All You Need to Know About Cycling
Have you ever noticed that cars run on money and make you fat, while bicycles run on fat and save you money? Strange, right?! When compared to cars, commuting for 16 kilometres saves you about $15 a day, 5 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions, and burns about 360 more calories. That’s an economic benefit, an environmental benefit, and a health benefit, all wrapped in one package - cycling!
Types of Bicycles
It is one thing to want to ride a bike, and another to pick the appropriate bike for the ride. A good place to start is online retail stores like Backcountry, as they have a wide range of options that you can choose from, and the occasional Backcountry discount can often help you get a good price on your new bicycle. However, you need to be aware that bikes come in different types, depending on where the bicycles will be ridden and the purpose of the ride. The different types of bicycles are:
Road bicycles are intended to be ridden on smooth pavement. They are built for on-road racing and are usually lighter than other bicycles
Cyclo-cross bicycles are designed to be used on mixed surface courses, i.e. a combination of paved and unpaved surfaces, gravel, and grass. They usually have large tires and a brake system that is different from other bicycles to prevent mud build up in the frame.
These are designed to be ridden on rough off-road paths. They always incorporate features that enhance their durability and performance in rough terrain, such as a shock absorber and suspension.
Hybrid bicycles can be used on paved and unpaved roads. They are a general purpose bike, and so can tolerate a wide range of riding conditions and applications. Hybrid bikes may have places for mounting racks and bags for transporting belongings.
Touring bicycles are designed for long distance riding and as a result are made of materials that are durable and favor flexibility over rigidity. They usually have spaces and portions that can carry heavy load
Triathlon bicycles are a specially designed road bicycles that optimize aerodynamics (resistance against the effect of wind). They are used in triathlons.
They are also called performance hybrid bicycles. They are mostly used for fitness rides and can mount cargo racks and fenders.
These bicycles are meant for light touring and commuting, and are more suitable for more days in the saddle. They are also referred to as all road bicycles, any road bicycles or gravel bicycles.
Things you must have before cycling
Every time you want to go for a ride, you must have the following items:
You do not want your bike stolen while you are away on the ride, probably when you need to use the john, do you? At the very least, you would want to ride back home, and not walk back
Front and rear lights are essential for your safety during the ride and for interaction with other road users, so ensure your bicycle has these.
Protect your head, or should I say, your brain at all cost. Cycling helmets are 85% effective in protecting against head injuries.
Flat tires don’t give prior warning. They can happen at any time so you want to have your repair gear just in case there’s a situation with the tires during the ride.
Health Benefits of Cycling
Reduces anxiety, depression, and risk of having cancer
Increases cardiovascular fitness, thereby lowering your chances of heart disease
Increases the strength of your muscles and makes them more flexible
Increases the mobility around your joints
Improves your body posture and coordination
Decreases stress levels
Strengthens the bones
Promotes weight loss
Improves the health of the lungs
Things to do before cycling
Have breakfast three hours before cycling to allow for proper digestion of the food. This will prevent the possibility of having stomach cramps when cycling. The breakfast should be food you are accustomed to eating and not some strange meal you decided to try out.
Drink as much as half a litre of fluids during breakfast and another half litre around the time you are going to ride. The fluids you can drink may be water and electrolyte drinks. Electrolyte drinks help your body absorb and retain fluids for longer periods.
You can eat a snack before you start riding, as snacks are much lighter than meals and can provide needed energy for the ride.
Things to do when cycling
If you are going to ride for less than 90 minutes, then focus on hydration and electrolyte fluids. Taking caffeine as a stimulant before starting the ride is also allowed if you are used to the said caffeine product.
If your ride will last more than 90 minutes, then focus on both hydration and carbohydrate intake. Snacks can help here. Caffeine should be taken towards the end of the ride to provide stimulation to complete the ride.
Things to do after cycling
Rest after cycling! ‘You have to rest as hard as you ride.’
Eat within 30-60 minutes after cycling, especially protein and carbohydrates. The protein is essential for your muscle recovery, while the carbohydrate is essential for energy replenishment.
Adding milk to the meal delivers even more carbohydrate than water.
Make proper plans for the carbohydrate and protein meal before starting the ride so that you can eat within the recovery hour window.
Did you know?
Cycling as a popular pastime and competitive sport was established in England in the late 19th century.
The wheel size of the smallest bicycle ever made is similar to silver dollars.
The first set of mountain bikes were made in 1977.
Over 90% of all bicycle trips are shorter than 15 kilometers.
Tour de France, established in 1903, is considered to be the biggest test of endurance of all sporting activities. The length of the course is 2,277 miles.
I bet you now want to jump on your bikes and feel that breeze through your hair! Go enjoy, I say!
If your bike is in need of a good servicing to make it is safe or a set up so it works optimally for your body
then don't forget that Ten Street Cycles exists in Liverpool to help you keep your bikes in tip top shape.
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