Seasoned cyclists develop biking skills and certain characteristics that distinguish the way they look on a bicycle from newbies. Looking like a pro is not merely about appearance. Safety and style should be given equal importance.
Want to look like a pro? Master the following three biking skills and techniques and you will be on your way:
Face Off: Your entire body will become tight if your facial muscles are. So mindfully relax your face as well as your neck. Loosen the muscles in your jaw. Avoid clenching your teeth.
No Turtles: When tensed, we tend to hunch our shoulders, looking like turtles. To avoid this, drop your shoulders and relax your muscles running from the top of your shoulders to your neck. Proper and regular deep breaths will also help you avoid burying your ears in your shoulders.
Get a Light Grip: Slightly bend your elbows and relax your hands and forearms. In case you get bumped or hit a bump, your loose arms receive the impact without affecting your front wheel. Stay in control of your bicycle.
It is easy to notice the smooth pedal strokes of a pro cyclist as opposed to a beginner’s lumpy plodding. Here is how to pedal smoothly:
Practice Slowly. A fast cadence of 90-110 revolutions per minute (RPM) is efficient and at the same time stylish. However, it can be tough for your brain to keep up with your feet going rapidly. So practice at a slower pace of 60-70 RPM, so you can better focus on your stroke.
Scrape The Mud. Greg LeMond, a three-time Tour de France champion gave this great tip in 1985, and it’s still certainly helpful today. Imagine you are scraping mud off your shoe when you pull your foot through the bottom of the stroke. This technique will help you smoothly pull your foot through with added force.
Knee Your Handlebar. As your foot rises and over the top, pull your knee forward like you want it to get in contact with your handlebar. This simple technique adds power to the weakest part of the pedal stroke.
Seasoned riders can finish a three-week race and are able to recover fast and get back on their bikes again. Check out the following tips on how to help you recover like a pro:
Pump Fluids. Losing as little as 1% of body weight as sweat will affect your performance and endurance. So it’s best to drink at least one 500ml of water or sports drink for every hour you are on your bike. After your ride, increase your fluid intake until your weight is back to normal. Not getting up twice every night to go to the comfort room means that you are not sufficiently hydrated.
Replenish Glycogen Supplies. Generally a 150-pound rider needs around 80-100 grams of carbohydrate during the first two hours of riding. A banana and bagel contain around 60 grams of carbohydrates, an energy bar about 40 grams.
Take a Good Rest. Pros take 9 to 10 hours of sleep every night, and usually take an afternoon nap after training. This would not be possible if you have a real 40-hour-a-week job. But because enough rest is paramount to recovery, try your very best to take at least a full 8-hour sleep each night, and then get a short, probably 15- to 30-minute power nap in the afternoon.