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12 Apr 2019

Making the Most of Spring

With the brighter nights and better weather (fingers crossed) many of us vacate our indoor training to move to the more natural environment of outdoor riding. The long winter months can sometimes sap your motivation, but now that it’s spring there are some key areas to look at so you can maximize this time of the year. We’ve teamed up with Dig Deep Coaching to bring you the following tips.

Get Outside

When possible aim to ride outside and enjoy the fact that you can use the local roads and terrain to help boost your fitness. It is important to ride outside and to ride with others as this can improve your skills and technique. A winter of little outdoor riding can lead to a dulling of your skills and technique which would have been second nature last summer. Having the proper skills brings confidence and confidence enhances enjoyment; getting outdoors and back into your group rides or early evening sessions will help the body and mind back into the real feeling of riding outside. Here are some tips to put into place as you pedal through spring:

  • Get out with a group: Building your skills of riding in a group is invaluable. As you increase the amount of time you spend in a group or out with friends riding a bike, you will improve your bike handling and road safety. Something to keep in mind is to ride in a group with similar ability to you and avoid going with a very fast group that you may struggle to keep pace with. If you can find experienced riders with a knowledge of group riding and road safety, then this will really help you in the coming months.

  • Use different terrains: Riding in different environments is crucial to help you be able to handle the demands come event day. If you ride your bike 2-3 times outside a week then aim to make one of these rides in the hills and another on the flat. It is also good to try and do a similar route each week on one of your rides; the main reason for this is so you can compare your performance week to week and see what progress you have made.
  • Be safe: Even though the light is starting to increase it can still change quickly and riding in the evenings can bring safety issues. Keep well illuminated with the proper visibility equipment if out in the early evenings. Riding with others will also improve your visibility to other road users.

Photo: SeeSense 

  • Bike Changes: Some people have the luxury to have a winter bike, what is called in cycling as the ‘hack bike’, alongside a bike for the spring/summer. With the weather changing and the favourable climate for cycling on its way, this is the time to bring your new bike out onto the roads. One of the big issues with bike changes during the year is changing your position, as even a small change in saddle height or frame size can lead to discomfort and possibly injury. Here are some tips if you are changing to the new steed for Spring:
    • Check the saddle height is the same between your bikes.
    • Check the crank length is the same; if not, adjust the saddle height to match the leg extension.
    • Handlebar reach needs to be similar or you can either feel too stretched out or too crunched up. Measure from the tip of your saddle to the centre of your handlebars and see if both your bikes match.
    • When you first jump onto a new bike don’t spend lots of hours cycling on it in your first outings. Gradually ease into the amount of time spent on the new bike over a few weeks so you can get the position right and avoid injury.

There are some tips to help you kick off Spring with confidence and motivation to get back outside and onto the roads. Stay safe and enjoy.

 

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Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland Cycle NI Decathlon

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