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11 Most Common Winter-Cycling Blunders

Irrespective of the experience on bike, we all make some obvious mistakes especially during the cold season as we don’t know how to deal with it. Winter is the beginning of the cycling season. It is the time when you need to work and prepare yourself for the summers.

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It is also the hardest time of the year to train which makes it most important to maneuver without making obvious mistakes every year. Base mileage, avoiding cold weather weight gain, etc. would keep you on track for the summer. So, we present you few of the clichéd mistakes of winter cyclists and how to avoid them.

WRONG KIT

A very common mistake by most of the riders is that they either wear a wrong kit or don’t wear enough of the necessary kit.  The most intimidating thing for a cyclist can be a change in weather with no layers packed. This results in riding cold or soaked through.

The only rescue to this is carrying spare clothes with you. This doesn’t mean sweaters or many layers but you can carry a waterproof or lightweight gilet as it’s better to have something than nothing. Also when it gets cold, hands and feet are the coldest so you can invest in good winter gloves along with socks and overshoes.

TOO HARD TOO EARLY

Riders often make a mistake of riding to their heart’s extent as fast as they can. But what they don’t understand is that the body requires warming up. An ideal time is required for the body muscles to warm up and then push the boundaries.

Even the well-trained athletes can harm themselves if they don’t warm up as the muscles wear and injuries take place. So take 10-15 minutes and ride at a moderate pace before you start training yourself.

NOT USING ALL THE GEARS

You should make use of all the gears your bike possesses. If you use gears poorly, it stresses your muscles and injures your joints. Be confident and use your full range.

MATCHING PACE

Cyclists often try to match others’ pace but what they don’t understand is that they should stay in their zone of comfort rather than putting their muscles to the risk. It’s your comfort level and your pace which you gradually push. Pace doesn’t come to you in a day.

AVOIDING HYDRATION

We know its winters and you may be thinking you wouldn’t sweat a lot but that is just a misconception. In winters the difference is just that sweat cools easily on your body itself. To avoid this you should wear layers as that enhances the quality of your workout and makes you sweat more. And we all know we need to hydrate to balance that. In fact, hydration is many more things involving proper functioning of your body, better workouts, enhances weight loss, etc. Even a little dehydration can harm a rider and cause injuries. If your body is working out, it will sweat so hydrate.

POOR PEDALING

Are u pedaling efficiently or wasting energy? Pedaling doesn’t mean simply pushing vigorously on the pedals with all your power. In fact, this may hurt your joints. Efficient pedaling involves putting consistent power to the gears on all 360 degree of the movement and enhances smooth pedaling in a circular motion.

You can either concentrate on pedaling for the starters or monitor your feet by fitting a video camera or a mirror to keep an eye on maneuvering them.

POOR POSITIONING

You need proper positioning when you have to deal with road curves. Especially, when you go downhill, there’s a need to keep an eye on the upcoming traffic so keep your posture upright.

OPTING FOR THE INSIDE BEND

While riding uphill curves, first mindset would opt to take the inner curve. This happens because people think it would be a shorter distance to cover. But what actually is a smart choice, is the outer curve as the inner curve is steeper and requires more stamina to cover while outer curve requires less stamina and safer as riders can get a better view of the oncoming traffic.

AVOIDING INJURIES

While heavy workouts, people are so focused on their goals that they neglect the pain signals sent by their body. Rest more  as muscles require proper resting hours to function properly and start the burning process again.

PUTTING ON TOO MUCH WEIGHT 

Over indulgence in riding or under-indulgence has a similar outcome on the body. You gain weight. The cold weather makes you procrastinate and is less appealing to go on a bike ride. But it is always possible with the correct kit as mentioned earlier. Sitting home and lying like a couch potato can only make you gain weight.

Worst case scenario is the festive season which brings sweetness and alcoholic drinks at parties. You can alternate between drinks and water to prevent hangover. There’s a need to control those calories. Also, you can keep yourself motivated by having group goals to meet up for a ride, a race or anything similar. Plan new rides, this helps keeping your socialization exciting and keeping you indulged in your riding.

