Tips and Tricks from a pro cyclist to be a pro yourself!

Cyclists pros shaking hands

Here are different cycling tips and tricks passed down from a generation to another. Let me introduce you to these very useful tricks in the next paragraphs:

The wind is a major factor of fatigue, here’s how to deal with it

The wind can be a cyclist’s greatest fear and enemy but, with a little practice, you can make your life much easier when the monster starts rising up and you suddenly loose 10 miles an hour on the speedometer for bike. If you are riding in a group, stay close to the riders all the way at the front. If the wind is coming from the left you can place your front wheel just front and right and vice versa for the right side.

When riding on your own, be aware of any protection or shelter that a ditch or wall could offer you. Constantly change your mountain bike gear shifter to make it easier and try to keep a fast pace going forward. Riding against a strong wind is the same as climbing a hill or mountain, that’s why Dutch riders have been the best and have excelled at the Tour de France 2017. Always try to begin your training with a headwind so that you can enjoy the tailwind on your way back.

 

Flat bike tires occur, what to do when it does

A flat bicycle tire
A bicycle flat tire can happen at any moment, be sure you know what to do!

Nowadays, with our smart phones and high-speed internet and wherever we are, it is very easy to call a friend to come pick us up. Also, we can call a Uber and bring our bicycle to a repair shop in the midst of a training session and have our mountain bike tires repaired or changed on the spot. It is in fact very simple to repair bike tires and I would like to explain to you how in the next paragraph. Forget about installing small patches, it might not work properly the first time, you don’t save that much money compared to replacing the tube and it takes much longer. On every training session bring a bicycle pump, tire levers and two or three spare bike tubes.

If you get a puncture at some point, take off the bicycle wheel that’s problematic and start to take the mountain bike tires off using your bike tires lever. Remove one side of the mountain bike tires and then pull out the tube from underneath. Pump fresh air inside the bike tube to help you locate the area where the object punctured your tire. Locate the piece of glass, nail, or whatever object this is and remove it. Then check the rest of the bike tires. If you cannot find anything whatsoever in the tire causing the flat and the tube has two holes very close together, this may be a pinch flat. These are caused by riding fast with under inflated mountain bike tires over a pothole or a stone. Now inflate your new tube half way or less and fit it inside the bike tires.  Now pump the tires back to the recommended psi, reinstall the wheel and off you go!

How to feed and rehydrate yourself while riding your bicycle

A food seller on a bicycle
Food and water are an important part of keeping yourself gooing strong during a race or training

Anything below two hours, I don’t recommend you eat anything. Your bike water bottle with room temperature water should be plenty enough.  If you feel more tired than usual, bring a small handful of nuts for some slow burning energy. When going out for longer spins, bring some ride shots, an energy bar, some fruits or whatever you would fancy and nibble away starting one and a half hour into your training session. Drinking depends on the weather, but it is a good idea to begin sipping within the first fifteen minutes or so as this will set the tone for the rest of the spin. I usually use one bottle of isotonic mix every two hours while training on my mountain bike.

Always out of time? Think again!

A picture of Shakespeare at the theater with clocks
Time is rarer nowadays more than ever but you have no excuse

Cycling takes time like many things in life. It takes some time to go for a spin and it takes some time to improve your performance, whether you like it or not. The better you get at bicycling, the further you can go and this will prolong your training sessions even more. With family, work and social commitments there will always be something else to do, you just have to think hard and find a way around them. The biggest obstacle many people find when trying to train for big events is the time to do so. Well, if you watch more than 5 hours of TV a week, you have plenty of time to train, even if you split your training into small sessions.  If you spend your lunchtime sitting in a cozy cafe, you have time to pick your bike up and train. If you sit in traffic every day, you can decide to start biking to your office daily. All you need to do is to become a little more disciplined with your time and you will find the time to train. Your wife will be happy with the new slimmer you, your boss will enjoy your increased productivity and your kids will enjoy the extra energy that you will have to play with them.

Your behind

Two persons riding bicycles in nature, forest
Bicycles riding in nature, with accessories, bags, helmets, gloves and mountain bicycles.

