Easy Cycling Fitness Tips

By Matt Smolsky , last updated January 15, 2012

While there are a variety of easy cycling fitness tips you can use to get into better shape and improve your cycling, the most important one is probably the hardest. Cycling requires mental toughness above everything else. So if you can discipline your mind, you can improve you cycling with these easy tips.



Get Fitted



If you've never been fitted for your bike, do so immediately. No matter how long you've been riding your bike, make sure it fits you correctly. While it may seem like you can hop on a bike and start riding it, nothing's further from the truth if you want to improve your cycling. A specialty bike shop can either adjust your saddle, stem and handlebars, or recommend a new bike that fits you perfectly. Be sure to pick up a perfectly fitted helmet too, and be sure to wear it whenever you ride.



Toe Clips



Keeping your toes clipped into your pedals improves your pedaling efficiency. Your feet will pull up as well as push down, providing power to your wheels on every up and down stroke. Be sure to practice getting in and out of your clips as they take some getting used to. You'll find toe clips extremely helpful on long rides. The first few times you use them, you'll discover that you have cycling muscles you never knew you had.



Long Rides



A long ride is defined as anything one hour or longer. Of course, you may need to build to an hour, so do so carefully. Long rides will build your endurance and get you body used to utilizing fuel more efficiently. You should go on a long bike ride at least once a week, but not more unless you’re training for an endurance bike race. Then, it's best to consult a personal trainer with endurance cycling experience. An added benefit of long rides is that you can plan out your trip to explore new areas in your community. Or, you can make a day of it and take your bike to another town, state park, or some other location you'd like to check out.



Intervals



In addition to a long ride once a week, add in interval training a couple of days. Your interval sessions can be varied to your current fitness level and goals. During interval training, you'll ride fast for a designated period, for example 15 minutes, recover at a slower pace, then speed up again for 15 minutes. You'll do this as many times as time and your fitness level permit. Be sure to warm up before your fast interval and cool down after your workouts over. These sessions should be focused and serious. You don't want to risk injury by training too hard or too carelessly. And since you'll be pedaling quickly on a bike, you don't want to risk an accident.



Nutrition and Hydration



Whether you're going for a long ride, interval training, or just cruising on a casual ride, make sure your body is properly fueled for your session. Eat prior to your ride and carry enough water to stay properly hydrated. If you're going for a long ride, be sure to take snacks along. You don't want to bonk. If you do, you won't get as much out of your work out, and you risk injury or an accident.

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