How To Get The Most Out Of Your Bike Riding
Commonwealth Games 2022 - Birmingham 2022
This year's commonwealth games are going to be held in and around Birmingham, and for us, we are particularly keen on the biking event on 3rd August on Cannock Chase, when the cream of the commonwealth bikers descend on Birches Valley.
For those who are not so competitive, the good news is that a new trail has been created for the games, and of course, we get the opportunity to use it long after the games have gone. We also get a new innovative pedal and play area for young cyclists to practice.
It’s a great time to get back to cycling.
I love cycling and I’m out on the Chase most days. The scenery is great for the soul, just as cycling itself is great for your body. I also have a mountain bike equipped with amazing night lights, so the dark doesn’t stop me either.
If you’re new to cycling, ensure you get your saddle in the right place, as it greatly affects how comfortable you are and how much power you can exert. To find the best position you need some help, as it requires adjusting the seat height until you have about a 25 to 30-degree angle between your thigh and lower leg, when your pedal is at its lowest position. Don’t get into the habit of having a sloppy back posture – it will hurt you.
What can you do to help stay safe while cycling?
Make sure you wear protective clothing and use both brakes – there are many hills over somewhere like Cannock Chase, and unfortunately, coming off is very easy to do. On gravel, you need to use more back brake (left handlebar) than front (right handlebar), as locking the back is recoverable, but locking the front is more likely to cause a fall. Take a mobile and repair kit, just in case. I’d advise installing the What 3 Words app on your mobile because if you do get injured, emergency services can locate you to within 3 metres anywhere on the planet.
How to avoid muscle problems from cycling
To avoid problems with cycling, you need to address some muscle imbalance issues. Hip flexors, hams, and quads get strong, bottom muscles (the gluts) get weak, shins get tight, ankles get overused, a round-shouldered position gives tight pectorals, and traps can irritate nerves in this area. Also, the lumbar spine does not like the lengthy flexed position with a stiff pelvis.
It’s thus a good idea to train different muscle groups with activities like walking, Nordic pole walking, jogging and swimming. This helps avoid injuries caused by overusing and inflaming some muscles whilst others get weak, a combination which leads to joint instability.
I use specific exercises to help overcome these problems. We can help you with these and create a plan for you at the clinic. Call us on 01889 881488 if you need help.
To ride pain-free with good strength and mobility, you must be confident. Confident you can corner and stop safely. If you are new to cycling or have taken a break and want to get on the saddle, then its wise to build that confidence slowly, riding on the flat and initially just short distances. If you really struggle with cardiac fitness or general arthritic pains, then starting gently is even more important.
Don’t forget the basics - in the hot weather, make sure you take plenty to drink with you.
If you struggle to keep up within a cycling group or with your cycling buddy, then you could consider an E-bike, which provides different levels of power assistance and dramatically increases the potential range of any single ride. I’ve got one. It’s brilliant!
If you are not getting as much out of riding as you would like or are suffering muscle problems that interfere with your fun and enjoyment of riding, then it’s always wise to seek help from an experienced physiotherapist or sports therapist. They can then identify problem areas, provide treatment and devise improvement programs, providing support and motivation along the way.
Do You Need Help With Your Cycling?
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Jean, Erica and Charlotte will be happy to help.