1) Road safety. Make sure you are confident on your bike before venturing out into the busy city centre or the fast, rural country lanes. To remind yourself of some basic safety tips before hitting the road follow this link; http://www.travelgosport.co.uk/pages/cycling-safety/
2) Set up your bike correctly. Regardless of the type of bike you own and your experience level, when it comes to cycling having the right set up is crucial. Not only will it help prevent injury but it will also help you to ride much more efficiently. Read the articles on ‘Cycling Biomechanics’ and ‘Common Cycling Injuries’ to find out more.
3) Correct cycling kit. A small investment in some important bike gear will help you stay safe and get the most out of your training. Read the article on ‘Bike kit Essentials’ to find out more.
4) Build up cycle strength. Specific strength training will enhance your cycling. A fully balanced programme is essential and should include lower body, upper body, core and lower back exercises. Strength in all of these areas is very important for cycling and will help reduce the risk of injury. Refer back to the programme titled ‘Beginners Strength Training Programme’ for some guidance.
5) Biking intervals. To balance out your long rides, try experimenting with some faster-paced riding. You can vary the sessions depending on your current fitness level and time restrictions. In short, you are looking to ride faster for a short period, followed by a recovery period and then some repeats of the faster effort. A speedometer is a great investment, perfect for keeping track of your distance, time and speed. Spinning classes are indoor interval sessions, a great way of improving your bike fitness. See below for additional information on spinning classes*.
Spinning is an intensive group-based workout done on stationary bikes in a studio. It is usually challenging but enjoyable and provides excellent training, the perfect alternative to cycling outdoors if weather/equipment is a limiting factor. One 60 minute session each week will definitely improve your cycling fitness.
Class structure: After setting up the bikes the class starts with a gentle warm up. Next, the instructor’s talks you through hill climbs, sprint races, time trials and group races. Classes last 30- 60 minutes and vary in size from 5-50.
The benefits: A good spinning class gives the heart and the lungs a good workout whilst also building strength in the legs. It is one of the best classes for fat-burning.
Who goes: Whilst this is a perfectly good exercise for beginners, Spinning is extremely beneficial for those who already have a very good level of fitness but want to be pushed a bit further. Classes are usually an equal male/female split.
What to wear: Choose something that lets your skin breathe. Or, wear layers that you can remove easily. Consider wearing padded cycling shorts and make sure that you take a towel and plenty of water with you.
Signs of a good instructor: Good instructors should screen the class at the start for any medical problems and make sure that the exercise bikes are set up correctly. However, if the instructor does not have time to help you set up or you’re late to the class then it is handy to know how to set up your own. Follow this link before going to the class to find out how: http://www.livestrong.com/article/15780-use-spin-bike/
Not suitable for: People with injuries preventing them from using a bike.