The long, cold winter months can feel like a hibernation from cycling. But now is the perfect time to get back into your cycling regime as springtime sets in. But before you step up to the saddle and get those wheels turning, take a look at our top tips to get you road-ready after the long winter break…
1 Make sure your adjustments are right
After you take your bike out and dust off any cobwebs, check your seat is adjusted properly. Being out of use may mean that your seat is loose, which can be a major danger when cycling. A correctly adjusted bike seat will both reduce your risk of injury and make riding more comfortable – something very important when you’re constantly behind the handlebars! This is also the perfect time to check that the seat is at the right height for your stature. Check out this handy article on how to determine if your bike is fitted right for you.
2 Safety check your bike
In order to ensure you have your bases covered, you should pay extra attention to a number of things. The first is tyre pressure. If your bike hasn’t been used for a number of weeks, you will likely need to add air to pump their pressure back up. While you’re looking at the wheels, check that all of your spokes are straight. If you find any are a little bit loose, you can use a spoke wrench to adjust them. Lastly, double-check that your chain is fitted properly. A loose chain can be extremely dangerous when cycling, but also be mindful not to over tighten it either. You can check the tension level by pressing a finger against the top chain. If it’s fitted properly, it should not move more than half an inch. Checking these fundamentals will ensure you can cycle smoother, safer and for longer – ideal!
3 Check your visibility
Although the days are getting longer and brighter, bicycle lights and reflectors are still as important as ever. Cycling at dusk or in dark morning light can be quite dangerous in terms of visibility, so make sure your lights are working properly. Equally, if you need to upgrade to brighter lights, then invest in a good pair for the front and rear of your bike. Reflective jackets are also something to consider – they give you an extra element of protection and are lightweight and easily thrown on before a cycle.
4 Set goals
If you are getting back into the swing of cycling, the best thing you can do is it set yourself a target to reach, whether it be daily, weekly or monthly. Be realistic in what you can achieve – you may not be able to cycle for hours upon end quite yet. Find the approach that works best for you, whether that’s diving straight into training or easing yourself in bit by bit. Take time to reflect on your previous season before you set your new goals. Is there something you could improve on or a race you’d love to try? Looking back on your highs and lows will leave you positive, motivated and ready for the season ahead!
5 Don’t be afraid to try new things or make a change
Lastly, don’t be afraid to push yourself this coming season. Winter can be a time where we regress into our creature comforts, but the change in period is the ideal opportunity to break some of your cycling habits. Step into the new season ready to open yourself up to new things – this will broaden your cycling experience and break the monotony of your routine. Cycling on different terrains is a good way to spice up your trails – try gravel roads or hilly surfaces. Being willing to try different things will elevate your skills as a cyclist, so this time next year you’ll feel even more confident on the bike. There’ll be nothing you and your two wheels can’t handle!
Before getting back into your cycling regime, why not check out the top sports that complement a cycling lifestyle here.