot water will also help relax tweaked muscles. If nothing else is working, run a hot bath and soak in it until the water cools down.
Now that the weather is warming, you’re going to start to see cyclists on the road. And there’s good reason. Riding a bike is a phenomenal way to stay in shape and challenge yourself. At the same time you cover a lot of ground, and there’s always a ton to look at. With the wind blowing across your body you can stay cool longer, and push the limits of your athletic abilities. And the best part of all is that you can enjoy cycling well into the second half of your life. For many people over fifty it’s a great release, and a more enjoyable form of exercise than sweating away with weights in a gym. And as long as you are consistent and make some good decisions you’ll enjoy this activity with minimal risk of injury. Here are the top five training tips for cyclists over fifty. Read Whole Story >>
We all have a certain type of exercise that we enjoy more than any other. For some, it’s weight training. For others, it’s cardio. And then for some, it’s cycling—and not just any kind of bike riding, but doing it in the fresh outdoors. Read Whole Story >>
Throughout the history of cycling, the pros have always had something to say. This is a sport that requires motivation more than any other. It is a game of suffering and endurance. Sometimes, a few choice words can make a huge difference. When you’re struggling up the hills and pushing through the wind, remember these inspirational quotes from professional cyclists to keep you moving forward. Read Whole Story >>
Cycling imposes a unique set of demands on the body, and a unique approach to dieting is necessary to meet those demands. Whether you’re climbing hills, working on sprints, or tightening up your spin, proper nutrition is essential to any cyclist’s lifestyle. Keep your endurance up, and get faster every day by incorporating these cycling nutrition tips into your daily routine.
- Start the Day Off Right
If you’re riding in the morning, you’re going to find it difficult to get any serious mileage in on an empty stomach. Your blood sugar needs a boost after you wake up, in order to give you the drive and focus you need to make your ride productive. Start every day with a light, high-energy meal that offers a good balance of carbohydrates and protein. Yogurt, bananas, and toast with peanut or almond butter are all great breakfast options for cyclists. Try to eat one hour before you ride for best results.
- Eat After Every Ride
As important as it is to fuel up before your rides, and stay energized while you’re in the saddle, recovery meals are even more important. Your body is worn out after a long ride or training session, and it needs to be fed in order to rebuild itself stronger. Your body needs nutrition to restock depleted glycogen stores and repair your muscles after a ride, and the optimal window for providing that nutrition is up to fifteen minutes after your ride. If you drive to your rides, keep a cooler in your car stocked with high protein post-ride foods for immediate consumption.
- Chase Down Omega 3
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for fast muscle recovery, which is exactly what you want. Seafood tends to be high in Omega 3′s, and prawns are a particularly good source of this essential fatty acid. If you can’t get enough Omega 3 in your diet every day, consider starting on a fish oil supplement regimen. Fish oil supplements offer a great Omega 3 boost to anyone who needs a little extra in their diet, or for those who just can’t stand the taste of fish.
- Load Up On Super Foods
We hear about super foods all the time, and for good reason–they offer a nutritional punch that few other foods can match. Quinoa is a great addition to any diet. It’s very high in iron and fiber, and has a balance of amino acids that make it one of the only vegetables that offers a complete protein. Milk is another great super food for your diet, high in protein and carbohydrates as well as a range of other nutrients. If you use a dinner menu planner to figure out your meals, be sure to include lots of super foods in your diet.
- Remember the Carbohydrates
Many dietary trends today are teaching people to cut carbohydrates from their diet. We’ve all heard the carb-shaming. Forget it. Carbohydrates are a valuable source of energy, and energy is what you need in an endurance sport like cycling. Consuming plenty of carbohydrates every day will help keep your energy levels high, and just tasting them during your training rides will stimulate your brain and body to work harder. Every cyclist needs carbs, so don’t be afraid of them.
Cyclists have a unique lifestyle, as they have a tendency to get a lot more aerobic exercise than most individuals. If you’re riding your bike every single day, you can definitely eat a bit more than the average person, because you are burning a lot more calories with your day-to-day activity. You also, however, have to make sure that you’re eating properly. When you’re an avid cyclist, you’re physically pushing your body on a very regular basis. This means you have to fuel your body appropriately. Typically, this is best done by focusing on a diet that’s low in fat and high in carbs. We’ll talk about some of the best dieting tips for cyclists.
Read Whole Story >>
You don’t necessarily have to be aiming for the Tour de France to want to improve the results of your cycling. Whether riding is a hobby, you do it for fitness, or you’re actually in the sport to compete, you might be looking for ways to optimize your practice. And if you’ve gotten all the right gear, switched up your routine (added hilly terrain or trails rides, for example), and you’re still not seeing the results you want, the next step is to address your nutrition. Here are some tips that may just help to improve your ride.