Barton Haynes here, continuing my series on healthy riding as the cycling season comes into full swing. This article will touch on a few best practices – albeit “obvious” practices – to do before and after your ride.
Stretch before and after cycling
Stretching before and after cycling is a great way to avoid tightness, pain, and injuries for:
- Lower back
Some good stretches for cycling are:
- Low lunge for hips
- Pigeon posefor gluts, hip flexors, IT band, and lower back
- Pyramid Posefor hamstring
- Calf stretches on a curb
- Chin tucks for neck
Ride Slow at First and at End
Warming up your legs by riding slow as you get started is very important to avoid cramping and injury. When I ride, I always spend the first 15-20 minutes riding at about 60% of my normal pace just to get warm.
Likewise, winding down at the end of your ride is similar to walking after a long run, running after pitching, and other wind-down activities. It will help avoid tightness and soreness the next day.
Warming up and winding down with slower riding is especially important for hard rides or during your weekly long ride.
Use Anti-Chafe Cream
Not wearing anti-chaffing cream is typically for a long ride is typically only a mistake you make once. However, even smaller rides without anti-chafe cream can, over time, cause problems.
Wearing anti-chafe cream is always a best practice if you are spending time in the saddle, even if only a half hour.
Diet is important for maintaining energy while riding and avoiding cramping. I always eat a banana before going on a ride and usually bring a snack, such as my honey/oat/date/banana goo, or just a banana.
Also, make sure you are following the ideal diet for yourself. For most, this includes carb-loading before riding. However, high fat low carb diets (i.e., Keto diet) is also practiced even among elite riders.
Finally, make sure you eat something after you ride – though this hardly need be said, as most of us want to eat after a long ride!
Thanks for following along,