Prepare now & experience the benefits.
So what’s cycling season anyway?
Typically, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere tend to think of Winter as a bit of cycling down time, either because we're snowed in for a couple of months, just unable to squeeze in rides during shorter days, or not really enthused about riding in snow and ice.
So, for many of us, the beginning of warmer weather signifiies that it's time to think about getting back in the saddle.
Whether your season is year-round or begins when balmy weather returns, let’s go over 6 ways to prepare for getting back on your bike.
1. Fix It First – If your bike had mechanical or fit issues at the end of your previous season, solve them now. Mechanical issues can cause accidents or leave you stranded. Fit issues can cause you pain (or worse). Giving your bike some TLC makes it reliable and a lot more fun to ride. Even if it's just basic maintenance, like replacing a chain or tires.
Remember to seek professional help for any fix or fit adjustments beyond your capability. A professional tune up isn’t a bad idea either. They'll be able to point out anything you might have missed. And if a part on your bike has a safety recall notice - you’ll be alerted. There’s nothing like starting your season feeling secure.
2. Gear Up – Check your equipment for signs of wear and tear. Is there an item that could make your season more comfortable? Or more fun? Don't overlook giving yourself the most positive experience possible. This is motivating and will fuel your rides throughout the season.
A good cycling rain jacket, long-fingered gloves or a larger seat bag can make a big difference. Think you're well equipped already? Remember that bike shorts become threadbare over time, helmet materials can decay, and older taillights may have flashed their last flash.
Invest in quality essentials and maybe even something fun. Well fitting, stylish tanks or even cycling dresses - we can help you with that! - can add the motivation you needed to get back on the bike. Kick off your season with confidence.
3. Buddy Up – Find motivation through friends, groups or clubs. Winter doesn't end until the second half of March, and even spring can pose some daunting weather, which can kill your momentum.
Fight the urge to hunker down in imperfect weather by connecting with other cyclists now. Plan some rides with friends or even join a cycling club. If someone is expecting you to ride with them, it's easier to stay committed. The social aspect of cycling has become especially poignant in recent times.
4. Set Goals – Always wanted to ride a certain distance? is there an organized ride you have your eye on? Set your sights on those milestones and start taking steps to get there.
Keeping a log means you can visualize accomplishments and track your progress. I'm not a Strava gal but I know many who are, and keeping track of the numbers can help you see the progression.
5. Research and Register – Searching for suitable rides or tours and signing up early gives your season some structure. This year, it's not so clear what rides are actually going in person - more on this in a later post - so scout around and see what's out there.
6. Climb & Conquer Hills – If you choose to take part in events, excursions, or tours with hilly routes - start riding hills early and consistently, even if you have to drive to the location. Keep your first hill rides short and expand them week by week.
This pays off massively. Over the course of a few rides, you may notice that you're slaying some of the hills that initially slayed YOU. When your organized event starts, you'll thank yourself for investing some prep time.
And lastly, for this crazy sort-of-post-pandemic year, don't underestimate the toll that sitting at home for the last twelve months might have taken on your fitness. You might have to start more slowly than you expect and build up more gradually. I've noticed this as I start to amp up my workouts.
There you have it. Prep now and enjoy your rides even more this season. Have a great one!