The Prime Minister today announced ‘a £2bn cycling and walking revolution’, as part of a plan “to build a healthier, more active nation”. So, if this has tempted you to get on your bike, our member and cycling enthusiast Craig McLean has some tips for you; “Whether you’re a beginner or picking cycling back up, it’s essential your bicycle is the right fit for you. Not only is this important for your comfort, but it will help you travel the maximum distance without tiring yourself out after a couple of miles.
“It’s completely normal for cyclists of all ages and levels to experience lower back, neck, wrist or hand pain. For those starting out, this tends to stem from not having a strong enough core, or a poor position on the bike and some inflexibility. But, just little changes to how you sit on your bike can go a long way. The most important thing is to not lose heart – your strength and stamina will come on leaps and bounds if you stick with it. Here are my top tips for putting your best pedal forward…”
- Relax your position – avoid straining your back, neck, shoulders or wrists when on your bike by ensuring you can reach the handlebars with no more than a 60-degree angle of your back relative to the floor.
- Mix it up – Try switching (safely!) between standing and seated positions whilst cycling. This will prevent you from getting stiff, as well as making for a more fun workout!
- Check your seat – Position your seat so you’re flat or sloping slightly forwards to minimise strain on your lower back. It’s also worth testing a variety of seat shapes to find the one that you find most comfortable for your unique body and cycling position.
- Height test– adjust your seat to the right hight to allow maximum pedalling efficiency; when the pedal is at the bottom, you should be able to sit on the seat with your leg almost straight with only a slight bend at the knee.
- Pump it up– pumping up your tyres regularly will help make cycling easier and put less strain on the whole body.
- Keep it loose– make sure your clothing is loose and comfortable and provides cushioning and support where required – I can’t emphasise enough that a good pair of cycling shorts with a good chamois is key!
- Warm up & cool down– warm up slowly ahead of a cycle and stretch afterwards to help loosen up tight muscles.