From time to time, you will see bicyclists wearing black shorts with a visible jocks line running underneath them. Most professional cycling shorts have been designed with a padded gel cushion that goes directly on the cyclist’s skin. It may feel like you are completely naked at first but no worries, you will get accustomed to wearing this type of bicycle clothing over time. What happens most of the time is that the seam will come into contact with your skin and cause major irritation after a couple hours of intense riding your bike. It would be wise and advisable to use Chamois cream to circumvent that problem and ensure a comfortable ride of your carbon road bike. This cream can be applied to either the padding or on your skin where the point of contact happens.

Everyone has a personal choice in saddle styles, the general rule would be that it should be narrow for carbon road bike use because you will be sitting way more forward than with a wider bicycle seat and a wider saddle may cause irritation on the skin between your legs. All bike seats should be level and never pointing up or down. If you ever feel that you need your saddle pointing down towards the front hub, chances are that it is too high in the first place and vice versa. It doesn’t take a long time to get your behind used to sitting on a saddle for hours on end, but this too is all part of the training.

Make good use of your mountain bike gear shifter

Bicycle gears displayed
Using the gears with your mountain bike gear shifter is an important part of bicycling

Inexperienced bicyclists will usually try to rock their bicycle from left to right trying to gain speed while using a big difficult bike gear. This is evident when you see their shoulders rocking and their whole body moving way too much, sometimes up to 20 inches on each side. Bikes nowadays use mountain bike gear shifters up to thirty-two gears. Even if you only have ten mountain bike gears, use them wisely to keep a nice and steady pace. The average pace should be about 85 rpm on the flat and 65 rpm while climbing.

Cleaning your bicycle is important

A dirty bicycle
A dirty bicycle is never a good idea!

Take the time, every week, to clean your bicycle. A small twenty minutes should suffice to keep it in perfect running condition. When cleaning your bicycle, make sure you hit the mountain bike disk brakes, mountain bike gear shifter and the mountain bike handlebars, these will all run a lot smoother when a bike is well taken care of. Your bicycle chain and bike cog will not wear out as quickly and you will spot problems such as glass or thorns on your bike tires before they become an issue. You will also feel better as a clean bicycle will always lift your mood. Try it, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

Bend your elbows

A cyclist competing at an Ironamn competition
Time trials and Ironman competitions are all about bending the elbows!

When I first started out cycling, I would be told right away by the most experienced to bend the elbows more. It is really important to have the good posture when cycling and most experienced riders are great advocates of bending the elbows more. When you think about it it makes total sense. If your arms are locked, all the vibrations travel from the road to your wheels all the way up to your arms, then along to your neck and shoulders which might cause neck and shoulder pain in the long run. You are also in a bad position if someone hits your mountain bike handlebars in a cycling group. It does take a bit of practice but it will be well worth the effort.

Look up to the sky

A mountain bike rider looking at the horizon
Take the time to look at the horizon

Looking at the horizon can cure most sea sickness and car sickness symptoms in a relatively short amount of time. This is because twenty percent of your balance is related to your optic nerves. It plays a big role when bicycling, especially when going downhill. You are much more stable on your racing carbon road bike when you look up ahead than when you look five feet in front of you. The patterns in the road passing by really fast can actually make you feel dizzy when riding your cheap mountain bike. You need to look where you want to go, far up front. In a racing bicycle group as well, it is important to look up. Your peripheral vision will take care of whats around you and by looking up ahead you can protect yourself from obstacles and also, you will feel more stable on your cheap mountain bike on sale. A simple trick is to always wear your quality road bike helmets one inch above your eyebrows, not on the back of your head. This will make your road bike helmets much more comfortable.

The right way to climb is to suffer a lot

A mountain bike climber is goig up a mountain
Mountain bike hill climbing or carbon road bike mountain hill climbing is all about pain and endurance

Many people create themselves a mental block when it comes to road bike or mountain bike hill climbing. The main thing to know is that pain is, unfortunately, a big part of bicycling and racing so it is obvious that climbing would be even worst. Chris Froome at the Tour De France 2017 once said that ‘the best climbers aren’t the ones who can climb the best, but the ones who can endure suffering the most’. So be prepared for a lot of leg pain but, also be conscious that you aren’t the only one. This makes it a lot more tolerable when you know that others are doing it. On short and sharp climbs you should try to power over them but for longer climbs, it is very important to pace yourself. Find a mountain bike gear shifter position that you are comfortable in and get into a steady rhythm. When rising up from the saddle, change up a mountain bike gear shifter position to maintain your speed and change it back down when you sit down again. The only way to improve your climbing is to climb, so don’t try to avoid any hills when you are out training.

 

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