Friday, December 16, 2011

Biking Tips For Riding Long

This is a long week of endurance training for me. My short rides are strength/power-based while my long ones will be about 4.5 hours (with specific, short intervals woven in). Some of these rides will be followed with a run of about 10K, thus I need my legs to be fresh enough for the pounding of pavement. The following is a contribution on riding considerations from my Dubai-based, architect friend David Chambers. He and I completed Ironman New Zealand last year. Thanks, mate for this!
TIP OF THE WEEK: Tips For the Long Ride Ahead.

Change your hand and body position frequently. That will change the angle of your back, neck, and arms, so that different muscles are stressed and pressure is put on different nerves.

When going uphill, shift gears to maintain normal cadence. On a long hill, conserve energy by staying in your seat (not too big a problem in Dubai, but worth a mention).

Brake right. To exert optimal pressure, brake with your hands at the ends of the levers. For a quick stop, as you press the brakes firmly, slide your buttocks to the very back of the saddle. This will keep the rear of the bike down so that you don't flip over the handlebars.

Don't wear headphones. They can block out the street sounds you need to hear in order to ride defensively.

Use hand signals to alert drivers to your intentions.

Try to make eye contact with drivers as you pull into an intersection or make a turn, so they know your intentions and you know that they've seen you.

Drink sufficient fluids even if the weather is cold. You will still need to replenish lost body fluids, and keep your energy levels optimal for the long ride.

Don't pedal in high gear for long periods. This can increase the pressure on your knees and lead to overuse injuries such as biker's knee. Shift to lower gears, and faster revolutions to get more exercise with less stress on your knees. The best cadence for most cyclists is 60-80 revolutions per minute (rpm), though racers pedal in the range of 80-100 rpm.

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