Cycling Tips: How to Get the Most Out of Your Bike Ride
A bike ride is an inherently enjoyable thing. You roam the outdoors, use your own body as an engine, burn calories for fuel, ride wherever you please and travel at a perfect pace to take in your surroundings. You can make a short jaunt to the grocery store, or you can test the limits of your body and psyche. It’s up to you. Sometimes, what starts off as a trip to the market can even turn into an enjoyable scenic detour through the surrounding environs. Whenever you embark on a ride, the potential for new explorations awaits. Still, there are certain things you can do that might make the journey even more enjoyable. This article discusses a few of them, but keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive.
- Stay hydrated. Many cyclists find they drink more water riding bikes than they do hiking, playing basketball or working out. There’s nothing that puts a damper on your ride like having to ration your water intake. Bring an extra bottle, and refill them whenever you can. It’s worth it.
- Stay energized. Bring an energy bar, stop for lunch, or eat a piece of candy. However long your ride is, it’s going to be more enjoyable if you keep your blood sugar up and your belly full. Remember, your body is literally your engine and it performs best when it’s fully fueled.
Backroads Pro TipDon’t overfill your belly in one sitting. Instead, eat small, calorie-rich snacks throughout your ride in order to maintain proper fuel levels.
- Ride at your own pace. It’s a common scenario. You start a ride and try to keep up with your faster friends, but by the 10th mile, you’re spent. Now, this isn’t such a big deal if you’re on a shorter ride, but if you have 30 more miles to go, you could be in trouble. On longer rides, try to maintain an “all-day” pace. It might feel slow in the beginning of the ride, but if you’re riding at the same speed by mile 40, you’re doing well. Keeping a consistent pace means you’ll be less fatigued.
- Pay attention! This doesn’t just mean to traffic and to other riders—although, this is important—but to your surroundings as well. It is too common for bicyclists to focus on their cadence and miles per hour and forget they are riding along a beautiful lake, up a stunning mountain pass or down a magnificent street filled with ancient poplars and beautiful Colonial houses. Whatever your surroundings are, notice them! On a bike, you’re moving at the perfect pace to take in everything while still traveling great distances in a relatively short amount of time. Take breaks at beautiful overlooks, pretty streams and charming cottages. This lets you appreciate what you’ve done so far and recharge just a little as you continue your ride.
These four tips are designed to help you enjoy your bike ride a bit more, but the main cycling tip to remember is this: just getting out there is a reward. You are pedaling along, wherever you might be going and however fast you want to go, and you’re moving yourself through the world with your own two legs. That alone is pretty cool! As long as you take the time to remember that, your bike rides will all be magnificent.