Back in the Saddle
by Jonathan Cane
After a winter of reduced riding, it’s tempting to just jump back on your bike and go, as if your inactivity never happened. Keep these guidelines in mind and you’ll be safe, healthy, and back up to speed in no time.
–Easy on the gearing. If in doubt, err on the side of a smaller (lighter) gear. Cultivate and use your leg speed to increase power, rather than relying in big gears. This will protect your knees
–Check your position. Typically, a rider gains a little flexibility and loses a little weight during the season. (Or looking at it the other way, loses flexibility and gains weight in the off-season). Trying to jump right back on your bike in the same position you were riding at the end of last season may be a mistake. Consider raising your bars and using a slightly (1-2 cm) shorter stem temporarily. That will help ease the strain on your back and neck.
-Give it time. Don’t expect to regain your fitness and speed right away. Figure on two weeks to make up for every week of inactivity. Trying to aggressively make up for lost time is likely to be counterproductive and set you back. Being patient is hard. Being overtrained or injured is harder.
-Scan the bike. While my main concern is getting my riders up to speed, it’s important not to neglect the bike. Aside from removing the dust layer, make sure to check that your cables are all in tact, brake calipers centered, bars/stem, seatpost/saddle are properly tightened, and your drive train is clean and properly lubricated.
Want more tips? Grab a spot in Matt McCulloch’s Cycling X Over, a masterclass for cyclists and avid spin class goers on Wednesday, 4/22 at Kinected!