BEING OVERCONFIDENT

Some riders are too proud of themselves that they can manage to train amazingly in all weather conditions. Our point is that it is okay to skip training outdoors sometimes when the weather is very harsh. You can improvise by working out indoors. There is no use of riding in bad weather and harming oneself.

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How to Train YourSelf to Cycle More Often

It can be very difficult nowadays to take time out for proper training with life stuck around family, work, social life, etc.

Cycling to commute is a great idea. If you want to stay fit, burn fat while travelling and tone your muscles, cycling is a great alternative. Keep in mind that you need to be aware of the road rules related to bicycles to keep you safe and moving.

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BEFORE YOU GET STARTED

Before starting proper training with cycle, you must warm your body up with simple pedaling for about 10-15 minutes. This prevents injuries and muscle strains.

This is necessary even after the ride to cool the body temperature down.

A few stretches before and after your ride can really help you in becoming more flexible and enhance your cycling sessions.  This can be very beneficial for your back as people often ride with a stiff back or bent back.

You must eat right for your ride.  It’s like fuelling your ride. Either eat good breakfast such as boiled eggs, porridge, etc. before you leave or take this food to office to eat after the ride. Make sure you don’t eat something very heavy before you commute.

HOW TO  BURN FAT

Low intensity workouts are ideal for burning fat. These do not expect you to sweat a lot and work out-of-breath. All you need to do is maintain a stable speed and intensity while riding.

Also, change gears smoothly according to the traffic and ride at a speed good enough to make you sweat a bit but not too much that you start racing on the roads.

TRAINING IN INTERVALS

Interval training helps in increasing your fat burning ability and increases your stamina. Remember, the more you are able to sweat with time, the fitter you are. This is just like jogging for a while, then running for 2 minutes, then jogging again.

You need to put more effort and ride hard for around 2 minutes with your maximum heart rate and then lower down to normal speed and simply ride for around 3 minutes. Your purpose is to repeat this procedure for about 4-5 times over your commute.

CYCLING WITH A HIGHER CADENCE

Training your legs to cycle with a higher cadence is a very useful activity to tone them. It’s more effective than pushing hard gears on a low cadence. This activity requires similar interval training as mentioned earlier.

All you have to do is pedal on easy gear as fast as you can for around 2-3 minutes and return to relaxed pedaling that you’re used to for around 8-10 minutes. You’ll find it astoundingly hard when you try it for the first few times during your commute.

SPRINT

Sprints help you accelerate faster with time. It gives you a better turbo boost when you require it around breakaways or while overtaking. Pedal faster on low gears so that you can accelerate as fast as you can. Continue this for a minute and eventually return to your relaxed speed.

This can be tried on hindrance-free road sections or while moving away from traffic lights.

PREPARE FOR THE DISTANCE

If you want to develop a habit of riding bicycle over long distances, participate in bicycle races, etc. you need to get used to long rides.

All you need to do is take out an hour or more from your schedule to practice bike riding and getting used to it. You can do this early in the morning or even while returning from your commute back home.

PREPARE FOR THE HILLS

In order to prepare for the hard up hills, you require strength training. This involves toning your leg muscles and shaping your thighs and calves. So, after your body is warmed up with relaxed pedaling for around 15 minutes, switch to higher gears and push harder to move the pedals for 2 minutes at least.

Then switch back to relaxed gears for 3 minutes or less and repeat the same process. Repeating this for 3-4 times during your commute will help you get your muscles in shape in no time.

REST YOUR MUSCLES OFF THE HARD WORK

This day should be a bit different from what you usually do. Go for a relaxed ride. You don’t need to stress your muscles as usual or cycle with a higher cadence.

Just a stroll on the bike is enough. Just keep a relaxed pace on your commute, rest your muscles for the day and go smooth.