Cycling is one of the best ways to not only stay in shape, but relax your mind. Many people cycled as a kid, whether it was with a BMX or a mountain bike. As an adult, you may want to get back into cycling, and even make it your go-to sport or exercise. With its growth in popularity over the past decade and a massive culture rallying behind the two-wheeled devices, how exactly do you get back into cycling and train for it?
Scope out the local scene and internet forums
One of the first things you should do is speak to local cyclists and visit specialist bike shops. There is a wide range of information on the internet about cycling, and local professionals will be able to give you some great tips. Be sure to mention that you are new and take in all of the advice that’s given to you. Of course, not all of it will suit you or your riding style, but be aware of everything that is said to you.
At first, cycling is going to seem intimidating. There will be cyclists using all kinds of jargon, discussing in depth diets and fitness routines, and sporting some seriously expensive gear and bikes. You’ll eventually work your way up to their levels, but for now, just focus on training yourself and not pushing your body too hard. Look through everything they tell you and you’ll find a wealth of helpful information.
Put together a basic nutritional plan
You may already be fit or you want to shed a few pounds. Either way, your diet may need to change in order to not only maximise the benefits of biking, but building up muscle as well. If you’re eating pizza and burgers on a daily basis, it may be time to re-look at your diet and drop those foods. This also includes copious amounts of chocolate and carbonated fizzy drinks.
Each person’s body is different, which means that not every cycling nutrition plan (or diet) will work for you. In general, you may want to consider consuming natural foods (no processed sugars), high-carbohydrate meals, and protein without fat (such as chicken). You can also look into shakes and nutrition bars, though they may be too advanced for you in the beginning. Your body will need to adapt to a new intake of food as you weaned yourself off of the processed items. And, of course, also ask a local cycling specialist about recommended foods or speak to a dietitian if necessary.
Start off slow and steady
There’s no point in throwing yourself into rigorous training routines in the beginning. If your body isn’t used to the extra push, you can damage yourself. Take your time and go for rides a few times a week, or when you have time. Get used to your bike, understand how its braking system works, and what its limitations are.
When it comes to training, it’s not just about cycling for long distances at a time, but the frequency of cycling. You may only have time over the weekend to train, though you’ll need to try do it on weekday evenings in order to build up stamina. Try to not train each and every day as your body needs time to actually recover and adjust to the new routine.
If there are days where you feel you cannot complete your routine, rather take a day off to recover. Some might tell you to push through the pain in order to achieve your goal and be a better rider, but cycling can be dangerous when you are tired and you won’t be able to control the bike properly. You run the risk of damaging your body.
Take supplies with
It doesn’t matter if you’re just going to a quick session or a day’s worth of training, you’ll need to be prepared for what’s ahead. A few necessities to take with you include a quick repair kit, cellphone, and tyre pump. After all, you don’t want to be pushing your bike back home for a few hours.
You’ll also need to have on some protective gear, such as a helmet, riding gloves, and guards for any sensitive parts of your body.
And, finally, your bike needs to be a (literal) well-oiled machine. Take regular care of it and ensure there is no rust and the gears and chain are working properly. Be sure that all safety lights and reflectors are in top performance.
Keep track of everything
It’s not always easy to get into a new routine, especially when it requires physical activity. An easy way to stay motivated is to create a training schedule and mark off all of the times you go for a ride, and what you eat.. This should encourage you to cycle and reach your goal and stuff.