Tips - Fast riding and recovery
- On descents, your bike is much more stable when you're pedaling than when you're coasting.
- Whenever you make the transition from standing to sitting, gain a few free inches by pushing the bike forward as you drop to the saddle.
- Don't take the day off before a big event. If you need complete rest from riding, do so two days before, then take a short ride on the eve of the event—including a couple sprints to make sure your body (and your bike) are well oiled.
- Break up long rides with a 15-second sprint every 30 minutes or so—adding variety to a monotonous pace is better training, relieves saddle pressure, and stretches and relaxes your body.
HOW TO HEAL: Road rash—patches of abraded skin that result when you crash and slide across pavement—is painful but rarely serious, long-lasting, or likely to horrifically scar if you follow these six tips#
- Quickly get to a place where you can thoroughly clean and disinfect the wound. It is less painful if done within 30 minutes of the crash, because nerve endings are still numb from the trauma.
- To prevent infection and scarring, scrub the wound hard with a rough washcloth or a medium- or soft-bristle brush. Apply a liberal amount of an antibacterial surgical cleaner such as Hibiclens or Betadine.
- Pat the wound dry, then apply an antibacterial ointment such as Neosporin (which, like the products mentioned previously, is available without a prescription).
- Cover the cleaned abrasion with a nonstick sterile dressing such as Telfa or Second Skin. To prevent leakage on clothes or sheets, cover the dressing with a layer of absorbent gauze for the first few days.
- Change the dressing each morning and night. Apply more antibacterial ointment before covering the wound, and check for signs of infection: tenderness, swollen red skin, or a sensation of heat. If you detect any of these, consult a doctor.
- To minimize scarring, keep the wound moist so a hard scab can't develop. As new skin starts to form, apply Saratoga ointment and light gauze. This zinc-oxide-based salve prevents scabbing. Then use a moisturizer on new skin for at least a week.
11 Tips - General Riding
1. After adjustments to your saddle position, handlebar height, stem length, or cleat placement, minor discomfort is normal as your body adapts to the changes. Resist the temptation to fiddle again after just one short ride.
2. As tempted as you might be, don't take a day completely off the bike after the week's hardest effort. The best way to recover is with a short, easy spin—30 to 60 minutes at a pace that always allows effortless talking.
3. By sliding rearward or forward on the saddle, you can emphasize different muscle groups. This is useful on a long climb as a way to give various muscles a rest while others take over the work. Moving forward accentuates the quadriceps, while moving back emphasizes the hamstrings and glutes. However beware of creeping forward on the saddle and hunching your back when you're tired. Shift to a higher gear and stand to pedal periodically to prevent stiffness in your hips and back.
4. Relax your grip. On smooth, traffic-free pavement, practice draping your hands over the handlebar. This not only will help alleviate muscle tension, but also will reduce the amount of road vibration transmitted to your body.
5. Periodically change hand position. Grasp the drops for descents or high-speed riding and the brake-lever hoods for relaxed cruising. On long climbs, hold the top of the bar to sit upright and open your chest for easier breathing. When standing, grasp the hoods lightly and gently rock the bike from side to side in sync with your pedal strokes. But always keep each thumb and a finger closed around the hood or bar to prevent yourself from losing control if you hit an unexpected bump.
6. If a headwind finally defeats you, don't let it ruin your day Accept the slower speed, shift to an easy gear, and work on your pedaling form and your ability to stay relaxed. (And don't feel bad that you pooped out: In terms of pedaling effort, a cyclist who travels 18 mph through calm air would have to work about twice as hard to maintain that speed into a mere 10-mph headwind.)
7. Don't get down on yourself and think you're mentally weak if you feel like the wind is almost always against you—you're right. Studies have shown that only those winds within the trailing 160 degrees of an imaginary circle drawn around a cyclist provide assistance. Wind anywhere in the other 200 degrees works against you.
8. Two easy (and most overlooked) ways to improve your bike's performance: Inflate the tyres before every ride, and keep the chain lubed.
9. Always ride with your elbows bent and your arms and shoulders relaxed. This prevents fatigue caused by muscle tension. It also allows your arms to absorb shock instead of transmitting it to your body.
10. Handlebar width should equal shoulder width. A wider bar opens your chest for breathing; a narrower one is generally more aerodynamic. Pick the one that favors your riding style. Position the angle of the bar so the bottom, flat portion is parallel to the ground, or else points just slightly down, toward the rear hub.
11. As your effort becomes harder, increase the force of your breaths rather than the frequency.